How to Transition From Your Old Aquarium Filter to the New One
Mixing the Old Filter Media With the New
Why Your Existing Filter Media Is Invaluable
The point is many novice aquarium enthusiasts are in a hurry to do away with their old existing filters, when they upgrade themselves to that new filter they always wanted. In their eagerness to have the new filter installed and running, they miss out on one critical thing.
What's that? Well, they threw out the baby with the bathwater (not literally). What they did miss out was all the crucial nitro-bacteria that had colonized in the old filter media was thrown out, and the new filter with its brand new filter media installed instead.
So, what you get is crystal clear water and some days later some fish floating upside down—dead. What went wrong over here? Well, you crashed the ammonia cycle, that's what happened.
The old filter was in fact the heart of the aquarium ecosystem, with all the nitro-bacteria in it, breaking down the ammonia, converting nitrite to nitrates. So when that 'old' filter was removed, the most useful part of the ecosystem was removed with it, and the ammonia cycle went out of control in just a few days with almost no bacteria to break down the ammonia build-up, so the ammonia and nitrite levels peaked, leading to fatalities.
So, how does one avoid this? Simple.
- Remove the existing filter media (sponge, ceramic rings, etc) from the existing filter
- Place some part of it along with the new filter media to help colonize the new filter
- Let both filters run in parallel for at least one week before you remove the old filter.
This gives the bacteria enough time to colonize in the new filter.
So, that's why you shouldn't throw out your old filter when you get a new one!
Mixing the Old Ceramic Rings With the New
The New Setup
Questions & Answers
Oh we've totally messed up. We've just taken the old filter out and put the new one in. Now fish seem sick. We took the old filter out 5 days ago, still got it, is it too late to put it back in and run it alongside? Or what else can I do? I have started adding a bit of filter boost. My poor goldfish..
You haven’t described what exactly is the issue you are facing with your goldfish. Is it panting too much (as in gasping) or has it kind of settled itself down and not moving much. Check if the air supply is functioning well and turn it up as much as you can. Secondly, do a water change, at least 50%, but ensure that the water is de-chlorinated first and is at the same temperature as the aquarium water. You can still use the old filter in parallel, as long as the media in it is still wet, as the bacteria will still survive partially in those conditions, but I wouldn’t recommend that now. Water changes will remove any ammonia traces, till the new filter settles. Add a de-nitrifying bacteria culture if available.Helpful 7
Can I feed fish as usual when transitioning from old to new filter?
Yes, of course. However, keep feeding to only as much as the fish can finish it all off. There shouldn't be any leftover food, which will decay and cause an ammonia spike. Feed away from the outflow in a relatively steady section with low flow so that the food is not carried away in to difficult to reach areas.Helpful 6
© 2012 Amar Salvi