If your filter isn't cleaned properly, waste, uneaten food, and other decaying organic matter get caught inside of it and turn into a nitrate factory. Follow these instructions to clean your aquarium filter:
- Fill a bucket or container with water from your aquarium.
- Remove all your filtration components from your aquarium and rinse them in the container.
- Wring out any sponges and foam blocks in the container until no more dirty water comes out of them.
- Be sure not to let your sponge dry out! It is teeming with beneficial bacteria which promote a healthy ecosystem in your tank.
- Reassemble your filtration equipment, place it back in your aquarium, and turn it on.
Remember, do not use tap water for any part of this process! Instead, use water from your aquarium itself. Also, there is no need to ever replace your mechanical filtration unless it is falling apart, or no longer functioning. The same goes for your biological media—don’t let it dry out and don’t replace it until it begins to fall apart. When it does begin to fall apart, add in new biological media with the old so that it can grow new colonies of beneficial bacteria.