Maintaining and servicing your aquarium filter regularly is vital for a crystal clear aquarium. Over time the aquarium filter media gets clogged up with fish waste and reduces the water flow and surface area for the bacteria to grow. Clean the filter media regularly by rinsing your filter media in old aquarium water. DO NOT use tap water to wash your filter media as it will kill and disturb the good bacteria. These good bacteria are needed to break down the fish waste that passes through the filter.
There are 3 main types of aquarium filter media
Mechanical - Is usually the first stage of most filters. They include filter sponges or foam will trap the larger particles and debris and can be removed for cleaning, While the filter wool or fine filter pads traps the smaller debris before returning back to the aquarium. Which usually need replacing when they clog up too much.
Biological - They break down harmful ammonia and nitrite into relatively harmless nitrates. Filter media such as ceramic rings, porous filter rocks, bio balls have a high surface area for beneficial nitrifying bacteria to colonise and neutralise ammonia and nitrite.
Chemical - Chemical filtration removes one impurity or more from your aquarium. Chemical medias like carbon are used to remove dyes, medicines, odors, and other contaminants from the water.
Combo cartidges like the Aqua One carbon cartridges offer both mechanical and chemical filtration in a single cartridge. The exterior wool acts as a mechanical filter and traps most of the waste before the water flows through the chemical media. These cartridges need to be rinsed depending how dirty they get and replaced every 6-8 weeks.