Black Spots in My Filter Floss...Seachem Claims This is Dangerous "Anaerobic Bacteria"

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Kaskade10729

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Jun 16, 2013
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This may be related to the last thread I commented in here, just below this one, in which we were discussing filter media and the like, but it got me concerned after what a Seachem rep told me...so I figured I'd run it past you folks.

The last time I checked on the media inside my AquaClear 110 -- which is stacked with the foam block, then a folded layer of floss and then the bio rings -- it seems the floss got all gunked up and stained with stuff that doesn't want to come out after dunking it in removed tank water. There are also black spots throughout the floss, and when I asked my Seachem contact about this, he said:

You don't want to be rinsing the floss and reusing it; you should be tossing it and replacing it each time. Also, any black spots indicate anaerobic conditions, which are baaaaad news in a filter. I'd recommend getting a big bag of Polyfil (polyester pillow stuffing) from a hobby or fabric store and replacing it every other day.

When I did a little searching online, I didn't really find much about black spots in filter media being "anaerobic bacteria" or that it was even harmful, as suggested; can anyone lend any insight here with regard to this? Do I need to completely remove the floss layer in the AC110 and replace it with fresh, as he recommended? I can't see doing this EVERY time I do filter maintenance, or replacing the pillow stuffing every other day...

Is this necessary? Can I continue rinsing the floss in tank water, or can I try running it under the tap or a strong hose to get it clean (I assume most of my BB is living in the sponge and bio rings)?

I guess I will eventually get the Purigen to take the place of the floss, but what of Seachem's claim that these black spots in the floss are bad?

This also brings something else up that I'm now concerned with -- since the cartridges in my other filter, an Aqueon 75, are of the carbon-stuffed-in-floss variety, do I need to stop reusing THOSE as well? Because right now, what I do is, when it's time to perform maintenance on the Aqueon, I just take the carts out and rinse/dunk them in removed tank water and then return them to the slots. I was told this was fine to do, as it keeps the bacteria safe while the floss is reused.

Is this not so?
 

dudley

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I've never heard what the Seachem rep said before so can't comment on his/hers comment. I often see blackish colored stuff in my Poly-fil Traditional batting but it usually rinses out when I use the hose sprayer in the laundry tub when I clean it. I think it's just where more of the dirt collects and hence the color.

I don't use the pre-filled cartridges or carbon so I think you are just fine with rinsing them out. Of course eventually the carbon will be exhausted so something to consider if you are a fan of carbon.
 
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Kaskade10729

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I've never heard what the Seachem rep said before so can't comment on his/hers comment. I often see blackish colored stuff in my Poly-fil Traditional batting but it usually rinses out when I use the hose sprayer in the laundry tub when I clean it. I think it's just where more of the dirt collects and hence the color.

I don't use the pre-filled cartridges or carbon so I think you are just fine with rinsing them out. Of course eventually the carbon will be exhausted so something to consider if you are a fan of carbon.
Thanks for the prompt reply, Dudley.

Indeed, I don't use the carbon on an ongoing basis, so I just let it get exhausted and then let it sit there as another space for biological bacteria to grow. But I was questioning whether the floss pads could be reused, like any other media, after Seachem told me the floss has this dangerous element in it now...

Thanks for putting my mind at ease about the black in the floss; I'll try blasting it with the sink hose to see if it comes out that way.
 

Kaskade10729

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Dudley:

What do you make of the Seachem rep's comment regarding tossing the floss "every time"? I assume he meant tossing it every time it gets dirty, but I don't understand why I'd want to do this...
 

dudley

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Dudley:

What do you make of the Seachem rep's comment regarding tossing the floss "every time"? I assume he meant tossing it every time it gets dirty, but I don't understand why I'd want to do this...
I think it would be a waste of money honestly. While I don't use filter floss due to the chance of stray fibers getting stuck in impellers, I like to use batting as it's easier for me , rinsing it works well and I can use it multiple times until I toss it.
 

fishorama

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I think the floss gets areas of slightly different density & more "gunk" may collect in some spots. I just try to get it fairly even but very far from perfect. I'm cheap & if I'm using floss I rinse under running tap like Dee. I kind of rub & stretch at darker areas but it doesn't take me long. I try for about 1/4 inch thick when it's wet but that can be hard to judge when it's dry. I'd say maybe 1.5 cups of floss for my AC 70 since I just did it.

If your worried (I don't think you should be) you can try to "pinch" or pull at the part that isn't as clean. When it doesn't get clean enough for you, whenever that happens (4 or 5+ times?) just replace it. If this becomes an issue you can use quilt batting cut to size. It's more expensive than floss (make sure there are no fire retardants!!) but it comes in a roll of an even layer.

It could be that your ceramic media is not quite even too, & block some flow in denser areas. So more gunk will collect in the areas of more flow...if that makes sense.

Either floss or batting is very cheap & a bag lasts almost forever. I saw the price tag on my very old floss, $0.99 for a couch pillow amount but as you can tell I don't use it often :) I think it was our second or third bag ever in 40+ years. Batting I had left from some old home decor project. Back then it was ~$10 for a full or king size bed, easy to cut with scissors to size, you might use a double layer.

This is not from anaerobic bacteria!!! There's nowhere more aerobic than water rushing through a filter especially a large 1 like yours. I have only seen it in "play sand" with very fine & coarse grain sizes that compacted. I removed it after a couple months when bubbles came out of it when I vacuumed, eew! It had a sulfery smell to it too. Never again! Healthy filter media smells kind of earthy plant-ish, fish foody only slightly unpleasant at most...unless you very smell sensitive.

I think you should stop asking Seachem, ask us first. At least this time they didn't push their products ...maybe because you're planning on Purigen soon? Just saying...

Sorry, I know we got off on a bad foot (feet?) a while ago, but all we do want to help you :)

I see TL was posting as I was typing. I think that he must be even more frugal than me, lol. We started with corner box filters, he probably did too. Poor as we were back, I think we occasionally replaced floss...maybe he didn't ;). I think he gets an award for longest lasting floss!!
 
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the loach

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This is not from anaerobic bacteria!!! There's nowhere more aerobic than water rushing through a filter especially a large 1 like yours. I have only seen it in "play sand" with very fine & coarse grain sizes that compacted.
That is exactly right !

I see TL was posting as I was typing. I think that he must be even more frugal than me, lol.
Lol that could be true

We started with corner box filters, he probably did too.
Yeah corner box filters... I still have the wear marks on the glass from that in some tanks. Though I also had an old canister filter from the 60's or early 70's. It was air cooled can you believe that! It was such a big difference when the modern canister filters appeared around 1980, so much more quiet and efficient.
 

fishorama

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Our first "big" filter was a Dynaflo HOB with such big siphon tubes my dainty (ha!) thumbs couldn't seal them...A husband job, as was the Vortex Diatom filter. He still misses it...& under gravel filters, lol. That's why he's been demoted to "helper".

We have oldish tanks but not that old. You must not have moved as often we have.
 

Kaskade10729

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I think it would be a waste of money honestly. While I don't use filter floss due to the chance of stray fibers getting stuck in impellers, I like to use batting as it's easier for me , rinsing it works well and I can use it multiple times until I toss it.
Thanks; it was my first thought, too.
 
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