Part of maintaining you filters is rinsing the media in clean tank water, or dechlorinated water on a regular basis (every month or so, depending on how quickly your flow rate starts to drop). Ceramic noodles, lava rocks, BioChem Stars, etc. can be placed in a bucket of clean tank or dechlorinated water and agitated to remove debris. Sponges should be dunked in the water and shaken and squeezed. Most of the sponges will last indefinitely with regular maintenance, and you'll get a lot more life out of your other media that way.
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