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[APD] Biofilter question

I am new to the hobby and have a 10 gallon tank with some tiger barbs and am learning the basics. I plan on getting a 75 or larger to start my planted aquarium. It seems like all I do these days is read about this kind of stuff on the net but I have another question regarding the bio filter. If the purpose of the filter is for a place for the bacteria to live, how do you clean the filter and how often? Also, I am sure that the filter will have to be replaced eventually because it sure does get dirty. If I change the filter, there goes all my bacteria and my ammonia and nitrates will build up again and kill my fish. Nowhere have I found detailed instructions on the proper procedure for cleaning and replacing the filter media. It is a hang on the back power filter with a gauze/floss type filter media. Any info would be appreciated.


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