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Old 07-29-2009, 02:05 PM   #1
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How to clean filter and not harm the biological filter

Hey all --

I want to understand the proper way to clean my AquaClear 100 HOB filter. For those that don't know this filter, it's got three layers to it. The big sponge-like section which is to catch the physical debris from the tank, then the chemical layer which can be charcoal or other stuff to help filter out nitrates and such, and finally the biological rocks/nuggets on the top.

First off, what are those white rocks on top called?

When I'm cleaning the filter, I'm pulling all of it out and washing the big sponge-like thing in the sink with plain water making sure I get out all the green and other debris by squeezing it over and over. Then I return it all back into the filter. I plan on changing the chemical layer every month. The biological filter will stay there forever.

When I'm cleaning the filter there gets a slight slime on the inside of the filter and the part that holds all three layers of the filter. Should I wash that stuff off or is that all the valuable biological filter that is building up? If you let that stuff go too long it will clog things up so I'm wondering what the right way to clean this thing is without hurting the biological filter. As long as I keep the top layer in there I should be ok?

Any tips here would be appreciated.

Thanks!

-Alli
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:19 PM   #2
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My suggestion when cleaning a filter is to always clean the sponge and parts in the aquarium tank water. Never use tap water. Remove a portion of your tank water and put it in your aquarium bucket or something you don't normally use for cleaning and such. You don't want trace chemicals to come in contact with any part of your aquarium. Remove the gunk by hand....leaves, debris and such. Gently rinse the Biomax insert...the white balls ...and the activated carbon in the tank water...just enough to remove the slime. You can rub your fingers on the sufaces. This should be sufficient unless its really gross, in which case it might be time to replace those. The sponge should be dealt with delicately as you don't want to rinse out the beneficial bacteria. I usually only rinse the bottom of the filter a couple times by dipping it in the tank water and giving it a light squeeze. Reassemble and start it up again.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:27 PM   #3
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Ah ok.. When I was cleaning the sponge with tap water and I was squeezing it until there was no more green coming out. I guess I'll just rinse it gently untill all the major stuff comes out and leave it all green. I guess I was going about it all wrong. Opps. Ok, I'll get a 5 gallon bucket to clean that stuff from now on.

Ah! Biomax is the biological filter stuff.

Thanks a bunch, that really helps. All these things I'm learning will add up and really make a big difference in my tank over time..

Thanks again,

-Alli
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:31 PM   #4
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Excellent advice above.

Your biological filtration (bacteria) will live on all the surfaces of the aquarium, but they really build up in force in the filter because of the highly oxygenated water due to the pump moving it. So, you should be particularly careful to try to maintain as much of the colony in the filter that you can.
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:03 PM   #5
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I agree with Neilan, and just wanted to add that when you squeeze the sponge out in tank water, you don't have to get it super clean. It just has to be clean enough so that the water in your filter will flow through it easily, but it doesn't have to look new or anything. Depending on your stocking levels, you probably don't even need to clean it with every water change.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:58 PM   #6
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take out the sponge in the AC100 and squeeze it in old tank water mainly the 2nd to last bucket of water out on a PWC.

the white rocks are biomax, its the biological filtration part, basically they make the filter where you never are short of beneficial bacteria.

I also throw one of those big sponges on the intake tube.

also if it doesnt turn back on, take the filter off, drain the water, remove the motor and clean the impeller in tap water.

Never clean the sponge in tap water, it kills off beneficial and washes it away, a gentle squeeze will take care of it.
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