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Old 05-28-2014, 08:09 PM   #1
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Aquaclear 50 Losing Flow

My Aquaclear 50 is very gradually losing it's flow rate. I'm running it on full flow right now and it's like it used to be at about the halfway mark. If I move the adjuster all the way to the right, I barely get a trickle out of the return. I tried removing the media basket completely and it did not change. So I don't believe it to be a clogged foam piece. It's only about two months old. A while back I had some trouble getting the impeller to start moving due to too much gunk on the impeller shaft. I've since reamed out the impeller with a small nylon brush. It starts normally now but just isn't very strong. My next step is to remove the motor completely and clean it out as best I can, but I have doubts that will fix anything. Any other ideas? Is the motor just losing it's "oomph"?
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Old 05-28-2014, 10:03 PM   #2
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Sounds like an impeller issue alright. If the media was clogged up, it would still bypass over the top a show good outflow. After cleaning the impeller and chamber, make sure the little top plate between the impeller rotor and the inflow pipe is all the way down. What about the top part of the inflow tube where it's hard to get to. It can build up crud. If you suspect it, soak in bleach water to soften the crud then take out to the garden hose with nozzle. Pulse the high pressure stream through it to flush out. You'll get a little wet but hey, it's getting hot anyway. If those don't work take the motor off its mounting at the bottom of the filter body and clean out good. If still no improvement, you may have some dead magneto elements in the motor housing.
Hope this helps. OS.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:09 AM   #3
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Sounds like an impeller issue alright. If the media was clogged up, it would still bypass over the top a show good outflow. After cleaning the impeller and chamber, make sure the little top plate between the impeller rotor and the inflow pipe is all the way down. What about the top part of the inflow tube where it's hard to get to. It can build up crud. If you suspect it, soak in bleach water to soften the crud then take out to the garden hose with nozzle. Pulse the high pressure stream through it to flush out. You'll get a little wet but hey, it's getting hot anyway. If those don't work take the motor off its mounting at the bottom of the filter body and clean out good. If still no improvement, you may have some dead magneto elements in the motor housing.
Hope this helps. OS.
Thanks OS. The tube is clean. I hope there isn't some hairline crack that I can't see. If it's still bad after I clean out the impeller chamber, I can try swapping out the motor as I still have one from an AquaClear 30 that I used to use. It is fairly "young" as well. Have you ever ordered one of the replacement motors off of Amazon? They seem to get very mixed reviews and complaints that they die after a couple months.
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Old 05-29-2014, 01:41 AM   #4
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OK, did a water change and a thorough scrubbing of the impeller and the motor chamber. It's a little better than it was, but still no where near where it used to be. I should also mention that I run it with a Fluval sponge over the intake. (I had some little guys get sucked up in the early days.) I tried slipping it off before I turned off the filter and the flow improved, but again, not where it used to be. I think it'll have to be a motor swap next time.
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:22 AM   #5
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I've never had to order replacement parts on my Aquaclears. My AC30 and AC50 have both ran 18 months now with no issues. (Knock on wood). OS.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:00 AM   #6
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:46 PM   #7
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Huh... get this: I did a water change today and tossed the pre-filter sponge and put on a brand new one. The flow is much better now. Still not at "brand new" levels, but the best it's been in weeks. Plus, my impeller rattle went away. I guess the old one was just too slimed up with gunk that wasn't coming out during my swish n' squeeze in the tank water.

Fingers crossed. I'll see how it lasts...
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:04 PM   #8
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Huh... get this: I did a water change today and tossed the pre-filter sponge and put on a brand new one. The flow is much better now. Still not at "brand new" levels, but the best it's been in weeks. Plus, my impeller rattle went away. I guess the old one was just too slimed up with gunk that wasn't coming out during my swish n' squeeze in the tank water.

Fingers crossed. I'll see how it lasts...
Boil the old sponge, changing the water a few times. It will come out like new....
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RightTurnClyde View Post
Huh... get this: I did a water change today and tossed the pre-filter sponge and put on a brand new one. The flow is much better now. Still not at "brand new" levels, but the best it's been in weeks. Plus, my impeller rattle went away. I guess the old one was just too slimed up with gunk that wasn't coming out during my swish n' squeeze in the tank water.

Fingers crossed. I'll see how it lasts...
1 too have had problems with decreasing flow.

1) I have 3 Fluval Pre Filter sponges going on an AC50, Fluval C3 & Fluval C4. I had a problem with restricted flow despite the fact I was squeezing them out in distilled water. Little did I know, the dirt gets packed in there VERY solidly and they require repeated vigorous squeezing and rinsing to get clean. That solved my first problem with flow.

2) The impellers really get gunked up after 3-6 months and must be cleaned with a Q-Tip or some other tool.

3) One of my C3's got such low flow I had to remove the motor and clean everything around it.

I still have "slower than normal" flow out of my AC50 ..... but I can tell my intake tubes are full of gunk so I'm ordering a special cleaning brush through Amazon to really clean the thing out.

Thus: warning to others ..... if you think your Fluval C or Aquaclear is losing steam ........ it probably is and you need to give it some attention.
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:06 PM   #10
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1 too have had problems with decreasing flow.


2) The impellers really get gunked up after 3-6 months and must be cleaned with a Q-Tip or some other tool.
I just had the exact same issue with my AC50, and this is the culprit. I used a q-tip and pipe cleaner to clean out the impeller and magnet housing and was back to its old self.
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