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Old 01-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #1
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AquaClear Bypass Issues

While switching out fliters (goodbye Aqua-Tech 30-60 - Hello Fluval C3 & AquaClear 50 working sided by side), I noticed a very obvious design flaw in the AquaClear. After seeing post #20 by ole scratch which mentions the bypass issue like it is a known problem

Noisy Aquaclear

l made post #21 to that thread which describes the two ways the "holes in the side" and "dip in the top" of the media basket cause water to exit the filter with out being fully filtered.

My solution .... duct tape all holes and "dips" on the filter basket.

After thinking about it, I wondered how come this is not a widespread complaint. Only to find out, it's very well documented on several sites.

Here is a link to an excellent explanation and a more permanent "cure" than duct tape:

AquaClear bypassing filter media - Equipment Forum - Nano-Reef.com Forums

Post #6 of that thread shows pictures of plastic glued with epoxy over the holes where I have duct tape.

Since so many people swear by aquaclears, I am guessing for example that an aquaclear out of the box provides 75% full filtration and if you use poliching pads or the blue bonded stuff or tightly packed floss, you are getting 50% full filtration.

That being said, maybe that's all you need for crystal clear water.

Oh, and thanks to all fellow members of this forum for teaching me that weekly (not monthly) water changes + pre-filter + customized HOB debris filtering media (including 100 micron filtering pads) + Seachem Purigen instead of carbon = uber duber crystal clear and polished water that makes fish appear they are swimming in air ... as seen here looking through the 36" long view from the side of my 38 gallon tank:

Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community - Paul1792's Album: Paul1792's 38 gallon - Picture

Thumper 828 gets a similar result with custom media using only an Aquaclear 70:

Aquaclear 70

Note however: you cannot replicate Thumper828's media recipe in an AC 50 because the depth is 1 and 1/2 inches less and the water flows from bottom to top. This where the Fluval C3 & C2 series are clearly superior to AquaClear 50 or 30. Since water flows from back to front at lower velocity with zero bypass, you can use a 1/12th of an inch 100 micron polishing pad (or the stock factory polishing pad) and get that "fish swimming in air look." I am using 300 micron in my aquaclear 50. That .... along side of the C3 that uses 100 micron polishing pad ..... seems to be keeping the water polished.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:24 AM   #2
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The reality is that in spite of some bypass, the AC filters work really well. Blocking the holes may or may not actually improve the overall effectiveness of the filter. These filters have been around a long time and curried much favour with users because of their simplicity, ease of maintenance, and low, long term operating costs. They also work, which is the main reason people still use them after all these years and after the introduction of tons of competition.
All but the 110 can hold 2 sponge inserts below the ceramic noodles. A layer of floss or quilt batting can be placed between them. The floss will clog very quickly which indicates that perhaps the bypass isn't really an issue to be concerned about.
To me the important thing is to keep the sponges clean, which fortunately isn't hard.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:59 AM   #3
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The Aqua Clears and the newer C series HOB's are made by the same company. What you are seeing in the C series is progress. Just as the AC's were an improved design over older designs, so is the C series. The AC's are still very excellent filters and will be for a long time. The C series is a further improvement in technology. As an engineer by profession, I rejoice. LOL. OS.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillD View Post
The reality is that in spite of some bypass, the AC filters work really well. Blocking the holes may or may not actually improve the overall effectiveness of the filter. These filters have been around a long time and curried much favour with users because of their simplicity, ease of maintenance, and low, long term operating costs. They also work, which is the main reason people still use them after all these years and after the introduction of tons of competition.
All but the 110 can hold 2 sponge inserts below the ceramic noodles. A layer of floss or quilt batting can be placed between them. The floss will clog very quickly which indicates that perhaps the bypass isn't really an issue to be concerned about.
To me the important thing is to keep the sponges clean, which fortunately isn't hard.
***********
You're right ....... I think I have become a bit obsessed with the crystal clear water thing which I stumbled upon accidentally by doing things one at a time based on advice from and experiences of other members. But hey, at least I haven't gone as far as this guy did with his external plumbing & wiring to achieve the desired result.

How to get crystal clear aquarium water - YouTube

I agree that so long as people use floss instead of carbon, all the water that passes through the holes on the side is being filtered. Interesting though, as the filter clogs and unfiltered water flows from intake directly through the "dip" on top of the divider to the outflow ... for those who keep the lid on ...... and who sometimes "forget" about their filters, there is no clear sign the filter is plugging up as would be the case if water flowed out the front bypass.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Old Scales View Post
The Aqua Clears and the newer C series HOB's are made by the same company. What you are seeing in the C series is progress. Just as the AC's were an improved design over older designs, so is the C series. The AC's are still very excellent filters and will be for a long time. The C series is a further improvement in technology. As an engineer by profession, I rejoice. LOL. OS.
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Very well said. BTW, I just looked through your photo album Very nice job. I love looking at pics & videos of awesome aquariums.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:58 PM   #6
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When the filter becomes clogged, water comes out the bypass. This is an indication the filter has gone too long between cleanings. I had to laugh at Old Scales post. I spent 30 years working with engineers, to implement their ideas. The engineers mantra seems to be "If it isn't broke it hasn't been fixed enough".LOL
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:16 PM   #7
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Good one! LOL. You're right on Bill! WE break stuff so we can find ways to make it better and for job security, Ha.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:20 PM   #8
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Hey Paul, Thanks. Also, I spent many a nice sunny day on the shore at Orange Beach. My mom and dad lived 27 yrs. just down Gulf Beach Highway in Pensacola. I miss going to the seafood festival. OS.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:49 PM   #9
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Boy ...... do I feel vindicated.

There is an aftermarket replacement filter basket to address the exact issues I raised. Thumper828 found it when he was experiencing the same bypass issue I described.

Here is the link:

AquaClear 50 Media Basket

Problem is the price. At $37.99, it costs almost as much as the filter itself. I'll stick with the duct tape solution.
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:57 PM   #10
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My AC bypasses some because of my overstocking the basket with media a little too much. (Extra polishing pad) When it bypasses a lot even when at the lowest flow position, I know it's time to clean it. I put a small square of cut-to-fit pad in the basket hole in front of the by pass slot. It filters the by pass water some and actually gets some BB on it. OS.
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