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Old 10-20-2008, 03:20 PM   #1
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Aquaclear Hob Filter -- Water By-pass?

I recently set up my 38 gallon tank with an AquaClear 50 HOB filter. I'm a little bit concerned that the water isn't flowing correctly through the filter media, and is instead by-passing over top of the media and back into the tank. Can someone explain to me (maybe who has had experience with AquaClear filters) whether this is normal?

Perhaps I haven't properly attached the intake tube or something, but as far as I can tell, I think I've put everything together properly.

My understanding is that water should be directed/forced through the 3 media items, bottom to top, and back into the tank -- but I don't quite see how water is forced to the bottom of the media in the first place. It seems to enter the media compartment either through a few perforations on the side of the 'intake/impeller' compartment (as I'll call it), or just right over the top. Even if it takes the former route, it is still entering the media compartment from the side and seems able to just flow straight up and over the media, rather than be forced from through all 3 pieces of media from bottom to top. I would've thought water should be forced through all 3 media compartments from the bottom to the top with no other pathways, as I've read on many websites that sell these filters, which all suggest water is unable to by-pass media on AquaClear filters.

Any feedback would be really really appreciated! I want to know if other people observed water flowing over their media as well. I want to make sure this is working properly before I start cycling.
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Old 10-20-2008, 03:26 PM   #2
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I've had several ACs over the years, including one AC 30 that is pushing 20 years old and is still in use now. You do have to make sure the intake tube is pushed down into the little recess on the top of the impeller. Sometimes it doesn't quite get in there, particularly on the smaller models, but a quick look and you should be able to tell that it's in the right place. The tube should be able to rotate to the right a little if you want to slow down the flow rate.

All I can say about whether or not the water is going where it is supposed to go is that when I clean mine, the bottom grate on the media holder and the bottom of the foam is always the dirtiest. I've never seen that side that faces the intake dirtier than the bottom. And my tanks have always been clean, so i have to assume that the filter is working properly. I used an AC 70 on a heavily planted 55g, which was too much for the filter, and the bottom of the foam was always covered in crud, indicating proper water flow.
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Old 10-20-2008, 03:28 PM   #3
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can you post a pic? i have an aqua clear 30-60 on my tank. from what your describing, its working fine.....but i wanna make sure ur pic matches mine.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:00 PM   #4
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all filters hve to have a little bypass in them, otherwise they would die quickly when people let them get real dirty.

That being said, it is sucked through the impeller and the only real outlet is the bottom. The little basket thing is the key, as I was confused at mine at 1st also. It is solid where those holes on the side are, so most of the water has to go to the bottom , then back up to get out
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:07 PM   #5
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thanks for your prompt replies everyone! I posted this on another forum as well with no response yet. I really appreciate it.

I spent the last 15 minutes or more playing around with it and trying to understand it a little better. I basically figured out just what speed euphoria said... to summarize:

there are two openings from the motor/impeller in the left compartment: one is a small circle on top and one is on the side, leading to the right (media) compartment. as said above, this is actually forced under the basket and cannot go upwards (the side of the media basket has a sort of notch that stops upward flow, or greatly reduces it). as for the small 'circle' opening from the motor/impeller, this does allow water to bypass all of the media and just go over. Clearly it is intentional, probably for the reason speed euphoria said.

anywho, I'm glad I seem to understand how this works now... I guess some bypass is going to occur whether I like it or not...

thank again!
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:18 PM   #6
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as for the small 'circle' opening from the motor/impeller, this does allow water to bypass all of the media and just go over. Clearly it is intentional, probably for the reason speed euphoria said.
Hey, that "circle" which is more like an oval, where the inlet connects to the pump. That is what they call "flow control", it is to adjust the water movement. All the way to the left is full steam ahead and least bypass, all the way to the right is most bypass that slows the water movement down.

Just slide it all the way to the left for the full flow, also it kinda clicks into that oval groove
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:18 PM   #7
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You will see a lot of bypass if you let the filter get too dirty. In fact the water will overflow back into the tank via the compartment where the intake tube is. If that happens despite frequent cleanings, then the filter is undersized for the tank!
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:22 PM   #8
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Hey, that "circle" which is more like an oval, where the inlet connects to the pump. That is what they call "flow control", it is to adjust the water movement. All the way to the left is full steam ahead and least bypass, all the way to the right is most bypass that slows the water movement down.

Just slide it all the way to the left for the full flow, also it kinda clicks into that oval groove
I'm not refering to the oval 'groove' that the inlet sits/slides on when adjusting flow rate; there's another small hole nearby it that seems to be involved in some kind of intentional bypass.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:25 PM   #9
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I'm not refering to the oval 'groove' that the inlet sits/slides on when adjusting flow rate; there's another small hole nearby it that seems to be involved in some kind of intentional bypass.
Ahh Ok, didnt even look at mine so we are on the same page now

Yeah like I said it needs some built in bypass, as if the filter were to clog then it would loose suction and the pump would run dry killing it, so since they cannot guarantee that people watch and clean the filters often enough, but do warentee the product it has to be like this.
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