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Old 02-27-2011, 06:21 PM   #1
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Aqueon ProFlex Filter System

Hello everybody,

I posted this over in the Cichlid section (initially because that is what my aquarium set-up is), but after 73 views and no responses I am inclined to think that I should have posted it here in the Equipment area, as my problem is definitely with the filter and not the kind of fish. So my apologies if I am considered to be double posting,.. it's not my intention.

But basically my problem got incredibly worse today. So here's my issue: I have a 120 gallon freshwater system using the Aqueon ProFlex Model 4 (Aqueon » Aqueon ProFlex? Modular Sump Filtration | Products) which is rated for up to 200 gallons I believe. I have the filter set-up as Wet/Dry Trickle over Bio-Balls. (I mistakenly said "Berlin" method in my other posting). Anyhow, the set-up has 3 cloth bags at the initial intake that catch all the big crud. It worked great for the first month or two, but now the bags are gumming up with gunk and do not clean out. So the bags are backing up within 24 to 48 hours of cleaning, and the water in the filter system is overflowing (bypassing) the bags and going straight onto the foam filter over the bio-balls. Not a major big deal, but when you spend he incredibly high price of this unit, I would have expected it to perform much better than it is.

I started with 12 Cichlids 2 years ago, and right now I have about 44. They are breeding like crazy the past few months, which I realize puts a lot more mess into the water.

But I clean the bags every Sunday afternoon, and did it just now, to discover that once again my fish have given birth, and since my tank is already very full of aggressive cichlids, they end up being chased into my filter overflows in the two corners of my tank. Normally they would be caught in the bags, but since they bags are being bypassed, I now have cichlid fry living in amongst my bio-balls. Lovely. I can't for the life of me figure out how they got through the foam pad, mind you.

I am trying to find a way of getting these ridiculous cloth bags clean so they will allow water through them again. Does anyone else here have the Aqueon ProFlex Model 4, or similar? Have you encountered this issue? Any suggestions for getting around it? Please, any help would be greatly appreciated! I am going insane with this!
Thanks.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
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I'd simply replace the cloth bags with sponges that won't clog as quickly. I use the Penguin reverse-flow powerhead replacement sponges for prefilters on all my filter intakes because tghey don't clog as quickly as others I've used. Check the diameter od the sponges and the openings for the bags to see if they'd work. Alternatively, you could use aquaclear hob sponge blocks (possibly trimmed down w/scissors if necessary) to replace the bags. You'll still need to clean them out weekly, but that should help with the bypass.
You can also put sponges in the overflows to keep the fish out.
Something to eat some of the fry would also be helpful...
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Old 02-28-2011, 05:59 PM   #3
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Hey toddnbecka! Thanks so much for the response! I greatly appreciate it. I looked at the reverse-flow replacement sponge suggestion you mentioned by searching them online, and that looks like a fantastic idea! I am definitely going to look into that and give it a try if they fit the openings.

Incidentally, I did put some foam on the overflow within the Proflex filter yesterday after seeing the cichlid fry in the bio-balls,.. though I wish I had seen the potential for this eventuality earlier and had put the foam in BEFORE the fish made it that far. When I cleaned the bags yesterday, there were also live fry in the bags, which were simple to remove and put in a secondary holding tank. But I will simply have to leave the others in amongst the bio-balls, until they are too big to hide, and then remove them unfortunately. The clearance inside my stand under the tank allows access, but not easy access for the removal of the internal workings of the filter, and certainly does not allow me to chase tiny fish fry all over the filter with a net,.. especially when they dart around as fast as these one's do, lol.

One of the major disappointments for me with this very expensive ProFlex filter unit, is that fact that the wall between the initial intake and the bio-ball compartment does not lock in place. It simply leans against the compartment and rests on the top of the foam tray above the bio-balls. When water is being pumped in and out, there is enough suction created by the return pump to pull it up tight, but when you turn the pump off, if you go in and mess with the foam tray above the bio-balls, the wall tends to separate and will spill all the bio-balls into the first compartment. Not very well designed in my opinion. A simple lip behind the wall on the front and back glass of the unit would prevent this, but the designers obviously weren't able to foresee the problem in their own testing. Probably because they aren't testing them in the real world with real situations. Not at all worth the money in my opinion, and a big disappointment to me. Anyhow, that's for another discussion.

As for something to eat the fry,.. I have some pretty big Cichlids in the tank (they are the one's responsible for creating the fry in the first place, lol), and they do make attempts to eat them,.. but in the end it seems they just chase them into the filter. Ideally I'd have to find a way of blocking the corner overflows in the tank itself with sponges, but how to do that on a quarter-semi-circular overflow with nothing behind it to keep them in place, is something I am open to suggestions for too, lol. Or is that the overflow you are talking about when you said to put sponges on the overflows? If so, do you have any suggestions on how to do that so they stay in place? The overflow that I put the foam sponge on that I was talking about above, was the overflow within the filter unit. I just assumed that was the one you were talking about.

Thanks for the help though! I appreciate you taking the time!
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:21 AM   #4
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I'm not familiar with the setup you have, but I was thinking you should be able to fit a piece of sponge inside the overflow opening. If it washes through the opening you could stick something through the sponge to prevent that.
For an effective fry predator I'd recommend either an elipsifer spiney eel or a group of P. typus catfish.
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:28 PM   #5
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I love the idea of the elipsifer spiney eel or P. typus catfish, but in doing some research online it appears that they both do not do well amongst very aggressive Cichlids,.. and mine are VERY aggressive. But I do love the idea.

I am going this week to the aquarium store to look at sponges to put in the filter, and to look at sponge options for the overflows too. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with a solution.

I have been in touch with Aqueon through their website, and in spite of saying they respond within a few days, they are ignoring me and my issue. Unfortunately that leads me to feel the need to say to anyone thinking of buying this system,.. DON'T. It is definitely not worth the money. I initially had a DIY system that I put together myself, which worked well but was a pain to clean. Everyone kept telling me, "Well, you get what you pay for",.. so I put a ton of money into this system, and it now makes my DIY system look like a dream. My advice: stay away from the Aqueon.
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