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Old 06-19-2010, 04:37 PM   #1
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Fluval 305

Hi everybody,
New here. Did I buy a decent filter? I just got a Fluval 305 for my 40 gallon tank with sand substrate. I had trouble with some HOB filters eating impellers and shafts from a little sand getting sucked up on occasion. A friend gave me his old Fluval 204 to play with. It was used on a similar tank with sand for about 6 years. There is some detectable wear on the shaft, but it runs good and is still fairly quiet. My conclusion was that this style filter is tolerant of occasional sand. I'm running 2 Aquaclear 50's right now and they eat impeller shafts every few months even though the pickup is a good foot off the bottom. I also get some Malaysian trumpet snail babies in there on occasion and I think they are as bad as sand. They also don't always restart after a power failure once they get a little worn and dirty.

I started reading a bit more after ordering and I stumbled on a board that appears to hate these filters for leaking. I've got many years of experience with oring seals so when my filter arrived I looked it over closely. I was surprised to find the main sealing surface quite scratched probably from the molding process. Also there were many sharp points to be felt along the seal surface. They felt sharp enough that they could damage the oring over time. So I smoothed the surface with 600 grit wet sand paper following up with buffing to get it shiny again. I'm now confident this seal will not be leaking as long as I pay attention during service.

Other than being disappointed with the QC, I think this will be a good filter. Many years ago I had a Fluval 202. It was a great filter but a real pain to service in the tight location I used it. To move on from that hassle, I went with HOB 10 years ago when I set this tank up.

So anyway, thatís my story. I am just looking for comments on the Fluval 305 and anybody's experiences with leaks. Also interested in experiences with sand getting in filters as well as MT snails getting into things.

I found a small basin to place under the filter and in my pile of junk I found a water leak alarm. I'm pretty confident the main oring will not leak. I haven't quite figured out what keeps the primer pump from leaking, but I don't see that anyone has had problems with that area. Thanks for any comments.
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:18 AM   #2
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I don't have any personal experience with the filter, but couldn't you just put some kind of prefilter on it to keep the sand out? Also, it could be your sand, as I believe finer sands are really hard to deal with, no matter how far your intake is from the sand.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:13 PM   #3
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Yes, my sand is too fine, like table salt. That was a mistake from about 15 years back. It wasn't as easy back then to find advice online. I can't bring myself to change it out and it does look nice. All in all it hasn't been a huge expense to replace pump parts over the years.

I have experimented with prefilters on the Aquaclears. I have some now carved out of filter foam that seem to keep the sand out and not clog too soon from normal debris. However I still just replaced a very noisy shaft. Maybe some tiny snails already living in the filter. It's a one way trip into the impeller well for any sand sized solid particle.

Based on the very light wear I found in dissecting my friend's 204, I think my new 305 will do well. He had the same very fine sand. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:30 PM   #4
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dont worry. unlike HOBs the impeller on the canister is AFTER the filter media. I use my 105 as a vacuum to clean out cyano. I get tons of sand in the foam sponge section and none after it.
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cabezon View Post
dont worry. unlike HOBs the impeller on the canister is AFTER the filter media. I use my 105 as a vacuum to clean out cyano. I get tons of sand in the foam sponge section and none after it.
Thanks, great to hear that.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:15 PM   #6
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I have a 305 and a 405. i've not had any issues with leaking, although the valve on my 405 does leak just a bit while I'm in the process of turning it on or off ( i guess its an o-ring or something)... IMO, they're great filters, and you made a good choice. Not to say its the best filter on the market, but I would not hesitate to buy another after using a few others. If you keep it cleaned every other week, more if necessary, you shouldnt have any problems with it. I would suggest ordering an extra impeller cover or two, as I've broken two since I've had mine. Keep your intake as high as you can to keep the sand out of it and you should be fine. As stated previously, the water goes through the sponges and media before it hits the impeller, so any sand that does make it in to the filter will get caught in the filter before it hits the impeller.
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