I am thinking about submitting an article on cleaning filters.
filters (I just went thru this)
Bucket large enough to fit filter in
bowl or bucket to hold media
scrubby type sponge (new, never used with soap, well rinsed)
large Pipe cleaners, test tube brush, filter brush (if you can get them)
Unplug the filter
Remove intake tubes from media housing. Disassemble if sectional. Put in Large bucket.
Empty the media, biowheel, and remaining water in the filter into the bowl for media.
If you can figure out how (most filters you just twist and pull), remove the motor assembly from the media housing. If not, set housing and motor aside for now, after removing the impeller.
Remove impeller from motor assembly. Should just pull out. Put in large bucket
Set motor assembly aside somewhere dry.
Put cover and media housing in large bucket.
Cleaning Motor assembly:
With impeller removed from the motor casing, dip a q-tip in relatively clean used tank water. rub the inside surfaces with the q-tip. If there are plant parts or other gunk that you cannot remove with fingers or q-tip, use a toothpick to lift it out. Continue with the q-tips until the one you used last is relatively clean.
Set assembly aside.
Cleaning Media housing and cover
Dip in and out of relatively clean used fish water a few times. Using hands, rub insides until most of the slimey feeling stuff is in the water and off the housing.
Using HOT TAP water, toothbrush and scrubby sponge, clean as well as you can, until rinsing clear. NO SOAP.
For hard water stains, and lime, use vinegar, toothbrush, and elbow grease.
Rinse in TAP, set in large bucket used to rub bacteria slime off.
Using relatively clean tap water, and q-tips, rub surfaces of impeller with q-tip. Remove tangled plants etc with tootpicks or small scissors.
Place in large bucket with relatively clean aquarium water
Using either toothbrush, filter/test tube brush, or pipe cleaner, clean insides of all intakes, rinsing in either HOT tap or aquarium water. clean outsides with sponge. Clean hard to reach areas with dental floss (between intake teeth, etc). Rinse and put in large bucket.
Reassemble all parts except media. Hang back on tank.
Rinse media in clean, used aquarium water, until fairly clear. Replace in media housing. Plug in filter and prime. should be good to go.
To CHANGE filter media:
Set aside 1/4-1/3 of the used, old filter media.
If using a biobag, put in used media, then new, rinsed media on top of it.
If using straight media, mingle old media with rinsed new media. Put in housing.
Filter media only needs to be changed when it is falling apart (if floss, sponge or bonded.)
Activated Carbon only once per x, depending what you are using it for.
Hope this helps.