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Old 01-16-2007, 11:43 AM   #1
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Filter cleaning and media filtration

Hello all,

I'd like to do a cleaning of my filter, it's long overdue. I think there's some lime deposits and some other scum I'd like to clean off. Question is what is the best way. I've read that turning it off, taking it off and placing it in a bucket of tank water and scrub it that way? I believe I have a Penguin Emperor 280 with the power head and bio wheel. I changed the filter cartridge last night and there was quite a bit of nasty stuff inside and in retrospect I should have turned it off or unplugged it first. Won't make that mistake again.

My second question involves the "media container" inside. This tank was inherited from the previous owner of the house and I'm not sure there's anything inside. What substances are best for a FW tank to put in there and how often does that material need to be changed out?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:03 PM   #2
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If this is your only filter, you don't really have the time to use anything other than water to clean your filter as you wouldn't want to leave your fish without a filter for an extended period of time while rinsing off the filter thoroughly. Use tank water so you don't kill off any of the bacteria.
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:08 PM   #3
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I am thinking about submitting an article on cleaning filters.


For HOB filters (I just went thru this)

Tools needed:

Old toothbrush
Q-tips
Dental Floss
Bucket large enough to fit filter in
bowl or bucket to hold media
Running water
scrubby type sponge (new, never used with soap, well rinsed)
Toothpicks
Vinegar
large Pipe cleaners, test tube brush, filter brush (if you can get them)


Unplug the filter

Disassembly:
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.

Cleaning Impeller

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

Cleaning intake

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.
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
My second question involves the "media container" inside. This tank was inherited from the previous owner of the house and I'm not sure there's anything inside. What substances are best for a FW tank to put in there and how often does that material need to be changed out?
Bio-balls or ceramic tubes fit in there nicely. Put them after the filter cartridge, and you shouldn't ever have to change them.
MyCatsDrool gave very thorough instructions on how to clean it. To summarize: Take it apart, scrub it with whatever tank safe (basically anything that works and has not ever been used with soap products) tools you figure will work, and put it back together. Do this all in tank water to avoid bacteria loss, and move quickly.
If you're concerned about the amount of time it will take, simply do it in sections over a couple weeks.
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Old 01-16-2007, 01:19 PM   #5
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That's awesome as usual folks, thanks very much.

One last thing...how much of a window realistically would I have to clean the filter, ie how long can the tank go without having it running?
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Old 01-16-2007, 01:48 PM   #6
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Dont get crazy. A tank will be fine for several hours without the filter running, depending on the fish load, some tanks could go on for dyas.
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:59 PM   #7
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I did the above steps in less than an hour. I'd say that you have quite a few hours before you can really start to panic.
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Dont get crazy
Best advice ever!
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:51 AM   #9
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You can go quite a while without the filter. We had a 9 hour power outage and the tanks were fine.
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