Rainbow Plastics Lifeguard M6-9

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Dec 11, 2006
Ok, I am starting out with an adopted aquarium setup (see sig). The filter I have is an inline 6-module cannister type labeled Lifeguard M6-9 manufactured by Rainbow Plastics. My system is now sealed and pumping and I need all the advice I can get but specifically with this filter. Can anybody point me to a link to help me outfit/replace filters/upgrade this filter by Rainbow Plastics?
thank you for the prompt response dskidmore, first of all, I did read thru your links and did some more searching and learned that

rainbow-lifeguard = pentair-rainbow-lifeguard

a search produced links to their website and after combing thru that i am certain this model was custom fabricated using 6 of their older vertical "modules". the ones I have are fatter and shorter than what appears on their currently available models. I will have to photograph the thing and will follow up with a pic or two after work today. Inside, four of the modules have pleated filter media and two of the modules have plastic perforated tubes that had charcoal in them. This whole setup was salvaged from the demolition crew of a local restaurant that went out of business. My estimate is this thing was probably new back in the late 80's, maybe earlier. thanks again, i will post pics soon
For the pleated filter media, I suggest you look on marinedepot.com. I can't find the category for it, but several pleated filters come up if you search for lifegard.

The carbon can be replaced with any aquarium grade activated carbon, no reason to spend extra on the specific brand stuff. In the brands that are not tied to a specific filter, the premium stuff has less dust, so is worth the extra, but since it comes in bulk, it's usually cheaper than the filter-specific stuff.

Do you have a bioball section? If so, you don't need the undergravel filter. I'm not sure I understand the system, but you might be able to convert one of the pleated media or carbon media sections into bioballs. (Being a plant person, I'm prejudiced against undergravel filters. Go ahead with it if that's your preference.)

Looking forward to the picts, or a description of how these are pumbed together. If they are in sequential order, you can probably modify it to your heart's content. Paralell filters though would need to be kept mostly the way they are.
OK, the first two pics are the label on one of the canisters



This Third pic is the overall

The underground filter is what i inherited when i salvaged this stuff. i grew up with underground filters in most of my bigger tanks and never knew otherwise so i am ok with it but it does seem overkill, but hey, take a look at this filter system i got ('8O'). This is a drilled tank so the water is sucked from the bottom of the underground filter, travels thru the cannisters and then is pumped back up thru the bottom to a head near the top of the tank. i will chase down some of these links tomorrow, thanks for the help :wink:

One more to get orientated, the filter and pump are below the tank
Nice! Looks like they're plummed in a row, so you can put whatever media you want in the canisters. If you can't find the pleated filters, poly batting from your local craft store might do the trick.
the tank photo is fuzzy but gives you an idea of what i am dealing with, just the carpentry for the thru wall setting took lots of money and time.

the bio ball thing is something i am unfamiliar with. my goal is to have a low(er) maintenance setup so i my thoughts were to use a mixture of fake plants with a few live ones in there. Is there a problem using live plantings with undergravel filters?

my goal is a large school of cardinal tetras as the main feature so i am reading up on their natural habitat.
waicool said:
Is there a problem using live plantings with undergravel filter?
Well, it's just that you have to be very through about vaccuming when you're using an undergravel filter, and some plants don't like having thier roots disturbed. Other plants may put out too many roots and clog up the filter. If you can reverse the flow so the water comes up through the UGF and has a diffrent intake, then the external filter will do the particle filtering, and you'll still have the biological filtering benifits of the UGF. (This is sometimes refered to as a RUGF, it is debated wether they are good for plants or not. Some people really like them.)

Bioballs are fairly low maintenance, they're just filter media with lots of surface area. Some are plastic, and some are ceramic. You just put them in the filter after the mechanical filtering stage, and every month or so rinse off 1/3 of the balls. (Don't want to clean them all at once, you can rinse off the bacteria as well as acumulated debris.)
I am pretty sure I will NOT be doing extensive planting, again, my goal is a low(er) maintanance tank. Your insight is very helpful, thanks dskidmore!

I have been researching cardinal tetras and studying their habitat so a lot of what i do will be to give those fella's what they need to be happy and healthful. Right now I am sketching ideas for a low to mid-plane shelf with some hiding places. Maybe I could grow real plants off of the shelf to avoid the UGF.
these look exactly like my Pentair AF-94 'single' filter module, except that the previous owner has glued multiple units in line. If my guess is correct, all of the currently available pleated filter cartridges and other parts for the current line of 'single' modules should work in your older modules !!! Also, today you can get a Pentair canister top which would convert one of your canisters to n 8 watt UV unit, purchase a filter insert with a dedicated space for granulated carbon, purchase a canister top meant to allow you to insert a tank heater through the center of the cap etc. ( purchased as parts of course)

check out http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produ...r&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=All&Nty=1&pc=1 for starters

If you're wondering how all of the different 'innards' can be configured, there are some blow-up pics of my own Pentair filter setup at http://cloudytanks.com/reviews/howto/pentair.htm

PS you really lucked out running across these canister filter modules !!! The Pentair is the best filter setup that I have ever owned !
dskidmore said:
If you can't find the pleated filters, poly batting from your local craft store might do the trick.

No, it will not.

I have used a few of these (we have two, big, cart-mounted, 6 triple-capacity canister units down at the shop)...great systems. I was thinking of buying one for myself, but they are not cheap.
melonie said:
these look exactly like my Pentair AF-94 'single' filter module, ....
PS you really lucked out running across these canister filter modules !!! The Pentair is the best filter setup that I have ever owned !

it has been awhile since i've visited here and i want to thank you all for your helpful posts. yep, i am feeling pretty fortunate to have this pentair system. i will do some research to see if I can locate some replacement parts to get a heater and maybe a uv lamp into these canisters.
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