What is the proper way to clean a filter? - Page 2
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » Freshwater Fish and Aquariums » Beginner Freshwater Aquarium » What is the proper way to clean a filter?

What is the proper way to clean a filter?

This is a discussion on What is the proper way to clean a filter? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by Boredomb Byron, We both know I have MUCH to learn about this hobby and I may go about doing things wrong. ...

Check out these freshwater fish profiles
Red Eye Tetra
Red Eye Tetra
Upside Down Catfish
Upside Down Catfish
Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools vBmenu Seperating Image Search this Thread vBmenu Seperating Image
What is the proper way to clean a filter?
Old 04-25-2011, 12:17 PM   #11
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boredomb View Post
Byron, We both know I have MUCH to learn about this hobby and I may go about doing things wrong. Much like neglect cleaning my filter or not even cleaning it right I haven't put much though into cleaning my filter because it has only been running like 4 weeks now. Well I just got done cleaning my filter about 30 mins ago and then I saw where you had posted this reply (by the way I appericate the detail you went into on that). I now realize a small part of what my problems have been in my aquarium, or atleast where some of my problems have been coming from.

First problem I see is I bought plants that I don't think I can grow in my current setup or atleast not the way I have them in my tank (purple cabombas). I started off planting them all wrong not allowing the light to get all the way down the stem. Now they were still growing but the parts that were not getting light were starting to thin out and drop the leaves. Which I didn't do anything with for two reasons:
A. I couldn't get to it because of the thick vegetation in that part of the tank.
B. I have read where people just let the decaying plant matter do its thing.
Well that area of my tank is right by my filter intake and that matter was going right into the intake well what could fit anyways. I know this because I found some in the filter, with all that stuff in the filter there could have been no way the filter was running like it should be. Which leads me to some questions. Now with the heterotrophic bacteria which derives off of breaking down orgainic compounds plus can live in low oxyen levels. The plant matter which I had in the filter and probably slowed it down. I am guessing this situation would more then likely let the "bad" bacteria thrive. Would this explain the ammonia lvls I couldn't get to go down no matter how much of a water change I did? I know you are saying the plants can handle some of this issue but only to a point as you said also. I could never get my ammonia any lower then .25 even with the plants. Now I know in the past you have told me not to worry about .25 but a constant ammonia level can not be good for the fish and has to be coming from somewhere? So there are two things I can think of that was causing that. The excess build up of the decaying plant matter and the "bad" bactria in the filter. Would I be correct or incorrect thinking this way?

Now right before I was reading and replying to this, I was cleaning out my tank because I couldn't take the decaying plant debris around the cabombas any more for two reasons. The first being it was starting to build up and the second I have a bunch of particles floating in my water and I was thinking that was causing some of that. So I removed some of those plants cleaned the substrate real good and did a water change. I also cleaned my filter but now realizing I did not clean it right and I am going to have to clean it all over again

I am starting to see why it is soo important to have a clean and working filter. I will start looking at it when I do water changes and see if it need attention or not. Rather then waiting till it is too late and having a mess on my hands. One day I will have a small idea of what I am suppose to be doing.

Thanks,
John
Ps. With all that going on would that help promote brown algae growth?
We all have much to learn, I am still learning too. Learning never stops.

Decaying plant matter will obviously create ammonia, so that could be part of the problem. I remove yellowing plant leaves when I see them. In a truly balanced system a couple of leaves will not harm, but in new setups adding to the bio load is not wise.

In the substrate, which is where the organics should be settling, aerobic bacteria break them down. In some "dead" spots, anaerobic bacteria do the work, with different results. Both are good if kept in balance.

How often the filter should be taken apart and rinsed depends upon the tank. My 115g needs this done every 6-8 weeks or the filter very noticeably slows down (the flow). In the 70g and 90g it is every 3 months or a bit longer. It is best to do it before the water flow becomes slow, as by then the "problem" is present.

Byron.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2011, 12:24 PM   #12
 
Boredomb's Avatar
 
Thanks Byron I am slowly getting the basics of fish keeping and planted.aquariums you have been a big help and so has this forum. Just by reading a lot of post lately I am picking up the principals that need and it is starting to make some sense where as before I was just confused.
Boredomb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2011, 12:33 PM   #13
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGDude View Post
I would stick with "do not clean the MEDIA ever"
I had just read the link that was posted.
I would not follow any directions that actually
recommend bleaching or scrubbing the media.

I would also say do dont clean the FILTER until you have an actual
reason to clean it. Like more information, water test results, etc..

When your water test results are fine and you don't see any brown
stuff on the media balls you might wait on cleaning the FILTER.
When it's time to rinse the blue pad I will check again and maybe rinse.

I am changing water every two weeks because of my water test results.
Why should I water change more? I am willing if it's really needed.
Waiting until some test results indicate a problem is waiting too late, the damage has been done.

It is, or should be, the aim of every aquarist to maintain a stable, balanced system. This means that the water conditions remain good continuously. I'm not sure exactly which "tests" you are thinking of, but if ammonia or nitrite rise above zero, it is too late, the damage is done, and you are now healing (fixing) rather than preventing which should, as in human health, always be the goal. Working to maintain good health means preventing sickness, not waiting until sickness occurs and then treating it.

Similarly, if it is nitrate, waiting for the nitrate to rise means something has gone wrong biologically, and again you are in repair mode rather than maintenance.

The filter should be rinsed completely according to the conditions in the aquarium. Waiting until the water flow slows is waiting too long.

As for water changes, the prime reason for doing them is to remove "old" water and replace it with "fresh" water. There are no tests to determine this. "Crud" in the water is largely undetectable. Urine, dissolved waste, pheromones from the fish and chemicals from the plants cannot be detected; waste may cause pH to drop or nitrates to rise, but the other substances will not. Yet they are toxic to fish and plants.

Fish in nature do not live in the same water for more than a second. We cannot hope to achieve this in a home aquarium, so we do weekly water changes to at least try to dilute the crud. And removing these substances is the only way; they are not removed by filtration. Plants will handle them, if there are enough plants and a very low fish load, but that also is not the case in our aquaria.

Nitrates in natural waters are usually undetectable, they are so low. Any rise in nitrate can be detrimental to many fish, so waiting until nitrates rise has weakened the fish's resistance. Repeating this only makes it worse. Fish in an aquarium are living in a closed system, completely un-natural. The effects of biological problems are intensified. The only sensible goal is one to reduce and prevent these as much as possible.

Byron.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2011, 10:44 PM   #14
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGDude View Post
I would stick with "do not clean the MEDIA ever"
Dude, you couldn't be more wrong. Eventually we need to 'backflush' and get the sludge or 'shmutz' outta there. The real trouble is that these filters are both mechanical and biological. As solids get trapped, they decay and break down into organics in solution that pass through the media. Some of these dissolved organic compounds (brown sludge or 'shmutz') get caught on and in the tiny pores of bio-ceramic materials, making them less effective in time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SGDude View Post
I would not follow any directions that actually
recommend bleaching or scrubbing the media.
I would also say do dont clean the FILTER until you have an actual
reason to clean it. Like more information, water test results, etc..
That brown sludge or 'shmutz' will plug the tiny pores of bio-ceramic materials making them far less effective. Rinsing helps to a point but eventually they either need to be replaced or rejuvenated by soaking in bleach, boiling and/or acidic bath to clean to start again. Of course this can only be done to a portion of the media at any given time so as not to dramatically change the biology in the system.
Would you not do an oil/filter change in a car until you had an actual reason to do it???

Quote:
Originally Posted by SGDude View Post
I am changing water every two weeks because of my water test results.
Why should I water change more? I am willing if it's really needed.
Your testing, which I presume is for nitrates is not even close to telling you the real purity of the water. As Byron pointed out there is urea, disolved organic compounds, pheromones and compounds even a spell checker won't help me with! Fresh water in nature is fresh because it is constantly renewed by rain. In the tropics (these are tropical fish) it often rains every day! The WWC is the rain storm that helps keep the water in good condition.
Actually, what would be better than the WWC would be to have an overflow and then constantly trickle fresh water into the tank. In any event, you should consider a WWC instead of once every 2 weeks.
AbbeysDad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2011, 11:50 PM   #15
 
Jeez, I just clean mine when it gets dirty....

Generally you use old tank water when doing a WC to rinse the pads in. Tap water is fine really if it is dechlorinated. I have well water so it makes no difference to me really, one way just conserves water compared to the other.

We have already gone over the ceramics thing in another thread and I still don't agree with that lol... Also urea is not something that should be present in any tank. Fish don't excrete urea.

There is no reason to replace media as byron mentioned unless they start falling apart. The polishing pad usually needs to be replaced long before anything else. The main thing is don't replace a bunch of media at once, that's when you cause problems.
Mikaila31 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2011, 05:58 AM   #16
 
1077's Avatar
 
I clean my canister filter each month. All kinds of bad things can happen inside a sealed canister if dirt,mulm,bacteria, begin to clog media and reduce oxygen levels.
Only takes approx fifteen minutes to back flush the filter ,and rinse the media in aquarium water.
I replace half the biological media every six months with new. I wash the old in mild water/bleach solution and then rinse it and let dry. So long as the media is completely dry,there is no danger of introducing chlorine to the tank.If it makes one feel better,you could soak the used biological media in dechlorinator after washing with bleach and let dry completely.(they use bleach to clean, disinfect produce we eat)
I also purchased spare media pads ,and replace these every couple months with freshly washed ones.
Have never left a filter to run longer than a month between cleanings and it has served me, and the fishes I keep well.
I have three gallon buckets full of various biological media that has been cleaned from,, ceramic ,lava rock,eheim substrat pro,and some biological media that came with Aquaclear filter's.
As mentioned above,, Just don't change,clean everything at one time but rather clean ,replace media in increment's.

Last edited by 1077; 04-26-2011 at 06:00 AM..
1077 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2011, 09:48 AM   #17
 
DKRST's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boredomb View Post
How do you clean the inside of the hose? ? ? ?
I remove the hoses from everything and then run hot tapwater through the intake and return hoses at my kitchen sink. If that fails, then I shoot water from a garden hose through them (using a nozzle to get higher pressure). If that doesn't get the biofilm out (it tends to build up over time in my filter lines) then I use really long soft-bristle test-tube brushes.

Another way of cleaning the hose interiors it is to take a small piece of cloth, tie a string longer than your filter line and using some long wire, feed the line through the hose. I use bailing wire or a long piece of solid core electrical wire, tape the string to one end, and then fed the cord through the hose. Anyway, then pull the cloth through. You just want to break up the biofilm. If you think ahead, tie a second line to the cloth and you can pull it back-and-forth. I then rinse it again.

I only do this if the hose is really cruddy and I can't get the gunk out any other way. I don't want to bleach my hoses, clouds the plastic and, if I mess up, could contaminate my tank.Anyway, techniques vary, but this works for me to clean my hose interiors, and it helps my water flow.
DKRST is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2011, 09:57 AM   #18
 
1077's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKRST View Post
I remove the hoses from everything and then run hot tapwater through the intake and return hoses at my kitchen sink. If that fails, then I shoot water from a garden hose through them (using a nozzle to get higher pressure). If that doesn't get the biofilm out (it tends to build up over time in my filter lines) then I use really long soft-bristle test-tube brushes.

Another way of cleaning the hose interiors it is to take a small piece of cloth, tie a string longer than your filter line and using some long wire, feed the line through the hose. I use bailing wire or a long piece of solid core electrical wire, tape the string to one end, and then fed the cord through the hose. Anyway, then pull the cloth through. You just want to break up the biofilm. If you think ahead, tie a second line to the cloth and you can pull it back-and-forth. I then rinse it again.

I only do this if the hose is really cruddy and I can't get the gunk out any other way. I don't want to bleach my hoses, clouds the plastic and, if I mess up, could contaminate my tank.Anyway, techniques vary, but this works for me to clean my hose interiors, and it helps my water flow.
+one, I use a bottle brush with a long piece of weed eater twine taped to the end with electrical tape.
Ifeed the line through the hose and pull the brush through.
1077 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2011, 10:15 AM   #19
 
DKRST's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGDude View Post
I would stick with "do not clean the MEDIA ever"
I had just read the link that was posted. I would not follow any directions that actually recommend bleaching or scrubbing the media.
Don't clean your media, if that's your choice.
I bleach tank items as necessary. A 10% bleach solution is what the CDC recommends for bacterial disinfection. I figure it if kills Ebola, it should kill any nasties in "sick" tanks. Bleach is not evil, you just have to rinse really, really, really, well and I dechlorinate anything that's been bleached. That's in addition to clean water soak(s) before returning said bleached item(s) to a tank.

I rinse my blue Eheim pads in tapwater, but there are enough bacteria-laden media in my filter, that I don't rinse each cleaning, to recolonize the filter pads quickly and my tanks are not overstocked. As far as sanitizing media with bleach before storing for future use, I see no issues with that. If you don't agree, that's fine too! To each his or her own. Go with what works for you.
DKRST is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2011, 10:22 AM   #20
 
Boredomb's Avatar
 
Okay thanks guys and gals y'all been a big help, going to try some of those methods on my intake hose it is nasty! LoL
Boredomb is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to clean canister filter. jimbo2412 Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 3 08-04-2009 10:10 AM
Safe way to clean filter? JohnnyD44 Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 6 03-10-2009 07:04 AM
How Often to Clean Canister Filter? ThalesthePearsei Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 4 02-01-2009 03:21 PM
How often do I clean my sponge filter? SST Freshwater Aquarium Equipment 1 12-28-2007 09:06 PM
Proper filter for a 40 gal short Sadie Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 1 04-22-2007 08:57 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:00 PM.