canister filter - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-31-2012, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
canister filter

i have cascade 500 canister filter. it has two baskets i recently added ceramic rings in bottom where carbon was. is that the right place?
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-31-2012, 04:21 PM
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Hi Lady K. If the old tank water enters your canister from the top and exits from the bottom then the floss/fiber final stage goes on the bottom next to the output, as it is screening out the bigger bits.
If it is the other way around or both go in and out the top then the fiber/floss goes on top. Yes take out the carbon, it is only used to remove meds and gets old and useless really fast.
FYI for others reading this, just in case. Never use tap water to clean you canister. Use a bucket of treated de-chlor or old tank water from your water change. Chlorine will kill the good bacteria on your bio media and you will cause a mini cycle. Those can stay in there repeatedly, just rinse and replace. I don't think I have ever changed mine. Having said that, don't scrub the thing clean either. That's your good bacteria too!
Watch for reduced water flow in your output to indicate if your floss/fiber has clogged. Gunk builds up in that layer. You can use quilt batting if it is cheaper from the fabric supply store. Just make sure you cut it to ensure all the output water flows thru it and not around it to clarify it. Love canister filters!!!
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-31-2012, 09:41 PM
Most canisters use a siphon to draw water to the bottom of the filter and pump back out from the top (otherwise they would air lock). Initially there should be sponge material in the bottom for mechanical filtratration, then chemical and bio-media.
I go against the grain here and endorse the use of activated carbon and other materials that purify water.
If you have a heavily planted tank and do large weekly water changes, you probably don't need carbon. For the rest of us, carbon is an asset in helping to purify water (which is why it's used in filters to purify drinking water!).
Yes, activated carbon only lasts about a month on average, but does adsorb a number of impurities from the water. If you choose not to use carbon, the bio-media is placed after the mechanical filtration and before the filter floss that 'polishes' the water.
Check out Wallymart for polyester fiber fill used for pillows. It's a great value!

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post #4 of 5 Old 07-31-2012, 09:45 PM
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I don't mean to be rude, but could you guys help me out please. Buying used filter?

55 gallon planted tank, starting over!!!( looking crappy, needs a major rescape)
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-01-2012, 08:37 AM
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I stopped using carbon years ago, but...

How often you have to change the carbon is largely a function of your water change schedule - the more water you change, the more often you will have to change the carbon in order to maintain "effectiveness". A month is a good guestimate, and very convenient, but you ought to adjust it based on your specific situation. We look at it as a matter of time because that's easy to gauge, but since there are a finite number of attachment sites, it's a matter of volume of water to be filtered that dictated the schedule. Every gallon of water added to the tank has X amount of stuff in it to be filtered

There is a lot of misinformation out there about activated carbon. Carbon works via the van der waals force, which means that no real chemical reaction takes place. Some things have a higher affinity for the carbon than others, which means that when the carbon is full, it will begin to leech things back into the water - that is not a myth. When it is full, something with a higher attraction to the carbon will bump out something with a lower attraction, and that is what gets released back into the water. Generally, the things with the highest affinity are the most dangerous. Activated carbon will NEVER spontaneously release all that it has adsorbed - it requires a temp of 700 degrees C in an oxygen free environment for it to be recharged.

I always clean my media in tap water and never have minicycles. The established bacteria colonies are much more resilient than most people give credit for. The tap water does not sterilize the media - a quick rinse of the biomedia is all that;s needed to "clean" it up, which leaves the bacteria in tact. I thoroughly wash the mechanical media - even then, what remaining bacteria is on the sponge will quickly repopulate it. I would not suggest this for a newer tank, but there is no fear with an established one.

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