How Often to Clean Canister Filter?
I was wondering how often I should clean out my canister filter. I have an Otto Canister Filter on my 125 gallon tank. (I bought it because it have awesome reviews, and it really is a fantastic filter) I would say that it would be considered "heavily stocked" tank. I usually clean it every 2-3 months. I will throw out the old filter fibers and replace it, rinse out the sponge in the 2nd tray, and i leave the bio media in the bottom alone. I don't even know if I am even cleaning it properly. Any Suggestions?
Also, I have an Ehiem Canister that is not currently in use right now. I was thinking of setting it up on my 125 as an additional filter, is this a good idea or just a waste?
I might use both and alternate cleaning them.;-)
Adding a second filter would not be a bad idea especially if the tank is considered "heavily stocked". How often to clean it depends on how quickly it gets dirty. Some manufactures’ say you only have to clean it when the flow rate starts to decrease. I clean mine when the fine filter in the Eheim turns black which is every 3 months. Again with heavily stocked, you may have to clean more often. The only thing you need to change is make sure to rinse out the bio-media with tank water or de-chlorinated water. This will prevent the good bacteria from getting killed.
I would run the second filter, and I would never completely clean it out as you have been doing. I tend to only clean my filters when the flow rate starts to suffer. When this happens, you can alternate which media in the filter you clean. For example, give the sponge a good rinse in used aquarium water during one week's water change, rinse out the filter floss the following week. Having the second filter isn't going to hurt anything unless your fish are bugged by the added current. It will also serve as backup should one filter fail, and will allow you to transfer a filter to a hospital/quarantine tank should some of your fish get sick or should you buy more fish.
I clean my canisters whenever I notice the flow dropping off. When a tank is drained down for a partial water change, the flow rate from the spray header is obvious. If I don't like what I see, I don't dump out the bucket, I use it to clean the filter thoroughly instead. It varies from every 3 months on some tanks to as much as 6 months on others. The only thing I ever throw out is the final polishing filter pad. Everything else gets a quick rinse to open it up for good flow and it goes back into the filter. The impeller I clean thoroughly because it doesn't take much build up to interfere with the pumping action. The place where the impeller magnet goes gets the bottle brush treatment and the magnet gets a very good cleaning.
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