Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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JohnnyD44 03-09-2009 11:55 AM

Safe way to clean filter?
Hey All,

I've noticed lately that my Bio-Wheel has been slowing down and barely spinning...usually when this happens it's because the filter pad is over loaded with gunk and food. I've been cutting back on the feeding a little bit and there's not that much gunk on hte filter pad itself. I'm thinking that there is some kind of mess inside of the filter intake or near the's been quite sometime that i've cleaned the guts of my filter.

I plan on cleaning the filter tonight. I didn't know if there were some definite do's and don'ts....

Tell me how this sounds: I plan on unplugging the filter and disassembling it, without harming the bio-wheel itself, I'll put it in a plastic bag full of water until I'm done to keep it wet. Then just swish the other removeable parts around in some hot water???

Any advice is welcome, this is the 2nd time I've done this....the first time I did it, i was a n00b and I used soap and killed all my fish!!!! :shock: Luckily, that was three years ago and i've learned since then! haha

Fishin Pole 03-09-2009 12:02 PM

use some tank water to clean it and dont use any kind of cleaning products on it............Ususally i wait till i do a water change and use some of the old water to clean it up.............Scrub with an aquarium only brush and rinse well..........You can use a bottle brush for your intake pipe, as long as you knew what the brush was used for before and it wasnt in some type of toxic cleaners.........Good Luck

1077 03-09-2009 12:19 PM

I have several Emperor filters with the bio wheels. I usually unplug the filter, remove the filter pads and place them in a bucket of aquarium water. I then pull out the impeller assembly (requires removing the sray bars on the Emperor models) and take it to the sink and clean it and the spray bars along with the uptake tubes in a mixture of vinegar and hot water. I then take the filter pads that I took out and placed in bucket, and swish them around in the bucket and stick em back in the filter. Then I swish the impeller assembly and spray bars along with uptake tube in this same water and put it all back together and hang it back on the tank and begin filling the filter with aquarium water. I never do this and change pads at same time. Maybe the following week i will replace the pads but only if they are falling apart.

JohnnyD44 03-09-2009 12:42 PM

yeah I am not due to change my pads until a week from tonight. I figured thats about how i would do.....what kind of ratio would you use for vinegar and water?

1077 03-10-2009 01:59 AM

It occured to me that I forgot to mention that when removing the filter for cleaning, that bio wheels should be left in the aquarium to float . You probably already are aware,that these should never be cleaned for that is where most of the beneficial bacteria is held.
As for water and vinegar, I have not measured the ratio but I am guessing around one cup of vinegar to three gal of water.;-)

JohnnyD44 03-10-2009 06:37 AM

I use a cup to every 5 gallons last night and man what a difference!!!!!! and yes, I left the bio wheel to sit in a bucket of tank water. Runs great, added a few new fake plants and a new light!! Looks like a new tank!!! thanks for your help guys!

1077 03-10-2009 07:04 AM


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