Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Filter maintenance help? (

fishmomma 11-16-2009 10:56 AM

Filter maintenance help?
I've never used a canister filter before and my filter didn't come with very good instructions. I have a PennPlax Cascade 700 and I am not sure how often I should be cleaning/changing it and what I should even clean/change when the time comes. I have a 37 gallon tank that is still in the beginning stages, it has only been running three weeks to the day.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Byron 11-16-2009 12:19 PM

The filter media (pad, rock material, etc) should be rinsed regularly to keep the water flow through it from being hampered by debris, which is the "brown" stuff in the pad as well as visible bits of this and that. The water has to be able to flow through the media; if it is clogged the water may find a bypass around the media (some filters make this easier than others) which rather defeats the purpose of the filter.

The frequency depends upon the type and number of fish, some are messier than others and require more frequent rinsing of the filter. Usually once a month works.

The white or blue pads should only be replaced when they literally fall apart and no longer serve their purpose. Otherwise, regular rinsing will suffice. If you have carbon, it wears out and needs replacing. You don't mention plants, but in a well-planted tank carbon and chemical filtration is not recommended so these items can be removed and plain rock media used in the baskets. Rinse when you rinse the pad(s).


fishmomma 11-16-2009 12:22 PM

Thank you for the advice! Rinsing these things will not harm my bacteria colonies?

Byron 11-16-2009 12:33 PM


Originally Posted by fishmomma (Post 275155)
Thank you for the advice! Rinsing these things will not harm my bacteria colonies?

Thank you, I missed the new tank part, my apology. The filter should be left alone until the tank is established (cycle completed), say 2-3 months. Although if it becomes necessary due to restricted flow, the pad can be rinsed in tank water.

In an established aquarium there will be no issues. Some advocate using tank water (drain some in a pail when you do the weekly partial water change and use it). At first probably good advice. I have never done this, because in an established well-planted tank there is more bacteria on the surfaces in the tank than in the filter and besides plants use the ammonia more than the bacteria anyway. But if you have no or few plants, use tank water.


Angel079 11-16-2009 01:03 PM

Just to be on the safe side adding to what's been said by Byron: I don't know your particular canister, but on my Eheim's I did this about 1's / year and I never WASHED them fully out just sorta rnsed them a little to get the 'big chunks' dirt out and some of the finer little 'brown' stuff remained (which is good bacteria). You know what I mean, not to get them sterile clean. And use NO cleaners on them please.

Another favorite of mine (cause I'm admittingly a fish tank addict) instead of rinsing them out carefully I'd use the pads for new tanks, rinse them in there (which will look ugly for the moment) that then helps the Canister to not become clogged up AND my new tanks set up were pretty much cycled instantly with the bacteria added from the existing filter pads :-)

fishmomma 11-16-2009 03:26 PM

Thank you both! To Byron - I do have some plants in my tank and plan to only use natural decorations in the tank and nothing artificial (except the gravel which is white). I have a family of baby plants right now which seem to be perking up more and more as my ammonia levels go down so I definitely see what you are saying about the plants helping out.

To Angel079 - I would never use a cleaner on them, I have always just rinsed the filter pads of my pond and my old tank had replaceable pads in the filter (Emperor something or other). Thank you also for the WONDERFUL idea of rinsing them in a new tank. My 90 gallon which belongs to my mom was recently devastated (I tried to save it but was too late) and everyone died. Mom took it down so there could be some renovation in the room, but I plan to set it back up and that is a perfect idea to jump start the cycle. I've heard of doing that in other places as well but forgot about it. Thanks!

Angel079 11-16-2009 03:37 PM

Can you take a picture of the tank (I just wanna see it lol)?
The more plants the better I always say, everybody heard about 'overstocked' tanks before, but has anyone ever heard of a 'overplanted' tank...I hadn't :-)

Hope I didn't offent you with the cleaner-usage comment, I just wanted to make sure, cause I have people watch to really do the worst things to tanks over the years. But absolutely if you wanna set up a 90g, smush that stuff out in there, that will do you WONDERS and establish that 90g fast. Except for my very 1st tank I done this to all my tanks and it worked wonders (not only to cycle it pretty much instandly but I also want to say it influenced new plants establishment/ growth quicker then any chemical/ bottled stuff).

WisFish 11-16-2009 04:02 PM

The Ehiem filters state that they only need to be cleaned when the flow is noticably decreased. Most people I've talked to clean the canister once every 3 months as I now do. I agree with the previous posts on how to rinse the bio-media. I do however replace the fine pad whenever I clean the filter because it's usually too dirty to mess with. But the course pad I rinse in cold tap water. I found that if I rinsed it in hot water the pad shrunk and water could bypass the filter. Why did I use hot water? Because snails had made there way into the filter and I thought hot water would kill them.

Angel079 11-16-2009 04:05 PM

I see your point, but also all good bacteria will be killed using hot water on the filter media. I may or may not have posted it before, but I only done my Eheim's 1x/year.

WisFish 11-16-2009 05:09 PM


Originally Posted by Angel079 (Post 275285)
but also all good bacteria will be killed using hot water on the filter media.

I only used hot water on the course pad, not the bio-media. For that I use used tank water.

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