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-   -   What is the proper way to clean a filter? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/what-proper-way-clean-filter-68726/)

Boredomb 04-23-2011 05:09 PM

What is the proper way to clean a filter?
 
I have a eheim 2213 and I was wondering how to clean it aslo how often? I was thinking (please someone correct me if I am wrong. ) When you do a water change you use the siphoned water to rinse of the filter media and the pads <--- atleast this is what I have stuck in my head on how to do it but how often do you do it also how long do you run the same pads?

DKRST 04-23-2011 10:21 PM

Here is a great site:
Eheim Classic Canister Cleaning Instructions

It's a great summary, step-by-step!

SGDude 04-24-2011 11:51 AM

That's a bunch of BS.

Do not clean the filter media ever.

Every 3-4 months you rinse the blue pad only with tank water ( not tap water ).

Again, The only thing you need to do is...........

Every 3-4 months you rinse the blue pad only with tank water ( not tap water ).

Even this only needs to be done if you see the flow is lower than it should be.


Also, DO NOT RINSE THE WHITE PAD.....
I just rinsed out the white pad because it was brown and started a mini cycle.
If you run it for 6months to a year and see the bio balls are brown and grimy,
do not rinse them, then you may be able to clean or replace the white pad.

Boredomb 04-24-2011 12:52 PM

Okay thanks that's kinda what I was thinking

SGDude 04-24-2011 05:50 PM

You wil love it.

I have three of them.
37gal 2213
46gal 2215
72gal 2217

They have been running for a few months
now and water changes have gone from
weekly to every 2 weeks.

Byron 04-24-2011 07:39 PM

There is some conflicting and mis-information in this thread.

First, on the Eheim recommendation that half the media be replaced every 3 months. I don't do this, simply because I have well planted tanks and it is not necessary. If the filter is running in a non-live plant tank, I would suggest this is probably a good idea.

The comment "do not clean the filter media ever" is not correct if by this you mean never rinse it out. All media must be rinsed out regularly, and the time between rinsings depends on the tank, i.e., how much crud is being removed from the water, as this clogs the filter.

Water changes should be weekly. The filtration has nothing to do with water changes. A change of water is a stand-alone maintenance.

Eheim filters function as mechanical filtration, biological filtration and sometimes (depending upon the media added) chemical filtration. I won't say more on the latter as it is the other two that are significant with respect to the "cleaning" aspect in all aquaria, planted or not. And chemical filtration should not be employed continuously in planted aquaria but only as the exception to remove medications or chemicals after disease treatment.

Mechanical filtration requires a steady and clear path of water through the filter. As sediment is removed from the water, it is trapped by the various media, first by the ceramic disks, then the pad, then some by the biological rock material (Eheim calls this EhfiSubstrat, Fluval has BioMax, etc), then the final white pad. All of this media needs regular rinsing to remove the suspended material or the mechanical filtration will clog and slow the filter flow, and sometimes water will find less-resistant paths around it which defeats the whole purpose of the filter.

If the filter is also serving as biological filtration, it is critical to rinse the media regularly. In planted tanks, this is less important because the plants do the main job of filtration and are actually hindered somewhat by excessive biological filtration. In non-planted tanks biological filtration is crucial to a healthy aquarium, so I will comment a bit on this aspect.

First some terms. Nitrifying bacteria are autotrophic, meaning they make their own food. They do this by chemosytnesis, using oxygen and either ammonia or nitrite. Ammonia and nitrite are nitrogenous wastes, which is why we call these bacteria nitrifiers.

There is another group of bacteria we call heterotrophic, because they derive their energy from breaking down organic compounds. These bacteria need to be controlled, because they limit--and can even easily eliminate--the autotrophic (nitrifying) bacteria. And this can easily occur in the filter. Some of the heterotrophic bacteria are de-nitrifying bacteria, so named because they use nitrate and produce nitrogen gas, and these are actually very useful. But the "bad guys" are the ones we are talking about in connection with the filter.

As the water passes through the media, nitrifying bacteria (nitrosomonas and Nitrospira and probably others) colonize the media. As they do, they "pile up" so to speak, and it is possible for those underneath to die from lack of oxygen which can only come from the water continually passing through. [This is one reason for replacing half the media periodically.] As the nitrifying bacteria die, they are replaced by the "bad" guys, the heterotrophic bacteria. And these heterotrophic bacteria can live in high oxygen environments and in low-oxygen environments--so as the water flow reduces through the filter and the oxygen diminishes, not only does this cause the autotrophic nitrifying bacteria trouble, it enables the heterotrophic "bad guys" to increase further still. While we're on the topic of oxygen, the useful de-nitrifying heterotrophic bacteria can live in no-oxygen areas because they are facultative anaerobes, meaning they can function with or without oxygen.

But worse still, the accumulation of sludge--all that brown gunk you see in the media when you clean it--is readily used by more heterotrophic bacteria. Heterotrophic bacteria are principally limited only by the available organic carbon. And this they readily get from all that sludge, so the more there is, the more they reproduce. And, heterotrophic bacteria can multiply much faster than autotrophic, further reducing them.

This situation if left unchecked can significantly reduce the nitrification or biological filtration. Ammonia and nitrite can then quickly spike, something they would not do under optimum conditions in a properly-functioning filter. As I mentioned earlier, having lots of live plants can offset this to some degree, depending upon the fish load, but without live plants this dirty filter situation is very liable to cause serious trouble and quickly.

Byron.

DKRST 04-24-2011 08:56 PM

Thanks Byron, you're on top of things as always! :-)
I don't replace the media either, but do use a 3-month maintenance cycle and clean the hoses as-needed. Works for me.

SGDude 04-24-2011 10:52 PM

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.

Boredomb 04-24-2011 11:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DKRST (Post 657631)
I don't replace the media either, but do use a 3-month maintenance cycle and clean the hoses as-needed. Works for me.

How do you clean the inside of the hose? ? ? ?

Boredomb 04-25-2011 01:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 657580)
This situation if left unchecked can significantly reduce the nitrification or biological filtration. Ammonia and nitrite can then quickly spike, something they would not do under optimum conditions in a properly-functioning filter. As I mentioned earlier, having lots of live plants can offset this to some degree, depending upon the fish load, but without live plants this dirty filter situation is very liable to cause serious trouble and quickly.Byron.

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 :shock: 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 :shock:

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?


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