Noise/Rattle Fix! - AquaClear & Fluval C Series HOB Filters - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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Noise/Rattle Fix! - AquaClear & Fluval C Series HOB Filters

Noise/Rattle Fix! - AquaClear & Fluval C Series HOB Filters

I recently purchased an AquaClear 30 and the new Fluval C2 filters. The Fluval C Series filters are revised/updated AquaClears.

Both filters made an annoying vibration/rattling noise. Of course having the lids on amplified the racket. However, even with the lids off I could still hear the noise from several feet away.

My filters now run DEAD SILENT!

Ok, I'm exaggerating. I can now hear a much more pleasing hum and trickle of the filter working away if I put my ear within a foot of the devices. Any distance further and I can't even tell that they're on.

The fix was absolutely simple!

I removed the motor from the unit. Pulled the impeller out and lubed ONLY the impeller shaft with a small amount of Vaseline.

No more rattle. Complete silence.
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 02:11 PM
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I might have to try this. I've owned two AquaClear 20's and both were so loud, I had to run them with the lids off. Great filters, otherwise, but you'd think they'd figure out a way to dampen the vibrations and noise.
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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 02:12 PM
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I run mine without the lids.

I'll be curious to see how long your lube job works. (And isn't there a reason you're supposed to use silicone lube rather than vaseline in aquariums...?)

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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 02:34 PM
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I have a rattly Aquaclear 70. I usually just leave a fert bottle on top of the lid to silence it.

Thoroughly cleaning the impeller and housing silences it for a bit, but I've never tried lubricating it. May have to try it sometimes, thanks!
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it's been about 12 hours since I lubed the impeller shaft and the filters are still dead silent. I'll keep everyone updated on how long it lasts for. However, even if I need to reapply the lube once a month it will be totally worth it.

Less friction equals less heat and longer lasting parts. Less friction is more efficient, especially now that the impeller isn't rattling around. The impeller is the ONLY moving part and moving parts need lube to reduce friction and extend their useful life.

It seems like the filters move more water now and the flow control has more of a range.

I searched the internet and found that regular Vaseline (100% Petroleum Jelly) was recommended as safe for fish tanks. I only used a small amount. I coated the entire shaft with a thin layer and pushed it through the impeller and magnet assembly several times to coat the inside.

The performance and noise difference is very dramatic.

I'm really surprised that they don't lube these at the factory and/or at the very least include a small tube of lube and instructions in the box. Search the internet for noise problems with AquaClear's and many people end up returning them until they get one that's acceptable. The trouble is when the impeller shaft is not lubed they will sometimes make less or more noise especially when the impeller is caveating (bouncing around inside the motor housing). I sometimes would have to turn the filter on and off several times to get the impeller to sit correctly and make less noise.

However, less noise and practically no noise are significantly different. When I put my ear up to the filters now I can hear the sound of the water swishing and trickling through the filter more than I can the hum of the motor. No more clicking. No more vibration to rattle the lids. Complete silence!
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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
(And isn't there a reason you're supposed to use silicone lube rather than vaseline in aquariums...?)
It holds up better in water. If you ever get any on your hands you need soap to cut through the "greasiness".
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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This is what mine sounded like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYdCyqd-Yuw

Sometimes worse and sometimes a little better. I used to turn the filter on and off several times until the impeller seated better but it was still never quiet.

After lubing the impeller shaft with Vaseline it's now practically silent. I can not hear it running from a few feet away.
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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Uppercut View Post
It holds up better in water. If you ever get any on your hands you need soap to cut through the "greasiness".
But is silicone safe for aquarium fish and plants? Is there a brand/type that everyone uses?

In my research I noticed petroleum jelly was recommended in many aquarium manufactures manuals. I wan't so sure if silicone lube was safe. You can put petroleum on your skin and probably eat it with no harmful effects besides a case of the runs. However, I've worked with silicone lubes for other applications and had them irritate my skin if I didn't was it off right away.

If someone could point me to some posts and/or research I'd like to know. Silicone would most likely stick in place better and last longer. The petroleum jelly will likely wash/wear off faster. But if it's safer, I won't mind reapplying it every month or so.

I am just amazed at how smooth and quiet these filters run now.
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 03:50 PM
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I did this before but the vasoline ended up collecting dirt and trapping it in the impeller area. For me it didn't reduce the noise either. I'm glad it worked for you though.

My problem is mainly the plastic cover that vibrates and makes noise. I placed a rubber band to create a gasket between the lid and the housing. That works good and could be used in conjunction with your vasoline method!

Ill take a pic tonight, if there is confusion.
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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BaltimoreGuy View Post
I did this before but the vasoline ended up collecting dirt and trapping it in the impeller area. For me it didn't reduce the noise either. I'm glad it worked for you though.

My problem is mainly the plastic cover that vibrates and makes noise. I placed a rubber band to create a gasket between the lid and the housing. That works good and could be used in conjunction with your vasoline method!

Ill take a pic tonight, if there is confusion.

The rattling cover is caused by vibration caused by the impeller.

If you take the magnetic impeller assembly out and run the motor it will be smooth. An out of balance, jammed, poorly manufactured or designed impeller is the cause.

In my case, on two filters, lubing the shaft caused the impeller to work properly and efficiently.

Noise and heat are wasted energy. A rattling/vibrating impeller will also wear out sooner and possibly break.

Throw some lube on that bad boy. No noise. No vibration. Just a smooth running filter (with it's lid on).

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post #11 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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I also run a sponge pre-filter on the intakes to reduce debris from jamming/damaging the impeller. It should help keep the impeller area cleaner.
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post #12 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 06:36 PM
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People suggest using silicone lube instead of Vaseline to grease o-rings as petroleum jelly can break down certain types of rubber (like the latex used in condoms). Other than that, I believe its bio-safe. Just messy to work with

-Charlie
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post #13 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 06:43 PM
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Also, I wanted to ask this:

Can you post a mini review of the C-series? What differentiates it from the Aquaclears? How do they compare size-wise?

Thanks!

-Charlie
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post #14 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhazard View Post
People suggest using silicone lube instead of Vaseline to grease o-rings as petroleum jelly can break down certain types of rubber (like the latex used in condoms). Other than that, I believe its bio-safe. Just messy to work with

-Charlie
Is there a popular or recommended brand of silicone lube?
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post #15 of 54 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Fluval C-Series HOB Filters (The new AquaClears)

Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhazard View Post
Also, I wanted to ask this:

Can you post a mini review of the C-series? What differentiates it from the Aquaclears? How do they compare size-wise?

Thanks!

-Charlie
Fluval C-Series HOB Filters (The new AquaClears)

I've had the pleasure of using both of the new C2 and C3 made by Fluval. Hagen (the makers of AquaClear filters) and Fluval are part of the same company. I'm guessing Fluval branded items are geared toward the high end of the market.

I'm currently running the Fluval C2 on a 10 gallon. It's recommended for 10 to 30 gallons, and I keep it on the low flow setting most of the time as full output tends to be too strong for the fish is a 10 gallon.

The new Fluval C-Series filters seem to be a long overdue update to the AquaClear line. The build quality feel improved as well as the functionality.

The C-Series are about the same width as comparable model AquaClears but they have a slimmer depth and deeper height. This allows you to slide your tank back closer to the wall if needed.

The water now flows from back to front through the media chambers rather than from bottom to top. Some of the water is diverted to a trickle chamber to oxygenate the water over the top of the Biomax, enhancing the conversion of ammonia and nitrite.

The water first passes through foam and then poly filter to trap particles. It then flows through a basket that can hold chemical filtration media (or in my case, extra Biomax since I don't run carbon). You could stuff the basket with more poly filter if desired too. The third basket is dedicated to holding biological ceramics, some of the water passes through the bottom of this chamber while the rest is diverted to a nozzle that trickles water over the top. There's an addition filter pad to clean the water before it trickles on the media. By the way, instead of Biomax Fluval calls it's biological media C-Nodes. They're a different shape but appear to be the same material as Biomax. Not sure if the different shape is more efficient or just marketing.

Basically, instead of stacking your media as with AquaClears you place each in a dedicated chamber that can be removed independently for quicker media change-outs. The sponge/poly filter clips into a holding cage and anyone could cut their own floss instead of buying from Fluval. Same goes for the chemical chamber. It's a basket that you can place or stuff anything you want into.

The water output has more of a curve to it, I'm thinking to prevent the sound of trickling water if your level get's a little low. The output still creates surface water movement, just less splashing than the old AquaClears.

The AquaClears are great, but these are more refined and continue to retain the same great performance and customization of media we enjoy.

Because they're new they may still cost a little more over the older AquaClears. I recommended checking out eBay for some good buy's, if your interested in trying it. Just lube the darn impeller before turning it on!


Also:
There's also a handy tab that pop's up to tell you when your floss is too dirty. The red tab rises with the water level inside the filter caused by the restricted pad. Theres also an overflow back into the tank if the level get's too high, just like on the AquaClears.


Some camera phone pics:





Last edited by donnoj; 02-17-2011 at 11:42 PM. Reason: addition
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aquaclear, fluval c, impeller, noise, rattle

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