Canister easier to maintain? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Canister easier to maintain?

I currently have two AquaClear 70 HOB filtering my 50 gallon heavily planted tank. I read previous posts and most say that HOB filters are easier to clean however I find myself having to clean mine every two weeks because of algae growth where the water flows out. I think that happens because my lights are just beaming on them all day long.

Point is, I am getting old and lazy and sick of scrubing these things. Luckily I also have more money then I used to and could afford to replace them. I have never had a canister filter and have no idea what goes into maintaining them. I understand that they harder to clean but do they have to be cleaned as often?

Also, maybe a stupid question, but I dont have to drill my tank or anything to use them right?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 10:15 PM
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i clean my filter about every 3 months. i never timed myself but its not that bad.

unplug filter, detach from tank. give the biomedia a quick rub and shake in old water. if you use a filter media bag, its even quicker to remove from canister. rinse gunk out of sponge/fine filter media (what ever you use) and re-assemble.

you don't have to drill your tank. you will have to start a syphon to get the canister going though. using a small pump to push water into the intake makes life easier when re-starting the filter.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 10:57 PM
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I hate canisters. Mine go 3-4 months between cleaning but cleaning them is a nightmare. If you hate cleaning hobs, ohhhh dear, you ain't seen nothing yet. My family sometimes like to help with maintanence but as soon as that safety towels come out for the carpet and the fish tank cabinet door is open everyone is gone. I have a color coded calender for aquarium maintenance and as soon i see the RED with the skull and crossbones on it I know its gonna be a LOOOOOOONNNG DAY.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 11:33 PM
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I use a cannister and hob on my 55 heavy planted. It's not that difficult to clean, takes maybe fifteen minutes if I run thru it fast. I use sponge, poly, ceramic, poly in my cannister. The poly gets thrown out each time, the sponge rinsed then replaced after the third cleaning. The ceramics just get rinsed in a bucket of primed water. That's pretty much it, done. New bag of poly costs like three dollars at Walmart and lasts for a year.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 12:23 AM
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Cleaning shouldn't take too long, it's not like you're scrubbing everything down. You don't want to ruin your bacteria colonies! I usually just give the sponges a nice scrub in old tank water and rinse the bio media in the tank water. Just to get any large particles out. Takes 15 mins tops. Only needs to be done once every few months.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 12:57 AM
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Depending on your bio load, you could clean a canister out 2x a year. It takes me less then 10 minutes to dump out water, rinse media, fill, and turn back on.

I feel HOB are more work myself. When I had one I used black window tint on top to keep the light out.

Multiple planted tanks 1.75g to 55g.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advise! I am definately switching to a canister filter. Now to Harry Muscle's thread to find out which are the easiest to maintain!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-14-2013, 11:53 PM
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Personally, I've found the Fluvals easier to maintain since they have media baskets and stuff. However, Eheims aren't too bad and they're known for reliability and better flow.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I was just looking at those two and the Filstar models. I think I am leaning toward the Filstar right now but I haven't looked closely at the Eheims yet.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-15-2013, 12:59 AM
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As everyone said, canisters are pretty simple to clean with one exception: cleaning the hoses. The hoses for my canister filter have a bunch of diatoms growing in it. I bought a hose brush to clean it. pretty simple and it works. The only pain in the rear is disconnecting the hoses from the tank. my tank is located in an area where I have limited reach towards the back of the tank making it hard for me to disconnect the hoses. However, if you have access to the back and sides of your aquarium, it is as easy as pie.

EDIT: I have a Sunsun canister. I like it; it works. my only complaint is that sometimes getting the baskets out of the canister can be a real pain. I have no experience with eheims, but I have heard good things about them.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-16-2013, 09:42 PM
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I think cleaning a HOB is quite a bit easier. However, I found myself cleaning them once every week or two, depending on the conditions of the aquarium, stocking, etc. Cleaning a canister takes about 2x them time and effort. However, I may clean it 3-4 months and it's not really in need of cleaning. At 6 months, usually just takes some time.

As Mizuhuman said, cleaning the tubing can be a pain but I don't do it more than once a year, maybe 2 years. I do clean about 1/2 the outflow and the entire inflow much more often but that is only because I take that section off to clean my lily pipes. It's easier to just clean them when I have them off.

Anyway, my point is it may take a bit longer and more effort to clean a canister but you do it way less often so ultimately, I find a canister easier.

One other thing to consider. With a HOB, even a large one, you really don't have much room for more than 3 types of media or so. If you want to double up on your bio, you loose a place to put purigen, for example. In a canister, not the case. Plus, you can put in an inline purigen reactor, inline heater, inline co2 setup so that is something to take into account. They are more quiet. I have to use about 2.5x more CO2 with a HOB as well. Minor evaporation can be an issue in a highly planted tank as well.

Not trying to knock HOB, I think they are great for the right type of tank. The main reason I use canisters on my low techs are they are usually in bedrooms which can be annoying to people, especially myself.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-16-2013, 10:13 PM
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I run both on separate tanks and I clearly prefer the canisters. Along with having to less frequently clean it (every 3 months), cleaning my hob seems to take longer. Canisters are more of a "set it and walk away" sorta thing... for me at least.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-18-2013, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Has anyone every had a problem with them leaking and draining the fish tank? I was surprised as I started looking at reviews to see a couple reviews saying the canister had leaked and flooded their house!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-18-2013, 05:40 PM
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It happens. If you don't seal it properly or something, it can leak. HOB filters can leak, too. I've had seals go bad and they'll spray water all over the place. I mean, even the silicone holding your tank together can leak! It's all about being cautious and keeping an eye on things.

75g | 22g Long
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-18-2013, 11:26 PM
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I typically run both canisters and hobs on the same tank. The canister is configured to maximize bio filtration, the hobs for mechanical filtration. This way I get the maximum time between canister cleans and the hobs are easier to clean. For the HOBs I use high flow ones with simple floss cartridges or simply stuffed full of filter floss, this is used to trap the maximum amount of debris to help keep it out of the canisters. For the canisters I prefer Eheims for their flow to media capacity ratio. Ehiems provide a large filter bed with a relatively low flow. This keeps the canisters from sucking in too much debris which would otherwise plug them.

So long as your canister filters have isolations on them maintenance really isn't that difficult. The only recommendation is not to try to perform cleaning of canisters in an area that you don't want wet/dirty. My recommendation/practice is either the bathtub or the lawn.

I've expereinced a leak on a canister before. Luckily it was running on a tank that was is an area that wasn't bothered by water. I've since made it a practice to place my canister in a plastic container in my tank stand, typically a sweater box or similar sized container. This usually gives me enough time to catch a leak (which usually aren't all that bad) before something disasterous occurs.
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