How to use a HOB filter? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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How to use a HOB filter?

Ive recently cut the lid off of my 65 litre tank and fitted a HOB to save on time cleaning and to make the tank look a bit nicer internally. The problem is, that while HOB filters are popular in Europe and the USA, here in the UK I had next to no options, so went with the best I could find on Amazon UK. As a result I have no-one to ask for advice on the thing. Its up and running at the moment with sponges and the carbon pads that it came with, and I've added some ceramic rings because I read that it was a good idea.

I've added a pic below of what I'm working with. The centre was just a big empty space so it seemed to be the spot to add them, and the sponges/pads are where they are by default.

Am I doing it right, or is there something I should add, remove, or change? I do at some point in the near future plan on removing the carbon pads and cutting the floss off to remove the carbon and then just using the frames to keep the sponges in place, is this a good or bad idea?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 03:24 PM
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When running HOB, I normally do change the media. The price of ready made filter cartridges is just not for me. For general thinking, I go for course mechanical first like a course sponge. This will also collect some bacteria which is good but the second item I use is some type of material that has lots of tiny spaces where bacteria hang on and live. Sponge can work for this as well. And last to get the fine stuff out, I use what is sold here as blue /white bonded pads which are made to be cut to fit. They are a combo of blue and much finer white filter floss type material. It has the advantage of a "stiffener" added to keep it from folding into a wad to stop flow. With this, I can pull and rinse out one sponge at a time to clean it while leaving one sponge to keep the cycle bacteria good. The pad gets rinsed and changed when needed as I consider it may mechanical portion. No carbon needed. Too much trouble and mess. Something like this available?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 01:09 AM
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It looks like my SunSun filter. I have the same filter or maybe earlier version - don't think mine came with the skimmer/aerator wheel thingy. If it did I'm not using it. I'll have to get my box out & see if it came with it.

I took one of the sponges out and put Matrix in a bag in that spot instead. Worked good the way it was but thought the Matrix might be better bio media. ??? The impeller does have that cover over it so where you have it might work alright -- just make sure no small pieces can get down into the impeller. I might actually try it your way & put the sponge back in. LOL Being in a bag might make it easier to clean the tube & impeller also.

I've used the same 2 filter cartridges that came with it for probably almost a year. Mine the front & back is made the same so I turn them around every time I clean them. They last a long time if just rinsed in used tank water. I figure they build a lot of good bacteria so I don't really change the cartridges on any of my HOBs -- I just keep rinsing them until they start to fall apart. They're getting to that point now. I'm going to try to re-use cartridge but attach the blue bonded stuff rather than buying new cartridges. I alternate cleaning one side one time then the other side next time. That way I don't lose all my good bacteria at once.

It's quiet for a HOB & been a really good filter. It's got a strong outflow so glad to be able to adjust it.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 01:22 AM
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Seems like you have the right idea. I too don't use cartridges for the cost and because they are expensive, and the activated carbon leaches valuable nutrients from the water column that your plants could use. Load up all of those empty spaces with ceramic or other media. The only thing that I would say is that whatever your main mechanical filtration is, you ought to rinse it out using tank water during WC so as to minimize the disruption to you BB.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-20-2014, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies guys. sowNreap this ones by "all pond solutions" but they are one of those companies that re-badge surplus stock so it may well be the same filter, the skimmer came as an extra piece in the box, it is amazingly quiet all I can hear is the water running. I know HOB's have a reputation for being noisy while they are getting established but this only rattled for the first day or so.

I did try putting the ceramics in a bag but no matter how I jiggled it about it wouldn't go back in so I just chucked it straight in. I'm accustomed to cleaning out a powerhead filter (the only real option here) so taking it out each time will still be less effort, and given how big they are, unless a bit gets chipped off there's no risk of them getting through the gap to the impeller.

I will look at getting some bonded pads to use in place of the cartridges because I don't like using carbon when its not needed. I have managed to find a place selling it in sheets large enough to keep me going for a few years for pennies so will grab some later in the week.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 12:02 AM
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Matrix in the bag didn't work for me but I had the bag packed pretty full so couldn't move it around. That area just begs for something in it though. LOL I have some large ceramics noodles in my canister filter that I might swap out & put loose in that center spot like you did. Wish I'd thought of that .. glad you posted it .. great idea.

I haven't tried re-using the cartridge with blue bonded stuff yet. The stuff I have is kind of flimsy - should have gotten something stiffer but will try to make it work. It's a pretty tight fit so wonder if I can just use my glue gun to tack it onto the cartridge (after removing the pad that's on it now). It would make removing it easier than super glue when time to change it again. I haven't had much luck using rubber bands on other HOBs where I've tried re-using the cartridges - they were shaped differently though. I'll figure something out.
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