How do you clean HOB filter? (ammonia spike)
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:57 PM   #1
EvilFish
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How do you clean HOB filter? (ammonia spike)


Hi,

Normally I clean everything exept biomedia once week (my filter is Fluval C3). And today I notice ammonia spike (something like 0.25, it's not deadly to my fishes/shrimps?).

So, how do I need to clean this filter correctly? I never clean biomedia, I think all the bacteria living there...

But after cleaning filter floss and foam pad well with the tank water I got ammonia spike, so, not all the bacteria live in the biomedia?

I already added additional biomedia under filter floss (or carbon).

I guess now I need to clean only one part at the time? Like foam pad one day and filter floss 3 days later?

Please share you experience.

ps. I already added the Seachem Prime to detox ammonia and will change 20% water.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:20 PM   #2
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How large is the tank? In my experience it isn't a good idea to only have one filtration device, I pair up a canister with an HoB on each tank. I only use sponges in my HoB's so to clean them I just wring them out underwater in a bucket of tank water during a water change.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:14 PM   #3
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29g.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:19 PM   #4
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Have you noticed a missing fish? Did you over feed a little maybe? .25 isn't a 'spike' per se and is usually something a good water change will take care of.

Usually, IME, if you're not cleaning the filter properly you'll see a nitrate spike, not an ammonia spike.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:06 PM   #5
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With a 29g I would add an Eheim 2213 without the spraybar to supplement the HoB to create a rock solid biosystem.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:16 PM   #6
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No, no fish missing.
I cannot add a canister filter, no place. Maybe another HOB with the UV light?
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:53 PM   #7
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When I clean the filter I just slosh everything around in a bucket of water drained from the tank. Larger filter or exceptionally dirty might need 2 buckets of water. The first bucket will be almost black. Gentle squeezing of sponges, floss. Slosh around the bio media.

Roughly half the bacteria live in the filter, but on all the media. Sponges, floss, on the surfaces of chemical media (for example, I have coral sand in some hard water tanks). The bio media is (in theory) designed for optimum water flow: Gentle so as not to harm the bio film, but continuous to constantly bring the bacteria the oxygen and ammonia they need. Thus, the coarse shapes with fine pitting. I do not know, within the filter, how much bacteria live in the bio media compared to on the surfaces of sponges and other surfaces. In part this will depend on how much of these you have. I do not have a lot of bio media, but I have a lot of mechanical media.

The other half of the bacteria live on all the surfaces of the tank. They do not like the light, but they need really good water movement, so you will find them on the top layer of substrate, on the leaves and stems, on the driftwood and rocks and ceramic merpeople.
To house a really large population of bacteria an object needs a lot of surface area, so fine gravel or sand will have a lot more bacteria than one large rock. A rock with a lot of holes (lava, Texas Holey Rock) will have a lot more bacteria than a smooth river rock.

Could the ammonia have come from the breakdown of chloramine? I know my water will test 1 ppm ammonia from chloramine right after a water change, but I know it is locked up by the dechlor. Not a problem.
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:16 PM   #8
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If the fish are not showing any strange action like flashing, hitting the bottom, I might think it a bad test. Just cleaning the filter should not run you into trouble on a well established tank/filter. As good practice and when my tank is close to running on max load, I do rotate cleaning items in Hob but I've never really seen it as truly needed. Just feels better when I feel pressure.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:56 PM   #9
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My draft gourami swim up/down and corydoras not active. 1 harl. raspbora of 7 losing color.
But they all after Levamisole medication.

It's not a bad test, I tested 3-4 times and even tested tap water (0 ammonia).

20% water change doesn't change anything. But I'll add Prime each 24h.

Do I need to expect nitrite spike?
Do I need to turn light off or on? My plants in low light setup can use the ammonia?

Thanks

Dead callamanus worm (very small and not that much) can cause ammonia up?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-15-2014 at 05:33 AM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:02 PM   #10
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I would do a 50 percent or so water change. During that I would make sure to clean whatever substrate you can thats not planted. For cleaning the filter I would rinse the biomedia really well with the water you drained. Try looking for other sources of the spike.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilFish View Post
My draft gourami swim up/down and corydoras not active. 1 harl. raspbora of 7 losing color.
But they all after Levamisole medication.

It's not a bad test, I tested 3-4 times and even tested tap water (0 ammonia).

20% water change doesn't change anything. But I'll add Prime each 24h.

Do I need to expect nitrite spike?
Do I need to turn light off or on? My plants in low light setup can use the ammonia?

Thanks
Sorry. I may have worded that wrong. I did not mean that you tested wrong but that there are sometimes things that show ammonia when it is not truly a problem. Prime will break the bond when chloramine is in the water and testing may show the ammonia still there even though it is bound up by the Prime to make it safe for the fish.
I would not do much other than perhaps do a large 50% water change and watch for changes. A 20% water change should reduce the ammonia reading. A 50% should cut the reading in half, but that is only true if it is a true test and not a fluke in the readings. A large water change is almost always good when pollution is seen. But if you change half the water and still read the same ammonia, suspect something wrong there. The test sets we use are not truly top grade testing and they do mislead us at times.

Your mention of medication adds some worry. Do you have info on what the medicine may do to the good bacteria? Some kills the good with the bad and we can get into a serious situation from meds.

One big reason I am slow to recommend using meds.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...us-237796.html

Last edited by PlantedRich; 02-14-2014 at 11:23 PM.. Reason: addition
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:59 AM   #12
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Thanks, Levamisole must be safe for bacteria.
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:09 AM   #13
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when I clean my filter I clean everything, in my opinion the biomedia in most filters don't get cleaned enough. just take it in a pail of tank water and give it a good sloshing around
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:27 AM   #14
EvilFish
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Another 20% WC, not changes at all Same results.
I need to add Prime every 24h?

Somebody used Seachem Ammonia Alert? I guess I need to buy one...
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