Zoo Med 501 Flow issues...
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:07 PM   #1
hockey9999
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Zoo Med 501 Flow issues...


I have been noticing that the flow on my approx 1 month old Zoo Med 501 wasn't looking so great, so I decided to clean it today and test to see what kinda GPH I was getting..

Right now the filter has only the included ceramic media and sponge, and about 6 extra pieces of Fluval Biomax that I threw in there to seed filter..

My testing method was as follows:

1) Thoroughly cleaned all parts of the filter (Impeller, hoses, sponge, intake tube, etc). I reassembled the filter ensuring that all parts were put together as specified by the directions.

2) Put intake and return hoses into a bucket containing exactly 4 gallons of water and allowed the unit to run until all air had been cleared from the filter. For the test, and under my normal operating conditions, the filter sits at the same level as the bucket, not above or below it.

3) Placed the return hose with only the rubber elbow into a 1 gallon pitcher and proceeded to time how long it took to fill the pitcher.

It took 128 seconds, or 2 minutes and 13 seconds to move 1 gallon of water, which equates to roughly 28 GPH.

What am I doing wrong? Could I have received a defective unit? Or is this normal performance, in which case this thing is utterly useless on anything more then a 4-5 gallon tank..

Thanks!
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:10 PM   #2
dmxsoulja3
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Not to thread jack, but how do you get all of the air out of it? Mine has been running for a few days and every few minutes I get that weird airbubble sound as it spurts out tons of bubbles and sends all my shrimp into a scurry lol
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:12 PM   #3
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I haven't had that problem.. Mine just seems to purge all of the air by itself within about 15 minutes. Try opening it up and making sure that small air hose inside isn't clogged. You could also try unplugging it and pouring in a little water through the priming hole. Tipping it on its side for a sec can help too.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:24 PM   #4
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You can remove the red flow meter thing in the outflow tube to increase flow. There's also another part that you can drill out on the intake to increase flow. There is a thread floating around here with pics somewhere. I'll see if I can find it for you.

With that said, I still wasn't very impressed with the flow after I performed both of those mods. It just seemed to make the filter get dirty faster.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:28 PM   #5
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If you could find that thread, I would appreciate it! I searched all over but couldn't find anything specific to modding the 501.

I am pretty sure the red flow limiter is only found in the Tom Mini Rapid, there is nothing red to be found on the Zoo Med..
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:43 PM   #6
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The ZooMed 501 is useless for a tank larger than a few gallons.

If ZooMed's makers are like Eheim, then the listed flow rate is probably for a empty canister (no media whatsoever).

I asked about this filter (as I prematurely bought one!) for my 20g tank and everyone, and I mean everyone, agreed that this thing isn't good for much more than 1-5 gallons (a few used a couple on 10 gallons). For my 20g, I was advised to get a Eheim 2215 or even a 2217.

Sorry, but I too thought I could get by with a $30 filter
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:05 PM   #7
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I really thought it would suffice on the Ebi being only 8 gallons. I am going to email Zoo Med and see what they say..

A reduction of over 60% of the advertised GPH using less then the manufacturers provided media is absolute BS!

I guess I will stick with it for a while and upgrade eventually.. I am not having water quality issues, it's crystal clear and my parameters are all ok, its just not giving me the flow that I like.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:23 PM   #8
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The advertised GPH is often a number made up under extremely favorable conditions - no media to start with. I don't think you will get very far complaining to the manufacturer.

Another point to consider, your test might not reflect what's going on in reality. Since you were filling a pitcher, depending on how low the outflow of the filter was positioned. Might be very close to "normal operating conditions", maybe not.

I had one of these filters for a 10gal tank and it was way too little flow. What you could perhaps do would be to get one of the small Hydor Elite Minis and add that for additional filter capacity and flow. Of course, getting a canister in the first place to keep equipment out of your tank... you might not like that idea.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:15 AM   #9
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I use one on a 10g. Pretty impressed with it as long as you keep up the maintenance on it.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:05 AM   #10
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I have read a lot of good things about them, both on here and other places, which is why I feel that there may be a problem with mine..
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Old 02-23-2011, 05:30 AM   #11
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The ZooMed could be ok for 8 gallons and possibly up to 10 (james and wasser's take on a 10g differ!). I'm going to use mine to supplement a Eheim 2215. The ZooMed does have decent flow though. The flow in your 8 gallon should be plenty noticeable. As long as its not dripping down, you may be just experiencing a case of overestimating the filter.

Mine is stock, no changes made to the media. If you did make any changes, like the biomax, then I would start there to see if they are causing the problems. Make sure that little white hose is also positioned properly when priming.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:02 PM   #12
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One thing to note as well on my use .... I only have the ceramic rings and the sponge in there.

I don't run the carbon pad that came with it. I do give it a good cleaning once a month. I find the algae builds up rather quick in the tubes. But...it's very easy to clean with a brush.

Remove the tube from the sponge and give some good squeezing as those sponges are dense.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:10 PM   #13
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Mine is essentially stock as well, with the exception of 6 pieces of Fluval Biomax.

I initially had about 50ml of Purigen on top of the ceramic media. Removing it only increased the flow by about .75 GPH... So I really doubt that 6 extra ceramic rings is causing my issue..
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Old 02-24-2011, 04:27 AM   #14
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It works perfect in my 5 Gallon. Perfect water flow. And No problems with the air bubble things. Just wait it out? Is your filter lower than your tank? I have problems if my filter and tank arent level with a 501
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