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Old 08-26-2014, 08:40 AM   #1
Gema
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Filter troubleshooting


I have a 5 gal that has a built in filter. It has always worked fine but it's stopped working properly the other day out of nowhere, the water just dribbles out. It happened during a water change, when the water level dropped it couldn't suck up water, but then when I filled it up it worked like normal then half and hour later it was dribbling. I've checked the filter box and nothing is blocking it, I switched it off at the wall and turned it back on, it went like normal but then next time I came back to check the water was barely flowing again. I tried switching it off and back on again but it hasn't worked again.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:27 AM   #2
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Sounds like it burnt up when you allowed the level to get so low it could no longer suck in water. The flow of water in a filter cools it, excessive heat will cause them to fail.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:14 AM   #3
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Eek I hope that's not the case. It wasn't sucking air for long, just during water change. Then it worked then didn't, then worked again and then stopped again.
Its still pumping water through just small amount so it's dribbling out.
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:27 AM   #4
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For the benefit of the people on here who might purchase that tank without knowing about this, can you mention the brand and model number of that tank ?
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Old 08-26-2014, 01:55 PM   #5
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Have you checked the directions on cleaning the impeller?
Not knowing what type, I don't know how it is set up but most will still have water around the impeller even though the water is too low to pump. This water should keep the motor and impeller cool enough not to melt things.
You have very few items on a filter to check, so a bit of looking should show you the problem but lack of cleaning the grung around the impeller sounds likely. Since it does pump, the power supply has to be good so running slow or stopped up water flow is about all that is left to check.
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Old 08-26-2014, 01:57 PM   #6
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I'd agree with Rich here. Dirty impeller or tubes. Maybe a broken impeller.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:24 PM   #7
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Yes, sometimes I have to stick my tweezers in the spinny thing and manually rotate it a bit before it gets going again. I always turn off the filter when doing water changes.
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quifish View Post
Yes, sometimes I have to stick my tweezers in the spinny thing and manually rotate it a bit before it gets going again. I always turn off the filter when doing water changes.
This is something like airing up a tire every time you want to drive. Fixing the problem by cleaning is what the directions normally advise.
When the impeller is not taken out of the well and cleaned there are a couple things that will happen. At some point the slime will build up on the impeller and walls and the impeller slows down so that you get less filter flow. Eventually this gets thick enough that the impeller won't start turning after power has been off. You can come home after a power failure and find the filter has not been working for hours. Your fish may/may not live.

The second nasty surprise can show up when a bit of sand has gotten into the impeller well. If it stays there for long enough, it will score the impeller or shaft to the point that they become noisy. This can cost you quite a lot to replace.

Like in your car, you can do the recommended maintenance now or you can wait until it fails and buy a new one.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:56 PM   #9
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Don't forget to also clean out the well the impeller sits in.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherLandDescendant View Post
Sounds like it burnt up when you allowed the level to get so low it could no longer suck in water. The flow of water in a filter cools it, excessive heat will cause them to fail.
In the future you should really unplug the power filter when you do a water change. I burned out a cheapo ten gallon Tetra HOB years ago doing the same thing.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:39 PM   #11
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The intermittant nature of the problem sounds like some debris in the tube. When the filter is off it settles back a bit. When the filter comes on it runs OK until the debris gets pushed back into the way of the water flow.

Simplest:
Clean all you can without taking it apart.
Almost as simple:
Take it apart and clean some more.
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