Cleaning the canister for the first time - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Cleaning the canister for the first time

My tank has been going strong for about 5 weeks. Do you think it's an appropriate time to take down my eheim 2215 and rinse out the foam and media for the first time?

I've heard to wait unless until flow decreases but I honestly can't really tell if it has or not.

The tank has been cycled with no issues for the past 4 weeks or so. I just don't want to do it too early and risk decreasing the nitrifying bacteria in there.


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 01:45 PM
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with 10x turnover filter/ low bioload, I clean every 3 months or so.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 01:47 PM
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Sounds like a good thought but with using some care. You are correct that a tank is much easier to upset when semi-new.
So , maybe some things to help. Can you see through the canister if you shine a bright light on the sides. This may show how much debris is collected and give you a headsup on how bad cleaning is needed, maybe not.
But if it seems right, I would go this way. Do not do it at the same time as other work. Rock the boat but gently?
Be sure to not "work" the soft items too hard and certainly use water without chlorine, not tap water. Get the heavy stuff that will block flow but maybe leave some of the stuff that you would rinse out thoroughly at a later cleaning.
Most likely you will lose a bit of the bacteria but most of us are not running super close to the edge and the small hit it takes will grow back very quickly so that no hint of trouble would be expected.
But on first timer things, it is always a good idea to watch the fish afterward, just to be paranoid! If they begin to show signs of any unusual action, a water change to remove/reduce any ammonia spikes will get it cleared.
Congrats on being aware and asking first as it is lots easier than after one has a group of sickies!
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 02:04 PM
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If your tank is truly cycled, in addition to what @PlantedRich has said, Cleaning and/or replacing half of the felt/fiber portion of the filter is not horrible. Lightly ring any sponges. Currently your BB is growing everywhere in the filter, no mater what you do, the first cleaning will put a hit on your cycle. By replacing half the felt/fiber, you are forcing BB to grow elsewhere (your rings or bio cubes or whatever). That way when you do get in to a routine, the part that needs changing won't hit the BB.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 02:36 PM
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5 weeks total? I wouldn't bother. I clean my canister filters roughly once a year without issue.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 08:08 PM
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So in less than an hour, you can get a full range of thoughts as to what needs to be done, and all of those thoughts might be right but it depends on the tank situation and judgement. The only way to get that judgement is to experience how each tank is working out. Some will be running much closer to the edge than others. Some guesswork will always be involved so my best shot at getting the right level is to go with care.
How soon? Depends on what you see happening. If you do see the flow dropping, it needs cleaned even if it is only 2 weeks since doing it. In that case I would look seriously at changing up the media for something less labor intensive. Just because I do like to head off trouble before it hits me, I go on a routine that I log in a logbook and I shoot for doing a filter clean every two months. From judging how often to how to deal with dirty media, it will get easier. If you are one who doesn't like to reuse/rinse the soft stuff, it just means you will definitely lose the portion of the bacteria living in the old media where you may only lose half that bacteria if you do a really heavy handed rinse.
Judgement and experience do take time, so I advise care until you see how it works for you in each tank.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 09:41 PM
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Filters are great as they remove organic waste from view and provide an excellent platform for beneficial bacteria. However, as much as they make the aquarium look cleaner, the material decomposes in the filter and pollutes the water!
Don't be afraid to clean filters routinely to get the crud out of the system. Any negative impact to beneficial biology is minimal compared to the overall gain in water quality!
Just remember to clean components in tank or conditioned water. I have an experienced fishkeeper friend that rinses sponges in tap water with no negative affects, but he has heavily planted established tanks (and there is significant BB in the substrate of an established tank.)

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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I think the first thing I'll do is start diligently checking the the output for the next week or so. I'll also look in the canister with a flashlight to see if it stands out as being obviously dirty or clean.

Then I'll go from there. I appreciate the input


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 11:25 PM
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I clean my can filter every couple of months or so. Siphon off some tank water into a bucket and rinse all the sponge media in there, gently squeezing. The bio media gets a dip and a shake in the siphoned tank water while still in its basket, I don't disturb it otherwise. The only part of the filter media that I replace are the polish pads.

In addition to the filter, I also have a couple of mesh bags of bio media (Matrix) tucked away behind my 3D background for some extra bio filtration, but those don't even get a rinse.

The above seems to work well enough for me.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 05:18 AM
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Honestly for my Sunsun when I do my weekly water changes and then fill the tank back up and start up the filters, if there's a lot of debris coming from the outake then the next week when I do maintenance I will clean the filter which ends up being every 2-3 months.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2018, 12:10 PM
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I must be anal about keeping it maintained. I rinse part of my canister media every time the flow slows down- when I no longer see a strong ripple across surface of the water. Right now that's about once every 5 or 6 weeks for me.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-03-2018, 05:46 PM
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I'm using the same filter. Make sure the plastic thing at the top is put back correctly, I once put it in upside down and almost blocked the outlet. Like other people here I use water from the aquarium to submerge the sponges into and give them a few squeezes. Then put them back in. It's also worth giving the bottom of the canister a quick look because depending on what's in your tank, there maybe some things swimming around down there after a while! Make sure it is nice and full before putting the top back on, and if you open the valve at the top the water will push through the pump and it'll be ready to go. Of course, before opening and emptying, close the valve at the base of the canister. Just my way of doing it.
I probably clean the sponges once a month or so. And sometimes rinse through the top / pump part under the tap/faucet.
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