Cleaning filter - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 03:54 PM
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Guess I'm not in the majority. I use a canister on a planted 55 that I clean roughly once a year!
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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 06:06 PM
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Guess I'm not in the majority. I use a canister on a planted 55 that I clean roughly once a year!
Whoa!!! Do you call a hazmat team in when you clean it?
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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 07:15 PM
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Whoa!!! Do you call a hazmat team in when you clean it?
lol. It aint pretty by any means. But I just toss the filter floss, rinse out the bio media, replace with new filter floss and its good to go. Relatively high bio load with 6 pretty large angels, a large red rainbow and a school of a dozen rummy nose. Been running this tank this way for about 3 years(maybe 4?) with no major issues. I wait to see a decrease in flow....and if/when that never happens I'll clean the filter once a year. I've even decided that I was doing water changes far more often than necessary. Went from 2x a week, down to weekly, down to every few weeks now. Definitely not winning any aquascaping awards and I suppose I could potentially see better/more plant growth with more maintenance.

Just because lots of people do something one way does not mean its the only or best approach!
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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 08:34 PM
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I'm in the middle. About every 4-6 weeks depending on the filter/tank. That may stretch a little now and then when I get busy. Sometimes a little more often if I have a particular reason to do so. I do run pre-filters on some smaller tanks which makes a big difference. They usually get a quick clean if needed with weekly water changes.
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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-09-2019, 08:39 PM
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Guess I'm not in the majority. I use a canister on a planted 55 that I clean roughly once a year!
I confess that I'm with this guy. The caveats are of course that I do run a prefilter, I have nothing except poret foam, fluval foam, and similar friends as my media, I don't have much a bioload, and I do decently regular water changes. By the time stuff gets into the filter, it just becomes nutrients. Perhaps close to what AbbeysDad is surmising.

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You could, but since most folks with canister filters tend to let them run, sometimes for months w/o cleaning, I thought I'd suggest increased frequency and/or volume of water changes for increased water quality.


It's also important to realize that with the bacteria and flow rates in/through a filter, most of the 'crud' we see has completely decomposed and is relatively inert - no longer polluting the water. The bigger 'bang for the buck is the partial water change.
I took it out to clean a couple months back hoping to increase flow and what I found was just .. mulm all over and then a layer of settled mulm. No mutating bubbling purple toxic wastes. No appreciable increase in flow after cleaning either. What a disappointment. I must have purged enlightened colonies of bacteria though. Now they are disappointed too and probably are rebuilding.

So to answer the OP's question, I guess it really depends on how you run your tank and what's your media, but like water changes, usually more often is a safer route.


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post #21 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 03:08 PM
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Guess I'm not in the majority. I use a canister on a planted 55 that I clean roughly once a year!
------
It really does come down to bio-load and tank maintenance.
Imagine if you had a tank with or without plants with no fish and no fish food. A filter could run pretty much forever and a day without servicing....right?
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But once we add fish and food, the water quality begins to degrade. More fish and more food and there's a linear regression of water quality.
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Fast growing plants and good tank/filter maintenance helps, but at some point the partial water change is necessary and at nearly any point, the partial water change improves water quality by replacing polluted water with fresh, clean water.
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As we see written over and over, 'every tank is different'. For instance, I remember many years ago when I switched to higher quality fish food I immediately noticed SIGNIFICANTLY less fish waste. This certainly had a positive result on water quality. As does sand instead of gravel, fast growing plants, and routine filter cleaning!

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post #22 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 03:38 PM
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Depends on your bioload and size of filter, I have a fx5 with a reactor and inline heater on my 75 that I clean every six months or so.

50% water change once a week.

Stocked with a bunch of community fish, approximately 45.
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post #23 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 04:01 PM
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I cleaned (half) the media in the cannister on my 38 about once a month, when the flow started to slow down. It really varies per tank.


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Last edited by JJ09; 01-10-2019 at 04:02 PM. Reason: a word
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post #24 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 06:30 PM
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Depends on your bioload and size of filter, I have a fx5 with a reactor and inline heater on my 75 that I clean every six months or so. .....

I saw a post not long ago where a forum member wrote that his LFS told him/her that if s/he had a larger/better filter, s/he could have more fish for the size tank s/he had.


Filters improve water clarity, but not water quality. When it comes to organic matter, filters are nitrate factories and merely accelerate decomposition. The pollution is relative to the amount of organic material that decomposes. A larger filter doesn't change that. :-)
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post #25 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 06:52 PM
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All the variables that come into play with balancing an aquarium are what make this hobby difficult for newcomers. We soon forget, as experienced fish-keepers, that there are many balls up in the air at once that we can anticipate (if not exactly) approximately where they will fall. I try to remember this when I am helping someone in an area I am experienced in ( not plants- lol!)

I always kinda worry when I see someone new on this forum setting a tank up for the first time that is diving into the complexity of a high tech system, just learning how to cycle an aquarium, and adding fish. This much so soon can really make someone combust rather quickly from "too much too soon".

I have four different tanks, all have different requirements for maintenance. One constant in all of them- weekly water changes of at least 50 percent.
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post #26 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 07:40 PM
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When I was running canisters I disliked cleaning more than I do now, now that I have a sump. The whole process seemed messier and more cumbersome. Maybe it was perception maybe a mix of perception and reality. Before if I cracked the canister and rinsed out the mech pads once every couple of weeks I felt like I was doing OK. Now if I don't rinse the first filter sock twice a week I feel like I'm goofing off. It changed how I looked at vacuuming, too. Before it was do as much during the water change as I could and be content with whatever got done. I always felt a little rushed. Now I can slip the end of the Python in the first sock and vacuum the whole tank while taking my time. If the vacuum takes too much out of the tank the over flow will start gurgling to let me know to squeeze off the hose and let the return pump catch up. While it's off I take some good quality time with the tank checking out the livestock and plants. I never feel rushed. If I'm in the mood I can get into a real zen sorta state with the whole thing.
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post #27 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 08:09 PM
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When I was running canisters I disliked cleaning more than I do now, now that I have a sump. The whole process seemed messier and more cumbersome. Maybe it was perception maybe a mix of perception and reality. Before if I cracked the canister and rinsed out the mech pads once every couple of weeks I felt like I was doing OK. Now if I don't rinse the first filter sock twice a week I feel like I'm goofing off. It changed how I looked at vacuuming, too. Before it was do as much during the water change as I could and be content with whatever got done. I always felt a little rushed. Now I can slip the end of the Python in the first sock and vacuum the whole tank while taking my time. If the vacuum takes too much out of the tank the over flow will start gurgling to let me know to squeeze off the hose and let the return pump catch up. While it's off I take some good quality time with the tank checking out the livestock and plants. I never feel rushed. If I'm in the mood I can get into a real zen sorta state with the whole thing.
It is things like this that really make me want to have a sump setup. I have never run one before, but it seem if set up correctly they really can outperform in many ways (maintenance perspective). The idea of reaching in a cleaning/ changing a filter sock sounds wonderful. And that process of vacuuming into the filter sock is genius!

Maybe one day I'll learn more about setting one up. First thing is I also have never had a drilled tank, and know little about any safety features for those who run siphon systems into their sump. So much to think of!
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post #28 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 08:49 PM
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It is things like this that really make me want to have a sump setup. I have never run one before, but it seem if set up correctly they really can outperform in many ways (maintenance perspective). The idea of reaching in a cleaning/ changing a filter sock sounds wonderful. And that process of vacuuming into the filter sock is genius!

Maybe one day I'll learn more about setting one up. First thing is I also have never had a drilled tank, and know little about any safety features for those who run siphon systems into their sump. So much to think of!
Well I'm not the genius. Saw a Youtube vid on it and nearly fell off the couch.

I'll never go back. Add to the maintenance advantages - increased water volume, more room for more Bio-media, less clutter in the tank cause most of your equipment is in there, very high flow possibilities, great oxygenaters ... There's more if I could think of them right now. If you need to drill I can understand the trepidation and then there's the various drain options - Durso, Herbie, BeanAnimal and such. There is a learning curve but it's a one time thing and then it's behind you. Definitely worth a thought or two.

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post #29 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 09:14 PM
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One thing I have noticed whenever this topic comes up.

Those who advocate for very little filter cleaning rarely show pics of their tank.

Are the two linked in some way? I don't know for sure. I just know I can't think of one impressive high tech planted tank that I follow who rarely cleans their filters.

In fact, all the best ones are on a very regular schedule. And IMO there is a good reason. Lower organics make everything about a planted tank easier and better. A seasoned planted tanker sees uncharacteristic algae, and first thing he does is to get the tank uber clean, and cleaning filters is right at the top of the list.
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post #30 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 09:31 PM
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In fact, all the best ones are on a very regular schedule. And IMO there is a good reason. Lower organics make everything about a planted tank easier and better. A seasoned planted tanker sees uncharacteristic algae, and first thing he does is to get the tank uber clean, and cleaning filters is right at the top of the list.
This is me right now. I fell off the wagon a bit with filter maintenance since adding a second canister, and am now facing some algea never before seen.

Well... you bet the filters will be getting a nice cleaning!
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