Canister Filter Flow is Reduced significantly - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-01-2020, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Canister Filter Flow is Reduced significantly

Hey guys,

I recently bought a small canister filter for my 10 gallon aquarium. It was rated as a flow rate of 80gph. I know this is always overstated, but figured this would be more than enough for my aquarium. When I first set it up, I recorded 40gph. I figured that was still sufficient. Now two weeks later, its down to 20gph. Anyone know what happened? Anything I can do to fix?

Here is the model I got.

Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter, up to 10 Gallons

I understand it's not a super powerful/high quality filter, but it's the only low profile canister filter for tanks down at my size.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-01-2020, 02:11 AM
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Maybe stating the obvious, but:
Is the outlet strainer from the tank partially blocked by leaves/debris?
Is the filter media semi-clogged (especially if you have fine filter wool installed)?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-01-2020, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by en7jos View Post
Maybe stating the obvious, but:
Is the outlet strainer from the tank partially blocked by leaves/debris?
Is the filter media semi-clogged (especially if you have fine filter wool installed)?
I should've said this in the original post. I cleaned out the filter intake, then cleaned the inlet and outlet tubes, then removed the impellar and cleaned that too. I then took all the media out and tested flow as well. In all cases it remained 20gph.

I'm considering returning the filter since it seems defective. Just interesting to me that there is no blockage but the flow is reduced so much. It's like the eltromagnetic motor is just operating less efficiently.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-01-2020, 06:37 AM
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If the inlet outlet, pipes, media and impeller is clean and still the flow does not match up, then possibly the unit is deteriorating.


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Was the 40 gph measured with the filter media. My understanding is that filters are usually rated for flow and lift without the media in them. Thatís the reason for the 10x sizing recommendation so that including media the flow rate of 50% works to 5x which would meet the flow requirement of the tank.


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Last edited by Darkblade48; 10-01-2020 at 08:50 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-01-2020, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jah410 View Post
I should've said this in the original post. I cleaned out the filter intake, then cleaned the inlet and outlet tubes, then removed the impellar and cleaned that too. I then took all the media out and tested flow as well. In all cases it remained 20gph.
Hmm, in that case hard to see what else could be causing the reduced flow except for some defect. But also can't quite imagine what could have gone wrong with the impeller after 2 weeks if it's not glued up with gunk. Is the impeller spinning slower? Not sure how that's possible (again without drag from gunk) as speed is set by mains frequency. Must be due to a restriction somewhere???

Kink in the hose?
A leaf etc stuck somewhere hidden inside a fitting restricting flow?
Tap / valve not fully open?

Sorry, probably stating all the obvious things again, but just in case. If no to all the above then a mysterious halving of the flow rate after only 2 weeks use doesn't bode well for long term performance, so probably best to return if you can.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-01-2020, 06:07 PM
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Remove all the filter media and see what the flow rate is. If removing the media restores the flow then the media is the issue. If removing the media does not restore the flow then you need to look at the filter itself and the pump in the filter.

What brand and model filter is it?
How did you measure the initial flow rate and the subsequent flow rates? Maybe the initial measurement was inaccurate?


P.S. I have never put to much faith in published flow requirements/recommendations for aquariums. There are just too many variables to accurately measure flow. If the filter is doing its job of keeping the water clean I would not loose any sleep about the actual flow of the filter.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 03:49 PM
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Where is the canister filter in relation to the aquarium? If placed below there may be too much head pressure for the filter to overcome
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 04:08 PM
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As mentioned, all filters are rated for flow with no media so the actual flow with media will always be much lower. As the filter runs, mechanical media will slowly clog as it becomes impregnated with the 'stuff' you want removed from the water and as this happens, filtration becomes even finer - a good thing. Remember that good filtration is about how well we filter water, not how much or how fast we push water through the media. The notion you hear that more filtration (e.g. more filters or faster flow rates) are just nonsense. See The Dirty Truth About Filters.

Note: Having written the above, at some point, filter flow reduces to a point that indicates it needs to be serviced to clean the crud out.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-02-2020, 07:50 PM
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I see that filter is the former Zoomed 501 and I do have some experience with that 501. Not very good filter for most things and I do not recommend it as it is a very small filter. Initially sold for turtle tanks!
There is a good chance it is just too small as they seem to have trouble finding place to sell it and now advert "up to " ten gallons?
But the flow change makes me think there is another problem that needs to be sorted out. I first think of blockage as the design of the "motor" makes slowing almost impossible as it is set by the frequency (60 cycle) of the incoming electricity and that is almost never going to be off as it is too basic in our system. Since the 60 cycle is not going to change and the rest is based on magnets, drag or blockage is about all that is left.
A bit of hard media like one of the "barrel" media in a place not seen? Possible so look carefully.
But I really suspect it is a problem of not getting the impeller fully cleared of water as they can't pump air and one setting only half in water will try but not get much done.
Perhaps try tilting the can, rotating it to let any collected air get moved to the output. This is a pretty common problem when first dealing with canister filters. Quite common with the Eheim 2011- 2017 models! Leave the outlet in water and see if you get bunches of bubbles coming out.
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