a little confused on how to properly clean canister filter :s - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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a little confused on how to properly clean canister filter :s

I want to clean up my eheim pro 3 2075. I have no problems breaking it down and putting it together but I am confused about proper cleaning procedure.

I see on youtube people using straight tap water to clean the sponges in the filter and rinsing the media with tank water. I am guessing this is not good as all the BB in the sponge would instantly die off, right?!

So my second concern is to properly clean a dirty sponge I would imagine you would need a fair bit of pressure and water running through it. With a bucket of tank water I am worried I don't get it clean.

As for media, can I use my hand to mix it up in the bucket of tank water to get out all the junk? or just a rinse? or can I transfer the media to a strainer and mix it up that way?

All the remaining shells and such can i use tap water with those to clean em up and than dry them well before putting everything back together?

How do you guys clean your big filters? I just don't want to destroy my colony of BB and I am being super cautious.

thanks in advanced.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 10:36 PM
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I clean my sponges with straight tap, never an issue...


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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really?! is this the norm in the hobby?

how do you know when its time to replace sponges?

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 11:01 PM
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I don't use tank water or straight tap. I fill a bucket with tap water and condition it with Prime to remove chlorine, etc. Yes, you need to really squeeze and swish sponges (or media) around in the water.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 11:19 PM
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I also just use tap water to clean the sponges. Just give them a few good squeezes under some running water and you're done. Sponges last until they start falling apart, maybe 5-20 years. I've only ever replaced 1 due to age/wear.

There are bacteria covering every surface of your tank: the glass, substrate, plants, hoses, every inch of the filter. So the little bit that may die or get washed off while cleaning is going to have minimal effect.

I rarely clean the bio-media. If the sponges get cleaned often enough then there shouldn't be any buildup.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 12:17 AM
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I have always cleaned sponges and media in the tank water drawn off during a water change.... Youve spent months building that colony - why kill it?

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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what about replacing sponges? is there a risk in causing a mini cycle?

what about treated tap water to clean stuff out?

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 12:51 AM
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The goal of cleaning out a canister is to purge waste that has collected in the filter.

There is ample bacteria in the aquarium to handle biological filtration and the canister will be repopulated with bacteria in due course.


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 12:53 AM
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I siphon tank water in a bucket and then rinse out all the media in that bucket
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philipraposo1982 View Post
what about replacing sponges? is there a risk in causing a mini cycle?

what about treated tap water to clean stuff out?
As long as your tank is cycled and heavily planted you could replace sponges with no problems, I've done it before, like others said bacteria is everywhere, you shouldn't have a problem.


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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 05:09 AM
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I have not needed to replace sponges. They seem to last forever. Probably not, though. But each filter has several sponges (coarse, medium, fine) and replacing them in rotation should keep enough bacteria alive so there is no issue.
Other media does mat together, and need replacing. I simply do not replace all the media in one go.

As noted above, a planted tank has so much more going for it with both plants and bacteria that you should not worry about killing a few bacteria by cleaning the filter.
Yes, you should not just clean everything in tap water that has chlorine or chloramine, but swapping out one or another type of media at a time is not a problem.

I drain the tank water into several buckets (depending on tank size) and rinse the filter media in those buckets. I have also taken the filters apart and sprayed out the media with a garden hose, but it is easier to clean the filter right there at the tank. No need for a forceful spray of water.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H2Ogal View Post
I don't use tank water or straight tap. I fill a bucket with tap water and condition it with Prime to remove chlorine, etc. Yes, you need to really squeeze and swish sponges (or media) around in the water.
This is what I do, too.

I've had bacteria blooms in my tanks when I used chlorinated water to clean my canisters. Not a huge deal, but the cloudy water for a few days is annoying...

Only sponges I've ever replaced are ones that I'd abused by absent-mindedly letting dry out before cleaning them out... they were pretty nasty LOL





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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 03:54 PM
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Lots of things to effect how you should clean your filter. Tanks are all different so what one can get by with may not work for another. If you are stocked pretty heavy in a newer setup and do a hard cleaning of a lot of the media, you may see a spike while another that is lightly stocked may get away with cleaning in tap water.
For me, the safer way is the way I want to start until I see what works for me and my filter. New bacteria are not fully settled in and seem to be tender. The safe way is to not clean a canister on a new tank quite as soon as you might later. Leave the sleeping dog lie? Then when ready and really needing it, go gentle until you get the feel of what is acceptable for your tank. I have a large bucket and formed a strainer to rinse the media. Sine you remove some water in the filter, I have to top off after a cleaning so I just go for taking some tank water in the bucket, swish and squeeze the soft stuff, rinse the hard stuff and replace any media that is worn out.
If it is the U-tube that I think of, it is full of bad ideas and planning. He rinses in tap without explanation but that is not the bigger issue that I see. Does he also treat his electrical as if he will live forever? He is just so cool that he might kill himself!
Treat the bacteria like the friends they are, clean the impeller like you would want it to last and don't trip over the electrical cords?
Later when you get a better feel of things, you can do all kinds of risky things but until you know, it is safer to treat the little friends nice.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cboss View Post
I also just use tap water to clean the sponges. Just give them a few good squeezes under some running water and you're done. Sponges last until they start falling apart, maybe 5-20 years. I've only ever replaced 1 due to age/wear.

There are bacteria covering every surface of your tank: the glass, substrate, plants, hoses, every inch of the filter. So the little bit that may die or get washed off while cleaning is going to have minimal effect.

I rarely clean the bio-media. If the sponges get cleaned often enough then there shouldn't be any buildup.
+one.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 04:37 PM
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I had canisters break before I had sponges in them go bad.

Here is how I do the once a year cleaning of the filter.


Take the course sponge out. Take the fine sponge out. Wash them in normal tap water, they contain just a fraction of bacteria compared to the ceramic media in the other media containers. Move the media containers in canister in the water in the canister to knock stuff loose. Set the media aside. Dump the water out of the canister. Refill with water from the tank. Place media back in filter. Replace sponges back in canister. Good to go.

In most cases, I will check the impeller for wear.

If I start to notice the pump slowing down, I just pull the sponges out and given them a good rinsing. But honestly, I don't do it more then every 3 months.

In all cases, I will check the impeller for wear and dirt.

I also way over power my tanks so they can go a while before they slow down.
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