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Hi. A new AC 20 HOB filter (momentarily) stopped working after a week or so. I did get it working again, but when I took it partially apart, it seemed to me that some of the eco-complete substrate had gotten into it. When I read other threads here, it looks like there's a semi-consensus that 1) people really like the AC HOB filters and 2)they have somewhat more difficulty than average handling sand substrate and it getting into the workings. Did I get an accurate picture and do you think the same is going to be true of eco-complete?

Thank you,
Leah
 

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these things are great, and i run one in my shrimp tank, however i find it gets a bit full of particulate matter every other day, and i gotta rinse it out or it gets all hourglass shaped and cuts off the flow to a trickle. no biggie.

also, petco has them on clearance, at least locally, and they are like $2 a pop. stock up!
 

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Yeah, I love those prefilters as well. TheNailman is spot on. Once the foam gets damaged by getting overly clogged and compressed against the inlet, it happens fairly regularly thereafter. They need some sort of support underneath to help them maintain their shape so that that doesn't happen as fast. In this case the inlet of the AC20 does that for you so there's not a whole lot to worry about. When it starts looking nasty, or as part of the water change routine if you do that regularly, just take it out, squeeze it in some tank/dechlorinated tap water a few times, and then put it back in.
 

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I have had two different AC20 filters on my Fluval Edge, and have had similar problems with a sand substrate. I plan on replacing it with a BioWheel in a few weeks, but for now I take the filter apart and clean it each time I do a water change. I may try the prefilter mentioned here to see if I can get away with not having to buy a replacement.
 

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I wasn't able to find a Fluval filter so I tried both a Hydro Sponge Pre-Filter III (which has multiple adapters and elbows and fits easily) and also used a similar large cylindrical sponge pre-filter that I found in the garden pond area of Home Depot (I have fooled around with pond filters before and the never ending clogging of pumps is a similarly annoying problem in that application).

So far they both seem to be resisting clogging relatively well but it has only been 3-4 days. They have larger pore and more heavy duty (for lack of a better word) foam intended to avoid clogging for longer than the more fine pored sponges that are commonly used in aquarium applications.

The main downside is that they are very large.
 
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