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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My aqua clear 20 or 30 (don't remember) filter won't start back up after I unplugged it for a water change. I have had the filter for about 6-7 months and have done this several times.

Anyone have a similar experience or ay ideas on how to get it to start back up.
 

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I've owned Aquaclear filters for a couple years and have had this issue before... Your impeller may need a cleaning.
Drain the filter of water (suggest a cup or bucket as mulm and unwanted muck will come out) remove media and place into the filter water cup/bucket.
On the bottom is the motor for the filter it untwists form the plastic filter counter clock wise (if you have filter 'front' facing you) take it off only after water has been drained from filter.
Get several q-tips and/or paper towel that you can rip into smaller portions and twist up.
Remove the small plastic impeller and the magnet its attached to from the motor, it should come out easily, be careful not to damage the little plastic blades!
Gently wipe down the magnet and impeller blade with a little piece of paper towel and set it aside.
Now either use a few q-tps or twisted pieces of paper towel and clean out the shaft/opening the impeller and magnet set in. You should get out a bit of gunk, keep cleaning till its not coming out dark brown/black/green/etc or you feel its satisfactorily clear.
Place the impeller back in, magnet first and twist the motor back onto the filter (filter 'front' facing you the motor shoudl start facing left and twist clockwise and to the back of the filter to lock into place).
Add media back in.
Place on tank and add tank water to the filter (you may want to hold a fish net over the outflow as some more loos mulm may flow out of the media).
Put water into the filter until its about ready to go over the outflow and plug it in. If your tanks water level is at appropriate height it should work and begin sucking water up the intake and start flowing out within a few seconds.
If you chose not to use a fish net or something to catch loose mulm leaving the filter.. just don't look at the tank for a half hour so it can settle.

Hope this works for you! I have an aquaclear 20 that's I've used for over 2 years and use to have to clean often since I had a very messy fish in that tank for a while but it still works. I also recently got a used aquaclear 70 with is still working quite well (I think its 2 years old or so as well).
Sometimes the filters don't want to start back up after a power outage, though it might be as simple as add water and it will start suction, I always take the chance to clean out the motor/impeller area.
You probably know this but I'll add it anyways: never clean off all media for your filter at once, you'll loose too much beneficial bacteria. If you have 3 medias used only clean one at a time and do it a month apart to avoid ammonia spikes from too much lost beneficial bacteria When you clean your filter its good to keep the media in ages tank water to avoid shock of temp change or killing the BB from chlorine in tap water.
 

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Does the motor go? If not, it's toast.
If it does go, does the impeller turn?
If the impeller doesn't turn you may need a new impeller, which can be replaced. Or it could be stuck.
Has the filter emptied itself when you turned it off and won't fill back up? If so, prime it by filling the filter with water.
 

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I was going to ask, did you fill the filter back up after the water change. I have this problem from time to time as the AC20 will often times dump the water out back into the tank when I start to lower the water level. (this actually happened on saturday for me) plugged it in and nothing. I added a cup of water to the filter and plugged it back in. Fired right up.
 

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AquaAurora has given you some excellent detailed advice above. Follow those instructions and you should be just fine. It's possible the motor is kaput, but not likely - just needs to be properly cleaned, & the basket primed with water full up before starting it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah I'm not getting anything at all when I plug it in,like, nothing haha. I'm going to try what AquaAurora said, thank you so much for the response!

And yes, I topped it back off with water.
I'll let you guys know if I have any luck..
 

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Every once in a while when I unplug my AC for a cleaning, the impeller won't spin when plugged back in. I give the impeller a push start with the tip of a pencil or whatever I have sitting around. That usually gets it spinning again.
 

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remove the intake pipe..

get a pointed small knife.. while its plugged in..

and it impeller a little help to spin.. TAA DAA!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK, just got done following AquaAurora's instructions and my filter is back up and running at full speed.
Thank you for saving me 30 dollars from buying a new filter!

EDIT: if this happens again I'll start by poking the impeller to try and get in going again, but if that fails listen to AquaAurora.
 

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Glad it worked for you ^^ I love the filter but don't like that it can be picky about starting back up sometimes. Always have to check the tanks after black outs to make sure they are still running and won't burn up or the bb die from drying/lack of water movement.
 

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I use my long tweezers to give the impeller a little nudge when it doesn't fire up right away. Has worked countless times. Don't even have to remove the input pipe, just push it over to the low flow side and you can get the tweezers in there


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That's a good tip. I usually take the intake pipe off. Going to try this next time
 

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Pushing the impeller to start it is like jump starting a car with a bad battery. Works if you don't mind staying in the same rut!
 

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I also have to jump start ONE of my AC 70's (have 3 of them). I've swapped impellers but it's just that one filter that needs a jump. So I don't think it's totally an impeller problem otherwise the others would need a jump when I swap impellers .. but they don't... Ever.

And thoroughly cleaning the impeller, motor and shaft doesn't help in my case.

I always fill the filter with water before starting it. I'd say 80% of the time I have to jump start it. I just keep a wooden skewer with a pointed tip nearby & like others mentioned slide the intake tube over and give it a gentle push. Once it starts it runs great with no noise.

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Mag drive motors are so simple that it is really easy to look them over. There are the coil of wire molded in the epoxy or plastic, the impeller and it's parts. So if we understand how it works, it should not be hard to sort out what is wrong.
The cord, plug or outlet could be bad so that is always a place to check. Stick something metal down in the impeller well and plug the unit in. You should feel the metal item jump a bit as the current flows though the coil. If not, the coil could be bad but more likely the cord or outlet need repair.
It's pretty hard for a permanent magnet to go bad but while you have the metal item, make sure it sticks to the magnet on the impeller. Then do some looking at the impeller part as there are some things you can miss. Don't lay it down somewhere where it might pick up a bunch of metal filings. There are a pain to get off a magnet! The magnet and the blades should have some looseness to them. The mag part should rotate just a bit before hitting a stop and making the blades turn. This is due to the small torgue from mag drive. The magnet needs to get a small bit of momentum built before picking up the extra drag of the blades. It may not start turning if it is stuck solid in some way. If the stop is broken off, the magnet may turn but not move the blades. Pull the shaft out and really look it over good for bends or wear. One way to pick up some defects you might miss is by putting the shaft on a flat surface in a dark area. Roll the shaft while shining a light under from the far side and you may spot light leaking under in worn spots. But be aware that there are times when the impeller or shaft are worn in ways that you can't see. It is also possible to have wear on the well itself that makes it noisy if you have not been in the habit of cleaning it well. Check any little rubber bushings at the shaft ends for anything odd like cracks or missing.
But when you know there are only very few, very simple parts, you should be able to sort how which is defective.
Thorough frequent cleaning is on eway to make them last longer.
 
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