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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Both canisters on my planted tanks get really filthy after only a week or two. The tanks are lightly planted (one of them only has three plants) yet I am getting a bunch of what appears to be dead plant matter in the filters. A couple months ago I started dosing Excel very day or every other day as an algaecide. I don't recall the filters getting this dirty this quickly prior to dosing Excel regularly. The pic below is the canister from my 60 gallon tank (the one with three plants) after only 3 weeks. Thoughts?

BTW, the filter floss stage is before the media and the media still got super filthy.
 

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Wow, I was about to say that you should have the floss before the bio-media, but then re-read your post and saw that it already is!

So do you have course foam, fine foam, filter wool / floss then bio-media last? If so, there must be some bypass somewhere to allow all that gunk to get through to the bio-media. Seems odd....

Where is the outlet from the tank? Is it by any chance very low down, close to the substrate so it is sucking in soil?

Was there algae in the tank that the Excel has killed off, and that's what finding it's way into the caniester?

Maybe you could try a pre-filter or sponge over the outlet in the tank? Doesn't solve the issue, only shifts the problem from the canister back into the tank, but maybe easier to clean regularly like that, and to see when it is getting clogged up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I used to use a prefilter and it would slow down the flow too much after a week or so, so I removed it.

Yes, the intake is pretty close to the bottom, sometimes touching it, but it definitely appears to be plant matter. Confusing thing is there aren't that many plants and I didn't think there was that much dying matter. Evidently there is. I've been using Excel as a preventative algaecide. Guess I should figure out the imbalance instead of dosing Excel all the time.
 

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If debris, way too much getting through, however pictures can be misleading so you might do a closer look that we get with pictures and ask if it is possible this is some form of fungus, etc. growing in the dark space in the filter, rather than debris being trapped there. Seems to be too much getting through while leaving almost white clear spots in the media?
Perhaps a change or additional mechanical is needed as I would have expected that much getting to the bio filter media would have first totally stopped up flow through the mechanical. Maybe a courser first stage followed by a finer next before letting it get to the bio? And then perhaps a final "polishing" pad before back to the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If debris, way too much getting through, however pictures can be misleading so you might do a closer look that we get with pictures and ask if it is possible this is some form of fungus, etc. growing in the dark space in the filter, rather than debris being trapped there. Seems to be too much getting through while leaving almost white clear spots in the media?
Perhaps a change or additional mechanical is needed as I would have expected that much getting to the bio filter media would have first totally stopped up flow through the mechanical. Maybe a courser first stage followed by a finer next before letting it get to the bio? And then perhaps a final "polishing" pad before back to the tank?
It' definitely appears to be plant matter. It has the look and texture of plant matter. The filter only has two stages. The first is the coarse mechanical that came with it, then I stuff polyfill on top, then the second stage is the media. The water in the tank is crystal clear so adding more polishing doesn't seem like a solution. I need to figure out why my plants are apparently shedding dead matter when they appear to be pretty healthy to me.
 

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Few additional thoughts.....

I used to use a prefilter and it would slow down the flow too much after a week or so, so I removed it.
If the prefilter is slowing down the flow after a week, that means it's getting clogged, probably for the same reason! So removing it has just moved the problem into your canister. Guess you take a call on which is easiest to clean out for the time being. I would err towards reinstating the prefilter, rather than needing to regularly upset the bio-filter etc in the canister, but depends what is most practical for yours setup.

Re-looking at your photos (and knowing that pic's can be deceiving etc), but are there gaps around the edge of the filter floss? I wonder whether the filter floss has become clogged so water has found an alternative path and is now flowing around the edge, bypassing the floss, hence how the much is getting to your bio-media. Might be that you are trying to cram too much media into the canister if it only has two baskets. The floss needs to be a tight fit into the basket to prevent water just leaking past up the sides, but compressing it too much (or trying to jam too much in) will mean it will clog quicker.

Perhaps you need a bigger canister filter with 3+ trays so you can install decent multi-stage mechanical filtration (i.e. coarse sponge, fine sponge, floss) before the bio-media?

Hope this helps, good luck! :wink2:
 

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I can't begin to make a case that what you are doing is wrong so not meaning to be critical!
But media is something to really look at carefully to get the best result and that is where we can all be right and still disagree as we each have different needs.
For my use, I find filter floss to be too much mess and I like things which can filter small stuff but not sog down into a wad which kills flow much quicker. I rarely use any more but far prefer spong of different pore size which can do the same but not wad up. I find I can get more "selective" filtering with different pore size spong, cut to fit tight at the edges, and using more than one pore size in the same basket, Two baskets can let you use 4-5 different layers of different(or same) pore size.
Yes, agree look at why so much but also maybe give different media a look as the bio media that gets covered in gunk is not going to let much O2 loving good bacteria live when smothered.
Tons of options on cut to fit but this style is one I really like for not wadding up:
https://www.amazon.com/Aquarium-Filter-Media-Pad-Roll/dp/B01KYS02EG
 
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