Hey guys.. if you are an experienced Aquarium guy/gal, then you may already know these tips.. but I am setting up my first planted tank right now and had to learn a few things the hard way.
I have successfully set up other tropical tanks in the past using canister filters but always used Fluvals.. this was my first experience with Filstar and learned a few lessons early on that might save you some time/aggrevation.
1.Not all Canisters are exactly alike. There are even variations with in the same brand/model. Two different Fluvals in the past came with different quality parts.. So pay attention to even the smallest details.
For example I had a Fluval 405 that I purchased several years ago but never used it. I tried to use it on my new 75 gallon only to find that the outflow nozzle did not extend deep enough into the tank to fully submerge below the water line.
The Filstar XP L however has a much better outflow nozzle that is not only deep but has a gimbal joint so you can aim the flow much better.
The same Fluval above has very stiff/rigid tubing that comes with the unit. From being folded in the box there were perma kinks in the hose that I could not fully get to open.
The Filstar however had beautiful hose that was much less Rigid and kink free. This was partly due to it being much newer but also the quality of the vinal was just better.
As a side note.. the newer Fluvals now ship with what looks/feels like corogated (spell) plastic tubing.. and I don't trust it..but I never used it so that is just my gut talking.
2.When hooking up your tubes to the intake and outflow tubes as well as the valves that go into the canister you really want that seal to be tight! The directions will tell you to insert them so they extend beyond the threads/ribs or a certain number of inches..etc.
Warning this can be a bear to do if you are simply hand jamming it in place. I recently read on these forums two ideas that people suggested that although simple.. they are also brilliant ideas and I never would have thought to try.
a. boil some water or get it close to boiling and just dip your hose ends in the hot water for a short period to warm them and make them a tad more flexible.. then push them in place.
b. try a touch of vaseline around the tube end and they should also slide on easily.
I did not try either of these methods.. I used brute force.. but i wish I tried one of these before hand.
3. Clamps! I can't recall if the Fluval has clamps that ship with the unit but the Filstar does. The ones that come with the Filstar are cheap plastic clamps. Simple to install but not very effective.
For my set up I used the plastic clamps but was still getting air in the canister and it was not sealing properly. No matter what I tried, too much air was getting in the filter.
I threw a metal (screw tight) hose clamp on each hose connection and that did the job. No more leaks!
4. Plumbers pipe thread tape... or AKA vinal thread tape. This works great when you have any kind of opening in the filter that requires a screw cap. The Filstar has a small screw top opening at the top of the intake tube. It's there for priming the filter on start up. Believe it or not, I was getting a minute amount of air in that opening until I threw some vinal tape around the threads.
That's it for now.. I will probably discover other tricks that most of you already know .. but for now I figured I would save any other Newbie's a few headaches and put these ideas in one place.