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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some searching around the boards seems to get the reply "when it stops working" or "When the flow stops". I'm using a corner filter with a pond pump behind it. Trusting the manufacturer's provided chart, the pump flow rate in gph related to the head loss (feet of water) is pretty close to of flow=570-62*head. As such, the area behind my pump will run dry long before my filter flow decreases. Assuming that doesn't happen, are there any other indications that my filter needs to be cleaned? It's only been running in the current tank for a couple of months, but I'm not seeing any measurable pressure drop, which tells me it's still at very close to 100% flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To what benefit though? I could clean it every week, or every month. If I did it weekly instead of monthly (or annually), what would the benefit be (in quantifiable terms)?
 

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To what benefit though? I could clean it every week, or every month. If I did it weekly instead of monthly (or annually), what would the benefit be (in quantifiable terms)?
Less waste, cleaner water.
Much depend's on the size of tank/filter, whether the tank is holding fish,how many and how large of fish,and amount of food offered to fish and how often.
For example,, a 40 gal tank holding a couple dozen tetra size fish, Filter would not get as dirty as 40 gal tank holding larger fish.
 

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Hard question to answer even addressing just what I have in house.
Bioload factors into it too much. Ratty plants muck things up or a large spawn I do more maintenance.
Sponges about every 2 weeks.
Sump cleaning is just the fine floss panels and being a fairly large area about every three weeks.
The sump with sponge panels is based off shifting water levels inlet to outlet and a couple inches I'll note but get to it as I feel like it but this a new setup for me here using sponge panels.
Canisters go for months, from 3 to the longest I've recorded being in service for almost 6 months.
HOB's weekly.

Not really thinking my post helps but tried.
 

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Keep one thing in mind. As far as the mechanical filter media goes, all it does is to collect the dirt in one place. It's still in the aquarium system until you clean the filter.

In my opinion, there is no hard, fast rule for cleaning a filter. I'd start off cleaning it every few weeks, and see how bad it is. Then adjust your schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Less waste, cleaner water.
Much depend's on the size of tank/filter, whether the tank is holding fish,how many and how large of fish,and amount of food offered to fish and how often.
For example,, a 40 gal tank holding a couple dozen tetra size fish, Filter would not get as dirty as 40 gal tank holding larger fish.
Obviously bigger filters on less livestock will work for a longer period of time. At some point it seems like it shouldn't matter. Perhaps a better question is this: How does filter efficiency correlate with flow? Is it reasonable to assume that an established filter at 95+% of its empty flow rate is running at 95+% efficiency? You can probably only compare a filter to its self, but does it work? When I had a HOB filter on a small turtle tank I cleaned the foam weekly because the foam would clog up and flow around the filter. When I ran the tank as a quarantine tank with few fish I never cleaned it because it never filled. I'm not convinced the fish received a lower quality of water than the turtles.

Hard question to answer even addressing just what I have in house.
Bioload factors into it too much. Ratty plants muck things up or a large spawn I do more maintenance.
Sponges about every 2 weeks.
Sump cleaning is just the fine floss panels and being a fairly large area about every three weeks.
The sump with sponge panels is based off shifting water levels inlet to outlet and a couple inches I'll note but get to it as I feel like it but this a new setup for me here using sponge panels.
Canisters go for months, from 3 to the longest I've recorded being in service for almost 6 months.
HOB's weekly.
Not really thinking my post helps but tried.
It did help a little. It sounds like you're going with flow rate with your sump. As for your sponges, what would happen if you didn't clean them after two weeks? Does the water bypass them/flow drop like my old HOB or is there some other indicator? With the canisters, how do you decide between 3 and 6 months? Does the flow drop or is there another indicator?

Keep one thing in mind. As far as the mechanical filter media goes, all it does is to collect the dirt in one place. It's still in the aquarium system until you clean the filter.
In my opinion, there is no hard, fast rule for cleaning a filter. I'd start off cleaning it every few weeks, and see how bad it is. Then adjust your schedule.
I'm using my sponge as biological filtration, not mechanical. Other than some live plants I have growing on the surface there no refuse buildup on the surface whatsoever. I suspect this is due to having a very large area/surface velocity. What do you mean by "How bad it is"? Isn't that brown muck what holds the nitrifying bacteria?
 

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another part of it

I test my tanks and track parameters on a spread sheet.
Using RO and testing GH, KH, NO3, PO4 and TDS starting with clean tank baseline readings the relationship between TDS and the other recorded values correlate fairly closely. TDS numbers will shift with higher organic content in the water column while GH and KH tested results do not. Even after a major water change if the filter is filthy TDS will rapidly shift back upward out of the range I'm used to seeing. Noticed this happening and it's consistent so I guess rising TDS triggers my filter cleaning along with other things that experience has me sensitive to on my tanks. Like seeing deficiencies in the plants once your used to keeping them.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Is the shift in TDS sudden (as in normally at 200, jumps to 800) or more linear (goes up at 50 per week, you clean the filter if it exceeds X)? Do any of your other water parameters change other than the TDS (small NO2 readings maybe)?
Thanks for the replies so far, this is starting to make sense.
 

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no ammonia or nitrites ever seen after the cycle.
Normal weekly dosing and organic build up the shift is more like 159 - 165, 165 - 173 so smaller even 149 - 162, 215 - 231 (got pages of this LOL)
A jump of 40 in a week would be a dirty filter. If a jump happens overnight it's a dirty filter.

All this is slightly different tank to tank but this should convey what I see after recording this stuff for years because I'll test, most people hate testing. Recording temperature shifts spawning, feeding, all of the stuff going on in the tanks shows a pattern after awhile.

LMAO I'm not a smart tanker, I just know how to read LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So higher dissolved solids (what's the unit on that, PPM?) is an indicator. Taking this question further:
What are the effects of higher TDS? What is a reasonable level? Do all your tanks have the filters jump at the same level (example, 600) or is it different per tank? If you didn't change the filter the week you noticed the jump, would the TDS increase at an exponential or linear rate?
 

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Agree with above,after a while one knows how often to perform water changes and when to clean filter's.
Canister filter get's cleaned each month in heavily planted, heavily stocked tank with prolly more food than is necessary, but fish are fat and sassy and spawning at regular interval's.(tetra's ,barbs,pencilfish,white clouds,cory's.)
Oxygen level's in sealed canister's can be much less when media becomes dirty or covered with mulm,dirt,waste = anerobic condition.
This is less likely to happen with HOB filter's which are exposed to more oxygen, but when dirty media affect's flow,,then more waste will fall to the bottom rather than kept in water column for filter to grab= dirtier condition'ds for plant's livestock.
Is in my view no one size fit's all maint scheme, but by keeping media and water cleaner than some,,I can let my tank's go a week or two (vacation's) and not worry bout plant's or fish as opposed to those who are walking fine line between clean or toxic condition's.
Haven't picked up a test kit in a few year's .
 

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I used to be very scientific/annal about testing...everything. I got to a point were i could look at my tanks and tell trouble was starting, and water test usually backed up my observations.

These days I only use course foam filters, 20 PPI...which is about what pond foam typically is. When I do a water change I squeeze out the foam in the water I've just removed.

On the tanks were I'm using a HOB, I have foam prefilters on the intake. I alternate squeezing them out every other change.

The filter's primary job is to buy to time until the next water change. Getting the loose "dirt" is a bonus.
 

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So higher dissolved solids (what's the unit on that, PPM?) is an indicator. Taking this question further:
What are the effects of higher TDS? What is a reasonable level? Do all your tanks have the filters jump at the same level (example, 600) or is it different per tank? If you didn't change the filter the week you noticed the jump, would the TDS increase at an exponential or linear rate?
My equipment displays PPM but either way it's still just simple math and logging.
TDS shifts I've recorded only jump rapidly after a water change in the case of a dirty filter other then that linear for the most part. If I see the jump that's a perfect catch because I don't clean filters on the same day as a large water change. Also that's about all I have to contribute because what I've described once I discovered it has been a pattern I follow. Never does flow stop even on the smallest sponge equipped power heads I use because the cleaning is automatic for me. I verify with tests and pen or don't but feeding my fish and looking at the tank the 'feel' is there.

Not as fine tuned as Tom Barr, Mr Green or roadmaster maybe but I can read my tanks.
 

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Once a year or until performance is noticeably compromised and then clean it complected with scrub brushes including the hoses inside and out with hot water, noting any substantial wear between the impeller and shaft. Then reassemble with new poly-batten surrounding the circumferential perimeter of the filters massive surface area, and you good for another year.

Basket inline filters, well their designed to clog early so you can fill them with more media $$, id say once every 2 months to 4 months if your lucky before you have to brake the whole thing down and clean the clogged lines as well. Make sure you have a back up filter to ease the shock of frequent cleanings and bio-sterilization, which is hard on the tank and fish.
 

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I like the way your internal makes great use of space in the corner and provide a climb and food for your climbing plant. I think this would also make an excellent sump-pump return hide and secondary return filter. I raise Black Mollies in my sumps and this would also protect fry without clogging the intake like the usual sponge strainer.:proud:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If I were to do it again I would do a couple things differently:
1) I would use double strength (or thicker) glass rather than the aluminum angle. It has corroded more than I've seen in other tanks.
2) I would use thicker foam (3 inch rather than 2") so it covered a slightly smaller footprint for the same volume. I originally had the foam for a 55 where it sat on the end, so I opted to keep using it.
3) Maybe not a great idea, but I'd like to try one of these horizontally rather than vertically in the future.
4) Really I'd rather just run two ports out the bottom of the tank. The idea behind this (other than being quiet) was that everything going into/out of my tank would fit in a 3/4 inch wire wrap, with nothing under the tank other than power. Adding a 20 pound CO2 tank sort of changed the whole "nothing under the tank" thing. Of course then I'd have to put the reactor, heater, and pump elsewhere. Right now it's all contained behind the foam.
Build here:
http://www.aquariumforum.com/f45/story-jccaclimber-fish-75-gal-build-19508.html
 

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Oh wow, for some reason at a glance it appeared that you were using plastic craft canvas, basically the same stuff they use to make canister pump strainers out of. It comes is a pack of eight 4x8" sheets for $3 and can be cut, shaped, and heat welded to any shape and never corrodes. Pretty strong when shaped in an arch or circle.
http://www.google.com/#q=plastic+craft+canvas+supplies&hl=en&prmd=imvns&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=o9aPTuGVJrHfsQKL_dyQAQ&ved=0CIABEK0E&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=70a8e804359576a7&biw=1680&bih=937
 
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