Cleaning filter?

cicatriz

hI all,

wondering how often and how one should clean the filter in a tank.

the tank in questions is 10gal in size and stocked with 3 smallish fish.

the filter used is a topfin.

do I just rinse the filter?

do I buy a new one?

how can I tell its time to change it? will this be reflected in water chemistry?

thanks
 

JMatt1983

I clean my filter and filter media once a month, that means, I rinse my media is old tank water from my water change, and take my filter body apart,(intake tube, impeller assembly and such) and clean them completely with cotton swabs, and used tank water
 

Gunnie

There's no need to clean the filter unless your water flow back into the tank is slowing down. I believe you have filter media which consists of a pouch which contains carbon. You simply rinse the filter media in old tank water to get some of the gunk off and replace it in your filter. Most of your tank's good bacteria is in this media, so you want to keep it as long as you can. Once your pouch starts falling apart or gets too gunked up to be cleaned anymore, you can take a small piece of it an place it in your new pouch to "seed" the new media. Make sure you rinse in old tank water and not water straight from the tap or you will kill of the good bacteria. When doing tank maintenance, it's not necessary to "clean" the filter each time you do water changes, only when it's sluggish. If you have a sponge in your filter, squeeze it out in old tank water until it doesn't feel slimy anymore and put it back in the filter. Sponges can last decades and won't need replacing for a long time.
 

cicatriz

awesome! great response, thanks for the excellent tips!
 

sjlchgo

A question I have is do you clean the actual filter itself? Meaning the machine. If so, how often and with what? I've cleaned my intake tube with a brush, but the lip where the water flows back into the tank is cruddy. Is that "good bateria" or should it be cleaned?
 

jsalemi

Every 2-3 months for the filter body itself is fine. The lip is probably catching any water impurities or tank gunk that's slipping through the filter media -- no harm in cleaning it when you clean the filter body. You can clean it with the same brush you use to clean the intake tube, or get a 'veggie scrubber' type brush at your local supermarket and make sure you just use it for fish stuff.

Just keep the filter media damp/wet while you're cleaning the filter body.
 

tony

I usually clean my filters with well water. I know that chlorine in the water can kill the bacteria in the filter but there is no chlorine in my well water so does that mean I can clean my filters with it?

p.s. I have bio-wheels too. So they should make up for at least some of the dead bacteria, right?

Thank you!
 

Alessa

they should, but to be completely safe, id clean them with used tank water.
 

tony

Well can I use well water for my water changes? as long as there aren't any ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates and the ph is good?
 

Slug

Truthfully when ever I do the monthly major filter cleaning, I just take them to the sink and wash them with tap water. Never had a problem. There should be enough bacteria still on items in the tank to be fine.
 

tony

Me too! lol. but can put well water into my tank? For the water changes?
 

Alessa

it really isn't recommended at all... one of these days all the bacteria may die setting you up to a minI cycle...

Like chickadee already said in another thread, do not expect fish tanks and filters to be immaculately clean, because they will not. There is no reason to wash your filters in tap or unterated water because that "green slime" growing in them is keeping your fish alive and happy. A good swish in USED TANK WATER is all the filter needs to get rid of the extra dirty stuff in it.

even if you test your water after every single of those "tap water filter cleanings" (do you?) you may not see the spikes, but it does not mean they are not there, it is just that they are too little to be seen, but even little ammounts of ammonia and nitrite are harmful to fish.

and tony, most of the time well water does not have either of those above mentioned chemicals. it is the chlorhine, chloramines and heavy metals sometimes present in tap or well water that are dangerous to the bacteria. And to fish. If you are positive that your well water is as pure as it can be, then if you want, do the water changes with it. although if it was me I would still treat it... a gallon of treated water is just 3 drops of Prime water conditioner.

I don't mean to sound mean but really, by keeping that filter shiny clean the only thing you are doing is risking its purpose.
 

COBettaCouple

Well water can be used, but should be treated with water conditioner just like tap water. There can be heavy metals, etc in well water that would be harmful to the fish. Prime would be good to use.

What we do with our filters is swish the filter media in some removed tank water each week when we do the weekly tank cleaning.
 

tony

Well I know that our water is not the best. It is very hard, but we do have a water softener. The water is high in sulfur and iron. I have tested it and it has no ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates and the ph is 7. But can I use well water with prime conditioner even though my water isn't the best?
 

Alessa

yes, the prime will make it good.
 

tony

Ok. Thank you.
 

tony

I just found some conditioner that I already have. It says that it removes toxins, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Can I use it?

This is a picture of it
 

COBettaCouple

Amquel+ is a good product, I used it before finding Prime. It's not as good as Prime, but is good.
 

Sayuz123

Hi. I needed some advice on cleaning filters. I've got an internal submersible power filter. It's got a power head on the top and attached to it is a compartment divided into two parts and filled with plastic sponge. How often do I clean the filter and how do I clean it?
 

Aquarist

Good morning,

You really don't want to clean the filter per say. What you want to do is rinse the filter media in siphoned tank water from time to time to prevent clogging. Using siphoned tank water will help preserve the beneficial bacteria needed to sustain the cycle.

Remember that most of the beneficial bacteria needed to sustain the cycle is in your filter. I rinse my filter media once a month or if I see a reduced flow from the out put area. Just a gentle squeeze or two and that's it. You can use the same filter media over and over until it's falling apart.

I don't have the same type of filter that you've mentioned but the idea to preserve the beneficial bacteria is universal

Ken
 

JWalker

Soo help me out here. I know that you are supposed to rinse the filter media in tank water however my question is, how much do you actually wash the media?

I see you say just a squeeze or two? So do you just get the big bits of dirt of basically and not really clean all the dirt\particles out of the media?

Also must the media be in the tank water at all times or can you rinse and then leave the media out of water while you rinse the next lot?

How my questions make sense?
 

Aquarist

Good morning,

You always want to keep your filter media wet. You don't want to clean it so much that it looks like new. Over cleaning can be as harmful as not cleaning at all.

Too, once you replace the filter media back into the filter you can expect some detritus to flow back into the tank when you turn it on. Don't panic, it's just going to happen.

My sponges, I just squeeze a time or two to remove the largest amount of waste from the sponge. Same for filter floss if you use it. As for ceramic cubes/tubes, I just place them in the siphoned tank water along with the rest of the media. They really don't need a squeeze or anything. Just a dip or two in the siphoned tank water and that's it.

Ken
 

Sayuz123

All right. Thnx a lot Ken.
 

Aquarist


Ken
 

limpet102511

So my tank is cycling and its been almost a month seance I had this tank. I was wondering how I should go about cleaning the media as to not affect the BB. I have a HOB filter that uses bio bags any ideas?
 

Matt B

I wouldn't touch it for now unless its so clogged it bypassing in which case just swish it around in old tank water. This early in the tanks development I would avoid disturbing it at all if possible.
 

limpet102511

alright sounds good
 

Siggi

Welcome to FishLore,
Normally it is good to add some info about the brand and type of the equipment.
The filters should normally be left to themselves - that's the best way for them to do their job...
When output decreases visibly, it may be time to clean the pre-filter or the mechanical filter that takes out the larger particles.
The biological part of the filter shoudn't need cleaning, especially after only one month's filtering...

When you do clean the filter media, remember never to use tap water, as this contains substances designed to kill microorganisms (this is good for us, but very bad for the bacteria you have been growing in your filter, by cycling it). So the best is to do as Matt B said: take some water from the tank the filter is attached to, when doing a water change, and shake the filter in this water, just enough to allow water to circulate again - do not clean too much or you'll just clean away your bacteria...

So, the idea is not to clean the filter
 

hssea

I use the HOB filters, the double sided ones. I will clean (swoosh in removed tank water) only one side of the filter and then the next time I'll do the other side filter. I've been using the same filter material (insert) for years. The charcoal does break down after about a month....so what I did is cut filters open and remove all the charcoal. I also added a thicker filter pad ....to grow more beneficial bacteria on.
 

limpet102511

where do you get the thicker filter pad from hssea?
 

hssea

I believe it came from Foster & Smith. It's such a large package that it will last forever, esp when you don't replace them . You just cut the size and shape you need. With a cartridges, after cutting them open and shaking out all of the charcoal , I keep thin very thin filter pad and the plastic "frame" the thicker pad sticks to the thinner pad and then just slips it back into the HOB filter. I've still got room to put some charcoal in a panty hose or media bag if I need to use some charcoal.
 

limpet102511

humm going to have to give that a try
 

hssea

So my tank is cycling and its been almost a month seance I had this tank. I was wondering how I should go about cleaning the media as to not affect the BB. I have a HOB filter that uses bio bags any ideas?

Sounds like you have those white bio bags that clip on the top. You could shake out the carbon, then tuck in a thicker filter pad into the bio bag. And if you want make up some small charcoal bags (use knee highs) that fit behind bio bags and then once a month throw charcoal bag away . I only use charcoal "bags" if removing medicine or if water gets a little cloudy....rarely is a problem though
 

limpet102511

humm I wonder I got a 3 pack the the bio bags and yes they are the white bags with the clip wonder if I can empty one of the other bags I have if I could just slide that inside?
 

jhigg008

What is the best way to clean the filter pad during a water change? Do I just swish it around in the bucket of siphoned tank water? It is an activated carbon filled filter for a tetra whisper. It is about 3 months old now and I should probably change it, but I am going through a minicycle and don't want to make things worse.
 

dcutl002

Wash it out in old tank water. I would get a plastic pot scrubbie from the dollar store and put it in the Whisper filter so that you can always have beneficial bacteria even when you change the filter cartridge.
 

CindiL

Just clean it in old tank water really well. Once your tank seems back on track you can cut the floss off of the frame, toss the rest and put the new filter with the old floss back into the filter box. After a couple weeks you can toss the old floss.
 

jhigg008

Awesome thanks! By clean it out though, do you mean just swish around? If I scrub it with my fingers or a washcloth it will kill the BB right?
 

dcutl002

I think you will be fine squeezing out the sludge with your fingers in old tank water.
 

CindiL

Awesome thanks! By clean it out though, do you mean just swish around? If I scrub it with my fingers or a washcloth it will kill the BB right?

Don't use a wash cloth but I scrub mine with my hands every week to get all the stuff they've caught out of them.

The BB is microscopic and clings/adheres to surfaces via a bio-film they secrete. They are not easy to get rid of
 

Koniucha

How often and how do you clean out filters?
 

uncclewis

What type of filtration device, brand etc...
 

clk89

I clean my filters in dirty water once a week when I do the water change. I have sponge filters, it may depend on the filter type too.
 

sheenalee

I clean mine out once a month. I have a aquaclear 70, which I take the "basket" out and kinda swish everything around in a bucket of either tank water or conditioned tap water. You just want to clean the gunk off that's it.
There's actually cleaning your filter out to we'll. Remember you don't want to harm any of the BB
 

jhammy96

I clean my HOB filter once a month and change the filter media
 

el337

I clean my HOB filter once a month and change the filter media

You never want to change your filter media unless it was falling apart or else you're throwing away your cycle. Just rinse in removed tank water or in dechlorinated tap water.
 

Koniucha

Ok, I've had the tank a month now, so this will be the first rinse.
 

ajint boo

I clean my HOB filters weekly and the canister filter every other week when I do my weekly water changes. I don't necessarily change the media but like to keep the gunk cleaned out so the filter is running at max capacity. If you don't keep the gunk cleaned out and the impellers clean the flow rate decreases. If you have a lightly stocked tank you might not have to do it as often.
 

Thetanknwebie

I have a Marineland Penguin 200 HOB. I don't change the filter media unless the filter pad breaks. Every water change I swish the pad in a bucket of dirty tank water. Once a month I take the filter, put it in the sink, and run it under tap water while scrubbing the inside with a toothbrush. When I scrub the filter, I put all the media in an old fishbowl filled with tank water to keep the cycle.
 

aquadude91

So as I already know it is important to use old tank water to clean out a cartridge filter or anything that has BB..... but my question is, in regards to this, is it OK to use fresh tap water that has been dosed with Prime? I can't see any "dechlorinator" removing chlorine this fast....
 

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