Cracked Canister Filter - I Have A Situation.

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Kleinerhejhog, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. KleinerhejhogNew MemberMember

    Hi, all. I am not really new to fishkeeping, have had some on and off for more years than I care to admit. Most of my fish knowledge is pretty old though, and basically wrong, I guess. I was given some information a couple of years ago by some folks in my hermit crab group, and I was able to finally get my tank stabilized and stopped losing fish.

    Fast forward to now. The tank was in the living room. We replaced carpet, so the tank had to move. I wanted to move it to another room, and put a different filter on it anyway. I have hit a rather large snag, and quick forum searches haven’t really helped, and not sure how long what I have going on will be tenable.

    The tank is 29 gallons. My plan was to temporarily relocate the fish (four red fin tetras and a black skirt tetra) to the kitchen counter, deal with the carpet, set up the regular tank in its new spot with the different filter and once ready, move the fish back in.

    Part one went okay, I filled a five gallon tank with water from the big tank and moved the fish, a plant, the air pump, heater, and the HOB filter over. I put all the gravel and other deco stuff in a bucket on the back porch to get cleaned when I could get to it.

    Got busy with the carpet and life and stuff, fish still on the counter a couple weeks later. This past week finally came back to this project, got the tank and stand clean and relocated, and set to work on the different filter. Different filter is a second hand Filstar XP2 that came with the 55 (I think, been a while) gallon tank I bought for my hermit crabs. Cleaned it all out as it had been sitting in the garage since I got it. First problem I encountered was that I had to make new holes in the back of the stand to run the hoses through. Not that big a deal, the back of it really needs to be replaced anyhow since the HOB filter has been peeing down the outside of the tank for who knows how long. And, the space in the stand is only just barely tall enough to fit this filter. But, I can make it work. So, filled up the tank, primed the filter, and only a couple of false starts, had water moving through it. I’d have been completely tickled if it wasn’t so noisy. And a little while later I was decidedly untickled when I discovered that this filter pees too. Took it all apart and found a crack in the bottom. My husband suggested a pool patch, as we had just recently used one on our pool that is holding in 4000 some gallons just fine. But even if I thought that was a good idea, the crack is across one of the knobs that hold the rubber feet on, not a flat surface.

    A couple of phone calls on Friday, and I learned I can buy a replacement case for 59.99. Ugh. Had to think about that.

    But here’s where my monkey wrench joins the party. Late last night I discovered that the HOB filter is not working. It hums, but it is not moving water, and tank looks yucky. I have no idea how long it’s been this way. So this morning, despite its leak, I set up the canister filter on the kitchen floor to run on this little bitty tank, and set all the media from the HOB right in the tank until I can figure out what to do.

    I have not come across any way to fix the crack in the case. I have seen mixed opinions on this brand of filter. I have tried probably half a dozen kinds of HOB filters over the years and honestly never liked any of them. I was pretty excited about acquiring this canister filter to try.

    So now to my questions.
    1. Is it worth getting a replacement case, or would I be better off with a new less expensive canister filter? My worry is that a different one will simply not fit if it’s taller.
    2. Is there any way I can put the HOB media in this canister filter (or a different one)? Everything is a different shape, so I have no idea how that would work, but I really don’t want to just lose those bacteria colonies.
    3. Should I have moved the gravel to the little tank too? I never occurred to me until I read something here that there might good bacterias there. It’s too late now, thanks to the Texas heat it’s just a bucket full of dry dirty rocks.
    4. Is there any way my poor fish are going to survive this ordeal?

    Thanks for reading all this, and thanks for any words of wisdom you might have!

    P.S. In no time at all, the water in the little bitty tank was sparkly clear with the enormous canister filter running...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2018
  2. Lagertha

    LagerthaValued MemberMember

    I’m not going to answer your questions as I’m not experienced enough myself but I will tell you your fish should be kept in groups of six or more.

    I’ll let someone with more experience on filters and such give responses to the rest.
  3. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore! You seem to be experiencing quite the ordeal.

    1) You'd be hard pressed to find a new canister filter for less than the $59 dollars a new case would cost, but there is a brand called Sunsun (I think you can buy them from e-Bay) that several members have purchased and claimed they were very happy with them. I believe they are under $50, but I don't think they come with any filter media, so if you don't have filter media that you could put in there (but it sounds like you do) that would be an additional expense.

    2) If there's a will there's a way. Depending on your media your may have to cut it up, rip floss off a plastic frame etc, but you should be able to add your existing media from the HOB in with the media in the canister. After several week, the media in the canister should get seeded from the media that was in the HOB, and you can then remove the old HOB media from the canister.

    3) Only move the gravel if you like how it looks. There is very little bacteria in the gravel since it is not as good a home for the bacteria as the filter media is. And bacteria likes to like in the best home.

    4) Of course! If you lost you cycle or are experiencing a mini cycle just keep your ammonia+nitrite levels under 1ppm at all times and use Prime as your water conditioner. Since a standard dose of Prime can detox up to 1ppm of ammonia and/or nitrite for 24 hours, your fish will be safe from toxin exposure.

    Best of luck!

  4. OP

    KleinerhejhogNew MemberMember

    I know. Plan to address that after I get the tank sorted out.

    Yeah, this is just the fish part of what I’ve got going on right now. :p
    In my mind I was thinking a new one that costs less than a new Filstar. While inexpensive is kind of a priority, I would want something that will last more than ten minutes, and is quiet. Been listening to this one run in my kitchen for over a day, and it’s pretty loud. Not sure that ultimately I am going to be able to tolerate that much noise in my chosen final location. I kind of doubt being inside a wooden cabinet is going to muffle it much.
    The HOB is a Fluval 50, so two bags of stuff and a square sponge. The ceramic things are easy, the charcoal shouldn’t be too hard. Can I cut the spong in slices and just replace one of the foams in the canister (I think I have three of them in there)? If there’s one or two the right size, then does it matter if the sponge slices don’t fill up the whole space? And is there any benefit to doing it at all if I end up getting a different filter altogether?
    I don’t blame it. So do I. ;) I won’t sweat that one then.
    Prime is life around here for fish and hermit crabs. It was the one good piece of advice I got at my local corporate fish mart when I went in complaining that whatever it was I was using before clearly wasn’t cutting it. Hang on, fish, I’ll get this mess straightened out!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2018
  5. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I'm a big fan of the Fluval Canister filters myself. They are very quite and very easy to maintain.

    Cutting the old sponge up would be fine, and no they do not have to fill the entire space. But really, since the ceramic media is the best home, most of your bacteria should reside there, so you may want to skip putting that in. If your cabon is more than a month old, you should just replace it with new.

    There is a benefit, because then you can take that seeded media out of the old filter and put it into the new filter. If your tank doesn't cycle instantly with the old media in the new filter, it should cycle pretty darn quick.
  6. OP

    KleinerhejhogNew MemberMember

    I think the Fluval canister is probably too tall. The space I need it to go in is only 14 inches tall.

    I must be tired, I totally misread that as most of the bacteria is in the ceramic, so I should skip the ceramic...

    Heading farther down the rabbit hole, I read that carbon may not be necessary if the tank is planted. Is that so, and how much plantlife would I need to make that work?
  7. wodesorel

    wodesorelWell Known MemberMember

    The Fluval 106 is the shortest and cheapest, but it would need at least 16 inches to clear any bend in the tubing.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  8. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    You may have been tired, but the problem was that I am a terrible writer.

    What I meant is most of the bacteria lives in the ceramic media (because it is a better home than the sponge), so you may want to skip putting the sponge in the new filter. But you should put the ceramic media in the new filter.

    Sorry for causing you confusion.
  9. AquaticJ

    AquaticJFishlore VIPMember

    I have a Fluval 206 on my 29. It's 15 inches tall. Amazing filter, I have to put my ear directly against it to hear anything.
  10. OP

    KleinerhejhogNew MemberMember

    I may be stuck with getting another HOB then. The space is only 14 inches, which this Filstar fits in, but I really hesitate to spend $60 for a new case for a freaking noisy filter.
  11. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    You really can't go wrong with an AquaClear filter then.

    I would recommend an AquaClear 70. Even though the AquaClear 50 is supposed to be rated for a tank size of 20g to 50g, the AquaClear 50 only moves 200 GPH (Gallons Per Hour), but you really want 10x your tank volume per hours and the AquaClear 70 moves 300 GPH.
  12. OP

    KleinerhejhogNew MemberMember

    Now unexpected car repairs and an upcoming trip are putting my fishes on hold again. So, some new questions.

    1. I dug out an old HOB filter from my mess of fish stuff. It says it’s an Aquaclear 150, but it’s smaller than the Fluval 50. How can I figure out what it’s capacity really is? I’m sure it’s sufficient for this 5 gallon tank, and almost as sure it won’t cut it for the 29 gallon tank.

    2. I can fit the ceramic thingies and the sponge unaltered in the smaller filter, but it doesn’t really leave any room for activated carbon. Would it be okay to just leave that out for a couple of weeks, or should I cut the sponge down to make room for carbon?

    3. What makes a filter run loudly, and is there anything that can be done to fix it? Specifically the Filstar.

    4. Does replacing the water that leaked out the bottom of a filter count as a water change...
  13. wodesorel

    wodesorelWell Known MemberMember

    The Aquaclear 150 is 150gph. So no, not enough for 29 gallons but it would be better than nothing and it might work decently if your stocking is light.

    I would forget the carbon for now. I personally haven't used any in years but I know some people prefer it. It is not a must though.

    Filters can run loudly due to problems with the impeller - debris or metal shavings caught on the magnet, scratches to the housing, build-up of gunk, etc; air getting sucked into the lines through small holes or seals that aren't tight; problems with the motor which is usually sealed and cannot be accessed; gremlins. I thought my HOB was toast last week but after a few hours of running it the grinding that started for no reason disappeared.

    I would look into PVC/plexi patches for the busted bottom of your canister. I have had good luck with PVC glue for patching and repairing broken filter pieces. It's safe for potable water once cured, and it's meant to be used with plastic pipe so it sticks. It smells horrendous so use it outside, and it may take a few days to air out. It would probably not be permanent with the weight involved, but you may be able to scrounge up what you need from friends and family and give yourself some more time! Anyone who DIYs plumping should have a can of the primer and glue laying around.
  14. OP

    KleinerhejhogNew MemberMember

    Sooo, got home last night and discovered this morning that the HOB filter was unplugged, and apparently it has been since I left two weeks ago-miscommunication with hubby. Plugged it in, added some fresh water, and tested, ammonia is .25, nitrite is zero and nitrate is...really high. I do still have five fish, so there is that.

    Are Marineland or Penn Plax filters any good? Hubs said he found a couple of those that the dimensions should work for the space I have, but I simply have not had a chance to look into them any further.
  15. OP

    KleinerhejhogNew MemberMember

    No, huh? Okay.
  16. AquaticJ

    AquaticJFishlore VIPMember

    I’d make a new thread as it’s been a month and a half, I can help later but I have to go somewhere right now. Marineland is better than Penn, but Aquaclear beats both.

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