Do you need to unplug your filter during a water change?

Discussion in 'Water Changes' started by AspiringAquarist, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    I'm doing 50% daily water changes with Prime now since my tank is still cycling and there's fish in there. I have an AquaClear 50 filter, Tetra Whisper 20, and a Lustar Hydro Sponge III filter.

    My question is do I need to unplug the filters before the water change? Or should I let it run throughout the change until the water level becomes too low for the water intake tube?


  2. funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    I do for a couple reasons. I don't have any proof but I feel like the filter could get damaged if the water level gets too low (you'll notice less water getting pumped as the water level drops) especially if the water falls below the intake. Also, a lot is getting stirred, especially since I have sand, and I don't want the impellor to get damaged. It won't harm the fish if you leave the filter off for a short while so I would unplug it if I were you.

  3. cm11599psWell Known MemberMember

    I've always kept the filters on. My rationale is that if I'm cleaning and disturbing the gravel then the filter will help clear things up quicker. You probably want to unplug the heater though.

    1) If it cracks then isn't there a possibilty of you getting electrocuted?
    2) If the water level drops below the heater then the heater may crack.
  4. clickWell Known MemberMember

    I'm unplugging the heater and pump simply because I am not confortable with the idea that they both run on electricity and water is one of the best electric conductors. Even though the pump is below the tank, should there be a fault with the motor or sealers, there is probably 1 chance in a million to get shocked and I am not willing to take that chance. Call me insane but I say is better to be safe than sorry.
  5. inohuiam2New MemberMember

    Hello AspiringAquarist,

    Here is a link to the owner's manual for the AquaClear 50.


    In the manual, under "SAFEGUARDS", it reads: "11. The pump must not run dry."

    IMO, you should turn off the power to all electrical items while doing a water change of the amount you are doing. It's easy to get distracted while doing the water change and you might forget to be cautious of things that might require your attention.

    Click's warning is a great one and it wouldn't hurt to heed it.

  6. ristinNew MemberMember

    I turn mine off. I have everything plugged into a surge protector so I just hit the master off switch for everything. I'm running dual Aqua Tec 30-60's and there is a minimum water level line on the pump housing which isn't very far below the normal water level.
  7. CandymancanValued MemberMember

    I unplug it because its noisy if i dont.. The water doesnt drain from it, cause the filters sit lower then the water can escape from but the constant swishing of water is anoying.. I have all my stuff on a single surge protector so i just flip the switch to turn it all off.
  8. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember

    We always always always unplug our filters and heaters when doing water changes. You absolutely should not let your filter run dry. It would be like running your car with no oil. ;)
  9. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    Remember, if you do turn your filters off, be sure to keep your filter media wet!

  10. AspiringAquaristValued MemberMember

    When I turn off my filters there's no actual water in the filter box but when I touch the filter media it is still wet. Is this okay?
  11. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Morning AspiringAquarist,

    I would recommend placing the filter media in siphoned tank water just to be on the safe side.

  12. harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    Should be fine. The only time I move my filter media is to clean it. At this stage in the cycling game, you probably don't want to do that.

    BTW, the correct answer to your original question is that you should always always ALWAYS unplug all your equipment before you start your maintenance, due to the risk of electric shock. That said, I generally leave the lights on during water changes so I can see what I'm doing. I plug the lights into a GFCI outlet on the wall, and put all the other equipment on a power strip. That way, I can flip the power strip off and cut power to everything but the lights. But of course, for safety's sake, I won't recommend that anyone else do that. ;D

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