Hang Off Back Filter not working?

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Wintersprite, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    I have a Top Fin power 20 filter for my 20 gallon tank and am wondering if it is starting to malfunction. The problem I am having is that water is coming up the intake tube and then flowing out back over the tube. Some water is also over flowing by the intake tube and going directly to the out flow area. I am not sure if this is normal or not. The flow rate is on high right now. If I turn the flow back down to medium or low the water does seem to stop over flowing. Is there something I can do to fix this problem or has the filter started to malfunction? Here is a picture so you guys can see what I am talking about just in case my description was not very good.

    Attached Files:

  2. BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    Have you cleaned it lately? I would not say it is malfunctioning. I would think the filter cartridge needs to be rinsed out or replaced.

  3. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    I think it has been about 2 weeks since I swished the filter cartridge in old tank water when I did my weekly water change. I will try swishing it again when I do my weekly water change on Thursday. Hopefully that will solve the problem because I would not think that the cartridge needs to be replaced quite yet. The cartridge has only been in use for a little over 2 months now. Thank you for the suggestion.

  4. DanB80TTSWell Known MemberMember

    The reason the water is pouring out of the overflow is because it is coming into the filter faster than it can flow out of the outflow, this would suggest that your cartridge has become 'gunked' up and could do with a cleaning or changing, I wouldn't suggest changing the cartridge if the tank is fairly new though unless you have some other form of media in the filter with the cartridge.
  5. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    Ya I am going to try swishing the cartridge when I do my water change on Thursday to see if that solves the problem. If it does not solve the problem I do not know what it could be. I would think that the water flowing out of the outflow is not a good thing to have happen since it is not by passing the filter. The only other thing in the filter is the bio-filter which sits in front of the cartridge.
  6. DanB80TTSWell Known MemberMember

    I forgot the top fin filters do have that bio sponge, what I like to do with the HOBs that use cartridges is to remove the cartridge completely and use other forms of media instead, I will usually ditch them in favor of biorings and a prefilter sponge on the intake pipe.
    The sponges will clog over time and need to be rinsed out, but it is far easier to clean the prefilter sponge than it is a cartridge.
  7. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Hate to say it but Top Fin filters are quite possibly the worst HOBs on the market. Have heard so many stories of them stop working or malfunctioning within the first month. It's Petsmart's sad attempt at competing with other better brands with their cheap quality filters and heaters.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  8. Bijou88Well Known MemberMember

    My top fin 20 lasted all of 2 months max, no amount of cleaning would make it run properly. ...it finally just quit working entirely. :(

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  9. DanB80TTSWell Known MemberMember

  10. leftswerveWell Known MemberMember

    Most likely: The sponge and/or filter are clogged. The sponge can be rinsed (in tank water), but the filter bag should probably be replaced.
  11. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    Dan that does sound like a good idea. I might have to try that out. What biorings and pre-filter sponge would you suggest and would I be able to find them at Petco or Petsmart?

    I thought that the filter cartridge was not supposed to be replaced unless it was falling apart since it houses BB or is that only the case for the bio filter? I am going to try swishing both the bio-filter and cartridge in old tank water tomorrow during my water change to see if that solves the problem before I try to replace things.

    Later on down the road I do actually plan on replacing the filter with the Aquaclear 50 since it seems to be the most recommended one for a 20 gallon tank.
  12. DanB80TTSWell Known MemberMember

    I use Fluval prefilter sponges designed for the Fluval edge, biorings I use Fluval brand also, but if you are going to replace the filter anyway then I wouldn't bother, I'd just go ahead and get the AC50 and run them both for a while until the bacteria can colonise in the AC50.
  13. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    Thank you I will look into those. I plan on replacing the filter just not sure when right now. It may not be for another few months or so. Although, if cleaning the cartridge or replacing the cartridge does not solve the problem of the water flowing over then it may be soon than expected.
  14. WinterspriteValued MemberMember

    Today during my weekly water change I removed the carbon out of my cartridge since it was a few months old. Then I swished the cartridge real good in old tank water. I also swished the bio-filter sponge just in case that was clogged. I placed everything back together and then turned the filter back on to see if the problem had been solved. Unfortunately, the problem is still going on.

    I removed just the cartridge to see if it was the problem and once it was out the water flow is now no longer flowing out of the overflow. Would it be alright to leave the cartridge out and have just the bio-filter sponge in there? I thought about going down to petsmart to buy another cartridge but am not sure if the problem would start again if I put a new cartridge in there. Or could I put the Aqua Clear bio max filter insert in the filter instead of a new top fin cartridge?

    Here is a link to the bio max I am talking about:

  15. alirayFishlore VIPMember

    Did you clean out all the tubes to make sure nothing is blocked as well as the inside of the filter? Alison
  16. DanB80TTSWell Known MemberMember

    You could do that, but then you don't have mechanical filtration before the biomax, the biomax would get pretty dirty which is what you want to avoid since its main purpose is to provide surface area for bacteria.

    That biomax stuff isn't cheap either, if I remember it's about $10 for a bag, you would be better just spending the extra $20 and getting the AC filter.
  17. SnyperToddValued MemberMember

    The reason swishing the cartridge in tank water didn't help is because that's not getting it clean. You've got some biological media (the bio sponge), you shouldn't need to rely on the cartridge for biological filtration. Take it to a showerhead and actually clean it. I clean all of the sponges in all of my filters with a high-pressure showerhead until they get their original color back, and I've never had a mini cycle doing this.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  18. leftswerveWell Known MemberMember

    Years ago I used whisper HOB and they had a frame that was covered with the bag. I used to make a bag out of screen and line it with polyfil that would fit over the old frame.
    I know money doesn't grow on trees, but after trying what SnyperTodd suggested, see if you can reuse the frame. Poly and carbon(if you want) are inexpensive in bulk compared to cartridge refills.
  19. JoyToTheFishesValued MemberMember

    I had the same thing happen to mine just a few days ago when I overfed my tank some algae wafers..

    I noticed that water wasn't flowing well.. and when I opened it up the intake pipe and the sponge were blocked with a super yucky algae..

    Lesson learned.
  20. GenaWell Known MemberMember

    I have to do maintenance at least one a week on one of my HOB filters. Clean out the propeller, wash out the old vaseline and add new. I also clean the intake tube and make sure the media is placed well.

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