How To Properly Clean A Used Canister Filter From A Smoker?

  1. GuyWhoLovesBacon Initiate Member

    Hello friends,

    As the title suggests, I bought a used canister filter (EHEIM, not sure which model but it's old) recently and I managed to piece it together and it's in working condition. However, the previous owner was a bit of a smoker and I've cleaned it as much as I can but I can still smell the tar off of it and the water does turn yellow-ish when I run it (currently have it running in a bucket when I was testing it out). I've bought stuff from this person before and I fixed the issue somewhat by using a vinegar solution (scrubbed an aquaclear HOB filter and the media with it and issue's been gone ever since) and I'm doing the same right now in that I have a very weak vinegar solution running through the filter and scrubbed as much of the stuff as I could and cleaned the first couple of inches of each end of the tubes with this tiny pipe cleaner I have (the inside of the tubes have some sort of black stuff in it and I think that it's either tar or just stains from being used over the years, leaning more towards the stains from over the year bit) but I'm worried that this isn't enough. Any thoughts on what I can do? I plan on using this on my main 95 gallon tank which has 2 HOB filters on it so it'd be great if I can get some help.
  2. AllieSten Fishlore VIP Member

    You could use bleach. Just be careful with the O rings. I would pull them all off. Scrub everything with bleach water, rinse with dechlorinated water, and put it all back together. I bet it will work better than the vinegar. As long as you rinse very well and let air dry for 24-48 hour the bleach won’t be an issue. Bleach is chlorine. Same stuff as in our tap water. Dechlorinators make it non-toxic. But it is better to be safe and rinse extra well with dechlorinators. Just to be extra cautious.
  3. DarkOne Well Known Member Member

    While running it in the bucket, add 3% hydrogen peroxide to get rid of most of the black stuff (probably algae).
  4. GuyWhoLovesBacon Initiate Member

    I don't know where any of the o-rings are and this is the first canister filter I've ever owned :/ Also, should I also scrub the bio media with the bleach solution? How would I be able to scrub the inside of the long tubes with the bleach water though? I read up on someone using a wire hanger and uncoiling it and attaching a piece of cloth to clean the insides but I don't have access to a wire hanger at the moment.

    Do you know where I can get 3% H202? Pharmacy maybe?
  5. DarkOne Well Known Member Member

  6. GuyWhoLovesBacon Initiate Member

    The product you linked doesn't exist for me haha

    Sounds good, I'll look into it. I just want to make sure that the canister filter won't ruin and kill my already well-established tank, you know?
  7. DarkOne Well Known Member Member

    Search this on Amazon:

    yueton Aquarium Water Filter Pipe Air Tube Hose Stainless Steel Cleaning Brush Flexible Double Ended Hose Brush(61inch)
  8. GuyWhoLovesBacon Initiate Member

    $45...I think I'll find a way to DIY that instead lol. Thanks though!
  9. DarkOne Well Known Member Member

    Wow... It's $5.66 in the US :p
  10. AllieSten Fishlore VIP Member

    As far as the canister tubing. Get an old wire hanger, pull it apart, then use cheesecloth on the tip. Run it on the inside of the tubing. Sort of like a bottle brush. It will scrub the inside of the tubing. It is a pain in the butt for sure.

    The O rings are the plastic round rings, that are inside most of the connections. Where the tubing goes into the canister, they are a very soft rubber. Bleach will ruin them.