The WORST imaginable has happened - NEED HELP ASAP !!!

  • #1
I knew this was going to happen and that it was just a matter of time. Should have taken precautionary steps in advance. I was doing a water change in my 75 gallon planted tank last night, and after cleaning my canister filter (Rena Filstar XP3) and putting it back, it stopped working. I was trying to figure out ALL NIGHT (until 5 am) what was wrong and to make it work again (priming it a 100 times, opening it and closing it hundreds of times, etc.). But nothing would work. This filter has stopped working like this about 10 times last summer, for no reason, but then it would turn on again. But this time, it won't turn on. It's a new filter, had it running for about 9 months. From the first day I had nothing but troubles with this filter. I am now officially a hater of canister filters. NEVER AGAIN will I buy a canister (unless it's Eheim - that would be the only exception ever).

Don't know about your experience, but in my opinion XPs are the WORST canister filters ever, sorry (don't want to offend people who like those filters). I should have NEVER bought this filter. I regret my dumb decision.

So, the tank has been unfiltered since about 10 pm last night and it's almost 12 pm now. I will run to my LFS just now to buy 2 power filters: Aqua Clear 110 + Aqua Clear 70 (will give me a total of 800 gph of filtration). Now, I have a few questions.

Do you think all the nitrifying bacteria have died by now in the XP3 filter (in the sponges and in the biological media)? I want to move as much media from the XP3 into the Aqua Clear 110 as possible. And I already have one Aqua Clear 70 over my 30 gallon tank that has 2 sponges, so I'll move one sponge from there to my new AQ 70 over my 75 gallon tank.

DO you think all bacteria are dead in the XP3 filter media? What are the chances they're not dead? Will moving them to my AQ 110 help with the cycle? A little bit at least?

I am so afraid all of my fish will die. God, I am so scared. I actually cried last night (well, morning actually). :'( :'( :'( Please tell me what to do, help me!

P.S. Will the fact that the tank is established and well-planted help with the cycle? (i.e. all the bacteria on all tank surfaces + plants consume nitrates too).
  • #2
you should be okay with using the old sponges from your rena and "activating" the newones in the aqua clear. Also, because your tank is so well set up (from the pictures I've seen anyways), you should be alright with the brief lack in filtration. Have you ever phyically taken appart the rena and checked all the little fans etc? Usually they'll get clogged causing it to not work.

Keep us updated and best of luck
  • #3
The fish should be fine.
Rinse the media like you do for an ordinary cleaning and use it in the new filters.

Before you set up the new filters, do a 25% water change.

My best thoughts are with you,
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Rbacchiega, there isn't a hole in the XP3 I haven't checked last night/morning. I was taking the filter apart and putting it together all night until 5 am. Believe me, all is clear, nothing is clogged up. This filter had stopped working like this before, but never for more than an hour or so. I was going to throw it anyway, but I didn't think it would actually stop working after only 9 months of use. I think I'll send it back to the company and demand my money back. Nothing but troubles with this filter, I hate it. Hated it from the day I had it. Never any filter from this company, ever again.

I'll have to pay $140 (+ tax) for my 2 Aqua Clears today ($80 for the 110 and $60 for the 70 model). I'd buy the same 2 filters for around $100 only on Big Al's Online (bigalsonline), but unfortunately I have no time to wait even one day for the delivery. I need to have the filters right now. So I need to pay the extra $40. OK, never mind the price right now, I gotta go to the store. See you all in a bit.

P.S. I'd even pay $200 for the 2 Aqua Clears - that's how great these filters are.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thank you Dino.

Dino, I did about a 50% water change yesterday and cleaned all the filter media yesterday. Do I still need to do the 25% water change and rinse the media?

Do you think there'll be a mini-cycle or a major cycle?

(OK, I really have to go now. See you soon.)
  • #6
Our worked fine..but we got another one which works Astro Professional???. It's European filter I think....we bought off a guy who had taken a trip to Europe and bought a bunch of fish items.
Don't panic...your tank doesn't have a fish over load so that will help. Your tank should be fine. I am not sure about all your bacteria questions tho.
I think things will be fine as long as you are getting new filters soon.
  • #7
At worst, you will have a minI cycle.

This goes to show why folks should stock their tanks at a reasonable level.
Then, when something does happen, you have less chance of it turning into a disaster.

With the change yesterday, there should be no need for another water change.
  • #8
I've used everything from renas, aquaclears, ehiems, fluvals you name it. And I do find the occasional glitch in everything. Maybe the only way to get rid of the problems is to create my own all amazing filter of luck
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I understand an occasional glitch in any filter, but not continuous and never-ending problems in a brand new filter. The XP3 has been exteremely loud ever since I first turned it on (can't count the number of sleepless nights I've had because of this filter). And come on, stopping to work over 10 times? No, that's it. Enough. I really don't have the time for this.

Anyway, I'm back from my LFS with the 2 Aqua Clears (110 and 70). The AC 110 is up and running, very quiet compared to the XP3, thank goodness. I've put almost all media (sponges + biological media) from the XP3 inside the AC 110. I cut the sponges so that they fit the AC media basket. I put aside the new filter media that came with the AC 110; they'll be added to the filter with time, later on. If the bacteria haven't died in the XP3 filter, then most of them are right now in the AC 110. Maybe I won't get a mini-cycle (God, I hope so). Do you think the bacteria can survive 12 hours without filtration?

But there is another problem: The Aqua Clear 70 does not fit on the trim of my tank! :-\ If I want it to fit and push it all the way down on the trim, then the intake tube pops off its place (and therefore can't suck the water in). There is no way for this filter to fit. I think I'll have to return it as I'll have no use for this filter (unless my AC 70 on my 30 gallon tank breaks).

The AC 110 pumps 500 gallons per hour. The AC 70 pumps 300 gph. Together, they give me 800 gph of filtration. It's generally recommended to have a filtration of at least 10 x the volume of your tank (meaning 750 gph for a 75 gallon tank). The XP3 filtered only 350 gph, but I've been told here on Fish Lore that: for canister filters, it's OK to have a filtration level of 5 x the volume of your tank, but for power filters it's best to have a filtration level of 10 x the volume of your tank.

SO, WHAT DO I DO? The AC 110 seems to me like it's enough for my tank (because I also have an additional powerhead for better water movement). It seems to filter much more water than the XP3 did. But if the rule of "10 x the vol. of your tank" for power filters is true, then I am way underfiltered. What do I do? The AC 70 does not fit! :-\

Would only one AC 110 + a powerhead be enough for a fully planted 75 gallon tank? The plants should help me filter the water as well, shouldn't they?

What do you think folks? Will 500 gph of power filtration + a powerhead not be enough? Or should I get another AC 110? But then it would give me way too much filtration: 1,000 gph! I know overfiltration is better than underfiltration, but ... 1,000 gph? Will my fish be able to swim in such a strong current?

P.S. (1) My tank won't be overstocked. The complete fish list will be: 2 Angels, 3 Rams, 10 Harlequin Rasboras, 8 Zebra Danios, 6 Cherry Barbs (actually 7 Cherry Barbs because I have a baby Cherry Barb that will be added to the 75 gallon tank when it grows up), 4 Otos (or 6 Otos maybe), and 1 Siamese Algae Eater.

2 Angels = about 10"
3 Rams = about 7"
10 Harlequins = 15"
8 Zebra Danios = 12"
7 Cherry Barbs = about 10"
6 Otos = 9"
1 SAE = about 5"
TOTAL = 68" with 6 Otos (and 65" with 4 Otos)

P.S. (2) How long does a mini-cycle last (on average)?
  • #10
sorry to hear about this isabella:'(
its up to you, the ac110 will be okay for your tank, and the plants will help keep your parameters down, but only you know what's best, since we don't know your fish...i've heard the marineland penguin filters work great, so maybe you could try one of those?

mini-cycles shouldn't last more than a couple of days (like when you add a new fish to your tank, it's extra waste will add to the total, and the bacteria will eventually catch up)
  • #11
Isabella- with all the plants in the tank and the water change you just did I think things will be just fine. Just keep an eye on parameters for the next few days.
How strange that the AC didn't fit your 75G both sizes fit mine BUT you may have to trim the leveler from the bottom edge of the filter.
Hang in there I think you will much prefer the AC .I would add just a little of the new media if you have room just to get it colonized.
Just yell if you need anything.
  • #12
Wow, that sucks! I don't know much about canister filters since we've never used one but I think you'll be ok with the cycle and at most mini-cycle since you can trust Dino's advice.

Is the ac110 filter adjustable? If it is, you could put a 2nd one on and turn both down some to get the 10x filtration and have a flow the fish could still swim in. An advantage that I'd see to this is that you would have 2 filters that each could run on it's own. Should something happen to one of them, the other could run by itself for a while.
  • #13
Every surface in your tank holds good bacteria once it is cycled.

That being said, if just the filter goes out on a fully cycled tank that has a good bit of decor, substrate, plants, etc, it shouldn't really do much to affect the cycle.

I am glad you love your fish, but if you look at the situation calmly and rationally it becomes less of an obstacle to get over.

One step at a time and even the longest of roads become small.
  • #14
You know, my AC20 I put on my 55 gal doesn't really fit, but I some how managed to get the tube to line up just right. Its tricky, but have some patience and play with it. I'm sure you have, but give it another shot.

Any how, speaking of currents, since the AC20 doesn't fit, the water picks up a bit of momentum before entering the tank, and causes a strong downward current. I picked up some plastic canvas(its a mesh, actually) from the art dept. at Wal-Mart, cut a piece and wedged it between the filter output and the hood and it disperses the water very well. Just an idea.

Good luck, keep us updated.
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Thank you all so much for your replies I don't know what I'd do without Fish Lore in situations such as this one .

How strange that the AC didn't fit your 75G both sizes fit mine BUT you may have to trim the leveler from the bottom edge of the filter.
Which leveler Carol? The small piece of plastic that you attach to the bottom of the filter box to level the filter box on the tank? If this is what you're talking about, it has no use for me. What I mean is this: You know where the outflow portion of the filter is, right? The underneath of it is used to hang the filter on the trim of the tank. This is the way in which the filter doesn't fit my trim. In other words, the space between the outflow area and the filter box is too narrow to allow my tank's trim in there. Carol, what brand is your 75 gallon tank? Mine is All-Glass Aquarium.

The trim of my tank is wider at the bottom of it and narrower on its top (it has a sort of a "step" if you know what I mean). The AC 70 will fit the narrower part of the trim, but not the wider one. And when I hang it (forcefully) on the narrower part of the trim, this is when the intake tube pops off its place. I tried many times, but it would always come off.

Until I figure out what to do with the AC 70 (have 10 days to return it if I want to), I think the AC 110 should be fine by itself because, as I have said, I have moved about 80% of the sponges there (from the XP3), and I crammed ALL of the biological media from the XP3 on top of these sponges. That's way too much bio-media for this filter, but that's how I want to keep the bacteria alive in them, before I move about 30-40% of the bio-media to the AC 70 (if I figure out how to hang it on my trim!). As for water parameters, so far so good: 0 Ammonia and 0 Nitrite, but ... the water is a little bit cloudy :-\. That's a bad sign, right?

Is the ac110 filter adjustable? If it is, you could put a 2nd one on and turn both down some to get the 10x filtration and have a flow the fish could still swim in. An advantage that I'd see to this is that you would have 2 filters that each could run on it's own. Should something happen to one of them, the other could run by itself for a while.
Dave, that's a good idea. And maybe I'd do it, but you know how big the AC 110 box is? Hmm, but I should definitely think about it nevertheless. Good idea especially in situations when a filter breaks. Though I've had my AC 70 run on my 30 gallon tank for almost 4 years without a single problem. I believe the AC 110 should be similar in performance.

I am glad you love your fish, but if you look at the situation calmly and rationally it becomes less of an obstacle to get over ...
One step at a time and even the longest of roads become small.
Thank you Chief And you're right, I need to calm down a bit. But you know how it is when your babies are in danger!

Any how, speaking of currents, since the AC20 doesn't fit, the water picks up a bit of momentum before entering the tank, and causes a strong downward current. I picked up some plastic canvas(its a mesh, actually) from the art dept. at Wal-Mart, cut a piece and wedged it between the filter output and the hood and it disperses the water very well. Just an idea.
Ninja, I don't think I get the picture, lol . Again, what did you do and how? (Sorry, I am so tired today, didn't sleep much.)

Anybody, any ideas if there is any way for me to fit the AC 70 on my trim? (Before I return the filter - got 10 days left.)
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Folks, should I return the AC 70, or is there any way for me to make it fit? If I return it, will AC 110 (500 gph) alone be enough for a 75 gallon planted tank? Plus, like I said, I have a powerhead to go with it. I have 9 days left to return the AC 70.
  • #17
is there any other brand of filter you could try...just in case that one shuts off for a while, or it needs to be cleaned?
reef freak
  • #18
I think you should go with a sump/fuge (Not sure if you have Saltwater or FW, and if you can do it with a FW). That's what I have for my 90ga, and all you need is your skimmer, pump and filters/plants.
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
I don't think my LFS has anything else than Whisper Tetras (in addition to AC's) among power filters - and we all know they're not exactly the best filters, lol . I'd really want only another Aqua Clear! :-\
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Thanks Reef, but I really like it simple. Aqua Clears are the simplest and easiest to use as well as quickest to clean power filters (in my opinion). A sump seems like a lot of work to me. I am usually very busy so I need something easy and quick to handle. I don't have all day for water changes and filter cleaning. :-\
  • #21
are there any chain stores around you?
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Kevin, it doesn't matter if there are any chain fish stores around me because if I buy another filter, I'll buy it from Big Al's Online. The most important thing right now is that most of the mature sponges are in my AC 110 + all of the mature biological media are in there too. This should give me enough time to decide what to do with another filter (and if to use it at all). My tank is lightly stocked as of now, so this should give me some extra time too.

But the point is, I have only 9 days left to decide what to do with the AC 70. Which is why I am asking: Should I return the AC 70, or is there any way for me to make it fit? If I return it, will AC 110 (500 gph) alone be enough for a 75 gallon planted tank? Plus, like I said, I have a powerhead to go with it.
  • #23
i'd return the AC70 and maybe it's a bad idea, but how about a submersible filter with directable flow that can do about 250?
  • #24
500gph is good for a 75g.

I know a lot of you folks go to sites like Drs Foster and Smith. They recommend 3-5 times per hour for tank volume.

That would be 225-375gph.
  • #25
HI Isabella
sorry to hear about your problems with that filter. It sounds like it was defective from the start. I also love the AC filters and will only buy those. When I had a problem of fitting on to a tank lid that I had, my husband used a box cutter razor and cut a little bit out of the hood to make it fit. Maybe you can do that? Also, a long with everyone else, I do not think you will have an interruption in your bio, as long as your filter media was still wet while you waited for your new one.
Good luck with your new filters. ;D

~ kate
  • #26
What about returning the ac 70, and buying another ac 110? (if you are worried about filtration?)
  • #27
I truly hope you've sorted out your tank's filter probs.. and even more, I hope your fish are ok.
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
All right, thank you everyone for your help I think I'll return the AC 70 for now, and will see how the AC 110 alone will be doing (now, and as I keep adding more fish). For now, I'll run the AC 110 + my powerhead. Like I said, plants should help filter the water too. If I determine that AC 110 isn't enough, then I'll buy the AC 110 again (from Big Al's) if I'll have figured out how to make it fit.

Like I said, if the rule of "10 x the volume of your tank per hour" of filtration is the same for both power and canister filters, then I actually have more filtration right now than I had with the XP3. The XP3 filtered 350 gph, and the AC 110 filters 500 gph. I can even see the water flow is much stronger with the AC 110.

If, however, this rule is true only for power filters, then I have about 25-30% filtration less than 10 x the volume of my tank. Though the AC 110 seems so powerful to me, and it really does seem like it's enough filtration for my tank.

Anyway, once again, thanks everyone

P.S. So far, no ammonia and no nitrite; i.e. no mini-cycle (thanks God). I really hope it stays this way. (Someone asked if my XP3 filter's media were wet while the filter was broken: YES, they were wet all the time.)
  • #29
glad everything is going well so far!
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
Thanks Kevin
  • #31
Ouch sorry to hear about this, I am glad everything seems to be going good though. And yes you should be fine with a single 110 on your 75g, but as another member pointed out a second one can never hurt. I run two filters on all my tanks, each one strong enough to run the tank on its own, and I back them both off flow wise. That way if one ever dies I just up the flow on it and get until I get a new filter to replace the one that died.

Its also very handy for filter cleaning days, I swap what filter I clean on a rotation. That way one filter is always good and well dirty in a good way, and the other builds back up by the time I clean it on the next cleaning cycle.

But again glad all is going well, and your fish are doing well. And even if you have a minI cycle your plants should soak it up and you and your fish would probably not even notice it
  • #32
Sorry to hear about your troubles. It's no fun when you have to blow cash on an emergency. I'm suprised to hear you have had so much trouble. I run 4 XPs (two XP2s, one XP3 and one XP4). The XP3 and 4 have been going strong for about a year. I do occassionally have a problem with the lid sealing. It'll suck in air and make a lot of noise if the seal is out of place but they have never just stopped. I hear a lot of good about these AquaClears though. I just like having the box out of sight and I have my tanks too close to the wall.

I'm interested to hear how the new filter works out for you. I plan to change the filter on my new planted 45. The XP3 is too big. I don't need the media capacity. A smaller capacity but higher flow would be great. That AC110 would put me just a hair over 10X circulation. Hmmm How big is the media basket? I really only need a little mechanical and bio media. It would be nice to be able to plop some carbon in easily if I needed to, also.

Anyway, my condolences go to your bank account for it's recent loss.
  • #33
glad to hear that you're getting good readings.
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
Mr. Waxhead, Gozer, and Dave - thank you all so much for your warm thoughts and for trying to help

Mr. Waxhead, yes, it's always very useful to have 2 filters running, so that you can clean them alternatively, without worrying that you're messing with the cycle. I most likely will get a 2nd filter for my 75 gallon tank. Though how I wish the AC 70 could normally fit the tank!

Gozer, the power filter's box hanging on my tank doesn't bother me at all. I can't really see it behind the tank and behind my fixture. And it's very quiet compared to my XP3. I also see it pumps water much faster than my XP3.

To answer your question, with the AC 70, you'd get 300 gph of filtration. The next bigger (and last) model is the AC 110 that pumps 500 gph. Generally, like I said above, it's best to have a filtration level around 10 x the volume of your tank. For your 45 gallon tank, you'd best have around 450 gph of filtration. Because it's better to overfilter than to underfilter, go with the 500 gph (AC 110). This way, you'll be only 50 gallons overfiltered.

As for the media capacity of the AC 110 - it's enormous. Like I said, ALL of my biological media (which filled one full basket in the XP3) went into the AC 110 + about 80% of the sponges from the XP3. And I had 3 sponges in each XP3 basket. That is: two baskets had 3 sponges each, and the third basket had the bio-media. So you have an idea how spacious the AC 110 is. You don't need as many sponges as I have in it, only half of them. The rest of the space would be for activated carbon.

All the Aqua Clears at my LFS come with all the media included (i.e. bio-cubes + activated carbon + sponge), so all is ready to set up and run. Don't know how they sell AC's online.
  • #35
WOW I had no idea how much stuff you could fit in those. I'm impressed. Gonna have to think about it. Hauling filter boxes does get old. I need the flow too. I wouldn't need a powerhead as I do now. I was planning on going with an XP2 and a powerhead. The one thing I hate about HOBs is the waterfall effect. My tank is right behind my couch and the noise can be irritating. I already have a skimmer hissing away. Guess you just gotta stay on top of top offs so it splashes less. Hmm.
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  • #36
Gozer, none of my tanks is close to where I sleep, read, or study in my room, so the water flow from the AC 110 does not bother me. Besides, I always fill my tank with water all the way to the top, so there is no noise from water flow. The XP3 was so noisy inside my stand over my 75 gallon tank, that I could hear it all the time - during the day and during the night - from the other end of my room. Like I said, I couldn't count all the sleepless nights because of this filter. Now, my rooms seems so quiet with the AC 110. I can finally get a good night's sleep! Thank you God for the AC 110! (LOL ;D)

By the way, it's been a week since the XP3 stopped working, and I haven't detected a trace of Ammonia or Nitrite in my water (I tested it every day). So I guess I am fine l.
  • #37
no mini-cycle...looks like everything is under control

you might want to continue daily checks for 3-4 more days...just to be safe
  • Thread Starter
  • #38
That's how important it is to use matured filter media. It can save you fishies' lives in case your old filter breaks. I put only old media in the new filter. If I stuffed it with all new filter media, my fish would probably be very sick by now (if not dead!).
  • #39
Wow, I am really sorry that had to happen. I was planning to buy a size 65 gallon tank or so and have a community tank, and I was going to get a canister filter - I hear from so many people they're the best choice. The only tank I've had before is a 10 gallon with a power filter, but I still think I'm going to get a canister when I get my bigger tank. I hope I don't have the same troubles!
  • #40
all of our tanks are.. I think we've grown so used to the sounds of tanks that we'd miss it.. but our filters are pretty quiet as are the air pumps and we don't have any tanks over 30 gallon now.

how's your tank doing now?

none of my tanks is close to where I sleep

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