Want to get an Aquaclear filter for 20 gallon, worried about filter breaking in case of a power outage.

KartoKartofel

Member
Is there anything I can do to make due that the motor doesn't fry up in case of a power outage? This is the one and only downside of this filter. How does the motor fry up, and what do I do to prevent it?
 

Zach72202

Member
I do not really understand what you mean by fry if there no power... I motor fries because it is not spinning (from being clogged) or a surge of electricity. Most equipment for fish tanks has only the 2 prong plug, which is a positive wire and neutral, positive for electricity and the neutral is to prevent you from getting electrocuted.

If the power goes out, the filter shouldn't fry. I have had the power go out and none of mine fried. If you are worried about this, you could get surge protector. All the power strips I use are surge protector power strips, and they have the 3 prong connector, where the bottom circular one is the ground. This is given you are using a USA plug style.

I buy my surge protector power strips for like 10 bucks at walmart. They should be in the electrical section and you can get them in cord style or wall plug style.
 

ForceTen

Member
Okay. I'm your guy.
I have replaced exactly one motor since I went to AC HOB filters. One to many.

The filter will start back up after a power loss if two things are in place.
The water level in the tank is sufficient and the intake tube is primed. Should the water be to low in the tank, the water in the filter housing will siphon back into the tank.
To test it just fill up your tank and start the filter. Then unplug it. It will start right up.

Should the tank water level be to low, the water in the housing will drain back into the tank to equalize. Sometimes this will be to low and the filter cannot pull the water up.
The filter will empty if the water is low enough.
If the intake tube is cracked or not fully in place this can cause startup failure.

The reason I lost a motor was due to my mistake. It happened while I was doing some cleaning and must have knocked the intake tube up and away from the water level.
And do not forget to prime whenever you do water changes.
I almost lost one a couple days ago doing the same thing. But I caught it real quick. So, I think its okay.

Now, if you just are plain worried, buy a GFCI receptacle that must be reset after a power outage. I'm not sure which one does this, but I did read it on the electricians forum a day or so ago. I will try and find it for you.

You will like the AC filters. Just use some common sense and all will go well.

Okay here is the manual reset GFCI. Not what I expected, but it does require human intervention (reset) after a power loss of any kind.
https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-GCM20-Attachable-Grounded-Adapter/dp/B01GG0LBR8#productDetails
 
  • Thread Starter

KartoKartofel

Member
ForceTen said:
Okay. I'm your guy.
I have replaced exactly one motor since I went to AC HOB filters. One to many.

The filter will start back up after a power loss if two things are in place.
The water level in the tank is sufficient and the intake tube is primed. Should the water be to low in the tank, the water in the filter housing will siphon back into the tank.
To test it just fill up your tank and start the filter. Then unplug it. It will start right up.

Should the tank water level be to low, the water in the housing will drain back into the tank to equalize. Sometimes this will be to low and the filter cannot pull the water up.
The filter will empty if the water is low enough.
If the intake tube is cracked or not fully in place this can cause startup failure.

The reason I lost a motor was due to my mistake. It happened while I was doing some cleaning and must have knocked the intake tube up and away from the water level.
And do not forget to prime whenever you do water changes.
I almost lost one a couple days ago doing the same thing. But I caught it real quick. So, I think its okay.

Now, if you just are plain worried, buy a GFCI receptacle that must be reset after a power outage. I'm not sure which one does this, but I did read it on the electricians forum a day or so ago. I will try and find it for you.

You will like the AC filters. Just use some common sense and all will go well.
Thanks so much!
 

ForceTen

Member
Zach72202 said:
I do not really understand what you mean by fry if there no power... I motor fries because it is not spinning (from being clogged) or a surge of electricity. Most equipment for fish tanks has only the 2 prong plug, which is a positive wire and neutral, positive for electricity and the neutral is to prevent you from getting electrocuted.

If the power goes out, the filter shouldn't fry. I have had the power go out and none of mine fried. If you are worried about this, you could get surge protector. All the power strips I use are surge protector power strips, and they have the 3 prong connector, where the bottom circular one is the ground. This is given you are using a USA plug style.

I buy my surge protector power strips for like 10 bucks at walmart. They should be in the electrical section and you can get them in cord style or wall plug style.
The issue at hand is, "if the filter runs dry, it will fry the motor". A dry impeller in an AC filter will fry the motor. Aquaclear makes it perfectly known by the warning.
When the rotor turns without water, it produces heat. This heat will deform the plastic and lock the rotor.
Once the rotor is locked up, the current skyrockets and will fail. Usually it just will not turn anymore and when you go to remove the rotor it will not budge. This guarantees a bad fried motor.

Your description of how a typical residential AC electrical service works is quite interesting. I sure hope no one thinks its true or correct.
Where did you get that information from?
Also a surge protector will do nothing for the concern of the OP. A surge protector protects against surges in the system, it has no bearing on water in the filter housing.

Surge protectors while highly overrated do have a job. This is not one of them.
 

kallililly1973

Member
During our WC’s I leave all the AC’s plugged in and drain well below the intake and have never had any issues getting them going again I also came home to a power surge with the filter not running but after a couple minutes of cleaning the impeller area they were back to new again. If your concerned about them not starting back up you could go with a Tidal filter. We have a Tidal55 on our 20 long and it also runs dry and reprimes with zero issues. Good luck
 

ForceTen

Member
kallililly1973 said:
During our WC’s I leave all the AC’s plugged in and drain well below the intake and have never had any issues getting them going again I also came home to a power surge with the filter not running but after a couple minutes of cleaning the impeller area they were back to new again. If your concerned about them not starting back up you could go with a Tidal filter. We have a Tidal55 on our 20 long and it also runs dry and reprimes with zero issues. Good luck
News to me. If any of my AC filters run out of water and are not caught very quickly, they are history. The magnetic rotor gets hot and the plastic that surrounds the stator becomes dis-formed. This stops it from turning and when it stops turning it gets even hotter and fails.
AC even warns on the motor itself not to run dry.

I let mine run as well during water changes. But I never allow the water to go anywhere near the bottom of my intake tube.
This is how I ruined my motor. During a water change. But I dislodged the intake.
 

kallililly1973

Member
I guess we have just

been lucky. We use a water hanger attached to the sink so after I drain they will run dry for at least a minute or two so I can temp match the water before I refill.
 

Zach72202

Member
ForceTen said:
The issue at hand is, "if the filter runs dry, it will fry the motor". A dry impeller in an AC filter will fry the motor. Aquaclear makes it perfectly known by the warning.
When the rotor turns without water, it produces heat. This heat will deform the plastic and lock the rotor.
Once the rotor is locked up, the current skyrockets and will fail. Usually it just will not turn anymore and when you go to remove the rotor it will not budge. This guarantees a bad fried motor.

Your description of how a typical residential AC electrical service works is quite interesting. I sure hope no one thinks its true or correct.
Where did you get that information from?
Also a surge protector will do nothing for the concern of the OP. A surge protector protects against surges in the system, it has no bearing on water in the filter housing.

Surge protectors while highly overrated do have a job. This is not one of them.
The way I learned this information is I asked why do older tools, like a reciprocating saw, only have two prongs instead of 3? The answer I received from that was that they introduced a neutral wire as an additional conductor to prevent when the tool gets wet (as older tools had metal cases instead of plastic) so you would not get shocked if you were working in the rain or something of those lines. True or not, that's what I was told, so it may quite possibly be wrong, and by your statement it is. I know I left out a lot of information in my post as I wasn't really wanting to write a book. I do appreciate that you corrected me so I can go research the correct information.

As for the filters, I have the Fluval Aquaclears and the impeller sets below a reservoir of water, where even if the power goes out, that water won't drain as it is inside of the filter. I leave mine on while doing water changes and this style of in filter impeller makes more of a suction from within through the intake tube, where something like an Aqueon Quiet Flow that has more of a push style that sits in-tank on the intake tube, it will fry if it looses water below it's level.
 

ForceTen

Member
Here's what AquaClear says: Picture below.

Zach. The neutral wire is the return wire for any ac electrical device. It carries current the same as as the hot wire. The neutral wire is by no means safe as you can get shocked and even killed by this wire. The ground (green or bare) carries fault current only.
And yes, this is no place to discuss this at length.

But Zack. If the motor is running and there is no water coming into the filter, the impeller will run dry. The impeller will push as much water as it can out of the filter.
This is why AC warns not to run dry. See picture below.
Then take a good look down into the intake section and see how this impeller can push all the water out and let it run dry to Fry. It may hold a tiny bit of water, but surely not enough to keep the rotor cool.
I'm not exactly certain how long that would take. But the one I burned up was not running more than a minute before I was to late to save it.

Like I said in another thread in this forum. Do not believe everything you read here and to research topics on your own to be sure.
This subject should be researched. This way you will get a good answer to a known problem with AC filters.
This issue is not new by any means.
 

Attachments

altwitch

Member
Having mentioned you're worried about power outages, there's one additional step I took to mitigate this. We live on the Florida gulf coast so power going out is a very real danger here. To minimize the amount of time my tank might be without power if this goes out, I decided to spend the money to get an Uninterrupted Power Supply like you might use with a computer. There's no guarantee it will last the duration of the outage but every little bit helps. It also serves as a surge protector for anything plugged into it. The model I got has several inputs that draw from the UPS and several that do not to prevent having unwanted equipment like a heater draw from them. For example, a heater will drain that thing in no time so I put that on the power surge only/no power side.

Unfortunately they can be a bit pricey so that's the downside. Can't remember what I paid but think it was about 80 bucks. It also may feel like overkill for a smaller tank. I chose to finance a 120g so after getting done with that 80 seemed worth it to protect the rest of my investment.

Hope that helps.
 
  • Thread Starter

KartoKartofel

Member
I'm looking for a HOB aquarium filter for my 20 gallon that doesn't use cartridges, has lots of room for sponges and biological filter media, and is suitable for 20 gallon aquariums. I would get the Aqua Clear, but it has the major downside of running dry and frying up in the event of a power outage.
 

kattiq

Member
SeaChem Tidals! They are my favorite HOB to date. Vastly out does the AC any day. Plus they self prime so you don't have to fill it up before turning it back on.

*EDIT*
The media basket is big too so you can mix and match whatever you want. It doesn't come with cartridges but rather sponges and bio balls. Also it won't burn up if the power goes off because like I said above it self primes. So I will just start back up when the power kicks back on.
 

ghostdawg

Member
I'm new at this but AC filters do not come with cartridges, at least my AC30 didn't. It came with a sponge, bio balls and that charcoal bag type stuff. Once the charcoal bag wear out I will put more sponges in it.

What does it mean, "major downside of running dry and frying up in the event of a power outage." Do you mean when the power comes back on it will start running again? I've never thought about that.
 
  • Thread Starter

KartoKartofel

Member
ghostdawg said:
I'm new at this but AC filters do not come with cartridges, at least my AC30 didn't. It came with a sponge, bio balls and that charcoal bag type stuff. Once the charcoal bag wear out I will put more sponges in it.

What does it mean, "major downside of running dry and frying up in the event of a power outage." Do you mean when the power comes back on it will start running again? I've never thought about that.
When the power goes out, the water from the filter drains out of the box, so when the power comes back on, the motor overheats and fries up.
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
I suppose unplugging when the power goes out is not possible? Then you can control when it comes back on and pour in some tank water before turning it back on.
 

ForceTen

Member
About 20 years ago, we had a terrible ice storm. So bad, the power was off for 6 days.
Keeping us warm was my priority. Then the tank.
All we had for heat was an old kerosene heater. We cooked on it (took off top and used a wok) kept warm by it and placed it close to the tank.

Also my wife put a small candle under the tank very close to the glass. After several hours the tank was getting to hot. (55 gallon) We adjusted and every fish lived.
Moral of the story?

Power loss does not kill fish. Its survivable. Small steps in the big picture work well.
 

Lakefish

Member
I’ve been using AC filters for twenty years now, and never fried a motor when the power goes out (which it does a lot, in the rural area I live in now). The only way it would run itself dry is if you had the water level far too low, as in the basket end of the intake just under the surface.
Typically, when the power comes back on, these filters just start right back up again. If the impeller shaft is worn, or the impeller itself is, the impeller may get stuck and no water will run through—but there is still water in the filter, so it does not overheat, and all you need to do here is lift the intake tube a little and use your finger or something to bump the impeller blades. It will start right up again. These filters are pretty bomb-proof really.
 
Top Bottom