When To Do 1st Filter Cleaning On New(er) Tank

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Valued Member
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1 year

I have a 65 tank that is now 2 months old. I did fish in with TSS and 3 Zebra Danios starting on day 3 of the tank setup. My water has been PH 7.6, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate 10-20 for weeks. I have a total of 17 fish in the tank right now that I've added 5 or so at a time about every other week. I have 10 or so live plants as well. For filters I'm using a Top Fin Silent Stream 75 HOB and a Fluval 406 canister.

A little background on my filters before I get to my question....

HOB has been on the tank since day 1. I had to rinse the cartridges in tank water after 2 weeks because it was getting clogged up. About a week later I added the Fluval 406. I put the filter media from both HOB cartridges into the canister and put new cartridges into the HOB minus the carbon. Aside from cleaning some gunk occasionally off of the HOB's intake, I have not touched either of them for 5 weeks until yesterday.

My daughter has been pretty interested in my tank and keeps wanting to put unicorns and other random stuff into it so I got her a 10 gallon to do what she likes with. I took just one of the HOB cartridges out of my HOB and put it into the filter on her 10 gallon. I added a new cartridge into my filter again minus the carbon.

The HOB has been fine and not getting clogged since I added the canister. So that one is easy I think, I'll just rinse the media in tank water as needed and clean the intake occasionally. My question is when should I do the first cleaning of the canister filter? I've seen people on here say that they go months in between cleaning their canisters.


Well Known Member
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Just started
The basic answer? Clean when it's dirty Everyone's cleaning regime is different as everyone's tank is different. Some only clean when they notice a significant reduction in filter output, others clean once a month, whilst rinsing the foam pads/floss etc weekly.

You'll work out your own schedule quick enough based your experience with the amount of gunk that builds up. It's easy to have a quick look and determine if it needs a clean. Just don't touch any of the biomedia apart from a rinse in tank water. Fluval says to replace one half of the biomedia every 6 months or so, but there's absolutely no reason to do that unless it's falling apart


New Member
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2 years
I have never actually taken my HOB filter apart, and cleaned the inside, I have only cleaned inside the intake with a pipe cleaner, cleaned the cartridge in the sink and put new carbon in, and every few months change the cartridge. It's been almost 3 years since I first set up the tank, and I have had the same HOB filter since, and I actually got the tank on Craig's list and it came with the filter and a ton of other stuff.
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