Fish Tank Filter – the most important part of the equipment.
The well-being of all the inhabitants of the aquarium depends in large measure on how efficiently it carries out mechanical, biological or chemical water purification.
To maintain its full-fledged work, it is necessary to take care of the filter regularly. And an important part of care is proper cleaning.
Do I need cleaning?
Fish Tank Filter must be cleaned without fail, regardless of its type and features.
Passing through him and purifying the water, he gradually becomes more and more polluted. Filter material, tubes, impeller and other parts become clogged with filtered dirt., residues of decaying organic matter, harmful substances. This leads to the fact that over time decreases the efficiency of the filter.
At some point, it stops cleaning and begins to release dangerous toxins into the water. This leads to severe violations of the biological balance of the aquarium and all sorts of diseases of its inhabitants.
When and how often is needed?
It is necessary to understand that each aquarium is a unique system with its own unique features (chemical composition of water and soil, types and number of inhabitants, mode of their feeding, use of sterilizers and other drugs, etc.).
Therefore, there is no point in adjusting the cleaning of the filter to a certain generally accepted schedule. In one aquarium, the load on the filter system will be greater, in the other – less. Consequently, they will be contaminated at different speeds.
Also very much here depends on the design and quality of the filter itself. As a rule, expensive modern devices need to be cleaned less often. It should be noted that the external filter, located outside the aquarium, is not limited by the size of the tank and may be larger. This means that there will be more filtering material in it. This allows external filters to withstand severe loads and do not need care for a long time.
The internal filter in an average aquarium is usually cleaned once a week. External filter – once a month. However, these are very approximate dates, which can vary greatly for each individual aquarium and filter.
The exception to this rule can only be a serious illness of the inhabitants. After their recovery, an unscheduled cleaning of the entire filter system is necessary. It is carried out very carefully in order to surely remove the remnants of drugs and pathogenic bacteria from the filter. This will allow to avoid re-infection of hydrobionts and to restore normal biofiltration, which is often impeded by drugs.
Many drugs have a negative effect on the viability of biofiltration bacteria. Note that during the period of use of such preparations any filter performs only mechanical cleaning.
You will also have to clean the filter off-schedule in case it has been turned off for more than 2 hours. The fact is that the colonies of bacteria that live in it, having remained without oxygen for a long time, turn into decomposing organic matter themselves. If you turn on the filter without proper cleaning, all hazardous substances will get into the water. This can cause serious diseases of all aquatic organisms.
Contraindications to the procedure
It is not recommended to clean the filter at the time when any major changes are being made in the aquarium (large water changes, the launch of new fish, changing the feeding mode and type of food, etc.). There is no point in such a period to subject the balance of the ecosystem to an even greater test.
What to do with the inhabitants in this period?
Given that the filter is removed from the aquarium for cleaning, this event will not disturb the inhabitants. They can be left inside to avoid unnecessary stress.
Another aspect is after a serious cleaning, the filter bacteria will take some time, to master the filtering environment and start normal operation.
In order to facilitate and speed up this process, it is recommended to reduce the load on the filter. The easiest way is to slightly reduce the diet of fish a day before cleaning the filter. Then – gradually return to the normal diet for 4-6 days.
How to disassemble?
- Turn off the filter and carefully remove it from the aquarium (it is better to clean it in the bathroom, above the sink).
- Gently wash the filter housing with warm water using a soft sponge.
- Disconnect the main mechanical unit from the container (s) with the filter element.
- Remove the filter sponge from the container.
- Disassemble the mechanical unit, after disconnecting the safety cap.
- Remove the impeller from the pin (removable magnet with impeller included in the design of almost all filters).
- Disconnect the air intake adapter.
To parse you need:
- Disconnect the filter from the power supply.
- Carefully disconnect the filter from the hose system for water inlet and outlet.
- Remove the filter from the cabinet.
- Disconnect the pump part of the filter from the baskets with filter materials.
- Alternately remove all baskets.
- Disassemble the mechanical part, remove the rotor.
How to wash?
- Rinse all parts and containers with water. You can use a clean sponge or toothbrush, but in no case should you use any detergent.
- For cleaning especially small parts (an adapter, the inside of a mechanical unit), cotton swabs are used.
- Inspect the filter sponge and, if it does not need to be replaced, thoroughly rinse it with clean, warm water.
- In the biological filter, instead of a sponge, a special porous bio filler is used. It is necessary to clean it with special care and do not rub hard.
- Terms of obligatory replacement of a specific bio-filler are indicated on the package. If necessary, instead of cleaning, it can be replaced with a new one.
- The filler in the carbon filter (coal) is also washed with care. It must be replaced every 1-2 months in any case.
- The washed parts are rinsed again with warm running water.
Watch the video on how to clean the internal filter in the aquarium:
- If the filtering filler is large enough, it can be washed without removing it from the basket.
- Fine filler (ceramics) is better to rinse, previously poured into a small bucket. Water used for cleaning is warm and clean (hot water is unacceptable).
- Unsuitable for cleaning or worn out fillers, which have expired (check the instructions on the package) to replace with new ones.
- After rinsing all baskets alternately, proceed with cleaning the main container.
- Remove all mechanical parts from mucus and dirt, including the impeller and the pin on which it is attached.
Video about cleaning the external filter:
How to collect?
The internal filter is assembled in the same way, but in reverse order.
An important aspect is disassemble, clean and assemble the filter as quickly as possible. At the same time, it is still necessary to act carefully and thoughtfully. Thus, bacterial colonies will suffer minimal damage. And, then, full biological filtration will recover much faster after cleaning.
The external filter is also assembled in the reverse order. However, when assembling it you need to consider several points:
- Strictly observe the correct location and sequence of filter baskets.
- The upper and lower parts of the filter should fit snugly against each other, without distortions.
- All locks should close easily.
- The filter can only be started by making sure that it is filled with water.
How to understand that we need not cleaning, and replacement or repair?
When the filter starts to work poorly, intermittently or does not work at all, and cleaning does not give any results, it can be concluded that it has broken. In order to verify this, you can turn it off, remove it from the aquarium and conduct a thorough inspection.
Firstly it is recommended to check the wires (especially at the output of the device). Often, if they are used for a long time, their shell is damaged, they spark, which can lead to dangerous consequences. In this case, the device needs a simple, but urgent repair.
Special attention during the inspection should be paid to the appearance and operation of the impeller. It should spin evenly, without interruption and have no damage. Otherwise, do not do without repair or replacement of this part.
Suspicions should cause external damage to any parts of the filter system and an unpleasant burning smell.
Any aquarium is a complex ecosystem whose balance can easily and irreparably be upset by illiterate care. The filter is an important element of this system. Timely cleaning and inspection will ensure its correct operation for many years and will allow you to avoid serious trouble.