Pre-filters help reduce maintenance

pre-filters

Various types of pre-filters

Using pre-filters on canister or power filters can greatly reduce maintenance. This doesn’t mean that you can skip water changes. Water changes and filter maintenance are done for different reasons. One reduces nitrates in your tank while the other removes solid waste and improves water flow. By using a pre-filter, you can reduce the amount of waste and food going into your filter, clogging up your mechanical filtration. Less waste going into your filter means less mechanical media cleaning or replacing. When using a pre-filter, I can go many months without having to do maintenance on my filters. Since I don’t use chemical or fine mechanical filtration, I only have to worry about the impeller being clean and moving freely. You do have to clean the pre-filter regularly, but that is easy to do by squeezing it under running water in the sink. It is much simpler than pulling apart a canister filter to clean or replace the mechanical media.

There are several companies that make pre-filters. Some make them specifically for their products while others are make to fit a variety of different intake tubes. You can also make your own pre-filter or adapt one made for a different product. I use to pre-filter my power filters with an idea I got from the DIY Sponge Filter article. I cut a mechanical filter sponge into a smaller 2x2x4″ sponge. Using a flat wood boring bit, I drilled a 1/2″ hole into it so it fit the intake of my power filter. It not only reduced maintenance but also saved me some money in replacement mechanical media.

For other filtration tips, check out the Power Filter “Tricks” at the bottom of the Aquarium Set Up page.

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