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So I do a routine off approximately every 4 months or so where I clean the pads (with tank water) replace the carbon/other media, etc and with 2 canister filters I rotate the changes/cleaning so essentially every 2 months one of the filters is getting cleaned. Parameters read fine. But wanted to inquire if folks do something similar, less, more? Just curious. Thanks!
 

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I do tend to slack off on cleaning my canister filters simply because the time seems to go by so quickly. :(

I just rinse all hard coarse media, clean sponge media with hose sprayer in sink, vigorously rinse 1/3 of bio media with hose sprayer, replace (if needed) fine filter media (Poly-fil Traditional batting). I have untreated well water so no worry about water disinfectants. :D I don't use carbon or chemical medias so can't advise on the frequency of changing them.

It's always a big question on how often to clean canister filters, a lot depends on the number/size of fish, feeding frequency, etc. I find the best method is to see how much stuff is trapped in the filter and base cleaning frequency on that along with test results. The more '****' in the filter dictates both cleaning frequency and poor water conditions due to elevated nitrate.

Another good reason to keep them clean is in the event of a power outage of more than a couple hours.
 

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I'm on a two month cycle. I wouldn't want to go much longer then that. They are very dirty at that time and flow has slowed quit a bit.
 

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I have two canister filters on my 75g and change them at 6 - 7 weeks. I shakeout the bio media in aquarium water, then put new filter pads in and toss out the old ones.
 

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I have a cascade 1000 and 1200. I rotate one a month. The 1000 is odd months and the 1200 is even months. I open them up that often, but with prefilters, I think I will be able to go four months or more between cleanings.
 

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robcope said:
I have a cascade 1000 and 1200. I rotate one a month. The 1000 is odd months and the 1200 is even months. I open them up that often, but with prefilters, I think I will be able to go four months or more between cleanings.
How often do you change the floss pads? I just cleaned my 1000 and the floss pads were shot.
 

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I find these discussions very interesting. If someone were to post they went 4 months between gravel vacs while using an under gravel filter, they would be chastised mercilessly, for neglecting maintenance. Leaving a cannister for an extended length of time is no different. Everything in the can is still in the tank.
 

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It just goes to show you that the best filter is only as good as the person taking care of it.

How about which filter is the easiest to service? For me all canister leak at sometime or another. Anyone who has had one and used one for several years will have seen this.
 

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In my fully (but not overstocked) 75G, I have two Aquatop canister filters - an AF-250 and Forza-13. Because the 250 ends in an "even" number, and the F-13 ends in an "odd" number, I defaulted to cleaning the AF-250 on even numbered months (Feb, April, June, etc.) and the F-13 on the odd (Jan., March, May, etc.). I'm thinking about going to an every TWO month schedule for each since both canisters have a sponge over the intake, and they don't seem particularly loaded when cleaned every other month. Not settled on that yet.

My procedure for the actual cleaning is pretty much the same as everyone else. I rinse the biologicals in tank water, squeeze the **** (literally) out of the coarse filter media and re-install, since it can be gotten pretty darned clean. I replace the fine filter media (floss) in its entirety since getting old, dirty, used floss to an acceptable level of permeability to water flow is questionable...plus it's cheap.
 

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fish_gazer said:
I have two canister filters on my 75g and change them at 6 - 7 weeks. I shakeout the bio media in aquarium water, then put new filter pads in and toss out the old ones.
I have since upgraded to a larger aquarium and filters. I am 4 weeks into one filter and two weeks into the other. I have also added a powerhead with a polishing pad.

I have been changing the polishing pad every 7 - 9 days but have not changed either of the filters and do not plan to until at least 6 weeks or at such time that it becomes obvious they need to be changed.

I do not understand what having waste in the filters has to do with anything (where else would it go?) if the water parameters check out and it's clear, but I guess I will find out at some point...

Anyway, the powerhead rarely sucks up anything visible but gets progressively dirty over the course of a week. Adding it was the finishing touch...or the polishing touch as it were. :D
 

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fish_gazer said:
I do not understand what having waste in the filters has to do with anything (where else would it go?)
Where else would it go? If the canister is being cleaned frequently enough, then the waste is being physically removed and taken out of the system entirely. If the canister is not cleaned frequently, then the waste breaks down and degrades water quality. If the canister is not cleaned frequently, the point being their is no benefit to the fish or water quality having the waste in the filter as apposed to in the tank.
fish_gazer said:
if the water parameters check out and it's clear
Nitrate level is just a general guide line as an indicator of water quality. Many of the fish come from bodies of water that would measure around zero in parts per million for nitrate (unless it is polluted from agricultural run off. ect.)
In general, the less waste that builds up and breaks down, the better the water quality. The prevailing thought is that 20 ppm of Nitrate is about an acceptable level for the long term health of most fish. But many cichlids are hardy and may do well despite the water quality. Of course if you keep something like discus, water quality is of the up most importance in successfully keeping these fish. Regardless of the type of fish you keep, your chance of long term success and healthy fish is much greater, the better your water quality is.
There are many ways and methods of aquarium maintenance in the hobby. It is not so much right or wrong as apposed to finding better ways over time. I know my ways have changed a lot over time.
I clean my canisters once a week with every water change. I have bare bottom tanks (fiberglass or cement coating) and try to have minimal contact of decor with bottom of tank. I have power heads blowing towards the filter intake (which is right on the bottom of the tank) so that the vast majority of waste ends up in the canister. Cleaning the filter is my main way of physically removing waste from the system. Since I now use a pump for water changes, it's not as effective siphoning waste off the bottom of the tank though I do turn the pump on it's side and try to get what little waste is still left in the tank.
I think if your not going to clean your canister frequently you would be better off with a sponge on the intake (which could be cleaned frequently) and a flilter intake that is higher up.Then a good vacuum cleaning of the substrate with every water change. Regardless of what filters you use and your methods, when it comes to water quality, water changes are usually the most important.
 

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I am 12 months into my second fish keeping life (my first ran from 1993 - 2003), and actually, things are not unlike they were then; you read and you networked. Difference being, back then it was reading physical books and speaking to other aquarists at fish auctions and pet stores. Whereas now, it's almost all done entirely done online. But the end goal has not changed; providing a healthy environment for your fish.

I have always been receptive to new ideas and different ways of doing things. I do that primarily for the health of my fish but also if I am doing something I shouldn't be doing (or not doing something that I should be doing as it were), I want to know that.

I have no official position in the poop in the canister versus not in the canister debate. My comment regarding how long I go between changes was not meant to be braggadocios or dismissive of others. For a time with my 55 gallon, I was changing the filters much more frequently, but that was because there was something to change. As time has gone on and my aquarium and pump sizes have increased, that has not been the case anymore.

I now have two, 5 tray canisters with mostly mechanical filtration and if I were to change the filters every week, with only 7 fish in a 125 gallon aquarium, I would be throwing away practically clean filters. I am not totally against the idea however, and as with everything, if I find that it's something that I should be doing, I will.

I had actually thought about using pre-filters on my intakes but bought a powerhead with a filter attachment instead. So maybe, there is hope for me yet. :D
 

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I am not at all suggesting that because I clean the canisters once a week that anyone else should be doing the same. Different ways, methods and situations. No method is necessarily right or wrong.
But i do think that most tanks would benefit from more frequent filter cleaning. I'm definitely not an advocate of having many filters that seldom get cleaned.
fish_gazer said:
I now have two, 5 tray canisters with mostly mechanical filtration and if I were to change the filters every week, with only 7 fish in a 125 gallon aquarium, I would be throwing away practically clean filters. I am not totally against the idea however, and as with everything, if I find that it's something that I should be doing, I will.
I take it from this that you throw away filter sponges? That is something I never do. Cleaned frequently, they can last 10+ years easily. I do clean mine with tap water. I can't clean them thoroughly or properly with out strong running water. I'm really not too scared of a little exposure to tap water, though my "bio media" (ceramic and plastic) often is not rinsed at all; occasionally in aquarium water and once in a while with tap water if it's dirty enough. Now a polishing pad, your pretty much forced to discard it as it is more then difficult to clean those.
 

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BC in SK said:
I take it from this that you throw away filter sponges?
No. They're in the top tray and that's where they stay. Ceramic rings and bio matrix are underneath them in the fourth tray. Medium and course floss pads make up the other three trays. I have a fine pad on the powerhead. The pads are the only thing that gets changed. Right now, I am changing the fine pad every 5 - 7 days.

This is all fluid. I am still learning what is best for my fishies and when. I have set aside everything I knew about fish keeping to take in all of the new ways of doing things (new to me). The one constant is weekly water changes. I did that way back when, and still do.
 

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When I first started the hobby in the mid 90s all my tanks had hang on the back filters and I changed them only when they became so clogged that flow was impeded. I didn't have a ton of money and honestly I didn't know any better. I also rarely did water changes at that time. Looking back I can't remember ever having any issues with fish dying or becoming sick. Fast forward to present and I use exclusively canister filters on all my tanks. But honestly I view them just as a means to keep the water clarity as good as possible. I clean and rinse all media and pads every two months or so. I am also not overly concerned about rinsing them in tank water. The media is rinsed in regular tap water and the pads are replaced then right back in. Mechanical filtration only.
Now frequent water changes have been added to my weekly routine. I generally do 30-40% twice a week and sometimes more. This keeps my numbers in check and seems to keep the tank from smelling but that could just be me. I have a higher bio load in my main tank and it warrants the water changes.
 

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ironspider said:
robcope said:
I have a cascade 1000 and 1200. I rotate one a month. The 1000 is odd months and the 1200 is even months. I open them up that often, but with prefilters, I think I will be able to go four months or more between cleanings.
How often do you change the floss pads? I just cleaned my 1000 and the floss pads were shot.
I change the floss pads about every six weeks now because they don't hold up well. After my supply runs out will cut my own. Then I will be able to go back to every other month.
 

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The Morning said:
When I first started the hobby in the mid 90s all my tanks had hang on the back filters and I changed them only when they became so clogged that flow was impeded.
I remember those days. Good times.
 
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