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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting ready to clean my filter for the first time.

The foam is clogged with fish **** and overfed food. I've heard that you need to only rinse the foam which is where the good bacteria resides with the tank water. Can I thoroughly squeeze the foam and dip the foam up and down on the tank water bucket?

I've also seen videos of experts using tap water and squeezing the foam during rinsing.

What do some of you pros suggest when cleaning a hang on back filter? In my case, I have 2 Aquaclear 500 model filters on my 135 gallon.
 

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toss the carbon in both,get another sponge ,cut it in half,put half in each filter,only rinse one filter sponge in tank water(or dechlorinated water),alternate between filters every month or so
do you have any other filtration besides the 2 500s on the 135g.
 

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You can run two full size sponge inserts in that AC. That will still leave room for other bio media on top, whether it be some ceramic noodle or plastic pot scrubbers, which is what I use. If you wash the sponges in tank water, you are not likely to remove any significant amount of bacteria. Do get all the solid material out, and consider a regular perhaps weekly cleaning of the sponges.The reason for this is that they will work better if they aren't clogged, and once they get clogged they are much harder to clean. With two sponges you will effectively double the mechanical and biological capacity of the filter. When you use two sponges it makes it very easy to add a piece of quilt batting between them to filter fine particles. This pad will clog quickly but is easy to remove, toss, and replace with new. In addition the use of the pad will keep the upper sponge much cleaner.
Don't be afraid to clean the sponges vigorously. It is often suggested to lightly swish the media in tank water. This wrong and will not remove the solids. You will see this when you squeeze the insert and as you continue to squeeze the amount of solid matter increases before it lessens.
 

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My sink is below my tank a few inches in the other room, and I use a python, so once it gets started it will gravity-siphon on its own without the faucet being on, so I run my sponge, et al under that. See if you can do the same if you use a python for water changes. Otherwise, run the hose out a window and do the same. With tank water, getting the sponge clean won't harm your good bacteria.

Don't forget, it's important to clean the biological material gently in this manner as well. Dead bacteria, gunk, etc. produce nitrates, as well as take up room healthy bacteria could be using. Gently rinsing it clean in tank water is always good.

I run two AC110's, and do one every couple water changes, so they each go about a month between cleanings but are staggered, so they both aren't cleaned at once. If you only have one filter don't worry, you won't substantially harm the bio filtration by cleaning with tank water.

-John
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
newforestrob said:
do you have any other filtration besides the 2 500s on the 135g.
In addition to the 2 AC110s I also have a 30 gallon sump tank for wet/dry filtration system. In there also exists 2 sponges, 2 bags of carbon, and a bucket full of bio balls.most of the bioballs are not submerged in water. I've heard it's no use if submerged.
 

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newforestrob said:
I tried putting two sponge inserts and the top sponge was out of water,so not sure how you can get bio media on top aswell
You, of course, are right. My apologies. My 110 is still in the box, and unlike the rest of the AC line, because of the thickness of the foam, you can not add a full size insert without a portion being above the water. On the rest of the line, you can use 2 sponges and bio media.
 

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after you do a water change just rinse it out in the water from the tank.
 
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