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Old 10-03-2011, 04:20 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Need new filter

I think the filter in my aquarium is dying. I noticed the last couple of times I unplugged it to do a water change, it takes longer and longer to start up again. Today it took about 10 minutes--I had to keep hitting the back because the motor kept stopping or something. So this week I am going to go shopping for a new filter.

The new filter will probably not be the same brand as the Wal-Mart cheapie that's in there now. So how do I do this with the least amount of risk to the inhabitants? The filter I have now has a blue cartridge with charcoal inside and a white cartridge that I guess is the bio filter. Do I have to keep that so I don't lose the bacteria? There are gravel and decorations that I would assume have bacteria on them too. I finally got everything to the point where the betta and the snails and the plants are actually doing pretty well and I don't want to screw it up. Also, are all back-of the-tank filters for 10 gallon aquariums pretty much the same size, or do I have to measure the slot in the hood to make sure the new filter will fit?

One more question, I got some new plants a couple of weeks ago to replace the ones the snails munched on. Two of the ones I got are dracaena sanderia, which I googled and I guess they're not really aquarium plants at all. They look so pretty right now though. Can't I just leave them until they start turning brown?

Thanks for being so patient. This forum is really helpful.
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:57 AM   #2 
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Is it a power filter that hangs on the back of the tank? I had the same problem with an Aquaclear filter. Turns out the magnetic impeller (propeller?) had hair wrapped around it. I was able to get the hair out and now it works fine. Try taking that part of the filter apart. If it doesn't work, oh well, you were planning on buying a new one anyway.
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:27 AM   #3 
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It is an Aquatech power filter that hangs over the back. I'm not sure where the propellor is on it. There's a tube with a little slotted end that gets clogged with plant stuff sometimes so I just clean it off with my fingers when I'm cleaning the tank.
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:00 PM   #4 
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Location: California
It really does sound like it is just clogged. Try taking it apart fully if you can. Maybe there are instructions online? If not, I really do recommend the Hagen Aquaclears. They are pretty easy to clean out (and you will probably have this problem again), and i love how customizable the media holder is.
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:16 PM   #5 
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You will lose the bacteria if you replace your filter but if your old filter is actually broken. If it is, I recommend getting the AquaClear 20, has an adjustable flow so you won't need to baffle it. I'm getting it myself. :D
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Old 10-03-2011, 12:23 PM   #6 
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Florida
I have had so many issues with that aquatech...Even after cleaning it out well it stopped abruptly during the night and left my poor corydoras stressed out bigtime...
Most of the time cleaning it out in a bucket of tank water during water change works to get it going again.I use a little kids toothbrush to clean out the intake tubes and clean the impeller.
I have had no issues with my aquaclear and aqueon filters so far.Most 10-20 gallon filters will fit nicely in the space provided by the aquarium hood.

also, if you have smaller snails like pond snails in your tank you might want to put a prefilter sponge over the intake so that the little snails don't get into the filter..sometimes that can clog up a filter. I would try cleaning it out well before buying a new..sometimes that is all they need.

Here is a nice video on cleaning the HOB filters:

Last edited by Littlebittyfish; 10-03-2011 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 10-03-2011, 02:56 PM   #7 
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Thanks, that youtube video was really helpful. I didn't see the impeller on my filter, is it in that little hole where the tube goes? I think what I'll do is get one of those brushes they sell to clean baby bottles and clean all the little crevices in the filter. I noticed yesterday there was quite a bit of algae in the gravel and along the openings of the filter, so maybe that's clogging it up. It would be nice not to have to spend $30 on a filter since money is tight right now anyway.

The snails are huge now (actually the same size as the betta or a little bigger) so I don't think they can get inside the filter.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:03 PM   #8 
Join Date: Feb 2011
The marineland bio-wheel 100b and Aqua-Tech A are the same filter for the most part.

The plastic assembly that your intake U pipe fits down into is the upper portion of the impeller housing. Take out the U pipe then lift out this odd plastic piece and you'll be able to see the impeller, it should draw out WITH the plastic assembly.

To clean the impeller housing and impeller completely you need to remove the blue floss/carbon filter card, the plastic rigging and bio-media piece and take the rest of the filter to the sink. These filters are completely sealed inside and out, so no worries about the next steps.

Set a paper plate out to the side on a towel and begin dissassembling the filter, each part you take off run straight hot tap water through, either by the hand sprayer or from the faucet itself. The heat and chlorine will work to break down most the muck inside. If you like you can buy a marineland filter cleaning brush at your local fish store or you can usually find a 3/4 inch poly ball brush made of wire at a hardware store. Using a brush to clean out the filter can lengthen times between filter cleanings.

When you've finished with the intake U pipe, proceed to take out the variable-flow assembly and the attached impeller. This impeller sticks into the bottom of the variable flow assembly and while it can be removed, many of the models remain more reliable if you do not remove it from the plastic parts. To clean the impeller you want to hold the large plastic assembly between your fingers on your left (other) hand while stabilizing the lower end of the metal rod with your thumb. Carefully hold it horizontally under the flow from the faucet and gently spin it with your finger, it should become easier and easier to spin in just the flow from the faucet. You want both the rod and the blades/magnet to be sparkly clean. If there is a rough deposit of mineral on either you'll need to clean it off with vinegar and some abrasion with toothpicks. Do so gently.

To clean out the magneto housing use the hand sprayer and tip the main housing of the filter upside down so that water will flow out. Rinse it with straight hot water, this is the small hole with a notch that the impeller fits into. This should also be cleaned with warmed vinegar to remove deposits.

When you re-fill the aquarium you should always make sure to fill up the filter, the intake line from the filter will siphon water back out till its below the start-up level of the filter. That's the noise you're hearing, I commonly fill up my filters, turn them on then finish filling the tank through them.
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:06 PM   #9 
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Thank you! I took the aquarium filter apart and rinsed everything under hot water this morning. Then when I put it back together and plugged it back in, the motor hummed for a second and stopped. I figured it went to the big aquarium in the sky, so I went to Petsmart and bought a Penguin 100 filter. I took the biofilter out of the old filter and stuck it behind the biowheel in the new filter. Will that keep the aquarium from getting an ammonia spike?
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:17 AM   #10 
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Incidentally, if anyone's interested I discovered a size 2 double pointed knitting needle is exactly the right size to pull hair out from around an impeller.
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