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Discussion Starter #1
How often do you have to clean your filter?

I have a Whisper 10i on my 10 gallon tank and I pretty much never have to clean it besides swishing the pad around in old tank water once in a while.

But I used to have these horrendous Aquaclear Fluval filters on my 55 gallon, and they clogged up constantly and would leak all over the floor. I had to de-gunk them about once a week and people said you should hardly ever have to clean them out. After one of them started leaking out of the connection where the power cord comes out, I finally got fed up and bought a Hagen Fluval (I know Hagen is like the parent company of Aquaclear or something weird like that, but this Fluval was 1,000,000 times sturdier and designed better than the "Aquaclear" ones I had before)... It's the Fluval C4, rated for 40-70 gallons. It works great- the flow is good and there has been no leaking, but the little red thing that pops up when you need to clean it basically is up all the time. I've had to do a thorough cleaning of the filter twice already and I've only had it a few months. I never put the carbon in there because I've read numerous places that it's not really needed. But it has a foam pad in there, and I also shoved one of the sponges from the old filter in there to keep the cycle going, and it has a box of that other filter media- the hard white ball things. Anyway, I have to clean out the sponges every two weeks or so because they turn absolutely black with goo and I have to rinse them in old tank water, squeeze them out, everything. The water in the bucket turns totally black. Once I actually took out all the removable parts of the filter and black gunk was covering everything so I had to clean all of the removable parts out in the old tank water. It seems to get way more dirty way more quickly than it should. Also, why is it black?? Is it because of the driftwood in my tank? i don't know if that makes any sense anyway. But the water is a light tea color from the tannins so when it goes through the filter it leaves behind a residue or something? I don't even know. lol. Has anyone else had this experience?
 

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How is your tank stocked? And what is your substrate? I've never heard of a filter getting clogged so quickly. I rinse mine every 3 or 4 water changes and don't notice any "gunk." A more open pore sponge/media might be better for you.
 

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With the aquaclears, I clean them when they tell me it's time (the basket pops up). With the canisters, I clean them every 6 months, though I'm pushing 9 at the moment. Gonna try to get them cleaned this coming week.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hallyx,
I have a 55 gallon tank with 6 female bettas, 6 neon tetras, 6 zebra danios, 5 julii cories, 3 Oto cats, 3 amano shrimp.
The substrate is soil and sand.
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I don't have the knowledge or experience to say if that tank is overstocked, but it seems like there's a lot of livestock. If your cycle can handle it, fine. But, between the large nitrifying bacteria colony and the DOCs generated by all those fish, I'm not too surprised your filter is working so hard.
 

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To me that's a fairly light stocking of a 55. We're it my tank, I would double all the schools.
 
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