Canister Filter Maintenance

#1
I have had a canister filter (Hydor 350) for about a year now, in the past couple months I have realized that I was not doing the proper maintenance on this filter. I was only opening it up every 4 months and even then wasn't cleaning it as I should when I did so. Now I open it monthly and heavily rinse (In tank water) everything. I also replace the filter floss and every other month I replace the Sponge media. The course media I rinse but put back and the ceramic media always stays just gets a good rinse.

Today is the first day I will clean the hoses. I assume I have lost serious pressure due to this. I will begin doing this every other month or every month depending of how fast the gunk builds back up. This is rather negligent on my part.

So my question is this, How often do you clean your canister? What does the maintenance entail? Do you have any tips/tricks you use when doing it?
 

Mbkemp

Well-Known Member
#2
I use a cpap brush for the hoses. Easy money, it’s 5-6 feet long

I use a prefilter on my eheim. I clean that every other week. The sponges stay clean in the filter because of the pre filter. I clean that eheim every couple of months otherwise

My other job clean about every six weeks
 

tfreema

Well-Known Member
#3
I try to clean mine every 6 weeks. That does not always happen because it is such a chore and takes about an hour depending on which filter I am cleaning. I have one which is also a hydor 350 that I have not cleaned since January because I do mine outside. It has been really cold even for Georgia.

I clean about what you do except I do not replace the sponges until they are really worn out. I have only cleaned the hoses when I move tanks, but figure I should take them off about once a year at least to run the brush through. I have a great brush that Jenmur recommended that is like a snake you run through the drain with a big brush on one end and a smaller one on the other.

So, this may be long, but this is what I do:
  • If changing water in the tank, suction a couple buckets about 1/3 - 1/2 full of tank water, otherwise I just fill with water from hose adding stress coat de-chlorinator
  • Partially fill rubbermaid tub with treated water to place the filter baskets and media in outside at work area by hose (to keep the bb alive while I work)
  • Clean out the housing with a shop cloth and dump that water out (if really nasty, I may use the hose on this and dry it before placing baskets back in)
  • Clean impeller and its housing in the first bucket of tank water and reattach to filter motor
  • I try to remember to use a little petroleum jelly on the ring seals
  • Mix up some new fresh de-chlorinated water to fill filter housing enough to keep clean media being placed back in wet while working
  • Starting with the bottom basket, clean basket and media that is not being thrown away (floss/pads) in 1st tank water bucket
  • If sponges/course pads, clean in second bucket (because by that point the first bucket water is black) and place in housing
  • Add new pads/floss as needed
  • Dump out 1st bucket (for reason stated above) and refill using the water hose and adding dechlorinator
  • Put 2nd basket from the bottom in 2nd tank water bucket to clean, transfer to newly filled bucket to clean some more, then to housing
  • Repeat rotating from one bucket to the other to the filter housing box fixing fresh water as I go until everything is clean
  • Place by tank to finish filling up with treated water so less gurgling, place and reattach hoses and voila, all done
So basically everything gets cleaned twice. The first bucket to knock off or squeeze out all the big stuff, the second bucket to actually get the stuff clean.
 

Poppa Ryno

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I try to clean mine every 6 weeks. That does not always happen because it is such a chore and takes about an hour depending on which filter I am cleaning. I have one which is also a hydor 350 that I have not cleaned since January because I do mine outside. It has been really cold even for Georgia.

I clean about what you do except I do not replace the sponges until they are really worn out. I have only cleaned the hoses when I move tanks, but figure I should take them off about once a year at least to run the brush through. I have a great brush that Jenmur recommended that is like a snake you run through the drain with a big brush on one end and a smaller one on the other.

So, this may be long, but this is what I do:
  • If changing water in the tank, suction a couple buckets about 1/3 - 1/2 full of tank water, otherwise I just fill with water from hose adding stress coat de-chlorinator
  • Partially fill rubbermaid tub with treated water to place the filter baskets and media in outside at work area by hose (to keep the bb alive while I work)
  • Clean out the housing with a shop cloth and dump that water out (if really nasty, I may use the hose on this and dry it before placing baskets back in)
  • Clean impeller and its housing in the first bucket of tank water and reattach to filter motor
  • I try to remember to use a little petroleum jelly on the ring seals
  • Mix up some new fresh de-chlorinated water to fill filter housing enough to keep clean media being placed back in wet while working
  • Starting with the bottom basket, clean basket and media that is not being thrown away (floss/pads) in 1st tank water bucket
  • If sponges/course pads, clean in second bucket (because by that point the first bucket water is black) and place in housing
  • Add new pads/floss as needed
  • Dump out 1st bucket (for reason stated above) and refill using the water hose and adding dechlorinator
  • Put 2nd basket from the bottom in 2nd tank water bucket to clean, transfer to newly filled bucket to clean some more, then to housing
  • Repeat rotating from one bucket to the other to the filter housing box fixing fresh water as I go until everything is clean
  • Place by tank to finish filling up with treated water so less gurgling, place and reattach hoses and voila, all done
So basically everything gets cleaned twice. The first bucket to knock off or squeeze out all the big stuff, the second bucket to actually get the stuff clean.
Excellent! Great informative post.
 

jmaldo

Well-Known Member
#5
Agree with @Mbkemp and @tfreema
The signal for a cleaning for me is the spraybar output flow. I do my Eheims basically every 2 months, it's a chore but... it is getting easier every time I do them.
I found this to use on my hoses, so "Easy". Well worth the $8.
https://www.amazon.com/UEETEK-Stain...2-spons&keywords=aquarium+hose+cleaning&psc=1
I saw @Mbkemp tank and noticed the Eheim pre-filter. Thanks to the recommend, they should arrive today. So possibly extend the cleaning time frame by a few more weeks. Hope this helps.
 

tfreema

Well-Known Member
#6
Agree with @Mbkemp and @tfreema
The signal for a cleaning for me is the spraybar output flow. I do my Eheims basically every 2 months, it's a chore but... it is getting easier every time I do them.
I found this to use on my hoses, so "Easy". Well worth the $8.
https://www.amazon.com/UEETEK-Stain...2-spons&keywords=aquarium+hose+cleaning&psc=1
I saw @Mbkemp tank and noticed the Eheim pre-filter. Thanks to the recommend, they should arrive today. So possibly extend the cleaning time frame by a few more weeks. Hope this helps.
That is the same brush I use that Jenmur recommended! It is definitely well worth it. I use it on some of my HOB tubes that have curves in them as well. :)

Can you link the eheim prefilter you mentioned?
 

FishFlow

Well-Known Member
#7
My canisters always had bio media in addition to the physical media. If the bio media was terrible looking, I would rinse that in tank water. The physical media (sponges ) got hot water heavy duty scrubbing, cleaning action.
Originally, I did this weekly, which became monthly, and then eventually, I stopped using canisters. : O
 

junebug

Chune the Smiter
Staff member
#8
I have a big pipe cleaner for the hoses. I cleaned my canister about a month ago. First time I'd cleaned it in a year or two... it was pretty gross LOL. But, most of the issue in mine came with the spraybar getting clogged, so that, I cleaned pretty regularly.

How often you clean the inside depends on what you have in it. I wasn't using filter floss or anything, just a tray with sponges and a tray with ceramic rings. The sponges were large pore.

Now, I threw the ceramic media away and I'm just using sponges.

Ideally, the thing should get hosed out about once a month. But mine is in a really inconvenient area and I don't like to crawl back behind my fish rack to get to it.
 

AlliSten

Well-Known Member
#9
I open mine about once a month, do a light cleaning. Every other month I do a more thorough job. I’ve only cleaned the hoses once since October.
 
#11
So I cleaned mine out last night. It really wasn't that bad inside, but I took the opportunity to put some sponges inside from some sponge filters I recently bought to get those seeded. I did learn something though. As I was cleaning my hoses I thought to myself "this isn't too bad I don't think it will help my pressure". Man was I wrong, I got a huge increase in pressure, I use the Hydor deflector on my output and it is spinning much faster than it did before. Also there is a noticeable increase in suction at the intake. I think this is mostly because of the "U" sections that sit on the rim of the tank. These seem to be collection points for the crud and probably prohibited the flow.

Agree with @Mbkemp and @tfreema
The signal for a cleaning for me is the spraybar output flow. I do my Eheims basically every 2 months, it's a chore but... it is getting easier every time I do them.
I found this to use on my hoses, so "Easy". Well worth the $8.
https://www.amazon.com/UEETEK-Stain...2-spons&keywords=aquarium+hose+cleaning&psc=1
I saw @Mbkemp tank and noticed the Eheim pre-filter. Thanks to the recommend, they should arrive today. So possibly extend the cleaning time frame by a few more weeks. Hope this helps.
I used something almost identical to this. Works perfectly.

I have seen this before and I like the idea, but for me personally I only have 3 tanks. I would rather have the extra flow and clean my canister often than use a pre filter sponge.
 
#12
Wow I must be a pig! I clean my canisters out every 3 months, I rinse out the filter media in room temp water, change only the media that needs to be changed and clean the hoses out once a year. The only thing I keep an eye on often is the intake strainers and the output spaybars.
 
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