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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just completed an annual filter clean on my 155g bowfront. 55g sump stuffed with poret foam. I used to clean the foam every month.... and then every couple months.... and then I let it go 4 months and then I intentionally let it go about a year. The only reason I cleaned it was because the foam was so clogged up that water level was rising in the sump to the point that if the power went out it might over flow. Did I mention I have an automatic water change system running? About 15 gallons a day of fresh water is exchanged with dirty water. It took me about 1.5 hours to vacuum the sump, clean the sponges, vacuum sump again. 1.5 hours / year isn't too bad for filter cleaning. Water parameters great of course. Zero casualties in an over stocked African tank. Clean the glass every once in a while and feed almost daily = a very none time consuming hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I also add some Seachem Stability to the sump to help re-establish the bacteria. I do a thorough cleaning with filtered tap water (not tank water) so I likely loose some of the good stuff.
 

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I have two tanks that I have not cleaned the filter for over two years. One probably have not seen water change for that long as well.
One is not the prettiest but yeh to "Whatever works" :D

It is really a function of the overall system. Having a filter rated for 90g on a 15g helps with no water change - fish load is low with lots of plants.
 

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If you check out the New Zealand company Fish 2 Water they focus on Africans - personal and commercial installations. Their videos are great and they recommend large capacity Poret Foam filters internal filters and Matten - style.

One reason they focus on these is their high efficiency and low maintenance. Water changes are imparative of course but I have found their videos informative.

In all my filters I am switching over to Poret foam with hydroton and Biohome media ... so far I am really happy with the results.
 

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I use a lot of Aquaclears on my tanks. Partly because they're so low-tech and easy to maintain. I usually just take the floss out and rinse it in tank water whenever I start seeing the water level in the housing rise (typically every other week or so), and squeeze the sponge out every month or so. Any longer without basic maintenance and I worry the detritus caught in the filter isn't doing my water quality any favors.
 

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I also agree with the use of Aquaclear filters - easy to maintain, easy to improve efficiency / capacity.

Large capacity filter/s for the size of the tank is an asset. Cycling the water as often as possible. Overall water volume is a real plus too.

As long as you don't change up the fish a lot they can get use to the specific conditions of your tanks. I have found though that it's when you add new fish to those conditions that issues can arise.

I recently learned a lesson when I bought some beautiful fish from a tank that had not been maintained for a while. They were in great shape in that tank. For the first 2 weeks in my tank they did alright then they started to stress and I lost all of them. The original tank parameters were just too different from the conditions in my tank where I try to keep things balanced and on the clean / clear side.
 

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On my Aquaclears the only things I have to clean regularly are the pre-filters. During a water change I unplug the filter, take the pre-filter sponge and rinse it in a bucket of tank water. Sometimes the filter doesn't restart and that's when the inside gets cleaned. Usually the motor and impeller needs cleaning with a Q-tip.
 

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I admit I don't clean my filters often enough. Probably 3-4 times a year. This is on an overstocked 55 gallon running two XP3's. On my 8 gallon I clean the eheim canister whenever the flow gets reduced.

If I could get away with yearly cleaning I would certainly go for it lol!
 

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WOW! i guess i clean my filters too often...
125g tank with 2x XP4 and 1x fx6

I rotate and clean them once every 3-4 weeks with 2, sometimes 3 50% water changes a week. Not overstocked. Maybe borderlining. Also have prefilters for the xp4's that i clean every water change. OCD??
 

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I should probably clean mine more often...125g - xp3 cleaned every 6 weeks ish + Eheim 2080 not cleaned since May (30 or so fish, feed 1-2x a day). 180g - 2x fx6 havnt cleaned since May as well (22 fish feed 5-6/week). My water parameters are spot on tho...5-10ppm nitrates, 50% weekly water changes.

WOW! i guess i clean my filters too often...
125g tank with 2x XP4 and 1x fx6

I rotate and clean them once every 3-4 weeks with 2, sometimes 3 50% water changes a week. Not overstocked. Maybe borderlining. Also have prefilters for the xp4's that i clean every water change. OCD??
If I was a fish, I'd wana live in your tank lol
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
WOW! i guess i clean my filters too often...
125g tank with 2x XP4 and 1x fx6

I rotate and clean them once every 3-4 weeks with 2, sometimes 3 50% water changes a week. Not overstocked. Maybe borderlining. Also have prefilters for the xp4's that i clean every water change. OCD??
I only clean canister filters when flow is reduced (as long as nitrates are kept consistent. I've got fresh water drips on all of my 15 or so tanks).

I firmly believe as long as parameters are consistent fish can thrive. I've seen fish in tanks that haven't had a drop of fresh water in 6 months doing fine. Cleaning filters once a month, in my opinion, is not necessary.
 

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I clean mine once every 3 weeks. I use tap water to clean everything except for the bio media. :rolleyes:

I had a tank once I didn't change water for almost a year. It had no filter, just plants for filtration and a light fish load with some snails. The problem with not doing frequent maintenance is critters seem to thrive much easier like detritus worms, Cyclops, and planaria.
 

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I have a 40L tank using a HOB filter with two cartridges. I do a 25% water change twice a week; a 40% water change once a week. I rinse the used cartridges in the drawn-off tank water and put them back into the filter. I replace only one filter each month (alternating) so that a new filter has a 2-month lifespan on my tank. 20 small freshwater fishes (each under 2" in length). All have been thriving for nine months. Plants, too. The bottom of the tank has sand (not gravel).

I swear by water changes AND the rinsing of the filters for keeping everything tickety-boo.
 

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Gord do you have a thread in here which explains how to do that drip system? I remember talking to you on the phone about your systems and it blew me away.
 

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Your nitrate levels will determine how often your should clean out your filter and perform water changes.

My previous setup, which was a 135 gallon with a single fx5, would go 3 months between clean ups with a 50% water change bi weekly, moderately stocked, and nitrates never over 40. When the tank became over stocked and the fish grew larger I was still only cleaning out the fx5 every 3 months but needed to do a 80% water change weekly to maintain nitrates below 40ppm.


I would rather do weekly water changes then clean out the filter ever other month.

I bet on a slightly stocked tank you could go 6 months between cleanings with weekly water changes.
 

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Woah. OK good to know, I've been doing filter cleanings every two weeks...

But I have an overstocked 135 running an fx5 and an fx6.

Weekly 75% WC

Overkill?
 

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Right after a water change take a nitrate reading... considering this your baseline.

After 1 week test your water and see how high your nitrate levels have risen. Do a large enough water change to knock it back down to your baseline.

My fish were use to large water changes. I like to keep my nitrate levels below 40ppm. When I started feeding more, overstocked with large Cichlids I opted to do more frequent water changes then clean my filters.

I am setting up a new 210 and will lightly stock it with small male haps and peacocks to grow out... I bet if I wanted to I could go over a month or two before requiring a water change and up to 6 months before cleaning the dual fx6 all the while keeping my nitrate levels in check.
 

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I only clean canister filters when flow is reduced (as long as nitrates are kept consistent. I've got fresh water drips on all of my 15 or so tanks).

I firmly believe as long as parameters are consistent fish can thrive. I've seen fish in tanks that haven't had a drop of fresh water in 6 months doing fine. Cleaning filters once a month, in my opinion, is not necessary.
I have 210g not overstocked yet 2fx5s I clean both every month rotating the cleaning of course I sure know the difference if I get behind yuk very grosse but will be hooking up auto drip soon thanks to you ��
 
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