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Canister filter - is it supposed to be like this?

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by BeckyCats, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. BeckyCats

    BeckyCats Member

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    I just got my first canister filter and so far I absolutely hate it. It was a pain to assemble and I'm still not sure if I got the hoses tightly clamped enough. The latches that lock the motor to the canister are extremely difficult to push. When it was time to prime it, the button was stuck and required very hard pushing to become dislodged. Once I was able to push the priming button, I had to pump it like I was doing CPR chest compressions but it still wasn't pulling water. I read online reviews that said you have to fill the canister with water first. Would have been nice to have had that in the instructions. So I filled it with water and holy crap is this thing HEAVY! I'm going to have to lift that every time I want to clean It? Not only lift it, but drag it out from under the cabinet first. I had a back surgery a number of years ago and one of the screws in my back is broken, so I have to be careful about lifting. I never remember anyone saying that canister filters are heavy as all get-out. And, to top it all off, it isn't even working, even after performing chest compressions on the priming button again.

    I got a canister filter because I wanted a quiet filter. My aqueon Quiet Flow, while being an awesome, easy, filter, makes noise from the water trickling out, which will be too loud for the living room where this will be set up. Also, everyone says the Canister filters are great, but honestly, I can't for the life of me think why if it involves the hassle that I have just gone through, every time it needs cleaning or maintenance. Carrying that big heavy canister full of water to the sink, dealing with all of the trays inside, putting it all back together, carrying it back, fighting with the locking clamps again, shoving it into the cabinet, again, heavy and now I have to be crouched down on the floor while lifting it into the cabinet, and reconnecting hoses, and then repriming. AARRRRGH!

    Obviously i have to return this one because it doesnt work. Unless anyone can tell me it isn't supposed to be this difficult or they aren't supposed to be that heavy, I'm going to get a Fluval HOB because the water output sits lower and doesn't splash as much as the Aqueon. I may get one of each and just baffle the water flow from the Aqueon. The Fluval can hold more biomedia while the the Aqueon can do the bulk of the mechanical filtration. Anyway, that's what I'm thinking now.

    The filter I used was the marineland magniflow 360 for up to 100 gallons. It is not a 100 gallon tank, but I want extra filtration in case I get goldfish.

    Why on earth are canisters so popular when they are so difficult and heavy? Are other filters not like this one?
     
  2. Ch4rlie

    Ch4rlie Unlicensed Moderating Moderator
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    Yes, cannister filters can indeed be pretty heavy once full of media and water. No hiding from that unless its a small cannister like I have (Eheim Classic) but its only for a 20 gal long tank so no need for a large cannister.

    Maintenance can be hard work but bear in mind because a cannister that holds far more media than a HOB or internal filter holds the amount of maintenance is only 2 to 4 times a year, depending on tank and stocking etc, compared to HOB having to be maintained every week like mine (Fluval C3) but access is very easy so thats the balance, more maintenance and less filtration / flow compared to less maintenance and more filtration / flow.

    The main reason why cannisters are so popular is the amount of media one can hold as mentioned, this helps your tank to maintain the parameters more steady, and more able to deal with large bioloads like as you mentioned tanks for goldfish or perhaps common plecos which are basically poop factories so a good filter with large amount of filter media is needed.

    All cannisters need priming one way or another, some are easier than others but once you know the routine and get the knack of it, you get used to it. I used to have a TetraTec EX1200, absolutely heavy when full of water and priming was a bit of a pita and was hard work (used to turn the air blue with my language when was dealing with that one :lol: ) but I learned over time the easiest ways and how to ensure it works first time every time. The eheim cannister I have now just needs to ensure that the hoses and filter itself be full of water before starting up and it does the job pretty easily, MUCH easier than the Tetra Tec.

    Must mention that the aide of shut off valve taps connectors (double taps are best imho) is a must for most cannisters as this helps to ensure the outake and intake hose pipes remains full of water that makes priming and restarting much less of a chore.

    Just to give you an idea of double taps connectors, this is from my cannister set up, by turning the taps off, its retains the water in the hoses and then I can disconnect the hose apart to get the filter out, but a lot of new cannisters have this option on the cannister itsef somewhere -

    Eheim double tap connectors.jpg

    Pros and cons for all filters really, if i have a large tank then I go for cannisters, smaller tanks tend to be HOB's for me, my personal preference is for Eheim Cannisters and Fluval HOB's which are reliable imho but thats based on my own experiences with these anyway.

    Other brands may be better or easier but each person has their own experiences and preferences.
     
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  3. BeckyCats

    BeckyCats Member

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    Thank you so much for your reply. At least I know now that the weight and complications are normal for canisters and not just because mine is broken. The size of this thing is huge - almost as large as a 5 gallon bucket, but with no handle. Without a handle, it is so much more difficult to carry. You mention it needing less maintenance, but the instructions say that it needs to have the trays removed and rinsed every 3 weeks, and the pads and charcoal replaced every month. I would probably just remove the charcoal since I have read about this a fair amount and many ( including myself) find it better to do without charcoal unless removing medications from the water. But that still leaves me lifting this thing every 3 weeks. If it had a handle and didn't need to be kept under a cabinet, it wouldn't be quite as bad, but this is just too hard on my back. I would rather do weekly easy chores than painful, difficult ones every 3 weeks, or even every 3 months. Obviously, a lot of people are stronger than I am and don't have weak backs, so the maintenance would not be as onerous as it would be for me. There is no one right way to do things. For me though, I am going to try 2 hob filters instead. I always keep extra biomedia in them anyway. It doesn't hurt, and then I can easily start up a hospital tank if needed, just by grabbing the extra bio media from the filter. The Aqueons are great for aeration and the Fluval are particularly good for holding extra biomedia. One of each should do me right! Again, thank you for getting back to me about this. :)
     
  4. Ch4rlie

    Ch4rlie Unlicensed Moderating Moderator
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    I think pretty much ALL filter manufacturers say things like that, more of a marketing gimmick to get more sales of their products imho. Charcoal, think that may be active carbon which basically is for removing toxins and meds but is only active for a short while so yes, it can be replaced every 3 weeks or so but really, you can leave it, that will become homes for the bacterias.

    But as for the pads, depends what it is exactly, if its a sponge, do NOT replace those every 3 weeks, waste of time and money tbh, just keep it and bacteria will make a good home for that, just rinse it out in old tank water when the filter slows down due to gunk on the sponge media as you probably usually do anyway when you do your filter maintenances.

    I tend not to have carbon in any of my filters, usually will swap it for bio mechanicals, sponge or ceramic noodle media, more effective for bacteria. I do however keep a bag of carbon on the cupboard should I ever need it for removing meds from the tank water column.

    Yep, I agree about the cannisters not having handles make things much more cumbersome and bit of a design fault unless its difficult to add handles and body that can bear the weight of the cannisters when full of media and water (my old tetra tec cannister handle broke off when I was lifting it at one point!!)

    I think your situation with your back, its probably makes more sense to have 2 HOB's as access is much easier and much lighter too. You could do two of the same filter rather than one of each unless thats what you have lying around anyway, most HOB's have adjustable flow so just make sure both HOB's are of the same flow level.

    BTW I too add extra filter medias in any filter that I use ;)
     
  5. BeckyCats

    BeckyCats Member

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    Why do they need the same flow level?
     
  6. Ch4rlie

    Ch4rlie Unlicensed Moderating Moderator
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    Just to make things simpler for your tank is all, differences in flow can cause algae issues as well I think.
     
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  7. FrontsBfrontin'

    FrontsBfrontin' New Member

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    Yes they require the CPR like prime thats normal for many of them. Especially the ones that dont self prime. As far as the weight yea not light. Wait 8 weeks when its full of poo and stuff. Inweighed mine with new media it was 11lbs 8 weeks later it doubles. Lol as far as they go a good HOB will be as sufficient or a wet fry since you dont move it to clean it..sumping the tank isnt for everyone tho
     
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  8. FrontsBfrontin'

    FrontsBfrontin' New Member

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    Ya I just do 6 to 8 weeks at a time. More with my planted tank. But I run two fx6 on my 300 gallon 2 fluval 406 on my 90 and a fx5 on my 150. So over doing it can help with matinence. You can also do exact ratings so for example I had two Marineland p350s on my 150 to start and I was tinkering on a 3 week basis.
     
  9. thrujenseyes

    thrujenseyes Member

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    Good Lord!!
    I had one when I kept my Oscar and Jack years ago but it was smaller yet it was still a pain in the rear.
    It was never easy to get in and out of.
     
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  10. StevenF

    StevenF Member

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    One way to prim it that might be easier would be to disconnect the suction hose from the top of the aquarium and then poor in water into the hose until the canister and hose is full. Then reconnect the hose to the tank and turn on the canister filter. The pump in the canister will then empty the canister of water but in the process will pull most of the air out of the system.

    How often you maintain your filter depends on the following:
    1. What type of media you have. IF it is inert material for the bacteria to grow on it will never need to be replaced. IF it is phosphate remover, activated carbon, or a resin based absorbent it will need to be periodically removed and replaced.
    2. How fast silt or mud builds up in the filter.
    3. how often it clogs due to mud derbies or the accumulation of pest snails inside it.
     
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  11. BeckyCats

    BeckyCats Member

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    I ended up getting two fluval 70 HOB filters. I chose them over the aqueon brand because the water flow from the output is not as strong, which makes them quieter. I love the waterfall sound in the bedroom, but for the living room, my husband needed something quieter. The motors are both pretty quiet I think. Fluval is a little quieter though.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your experience with canisters. I have read pros and cons of each, but I have never read about the hassle of access or the weight on the larger ones, so that came as a bit of a surprise.
     
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  12. thrujenseyes

    thrujenseyes Member

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    Glad you wound up with something that works best for you. That canister would have been impossible for you to get in and out of and move about.
     
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  13. StandbySetting

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    Instead of using the priming pump you could just suck on the outlet pipe to fill it via siphone, let it fill, replace the outlet pipe and switch on.
     
  14. Ch4rlie

    Ch4rlie Unlicensed Moderating Moderator
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    This is where the double taps I mentioned earlier comes in handy.

    SInce using these double taps will means both the intake and outake pipes are already filled with water, as soon as you open the tap water starts to flow down and then gravity takes over and the water will start to syhon into the filter hereby filling up the filter making priming much easier ;)

    A little practice required to get that spot on but easily doable. A LOT easier and more hygenic then sucking old tank water thru the hose.
     
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  15. BeckyCats

    BeckyCats Member

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    Ha ha! No thank you! Even if I had the stomach for that, I still don't have the back to be able to easily lift the canister for cleaning and/or replacing the media. They may not be what the cool kids use, but I love my HOBs! :good::)
     

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