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Hoping For The Best
July 18, 2011
9:51 am
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Steve Waring
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October 16, 2010
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Yesterday afternoon, my partner noticed that the filter in one of our tanks was not running. We replaced the pre-filter which was completely bunged up (I’d been meaning to clean it for about a week), and the white mesh pad inside the filter. However the filter still would not run. After everything obvious had been checked, I ordered another filter on-line, and we constructed the lash-up shown below. It was constructed using a home made gravel cleaner and the fountain head from a home made garden water feature.

The fountain head makes a fair job of ensuring the water is going through most of the filter media. I stuffed a pre-filter mesh into the intake of the gravel hover to keep small fish safe.

I’m not sure how much of the bacteria survived, as I don’t know when the filter stopped working. It was working the previous evening. Also, the water in the filter canister was very warm, because the internal heating element was heating it without water being pumped through the filter. I had 60ml of Cycle in the fridge, so I fed that into the intake of the gravel cleaner to ensure it reached the wet parts of the filter media.

Some minor good news is that the fish had not been fed that day, nor the previous day as it was their no food day. Normally the fish are fed very generously, to push the nitrate level up to 10ppm for all those hungry plants.

I’ll monitor ammonia and nitrite, and perform water changes when I see any. Normally this tank has infrequent water changes, as the plants absorb the nitrate.

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July 18, 2011
11:28 am
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coelacanth
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Doesn't look heavily stocked, I wouldn't worry, feed minimally and change water. The plants might take a hit but if they're well-established they'll cope. How old was the filter?

July 18, 2011
1:45 pm
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Steve Waring
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QUOTE (coelacanth @ Jul 18 2011, 12:11 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Doesn't look heavily stocked, I wouldn't worry, feed minimally and change water. The plants might take a hit but if they're well-established they'll cope. How old was the filter?


The tank is quite heavily stocked for oxygen levels, but as they are all small fish, (eg 20 Paracheirodon simulans, 15 Hyphessobrycon amandae, etc) so the waste should not be as high as with other fish.

The filter was about five and a half years old. To be homest, I think it may have failed because I let the pre-filter clog up so much.

At some point I'll probably be replacing this tank with a 5' or 6' tank. At that time I will install a second filter. I just don't have the space for one with the current set up.

I'm going to see if I can find a sealed motor unit for the failed filter, and repair it.

July 19, 2011
11:16 am
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Steve Waring
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October 16, 2010
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QUOTE (Steve Waring @ Jul 18 2011, 02:28 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
The tank is quite heavily stocked for oxygen levels, but as they are all small fish, (eg 20 Paracheirodon simulans, 15 Hyphessobrycon amandae, etc) so the waste should not be as high as with other fish.

The filter was about five and a half years old. To be homest, I think it may have failed because I let the pre-filter clog up so much.

At some point I'll probably be replacing this tank with a 5' or 6' tank. At that time I will install a second filter. I just don't have the space for one with the current set up.

I'm going to see if I can find a sealed motor unit for the failed filter, and repair it.


Ok, the new filter has been installed. I kept to the same filter, as it meant everything was very simple. Just drop the media trays in, the connections were the same, and power up.

Interestingly, the filter did not come with the tube of vasaline and instructions to grease the seal, so people are still being sold filters that will flood their room if the power fails. See this post.

The lash-up had kept all the filter media moist. Obviously it was acting as a trickle filter, so that should have helped the servicing bacteria. I'll continue to monitor the water, and add cycle. The filter took quite a bit of water out of the tank, so after it has been running for a while I'll top up which will act as a water change.

July 19, 2011
12:03 pm
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Steve Waring
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October 16, 2010
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QUOTE (Steve Waring @ Jul 19 2011, 11:59 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ok, the new filter has been installed. I kept to the same filter, as it meant everything was very simple. Just drop the media trays in, the connections were the same, and power up.

Interestingly, the filter did not come with the tube of vasaline and instructions to grease the seal, so people are still being sold filters that will flood their room if the power fails. See this post.

The lash-up had kept all the filter media moist. Obviously it was acting as a trickle filter, so that should have helped the servicing bacteria. I'll continue to monitor the water, and add cycle. The filter took quite a bit of water out of the tank, so after it has been running for a while I'll top up which will act as a water change.


We've just found out what was wrong with the first filter. There is a gap in the magnet housing on the impeller, that looks as if it should be there. It shouldn't. A temporary test with some electrical tape wrapped round it, and it started working again. We should have done some more research at the time of the fault, but obviously it was
P A N I C S T A T I O N S at the time.

When I upgrade to a 5' or 6' tank, I'll run both filters at a reduced flow rate, that way there will be total redundancy should one filter fail.

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