Are you wondering how to clean aquarium filter? Read on to find out the right way to do it!
Aquarium filter cleaning is necessary for your fish tank. Aquarium filtration helps to remove the impurities from the water so your fish can live healthy without impurities. But if you do not clean your filter on time, it will get clogged by impurities and bacteria.
Many people hate cleaning the aquarium filter because they do not know how to do it. I will give you some tips on how you can clean the aquarium filter and make it easy too.
Just before we begin, you should actually know how to clean aquarium gravel and how to clean aquarium sand. Doing all this might be time-consuming and stressful, however, if you love your fish, you shouldn’t hesitate.
Table of Contents
Steps: How To Clean Aquarium Filter
Below are the steps that will help you clean your aquarium filter. Be sure to follow all the steps to the later without skipping any. Before we begin, you’ll need to get some equipment for this cleaning process;
Things You’ll Need;
- Aquarium Siphon: This tool is easy to use and also relatively cheap. It helps you to drain out water easily from your aquarium to a bucket.
- Bucket: You will also need a large enough bucket that can contain about 3 liters of water from your aquarium.
Step One: Turn Off The Filter
The first thing you want to do is turn off the aquarium filter, doing this saves you from being shocked while trying to clean it. You can simply turn it off by turning off the switch and unplugging the power cord from the wall outlet.
Note: Do not begin the cleaning process without first turning off the filter, if you get distracted and forget to turn off the filter, it could lead to some serious problems.
Step Two: Use A Siphon To Drain Aquarium Water
For this step, you will need a bucket and a siphon hose. You will need to place the bucket below the aquarium so that water can flow in when you start the draining process.
Place the bottom of the siphon hose inside the bucket and place the head inside the aquarium. We have shared the best way to do this in our article on how to clean aquarium gravel. You should check it out.
Allow the siphon to drain out about a bucket load of water. The reason we are draining out the aquarium water is that it is best if you use the aquarium water to wash the filter, doing this would not introduce foreign substances into your aquarium.
However, if your aquarium water is very dirty, you can use well, rain, or bottled water.
Step Three: Remove The Filter From The Aquarium
You might not necessarily need to remove the whole filter from the aquarium, the main thing here is getting hold of the filter media, some filters might require you to take out the entire filter to reach the filter media while others won’t.
If you can reach the filter media without taking out the entire filter, then that’s fine! If your aquarium has debris you’ll need to take out the whole filter so it doesn’t get into the filter.
After removing the filter from your aquarium, check if there is debris in the aquarium, if you find any, you can use a net and slowly remove them from your aquarium, while doing this, try not to harm your fish.
Step Four: Take Out The Cartridges From The Canister
What is a ? Simply put, this is the mechanism inside your filter that helps to keep your aquarium clean. Filter media are the portion of a filtering system that separates unwanted particles from the substance being filtered.
For our next step, you need to take out the filter media, you might find 2-4 media for filtration inside your canister, it actually depends on the model or version you have.
Note: While removing the filter media, you need to check how they were placed initially, this would help you understand how to place them back in the canister when you are done cleaning.
Step Five: Place The Filter Media In The Aquarium Water
Next up you need to thoroughly wash the filter media inside the aquarium water you previously siphoned from the aquarium into the bucket. Washing them with water ensures that the healthy bacteria aren’t killed.
Use both hands to wash the sponges in the filter media and this should clear any build-up accumulated over time. Do not use detergents, liquid soaps, or any chemical for this cleaning process. Just using aquarium water works fine. Tap water can also be used if it has not been treated with chlorine.
Step Six: Insert The Filter Media In The Canister
At this point you should be done washing the filter media, you now need to put them back in the canister. It could be an issue if wrongly placed, so, check that all the cartridges are fitted in their rightful position.
If you are having issues putting back the filter media into the canister, you can check the user manual for help or contact customer care for whatever product you have.
Step Seven: Place The Filter Back In The Aquarium
That’s it, now your aquarium filter is all clean and ready to go back into the aquarium. Place the filter at the same spot where you took it out from and also, do not forget to plug it back to the wall outlet. You could also do some substrate cleaning if you want to.
Other Types Of Filters And How To Clean
1. Chemical Filters
If your aquarium filter looks anything like this, then you have a chemical filter in your aquarium. You would need to replace the filter media with a new one at least once a month. Here is what to do;
- Turn off the filter from the wall outlet.
- Remove the canister from the aquarium.
- Take out the chemical filter media.
- Replace with a new chemical filter media. You can easily get a replacement in online stores.
- Place the filter back in the aquarium.
- Turn on the filter.
2. Biological Filters
The biological filtration in an aquarium refers to the process by which beneficial bacteria break down ammonia and nitrite and transform them into a much less toxic compound.
If your filtration system operates on biological filtration, simply take out the filter media from the canister, and use the aquarium water to give it a proper rinse. Insert it back into the canister and back into the aquarium.
Important Tips To Note
- Always unplug the filter from the wall outlet before washing.
- Replace chemical filter media after a month or two.
- Do not use tap water to clean your aquarium filter unless it doesn’t contain chlorine.
- Always use water from the aquarium to clean your filter.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I clean the filter in my aquarium?
You should clean your aquarium at least once a month. Unlike the substrate in your aquarium, your filter can actually go for a month without being overly dirty. Be careful not to do it too many times in a month, doing this might have a negative impact on your fish.
Can I clean my fish tank filter with tap water?
Yes, you can clean your fish tank filter with tap water. Although before doing this you need to double and triple-check that there isn’t any trace of chlorine from the water source. Some sources have chlorine and some don’t. The best water to use for cleaning your aquarium filter is well water, rainwater, and bottled water.
Why does my aquarium filter get dirty so fast?
Your fish tank is probably getting dirty so fast because you have a small aquarium, this makes fish become stressed and thus leading to a dirty tank within a short period. Don’t go buying a gigantic tank, you just need one that has enough space for your fish to be comfortable and move around.
How often should I change my aquarium filter cartridge?
This depends on the kind of filter system you are using. For mechanical filters, I would recommend that you wash the cartridge of your filter at least once a month. This number is prone to change depending on the presence of algae in your fish tank. For chemical filter systems, you will need to change the filter media at least once a month.
We have come to the end of this article on how to clean aquarium filters. I hope it has been helpful to you. Feel free to acquire more knowledge for your aquarium by checking out our other articles on how to clean aquarium glass white residue or check out some amazing DIY aquarium light ideas.
You can ask questions in the comment section below, your contributions are also welcome. Just before you go, kindly share this content.