Clogging filter

Trivr

Prolific Poster
Mar 23, 2008
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Hi,

I couldn't find an answer to what I think may be a simple question, so here goes....how do you prevent your flat disposable filter cartridges from clogging so frequently in a tank with lots of plants and real driftwood?

I've got two tanks, a 29, and a newly planted 55. I bought them both as a complete kit and they both came with the simple hob filters. I'm spending a fortune on these replacement filter cartridges. My 55g has side by side filters and the shortest time frame was two days before they were sufficiently clogged so water was bypassing them over the top of filter. I made it worse then by doing a gravel vac and moving things around in there, but they're normally only good for a week or two anyway. There was one time I didn't notice it overflowing until almost 100% of the water was bypassing the filters... I know I'm playing with fire here so something needs to change. My non-planted 29g will go beyond a month without clogging and overflowing if I let it.

When I inspect them, the backside is black with what appears to be small pieces of plant debris. Am I supposed to clean and reuse them? Is this type of filtration not practical with planted tank? Some say hornwort is bad for breaking, so I removed almost of it, but it didn't really seem to make a difference.

I've read some posts praising the xp3 and xp4, but would not these tiny floating particles clog these as well? I'm trying to make the inexpensive diy co2 work in my 55g and I thought I'd read somewhere that these hob filters are less likely to drive out co2 than a more powerful canister or even the hob with the wheel.

I'd like to avoid the expense of buying a different filter, and I'd prefer to avoid a noisier one. Is that possible?
 

Mooner

Lifetime Charter Member
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Jun 9, 2006
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Colorado
Trivr;24252 said:
When I inspect them, the backside is black with what appears to be small pieces of plant debris. Am I supposed to clean and reuse them?

IME only a soak in chlorine for a day will clean these. And they will only go 2x-3x before they fall apart PITB. I have several tanks running and all had HOB's. The older the tanks get the quicker the HOB filters clog up. Had to change twice a week.

Trivr;24252 said:
Is this type of filtration not practical with planted tank? Some say hornwort is bad for breaking, so I removed almost of it, but it didn't really seem to make a difference.

I think HOB are just not capable of filtering the numerous particles in heavy planted carbon tanks. One by one I replaced them with sumps or canisters.

Note: The only tank I have that works well with HOB's is a low tech, low light, non-carbon tank. The tank is nearly two years old and the HOB will last two weeks

Trivr;24252 said:
I've read some posts praising the xp3 and xp4, but would not these tiny floating particles clog these as well?

Canisters are good and they can last 2-4 weeks between cleanings.

Trivr;24252 said:
I'm trying to make the inexpensive diy co2 work in my 55g and I thought I'd read somewhere that these hob filters are less likely to drive out co2 than a more powerful canister or even the hob with the wheel.

Any unnecessary surface movement will drive off CO2. The effects are multiplied with DIY vs canned gas. Water level drop due to evaporation will exaggerate the problem with HOB's. Don't think you'll ever be happy with the HOB filters:(
I wasn't, but used them for a long time.

Trivr;24252 said:
I'd like to avoid the expense of buying a different filter, and I'd prefer to avoid a noisier one. Is that possible?

If you stay with the HOB filter get used to buying/cleaning the filter pads. Canisters are very quite, nice upgrade from the HOB's. Do what you can to save for a canister and maybe then pressurized CO2, you would not believe the difference;)
 

tedr108

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Nov 21, 2007
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Trivr,

1) One quick thing you can do it to put a sponge over your inlet grate as a pre-filter. You have to clean them at least once a week (more often if you stir things up). I can easily go one month or more with my HOBs because of this.

2) I still cannot afford to replace those cartridges, so I tore off the filter material (floss-type stuff), drilled holes around the edges of the plastic (about 1" apart) and hand-sew new filter material (I bought a big roll of the stuff) back onto the "replaceable" cartridge, put some charcoal back in, and put filter back in.

3) Many HOBs have 3rd party cartridges that are fillable. They want you to buy their "filling," I'm sure, but I've used them and filled with my own stuff and they worked well.

Long term, you'll probably want to upgrade to a canister filter, but maybe this will help you get by for a while.
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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Sponge really helps, I use them for all filter types except overflows.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Carissa

Guru Class Expert
Jun 8, 2007
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I use sponge only in my cheap hob on my 10g and have never replaced it, and rarely clean it. Just got an open pore sponge at the dollar store and stuck it in. My other 32g tank has an Aquaclear 50 which doesn't pump water horizontally, the water enters at the bottom and rises through the filter media to the top where it outflows back to the tank, so I've never had a problem with it. Maybe once a month I take out the media and clean it up a little. It uses coarse sponge, charcoal, and biomedia.