Canister Filters


External canister filters lay underneath the aquarium, drawing water from it by gravity and returning it via a magnetic impellor-driven pump. The canister filter’s body is just an empty container that may be filled with the filter media of your choosing, but some canisters come with media already installed. Many canisters, especially newer models, contain a succession of baskets to house the different filter media.

Filtration media may be adjusted to the tank’s demands, however all three methods of filtration are typically mixed. A canister may include biological filter media, charcoal for chemical filtration, and sponge for mechanical filtration, for example. From bottom to top, the filter medium should be arranged from coarsest (biological) to finest (mechanical). Any solid particles will be trapped at the top, not obstructing biological filtration. A canister may be configured specifically for one form of filtration, such as being totally filled with carbon, sponge, or biological media. Even though a canister is mainly intended to be used as a biological filter, it is a good idea to incorporate some mechanical filter media to avoid the biological media from being blocked.

Cleaning and servicing canister filters is more difficult than cleaning and maintaining other filters, although it is typically not required as often. The frequency with which a canister filter must be cleaned is determined by how it is configured and the load on the tank. If chemical filter media is used, it must be updated every 1 to 2 months. If they are not utilised, a canister may operate for months without being noticed. A canister’s water turn-over decreases when the mechanical filter media gets clogged; when the flow is clearly decreased, it is time to clean the canister. Canisters with extremely fine filter media remove solid waste more effectively, but they must be cleaned more often than canisters with coarser filtering media. When there are more fish in the tank, the filter needs to be cleaned more often.

Many modern canisters include features that make cleaning easy. A shut-off, for example, may be included to turn off water flow from the hoses so that they may be withdrawn from the filter body without spilling. (Leaving the hoses full of water while the filter body is cleaned reduces the need to resume the syphon process required to fill the canister.)

All of the seals on a canister should be examined on a regular basis. A defective seal may allow water to escape from the canister, allowing water to easily syphon out of the tank. Making a pin hole in both tubes just below the water level will prevent the water from draining further, which is a smart precaution to take.

Even though the canister only has to be serviced every few months, partial water changes should be made every 2 – 3 weeks.

Canister filters have the most versatility in terms of adjusting the filtration to the demands of the tank and, when set up properly, may provide as much biological filtration as an undergravel filter. In fact, in marine tanks, they are preferred than undergravels since certain marine fish infections are more difficult to cure in undergravel filtered aquariums.

Canisters have a rather high starting cost. Because of the cost, they are often exclusively used on bigger tanks and marine tanks, although they are also appropriate for medium-sized tanks.

Making the best use of this filter system: Choose a model that is appropriate for the size of your tank and the quantity of fish (Remember that good filtration requires turning your tank volume over three times an hour, more filtration may be needed if you have more or larger fish). Consider the fact that water flow will decrease with time. Purchasing a canister with a higher water-turnover than necessary allows it to operate longer between servicing.

Making the most of this filter system: Select filter media based on the demands of your tank. If you have huge, dirty fish, utilise coarser mechanical filter material rather than finer mechanical filter media. Avoid using chemical media unless you are willing to service the canister on a regular basis (remember also that these will need to be removed if medications are to be used).

If chemical filter media is used, it should be replaced every 1 to 2 months. Otherwise, you should clean your canister every 2 to 3 months (or less frequently if water flow is ample). Rinse and replace mechanical filter media as needed. Rinse any biological filter medium gently but do not refill. Clean the impellor to guarantee smooth operation, and replace it if required. Examine all seals (O-rings and hoses) and replace as needed.

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