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FAQs about Canister, Cartridge Filters For Marine Systems, Fluval Models 

Related Articles: Physical FiltrationReview of the ViaAqua Canister Filter

Related FAQs: Canister Filters 1, Canister Filters 2, Canister Filters 3, Outside Power Filters& FAQs on: Rationale/Use, Placement, Media, Plumbing, Maintenance, Troubleshooting/Repair, By Manufacturer: Eheim, Other Brands,

Hagen is the manufacturer: http://www.hagen.com/

Fluvals: http://www.hagen.com/usa/aquatic/ sub_category_psubtype.cfm?CAT=1&SUBCAT=107& PSUBCAT=10726

Change in Blood Red Fire Shrimp Behavior, and leaking Fluval f'     6/3/13
Hello Friends, it has been awhile since I have had to call out for help.
Things have been going well until today. I need to check to see if it is a full moon. My Fluval 406 Filter has sprung a leak around the o-ring, so I've scrambled to find a solution for that,
<Dang Fluvals... Likely need a new O-ring... can be ordered... to/through Hagen... USE ONLY suitable Silicone-based lubricant on such, NOT oil-based materials like Vaseline>
 however the reason I am writing is to seek your insight into the change in behavior with my two Blood Red Fire Shrimp. Their normal behavior is to be shy and creep out between the rocks from time-to-time. On rare occasions that get bold and come out into the open. They are beautiful. They always got along. We were under the impression they had paired, because they did so well together. However, today they have flipped a switch and seem like different creatures. One is bullying the other and chasing it around the tank. I've been startled by a sound of something jumping out of the water, only to look up and see one of the shrimp have darted away from the other one as they skimmed the water's surface. They have been hang out in the open towards to top of the tank One of them has been hanging out near one of the power heads. All of the chemistry is steady and normal. Any suggestions as to what flipped their switch?
<Growth, hormones, the season...>
 Any ideas as to what their change in behavior means?
<Time to move or if this isn't practical to at least separate... floating plastic colander, hanging breeder trap...>
 I would appreciate any insight you can give.
Thanks so much.
Brent Wells
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sealing tubing/Plumbing 4/8/13
Hello, crew.
<Hello Celeste>
I need to seal some tubing and don't know what to use. Someone suggested caulking, but I'm not sure how well that would work, so I  thought I'd run my problem by you and see what you suggested.
I purchased an inline heater and co2 system a few months ago. I have a Fluval 250 canister filter, and no one could tell me what the diameter of the tubing was, including several online aquarium stores and the store I ordered the inline parts from. I finally found something online that said 5/8ths, so I ordered all my parts to be 5/8ths....but it isn't.
<Tubing can be tricky getting the right size.  Tubing is measured as outside diameter, and the wall thickness of the tubing has to be considered.  You need to measure the diameter of the hose barb and size the tubing in that manner.  What I like about Eheim is that they give the ID and OD of their tubing.  Might want to look at their tubing and convert mm to inches and see if any of their sizes will work for you.  Other than that, I wouldn't mess around with glue or sealers, you're just asking for problems.
Be much better to use the Fluval as it comes and use powerheads to provide water flow to your reactor and inline heater.>
Rather than return it, which I probably should have just spent the money that way, I let it sit around and had a friend or two look at it with me. We figured that we could rig something together. I purchased 5/8ths tubing, two Fluval 250 intake valves and several rubber adapters. I cut up the intake valves and set up my system this way:
Fluval filter > Fluval hosing > rubber adaptor > intake valve > 5/8ths tubing > inline stuff > reverse into the aquarium.
Before I cut up my Fluval hosing and inserted all of these things, I did run my inline stuff through some tests with no leaks. However, when I started pumping my filter, water leaks between the intake valve and the 5/8th tubing. That is the only place that I could see leaking, so I need something to seal it there. What would you suggest? Or would this be a lost cause and I should just do the run around with the company to return everything? I'm hoping I can find a quick fix at the local super store as I'm without a filter until I can either get this fixed or can make it to the LFS tomorrow after work (they are closed on Sundays) for new Fluval hosing parts. Thanks in advance for your time.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
- Celeste

Plumb a Nova Tech Iceprobe to a Canister Filter? (Possibly) – 09/23/12
<<Hey Greg>>
I'm running an Eheim 2232 canister filter and would like to somehow add the little 50 watt Nova Tech Iceprobe chiller to my system.
I've figured out a way to install the chiller through the bottom of the canister filter but would like to find an easier way…and one that I wouldn't have to sacrifice filter media space for.
<<Mmm, yes>>
So, is it possible to put the chiller inline, on the canister's return hose somehow?
<<I would think so, yes…by employing some type of water-tight vessel along the return tubing to which you can install the probe>>
If it is, how do you recommend doing this?
<<As just suggested… Ideally by using an “empty” canister minus the motor assembly (search the Net re) and installing the probe through the side if possible…and this might be done very easily by utilizing a “Uniseal” if the probe diameter corresponds to the size Uniseals available>>
The way I have the canister set up, the hoses run horizontal for a few feet on a shelf before going straight up to the tank.
So this would provide a place to set the little container or whatever I would need to use so the probe can make contact with the water.
My only concern with this method - if it's even possible – is how much would the flow rate be reduced?
<<Only trial will tell…but with the configuration you describe, I would think it to be minimal>>
<<Happy to share… EricR>>

Fluval Canister Filter (Chemical Filtration Use) – 08/02/12
Hello crew,
<<Hey Ed>>
I just added a CPR Aquafuge 2 HOB refugium with live rock, miracle mud and Chaetomorpha to my 30 gallon display tank which houses live rock, live sand, a couple fish and some soft corals. I am still running a Fluval 305 canister filter with three trays and of course the filter pads. I would like to do away with the filter pads and just keep it for the extra bio load and for water circulation.
<<Okay…and maybe chemical filtration?>>
I would like to run Neo Zeo, Reef Carbon and Seachem Matrix instead in the canister filter.
<<Ah! Okay…>>
My question is, in what trays would I place them?
<<I don’t think it makes much difference here…though one consideration might be to put the “most expensive” product in the last tray to process water in the hopes of extending the period between replacement [grin]>>
I have an upper, middle and lower tray in which each tray has to compartments?
Is this effective?
<<Will remain to be seen…but likely of some use, yes>>
And am I on the right track?
<<I do think chemical filtration is a useful adjunct…and a canister filter is an excellent method of application re>>
Thank you,
<<Happy to share… EricR>>

The Fluval external filters (403-404 etc) have received a bad rep due to leaks developing around the main O'ring seal. Having experienced this problem myself with my 404 and 403 filters the cause for the leaks is
simple: During maintenance when the filter is opened; small scratches occur on the inside rim of the filter housing. These scratches then prevent the main O'ring seal from sealing properly resulting in leaks. SOLUTION: get some 400 wet-dry emery abrasive paper and gently polish the inner upper area of the filter housing in the O'ring seating area. I also apply a little Vaseline to the O'ring to keep it supple with no averse reaction to my fish. I hope this helps you.
<Hello Stephen. That's an interesting tip. Vaseline certainly can help in situations like this, but the use of emery paper is new to me. I would caution aquarists to be real gentle with the abrasion. Obviously, over time the more that's abraded way, the bigger the gap between the two pieces of plastic. Eventually the rubber seal and the Vaseline won't help. It's a toss up whether repairs like this one would be better than simply buying a new o-ring. Cheers, Neale.>

Fluval 303, op., repair    2/15/10
Hi crew,
I have an old Fluval 303. It was a second hand filter I received from a friend that used it for years with no problems.
<These are good filters.>
I decided to use it on my 29 gallon tank along with a Aquaclear 50. A few days after setting it up running well, a hose came off the canister and dumped about 27 gallons onto my floor.
<With "old" canisters, the two things to check are the taps and the rubber seal that goes between the canister and the motor part of the thing. If the filter hasn't been used a while, then the rubber has a good chance of having perished, so it's well worth replacing any rubber components before using the thing.>
I was at work and nobody was home to turn the filter off so I have no idea how long it was still plugged in. When I got home I unplugged the filter and the canister was still filled with water. The motor and impeller were stuck in the head when I took it apart to see if there was any damage. I broke the impeller shaft trying to remove the motor so I got the motor out with pliers. I just got a new impeller shaft and the motor doesn't fit into the hole it is suppose to. I'm really scratching my head with this one.
<OK, now, we need to clear up what you mean here. You shouldn't have been able to touch the motor, let alone remove. On most canister filters, the motor is "hermetically sealed" inside the top half of the canister. The impeller is the propeller-like bit that sits in a cylindrical recess in the top half of the canister. The impeller sits on an steel axle that will be slips into a notch at the bottom of the cylindrical recess. Some sort of plastic plate then clips on top of the recess, holding the axle vertically, and stopping the impeller from falling out of the recess. With me so far?
The Fluval 303 also has some sort of plastic insert that slides in alongside the impeller. I'm not quite sure what this is for. Anyway, it's all described clearly on the Hagen web site, here:
Opening, cleaning, and reinstalling the impeller isn't difficult. But you do need to follow the instructions. You also need to make sure you by the right replacement parts. The Fluval 304 is very different, and parts designed for the one won't work in the other. Again, the Hagen site lists the parts required:
Their diagram is a bit crummy though, and I found a better one here:
If you used too much force, yes, it's possible to break the axle, but it's more likely you have the wrong sized parts and that's why they aren't fitting together. A really good idea would be to contact a local fish club in your town. There's bound to be someone who's used this very popular filter at some point, and he or she would be able to help you reassemble the thing. Canister filters are generally very low maintenance, long-life items, and Fluval filters are pretty decent mid price filters.>
I'm thinking maybe it got over heated and then melted some of the head but it all looks like its a perfect circle and I really don't know what to do I hope you guys can help me on this I would really appreciate it. Thank you,
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fluval 303  2/16/10

thank you for the fast response and I meant the magnetic motor that the impeller sits on that the shaft goes through.
<Still confused. The metal part of the impeller isn't the motor as such.
The impeller consists of a white plastic propeller thing, a metal axle, and the metal magnetic bit. This impeller unit can be easily replaced. The motor itself is inside the top part of the canister filter. It can't be fixed because it's hermetically sealed.>
Its he original one for the filter I did not replace it fit because I cleaned it and put all new seals in it before I set it up on my tank. The motor fits about half way into the cylinder but then gets very tight and will need to be forced in and once in there is no chance on it spinning.
<Indeed; this would suggest something is either [a] the wrong size; or [b] blocked.>
I have many canister filters and I have never had this problem. I really like the filter even though I am an Eheim guy but this filter worked amazing on my tank and I dont no what could have caused the filter to get jammed and the actual magnet that spins the impeller works. I took a paper clip and put it where the motor works and it spun it and I could feel a magnetic pull I know this is a very weird problem and I understand if you guys have no idea what I'm talking about because I dont know how to word it but thank you for the response so fast.
<It's difficult to know what you're talking about without a photo. If the impeller unit is damaged and won't slide into the recess, then it needs to be replaced. If it's a new impeller unit, and won't slide into the recess, and you're sure it's the right impeller unit for this model filter, then something probably is blocking the recess. A flashlight might show what's inside the recess. Check all the bits of plastic are where they should be.
But without having the thing in front of me, it's really hard to know what the problem is.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fluval 303
thank you again for the fast reply I brought it to my lfs and the manager came to the conclusion the head of the unit got warped due to the heat when the motor ran without water moving and possibly with no motor. He has another head and another new 303 but I dont think its worth it to buy a new head for it. He is the only fish store I know around here that still has new in box 303's and parts but unfortunately I'm short on cash. thank you for the help and I meant the impellor magnet I'm sorry about he confusion
<Yikes! A melted motor sounds pretty expensive to put right. You are correct that the flow of water is what cools down the motor, though whether some other safety feature cuts off the power before they get dangerously hot is unknown to me. I'd be cautious about throwing too much money at a filter in this state, though it's fair to say that the motor is really the only part that wears out, so if you did get a new motor, you could expect a good many years work from the filter. Cheers, Neale.>

Fluval 404 Troubles 10/27/08 Dear Crew, <Reva.> I really enjoy your site, thank you! <Thank you!> My question is one that I thought would be simple to find the answer to on the web, but no such luck so far. I hope that you all can help me here. I sold an aquarium today to a very excited young married couple. It was the whole works - 72 gallon bow front with stand, gravel, power heads, undergravel filter, plants and decorations, extra lights assorted chemicals, breeder tanks, etc. Basically, all they needed to do was set it up and add fish (you'll see why this matters in a minute). Included was a Fluval 404 canister filter. <Okay.> I have never had any problems with this filter. The wife called me an hour or 2 ago to tell me that they were setting everything up and couldn't get the filter to run. No noise at all. I walked her through the steps to prime it, still nothing. Is there anything that I can do to troubleshoot this? <The magnet/rotor in the canister likely just needs to be taken out and cleaned with some vinegar. Many times these smaller motors can run just fine until unplugged, then any buildup on the magnet keeps the thing from restarting.> It honestly sounds as if the motor is gone, but it worked as of last Friday when I tore the tank down. <Possibly the priming you mention, likely just needing a cleaning. These motors rarely just go kaput.> I feel awful. I have searched to see if I can order a new motor head - nothing. I really don't want to buy them a new filter. They paid me $350 for the whole setup, but I want to make this as right as I possibly can without essentially buying them another new filter. Any ideas or suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thank you! Reva <Welcome, Scott V.>

Filtration on new Marine tank.   8/12/07 Hi Bob, Jay here from the UK. <Howdy!> Top website, the best of its kind. <Thanks> I am in the process of setting up a 100 gallon FOWLR tank and was hoping that I could ask you a question with regards to doing so? <Shore> I have a Juwel Vision 450 with a Fluval FX5 canister filter, and a? Aqua Medics TurboFlotor 1000 Multi SL protein skimmer, I also plan to add a 3+ inch DSB and 100lbs of live rock and a few suitable fish and some invertebrates. My question is that the Juwel came with a built in 2 stage biological filtration system that contains the following: 1. Filter wool pad 2. Active carbon sponge 3. Nitrite removal sponge 4. Ammonia removal sponge 5. Coarse filter sponge 6. Fine filter sponge The above in built filter system is run via a 1000 litre per hour power head, would you leave this filter system in place or would you remove it to gain more space in the tank and go with the Fluval FX5? <I would leave all in for now... but likely gravitate to not using chemical filtrants here in time (as the system becomes more established in the next few months) to replacing all but the coarse filter media... sandwiching this about a permanent "to-hypoxic" media like Siporax or Ehfi-Mech or such (one-time purchase)... This to get you what this filter can do practically... and not use up your time for maintenance and flow rate...> I do not want to add a sump at present as drilling my tank will invalidate my 3 year warranty, I would really appreciate your opinion on this. <A good idea to ask about... other fellow marine hobbyists there/UK on the various BBs and hobby club groups... what they've done... Myself, I would proceed with having the tank drilled...> Thanks very much Jay PS. I have just received your book in the post, what I have read so far is very good indeed, cant wait to read the rest. <Oh to have had the focus of J.K. Rowling! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Fluval 404 bubbles 7/31/05 I recently purchased a NEW Fluval 404 on 6/27/05, I fought with it for 1 month adding new hoses, O rings, etc. even reshaping the hoses, and getting down to shaking the canister on a regular basis to release air.  My problem is that every 30 min to 1 hour My Fluval release a large amount of micro bubbles into the tank.  I have tried everything that HAGEN has asked me to do. I am running the Fluval only no airstones or any thing else in the tank. It is a salt water new set up (2mos old) 40gl with live sand and rock.   I returned the Fluval and the store replaced it with a new one. It has been running for 2 days. and I still get a rush of micro bubbles. Question:  is there a flaw in this design. or am I getting a bad batch? <Likely there is a simple, poor/incomplete connection twixt a hard plumbing fitting and the flexible hose on the intake side...>   Do you know of any other filter similar to the Fluval 404 that I can use that will no create this problem? <... Please read here: http://www.google.com/custom?q=canister+filters&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com> I really do not want to use the Fluval anymore if the bubbles are always going to be there. PLEASE ADVISE Pam <... as you will find, there are techniques for determining the source of entrained air... I would turn off, drain the unit, disassemble the intake side line... re-fit with a bit of silicone grease, making sure the flexible tubing is pushed on entirely over the hard plastic fittings. Bob Fenner>

Canister Filter Media - 09/29/05 Hello, <<Howdy>> I have a Fluval 204 canister filter for a marine tank and am wondering what is the best filter media to put in the three baskets.  Also I have a small anemone with one tiny clownfish, would it be alright if I put another clownfish in the tank. <<Hmm... Would help to know a bit more about your tank.  I don't really care for canister filters as most folks tend to plug them in and "forget about 'em."  But that said... If you have live rock in your system and you're not intending the canister for biological filtration, I would say load it up with carbon which you should give a freshwater rinse weekly and change part/all out an a monthly basis.  An alternative would be to use cut-up Poly-Filter...again giving a weekly freshwater rinse and changing out as required.  As for the clown... You could likely add another (again, I don't have enough info on your system), but be aware they don't always "pair up" just because you put two of them together.>> From Sam <<Regards, EricR>>

Fluval 404 - 101  11/7/05 Hi, <Howdy> I have a Fluval 404 that I got with an entire tank set up and an orphaned turtle that a couple left behind when they skipped town. <Scumbies, or at least an element of scumbaggish behavior> I can get the water flowing only when I use the self primer, the pump doesn't seem to be working. I cleaned everything using the manual for instruction.  <Not an uncommon problem...> Does the impeller spin 360 degrees? <Yep> I seems to be built to turn back and forth versus spinning like a propeller. <...> Do I have to purchase a new unit? <Not likely... just have to "clear" the air in the present one> Will the turtle (Pig Nose turtle - water species) be OK with no filter for a while? <Not a good idea... stinky...> Please Help! Mark <Please read here re getting the air out of the Fluval: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcanistfltfaqs.htm and the linked files above. There are a few techniques to "starting" (i.e. filling) these canister filters with water... and yours may run better being lowered... below the tank... at least to exclude air initially. Once you do it, you won't forget how. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 
Re: Fluval 404  11/9/05
Bob, <Mark> I finally got it going by filling the input hose with water, this enable the water to "rush" into the canister. <Ah, good!> Thanks for responding to my questions......... and the turtle is really cool!!! <Great. Life to you. Bob Fenner> 

Fluval 403 Replacement Parts - 11/27/2005 You have a tremendous website. <Thank you. Tremendous work has gone into it.> I have two Fluval 403 filters. I gave away all my fish last year (they had out-grown the aquarium) and took down my aquarium. I recently set it back up. The o-rings are dried, cracked and leaking. I need new o-rings for the Fluval 403 filters. I have looked everywhere but can't find these o-rings. Do you know where I can get o-rings for the Fluval 403 filter? <I would contact the manufacturer for these; if they can't get them to you, they'll likely be able to tell you who can in your area. Try this site: http://www.hagen.com/usa/aquatic/index.html .> Thank you. -Donald <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Oops!  Fluval 403 & Great website!  De John - 11/28/05
I have two Fluval 403 filters. I gave away all my fish last year (they had out-grown the aquarium) and took down my aquarium. I recently set it back up.  The o-rings are dried, cracked and leaking. I need new o-rings for the Fluval 403 filters. I have looked everywhere but can't find these o-rings. Do you know where I can get o-rings for the Fluval 403 filter?  Thank you. Donald <Hi Donald. This is a common problem that can be mitigated by keeping the o-rings lubricated, whether in use or not. I use silicone grease. For replacements, I would recommend calling the manufacturer - web searches came up dry for me also. Good luck, John>  <<Try changing your search terms, I found this in about five seconds using "Fluval 403", then on the very first website I hit, I searched on "gasket", got this: http://www.thatpetplace.com/MainPro/shopay00.aspx.  I'd give this place a call, they carry the O-rings for most other Fluvals, they might be able to get a hold of this one (should be able to). Marina>>

Filter Question, SW, Can.    12/28/06 <Hey Ricky, JustinN with you today> You guys have an awesome website and I have been reading articles from your site for the past two years.  Today is my first time asking questions.   <Thank you for the kind words, is a collaborative effort.> 1) I have a 125 gallon saltwater tank fish only with live rocks.  Now I have a Naso and a Juvenile Queen Angel, four cleaner shrimps, and some blue-leg helmet crab.  I also have a protein skimmer, UV, an Eheim 2229 wet/dry filter, a magnum 350 canister filter.  Now I want to replace the 350 canister filter to a FLUVAL FX 5 canister filter because the FX5 can clean up to 400 gallon tank.  Do you think this is a good idea?  Do you think this would lower the nitrate level? <Honestly, I think it would be an unnecessary step. How often are you cleaning out all the media in these filtration devices? Without proper and thorough maintenance, both wet/dry filters and canister filters can become 'nitrate farms', built up with so much tank gunk that the tank can't handle the load. Thoroughly cleaning the canister filter every water change, and cleaning out half the bioballs at the same time should help some. If I may ask, how much rock do you have in this tank? If you have less than 80-100 pounds of rock currently, you would see positive results from increasing this amount. Hope this helps! -JustinN> Thank you and I really appreciate if you could get back to me. Ricky
Re: Filter Question
  12/28/06 Thank you for your answers.  Your answer helped me save my money.  I know the FX5 is not cheap.  I do water change every two weeks (20 gallon) using purified water.  I clean my filter every month.  The live rocks are less than 80 pounds (70 LBS).  But if I add more rocks to the tank, there won't be enough room for my fish to swim around.  I have 3 power heads.  One of them is maxi-jet 1200.  The other two are SEIO super-flow 1500.  My nitrate right now is about 50(SALIFERT test kit). Can I add any more fish in there?  I lost 2 ACHILLES tang in two weeks. One died in the quarantine tank. What kind fish will be the better choice? THANK YOU SO MUCH!! <Well, Ricky, I think you'll be ok if you clean the filters a bit more diligently, and do so at every water change. You should also consider doing weekly water changes until you get the nitrates under control. Once your nitrates are under control, I think you'll be ok to add a few more small fish. Hope this helps! -JustinN>

Broken Fluval Help! I have spent this afternoon changing my 37 gallon tank to a 75 gallon tank. All the live sand, rocks, and fish are in the new tank. I went to turn on my Fluval filter and it wouldn't work. I took it to the sink to check it out and the whole thing smells and the foam filters are smoke black color. The bio max (biological filters) smell and have the black water deposits. It looks like the pump had quit early and I didn't know it and it got skunky. Should I throw away the bio max balls? <You can probably clean these up with a soak in bleach and then a long rinse in tapwater.> Should I get new foam filters or clean the old ones with Clorox? <I would probably just toss these.> I think my motor died on the unit. <Me too!> How long will the fish be ok without a filter? <If this is all you have (I hope that is not the case) they will last perhaps a day before ammonia poisoning or lack of oxygen gets them.> Should I put my protein skimmer on the new tank, right away? <Yes> Should I put the power head in the tank right away? <Yes> The only thing I have hooked now is the heater. Thanks, Cheryl <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Filtration Problems II Thank You so much for your reply, and so prompt :-) ! I've never heard of Trickle Filters. Where could I find these? <If you go to Yahoo or Google or some other search engine, you will get a lot of hits on trickle filtration. Trickle filters are a type of wet/dry, biological filtration. These are excellent, but unlikely to work with your setup due to space constraints. You would also need to have your tank drilled for water to overflow to the trickle filter.> Ah, sounds like sound advice. It's not just the brand of filter, it's not enough filters! <Yes> I shall save up and add another. Once a month would be heaven :-) I should never have to change the cylinders that the bacteria grow on, correct? <Correct, the ceramic-like rings that the Fluval comes with never needs replaced. After prolonged use you may want to rinse them in some tank water to dislodge any debris.> Just rinse the sponges and change the floss? <Yes, but I would use the sponges, ceramic rings, and activated carbon, perhaps some ammonia removing media, instead of the filter floss.> I'm learning a lot and I appreciate the time spent, as I know you people have got to be so busy. <Oh, we do get swamped some days, but our crew is large enough now to handle most of the mail.> My Best ~Robyn~ Happy Holidays! <And you too! -Steven Pro>

- Canning the Canisters - Hi, I need help <Ok, I will do my best. JasonC here at your service.> First I have a 90g tank that is set up for a year know. I have a Fluval 404, and 204 set up on it. I am know starting to set it up for a reef. I just purchased a wet / dry. I was told that instead of getting a protein skimmer, I can use the ecosystem hang on 60. Would you recommend going that way? <I would can the wet/dry and do both the Ecosystem and the skimmer.> If its ok what is the best way to set up both systems, and removing the Fluvals? <Go slowly.> My second question is ever since I took my 2 lion fish, and snow flake eel out of the tank and replaced them with 2 maroon clowns, 1 coral beauty, and a cardinal fish. I also have 2 sea anemones for the clowns. I have noticed that there is a lot of air bubbles forming on the bottom of my tank. <Perhaps that new wet/dry filter... I'd suspect that much more than the mix of fish.> Plus I have also added a JBJ lighting system. I have noticed that I have more algae growing on the bottom of my tank. <Stands to reason that this is a result of that new lighting.> Thank You,   Chris <Cheers, J -- >

Media Replacement And Skimmer Choices? Gracias sir! <No problem!> "Do a little research on the WWM site about these fishes" I'm in there now...digging ;).  As far as the foam media in both the H.O.T. and Fluval is once a month "regular", I see that everyone pretty much agrees on once a month for the carbon but could the same be said for the foam media as well? <Good question! I really like to get in the habit of weekly cleanings on these sponges. You will be amazed at the amount of yucky stuff that accumulates in 'em after just a few days, then breaks down. It's a bit of a pain to change them so often- but a great habit!> As far as the skimmer is concerned I looked at my tank today and then looked at the skimmer and said to myself "hmmmm that thing is a bit small isn't it" but if I can get my $75 out of it for a while and upgrade in the future I think that's probably what I'll do. Thanx again. Kevin <Well, Kevin- you could nurse along a second-rate skimmer for a while...But if it were me- I'd curse and kick and scream and then buy a better skimmer from the start...Better off in the long run, IMO! Good luck! Scott F>

Filters and RO/DI Hi guys hope you are well. I need some advice again please. I currently have a 100g reef tank with live sand, live rock, and a Fluval 404. I have recently purchased a 125 g tank with a 20 g sump. Should I get rid of the Fluval 404 and can I utilize instead by making new salt water mixes and top off water? Do I have to have a RO/DI filter? <Hi Werner, the Fluval is a great piece of equipment, if you keep it clean. Personally, I am kinda lazy and would not give the device the attention it needs so I don't these types of filters. I would think it would work well in the new mix solution. Or, you could use it as a carbon only container. As far at RO/DI, I would have the source (tap) water checked to see how far out of whack it is. Then if there are high concentrations of stuff you don't want, use the RO/DI (or just DI, higher output/less waste. Hope the helps, Don> Werner

Fluval burning out... Dear WWM, There is a problem that I often have with my powerheads propeller. <FYI, it's called an impeller. A propeller is something that goes on a plane :) > If I unplug it and it stops, probably half of the time it will not start up properly the next time.  The only method I can come up with is to poke at it with the end of a pencil and eventually it will start up.  The problem I am having now has to do with a Fluval 303 canister filter.  I have it set up properly (as far as I can tell, I bought it on eBay so there are no directions) but the propeller will not start.  There is definitely power, the propeller will kind of slowly meander back and forth, only covering about 40% of the total circle it is supposed to do before reversing and going back the other way.  I have tried jump starting it with a wire, but it will not keep going.  It sometimes will start zipping around the full circle for a few seconds but then will stall out.  I'm not really sure what to do, any advice would be appreciated. <Sounds like the pump itself and not the impeller. A quick check to see if your impeller is broken is to hold it by the magnet part and try to spin the blades. They should only turn 90-180 degrees, and not all the way around freely. If this is the case, the impeller is broken. Try cleaning out the impeller chamber as well as the impeller itself and try to restart it. It is likely that the motor is on its way out so you may want to contact Hagen or your LFS for a replacement motor. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Scott

- Canister Filter, Replace or Not - Hi crew, My Fluval Canister filter packed in last night, now ideally I would like to spend more time trawling your pages for advice but I am concerned that the loss of the canister will effect my water and I may not have that time. Its a 50g tank with 2 fish (Damsel and Clown) plus some crabs and snails, I also have some mushrooms and xenia. Its been running for 2 years. My current "filtration" set up without the Fluval Canister is Aqua C Remora (Maxi Jet 1200) 2 Maxi Jet 1000 opposing powerheads (breaking surface) Lots of live rock in tank I perform a water change every second week 10% approx) My questions, what would you recommend I replace the Fluval with, another canister filter? <If you can get one, perhaps an Eheim, but the Fluvals are good products.> Should I be looking at something else? <Hmm...> Should I be rushing out to buy a replacement? <I wouldn't... I think your tank can run the way it is provided that "lots" of live rocks means about one pound per gallon. The canister filter certainly provides benefit, but you might make up for its loss with more regular water changes, perhaps 5% a week.> Thanks in advance John <Cheers, J-- >

Fluval fix Hi Wondered if you could help. I have a Fluval 304 about 4 yrs old. It always ran fine until the other day. I clean it once a month basically replace the carbon and rinse the foam. I use it more for chemical filtration as I have a Bio-Wheel and Aquaclear on the tank as well. I also like it because of the flow it gives me as well. Anyway I stripped it down and put it back together as I have done a hundred times. I put it back under the tank. When I came home at lunch the following day the water in the tank was down about 1 1/2" ( its a 65g by the way). I thought it was the tank but after some investigation I discovered it was leaking from the filter. There was a steady drip of water running down from the blue handles on either side. I thought it might be because I had filled up the baskets to the top with some carbon and pre-filter material more than is usually in there and it was restricting the flow of the water through the filter in some way. I took out the extra material and returned it to how it was before but this didn't fix it. I then thought it might be the seal for the motor housing so I have just run down to the LFS and replaced that but that isn't working either. I will try to describe where the water is coming from. Where the two parts lock together all the way around there is a kind of bulge well on the part where the handles are it kinda flares out and creates a well next to the handle. At the top of these wells there are small holes and that is where the water comes from. The canister part of the filter not the motor housing. I hope you understand and can either help me or let me know who can. Thanks PS - I sent in a question about 3 weeks ago and didn't get an answer. No biggie I solved that problem now but would really appreciate an answer to this. < I had a guy at work with a similar problem and he asked me to take a look at it. I think the problem is with a dried out O ring that seals the upper and lower pieces together. I never got a chance to try it but I think if you grease the O ring with a white grease or even try some petroleum jelly you may have some luck. I know that he had called the company rep and got no answers and I never talked to him again to see how it turned out. I think he just bought a new filter from a different company.-Chuck> Dean K. Smith

Re: Leaking filter, FW Thanks for the prompt answer. I replaced the seal with a new one yesterday and the leak slowed down a little but didn't stop. So I called the company today ( I am in Canada by the way) and as soon as I told them the problem the told me to return the filter for repair. They seemed to know exactly what it was and weren't concerned that the filter was no longer under warranty. Seems to me this must be a common problem with this filter. Anyway they told me to send it to them at my cost they will return it in a couple of days at there cost. Hopefully it turns out well and I am glad I am also running another filter on this tank. Thanks again for the quick response and keep up the great work with the site I visit everyday. < When it  comes back please write and let me know what they did. thanks.-Chuck>

 Re: Leaking filter, FW Thanks for the prompt answer. I replaced the seal with a new one yesterday and the leak slowed down a little but didn't stop. So I called the company today ( I am in Canada by the way) and as soon as I told them the problem the told me to return the filter for repair. They seemed to know exactly what it was and weren't concerned that the filter was no longer under warranty. Seems to me this must be a common problem with this filter. Anyway they told me to send it to them at my cost they will return it in a couple of days at there cost. Hopefully it turns out well and I am glad I am also running another filter on this tank. Thanks again for the quick response and keep up the great work with the site I visit everyday. < When it  comes back please write and let me know what they did. thanks.-Chuck>

Leaking Fluval Redux Well I got my filter back today. It all seems to be in order and working fine. I checked over the filter before I started it up again and it seems the only difference is a new type of impeller cover. It seems a better fit and has a fitting that looks like it prevents the impeller from sliding out of the well ( I had a problem with that). I wish they had sent a replacement though because it is very difficult to unclip now and I can see myself maybe breaking it down the road. They stated that they replaced the impeller, the impeller shaft, the impeller cover and the O-ring and they also tested the unit for 24 hrs at no extra charge to me. The impeller was only about 3 months old and the O-ring was brand new. Overall I would say I am satisfied but not impressed as I was a little ticked that the turn around time was 6 days instead of the 3 that they stated when I called them. But anyway the filter is back on the tank and both the fish and I are enjoying it working properly Hope this is some help as I visit the site everyday and would like to give a little back lol < Thank you very much for the reply. It has helped me and hopefully it will help others checking the site.-Chuck>

Media for my Fluval Hello again, I have 2 Fluval 304's for my 50 gallon tank. They are set up as follows: Fluval 1=  Top compartment Kent Nitrate sponge/ Empty Middle Compartment Bio-max/ Bio-max Bottom Compartment Charcoal/ Bio-max Fluval 2=  Top compartment Bio-max/ Bio-max Middle Compartment Bio-max/ Bio-max Bottom Compartment Charcoal/ Bio-max I rinse the Bio-max every 3 months and replace 1/2 of it at 6 month intervals.  I replace the charcoal monthly.  I replace 1/2 of the nitrate sponge every 2 or 3 months. Is there a better suggestion for my Fluvals? I would appreciate your input. <I would substitute the carbon with Chemi-pure. It's much much better than carbon and has an extremely low phosphate content. Regular carbon will leach phosphates. James (Salty Dog)> 

Filtration Problem Dear Bob, The latest problem with my tank (40gal SW w/40lbs LR, anemones, plate coral and fish/snails/crabs) is one that was completely out of my control and extremely frustrating. A recent storm temporarily knocked out my power and upon coming back all my tank equipment returned to normal except my Fluval canister filter (worst filter ever). After hours of trying to prime it, along with taking it apart and partially cleaning it, I have given up. I do have my skimmer running and several power heads with one of them breaking the water surface. I ordered a new Tidepool Wet/but it won't arrive for a week. <Try this priming technique... with the filter cleaned and re-assembled and a fish bucket for water near, place the intake line in the tank, and gently suck on the discharge line to start water flowing into the canister (you can put your hand between the discharge and your mouth if this seems gross)... after the lines, filter canister are full (water flowing into your fish bucket), put your thumb over the discharge end and place it in your tank... then fire the filter over.> My question is will the powerheads and skimmer (along with 40lbs live rock) provide enough filtration to keep my tank stabilized for a week and if not do you have any suggestions. <Maybe, but I'd use the Fluval as well> Thanks for your time and advice. Chris <Believe me, have spent many an hour behind, beside, under tanks trying to prime filters, pumps, lines... try this technique and look into the union valves made by Eheim going forward (will work on Fluval, other flexible tubing). Expensive, but one time purchase... and you won't have this priming problem again... Bob Fenner> 

Trials and tribulations Dear Bob, Sorry for the length, I have had a FO show tank (6'l x 30"d x 24"w about 200 gals) for over 6 years running a wet/dry, Berlin xl w/ ozone, and a Fluval 404. I had not lost a fish in almost two years though ran high nitrates, <60. The motor in the Fluval burnt out and I stupidly left the lines in while deciding on a new filter. <Yikes...> Fish started acting sick after about 3 weeks, water tested fine. <Anaerobic problems here are very transient... likely not testable.> After losing a puffer, lion, a clown trigger (all over 4 yrs old) and two wimples, (a dragon eel and Naso survived), I started a major over haul and when I drained the lines left from the Fluval, you knew, rotten eggs-hydrogen sulfide! <Yes> I spent a month of weekly 25% water changes, and lots of carbon. I read your articles on LR and added 90lbs, let it cure out for 6 weeks, pulled about 3/4 of my bio-balls over that time, added a "clean up" crew and let it settle another 3 weeks. Last week I added a hippo tang who spent two weeks in quarantine, I did not dip. It has ich now, and I have not been able to catch it to put it back in quarantine to treat. The Naso and eel seem fine. Should I have skipped the LR and cleaners since I only plan on keeping fish and now can't treat the tank. <No, I would have done what you have... and you can still try some of the fish/cleaners... Likely the Eel won't immediately consume a Gobiosoma goby (or two)...> The boss (wife) isn't happy about the tank, which is viewed from both sides, being a large empty water container without fish for the last couple of months, or the $ I have spent to get to where I am. Suggestions? Bill <... keep the Boss happy, use "hidden" funds if need be to purchase some more colorful, outgoing fishes (maybe a couple more Wimples/Heniochus butterflies... though I know they'll be much smaller than the ones you lost... and don't become overly concerned about the apparent ich at this point. It may well clear up on its own here. Do try adding a vitamin and iodide preparation to your fishes foods (actually not the Eels foods, but the Naso, etc... this will help as well. Bob Fenner>

Filtration (canister) Thank you for your help in the past. I had the copper pipe problem, except for a few snails and one shrimp all is ok now. I am holding myself back from throwing a Fluval 304 out the window. Power it does have but durability not sure about.  <Not a great product, though they have gotten tremendously better with changes over the years. Next time for a canister, look into Eheim> I have been happy with the canister set up especially with a 3 and 1yr old running around. I have two tangs, two dwarf angels, 50 lbs LR, usual scavengers, two 402 power heads and a Prizm skimmer. Tank is a 48 gal pent want to go towards reef in the future but not sure what direction on the filter would be best and size has to be a consideration. <Pull water from one end near the bottom, discharge from other end near the top... And do consider changing the tubing/length to do this (with Eheim's green of same diameter is best, sigh) in order to place the Fluval wherever you want (out of small hands way) like inside a cabinet. Bob Fenner>

Filters Thank you in advance again. I have Fluval 304 that is definitely dying I can replace from the store it was purchased at for the same or credit. My question is should I go with the same and I was thinking of getting a 104 for dedicated bio filtration or one of the Eheim's that are hard to find in my area unless I mail order it. Do not know much about them and can they be used the way the Fluval are with the carbon and so on. It is for a 50 gal pent with two tangs and two dwarf angels, two 402 power heads, Prizm skimmer and 50 or so pounds of rock. The Eheim is a vastly superior product of about the same application. It can be packed with their/others media... I would mail-order this instead of the replacement Fluval. My further input on canister filters is posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcanistfltfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Marine set-up query Hi Anthony <cheers> Sorry, one last thing. I checked my 2ft tank for fit in my 4ft cabinet last night and had bit of a thought upon seeing the sump and Fluval 404 together. Could I run the 404 intake hose from the sump and use it to pump the sump water back up to the tank ? <no my friend. This great little filter was not designed to handle that sort of head pressure. You will need a dedicated pump for the purpose> Cheers, Scott <kindly, Anthony>

Extra filter pump for Fluval 404 Hi Bob, My present filtering is done by a Fluval 404. My problem is I moved the Fluval behind a wall a way from the tank. Now my water flow is very low, due to the distance tank.  <Actually... practically speaking, this distant placement should make little difference (the pressure in the intake line should offset the "head" resistance in the discharge side... unless it's a very long way (tens of feet let's say) or you've reduced the tubing diameter... Do look for "kinks" in the line... restrictions through valving, filter media/packing, fittings (I would remove any "spray bars" for instance.> My question is I just purchased a Mag 7 to help the Fluval with pumping. Should I place the Mag before the Fluval or after. I also have a UV sterilizer after the Fluval. The Mag 7 is rated @ 700gph and the Fluval is much less. I don't want to damage the Mag or Fluval with this increase in pump volume. Any help would be great!! <I am very leery here of telling you to try and do something I myself would not do... If a centrifugal pump were added, it would be placed ahead of the restrictive filter (such pumps "push" by design, engineering, not "pull"... However there may be a real danger in "popping" the filter canister, O-ring... I would NOT add a pump here... Let's chat over some other possibilities... like adding a sump/refugium to your system and using the new pump there... or moving the canister filter closer to the system... or both. Bob Fenner> Thank you Jamie

Re: Extra filter pump for Fluval 404 Thanks Bob for the suggestions, I would say I have about 12 - 15 feet of hosing round trip drop & rise for hoses would be about 3 ½ to 4 feet). <Good input, once again the height is of little consequence... as the water is "pushed" as much as it is "pulled" with the lines originating and ending at the same approximate level (relative to the mass of this planet.> The intake side, is the Fluval intake pipe that comes from manufact. The hose travels down the back side of the tank to a bulkhead in the wall. I live in a Bi-level house with a crawl space under the steps. Fluval & UV are placed here for easy access.  <Oh! The induced drag through the sterilizer may be significant... could be a/the deciding factor... possibly might be worth experimenting here... cutting the hose between the canister and U.V. and inserting the Mag 7 there...> The return side is configured in a similar manner with another bulk head in the wall returning to the tank the cleaned water. The new hoses are ¾ , <Is this 3/4"? I hope so. Can't make out the tiny print> I think the Fluval hoses are only ½, which I don't use anymore. I thought maybe the Mag 7 after the UV to help draw the water back up to the tank. <Not made to "draw" but to push... hard on the pump... may cavitate badly if placed to "suck"... Bob Fenner> Thanks

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