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Mine's new so I don't need cleaning anytime soon... just wanting to know the right way. I've learned you don't want to kill the bacteria in the actual canister so what's the best method? I'm using an Ehiem that has 3 baskets. I'm under the impression when it's time to clean you should dump out the water, replace 1 or 2 trays with new media and leave the 3rd alone so you don't get rid of all the good bacteria. Is that correct?
 

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Mine is a Marineland but the process is basically the same about. You clean the media in USED tank water, never fresh as it helps to maintain the bacterial integrity of the media. The bioballs can be rinsed but just by swishing and if they are not really dirty do not need that. If you are using carbon at all it needs to be replaced completely every 3 to 4 weeks. I do not personally use it continuously, just when I need it for medication removal or if the water or tank gets to looking discolored for some reason. Ceramic or foam media can be rinsed in USED tank water as well but only to remove the loose or cruddy stuff and then replaced as soon as possible. You have about 30 minutes to do all this before your cycle starts to diminish in effectiveness. While you are at it you need to clean your impeller so that the integrity of the motor it maintained. It mainly is a quick job just remove it and wash it in USED water again and then clean the impeller housing by using a small brush if you have one or paper toweling if you don't. Then put everything back in the canister and add a fresh dechlorinated water to the level of the top of the trays so the priming job will not be as extensive and put it back together. Check the hoses to make sure they are fairly clear and clean and get the canister reprimed and then plug it back in. Should be as good as new.

Hope this helps. I love my canisters...was intimidated by them until I got these and now really love them so hope that you enjoy yours. I feel they do the finest job of keeping the tanks really clean and require less maintenance (unless you use carbon all the time) and really seem to make it easier to satisfy the fish too.

Please if you have further questions or I did not make something clear do not hesitate to ask. While I do not at present have EHEIM, I am familiar with them to a point as I did have one.

Rose
:)
 

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One more thing, you never have to actually replace any of the media but the carbon until rinsing it just leaves it so ragged that it won't hold together. In fact the media will last for years. Just rinse and replace it and it will keep on chuggin'. I know the manufacturer will tell you to replace everything but it is to their interest to do it (more $$$$) but it works better in my opinion when it is a little worn in. I think you will love having a canister and love the ease with the maintenance when you get used to it. It does not take any more work or expertise than the others when you get a routine established.

Rose
 

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No you use water from the aquarium to rinse the media with. You will be doing a partial water change too surely so just save a bucket of the water from your tank in a clean bucket to clean the media with. Then dump the water out of the canister and when you get your stuff clean and back in the canister you can add more used tank water or brand new dechlorinated water from a jug. (usually takes about a gallon) or you do not need to put any water back in but that makes the priming process harder and longer to do. I just put a new gallon of fresh dechlorinated water in the canister to the level of the top basket and it really decreases the amount of time used in priming. You just do not wash the stuff in new water as it is easier and safer for your cycle to use used water from the tank to rinse the media. You do not really wash it just swish the loose stuff off of it and put it back in the canister.
 

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Ignore Eheims suggestion to replace the ceramic media in their filters. It is among the better medias available and will last a lot longer than the 6 months they suggest. I have yet to see any broken ceramic noodles so in my mind they are a lifetime filter media. When I clean my canisters, I am not as gentle with media as some people suggest. I squeeze the sponge media several times until water flows freely from it and the caking effect is gone. I rinse the ceramic media well to remove any sediment from it, sediment does not promote good filtering. Things like pot scrubbers or bioballs get a few dunkings in a bucket of used tank water to get the loose stuff off them. The impeller and the well it goes into get a thorough scrubbing in the bathroom sink using a small bottle brush, there is nothing there that I don't want to get spotless. The canister itself gets dumped out and gets a second rinse from the bucket of water I have from cleaning everything else. I see no reason to leave a layer of dirt in the bottom of the canister. I don't worry about how long my media is out of the filter as long as the media stays moist, that is how a biowheel filter works all the time. My total elapsed time is often less than 30 minutes because I am not afraid to work at getting things clean and put back together. I use mostly the Rena brand filters so priming is not a job at all. I put the filter back in place empty, open the line valves and wait 30 seconds to a minute for the filter to fill itself. Then it is time to plug it in and away we go.
 
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