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<!-- / icon and title --> <!-- message -->and boy are they cranking now!

When was the last time you tuned up your powerheads / wavemakers?

If its been a while, think about doing it. Your corals will thank you.

Just soak them in vinegar for 30 minutes or so and rinse them off. That will get rid of the calcium buildup and make them work like new.
 

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Some things require an overnight soak so make sure to remove any rubber parts like o rings and the little rubber pieces on the ends of some pump shafts after an hour or two. Vinegar will eventually attack the rubber.
I have used straight distilled white vinegar for years to clean ll my aquarium related stuff. Its completely safe, rinses off with water and the low pH removes all algae and corraline growth in no time at all. I buy it in the gallon jug at Wal Mart for about $1.50 and actually reuse it over and over. Once I am done soaking I use a funnel and paint filter, old stocking or papare towels and strain the big stuff out as it pours back into the jug. It lasts for about a year before the pH is such that it does not work well anymore.
 

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I usually soak mine for a few hours with them running in vinagar. I do it about every 2 or 3 months. Keeping pumps clean inproves performance which makes them use less electric to.
 

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I was thinking about cleaning my return pump this week. Do you need to take them apart before you do this? Do you just let them soak, or run in the vinegar? Do you use it straight or a mixture of vinegar and water?

TIA
 
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Take it completely apart, remove any rubber suction cups or o-rings and clean them seperately, and soak all the parts in straight distilled white vinegar for a few hours. Take the parts out and inspect them a few times, if you find coralline still adhering to the plastic scrub it some with a plastic scrub brush to soften it up and continue soaking. For submersible pumps I try to pay special attention to the internal water passages, making sure to get all the calcium and crud out so water circulates around the windings well. On my Ocean Runner pumps I use a small brush like used to clean out airlines and very small tubing working it in and out to open the passages. Squirt a little water in the holes and you will see the crud flowing out once it is softened up.

Clean the rubber parts in vinegar too but do not leave them as long as the vinegar will soften or swell the rubber given time.

A final quick water rinse is all that is needed since vinegar does not contain anything bad and you are ready to go again.
 

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Cool thanks for the advice.

Now to figure out how to take the thing apart....wonder if I should just buy a new one anyway?
 

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Most come apart very easy. What pump is it, I am sure someone can jump in with specific instructions.
You know...that is a really good question. I can't remember! I am thinking Mag-drive, but not certain really. I can only remember what it looks like, so will check when I get home and let you know.

Thanks again
 

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Mag drives are easy, they have a couple stainless steel screws to remove and the whole front comes off and the impeller comes out. Pay attention to the o-ring when going back together so it seals good, especially if its used external.
 

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Depends on the powerhead. I know a 1/2" John Guest fitting will slip over the outlet on a MJ 900 or 1200 powerhead and lots of people use the for auto topoff or calcium reactor feed pumps like that.
 

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So pulled the pump tonight, cleaned it, and put it back in. Seems to be about exactly the same. It was a Magdrive model 5 (500GPH) Funny thing is when I had it out and actually looked at it, I think it may be to small for this tank. It has been running it for about 3 years with no real problem, but I am not sure it is enough GPH. Now that I know what it is I will most likely obsess about it til I decide to replace it. Anyway, anyone have any suggestions of what to replace it with and what GPH. I know the suggestion is to cycle the water in tank 10 times per hour (which this most likely does considering the 100 lbs of live rock), but wanted some feedback. Thanks.
 

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Whatever you are soaking will bubble till all the deposits are melted away. If you have a clear container to soak it in, that helps to see if there is activity still happening or if its finished. I recycle my vinegar now as suggested and put "do not use, not food, aquarium only" marks all over the bottle with a sharpie. I'm using straight vinegar fwiw.
 

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Weird thing was there was really not much build up in there. Unless I am missing something there was basically like three parts. The outside, the O ring, and the impeller assembly. I did not take apart the impeller, but figured that was not ness.
 

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Did the impeller turn freely on the shaft? I usually slip the shaft out of the magnet so I can dissolve the calcium buildup on the haft and inside the magnet.

10x turnover is not much for a total turnover. Most people recommend 3 to 5x display tank volume through the return pump and make up the rest with powerheads like Koralias, Seios or Tunzes, or with a closed loop. You want to keep the velocity through the sump down so detritus has a chance to settle out and microbubbles dissipate in the sump.
 

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Thats perhaps what benefits the most, I dont use mag-drives though but overall generally speaking, the impellar will greatly improve when cleaned to new status.
Wait, so are you saying that I should take apart the magnetic assembly (main unit) inside? I did not even see a way to do that?
 
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