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Canister Filter Intake And Output Placement & Replacement Guide

Guide for Canister filter Intake and Output placement

As an aquarium owner, you would know how different types of aquarium filters work differently. And among all those types, canister filter is certainly a multifunctional one that provides you the result you need for your fish tank. But what happens after you get one?

In this canister filter intake and output placement guide, we will talk about how and where to set it up and how to replace the parts if needed. While an external filter is attached outside with the main fish tank, the connected hose ensures water transmission. But the installation process and the aftercare are crucial as well.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What Are Intake And Output Placement? 

A canister filter (Ex- Fluval fx6, Eheim) has many parts in its construction. The main being the intake, the outlet, the pump. The intake manifold of the filter draws in the water from the tank, while the outlet does the opposite. The output placement or output nozzles are there to turn the water back into the tank after getting filtered in the canister filter. 

The spray bar helps to add some movement in the water of the aquarium. The mechanism of the canister filter depends on gravity. The intake tube takes in the aquarium water, and the output nozzle discharges the water back to the fish tank. In between the process, the canister uses multiple filtration systems to filter the dirty water. 

To help the water flow efficiently, you have to put the filter under the fish tank. As most canister filter has purge valves, you can easily disconnect them from the for servicing.

Canister Filter Installation And Placement Guidelines

Most power filters (ex- HOB filters, sponge filters, UV sterilizer, etc.) are pretty effortless to install. As for the aquarium canister filter, the installation method is only a bit modified due to its diverse mechanisms. 

To understand the placement of the filter parts, you have to understand the installation process of the device from start to end. These simple steps will help you to install the aquarium canister filter without any issue. Although the installation process may slightly differ with varied canister filter types, the basic steps are pretty much alike. 

Step 1: Know Your Parts

Take everything out from the package, and get the listing of your filter parts. Check if all the components are there so you can start the filter building process. Make sure your canister filter has everything needed for pumping. In case your package comes with filter media, check to see if all of them are intact and are in satisfactory condition for use.

Step 2: Prepare The Tank

You have to choose a perfect spot to place your canister filter. Remember, the filter has to stay below the fish tank level for the best outcome. 

The usual location of most aquarium canister filters is 4.5ft down the water level of the tank. Always check the instruction guide that comes with the package. 

You would want your fish tank to be stacked to the highest level so the hose can directly reach the fish tank. You would need your tubing to be free of kink, slack, or loops before installing the filter. This way, the hose can enter the tanks without any trouble.

Step 3: Prepare The Filter

By this time, you have to start preparing the filtration media for the canister filter. Remove the filter motorhead, and make sure all the media trays or containers are inside. You have to fill 3-4 media baskets depending on your filter. Prepare all the media you want to use, categorize and make them ready for layered setup.

If your filter base has no holes after inserting the baskets, you can fix the filter base using old clay rings. It will disperse the waste materials that are accumulating down there.

Step 4: Install The Mechanical Media

You have to set the filter’s first tray with the mechanical media (ex- sponge filter). As the tank filter draws water directly from the aquarium, the water passes the first tray and later goes through other layers, gradually getting cleaner with each phase. Hence, mechanical filtration should be the first one among all.

This way, the debris and trash materials would be stuck in it before the water reach the biological and chemical stage. Take one each from fine, coarse, and extra-fine, and put them in the filter tray sequentially. Each of these layers will screen through tiny and tinier particles, making it ready for the next installation step. 

Step 5: Install The Biological Media

Fill the second filter plate with your chosen biological filtration media right from the base. Some may prefer bio-balls, while some like ceramic rings. Some aquarists even use Biohome for the filtration instead of mixing the media. You can also keep the biological media in the filter sacks. But putting the trays beside the biological filtration media elements won’t impact them either.

Step 6: Install The Chemical Media

Lastly, put chemical media in the last tray. You can also mix it with the regular ones if you want. Use a filter bag if you are using loose granules.

Step 7: Get the Intake Ready 

It’s time to position the intake. Some filters (Fluval canister filters) already have a connector that you can attach to the tank, ensuring the proper hose placing. You only have to connect it to the aquarium. Now, add the hose to the canister filter by loosening the input clamp, fix the hose with the intake valve, and then tighten the clasp up again.

 Next, run the hosing to the fish tank and cut the tube to length. Now, secure the tubing to the connector. Join the edge of the hose to an intake hose that is lowered into the tank water. If the filter’s manual has no specific instruction on how far the hose should reach out into the tank water, follow the 3-inch rule.

It means the distance between the tube and your tank base should be 3-inch. In case there is no fixed instruction, lower the intake hosing near the aquarium base. It will engulf the solid debris from the gravel surface.

Step 8: Positioning The Output

The process of positioning the output is similar to intake positioning. Set the connector up, attach the hose and the canister filter, cut and then shift the hose to the fish tank. Make sure to put the output nozzle an inch under the waterline. You can set the output on the same side of the opposite side of the intake. 

Keeping them on the same side would give your aquarium a cleaner look. It will also provide the hosing a direct route. However, keeping the output opposite the intake manifold would mean water comes in one way and at the same time go out via the opposite way.

Step 9: Start Your Filter

After everything is accurately connected, make sure to check all the things for the last time. Makes sure the valves are unlocked. So, the water can smoothly move inside and outside through the canister filter. Start the device and see your filter in action.

How to Clean Canister Filter Intake And Output Placement?

You can clean the intake and output placement of a canister filter, following some simple steps. While the expense may differ, all of these methods are effective. But before trying anything, you have to prepare the parts. But first, select a place where you can comfortably work. Then take out the tubes from the inactive filter, and soak them in hot water. 

Hose Cleaner Brush

while it may take your effort and time, this one is undoubtedly the most simplistic process of all. This technique requires a bristly brush that has a long stick. With that, you can reach deep inside the tube easily. Take the bristle brush and put it inside the filter tube, and start applying pressure to remove the dirt.

If you need this product, you can buy it from any local pet-fish shop or if you like, you can buy this Stainless Flexible Cleaning Brush online.

Hose Magnet

In this method, you need to put a magnet outside and another one inside the tube. Start moving the magnets together with the hose. These will gradually push the gunk outside. Although this is a time-consuming process, you can efficiently clean the long hose with consistent pressure.  

View the product on Amazon. you also can get this product to your local pet fish shop.

Sump Pump

Submerge the sump pump and the hoses in a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide or water and vinegar. Switch on the pump to cycle the concoction through the hose. It will take only half an hour to complete, and you won’t need extra scrubbing as well.

Canister Filter Intake And Output Replacement

No Parts Are Lifetime Guaranteed !!

If the canister filter somehow stops working, you have to replace it with a new one. However, often a tiny part of the filter may malfunction. In such cases, you can only change that specific piece. It will save both your money and time.

You can find these replacement parts on Amazon, the company website, eBay, or any store that sells tools for aquariums.

You can easily find the replacement parts for Fluval 05 series filters, Fluval fx6, Fluval 306 canister filter, Eheim canister filter, etc. 

Some Recommended Replacement Parts For Canister Filter:

Penn Plax Bio-Floss Poly FiberPads:

Fluval Canister Filter:

The Fluval filter is one of the best canister filters you can find in the market right now. Starting from the aquarium canister filter to the power filter, Fluval can provide any filter you need.

Fluval Fx5/ Fluval Fx6 Magnetic Impeller Assembly

Fluval-Compatible Replacement Foam Filters

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]:

Q/A-1: Where should I put the canister filter’s intake and spray bar?

The intake manifold of the canister filter is generally put lower in the tank water. If the outflow is going towards the reverse direction, you can place the spray bar alongside the filter intake. This way, the water can flow through the entire tank before going back to the filter.

If the manufacturer doesn’t provide any specific instruction regarding the position, you can put them side by side or front/back based on your personal liking.

Q/A-2: How should I place the filter media in a canister filter?

There is no fixed order to put the filter media in a canister filter. If your filter uses both fine and coarse mechanical filtration media, always put the carse ones first. Otherwise, the fine media filter would clog faster, ultimately decreasing the efficiency of the coarse one.  

In the case of multiple chemical filtrations, the aquarium water should pass through the primary chemical media (activated carbon) in the first place. And then go through with other types. And lastly, put the biological media so the beneficial bacteria can get the cleanest water to function.

Q/A-3: Can I put intake and output on the same side?

Many people put the intake manifold and outtake hose at the same side of the canister filter. The reason could be due to the aesthetics. While it doesn’t seem to make much difference, their functional flow may get affected. The filtered water won’t go back if both the intake and discharge are on the same side.

However, it is not correct for every case, as people use the HOB filters a lot without any issues. So, if you see your tank is looking good along with the GPH or flow rate, you are okay with the same-side positioning.

Final Words:

Once you get the suitable external canister filter for your fish tank, your main task starts from there because the proper installation is the key for the filter to work efficiently. Even a minor mistake can easily lead to a disastrous situation, harming your water condition and the inhabitants of the aquarium as well.

While it may seem difficult to set the device yourself, the process is actually easy if you correctly follow the steps. In this canister filter intake and output placement guide, we have tried to include all the required information regarding the placement and replacement of the filter parts. 

Hope this helps!

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This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.