What do you need to clean and maintain an internal or external aquarium filter? Some water, a lint-free cloth, a sponge and... ? Definitely not soap! Even if the underwater world of the film "Shark Tale" featuring Christina Aguilera’s well-known song "Carwash" seems to suggest this, these aren’t the materials for caring for our internal filter or external filter, the engine in the aquarium.
But let's be honest. Have you ever thought about cleaning your filter? I'm not talking about getting the "dirt" out of the container and replacing or washing out the filter media. The tubes and hoses need your attention as well as the seals on the filter head and the hose connection block. And don’t forget the impeller well with the impeller, either. I’m not worried about you cleaning your filter baskets with their filter masses and the different filter media. They almost clean themselves. But how do you clean the rest properly?
I’ll guide you step by step, telling you which parts can be cleaned correctly and easily. Giving you a checklist so that you don't forget anything.
Cleaning the inner filter
The baskets and the inside of the filter container can be cleaned with a sponge (e.g. the JBL Spongi ) so that algae and bacterial films also disappear. Replace the water inside, which is full of mulm and other particles, with aquarium water.
Partially replace or clean the filter media. Don’t wash cotton wool ( JBL Symec ) or fleece ( JBL Symec VL ) – just replace them. They are hard to wash and their structures become more dense. This would greatly reduce the function and water flow you are used to. You can knead and wash sponges and solid materials, such as clay and sintered glass, in skimmed aquarium water. Replace activated carbon and peat.
You read that right: Skim off some water from the aquarium and use it! Don’t use tap water from your shower or bathtub. Strong temperature fluctuations and greatly differing pH values can harm the bacteria inside and bring operation to a stillstand. The second factor is kneading, which helps bacteria and organic material to remain inside in small amounts and to continue ensuring a high level of biological activity. If you do want to use tap water, bear these two issues in mind to prevent problems. A strong water jet seems reasonable at first, but is usually too thorough (which is not good in this case). Older literature always recommends partial cleaning of the filter. Unfortunately, this is not possible with all filters. In the right way, you can do it all at once, as described. The subsequent addition of JBL FilterStart to the filter material and JBL PROCLEAN BAC to the water ensures the safety of the active bacteria culture even if you make some small mistakes.
Cleaning the outer filter
Use a towel, leather cloth or microfibre cloth ( JBL WishWash ) to the outside to remove water spots and blemishes. To remove limescale and adhering dirt, you can apply JBL PROCLEAN AQUA to the outside without problems. If any of it gets into the filter, there is no danger for your aquarium inhabitants such as fish and shrimps.
Head and connection block
Don’t forget the filter head. Although it collects less dirt, plant debris and snails can get stuck here. Always check the paths your water flows in. For a long service life and water-tightness, remove any dirt from the seals with a soft cloth ( JBL WishWash ) and maintain them with JBL SILICONE SPRAY .
There are two components in the filter head that need your special attention:
1. The impeller is the heart of your filter and transports the water in the rhythm of the mains frequency. Open the impeller cover and remove the impeller with the JBL CristalProfi Herramienta Sacacojinete + Cepillo from the well. Clean the ceramic axis / metal axis, the impeller well and the impeller using the brush supplied and check the impeller with its rotor blade for damage. This component, like a car tyre, is subject to constant wear and can be damaged by long running time. It then needs to be replaced. Repairing it can cause an imbalance and damage the impeller well. Before reinstalling the impeller, also take care of the seals with JBL SILICONE SPRAY .
2. Next, take a look at the hose connection block. It connects the inlet and outlet hoses to the aquarium. Check the waterway for inclusions, clean the inside with the flexible hose brush JBL Cleany or the brush from JBL CristalProfi Herramienta Sacacojinete + Cepillo and maintain the visible seals with JBL SILICONE SPRAY .
Cleaning accessories and attachments
At this point, most aquarists think they' re done. But did you know that the hoses and tubes also get dirty? As a rule of thumb, the more light that comes in and reaches the tubing, the more polluted it will become. Biofilms and algae form. A common answer to this is: you can just run water through with the shower spray and it will clean itself. But you will notice that nothing changes visually. In fact, bacterial films, which in turn provide a good foothold for algae, can clog this waterway in hoses and pipes by more than 50 %. The performance is reduced and mere flushing is not enough. The contamination causes increased back pressure and can even cause a filter to "suck in" or gurgle air. With a simple tool, the JBL Cleany - an elastic hose brush, you can clear the way again. You will be amazed at the amount of dirt that is pushed out.
Other attachments that are directly exposed to light and water in the aquarium will sooner or later become algal or unsightly. You can dismantle them for cleaning and put them in JBL PROCLEAN POWER following the instructions for use. After a few minutes they will look like new. Light dirt can be easily removed with JBL Spongi , a sponge, or the JBL PROSCAPE CLEANING GLOVE , a glove.