Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Aquarium Filter Tips and Tricks! Start Saving Money Now!

Aquarium Filter Tips and Tricks! Start Saving Money Now!

Hi, everyone. Cory from Aquarium Co-op. Today, I’m going to teach you how to optimize
your filtration and we’re going to do it for on like a nano tank, where going to do it
for a medium-sized filters and large filters. It’s one of the most asked questions and one
of the things I talked about the most but have shown the least. Today, we’re going to be using a Finnex PF-5
Hang On Back Filter. You can see my video on the channel or you
can order it from our website. Little nano filter works great for five to
seven-gallon tanks. We’re going to optimize this. We’re also going to do one of the filters
I hate the most, I bought this on Amazon. This is the Marineland Penguin 350 BIO Wheel. We’re going to show you what I would do if
I was using this and this is assuming you already own it, because otherwise, I’d buy
something else but we’ll go with what you got. Then, we’re also going to do a AquaClear 70,
that’s what I’ve got right here. We’re going to optimize this as well. Make sure you stay tuned and we’re going to
go through it all and I guarantee, by the end of this video, you’ll have a lot to change
about your Hang On Backs. First, we’re going to work with a nanofilter
and the reason being it’s going to be easiest to show so you can see the inner workings
of it. Out of the box, we’re going to get this opened
up here. We’ve got a tiny little filter. Obviously, meant for a small aquarium but
it’s the easiest for me to handle, so we’ll use this. Standard Hang On Back, if you didn’t already
know. It’s going to pull water into the intake,
that’s what this is called, it’s an intake. Put water through the media that we have on
the inside. Water is going to come through here through
the impeller and then, it’s going to come through the media, then splashed back out
into the aquarium, simple enough. This one comes with a little intake and we’ll
go ahead and install that. It’s got extension pieces. We can put those together, that will make
it go deeper into the aquarium, when it goes deeper. That’s a good thing. Because we’re pulling water from the bottom
of the aquarium, it will get the best circulation possible. What this filter comes with, it comes with
the little piece of sponge that will grow beneficial bacteria. It’s also a source of mechanical filtration. Then, it comes with a cartridge. This has carbon in it and a fine filter pad. Now, this, when it’s installed in here, the
way it comes is that the sponge here goes behind the cartridge. What that does is natively, I’ll put this
down here, the water is going to come into the unit and it’s going to pass through this
sponge, get all the coarse debris out, then go through the carbon. That’s not so bad, but let me install this
the way they want it installed which takes a second here apparently on camera. It’s not optimum, by the way, because of the
way you install this, but all right. Now, we’ve got it the way they want it. You can see right in here. The water comes in through here and it’s going
to spill over through here and come through here. Now, what you’re noticing is, there’s a lot
of open space. That’s all wasted space. Also, I realized that we can do a few more
modifications. The first thing I always recommend, the easiest
thing anyone can do is get a sponge on the intake. Get something here to keep a small fish, food,
shrimp, babies, all that kind of stuff from getting sucked into this filter. Let me go ahead and find the correct one and
I got on my website, that’s going to be the mini intake sponge. It’s a little fine foam. It slips right on to the intake here. Now, it’s a tad bit loose on this one but
what happens is being that it’s a little bit, it sticks out here, your aquarium will hold
it in place, so your aquarium tends to pinch a little bit right there and hold it for you
and this is your first line of defense. Now, when you install a sponge filter, it’s
best so if we see the slits here, these are the slits. It’s best that if only those slits are covered
by the foam. Instead of putting this all the way to the
bottom, just put it so it just covers these slits. That way, you can pull water from this area
but all the way down here as well. If we push it all the way up, it’s only going
to pull water from this area and once that gets clogged, it pinches it off so we want
to use it to its max potential there. Yeah, that’s an intake on this … A sponge
on the intake right there, that is an optimization. When we compare it to the sponge on the inside,
so here we go, we’ve got … Let’s say we roll this up here. We’re going to roll it up this little sponge. This is how much sponge is inside of the filter. Now, if we compare it to this, you can see
that this already is like twice as big as this. Simply put, by putting an intake sponge on
there, we’re going to triple the capacity of this filter. If it could have handled one guppy which it
can handle more now but let’s say it handled one guppy, by putting this intake sponge on
there, now, we can handle three guppies with a simple $2.99 upgrade on a $20 filter. Right there, we’re going to get a lot of bang
for our buck but not only does it increases surface area, it increases the way or increases
the optimization by, now, food can’t get sucked into this these slits right here and sit back
here and rot. Instead, a piece of food comes along, it gets
sucked to the filter and the fish can still come by and eat it, so we improve it on multiple
levels there. Now, since this is not secure on there, I’m
going to set this up aside while I work on the rest of this. We noticed that this was not optimal in here,
the way it’s got a sponge and a cartridge. The cartridge costs you money. Also, we’re throwing away a portion of our
bacteria which becomes less of an issue when we have the intake sponge but what if we could
utilize all of these area in here instead of just utilizing this much area which is
a pretty small cross-section, we can hot rod it. What I like to do is I like to fill it with
sponge material or bio rings or something like that. Now, I found that an AquaClear 30 sponge,
another $2.99 upgrade, I believe this is the right size. Is this the one here? Yeah. Now, this amount of sponge, if we look at
this here and we compare it to what we had, we’re going to put them side by side, they’re
basically the same size in terms of like surface area but you can see like clearly way thicker
here, way thinner. Yeah, you’ve got your cartridge and you’ve
got this. If we ditch these two and we put just this
block of foam in there and I’m going to put in right like this and we’re going to put
that in there and we can … It’s a pretty snug fit. You can cut it down and tie it a little bit
if you want but now, if you take a look at that, look how much surface area is in there. It’s a huge amount. We pull water in through. It’s going to come down in here and come through. It’s going to come all the way through this
sponge. Now, full disclaimer here. Anytime you modify a filter, you could void
the warranty. You could cause a backup in the system, so
if we cram so much stuff in here that water can’t get through, it could overflow and so
realize by optimizing, we’re changing the way the manufacturer has designed this filter
to work. Do it at your own risk. That being said, you can get a lot of bang
for your buck. We have $20 filter here. We put a $3 intake on it. We replace what it had with three $3 worth
of sponge that we get to reuse this forever. This is going to last probably 10 years of
use. This cartridge lasts about a week and these
cartridges, I think I sell them on the website because you got to carry the cartridge [inaudible
00:08:57] for a filter, I want to say you get two of them for $5, something like that,
but I strongly recommend you modify this filter. It would be much more efficient. When we look at what the filter came with
which is this sponge and this little cartridge and now we compare to what we’ve done to it. Now, we’ve got this much surface area to grow
bacteria versus this, and so when you put these together, you can clearly see that this
side is … It’s at least this right here to this, it’s at least double so we got double
here and we established that this was double here. Now, we have four times the amount of filtration
for as opposed to this. This costs $6. We never really need to replace it, usable
forever and so for $6 plus some shipping, obviously, you can hot rod this little hang
on back filter for let’s say your betta, your dwarf frogs, your little guppy tank into something
that can really handle some load. Now, we saw just how simple that was, we just
had to use off the shelf products. We invested $6. Now, let’s start looking at some more advanced
setups, something not quite as small here and I’m going to set all these off to the
side and we’re going to move to something like the AquaClear. We’re going to save the one I hate for last
because that’s what I get to do because I’m making a video. Here, same thing. We have no media in this one currently at
the moment, nothing at all. It comes with a sponge in here and then it
would have bio rings and then it would have carbon as well. The first initial thing we can do right away
if we were to get an intake sponge like one of these big ones work, that works. It’s a little bit loose. You got to use the aquarium to hold it on
there or you can also use, let me grab it right here, this kit. This I sell on my website. It’s a pre-filter kit and it’s made to make
it easy for you, guys. It comes with a bunch of adapters. That’s the first thing is there’s a bunch
of waste to adapt this to a filter. Now, it doesn’t adapt to every single filter
but it does adapt to quite a few like this here is a very small intake. Can I adapt it to … Can I adapt it to this? Almost. I’m very close to making this work. It’s not quite going to work … Wait, yes,
it would, if I take this off, boom. I’ve now adapted this and let’s go here. Let’s put an elbow on this thing, boom. I’ve got an elbow and then, this intake sponge
that comes with it … Let me just set this up here, boom. Now, I have this giant sponge on the intake
of this tiny little filter. Now, I realized this in a five-gallon tank
is ginormous but you could have this in your aquarium and yes, this is like 10 times the
amount of filtration all on this little motor. It would work amazing. Just showing you, it can adapt to even a small
one but let’s adapt it to this big AquaClear. The AquaClear, we’re going to take the intake
here, so here we go. We got the intake. Now, we need to make it fit on there so here
is the sleeve. I’ve grabbed the wrong sleeve here … Or
no, I put it on backwards. Sleeve fits it just fine, right? Perfect. Now, what if I grab this elbow that we had
on here. Now, I have an intake. Look at that, and it’s off the wall. Now, if I didn’t want to take it off the wall,
there should a straight piece somewhere in here, I believe, to make myself be able to
do this. Let’s see here. Maybe, I have to take it off the wall. Maybe they won’t allow it to not come off
the wall on this one because I don’t think it can possibly work because it’s too fat
but anyway, so there we go. We have got it in an angle and the way you
service this is this comes apart here so that this end plug comes out and you’ve got all
the sponge that’s now your pre-filter and it works amazingly well. Boom, you put this back on your intake here. Now, you’ve got an intake down low. It will keep sand out of the filter from hurting
it. It keeps food and fish and shrimp, all those
things out. Let’s say you wanted to really maximize the
filtration side like this is a little more manageable for people to hide behind plants
and rock. Let’s say, you really just wanted … You
had oscars and you’re going, “Oh, my god, I’ve got so much waste.” You could put this big intake sponge on this
as well and that will really beef up your capacity. Now, obviously this one is bigger than this
one. Clearly bigger, but you got to fit what’s
going to fit in your aquarium. Now, this also fits like an AquaClear 30,
and 50, and 70 and 110 if it’s all of them. This one like this big one only fits the 70
and the 110. This will also fit canister filter, so will
this one. This has got options so that’s the important
part. It runs about $13. This one runs, I think, about $12 but that’s
your first hot rod portion of this. We’ve got our intake on this AquaClear, boom. Now, when it comes to basket itself, it’s
going to come with a sponge. Let me grab one. I’ve got one right here. Let me get this opened, so it comes with some
sponge just like this, boom. I think this is actually … Yeah, there we
go. Now, you’ve got that. What I personally do is I put another sponge
right on top of it, so we go over here. We grab another sponge. Yeah, you can use the bio rings that come
with it but they’re not quite enough because it also has space for carbon. Now, what I would do is I would put two blocks
of sponge just like this and then I put the bio rings on top of it. Now, I don’t know where my bio rings currently
are. I’ve got bio rings in my bag here to show
you. Let’s put this back in and this is also why
I love AquaClear hang on backs by the way because they’re already designed to be really
optimal and that’s an important distinction here is they really want it to be optimal
as opposed to most places trying to nickel and dime you to death with cartridges. There’s no cartridges here. Now, we’ve got two sponges in there. We’ve got a sponge on the intake and if I
was to grab, let’s say this thing, bio rings that comes with an AquaClear or maybe you’re
buying some of them on my website because you’re out or you don’t have enough and you
stuff that in the top here. There’s a little bit too many here and we’ll
show you how to break that down into more manageable size but now, now, you really have
a powerhouse filter. You’ve got sponge, sponge, bio rings, sponge
and the surface area on this thing is huge. With more surface area, we can grow more bacteria. Now, we have an optimized hang on back AquaClear
filter, look at this thing. You can’t fit more media in there. There’s no wasted space and that’s the important
part. We’ve got a pre-filter. We’re going to keep the insides here clean
as we can and then we’re going to keep this bio rings really clean. That’s how you optimize an AquaClear. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an AquaClear
20 or 110, they’re all the same, just different size sponges, different amount of bio rings
and intake sponge. All that works the same. Now, I actually lied because I have another
one to hot rod. I forgot that I bought this filter as well
because this is like the cheapest filter on the market. I don’t even sell it. Here it is, the quiet one. This is the Quiet 110. A lot of people get these in their first aquarium
kits ever. You bought a kit at PetSmart or whatever it
was and it comes with this filter. Let me get this opened. It comes with some coupons, obviously, because
they want you to buy their crap. Okay, so we’ve got this opened here. I didn’t need that piece away, whew. Anyway, so this is what it looks like on the
inside. It’s not horrible, like it’s not the worst
ever but we can still optimize it. First, here’s the intake. What can we do? We can put a sponge on it. Let me install that, boom. We have an intake. Now, I probably do need that piece. Let me find that piece right here, perfect. Let’s see if this will adapt to it. Not quite. This one doesn’t fit, so this is not going
to work easily on this intake. Good thing, I sell another product that does
because I’ve run into this before and that would be the medium. I sell this on my website also, the medium
intake sponge. Guess what? Right there, perfect. It fits on nicely. Yeah, it’s got a hole all the way through
it but like on these, they have intake strainers right down there. It worked awesome, so that’s the first step,
hot rod the intake. We do that always. That’s the easiest thing to do. Now, we take a look at what we’ve got going
on in the inside here. This is what we got to work with. Basically, the water is going to come in right
here and it flows into the side over here and spills out to the front. Now, this comes with it. I think we run this the whole time because
it’s just extra place to grow bacteria. Let me get this in there. It’s kind of a snug fit. There we go. We’ve got that. Now, that just leaves us that open part. Now, we can use their cartridge system which
I’m not a fan of. I’m just going to be honest. We’re not a fan. How do we hotrod this thing? It’s a narrow sponge in there. Let’s try, did I find one that fits? Yeah, I think I found AquaClear 50 sponge
that would fit in there. Let’s try that. That’s one option. I think I’ve got a couple of options for you
on this one. We grab that big block of sponge which is
more surface area than what was provided for sure. We can … It’s hard to do this upside down. Let me set this off to the side for a second. We can basically put a piece of sponge down
in there. Now, we have got a lot of surface area in
there and it’s reusable. That’s a Yahtzee. The other thing you can do, let’s say you
didn’t want to use sponge because it’s a tight fit in there for sure. The other thing you can do is you can get
bio rings. Let me grab some bio rings. We have them in our AquaClear here. We’re going to grab these. Now, the problem is, this is too many bio
rings, like this is from the website. It’s too many bio rings. It’s way too many for this filter. What you do is you grab a single bio ring,
but then you come over here and you grab a filter bag. That filter bag is just going to allow us
to put some bio rings into this filter. Here we go, filter bag, we’re going to pour
some in and then we’re going to put that into our filter here. It’s just like that. We’re going to get some going right into the
bag, if I can get them out there. There we go. It’s probably be going to be about half this
bag, it’s all we need for this little filter. Now, if you had a bigger one like a Quiet
120 or the 30 or the 50 or the 70, obviously, you’re going to need more. I think that’s not enough yet, but we can
test. You get it and you’d go, “How’s that going
to fit in there?” You got to make it flat so it fits. That might do it, actually. That might. We flatten it out. Now, you basically have this nice flat piece. Now, you have optimized the bio rings. The bio rings have filled up all the media
space that was in there. We put this back on and now, you’ve really
got some effective filtration if I can get … There we go, because we’ve got this intake
sponge. We’ve got this, and we’ve got all these bio
rings when all we had before … Remember, all that was there before was this. This is just a little plastic thing holding
a cruddy little pad here, if I can get this one handed out. All we had, things are falling on the floor,
was this little pad that has a little bit of carbon and a little bit of filter floss. Now, we can just handle an insane load. That’s when I talk about, it’s going to depend
on your fish keeping. It’s going to depend on your filtration. It’s going to depend on all these things. When you ask, “How many fish can I keep on
my 10-gallon?” If you have a 10 gallon that’s optimized for
its filtration, you’re a lot closer to keeping a lot of fish than you are if you’re just
running a stock filter. Now, you can see here just like in our other
examples, you might have to run four of these or five of these to equal … We just made
out of one them because the surface area is so low. We’re going to move on to the next one even. Now, we get to the filter I don’t like. It’s the BIO-Wheels but nevertheless, just
because I don’t like it doesn’t mean you guys don’t like it and that you shouldn’t use it. We got over here brand new, out of the box
… Let me go ahead and get this bad boy out for you. Whoa, all right. Here we are. I’ll remove the tops because they’re going
to fall off 20 times in this video if I don’t remove them. I’m going to take out parts and cards. Here’s the cartridges that comes with. Let me set those off to the side, and the
bio wheels. We’re going to use these but … Now, I can
show you, here’s what we’ve got. We’ve got a motor and two big spaces for media. First things first, what do we always do? We put an intake sponge on it. I get this question once every two days, at
least. Let’s get this setup here. We’ve got our intake. I’m going to close this so that it has to
suck it all the way from the bottom. Now, the biggest question I get is how do
I put an intake sponge on it, because there’s this big strainer, nothing fits it. Here you go, remove the strainer. We take that off, then you put a big sponge
filter on a large intake, boom, we’re done. Now, we’ve just added a massive amount. Look at this, we’ve got this right here. We got this big sponge. This sponge is essentially equal to one of
these compartments. By putting this sponge on here, we’re adding
an insane amount. Now, we’re going to optimize these but when
we’re done, realize that here’s what we’re comparing to. We’ve got a standard here. I got to open one of these up, after I’m to
going to sell it but … I got to show you how this would stop [to use 00:25:15] first,
so then I can show you how we’re going to optimize this. First, always know that you want the fine
filter pad to hit the water first before the carbon. You want that facing backward, towards the
back. This is what you would typically see and everyone
of you that owns of these is going, “Yeah, that’s how they come,” or, “Yeah, that’s how
I run it.” You’ve got your BIO-Wheels. We’re still going to use the BIO-Wheels so
don’t worry but look how much space we are wasting where the water goes. I would say it’s 80% or more we’re wasting
where the water is going to go. I’m going to do one more thing just in case
you guys don’t know how this works. This is where the water is going to come in. I’m going to put that in place just so you
guys can see, if you’ve never used this filter before, you can’t understand how it works. Water comes in, then the water itself gets
shot out the back here, each side, shoots it out to the back and then it flows forward. We’ve established, this is the way it comes
and you get some bio wheels. We’re still going to use the bio wheels so
that’s why I’m taking it out of the equation for now, but I think we all can agree, we
could really make this better. Let me get this out of the way here, make
my life a little easier. First, ditch these cartridges. They’re going to run you too much money. They’re going to cost you and whenever you
throw them out, you’re removing your biological. AquaClear 70 sponge, make this easy on ourselves. What did I find? I found, look at this, [inaudible 00:26:53]
fits right in there, check that out. There’s one. Guess what? We can fit two though. I got to grab some of these AquaClear over
here. I really got a mess going on in my desk. There’s a lot of filters and a lot of packaging
here. We take another one, and we take another one
and there’s got to be one more in here somewhere. I know I bought enough. Right, no, it’s empty. What have I done? Wait, is it not empty? It’s just light. It’s a sponge. Who knew? There we go. Now, look at this thing. We have got lots and lots of surface area
in there. There’s way more. The comparison here is we now have this much
surface area which is a lot which one side, so we’re only doing one side at the moment. You have this or you have this. You stack those up side by side. Which one do you think harbors more bacteria? This thing that’s about a half inch thick
or this thing that’s like four inches thick? We basically have taken, I don’t even know,
like one sponge is going to be … Let’s just make this easy. Let’s say this is equal to half the sponge
and we’re running four of these sponges when we’re only running one of these. That means we’re increasing the biological
here by four times the amount easily. Now, if we establish that once we put our
intake back on, here we go. Boom, intake. We establish this will equal to like a whole
another compartment. We started out with two little intakes or
two little pads that go inside that established are equal to one sponge. We are now running equivalent to six sponges. We have made the optimization of this filter
six times the ability that it had. It now can process six times as much waste
and have six times as much biological capacity. It’s also more efficient in the way that we’re
not going to suck up food. We’re not going to suck up small fish. We’re not going to suck up plant leaves and
all the while, we still get to use these bio wheels which I do hate because eventually,
this stops spinning and the problem is, when they’re not optimized like this, people are
relying on this. Now, in this system with this bio wheels,
the bio wheels are very small portion of the overall filtration here, like this thing seriously
is a powerhouse. Now, the problem becomes, we had to spend
some money to do this. It’s a one-time cost though. Intake sponge is $12. These sponges are about $7. We used four of them so that’s $28. We’re looking at, what, $40. We spent $40 but we have … If we establish
that it’s equal to six times, so for $40, we essentially have made five additional filters
like this. I think I paid $35 or $40 for this. Yeah, while we spent $40, we get the biological
capacity of $200 and on top of that, it doesn’t take more electricity. It doesn’t take up any more space or anything
like that. That’s, when I talked about, in all the Q&A
videos and all that, when I’m talking about optimizing your filtration, this is the kind
of thinking I’m doing. Every filter can be optimized somehow. It’s up to you to figure it out. Is it adding more bio rings? Is it adding sponges? Is it adding an intake? An intake is the easiest and biggest change
you can do. I’m a believer that every intake out there
should always have an intake sponge on. It makes the biggest difference, but on top
of that, optimizing what you got to play with. Now, I do want to bring it up again. We could void the warranty because we’re not
using their cartridge or something like that. Technically, if we didn’t service this after
a long enough period of time, we could overflow because our media comes pretty high here,
but I maintain any … If you don’t maintain this, eventually, it’s going to flood. It might take three years, but eventually,
this will flood your house also. This is all assuming you’re going to do monthly
maintenance and things like that. This is not an excuse to neglect filters. This is just to make them much, much, much
more efficient and optimized for your specific aquarium. I’ve shown you lots of tools whether it’s
the sponges in different sizes, whether it’s the intake sponges in different sizes, or
it’s the little kit that it gives you different adapters, all of those things will pay themselves
off fifty-fold over the course of your career in fish keeping. I hope you come away from this video going,
“Okay, I don’t own that specific filter, but I now know how I can make my filter better,”
because whether you have an EHEIM filter or the canister filter or it’s … I’m trying
to think of … A Sunsun canister, I’m trying to think of other Hang On Backs, that I can’t
think them off the top of my head, but no matter what the brand is, realize you can
optimize it and the company doesn’t optimize it because it’s in their best interest not
to. The worst this performs, the more of them
you need, the more cartridges you need to buy, that type of thing. Realize I’m here to save you money. Yes, you’ll have to buy some products to save
you money long term but I think we’ve all found in our lives there’s specific products
you can buy that makes sense and pay for themselves time and time and time again and all the products
I’ve shown you here don’t need to be replaced. Whether it’s sponge, whether it’s rings, things
like that, spend your money there, not on cartridges. Everything I’ve shown you here in the video,
except for the Marineland Hang On Back Filter, is available on my website. In the description, there’s a link to each
item and that way, you can help yourself get the right items you need and not have to search
the entire internet and it helps me. By buying this stuff, it makes me make more
videos like this. If you guys like this video, share it around,
get the word out. I say this stuff all the time and not enough
people see it. If you’re a new hobbyist, think of the amount
of money you’d save until now. If you’re just learning this now and you’ve
been in the hobby for 10 years, how much money would you have saved until now had you known
these tips? Share them in your local clubs, your local
Facebook groups, all those things and when someone is asking the question like, “Is my
filter okay?” Link this video to him and help them out. I am doing my part here to educate you guys. I have to rely on you guys to help educate
other people. If we all help one person, we all get helped. Thanks so much, guys. We’ll see you in the next video. I’ll see you in the live streams and I hope
I helped you today and thanks for watching.

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