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Canister Cleaning


O. vulgaris
Jul 18, 2009
Hey guys.

I am running a canister for my tank.

it has 3 plastic layer sections.

inside each is as follows
Top layer

- Bio Balls and a bag of carbon

Middle layer

- wool filter
- bio rings

Bottom layer

- black sponge
- bio rings

They are layerd in the order I have written them.

So first off... sound like a good layering?

Second. How do I change this bad boy, how often?

I changed it today for the first time.

cleaned out all the hoses with a string and a cloth tied to the end.

Pulled out all the layer containers.

rinsed the carbon out.

rinsed the wool out.

Rinsed the black sponge out.

Poured out all the water inside.

cleaned the bottom of the canister.

Put it all back together.

Filled it with new water.

I also clean my tank at the same time. Cleaning all the walls, rinsing the sponge after each wipe to remove algae. squirted the rocks with my too small pipette. and vacuumed up the sand, while stirring at the same time.

added new water to the tank.

and put it all back together.

A shot of white cloud came out from the water when I first turned it on.

So... comments?

And am I doing it right? or Should I change my methods?

I also added a thick filter sponge I bought at the dollar store and cut up. I put this inside the screen intake end of the hose that goes from the tank to the canister... This way I can clean this and theoretically, my canister will stay cleaner longer.

thanks in advance.


O. bimaculoides
Nov 11, 2008
It all sounds good to me. Make sure you have some carbon you can run in case of an inking.
Sort of an addon question: should one rinse their media (or anything in the tank) with ro water (as opposed to tap)?


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Jan 22, 2004
Carbon is not renewable - onces its 'used up' you have to replace it.

What kind of canister is it? Or, where does the water enter and exit?

You have to clean the sponge you added to the intake daily or so, so it doesn't foul and reduce the utility of the rest of the canister. If you are going this route, basically a prefilter, you can get rid of almost everything but the bio media. But it depends on what you want the canister to do - bio filter or mechanical filter?


O. vulgaris
Jul 18, 2009
well I want the canister for both. bio and mechanical.

the sponge i added is not very fine... it looks similar to my black sponge filter.

The intake and output go into the top of the canister... it's a korean brand qqaqua 1500. I think 1500 could be 1800.

how do I know when the carbon is used up?

how often do I change/replace the rest of the media?


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
Gainesville, GA
I prefer to use only carbon in my filtration (regardless of how many baskets my one canister has) and allow my Live Rock to provide the bio filteration. Like most combination things, trying to mix bio and chemical filteration does not work as well as having dedicated systems. You have to disrupt the bio filter to change the chemical and will either put unwanted pollution in to the tank when you clean it or nitrates when you don't.

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