Lots of peo­ple are daunted by ex­ter­nal fil­ters, but they’re eas­ier to set up than you might think. Here are the essen­tials you need to know…

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Contents - WORDS: NATHAN HILL

A step-by-step guide to set­ting up three dif­fer­ent pop­u­lar can­is­ter fil­ters.

EX­TER­NAL CAN­IS­TER fil­ters are great. They’re big, which means they can house a lot more me­dia than in­ter­nal fil­ter types, and that in turn makes them more ef­fi­cient and ver­sa­tile. They’re also con­ve­niently placed out of view, un­der­neath or be­side the tank where they’re not an eye­sore. Over the fol­low­ing pages we’re look­ing at three dif­fer­ent can­is­ter fil­ters, and the parts of them that seem to cause con­fu­sion.

Aqua­manta EFX200

The Aqua­manta EXF 200 is the small­est in the EFX range and suit­able for tanks from 100 l (com­fort­ably) up to 200 l (at a stretch). Once out of the box, there are a few things you need to do to get it up and run­ning.

Aqua Medic Aqua Fresh 50

This small and vis­ually ap­peal­ing fil­ter is ro­bust and ca­pa­ble of fil­ter­ing be­tween 75 l (com­fort­ably) and 150 l (at a stretch). How­ever, it has no prim­ing fa­cil­i­ties, which makes it tricky to start. With lim­ited me­dia in­side, this prod­uct is likely aimed at planted aquas­cape keep­ers.

As this fil­ter has no prim­ing mech­a­nism, in or­der to start it you need to syphon wa­ter through it. At­tach one hose to the tank, and lower the other one be­low the wa­ter level, into a bucket. Start a syphon ac­tion (you can buy hand­pumps to do this) un­til the fil­ter and all hos­ing is filled with wa­ter. Reat­tach the hose used to syphon and turn the can­is­ter on.

Al­ter­na­tively, you can use a fun­nel to pour wa­ter down the hoses un­til the can­is­ter and hos­ing is filled.

Note that to ac­cess the im­peller you will need to re­move the pump unit from the can­is­ter and this re­quires a screw­driver.

JBL Crys­tal­profi e902

The e902 is a ter­rific all-round can­is­ter fil­ter with a flow that makes it suit­able for tanks of be­tween 90 l (com­fort­ably) and 300 l (at a stretch). Be­cause of its low wattage (11w max con­sump­tion) it’s also one of the most eco­nomic fil­ters on the mar­ket.

Insert the hose con­nec­tion assem­bly into the slot in the head, with the cen­tral lever in the ‘up’ po­si­tion. Push the lever down to lock it into place and open the valves.(Lift­ing this lever locks the valves, re­tain­ing wa­ter in the pipes and stop­ping sy­phon­ing when dis­con­nected.) 9

5 Place the three me­dia bas­kets back in the can­is­ter – car­bon at the bot­tom, bio­me­dia balls in the mid­dle and foams on the top.En­sure that all three trays are aligned so that the down­pipe runs neatly through all three.

2 Turn the head up­side down and find the im­peller well cham­ber. Twist the cover of the well anti-clock­wise and gen­tly pull it away – be care­ful not to pull out at an an­gle as you risk snap­ping the im­peller shaft, which may be at­tached as shown in the photo above.

Now gen­tly push the head unit down. If it doesn’t sit flush, re­move and re­place the bas­kets and try again. DO NOT force the head unit down.Once it’s sit­ting com­fort­ably, se­cure the head unit in place with the clamps. 8

3 Re­move the im­peller and in­spect for dam­age such as cracks or bro­ken vanes. Rein­sert the im­peller and re­place the im­peller well cover, mak­ing sure that the ce­ramic shaft fits neatly down the mid­dle of the im­peller. Twist the cover clock­wise to lock it in place.

6 Find the plas­tic grid in the pack­ag­ing.Place the grid on top of the top me­dia bas­ket (the one con­tain­ing the block of foam and fine foam pad), so that the can­is­ter fil­ter’s down­pipe is ex­posed.

7 Next po­si­tion the can­is­ter’s head unit on top of the body so that the pro­trud­ing ‘spout’ un­der­neath the head aligns with the down­pipe.Don’t try to push it into place at this stage. Just con­cen­trate on align­ing it the right way round.

4 Re­move the three me­dia bas­kets. One con­tains a mesh bag filled with car­bon – leave this as it is. One a block of foam – leave this. The third con­tains bio­me­dia balls in a plas­tic bag. These MUST be re­moved from the bag be­fore use. Briefly rinse them un­der a tap to re­move dust.

1 Un­clip the four clasps hold­ing the lid in place. To do this, pull them out­wards from the bot­tom and then slide them in an up­wards di­rec­tion.Once you’ve loos­ened all four clasps, you can re­move the head.

Place the black sponge on top of the me­tal stand, and the white sponge on top of the black sponge. Hold both in place with the me­tal spacer and then re­place the lid, clamp­ing it back down. 3

This fil­ter comes with­out valves, strain­ers or wa­ter-re­turn ac­ces­sories, so buy these to your taste (aquascapers tend to use glass­ware for fil­ters like this). To con­nect the hoses, push them over the in­let noz­zle (at the bot­tom) and re­turn noz­zle (on top) us­ing the pro­vided hose­clips to se­cure them in place. 4

1 Open the fil­ter by pulling the fas­ten­ing clips away from the can­is­ter. The me­tal clasps will now lift away from the hold­ing at­tach­ments on the fil­ter head.

2 Once you’ve re­moved the head, ar­range the me­dia in­side so that the lit­tle me­tal stand sits on its legs at the bot­tom of the can­is­ter.

9 Once the assem­bly is locked, push the two smaller levers to the ‘open’ po­si­tion.This will open the valves in­side the assem­bly so that wa­ter can flow through it.

At­tach the head, mak­ing sure the wide spout fits flush with the aper­ture on the top bas­ket. Use the clips to se­cure the head to the can­is­ter body. If the head isn’t sit­ting flush, re­move the bas­kets and check align­ments. 6

8 Now firmly push the hose con­nec­tion assem­bly into place.En­sure that you push down the cen­tral lever on the assem­bly FIRST so that it locks into po­si­tion.

5 Place the bas­ket of bio­me­dia balls in the bot­tom of the fil­ter. Place the two plain blue foam bas­kets above, mak­ing sure they align. Fi­nally place the bas­ket with the cor­ru­gated blue foam on the top.

To at­tach the hose con­nec­tion assem­bly, there are three levers. En­sure that the two levers on the can­is­ter body are set to the ‘closed’ po­si­tion, and the cen­tral lever on the assem­bly is in the ‘lifted’ po­si­tion. 7

4 Re­move the four me­dia bas­kets from the can­is­ter body and check them. Two of the bas­kets should con­tain plain blue foam, one a block of cor­ru­gated blue foam, and the fourth con­tains the bio­me­dia balls.

1 Re­move the head unit by un­fas­ten­ing the four clips hold­ing it. Pull them away at the bot­tom and then slide up­wards un­til they re­lease.

Turn the head unit over and then re­move the im­peller well cover by gen­tly twist­ing it in an an­ti­clock­wise di­rec­tion. 2

3 Re­move the im­peller and in­spect for dam­age such as cracks or bro­ken vanes. Rein­sert the im­peller and re­place the well cover, twist­ing clock­wise to se­cure it.

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