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Filter Stopped Working


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  • Regular Member

A warning to everyone to check their filter impellers for hair regularly.

I was looking at my 15 gallon rubbermaid that I'm keeping my little oranda in temporarily, and things seemed a little...quiet. I have a penguin biowheel 150, and a little top fin 10 filter running on it, as well as a small air pump. The wheel was not spinning on the penguin, and then I noticed that no water was pouring out either! :krazy:

I pulled the plug and the motor felt really hot. I had just done a water change yesterday, and it was working then, but it could have failed any time after that. I dropped the biowheel into the tank and filled up the filter with tank water, then pulled the impeller out. It looked like there was a little hair wrapped around it, so I removed that and waited for the motor to cool off. Then I turned it back on and nothing happened!

So I pulled the impeller back out and tried to spin it. It was completely stuck! I got it to move up and down a few times, saw more hair, and pulled that out. Then repeated the process until it was moving freely and I couldn't see any more hair. None of the hairs were more than about an inch long, and none had been visible when I quickly checked it during the water change.

Although the wheel was pretty dry when I discovered the problem, the ammonia and nitrite are both reading 0. Hopefully there are enough BBs left in the media that stayed wet to repopulate it. I guess I better do daily tests for the next few days.

I learned that it is not enough just to look at the impellers. I now will be spinning them to see if they are moving freely when I do my water changes. :)

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  • Regular Member

I had an experience like that a couple of weeks ago but not with hair. The impeller was tangled with slimey gunk. I thought I broke the filter since it is 4-5 years old, but it is now working like normal.

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Good insight and thanks for the warning!

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  • Regular Member

This happened to me too! I posted about it over in the horror section. My cycle rebounded within a couple of days so hopefully yours does too. Now I check my impellers regularly and use pointy tweezers to pull off any hair or filter floss that gets stuck.

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