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Aquarium Equipment

Aquarium Filtration – Noisy Aquarium Filter


Most filters run very quiet over time. They are built with only one moving part, and if that part, the impeller, is allowed to wobble or strain as it rotates, then the you will hear quite clearly the noisy aquarium filter system. This is especially serious when the aquarium installation is in a place where quiet is preferred such as a child’s bedroom.

The aquarium power filters of various types marketed these days are quite effective at dampening noise, but when an impeller is off kilter, the noisy aquarium filter will make quite a racket . This video will help you troubleshoot the filter and reduce the noise of an impeller quite a bit. The actual unit being demonstrated is a UK version of a power head that has a removable stainless steel shaft. There is quite a bit of abrasion showing on the shaft and it may be that roughness that is causing the impeller to bounce and vibrate.

Noisy Aquarium Filter in North America

I am most familiar with the various AquaClear and Fluval filters and power heads marketed by the Hagen company. They have a big share of the market and are a large part of the installed filter base in the world.

The AquaClear filters use a “permanently” installed stainless steel shaft so a different brush should be used to clean the impeller well. Try not to dislodge or force the impeller shaft too much, if it becomes loose it may fall out and once removed it is never as tight. If it becomes loose it can vibrate. Rather than running your finger into the impeller well, you may need to simply rotate the impeller on the shaft to ensure the side walls are not warped or preventing easy rotation.

The Fluval Canister filters and most power heads use a ceramic shaft that is removable and should not wear the same as a metal shaft. They are much more wear resistant against the normal rotational friction of the spinning impeller. But they are very fragile when placed under lateral stress.  Do not try to bend or apply pressure to the longitudinal axis of the shaft, it may snap quite easily when this happens and require replacement. Use the included hook tool to pull the impeller shaft assembly out of the impeller well and handle the ceramic with great care.

A toothbrush can be used in this instance to clean the impeller well, which will get coated with slime over time. The impeller also should be cleaned on a regular basis, abut every three months or so.

I have never seen silicon oil here in North America, but am familiar with [Fluval] silicone lubricant (Hagen item # A-325) that is used for this purpose as well as ensuring that various rubber O-Rings will remain supple over time. Ask your local pet store what they have that will do this job.Image by Hagen

About

Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

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About blueram

Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

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