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Erictheviking

Eheim filter problems/tinkering

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Hi

sorry if this is a bit of wordy post, but after much searching online I'm hoping someone might have a suggestion for me on my situation:

I had an old Eheim Aquaball filter which ran faultlessly for over 15 years  (may actually be closer to 20 years) and then one filter clean one of the electric cables broke - I figured not something safe to fix but rather time for a new filter. I discovered these are no longer made and their descendant - the Bio Ball was not in stock and I needed a filter in the tank ASAP, so I got a Eheim Pickup 200 - figuring it would be a good unit considering the excellent service I got from the last Eheim and their reputation. my tank is about 175 L so under advice of the shop I got the 200 model.

I'm now having a few issues with this filter which might be obvious to more experienced aquarium keepers, but has left me a bit disappointed.

1. Catches loads of fry - I have found online in searches that I am not the only one to discover that this filter sucks up all my babies which is a bit annoying. I think the beauty of the Aquaball is that it had 2 cartridges with firm foam and fine grill that meant nothing got sucked through and with all that surface area the drawing force at any one spot on the filter is not that high. The pickup has big open grills and pushes the water up from the bottom so the fry get sucked in very easily as well as loose weed material. Initially I was a bit upset about this but I do find that when I clean the filter all the fry seem to survive OK so maybe this is not the biggest issue.

2. It clogs the filter so quickly - maybe because I have quite a bit of plant life in my aquarium - sedges and Microsorum fern plus a bit of unintended duckweed this exacerbates the problem, but even when not much weed gets sucked in the filter buckles in and gets out of shape in not much more than a week or two. I lost a bunch of fish once when this happened quite suddenly and the Oxygen levels fell. Now I'm worried if I go away and leave my auto feeder on the filter may block and have the same effect. The old Aquaball used to easily go a month or more before any noticeable drop in flow which I think may be because it was a much gentler flow. I have adjusted the flow on the unit down but it still seems fairly strong.

3. I've been thinking of buying a Bioball but I note it only has 1 x foam filter cartridge with 2 x media cartridges. I think I would like 2 x foam ones to help pre-filter more effectively like my old Aquaball - maybe I can buy an extra cartridge section??

 

Questions

Do you think there is a sensible way to help pre-filter the base which sucks up so much stuff and traps my babies? I've heard of people using pantyhose but that seems a bit dodgy to me

Is this filter not so good for plant filled tanks perhaps? Or am I missing something simple?

Maybe better quality internal filters? I feel like the one in it is flimsy and even under relatively low levels of soiling it folds in out of shape which I think leads to blockages.

Anybody used  the Bio Ball? Do you think it would be similar enough to my old unit with/without an extra cartidge?

 

Although the new Eheim filters well and is nice and quite I am rather disappointed  with these problems considering the great performance of the old Aquaball. The Aquaball gave reliable treatment without blocking too quickly and being nicely sealed against fry by having properly tight sealed pre-filtering and I didn't even consider that other internal filters would not have the same features when I rushed out to buy this one.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, and apologies again for the lengthy post.

 

 

 

 

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If you loved the Aquaball, why not buy another aquaball from the UK (where they are still in stock)? They use the same power as us here in Australia. All you will need is a UK to AU plug adapter.

 

https://m.ebay.com.au/itm/EHEIM-AQUABALL-INTERNAL-AQUARIUM-FILTER-SIZES-60-130-180-REPLACEMENT-MEDIA/152540627485?epid=1108192801&hash=item238421421d:m:mVDZ-23TTIpl84m_3my75_w

 

Cheers,

 

Beau.

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Hi Chichlid Kid - thanks for the suggestion

The cable broke right up against the ball - the second cable also broke later when I put in away - probably not easy to fix (photo attached). It was because I had to get a filter quick for my stagnant tank that I had to make a fast purchase - and the Pickup was the first recommended thing I found at the shop.

I'm happy to get a Bio Ball or maybe even another Aquaball from the UK , or other filter less prone to the problems I am having- I was just asking if others had had the same issues I have had with the Pickup and if they found any solutions. the filter is starting to buckle in again tonight and it's been about 10 days since I last cleaned it. Just seems to gunk up really quickly. This doesn't seem right to me as I would never have thought the difference in design would have made such a difference. Tends to end up with a clump of muck in the bottom bracket after you remove the top section to clean so I know it is the intake sucking up all sorts of large material that is part of the problem, but also the filter foam seems weak and floppy.

Has anyone made a screen for intakes on filters like these or made other modifications or changes to the filter foam etc...?

 

Aquaball cable break A.jpg

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Yep, you’re right, that pump definitely looks terminal. I understand you needed a filter ASAP. At least if you purchase another  aquaball you know you’ll be happy with how it works. Maybe scout some shrimp keeping forums for suggestions as they are very mindful when it comes to shrimplets being sucked up by the filter.

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Thanks Chichlid Kid

During some of my searching online I did find comments by shrimp growers lamenting the Eheim pickup sucking up their young shrimps, although I recall someone commented on them living safely inside the unit "like a shrimp condo" or something - same as the fry seems to survive in my filter. The comments I saw there were to use Hob units with sponge prefilters or put panyhose over the inlets. I might try making something out of nylon fly screen to line the bottom and side inlets - and if that doesn't work I'll get something better.

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Man do I hate this filter - I cleaned it 4 days ago and tonight the foam is all collapsed in and the flow slowing - not that dirty but bits of water weed leaf inside but hardly looked like enough to cause this problem. I clean it and put it back in and almost immediately the foam is slumping in (narrows instead of filling the whole filter box). Absolutely hopeless!! Plus the supposedly convenient system of having the filter box slip in and out of the bottom bracket is hopeless because all the fish want to look into the base when I try to slide it back in so i have to pull the whole stupid thing out anyway or crush/trap lots of guppies into the motor section. I looked for an Eheim number to call but looks like there is only OS contacts.

Sorry if it sounds like I am ranting but I am so annoyed at the problems I have had with this thing and feel like it has been a waste of money on what should be a quality product. Maybe its only meant for tanks with no weed??? Does Eheim put in crappy quality filter elements that collapse like this and you need to fit better filters? I haven't had a chance to try the modifications I have been considering but at the moment I think the best modification will be the rubbish bin. 

Anybody else have one of these units ever experienced this? I'd like to hope I'm missing something here but cannot think what.

 

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Just to update - found something online about the same problem happening to others with planted tanks due to the filter coming standard with a fine grade of filter foam which blocks very quickly and buckling in - suggestion was to get a coarse grade foam if it is available. Time to visit the fish shop again (didn't get a whole lot of help last time).

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