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Aquarium Filter

How To Set Up An External Filter For An Aquarium

How To Set Up An External Filter For An Aquarium

Are you looking for answers on how to set up an external filter for an aquarium? Then you've come to the right place. Because assembling and installing your external filter is crucial if you want to keep dry feet. The filter installation is nothing to worry about, but you should pay attention to a few things. We want to explain and help you in a few steps so installing your external filter becomes a breeze.

STEP 1 – Unpacking The Filter & Installation Of Rubber Feet

We assume you are using a brand-new external filter unit, so you must get it out of the packaging. Inside the box will be the filter itself, the factory plastic in-/outlet, the hose, and other accessories, depending on the manufacturer. First, we check if the rubber legs are already pre-installed or whether we may attach them ourselves. Those will make the filter in operation less noisy. The filter emits fine vibrations during operation, and the rubber feet ensure that this makes less noise.

STEP 2 - Filling And Handling Of The Filter Baskets And Material

Next, you open the filter to check and place your filter media. Only use the filter after checking the inside because some of the manufacturer's filter media may be packed in a plastic bag that you must take out before the plugin. Also recommended is rinsing all new filter material with clear water before usage, especially biological filter media is often very dusty. Nowadays, there are many different filter media on the market and just as many viable ways to use them. If you are interested in what kind and how we use filter media, read our article Aquarium filter media types.

After you have loaded the filter baskets, they need to go back into the filter. Make sure the baskets properly fit when stacked. After follows, the filter head with the pump. Find a round or egg-shaped opening at the bottom of the filter head. In the upper filter basket, you will see an opening with the same shape. These two openings must be on top of each other, which is very important so the filter pump can work effectively. So, check that you have placed them correctly, and then clamp the filter head to the housing.

At last, place the hose adapter in the designated spot. Always ensure that all removable or operable parts of the filter, the filter baskets, and holders are perfectly aligned and engaged when inserted. Otherwise, there is a risk of leakage, and we want to prevent that!

STEP 3 - Attach The Hose To The Filter And In-/Outflow

It is essential to understand that the terms IN and OUT regarding the filter must always be considered from the position of the filter and not from the position of the aquarium! This simply means: IN - water is fed from the aquarium into the filter. OUT - from the filter into the aquarium.

  • Place the in- and outflow where you want them to be in their final position at the aquarium.
  • Next, check which connection is intended for suction (Inflow) and which is for transporting the water out again (Outflow). A few arrows or the words "IN" and "OUT" at the hose connections will tell you.
  • Install the hose (usually, 3m are in the packaging) to the filter connection for the water inflow, and keep that in mind. To make it easier to put the hose over the filter connections, take a hot glass of water and hold the end of the hose in it for a few seconds. This will soften the material and make the hose much easier to attach.
  • Now put the filter in its place where it will be operated later.
  • To measure the final hose lengths, take the whole filter hose and lead it out of the cabinet. Make sure that the hose doesn't bend. Guide it to the correct glassware piece. In our example, it's the inflow. Then repeat this with the outflow connection. Always cut the hose so that you can lift the glassware completely over the aquarium rim without having to remove the hose to do so. This can help you later with regular maintenance.

Tips: While attaching or detaching the hose, you must hold the glassware close to where it connects to the hose. Otherwise, the glassware may break under pressure. Also, make sure that the hoses don't stay in permanent contact with the cabinet walls. If this is the case, it may cause unwanted noise.

Side note: At the Green Aqua Gallery, we replace the darker hose of the manufacturer with a transparent hose, which is more inconspicuous and thus positively affects the aquarium's overall appearance. For the same reason, we use glass in- and outflows.

STEP 4 – Priming The Filter

Suppose you have already filled the aquarium with water. The filter is in place and should be completely below the bottom of the aquarium and not plugged in. This is important. Otherwise, the filling method that follows cannot work.

  • Open the stopcock(s) on the filter head.
  • Ensure the filter's inlet pipe is attached to the aquarium and underwater. Take the outlet of the filter from the aquarium glass and lower it, so it is below the aquarium.
  • We recommend briefly sucking at the outflow or its hose yourself. This will start the water flow. The sound of water bubbling in the filter housing will tell you if the process has begun. Now, gravity will do the rest of the job. You may have to refill the water the filter has "swallowed" to bring the water level back to the desired level.
  • We now wait until the water reaches the outlet filter hose. Then the filter can be connected to the power. The last bit of air in the filter housing is then carried out by the filter itself. This usually can take about 30-60 minutes.

Further Recommendation

We also recommend setting up the filter before starting your aquarium's layout. The creative part with hardscape and plants can take several hours of your attention. Desirably you will be satisfied with the result, but possibly also exhausted. When fatigue sets in, we become more prone to mistakes, and no one wants the day to end with a leaky filter due to poor assembly.

Do you have more questions about aquarium installation?

Our customer support team would be delighted to answer your questions.

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