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How often should I clean my filter?
|Biological filters should be cleaned only when the flow of water coming from the pump is hindered by the clogged filter. The filter is harboring beneficial bacteria which is keeping the water clean by taking nutrients out of the water (algae food). Once a reduced water flow is noticed you should clean the filter media in the following manner. The biggest mistake most people make when cleaning their filter is to clean it too much! You should take your filter pads out and slam them on the ground, on your grass preferably (the nasty smelling stuff coming off the filter pads is great fertilizer!) Slam each pad down enough times to loosen the muck so that it comes off the pad. Once the pad gets lightweight then it is ready to go back into the filter. DO NOT pressure wash the pads. They will get too clean. DO NOT use tap water from city or county water on the pads. The chlorine in the water will kill the bacteria on the pads and you may actually have greener water after cleaning because the pads have to build up bacteria again before they can naturally clean the water. The hardest thing to do will be for you to put a pad back into the filter that still LOOKS dirty. But do it anyway! You will have better success if you will not wash off all of the bacteria.
If you are lucky enough to have filter media that looks like strapping tape, just take it out of the filter and shake loose the muck. Again, you should not wash the media, just shake it good and put it back into the filter.
If you have a biological filter box without a drain in the bottom of it, you will need to shop-vac it out once a year or so when the bottom of it gets too full of sludge.