How To Clean An Aquarium Power Filter

Any machine you use will require maintenance from time to time, and one of the most important types of maintenance is cleaning. This obviously remains the same for all aquarium power filters as well, mostly the Hang on Back style. We’re going to use this article to break down how these work and how you can ensure getting them clean for optimal use in the long run.

To get a proper rundown on how a HOB needs to be cleaned, we will run you through a step by step process in order to ensure you hit the hammer on the nail!

  1. Prepare everything you need before you remove the water filter. This includes gathering together; bucket primarily for aquarium cleaning, filter media and a small pitcher. Make sure the pitcher has 3 to 4 quarts of aquarium water already in it.

  2. Carefully remove the filter from the aquarium after you have turned it off and removed it from the electrical outlet. Make sure to also turn off the heater for your tank, if it is no longer submerged under the water. Remove the filter and place it in a clean bucket.

  3. Then comes the part of removing the filter media (carbon, ceramic rings). If your filter media needs to be disposed of, then skip to step 5.

  4. If your filter media can be refilled, get rid of the already used media. Then take the insert for the filtration media into a bowl filled with tank water, and rinse it in the water. Gather new media of the same kind, and fill the insert again.

  5. Clean the filter housing as well, to get rid of any clogged up debris or algae buildup. Do this with fresh water.

  6. Make sure to clean the sponge insert of aquarium mesh with some tank water from the pitcher. Then place the cleaned sponge or mesh back in the filter housing.

  7. Place the filter back on the tank and fill it up with some aquarium water. Turn the filter back on, and the heater as well if you had turned it off. You’ll end up with a clean and ready to go HOB filter!

For your benefit, we may know that some of this stuff may require visual aid, and so we will leave you with the video down below! Hopefully this will clear up any confusion you may have had!

How It Operates: Hang On Back Power Filter

Power filters (HOB filters) are so popular because of how efficient they are in terms of cleaning an aquarium. They come with the three basic filtration needs that an aquarium requires to have proper growth. Let’s look into what those are first:

Mechanical Filtration

Mechanical filtration removes any debris that may be remaining in the water of your tank, and it does so with the help of either a sponge or fiber mesh placed inside the filter. This is a very important aspect of filtration, and should always be kept in check.

Chemical Filtration

Chemical filtration helps in clearing out your tank, and helps make it look much better than it would without it. If your water is fogging up, chemical filtration can help with that. A filter media for this would be activated carbon. Filtration is always good to have in your aquarium, but compared to mechanical and biological filtration, chemical filtration is not something that you’ll always need to have running.

Biological Filtration

Biological filtration is also very essential for the proper growth of your aquarium and the ecology within it. For your aquarium to thrive, it would require certain bacteria which are helpful in this process. They require oxygen and specific conditions to survive, for which biological filter media, such as ceramic rings, are key. These provide a good surface area for the bacteria, and help in cleaning up the water altogether.

Now that you know what it does, the process of how water passes through the HOB filter is important to know as well. With the help of the lift tube, the water rises through into the filter chamber and then goes through each of the filtration stages we have discussed. After this, a water pump will help the water pass through back into the tank. The lift tube and air pump are the main features that help the HOB filter do its work.


Q. Are hang on back filters good?

Hang on back filters is one of the most common types of aquarium filters used out there, and that is for good reason. They are very easy to work with, and provide tanks with all the necessary types of filtration needed. Not to mention, you get them for quite an affordable price!

Q. How often should canister filters be cleaned?

Canister filters are also very popular, and a rough estimate for the duration of how often you should clean your canister filter would be between 1-3 months. This depends on how good your canister filter actually is and a few other factors.

Q. Does vacuuming gravel remove beneficial bacteria?

There are various types of aquarium vacuums out there, and they are only good for your aquarium. They do not remove beneficial bacteria, as these bacteria do not live on the substrate in your tank.

Final Verdict

Hopefully you have managed to come away with all the information required for cleaning your HOB power filter today! The process is quite simple, and after you have done it a few times, you will notice yourself becoming quite proficient at it. Be gentle with your filter though! And make sure to get all the gunk out each time. Have a great day!

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