Monday, April 2, 2007

Filter Profile - Rena Filstar xP1

The following article shows a breakdown, cleaning and reassembly of a Rena Filstar xP1 Canister Filter... one of my many filter systems.

Manufacturer Stats:

xP1 - 250gph (up to 45G tropical or 25G goldfish tank)
xP2 - 300gph (up to 75G tropical or 30G goldfish tank)
xP3 - 350gph (up to 175G tropical or 35G goldfish tank)
xP4 - 450gph (up to 265G tropical or 45G goldfish tank)

» Easy-to-use and extremely powerful with multi-stage filtration and bypass-free circulation, the Rena Filstar continues to raise the bar for the best possible aquarium filtration.

» Guaranteed self-priming system (unique "anti-airlock" system)

» Adaptable to all types of aquariums (spraybar and powerhead included)

» Extremely quiet

» Efficient 3-step filtration guaranteed in a by pass-free construction

The following photos will show a complete breakdown of the filter system and also how I add extra polypad filter media for increased mechanical and biological filtration between the bi-weekly cleanings.

The reservoir on this filter is around one gallon so it does have a lot more room for filter media, compared to an HOB (hang-on-back) style filter. Besides the two large sponge blocks, which come with the xP1, I also prefer to use extra polypad media which provides both mechanical and biological filtration.

This is the smallest Rena Filstar Canister Filter, rated at 250gph, but I think it's the best bargain as far as gph-per-dollar out of many canister filters that I compared including the bigger Rena Filstar models. I've had it for three years (this blog was written in 2007) and it is a work-horse, IMO (and it's 2010 now and still working like a horse!) The only thing I've had to do, besides normal weekly to bi-weekly filter media cleanings and impeller cleaning, was to clean the clear intake/outflow hoses of any algae/detritus build-up. I usually do this about once a year, by using a bottle brush and a piece of string, tied to the handle, to pull it through the hose.

Hint on cleaning the hoses - After removing both hoses from the system and draining them to get most of the water out, use your home vacuum to "suck" the string through the hose, then pull the bottle brush through and the hose is "clean" of any algae build-up. You may have to do this more than once, depending on your build-up.

Here is the filter installed and running. Prior to doing any filter maintenance, you must unplug the filter system. Like many filter systems, there is no on/off switch on this filter system either.

Side view showing clear housing to observe water quality in the filter. It will almost always show "clear" when it's running since the detritus is sucked up against the bottom filter grate. As soon as you unplug the filter, you will see the detritus floating around in the reservoir.

Showing lever to release hose connection panel, in the down or locked position.

Showing lever lifted up to release hose connection panel.

Showing hose connection panel lifted off of canister top.

Canister removed to counter for cleaning. Four snap locks un-snapped.

Canister motor housing removed showing underside with impeller cover.

Canister motor housing removed showing impeller cover removed.

Inside of canister showing filter basket.

After basket removed, showing "dirty" water remaining in canister.

Basket removed, sitting in sink.

Opening the basket to expose various filter media.

This is the "top" of the filter media basket. Water comes up through the bottom of the filter basket so this is the last stage of filtration... a polishing poly pad.... although I am planning one more stage of Purigen.

Second to last stage of filtration... a blue/white coarse/medium poly pad.

Plastic grates go between each layer in the basket. Third to last stage of filtration... a small pore open cell sponge.

First stage of filtration... a large pore open cell sponge.

Basket empty of all filter media and ready to be rinsed off. Note large detritus/debris on the bottom of the large pore open cell sponge.

The two sponges were swooshed and squeeze out several times in a gallon of removed tank water, so most of the N-bacteria stay living in the sponges.

There is more surface area on the insides of one of these sponges and polypads than almost all of the other surface areas of your tank, combined. Open cell sponges provide biological and mechanical filtration. Polypads provide biological and polishing benefits.

The Blue/White poly pad was rinsed off under PUR filtered tap water to clean it good while not killing all of the N-bacteria, since the PUR filter removes chlorine/chloramine from the tap water. The White polishing poly pad was rinsed really good over and over under hot tap water to bring it back to nearly white condition. Poly pads provide biological and mechanical filtration.

The media was put back into the basket in the reverse order with the white polishing polypad on top, as the last stage of bio/mechanical filtration.

The canister reservoir was then emptied and rinsed out. The basket full of cleaned media replaced into the canister reservoir and the reservoir filled up with tank water. The motor housing replaced on top and snapped into place. Then the hose connection panel plugged back in and clamped into place. Then plugged back in to turn it on.

Please note that I am going to start using Purigen, from Seachem. A [b]rechargeable[/b] filter media that is reportedly 500% better than carbon and does not remove trace elements... only DOC's, etc. It does not purport to allow you to go 6 months or forever without PWC's but it does claim to last up to 6 months between recharges. It's a white filter media that turns dark as it gets "dirty" and then is recharged using a bleach solution and soaking in dechlor solution before being reused in our tanks.

My blog "article" on Filter Maintenance & Cleaning details more information.

The above pictures are reduced in size for this article (I like that feature at Webshots... where you can choose from a thumbnail to a full-size image URL for use in linking in forums). They are published FULL-SIZE in my public Webshots photo album, , so anyone is welcome to use copies as they see fit.... subject to $1,000,000.00 royalty payments to me! LOL (I don't have any rich relatives so I have to get rich somehow. :-D)

Lenny Vasbinder

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