Hard White Growth all Over Hood/Filters...and Some Questions About Stacking AquaClear Media

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Kaskade10729

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Jun 16, 2013
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I'm thinking this is due to the horribly hard water from our tap that we use, but my 60 gallon Marineland that houses fancy goldfish gets this nasty white coating all over the backs of the hoods and parts of the HOB filters we're running...and it's impossible to get off. Even when I scrub with scalding hot water and a rag, the appearance of this coating comes right back in seconds. If I take the lids of the HOBs off and let them soak in the sink under hot water, it still doesn't get it off.

Is this from our hard tap water, and is there anything I can use to remove it?

Also -- I'm still having an issue with the media constantly coming up in my AquaClear 110, specifically the right side of the basket, which seems to happen, again, when I don't have the foam block completely and tightly tucked under those "hooks" at the bottom of the media basket. When I do this, it seems to stop the rise of the basket, but it also causes the block to bow in the center, kind of deforming it.

I have the layering in the AquaClear like this:

Top Layer: BioMax packets
Next Layer: Two Seachem Purigen packets
Next Layer: Folded piece of floss

Bottom Layer: Foam block (standard AquaClear/Hagen version)

Is there a certain way the media is supposed to "grab" or sit in the basket? Should the foam block on the bottom "tuck under" those "hooks" or "teeth" in the basket, or should it sit freely with those hooks kind of grabbing it from the middle? Should the other media on top of the block sit freely, or should those also be tucked beneath the hooks?

Someone on this forum told me that the foam block/sponge at the bottom of these AquaClears should NOT be tucked under the hooks and should sit freely, instead being "grabbed" in the middle by the teeth...

Is this true?
 

the loach

AC Members
Aug 6, 2018
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gets this nasty white coating all over the backs of the hoods and parts of the HOB filters we're running...and it's impossible to get off. Even when I scrub with scalding hot water and a rag, the appearance of this coating comes right back in seconds. If I take the lids of the HOBs off and let them soak in the sink under hot water, it still doesn't get it off.

Is this from our hard tap water, and is there anything I can use to remove it?
Yes calcium deposits from your water, use vinegar to remove them.
 

Kaskade10729

AC Members
Jun 16, 2013
309
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Yes calcium deposits from your water, use vinegar to remove them.
Thanks Loach; what I suspected.

Should I use a certain vinegar mix or just straight up?
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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Yep, I agree with tl. Use straight "distilled white vinegar", the clear colorless stuff. Buy it by the gallon. You may need to soak a rag or paper towels in it to loosen the deposits. A single edged razor blade (or plastic scubby pad) can help but it'll likely take a few rounds of vinegar...& then depending on your tolerance for dimished lighting & white crudded lids, you may need to repeat every 2-4 weeks or so. You may not be able to remove it all, the hard water deposits can etch the glass a bit.
 

Kaskade10729

AC Members
Jun 16, 2013
309
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18
Yep, I agree with tl. Use straight "distilled white vinegar", the clear colorless stuff. Buy it by the gallon. You may need to soak a rag or paper towels in it to loosen the deposits. A single edged razor blade (or plastic scubby pad) can help but it'll likely take a few rounds of vinegar...& then depending on your tolerance for dimished lighting & white crudded lids, you may need to repeat every 2-4 weeks or so. You may not be able to remove it all, the hard water deposits can etch the glass a bit.
Thanks 'orama.

Gonna follow what you say here; so will the deposits come loose just by scrubbing the patches and then not return for a while? Because when I rub with a rag doused in scalding hot water, they come back and reappear almost instantly...it's weird.

I don't see any formations on the glass thus far; just all over the black plastic hoods and on edges of the filters. It's really unsightly.
 
Apr 2, 2002
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You should see two kinds of white. The first is not too thick and will usually rubs off with a little vinegar on a rag. However, when the build up is too thick and well established, you will need to get it very wet with the vinegar and then let it sit. This will soften it and then it scrapes off easily. i dislike the smell of vinegar and prefer to use a diluted solution of muriatic acid. I also use it in one tank to lower the pH. My water is soft and not a problem. However, over the years I have bought used tanks and equipment which came encrusted.

I will fill a used tank with water and add the acid and let it sit for a while. For the really stubborn patches that did not dissolve, I apply undiluted acid using a Q-tip. Acid is somewhat dangerous to use if inexperienced. So I am not suggesting one use it unless they know what they are doing. I normally wear rubber gloves and work outdoors.

Water will not remove the build up, nor will most cleaning solutions. The good news is the calcium stains are not harmful, they are just unsightly.

That is the nature of Aquaclears and foam/sponge media. What you describe is a function of how cloged the media is and what sort of sponge/foam you use. I still have 18 ACs running, down from a high of about 28. I mostly used 2 AC sponges with a layer of floss between them, However, when I began using Poret foam cubes and mattenfilters about 5 or 6 years ago, I also began replacing the AC sponges with Poret foam. This is a more rigid type of foam and it will not bend the way the "softer" AC sponges will. The bowing is not a big deal, however, if the media holder is lifting, it is time to rinse the media.
 
Last edited:

FreshyFresh

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Jan 11, 2013
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West Falls NY
Real Name
Joel
In terms of your media or the whole basket being pushed up in your aquaclear filter, to me, that's a sign you have too much restrictive media in your lineup. You may have to give your mechanical media a good squeezing/cleaning, or reconfigure your media lineup.

AC filters move a lot of water. If the water can't be pushed through the media, the pressure forces the media upward. You also may see some water bypass the media entirely and spill back to the tank around the suction/intake tube.

I keep it simple with my AC filters. I use the stock sponge blocks and then a bag of bio media on top of that. That's it. I have several AC110s and 70s.

I sometimes run an extra section of sponge up top with the bio bag in the event someone needs some seeded media, but someone's only needed/wanted it once in quite a few years.
 

Kaskade10729

AC Members
Jun 16, 2013
309
2
18
You should see two kinds of white. The first is not too thick and will usually rubs off with a little vinegar on a rag. However, when the build up is too thick and well established, you will need to get it very wet with the vinegar and then let it sit. This will soften it and then it scrapes off easily. i dislike the smell of vinegar and prefer to use a diluted solution of muriatic acid. I also use it in one tank to lower the pH. My water is soft and not a problem. However, over the years I have bought used tanks and equipment which came encrusted.

I will fill a used tank with water and add the acid and let it sit for a while. For the really stubborn patches that did not dissolve, I apply undiluted acid using a Q-tip. Acid is somewhat dangerous to use if inexperienced. So I am not suggesting one use it unless they know what they are doing. I normally wear rubber gloves and work outdoors.

Water will not remove the build up, nor will most cleaning solutions. The good news is the calcium stains are not harmful, they are just unsightly.

That is the nature of Aquaclears and foam/sponge media. What you describe is a function of how cloged the media is and what sort of sponge/foam you use. I still have 18 ACs running, down from a high of about 28. I mostly used 2 AC sponges with a layer of floss between them, However, when I began using Poret foam cubes and mattenfilters about 5 or 6 years ago, I also began replacing the AC sponges with Poret foam. This is a more rigid type of foam and it will not bend the way the "softer" AC sponges will. The bowing is not a big deal, however, if the media holder is lifting, it is time to rinse the media.
Thanks very much; will look this over and get back with any further questions...
 

Kaskade10729

AC Members
Jun 16, 2013
309
2
18
In terms of your media or the whole basket being pushed up in your aquaclear filter, to me, that's a sign you have too much restrictive media in your lineup. You may have to give your mechanical media a good squeezing/cleaning, or reconfigure your media lineup.

AC filters move a lot of water. If the water can't be pushed through the media, the pressure forces the media upward. You also may see some water bypass the media entirely and spill back to the tank around the suction/intake tube.

I keep it simple with my AC filters. I use the stock sponge blocks and then a bag of bio media on top of that. That's it. I have several AC110s and 70s.

I sometimes run an extra section of sponge up top with the bio bag in the event someone needs some seeded media, but someone's only needed/wanted it once in quite a few years.
I can take the "dirty media" out of the equation here; I just rinsed out the sponge/foam and all other components twice in a row not too long ago. Water always runs kind of clear, which indicates to me the tank isn't that dirty (we still only have two goldfish in a 60 gallon).

But what about the little "hooks" in the media basket? I still can't seem to get any concrete answers on what those should be doing; should the foam slip beneath the bottom four hooks so it doesn't move, or should the block sit free, with the hooks kind of "grabbing" from the sides and middle?
 
Apr 2, 2002
2,563
210
66
New York
It doesn't matter how you want them to work as long as they can serve the purpose for which they were put there. They are designed to prevent the media from lifting out of the filter. The basket and those hooks help to prevent that. The proper size foam block should fit under the "hooks." If you have something between two layers of foam or if you use a custom foam block that is taller, then those hooks should hold down the foam by sticking into the ends of the block. Like I said, any way they can serve to hold down the foam is fine.

However, failure to rinse out the media regularly will results in disasters that come in stages. First the basket and media will lift up some. Water will be flowing around and likely some is spilling out from the intake area into the tank. This means water is going unfiltered. Next, the clogging will get severe enough that the water will be able to overflow the top edge of the filter. If one has failed to install the filter so that it tilts towards the tank, you will be pumping water onto the floor.

This will continue until the water line in the tank goes down to the intake end of the uplift tube. At this point the filter is still churning the same water and heating it. Given some time it will heat the water to where it is killing the bacteria in the media. I think this is as bad as things get. But I have never seen one run until the water completely evaporated out of the filter and the impeller kept spinning.

The moral of the story is:

When you notice the flow of water coming out of the filter has slowed:eek:, rinse out the media!
 
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