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Aquaclear not starting up


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I have an aquaclear 20 and every time I do a water change and try to start it back up (filled with water of course) It  doesn't start and I have to fettle around with the impeller and sometimes clean it just to get the thing to start. Its really annoying me and I don't know how or if I can fix this. has anyone had this problem before? Its making me wish I got a tidal filter instead. 😞 

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That's a long-term Aqua Clear problem. I remember having to use a chopstick to fiddle around with the impeller every time the power went out and came back on, as long as 15 years ago. I've only had to do it occasionally with my current Aqua Clears but I don't use them all the time. I don't know if there's a fix for it. I just got used to having to have a chopstick handy.

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On 4/30/2022 at 7:51 PM, PineSong said:

That's a long-term Aqua Clear problem. I remember having to use a chopstick to fiddle around with the impeller every time the power went out and came back on, as long as 15 years ago. I've only had to do it occasionally with my current Aqua Clears but I don't use them all the time. I don't know if there's a fix for it. I just got used to having to have a chopstick handy.

Ive only had my aquaclear for 3 months and it does this.

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I’m with @PineSong I use a bamboo stick to shove impellers.  I have had many Aqua clears.  If you pull the impeller weekly and run a brush through the center and clean it it usually restarts on its own. I’m far to lazy for that bamboo stick is easier. These brushes fit inside impeller and every part of Aqua clear. This particular set I have liked most of the different sets I’ve had. Here is a good video on cleaning the motor as well. I hope this helps  35ECC9DB-1038-42B6-9B94-3270548169ED.png.f10f05d5644395c50209e49bb0e51ba2.png

 

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Posted (edited)

Do you clean it each time you do a water change? Cleaning: take out and clean impeller, rinse out container, squeeze / shake your filter material in your water change water? I also use baby bristle brushes, and clean out the intake tube and the other tube it attaches to.

I've never had this issue with mine; but I do service my filter each week when I water change. Not sure if that's correlated - but my experience nonetheless.

 

Edited by Jeff
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On 4/30/2022 at 8:46 PM, Jeff said:

Do you clean it each time you do a water change? Cleaning: take out and clean impeller, rinse out container, squeeze / shake your filter material in your water change water? I also use baby bristle brushes, and clean out the intake tube and the other tube it attaches to.

I've never had this issue with mine; but I do service my filter each week when I water change. Not sure if that's correlated - but my experience nonetheless.

 

Yeah that’s the thing it doesn’t start up unless I service it each week.

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On 4/30/2022 at 4:20 PM, Jacob Hill said:

I have an aquaclear 20 and every time I do a water change and try to start it back up (filled with water of course) It  doesn't start and I have to fettle around with the impeller and sometimes clean it just to get the thing to start

I stopped using them. Bad design and just not reliable. I had it happen every time I cleaned the pump, even when I had silicone lubricant on the shaft and it was spinning freely.  I put the pump back in the housing and magically.it doesn't work. Jam my finger in there, reassemble, return to the store and try again.

I had 2-3 Impellers on standby at the house and I finally said enough is enough.

Needless to say, it's a design issue and they need to update their materials but won't.

 

This shaft is just... Not round. That's the issue sometimes. It wears down way too fast.

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Yeah, it's the stainless steel shaft that wears down and causes the trouble. I don't run Aqua Clears any longer because of that. We have the power blinking off here from time to time and running around after a power blink and checking every filter got tiresome. And if the power goes off overnight for just a blink and you don't realize it, the tank can crash before you realize anything's wrong. 

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On 5/1/2022 at 2:25 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

I stopped using them. Bad design and just not reliable. I had it happen every time I cleaned the pump, even when I had silicone lubricant on the shaft and it was spinning freely.  I put the pump back in the housing and magically.it doesn't work. Jam my finger in there, reassemble, return to the store and try again.

I had 2-3 Impellers on standby at the house and I finally said enough is enough.

Needless to say, it's a design issue and they need to update their materials but won't.

 

This shaft is just... Not round. That's the issue sometimes. It wears down way too fast.

Thanks this really helped 

On 5/1/2022 at 10:10 AM, gardenman said:

Yeah, it's the stainless steel shaft that wears down and causes the trouble. I don't run Aqua Clears any longer because of that. We have the power blinking off here from time to time and running around after a power blink and checking every filter got tiresome. And if the power goes off overnight for just a blink and you don't realize it, the tank can crash before you realize anything's wrong. 

If you were to use a hob filter what brand would you go with that won’t run into this problem.

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I run the Seachem filters. They have their own issues but the pumps are extremely solid. I also like the aqueon but those are a bit difficult to use custom media in. I definitely encourage you to do your research and check out a ton of videos on the topic and ask any questions you might have. I'd recommend focusing on videos that show different mods for filters, or issues, as the focus for research. Layout and flow is going to be pretty typical but how things work for HoBs is all pretty unique depending on which one you end up with.

Edit: the reason I gravitate towards those two is because the pump is in the water and you don't have to prime them if the power goes out. Second to that, the seachem has very good flow adjustment but severe bypass issues.

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Posted (edited)

 I run sponge in my tanks however I'm currently using two HOB for extra filtration- they are both Aqueon Quietflow 10- I am extremely abusive to them (probably don't clean them as often as I should) and they are workhorses. The pump always starts right up after a power loss or unplugging. My water is super clear with really messy Otos. They're easy to clean/unclog, inexpensive, easy to modify, quiet and since they've done so well for me I've never bothered trying anything else. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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On 5/1/2022 at 7:10 AM, gardenman said:

Yeah, it's the stainless steel shaft that wears down and causes the trouble.

there is absolutely no way steel or hardened steal should wear this way. I worked in aerospace with metal parts daily. It absolutely blows my mind that this is even an issue. I could list 4-5 materials that would never have ANY wear issues and last a lifetime.

Again, something I posted in another thread, but if someone, anyone with a metal shop... you measure the length and the diameter of the shaft. make it out of better material, you can even anodize it and make it "fancy".  It would be such a cheap part to make and thousands of hobbyists would buy it.

WHY doesn't AC/Fluval just fix their stuff........

On 5/1/2022 at 3:19 PM, Jacob Hill said:

Did it ever have problems starting up after powering off like the aquaclears do?

the ACs shouldn't have issues starting.

1. is the pump working.... (is the shaft or impeller broken)
2. If it's slow to start, you simply move the flow control and it purges the air in about a tenth of a second and you're done and the tank is going.

On 5/1/2022 at 11:19 AM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

I run sponge in my tanks however I'm currently using two HOB for extra filtration- they are both Aqueon Quietflow 10- I am extremely abusive to them (probably don't clean them as often as I should) and they are workhorses. The pump always starts right up after a power loss or unplugging. My water is super clear with really messy Otos. They're easy to clean/unclog, inexpensive, easy to modify, quiet and since they've done so well for me I've never bothered trying anything else. 

I really enjoyed mine. I had a special stack of sponges to get mine to use non-cartridge media and it was the first tank I ran like a champ.  They take the same filter and slightly modify the depth of the basket, it'd be the best one out there.

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A lot of filter manufacturers have switched to ceramic shafts, and they seem to work better. Why doesn't Aquaclear? Money! They can sell replacement shafts at a good profit. New shafts typically sell for $10-$15. Many users think it's the impeller instead of the shaft and buy a new impeller first for $15-$25. To get a$35 filter working right again you might spend $30 or more. Some people replace the whole motor assembly assuming you can't replace just the shaft and you're getting close to the new filter price at that point. Aquaclear doesn't use the filter cartridge model to make money down the road, but they do make their filters with a critical part that will wear out and need replacing, so they get their money that way. 

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On 4/30/2022 at 6:20 PM, Jacob Hill said:

I have an aquaclear 20 and every time I do a water change and try to start it back up (filled with water of course) It  doesn't start and I have to fettle around with the impeller and sometimes clean it just to get the thing to start. Its really annoying me and I don't know how or if I can fix this. has anyone had this problem before? Its making me wish I got a tidal filter instead. 😞 

I'm curious.  Why do you turn it off when doing water changes?  Do you remove enough water that it's below the intake?

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I had the same problem with an aqua clear 20. I had to clean the impeller every water change to get it to start back up but I didn't mind as I was cleaning the media anyway. I did eventually upgrade to an Aqua Clear 50 and it fires right up everytime no problem. I also have an aqua clear 110 and it starts everytime as well.

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On 5/2/2022 at 10:02 AM, Its Hutch said:

I had the same problem with an aqua clear 20. I had to clean the impeller every water change to get it to start back up but I didn't mind as I was cleaning the media anyway. I did eventually upgrade to an Aqua Clear 50 and it fires right up everytime no problem. I also have an aqua clear 110 and it starts everytime as well.

75 was fine for me. 50 and 110 I had issues with every change. the 110 would literally cost me an impeller every time I went to clean it. After I had 2 on hand and the shafts I just gave up.   I went to get the shaft out, slipped, dropped it on the floor, attachment fin broke off and that was the end of my time with ACs.

Highly recommended to avoid.

If you hear the pump making noise, you hold the lid from rattling and it's quiet, and you hear the pump still. It's rubbing on the shaft and slowly damaging itself over time.

On 5/2/2022 at 7:35 AM, JettsPapa said:

I'm curious.  Why do you turn it off when doing water changes?  Do you remove enough water that it's below the intake?

I always do. whether I go below the line or not.

On 5/2/2022 at 6:41 AM, gardenman said:

A lot of filter manufacturers have switched to ceramic shafts, and they seem to work better.

There is a type of brass that has oil / lubricant imbedded in the material that releases over time.  Steel should not have ANY issues if you choose the right material.

It blows my mind they won't change out materials or run any tests. It's been the same design, impeller / shaft for how long..... 30+ years? 50+ years?

The sicce pumps I have are metal shaft. Aqueon one is metal shaft. Everything I've seen is a metal shaft. The material on the impeller might be different, but they all look to use the same material with variations in plastic (not the magnet) and fin design.

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On 5/2/2022 at 10:35 AM, JettsPapa said:

I'm curious.  Why do you turn it off when doing water changes?  Do you remove enough water that it's below the intake?

Yes I do a 50% water change every time and it goes below the intake.

On 5/2/2022 at 12:36 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

the ACs shouldn't have issues starting.

1. is the pump working.... (is the shaft or impeller broken)
2. If it's slow to start, you simply move the flow control and it purges the air in about a tenth of a second and you're done and the tank is going.

My pump works fine and starts up fine it’s just every time I turn off the filter the impeller won’t start unless I Fiddle around with it. I kind of have to move it once and then it starts up after plugging it in. 

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@nabokovfan87, you said you turn off your filter even when the water level doesn't get below the intake.  Do you mind if I ask why?

@Jacob Hill, I understand that a 50% water change will take the water level below the intake.  You may already know this and choose not to, but you can buy extra intake tubes, so one fits into the other, to extend the intake closer to the bottom.  I have done that in two of my tanks, with an AC 70 and an AC 50.

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