How to restart a aquarium filter

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How to restart a aquarium filter

There is not worse feeling that just getting done cleaning your aquarium filter and not being able to get it to restart. This usually happens because there is an airlock in the aquarium filter or aquarium filter tubing that is preventing the inlet from sucking in water, and pumping water out through the outlet. in this guide on how to restart an aquarium filter, I will show you how I have been able to get my filters to restart after cleaning them or an power outage.

fish tank filter not working, how to restart a aquarium filter

The only way to fix this is too make sure that all the air is out of the system, and you do not introduce too much air into the system when you do the cleaning. Not this normally only happens with cannister filter of sumps pumps that have a lot of tubing running to and from the tank or you do not have the correct filter for your fish tank.

Steps to restarting an aquarium filter.

Step 1: Open the inlet valve

Make sure that water is flowing from your inlet valve into your aquarium filter. When your first restart your filter you want to keep the outlet valve closed and open the inlet valve. You should hear water flowing down into your cannister and filling up.

Step 2: Let the water flow into your filter

Give the water a couple of minutes to fill up the canister first and then go ahead open up the outlet valve that goes from your filter to your tank. Depending on where your inlet valve in in your fish tank you may or may not hear any water running down the tubing. If you tubing sits above your water line you will not have any water getting into your tubing.

Step 3: Turn your pump on

When you turn you pump on hopefully it sounds like is is trying to pump water out of the filter. If you do not hear this it means that no water is still in the filter and it is going to be hard to get the water to come out.

Step 4: Prime your pump

On each canister filter there is a small button to push and try and force the water out of your tubing into your tank. Go ahead and push that button multiple times to see if any water starts to come out. When you are pushing the button you should feel some resistance, this means that there is water in your canister filter and you just need to force it out into the tank.

Step 5: Force the air out

Hopefully at this time you have forced some water into your tank from your filter. and you can see it start to come out. At this time you should go ahead and keep pumping until the motor is able to pump the water out itself into the tank.

Trouble Shooting Tips

If you are unable to force the water into your tank or the air out of the system it can help to use a 5 gallon bucket. take the five gallon bucket and put under the level of the pump. This will allow the water to start flowing out using gravity and once this happens you should be able to put the outlet hose back into the tank and let it continue to pump water out. Tips to setting up your aquarium the first time

There is a air leak in your system. The number one cause of pumps not starting after going through all the steps above is that there is a air leak in the system that is allowing air into the lines.

Check all your lines to make sure that the fittings are not cracked and are tightly fitted together. Often you will find a fitting or a hose that is not quite right and this will lead to you not being able to restart your aquarium filter

Why did my fish tank filter stop working

The most common cause of a fish tank filter to stop working is it getting clogged with debris, causing it to overheat and turn off. You need to make sure that your lines are clear and water flows easily throughout the filter. If your filter stops working a lot you may have to clean your filter more often

How do I prime my aquarium pump filter?

The easiest way to prime an aquarium pump filter is to make sure water is in the filter lines and and then use the priming button to force water out through the tubing.

Make sure that you only open the valves one at at time or you will create an air lock in your filter and it will be almost impossible to get out.

How do I know if my aquarium filter is working?

The best way to know if your aquarium filter is working is to see if water is coming out. If water is coming out of the outlet, then your fish tank filter is mechanically working but that does not mean it is fully cleaning your water. If you water is cloudy or there is alot of debris floating in your water then you should look at our water flow and the suction that your pump is creating. If your pump is not able to suck the debris out of the water you have a clogged filter or the pump is getting weak.

Fish tank running but not pumping water?

If your fish tank filter is running but not pumping water you have issue with either the motor, a air lock in your lines or a clog or blockage in the intake or in the filter itself.

The easiest thing to do is check your intake and make sure nothing is blocking it there, 9 times out of 10 I have found this to the issue. If this does not solve it you need to make sure there is a not a blockage it the line or filter itself. You can push the priming handle a couple times to see if you can force any water out into the tank. It can also help to turn off you filter and see if water will flow out when you put the outlet below the level of the inlet. If water comes out then you have a weak motor or some there issue with the propeller.

Aquarium filter not working after unplugging

if your filter is not working after unplugging you have an issue with either a air block in the tubing or your burned up the motor from it over heating. Use the priming button to see if you can force water out of the outlet, if you can get it to that then you don’t have air in the system but a issue with the motor itself.

How to fix a clogged fish tank filter?

To fix a clogged fish tank filter you first need to find where the clog is. Unplug your filter while you are working on it to reduce the chances of electrocution.

To find the clog start with the inlet, make sure the inlet is clear and from there go ahead and see water is making it down to your filter. to do this you may have to unhook the inlet hose and let it drain into a bucket. If you have water making it to your filter it is time to check the filter itself. Open the filter and look at the motor and the filter material to make sure that water can make itself down to the propeller.

If water is making it all the way through the filter itself check the outlet hoses, to make sure that water can freely flow out.

Following these steps and you should be able to find the clog to get your filter unclogged.

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Aquarium Enthusiast

I love sharing my knowledge about all things aquarium related. I have been keeping aquariums for over 20 years and cannot imagine a life without an aquarium. 

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