If you’re a regular at Aquarium Tip Tank you probably know that I am setting up a new 30 gallon saltwater tropical fish tank, and that I am sharing this process for all so that everybody can see how its done, get some home aquarium tips, and learn from my mistakes. Once you have all of the necessary aquarium equipment on hand, it is time to start setting up your tropical fish tank. All of the steps for home aquarium setup are listed in Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 010 | Setting up a Home Aquarium, Part 1.
The first step in this process is to get all of the equipment in place, running all of your hoses and plugs, and making sure that everything is in the location that you think you are going to want. You can listen to the story of how I cleaned and leak checked my aquarium tank prior to moving it into position on Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 003, and see how I set up and placed my API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter here.
I attached my heater in place on the back wall of my tank, attached my thermometer to the side, got my light and light stand set up, and ran all of my plugs to my surge protector. At this point, it was time for me to put some RO/DI water into my empty fish tank and run a 24 hour system check. First, here is a quick little video about how I go about filtering my tap water.
Now that I have some RO/DI purified water, its time to fill up my fish tank and perform my 24 hour system check! I have to admit, not everything worked out exactly as planned. I hope you listened to Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 010 prior to setting up your tank and you had an empty bucket, some towels, and some extra RO/DI purified water handy.
Yes, you’ve probably guessed by now that I had a leak. Much to my dismay, the leak was coming from the API Nexx Canister Filter. BUT WAIT! Don’t return your filters just yet. I did eventually get it to work, and I think it was just user error. That’s the only thing that can really explain the leak because as I write this, the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter is currently working perfectly, and has been for 4 days.
I did try to fix the filtration system on my own – I apologize for not having pictures or video of this, but I was frantically gathering towels, cleaning up water, and turning electrical equipment off and not thinking about grabbing my camera. Initially, the leak was a small stream of water coming from in between the base unit and the canister section. I turned off the filter, dried everything up with a towel, and took the canister section off of the base unit.
On the bottom of the canister section there are 2 male water ports that slide into 2 female water ports on the base unit. The male water ports on the bottom of the canister section both have O-rings around them to seal up the tubing and keep water from leaking. This had to be where water was getting out. I decided to try putting some plumber’s tape around these ports, put the canister section back on the base unit, and try again to see if water stopped leaking. Well, the leak actually got worse.
I turned everything off, cleaned everything up, and at this point I was baffled. This thing could’ve been leaking from anywhere. Having a degree in Mechanical Engineering, it was, of course, time to take the entire system apart for inspection. I grabbed a screwdriver and started taking the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter apart.
This is where having some empty buckets ready really came in handy. In order to take the entire system apart, the tubes feeding the base unit and canister filters with water and returning the water to the tank, had to be removed from the base unit. Well, when you turn the handle to take the canister section off of the base unit, you are also closing valves and re-routing water. It was fairly obvious that there was still water sitting in the water tubes that would need to be drained. However, what happens when you disconnect the water tube from the base unit? Water keeps draining out of that tube until the water level in the aquarium is lower than the pump for the filtration system. I’m glad I had a few empty buckets around.
I disassembled the entire filtration system, but still couldn’t find any other place that water could be leaking from. It wasn’t until after reassembling everything that I thought to myself, “You know, those o-rings on the male ports of the canister section are there for a reason. Maybe I shouldn’t be covering them with plumber’s tape. Maybe the plumber’s tape actually made the tape worse.”
So, I removed the plumber’s tape from the male ports on the bottom of the canister section of the filtration system. I then went about reconnecting the water tubes to the base unit, and very carefully placing the canister section back onto the base unit making sure that everything is lined up properly and that the canister section was pushed snugly onto the base unit. I turn the handle at the top of the canister section to lock everything in place and open up the valves that allow water to flow through the canisters, and turn on the canister filtration system one more time.
Much to my surprise, there are NO MORE LEAKS! The API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filtration system has been working great for 4 days now! The unfortunate part of all this is that I don’t really have an answer for you about why the thing leaked in the first place. My only guess is that maybe I didn’t have the canister section properly aligned on the base unit. Like I said, maybe it was user error?
I must also say that RENA/API, the manufacturers of the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter, were very quick and fantastic with customer support. I sat down and sent them an email before I took the canister filter apart. The email was sent on a Saturday evening at 6pm through their contact form on their webpage. By the time I woke up on Sunday morning I had a response to my email.
I will continue to keep you updated on the durability of the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter. Do I have trouble placing the canister section back on the base unit the next time I change my filter media? Do I spend 30 minutes to an hour chasing small leaks every time I take the canister section off the base? Or, does it work perfectly every other time I go to use it?
For now, here’s a video showing how I filled my tank with RO/DI purified water for my system check and how everything is performing and looking after letting my saltwater tropical fish tank system run for 4 days. Enjoy!
Did you perform a 24 hour Aquarium System Check? How did it go? Leave comments or questions below!