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Quiet(er) Aquaclear mod


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I posted this a couple of years ago on the a FW forum I used to be an active part of (APE), and with how popular Aquaclear filters are for reefs, particularly nano, I figured some of you would also appreciate this:
So, for a while now I've used aquaclear filters for my many years of FW tanks, also for my past few reef tanks..
I have to say that I do despise the rattly sound that every aquaclear filter seems to make. Like an engine with bad rod bearings..
I think I have found a solution to lessen this. Something that pretty much anyone should be able to accomplish with stuff on hand, or easily obtainable from home depot/lowes.

What you'll need:

  • White teflon thread tape
  • Silicone plumbers grease (this is safe, used in many many aquarium filter impellers without any issues).


First, we are going to be removing the impeller. This is something that should be detailed in your filter manual.. but basically if you are looking at the filter from the bottom, you will grasp the motor and turn it clockwise to free it. This gives you access to the impeller inside the motor housing.
Carefully remove the impeller off of the metal shaft. I did it with my fingers, but you can use a pair of needle nose pliers to gently lift it off the thin metal impeller shaft. Be careful!
Next thing we are going to do is to gently pop the plastic impeller blades off of the end of the magnet assembly.
Once that is done, you should see a small area where the plastic impeller blade obviously attaches to, with a little rib in the middle. Part of the annoying rattling sound is the slop in this plastic piece, which we are going to take up with teflon pipe tape.
Get your pipe tape and pull out a small length and fold in lengthwise(hotdog style ). We want the tape to be about the same width as the attaching point of the plastic blades.
Give it 1.5 or 2 wraps and pull it tight(this could vary depending on how your specific aquaclear was manufactured). Make sure that the tape slightly overlaps the top edge.
Cut your tape and make sure it's going to stay in place, and then place the plastic blade piece back on over the tape. The plastic blades should now be noticeably tighter, with little to no slop.
**Make sure you do not use too much tape, as you could break your impeller end. If it seems like the impeller end is not going on, or requires a lot of effort to push on, you have too much tape.
Now place a tiny glob of silicone plumbers grease on the end of the impeller shaft with a swab(stuff is impossible to get off of your hands),
Place the impeller assembly back on the shaft, spreading the placed silicone grease down the length of the shaft. (heh heh.. I am an adult..)
Enjoy your quiet(er) aquaclear! 
It's worth noting that I generally pull mine apart about every 6 months just to check out the condition of the tape, and to clean everything out. I've had aquaclear filters that are still running great with the original teflon tape after a couple years. I tend to re-grease the impeller shaft every couple cleanings(about once per year).  The filter that I used for the pictures is an AC50
Also - the filter will at first probably be dead silent - this is due to the silicone grease acting as a damper. This will eventually wear, and you will hear a little bit of motor noise, but it should be a LOT quieter than stock.

I've also used a dab of aquarium silicone on the end of the impeller magnet instead of the teflon tape.. this worked, but it sucks if you want to replace the plastic impeller blade, and it gets all over the place.

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