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Skwishee
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A Newbies Review
« on: January 17, 2012, 06:26:14 AM »

Hey guys!!

As I said, I would put together a little review about the All Ponds Solution filter!
I purchased the All Ponds Solution 1400+ model, which roughly does 1400 L/H and the + model comes with UV.
It only cost 69.99 and I think next time I will wait for a sale as I missed their January sale by a week!

Delivery;
So first things first, I am generally pretty impressed with the company, my delivery order was confirmed 9am on a Monday morning and I had the filter with me by 3pm.

Customer Support;
I have also been e-mailing them with questions and queries, and so far I have always had a reply within 24 hours.
I cannot comment on their phone line however, as I find e-mails cheaper to send Cheesy

Setting-up;
Being completely new to external filters, I have to admit, I was a little daunted being faced with all the pipes and a little confused on setting up. The instructions are perfectly fine, but aren't hugely detailed on setting up the pipe work. I did also find the pipe work is a little delicate when putting together. I don't think any of it will break, but I went to check the outlet pipe had no bubbles in it, evidently must have knocked it in some way because the spray bar randomly fell off XD I managed to put it back on and it seems fine, but was a little un expected that it just fell of like that! I also noticed the out put is much higher with the spray bar off. So if you wanted to leave the spray bar off I imagine you could with no problems.
The sucker pads are also a little temperamental, at first, but mine seem to be staying on no problems now.

I double checked a few things via e-mail with APS as I went along, but that was due to inexperience and not being sure if what I was doing was right! The person I spoke to was generally very nice and very helpful!
I am sure if someone was experienced with external filters, they could whip this one up in a matter of minutes.
I did however get there in the end!

The only real problem I have had is with the self-priming button. It didn't do anything when I pressed it, not sure why, I've e-mailed APS about this. But it wasn't too hard to get things going by giving the pipe a bit of a suck.

The only other thing I've had to really deal with are air bubbles, but rocking the canister a little seemed to get rid of most of these last night and I have noticed on the in let pipe this morning at the very top there are little air bubbles some how getting in past the seal and this is no doubt the cause of the air I heard this morning.
I have pushed the green tube further on to the inlet pipe and tweaked with the bolt some more and it seems to have sorted things out Smiley

Media;
Extremely generous!! There are 3 trays in total and each contained the following;
Top tray- filter pad and 2 bags of bio rings, Mid tray- filter pad and a pile of bio balls, Bottom tray- filter pad and 2 bags of carbon.

Interesting little bits;
This filter in particular comes with a UV bulb, there is a little switch on the side of the filter, so you can switch it on/off as you please and there is also a little indicator light on top of the filter, so you can see if the UV is working or not. I currently have mine switched off, but I am sure it will be handy should a fish get sick or I have problems algae Smiley You can buy the filter without the UV and it is 10 cheaper this way.

The outlet pipework comes with a spray bar and the inlet pipe also has a neat little skimmer that you can use if you want. I was going to use the skimmer but I found it wouldn't exactly fit on my tank, so have had to leave it off.

I also had to leave out part of the mid section of the inlet pipe, otherwise it would have been too big on the tank.

Overall first impression;
Apart from the prime button and having a few easily fixed issues with air, I have no qualms with this filter so far.
The issues I have had, could be the filter or just me doing the wrong thing really!
So from a newbie view point, I am quite happy with this little filter, it is so quiet, I only hear it's gentle hum if I'm sat on the sofa next to the tank and filter. It does it's job of filtering, although I have heard the out put like most filters is slightly lower than what's stated at the end of the day, I'm not too bothered if the out put is a little lower.
It has plenty of media, that will be able to keep up with my goldfish, which to me is more important really Smiley

I'll let you guys know how things go with it, but until then, some photo's!!

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cheri_alexander
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2012, 05:22:07 PM »

Thanks for the review (karma). I wish my canister was that easy. I have never heard of this filter (except from you), I wonder if this brand is in the states...I am in the market for 2-3 new filters but had such a wretched experience with my canister I'm a bit wary. I may check out this brand and see if they have a much larger size...all that room for media is appealing. Hmm. Let us know how it works out. Everyone should write a review of their filters  Smiley would be helpful..at least to me, lol.
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Dragonii
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2012, 05:41:19 PM »

As you know, I use these filters. I love them. Best bank for the buck you can find.

Some helpful info. Prime button is very hard to push. May get easier with age. You are supposed to push the button with the filter off. Push it all the way in, hold it for a few seconds, then release it. It sucks water in and eventually starts a syphon. It takes a while to get used to it.

As for bubbles... two causes for that. One, all of the media is new and has air in it. That will eventually go away. Kind of like how a new tank always has those little tiny bubble all over the glass. Other cause could be a tiny leak in either the intake hoses or the canisters main seal. Solution for that is to rub a very light coat of Vaseline on the gaskets. It will help seal them. You can also get silicone based lubricant but Vaseline has always worked fine for me.
You got lucky, mine doesn't have a handle.

I hope you like it. It really is a good filter. Just be careful with the glass cover on the UV. That thing always scares me. lol
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Dragonii
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2012, 05:44:22 PM »

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Thanks for the review (karma). I wish my canister was that easy. I have never heard of this filter (except from you), I wonder if this brand is in the states...I am in the market for 2-3 new filters but had such a wretched experience with my canister I'm a bit wary. I may check out this brand and see if they have a much larger size...all that room for media is appealing. Hmm. Let us know how it works out. Everyone should write a review of their filters  Smiley would be helpful..at least to me, lol.


In the states they are sold under the name Auquatop.
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You can get them on Amazon. CF-500UV is the largest (525 gph)
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Here's a good look at one.
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I have been running one on my 150 gallon African Cichlid tank for about a year.
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cheri_alexander
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2012, 05:59:28 PM »

Ah, thanks Dragonii, I have heard you guys talk about Aquatop.
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Skwishee
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2012, 04:40:40 AM »

Glad you found it helpful Cheri Smiley

Dragnoii, I had a quick question about filters, I've been hearing that filters never give 100% of the litres per hour given, because they're tested without media. So when media is placed in them, the out put is lower.
I've also heard items such as my spray bar, can further lower this out put.
Have you found the same thing with your filters? Any tips on getting around this?

I'm not particularly fussed too much, if the out put is a little lower, it is only going to be Lucky in there for the time being.
But if I did decide to get another fish, it would be handy to know Wink

Oh and thanks for the tip on the air bubbles and prime button!
I do think I was doing something wrong with the prime to begin with XD
I also found the air bubble culprit it was the in take pipe, but I tweaked around with it and it has stopped now.
There was a tiny bit of air getting in and I could see the little air bubbles breaking off and whizzing down into the filter! I've had no problems with the baskets really. I have heard of people saying the bottom one may get stuck.
But to be honest, when will I ever need to clean the carbon? I was able to take mine out pretty easily anyway.
Might try and pick up some vaseline though just in case!

I know what you mean about the UV bulb, I always find the main head of the canister is a little tough to get off, I mean that's good because it shows it has a strong seal but at the same I'm always really careful! I find the same with putting the main head back on, it needs a gentle push to get it in place, I find pushing my weight on to it carefully and doing the buckles as I go works. But I'm so scared I'll break it lol! I think I'd be the same with any filter to be honest with you though, regardless of the UV!

It feels like I have alien space technology or something in here!
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 05:01:00 AM by Skwishee » Logged
Dragonii
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 10:39:34 AM »

You think that is alien technology... you should check out the Fluval G series. Amazing, but expensive.

Flow rate is usually measured with the canisters empty, yes. But the flow rate on hang on's are measured with them empty too. They also measure it with zero head pressure resistance. What that means is that the higher your filter has to push the water the more resistance it will have against the water pressure coming out of the head. If you have the filter and the tank sitting on the floor you will get a higher flow rate than if the filter is on the floor and the tank is on a three foot stand. Put the tank on a four foot high stand and the flow rate decreases as the head pressure increases. Spray bars do also effect the overall flow rate as they provide resistance to the flow as well. But on the other hand, spray bars do an excellent job at creating surface disturbance, oxygenating the water, and helping to keep the surface clean. I personally didn't use the spray bar. I have my own plumbing and just attached the filter to it. If you want to increase the flow rate yet keep the benefits of the spray bar you can get a drill and make the holes in the bar slightly bigger. The spray coming out won't have the same force any more and if you make the holes too big it could have a negative effect on the churning properties of the filter.

Al in all, don't worry about it too much. It's a big filter, it has a strong motor and it will work just fine. I don't remember what size you said the tank was but remember, I use the 525 gph model on my 150 gallon overstocked African cichlid tank. I also have a Magnum 350 on it but that only has carbon in it and is really just there to help move the water around since the tank is 6 feet long and has lots of huge rocks that get in the way of water flow. And you guys talk about how messy goldfish are and how they need big filters... you haven't seen anything until you watch 30 cichlids attack some food. They destroy it, rip it apart and pieces and chunks go every where. I also keep my temps high in that tank which increases their metabolism so they eat and poop a lot. That filter has out preformed every thing else that I have ever had. It replaced my old Ehiem and it out does it by a long shot.

Carbon.... carbon is the one thing in your filter that should be replaced (if you choose to use carbon). It becomes exhausted rather quickly. Some say that it is dangerous to leave it in, that it will begin to leach compounds back into the water.... that's not true. Just an old fish tale. But it will however lose it's ability to be effective. I replace my carbon once a month. By the end of the month it is pretty much shot. I have tried to not use carbon, but the tank starts to get that "natural" smell to it and the water starts to be less clear. Not a stench, just a natural, dirt, outdoorsy kind of smell. I don't like that. I prefer for my tanks to have no odor and I like my water clear. I like to look through one end and see out the other end six feet away as if there was nothing there. The water in my tanks stays crystal clear with changing the carbon once a month. Oh, and you can buy refillable media bags at the pet shop and buy carbon in lose, bulk cartons. Just refill the bags, rinse it, toss it in. It's cheaper than buying the pre-bagged stuff. I buy a 14 oz container every two months. Runs about $11. So $5.50 a month is more than reasonable to me for my tanks to look clear and not have any odor. lol
When you put the lid back on are you doing it with the hoses disconnected? With mine you have to kind of put the lid on, push down a bit and then push the side clamps down. They kind of fall into place as it goes in. But yes, all canisters are pretty much the same, some are worse. The Hydor models have these strange flip out clamps. You have to line up the tabs, push it down hard and then push in the three swing out clamps. The classic Ehiem's have small metal clamps that are well known for breaking off ( I never broke any because I was sure to be careful). With those you had to push the lid on and then clamp all of the little clamps. Sometimes they would have to be bent back into shape as the stretched out and would allow the lid to be too loose. Don't even get me started on the old Fluval 3 series. lol

If you have any questions feel free to ask. Smiley
 
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Skwishee
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 04:56:26 PM »

Ah thanks Dragonii  Grin
You really are the filter master!!

Those new filters are really fancy! I would totally have one, if I had the money!!
Pity it costs just as much if not MORE than a tank XD But the screen display....... water parameters and filter performance..... oh my....... it is a very sexy filter indeed....

I was thinking of taking the spray bar off, or shortening it, so I could try and fit my internal filter onto the tank.
But I'm not sure it's really possible to fit it on and could possibly chuck the filter media into the external filter anyway!

When I take the lid on/off the hoses are connected, but I pull the little lever up, so the taps are shut off.
I assume I would have to do this when doing maintenance on the filter?
Someone mentioned to me that during a water change it's okay to leave the filter on, but to just lower the output by using the lever that controls the taps.

I am using carbon at the moment, it recommends replacing it once every 3 months. But I guess you have much more fish so have to keep that in consideration. But I will possibly remove the carbon later and replace it with some more bio rings or something.
Or if I do get my internal filter in there, I could just keep using the little bit of carbon that's in there. The pads in my internal only need replacing every 2 months and a box of 4 costs like 2 or 3. So a much cheaper option!

I've heard carbon isn't greatly necessary, but I suppose its a personal preference Smiley

I also picked up some vaseline today, so I should be able to shut the taps off, turn the filter off (that is the right order? Or do I switch if off and then shut the taps off?) and add some to the trays and maybe the hose pipe connection between the hose and the intake pipe, just to give that an extra bit of help. I think everything else is okay though, I won't need to dismantle much else beyond that, when it comes to general maintenance. I noticed the top inside of the filter already had a slight greasy vaseliney feel, to help with the motor head, so shouldn't need anything extra there.

But hopefully if the PH and temperature match, I can add Lucky to the big tank tomorrow  Cheesy
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 05:05:44 PM by Skwishee » Logged
Dragonii
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 07:30:24 PM »

Don't put the vasaline on the filter trays. Just use it on the rubber seals. You don't use a lot. Just a thin coat to keep them from being dry. I usually rub it on then lightly whipe it off with a paper towel. It keeps them from shrinking or drying out and makes them kind of sticky so they seal better.
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Skwishee
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2012, 05:09:13 AM »

Ahh on seals! Cheers Dragnoii! *Karma for you*
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Skwishee
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 08:29:13 AM »

Hey guys, thought I'd give you an update.

I just had an interesting affair with the filter. Someone on another forum told me that I could leave the filter on during water changes, all I had to do was lower the out put, using the lever.
This was fine, but after a while and nearing at 50% of the tank, the filter stopped.
I think air had gotten into the system and buggered things up! This is my assumption, I don't really understand these filters very well yet.

So I quickly finished un-filling the tank, turned the filter off, filled it back up asap and turned it on.
On my goodness the air bubbles! I turned it back off again, there was some massive air bubbles in the hoses, so I straightened them back out to get all the air bubbles to the top.

I then primed like crazy, only to find the culprit of this air was part of the in take tube - again!- this time it was the join between the crook and another part of the tube, even though it was under the water I could see air bubbles pouring out of it like crazy, when ever I touched the prime button! So I did the only thing I could think of and vaseline'd the heck out of it. No more air bubbles sorted.

The prime button actually worked this time, maybe it was having water already in the pipes that helped?
But hooray no need to suck on the out put tube and get a mouthful of water!
And having switched it on, tilting the canister gently to get rid of the air bubbles, the situation was easily solved.

So amidst my slight panic, I now have it back and running again, yay!

So for anyone who does get this filter, I suggest you vaseline places as you put it together Cheesy
Rather than end up like me, with a filter that stops half way through a water change and wondering what went wrong XD
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 08:31:50 AM by Skwishee » Logged
Dragonii
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2012, 04:27:47 PM »

Ok, first off, yes, you can leave it running when you change water, however... you want the intake to stay submerged all the time. Most people don't change 50% of their water, that's a goldfish thing. Other types of fish are more sensitive to it so people do about 25-30%, which would be less likely to drop lower than the intake.

Second, how much extra hose do you have? You really don't want loops in the lines. They should come pretty much straight down to the filter with a slight curve, not a loop.

Be careful putting Vaseline on the hose attachments. That can cause them to pop loose under pressure easier. If you have problems with canister filter hoses not sealing try using clamps.
I use these hoses that don't want to grip tightly.
[image]


You can get them in different colors. Put it around the hose, get the grip started and then use pliers to push it tight.


I may be able to help more but I am going to need to see pictures to understand how you have it set up and how the plumbing runs.
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Skwishee
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2012, 07:26:49 PM »

Ah right, no vaseline next time.... I'll try and take it off if I have to do a water change tomorrow.
The only other place I added vaseline before, was on the in put pipe, but where the hose meets the plastic pipe.
As I found the screw nut, regardless of being tight, was letting some air in. Should I wipe some of that off as well, just in case I added too much? I did use a small amount both times, as you suggested previously.
(Sorry, me saying I 'vaseline'd the heck out of it' was probably mis leading, it was more a figure of speech!).

At the time, it was the best thing I could do, I'm not sure how air was getting in there, in the first place, when it seemed rather secure. It's hard to explain.... it wasn't the hose that was the issue, it was the actual plastic pipe itself.

The out put hose is fairly straight, but the in take one is rather curvy, as in... it spirals. I tried to straighten them out as best as I could, but there was only so much I could do. Maybe it will just be a case of moving the canister a little further away so it straightens everything out?

Right maybe some photo's will explain it better..... This is the intake pipe and the area where the top two parts are joined, is where I saw the air bubbles coming from. I'm not sure how air bubbles were appearing here, because the top part that slots in, is rather long, so you'd think air wouldn't be able to get in? Sorry it's not very clear  Sad

I'll get some more, better photo's tomorrow morning Smiley

As for those clips, I've never seen them around? Would a plastic tie do the job?
[image]


Thanks Dragonii, this is such a big learning curve for me at the moment XD

« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 07:35:20 PM by Skwishee » Logged
Dragonii
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2012, 10:54:11 PM »

Ok, I dug out the pipes that came with mine.
first, hose should be pushed all the way up to the threads.
[image]

Nut tightened all the way down.
[image]

The other side (side that goes in the tank) has the slip design to allow for making the pipe longer.
[image]

Closer look
[image]

that slip fitting will suck in air if the water drops below it. It's just the nature of the design.

Not all canisters have this slip pipe extention design so they won't suck in air if the water drops below it. The only think you can do to stop it is to replace the intake hose. Honestly, just live with it. You'll have to reprime if the water drops below that mark. Just turn the filter off when you do your water changes and push the prime button after you refill the tank and before you turn it back on.
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Skwishee
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2012, 04:23:50 AM »

Ah! Thank you  Grin

Yes that was the bit I put some vaseline on XD
And I vaselined the seal around the input hose a little, because for some reason air pockets were being annoying - even with the nut tightened - but maybe there I didn't do something quite right?

Anyway, I will do my best to get the vaseline off the intake pipe and I'll double check the seal on the in put hose, when I next to do a water change  Smiley Which with the tank cycling will be very soon!

Thanks Dragnoii, do I shut the pipes off before I turn the filter off? Smiley
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 04:26:04 AM by Skwishee » Logged
Dragonii
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2012, 12:42:32 PM »

that should be fine.
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Skwishee
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2012, 04:50:59 AM »

Yay  Grin

I got the vaseline off the pipe and double checked the in put valve, I wiped any vaseline off and was sure to put a very small amount on, that I dabbed off with a towel so it was only slightly sticky, so all sorted out now  Cheesy Cheesy

When will I need to clean things? In 2 or 3 months?

Thanks for all your help Dragonii!
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Dragonii
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2012, 12:49:00 PM »

Depends on your fish load and how anal you are. I clean mine every 2-3 months.
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Skwishee
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2012, 06:48:39 AM »

Well it's one goldfish, currently only Lucky at the moment still  Smiley
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Dragonii
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2012, 09:15:23 PM »

Clean it after a couple of months, if it's too dirty at that point then clean it after one month. lol
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Skwishee
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Re: A Newbies Review
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2012, 06:35:19 AM »

Hello everyone!

So 3 months on, the filter is still going yay!

I decided it was about time to clean the filter. I'd pretty much left it be until a few weeks ago.

However between myself and my Dad, could we get the filter open? No!
It occurred to us that as the filter runs with no air, it therefore must have quite a vacuum inside. Bothering people on forums solved this though as it was suggested to me to take the tap unit out of the motor head. So after turning off the taps and the filter, I did this the following week and voila I had the lid off in a matter of seconds!

The trays slid out nicely, the bottom one needed a bit of a strong tug to get it out, but it came out!

Although when it came to setting up again, the prime button did not like me! So I resorted to sucking on the outlet pipe again and after a bit of annoyance and a mouthful of water later, I eventually had it going! Cheesy

So all in all, the filter is doing well. I think I'll try and clean it a bit more often, the pads in the filter were a lovely brown colour Grin and there was a bit of debris in the water once I had all the trays out, but this was easily fished out with a net.

I haven't needed to use the UV light very much, I did switch it on for a while once when I introduced some new plants, but I do intend to be double checking it still works after maintenance. Not to mention if the algae in my tank goes out of control, I have it there to possibly help out.

I also find that with weekly water changes, as long as I turn the taps off first, then switch the filter off. Water change and clean to my hearts content, once the tank is filled back up and all filter parts are covered with water, turning the filter on and then turning the taps back on, actually results in no need to prime.
With the water already in the pipes still, the filter just sorts itself out. A bit of air generally, but rocking the canister gently solves this fairly quickly.

So far, so good  Smiley
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