How to Solve…Aquarium Filter Noise

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Oh isn’t it irritating turning on a filter, especially a brand new box-fresh beauty, only to hear that dreaded rattle. At first you think it’s just a few bubbles, after all the manufacturer says it runs silently, but after an hour or so you realise that the rattle is there to stay. Turning it on and off, tapping it and removing every last bubble from the impeller chamber subsequently fails to resolve the problem. What’s worse, the dull humming by day turns into the most intolerable din by night, especially in bedroom tanks. So what can be done to silence your aquarium filter noise? Fear not, I have the answer.

1. Check the box, and the filter

Firstly, it is advisable to check the packaging and ensure that the manufacturer actually does claim that their filter is quiet running. If this is the case, start by taking apart the filter (only the parts you are supposed to disassemble) and ensure it is all well-fitting. Pay special attention to the impeller and shaft. A badly fitted shaft can move off-centre and cause vibrations.

2. Give it a good clean

aquarium fishkeeping filter rattle How to Solve...Aquarium Filter Noise

Open it up and give it a good clean

If your aquarium filter is noisy and old, consider cleaning inside the chamber to ensure there are no dirt particles preventing it from running smoothly. You may also wish to check the rubber shaft tips for wear. An damage to the impeller blades can cause an imbalance which leads to vibrations and noise.

3. Empty the impeller chamber

Occasionally small and hard particles can get trapped in the impeller chamber and cause the rattling noise. Bubbles in the impeller chamber can also cause a filter to rattle so try assembling your filter underwater, or at least turning it upside down to allow the bubbles to escape.

4. Lube it up

If all of that fails, there is one simple measure that I’ve always found to work well – Vaseline. Vaseline is insoluble in water and can be used to lubricate the impeller shaft of a noisy aquarium filter. To achieve this, simply take the filter apart and rub a small amount of Vaseline onto the shaft using a cotton bud. Make sure the coating is as thin as possible without missing any patches. Once done, put the filter back together again and your rattle should have now disappeared.

If your filter is still noisy after having completed the above steps, it is likely that you have a defective or badly designed filter. Perhaps the motor itself is slightly lose or maybe the body panels aren’t well attached. Of course, if you buy a filter that says it’s quiet which later turns out to be rather noisy, you are perfectly entitled to take it back to the shop.

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