When it comes to aquarium filters, undoubtedly, canister filters bring the magic out of its hat. It is the most high-performing, durable, and efficient filtering system out there for aquariums of all sorts. It works fine for freshwater, planted, and even saltwater tanks. Furthermore, it provides all three types of filtration for the aquarium.

Since it operates three types of filtering at the same time, its hose gets dirty soon. Thus, the question of how to clean canister filter hoses remains at the center of most aquarists. Thankfully, you have three options to apply to clean the canister filter hose.

These three methods include-

  1. The hose brush
  2. Using Sump pump
  3. Using hose magnet

We will discuss how to implement all these three methods to clean canister filter hoses effectively and shortly.

Preparation Tips for Cleaning The Canister Filter Hose

When you decide to clean the hose of the filter, you can’t just straightly use the methods we have mentioned previously. If you don’t prepare the hose for cleaning, it will give you some serious trouble during the rest of the process.

Firstly, find a suitable place to clean the hose. Ideally, you should initiate the hose cleaning on the kitchen sink or outdoor space near a water source. It helps you avoid further mess.

And as with the canister filter, you must unplug it first. Then, use a bucket before you detach the hose from the canister. It is crucial because the bucket will collect the draining water of the hose. So, you won’t find the floor flooding with aquarium water. Nonetheless, you can’t just start cleaning the hose directly after disconnecting it from the filter.

You should keep the hose submerged for 20 to 30 minutes in clean water. As the hose remains submerged, the water gets inside and loosens the debris inside. It makes the cleaning easier and comfier later. Also, you should use lukewarm water to submerge the hose.

Furthermore, if you are working on a floor, you should use an old cloth or mat. It will collect any gunk and dirty water the spills out of the tube during the washing time.


Some people suggest wearing gloves to keep hands free of debris and gunk. You may use a pair of surgical gloves for this purpose.

Now that you have prepared the canister filter hose for cleaning, it’s time to know the three methods with the detailed guideline.

How To Clean Canister Filter Hoses

How To Clean Canister Filter Hoses: Three Methods

A canister filter usually comes with a pair of tubes or hose. One hose works as the intake tube. It sucks the water from the aquarium and conveys it to the canister filter chamber. The secondary tube relays back the water after it is filtered.

This way, the canister filter works relentlessly to keep the aquarium water clean and healthy for the fishes. During the water intake and conveying process, the hoses get dirty.

Also, grime, debris, and various particles will clog the hose. Therefore, a clogged hose with indeed force the canister filter to stop working. It is not a good sign for the aquarium. So, you should regularly check the hose clogging and clean it if need be.

Method 1: Use the hose cleaning brush

The hose cleaning brush is by far the most conventional approach to wash off the filter hose. However, you must understand that these brushes aren’t like regular cleaning brushes.

Usually, it comes with a hard bristle at its front which is much like the pipe cleaner. The bristle is attached to a long stick. The stick is flexible so that you can quickly navigate it to enter deep into the filter hose.

The flexibility of the stick of the cleaning brush permits you to reach each inch of the hose with the least effort.

  • Once you have submerged the filter tubes for enough time in the warm water, simply take one hose at a time. Since you will submerge the hose in warm water for such a long time will increase the temperature on its exterior. So, be careful while touching them. That’s why you should wear gloves for better protection.
  • Now, insert the cleaning brush as deep as possible inside the tube. Now, scrub the interior hardly. After a few seconds of scrubbing, flash water to see the cleaning progress. You have to continue scrubbing until the hose becomes tidy like the new one.
  • Now, clean the second hose following the same step. Also, clean the exterior of both hoses and give them a final rinsing to remove the rest of the gunk.

You may also use dish-washing detergent mixed with water to rinse off the hoses properly.

However, these cleaning brushes aren’t free of their drawbacks. These setbacks might make the cleaning procedure challenging too. Since these cleaning brushes aren’t very long, they won’t be able to reach the deepest parts of the tube. It happens mostly if the canister filter hose is extremely long. It will limit the cleaning result greatly. Sometimes, the brush may push the debris further instead of cleaning them from the hose inside.

If you use automatic brush cleaner, they will lose torque and power with time. So, these brushes become flimsy soon.

However, we still find the hose cleaning brush a highly recommendable cleaning solution for the canister filter hose.

Method 2: Using the Sump pump

A sump pump is not perhaps but definitely the easiest way to clean the canister filter hose. Also, sump pumps need the least effort while cleaning the hose.

  • Firstly, submerge the sump pump in water. You should use hydrogen peroxide with the water. Alternatively, you can mix vinegar with the water. The idea is to transform the water from its regular properties to dependable cleaning solutions.
  • Once you have prepared the cleaning solution and submerged the canister filter hose in it, it’s time to move on to the next step. Now, you have to connect the hose with the pump.
  • After that switch on the pump. Also, make sure that the hose and pump connection is secure so that the water pressure doesn’t disconnect them. The pump will convey the water through the hose to blast the gunk and debris.

However, you must be patient during the entire cleaning process. It is vital since the pump needs around 30 minutes to remove all the gunk and debris successfully from the tube inside. Finally, rinse the hose interior and exterior with clean water.

Method 3: Using hose magnet

Are you confused? We guess you are ad it’s totally fine. It is the first time you probably have heard about a hose magnet. Well, it may seem unreal but the tool truly exists in real life as well. And the hose magnet does not exist only, it pretty much does what it is designed for –cleaning the canister filter hose.

You can get the hose magnet in the nearby bet store or hardware shop. When you buy the hose magnet and look closely at it, you will find two components in it. These parts are-

  1. The magnet
  2. Cleaning surface

Also, note that there are actually two magnets within the package. You need to use both magnets for the hose cleaning process.

  • At first, attach one magnet with the cleaning surface. After that, take one hose at hand and insert the cleaning pad inside the tube.
  • Now position the other magnet at the other side of the tube. Use it to pull the cleaning pad from the tube interior.
  • As the cleaning pad travels through the entire canister filter tube, it will accumulate all the gunk and debris to make the tube look as clean as the new ones.

The benefit of using the hose magnet is that it offers the most effortless and cleanest result out of the three methods. Also, you won’t have to worry about damaging or breaking the magnet and the pad which is highly likely happening with the cleaning brush. Nonetheless, you can’t just stop working with the magnet with one application only.

You should use the magnet to clean the filter hose several times (at least 2 times) to remove the debris most cleanly. Also, use clean water from the tap to rinse the hose finally.

The downside of the hose magnet application is that these units are pricey. Also, the entire cleaning process needs sometime forthe perfect accomplishment. But it is worth the time and money invested for the most effective cleaning for the hoses.

How Important It Is To Clean the Canister Filter Hose?

We have heard so many people saying, “Why should I clean the filter hose? I see only clean water running through it?” Well, apparently, they are right.

But, it is only the tip of the iceberg.

The aquarium water is full of fish shit, leftover foods, plant leaves, and other particles. While some of these wastages are visible in naked eyes, most particles are invisible. But this debris slowly accumulates on the hose wall. Therefore, such a small accumulation of particles will slowly but eventually narrow down the interior diameter.

As a result, the hose will become clogged and unable to carry the water back and forth from the aquarium to the canister. As the clogging increases, the canister filter will slowly lose its work efficiency. And it is detrimental to your fish health.

The aquarium water will soon become dirty and transform into rather a cloudy look. When the aquarium water becomes dirty and it has excess food leftover and fish wastages, ammonia starts forming inside the water.

Hence, it may cause ammonia burn or a black spot on the fish. It is almost like the death penalty for fishes. So, you must not allow the filter hose to get clogged and stop carrying the water.

But the necessity of cleaning the canister filter hose doesn’t stop here.

When the hose gets narrower, it loses suction efficiency. So, the filter pump needs to take an extra workload. The extra workload starts putting too much pressure on the pump and motor. Therefore, the pump lifespan reduces significantly.

So, when you clean the filter hose regularly, it stops putting too much pressure on the pump. Hence, you ensure better performance and extended lifespan from the pump and filter itself. It is, therefore, worth the investment.

So, you see that cleaning the filter hose brings two benefits for you.

  1. Doesn’t allow the hose to get clogged and keeps the aquarium water clean.
  2. It removes stress from the filter pump and prolongs its lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean the canister filter hose?

The cleaning frequency of the filter hose depends on the bio-load of your aquarium. It means the number of plants and fishes in the tank will largely determine how regularly you should clean the hose. Also, the saltwater aquarium hose will need more regular cleaning because of its salty particles. Nonetheless, you should clean the canister filter hose once every six to eight weeks. The best way is to clean the hose when you clean the canister filter itself.

How should I remove the algae from the hose?

You should use a long hose cleaning brush to remove the algae from the tubes. It is a time-consuming and laborious process, but it surely works. Also, rinse off the hose interior with dishwashing liquid or detergent to wipe off the algae accurately.

How to clean silicone tubing?

Silicone tubes are not difficult to clean at all. You can use warm water with dishwashing liquid to rinse off the silicone tube interior and exterior. Since silicone is highly heat-resistant, you won’t have to worry about the water temperature. Nonetheless, you should check the cleaning product label to see whether or not it is usable with silicone tubes. It is vital because some cleaning products may damage the silicone tube color.

Final Words

A clogged filter hose isn’t the right option for maintaining the aquarium’s health. So, you should opt for one of the three methods discussed here to clean the canister filter hose. These three tips on how to clean canister filter hoses are easy to follow and even, beginner aquarists can do it with ease.

Also, you won’t have to be over-ambitious and over concerning too. You just need to maintain the cleaning frequency and choose the right method that suits your purpose. That’s it!

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