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Eheim 2178 Professional 3e - Output and filter issue


1 Jul 2016
The Kit

Juwel Trigon 190 Aquarium
190 Litres

Eheim 2178 Professional 3e 600T Thermofilter

TMC AquaGro Nutrasoil Brown

so its been running fine for 4 weeks but over the last 2 weeks every 2 or 3 days the filter output has reduced dramatically, when I check I fidn that the white mechanical filter which is just under the first basket has a brown collection of stuff as you can see in the picture, once i rinse this filter output is back to normal - is this right

first picture is the top tray with the blue sponge which works fine and removes all the odd bits of foliage I miss
Second picture which is the culprit
Thoughts appreciated

John B
In the second picture it looks like there is a dent in the floss media that looks like it was made by the impellor part of the pump head. This basket should be covered by a green grill, do you have this fitted and have just taken it out for the picture?
ahh the green grill is under the floss - I will change that - so obvious

John B
Even with the grill on top all I end up with is the grill bump indent and and that area goes brown instead and does the same thing. I am not sure on real solution to this other than maybe moving the filter pad down another basket with it not so full to see if that helps.
Appears so. It appears the floss picks up all the particles (as it should) but then of course because it is centralised with the flow rather than being evenly distributed. That is why I feel moving it lower may help where there is more free flow.
next time i have to clean it (which will be a couple of days) I will move it down and see what happens

John B
I would try it but I am awaiting for the replacement impeller spindle that snapped on first start up with new head they sent as they sent the wrong one first time. So not had much luck. I am using the Eheim Pro 3 2180 1200 XLT so it is head design on all their filters with this issue.

The rep even said that it can get bunged quickly if you have lots of fine particles. I think I will go back to Fluval and their big canisters. Nothing special about them but they work without too much issue. Especially as a heavily planted tank, the canister filter is really doing more mechanical filtration than biological (assuming you balance it right).
I've not seen such a "point" concentration of debris, I've run Eheims going back to their basic canister, Professional 2, 3 & 4 series & debris is always quite evenly distributed across the filter pad, I tend to only "clean" the filter every few months (despite good intentions), there is some flow loss but it's gradual, certainly not noticeable during the first 4-5 weeks ... of course maybe I never seen the "point" as my white pad is very unwhite by the time I see it 😉

Lately I've just set up my Eheims with the included kit media as per the box suggestion.

I did have some Fluval cansiters some years back, but could always hear the filter hum (significantly noisier than Eheim), also had breakdowns & refusals to start, replaced impellers regularly so just not too happy.
I did look at the G6 & G3's after George Farmer liked his so well, but again the only display model I found was quite noisy & the replacement cartridges were considerably more expensive (than my Eheim consumables), again lfs stock was very hit & miss on availability of the consumables & G6/G3 were more significantly expensive than Eheim

I went out & listened to various canister before buying Eheim 3 & 4 Series, Eheim was just much quieter, some of the other filters also use considerably lower quality plastics & fiddly bits - just waiting to break & no one carries parts locally & shipping is expensive & slow, or slightly cheaper & very slow 🙄
Have had 4 different filters from Eheim and this is the first Pro 3 and I have it set up as the manual and debris collect constantly where the filter head drawers the water back through. I have so far on this Pro 3 had a faulty heater, broken pump, primer button not work and impeller shaft snapped so have lost a lot of faith in Eheim in honestly considering the costs.

The Fluval FX6 is cheaper made but then it is cheaper generally and tbh I haven't heard any particularly noise.

The problem with the eheim so far is I am only getting about a weeks worth of flow before I need to clean out the white polishing pad and that was prior to having anything in the tank at all apart from 3 bits of wood (as my original images in my posts Alto). I don't have any reason why they seem to collect but they certainly do at the outlet pipe location under the grill. Maybe I have overfilled the media trays and thus putting pressure on the unit? However I brought the media set for the unit so surely that is made to suit the requirements?
Aye, was going to try to remove some of the media from the filter this weekend. Why remove the fine polishing pad though. That is the only part picking up the smaller particles?


Hi all,
Why remove the fine polishing pad though. That is the only part picking up the smaller particles?
I don't like any <"easily clogged media"> in the filter body.

Partially that is because I'm pretty lazy and it is a chore to keep opening the filter body every time the flow drops, but the more important reason is that if the water is held in the filter for longer, or begins to bypass the biological filter media, the media <"may become de-oxygenated">.

This is much less of a problem for us when compared to those people who don't have planted tanks, but it is still undesirable, and potentially fatal, for your livestock.

cheers Darrel
That is fair enough. Do you just avoid worrying about picking up the smaller particles? I don't mind opening it up but it would just be better if it was once a month.

I am not sure it would be able to bypass the biological media with the design. However I understand the water being held for longer. I am not sure the low flow that happens would be an issue generally as it is still flowing and not stagnant. If it got that bad I would of thought you would notice and thus be taking it apart anyways? So the main issue would be if going away for a long weekend and it becoming stagnant. Maybe it best just to run the pad for a day after the water change and then remove it? And then repeat the following week?


Hi all,
Do you just avoid worrying about picking up the smaller particles?
I have a pre-filter on the intake to take care of all the mechanical filtration, the downside is that you have a sponge block etc in the tank. I have very weedy tanks so I can hide them.

I usually use the black <"12" x 4" x 4" PPI20"> sponges that they sell for Koi ponds etc. They have a drilled central 25mm hole that extends 3/4 of the way down the sponge

Eheim sell a prefilter ("part no. 4004320"), but I don't think you can use it with the Professional 3e series?

I think you can buy 16/22mm 1.5 litre volume external pre-filters (so like a canister filter without a pump) from SunSun and Jaqno, but I've never seen one in the flesh, and it would reduce flow.

cheers Darrel
Cheers Darrel,

In essence would the pre-filter not block the same as the canister filter and thus cause the same issue if not more so by already reducing flow by the canister filter trying to drawer water through the pre-filter, at least ones such as the Eheim unit?

Will have some thoughts. It might just be to go for a more course polish pad internally. The filter wadding seems to compact so maybe by using a foam pad instead that is still fine but wont compact from the pressure it will work better. The black sponge you use there for instance if that come in a sheet that is 10mm thick I could cut it to suit I think and make it work better.


Hi all,
In essence would the pre-filter not block the same as the canister filter and thus cause the same issue if not more so by already reducing flow by the canister filter trying to drawer water through the pre-filter, at least ones such as the Eheim unit?
Yes, they clog equally quickly, the main advantage is that they are very quick to clean, because you don't have to open the filter body etc.

If you have a really substantial foam block you can leave them longer between cleanings, but you may have issues with water clarity when you remove them. I semi submerge a plastic jug and then move the sponge into under-water, but you will inevitably spill some mulm laden water back into the tank.
Maybe it is because I have a first (lowest) basket filled with coarse sponges working as a prefilter.
I like coarse foam. The Eheim Classics I own are set up like this, but I still have a pre-filter.
I will try to get a bit of sponge as fine as the black sponge linked in sheet form to cut up
That is a good idea, I usually DIY replacement sponges etc from reticulated polyether aquatic filter foam sheet.

cheers Darrel