How to Setup and Use the Sicce Whale Canister Filter on Your Saltwater Aquarium
The Sicce Whale Canister Filter is a powerful, reliable, and customizable filtration solution that comes in four unique sizes suitable for aquariums up to a maximum of about 90 gallons. No matter what kind of tank you have, freshwater or saltwater, these quick steps to successful setup will walk you through the proper assembly, media installation, and initial priming of the filter.
What’s In The Box?
- Sicce Whale canister filter
- Intake parts
- Output parts
- Grey tubing
- Basket clips
- Mechanical, bio, and chemical filter media
- Rubber feet
- Tubing clamps
Step #1: Remove the lid and take out the media trays.
Inspect all the parts and carefully remove the lid via the four clips, one on each corner. Remove the media trays by pulling them out of the top.
Step #2: Remove the media from each tray & install the basket clips.
Step #3: Rinse the media & install the rubber feet on the bottom of the canister.
Rinsing the media is important to get rid of dust or any debris that might harm the pump. The rubber feet simply attach directly to the bottom of the canister filter to help absorb vibration and reduce the noise level.
**It is important to choose the right kind of media for your specific tank or application. If you are not sure what media to use or how to use it, check out Thomas's BRStv Product Spotlight Video to learn more. We provide clear instructions for choosing the right media, how to install it, and how to properly use and maintain the filter for long-term performance on a saltwater aquarium.
Step #4: Place the trays back in the body & close the filter.
Double-check to ensure your media is placed in the correct order. Be sure to secure the clips on top of the filter to lock it in and thus making it water-tight.
Step #5: Assemble the intake pipe.
Slide the clear tube into the grey intake assembly and then slip the grey strainer onto the other end of the clear tube. Attach the two suction cups to the assembly. Keep in mind that the clear tube can be cut to size for shorter aquariums using a hacksaw or similar pipe cutting tool. In most aquariums, you want to pull water from the bottom of the tank near the sand or substrate and return water at the top near the surface. Simply test fit and cut it to size, leaving at least 2" between the end of the strainer and your sand bed.
Step #6: Assemble the output pipe.
The output will be the one with the rounded knob (flow control) on top. First, take the non-slotted end of the 90-degree elbow and slide it up into the output assembly. Then, take the round deflector and slip it over the slotted end of the 90-degree elbow. Finally, you can attach the two suction cups.
Step #7: Attach the tubing to your filter.
There will be one length of tubing and you want to cut it in half, using equal lengths allowing you to place the intake and output assembly on opposite ends of the tank with the filter in the center. If your situation calls for the filter to be located off to one side, cut the tubing accordingly so you will have enough to reach your intake and output pipes.
Before attaching the tubing to your canister filter, be sure to slide the hose clamps onto the tubing with the slotted ends facing away from the tubing, one hose clamp on each end of the tubing. Slide the tubing onto the hose barbs then push the hose clamp onto the hose barbs until it clicks. This will indicate the hose clamp is properly in place and create a water-tight seal.
Step #8: Attach the intake and output pipes.
After the tubing is secured to the canister lid, it is best to test fit under your tank. We recommend centering the filter in your stand or below your aquarium whenever possible. Place the intake and output pipes onto your aquarium walls on opposite ends of the tank, as far apart as you possibly can. This will maximize the total water circulation in the tank. Attach the tubing onto the intake and output pipes, again using the hose clamps. Cut the tubing down to size if necessary to avoid kinks or excess tubing but only after you have placed the intake and output pipes where you want them.
Step #9: Make sure the output assembly's flow control knob is set to the maximum while priming the filter.
You will need to do this to ensure that there is no flow restriction preventing the water from draining into the filter once you start to prime it.
Step #10: Pump the priming rod on the intake up and down to start the siphon.
With the aquarium full of water, use the priming rod located on the top of the intake assembly to begin manually priming the filter. After a few up and down pumps using the priming rod, it will begin to gravity siphon and fill your canister filter with tank water. Larger bubbles will start to escape via the outlet as trapped air is pushed out of the filter. Keep pumping until the bubbles stop.
Step #11: Once the larger bubbles stop, plug in the filter.
When the canister filter is full of water, the bubbles will stop coming out of the outlet. You can then plug in the canister filter because it is now full of water. You will start to see smaller bubbles blowing out of the filter after you plug it in which is normal and is simply more air escaping the filter. The pump will slowly purge the air out over time which can take up to a full 24 hours to stop completely, especially when using bio-media that tends to trap a lot of air.
Canister filter maintenance is critical. This involves rinsing and replacing the media inside on a regular basis as needed based on your particular bioload. The Sicce Whale has a great feature that allows you to disconnect the plumbing and tubing from the canister filter lid, leaving that in place on your aquarium while you remove the canister for maintenance. Freshwater tanks generally require attention every 4 weeks but saltwater tanks are much different and will require more frequent attention. Be sure to check out the BRStv Product Spotlight where Thomas goes into detail about how to successfully use a canister filter on saltwater reef aquariums to learn more. Of course, when you are ready for new media it will be available at Bulk Reef Supply.