Filtration socks and filtration pads, or "micron socks" and "filter floss" as they are known in the hobby, will become clogged with debris over time and need to be changed. Here are some tips to prevent the trapped debris from re-entering your system.
1) Turn your pumps off - your tank inhabitants will be fine with a short interruption in the flow in your system. After the water has stopped running you will be ready to change the sock or pad. You can agitate the surface of the water in your aquarium periodically to keep oxygen levels up.
2) Place a plastic bag, or garbage bag around the sock or pad. This is to capture any debris that will come out as you move the pad or sock during removal.
3) Loosen the sock or pad from any mechanism restraining it, and remove it along with the plastic bag. If you are going to replace the sock or pad with a new one (recommended), simply tie off the bag and discard it. Otherwise here is the process for cleaning a sock or pad.
4) Replace new or cleaned sock or pad.
5) Replace any saltwater lost during the process.
6) Turn the pump back on.
Cleaning Socks and Pads
- Socks - Turn the sock inside out. Holding it in your hand at the top ring, spray it with a hose at close distance to blast out the debris trapped within the sock, move from top to bottom, in a circular fashion. Continue until it appears nearly 100% clean. Turn right side out, and repeat the spraying process. You can repeat this whole process again if needed until you are satisfied with the level of cleanliness.
- Pads - Clip pad to a clothesline, or place pad upside down on a clean surface, ideally a grated surface. Spray with a hose to dislodge the debris trapped within. Flip the pad, (or walk to the other side) and repeat. Continue until you are satisfied with how clean it is.
Some people at this point will take the extra time to chlorine wash their micron socks. You can find that process here.