Basic Troubleshooting for the API and Rena Filstar Filters


There are many reasons a filter will not prime properly, restart properly, leak water or blow air out the discharge. All are generally related to air leaking into the system from the intake side. This can happen at any point where two pieces of the intake come together. Common areas are the intake tube between the connected pieces, inlet pipe cap, flexible tubing connections to the inlet pipe and the Quick Disconnect and around the connections of the quick disconnect to the filter.

These are the most common.


Secondly, are you sure you are following the correct directions for restarting the filter? You can usually find this information in the manual. If you don't have a manual you can download a copy from the manufacturer or buy a copy off our website in the Filstar | Parts section.



There are many reasons filters leak. Some have to do with the seals/orings but other reasons such as equipment failure, improper setup and startup can also cause filters to leak. These are much easier to diagnose if you follow the original instructions included with your filter when restarting the filter.



1: Place the clean media in the canister baskets in the proper order outlined in the Filstar manual.

2: Lock down the motor top by first placing it on top of the canister and then gently pressing down around the edges to make sure it seals well and connects with the basket assembly lid.

3: Lock the clips down by first locking a clip down down on one side and then the clip catercorner to the first clip on the opposite side. Repeat with the other clips forming a sort of X pattern.

4: Take the filter to the aquarium and attach the quick-disconnect to the top of the filter. Make sure to push down with heal of the hand at the rear of the the QD to insure a good connection with the top of the filter. Then slowly lover the lever.

5: If all is set up correctly water should begin to flow into the filter canister and in about 2 minutes the canister will fill to the top with water from the aquarium. Once that happens plug in the filter and your filter will begin pumping.


This info comes from Rena Aquatic Supply. We sell water and air pumps and API Brand products. For technical support please contact your original seller or contact the manufacturer, API Fishcare at 800-847-0659 or visit their web site at for questions or concerns about your product. We do offer a paid technical support option for $29.95 per incident for products purchased from other companies. Contact us if you are interested.

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