The great thing about the Fluval Spec line of aquariums, (older Spec II, Current Spec III and Spec V) are the relative ease of replacement supplies for the filtration system. If you break other components, there are sometimes sources for Spec replacement parts as well. Here is a rundown of replacement Fluval Spec parts and respective sources.
Fluval Spec Filter Media Replacement:
There are three components to the stock filtration system in the Fluval Spec:
- Foam Filter Block – This foam block has two compartments to hold the two other filter media components. It offers biological filtration (surface area for beneficial bacteria) and mechanical filtration to trap detritus in the water column. The replacement filter block apparently does not include the very handy plastic handle at the top to help you lift it up; make sure to transfer that over from your existing filter block if you replace it. Replacement cost for the filter block from Amazon is around $8 USD each, or a pack of three for around $20 USD.
- Biomax Ceramic Rings – This is a mesh bag filled with around 2 ounces of ceramic rings. This filter media is to provide biological filtration through increased surface area. These bags of ceramic media are around $3 USD each on Amazon.
- Activated Carbon Bag – This is another bagged filter media, but a finer mesh and is filled with activated carbon. It is neither mechanical or biological, but it is a chemical filter. These come in a pack of three for around $4 USD on Amazon.
When to Replace Filter Media in Your Spec Aquarium:
If you maintian your filter media by rinsing out often (weekly in my case, using dechlorinated tap water), the foam block and biomax can last for a very, very long time. I am going on over a year and don’t feel a need to replace yet. I won’t replace the foam block unless it starts to look really ratty or tears in two (probably from the top where the handle is). I will consider replacing the biomax if it becomes very clogged with detris that doesn’t rinse off or if it starts to crumble.
I can’t speak for the duration to replace the activated carbon bag as I choose not to use this filter media.
Replacement Spec Aquarium Parts:
I haven’t had any parts break so far, but I do think about what I would do if something needed to be replaced. As more and more people are setting up Spec tanks, there are more avenues for replacement of common parts. Some are available on Amazon. I would not expect parts to be readably available at local pet stores, however. The best source seems to be the Hagen (Fluval’s parent company) website. I have discovered that Hagen has different websites servicing different countries. Hagen’s USA replacement parts page is here. I have tracked down individual parts in the links below. These links will be for USA customers – you will need to navigate to the country of your choice if you live elsewhere. If Hagen reworks their website, these links will be broken, but I hope it remains helpful. Here is what I have found so far (USA links):
EDIT: I have discovered [January 2020] that the Hagen links I had in place (in the following section) are no longer valid. It looks like they are not selling replacement parts directly to customers. If you want in the following sections are no longer valid. I will try to get this section upgraded if Fluval offers replacement parts online.
- Spec III and V Replacemet Pump – This is the factory stock pump and currently cost about $21 USD. I worry most about the pump going out suddenly, but this pump seems to be very long lasting. Nothing last forever, though, and I have considered ordering one just to have a spare on-hand.
- Spec I and II Replacement Pump – Again, factory replacement. It looks very similar to the one for the III and V; I don’t know what the difference is. It also cost about $15 USD.
- Spec (all generations) Outlet Nozzle – This includes the outlet nozzle and the elbow that turns down to connect to the outlet tube (from the pump). It might be possible to crack this, or loose a part. $3 USD. Best I can tell, this part works for any Spec Aquarium (I, II, III, V).
- Spec Outlet Tube – I am speaking of the clear flexible tube that transfers flow from the pump up to the elbow at the outlet nozzle (the one that I like to put holes in to improve flow). Finding an exact replacement for the size of tubing provided with the Spec kit has turned into an adventure. A kind reader has reported that the outlet nozzle on Hagen’s website (directly preceding) includes a direct replacement flow tube.
- Spec V Replacement Light – This is the factory stock light. At around $43 USD replacement cost, you should consider looking at aftermarket alternatives as some of them can be found for less money, or slightly more money but much better performance. Please note that this light has been updated to a version that is more durable and has a higher light output. I don’t see it is available from Fluval yet as a direct replacement.
- Spec III Replacement Light – This link is for Canada – I can’t find a USA link. Again, factory stock light and again, there is a newer version of this light currently shipping on Spec III aquariums. $25 CAD. The small size of the III makes aftermarket alternatives fewer, but there are a few to consider.
- Spec V Replacement Acrylic Cover – This could be very useful if you drop yours and break it. Also, over time, the plastic will show haziness from scratches. The cost is currently $15 USD.
- Spec III Replacement Acrylic Cover – All the comments above or the Spec V model apply. Great to have this available if yours breaks. Around $13 USD.
I hope this helps. The Hagen website is a bit daunting, but I hope you can navigate it to find the parts you need for your country.