Theiling Compact Roller Mat: replace the new roll fast!


Premium member
On my red sea reefer 750xxl, I relocated my sump to my basement. I went with the Theiling Compact Roller mat, and due to my flow being higher than the recommended rate I end up having to change my roller pad every 15-20 days. It definitely pulls out a significant amount of detritus, but my biggest pet peeve with it is the change out process.

Previously, I would have to shut the main pump down, wait for the water to drain into the sump, shut off my skimmer because my sump level goes up, then once its done, utilize the quick disconnect fitting I installed above the roller mat, which almost always results in water dripping everywhere, remove the down tube within the roller mat before replacing the roll. A few more steps go along with this process plus the reverse of getting everything up and running, but I think you get the picture.

Today I just happened to check on the roller mat and saw the tail end had just come off the tube. As I was grabbing the new roll to replace it, the idea to tape the new roll to the tail end of the old roll popped in my head. Since the old roll was damp, I didn't know if this would work but thought it was worth a shot. I first tried to just use the tape that is wrapped on the new roll but that didn't work. It was basically packing tape thats been around the fThe tape came off as it was getting pulled through. So I grabbed some painters tape, made sure I firmly attached it, and that did the trick. I was able to feed the new roll through without ever having to shut off my pump. The blue painters tape also made it easy for me to see when the new roll made it through, and then shut off the auto feed on the roller matt so I could finish the process.

Here are some pictures and the steps I did. These steps seems like alot, but it's actually a pretty easy and quick process.
  1. Remove old cardboard tube, replace with new filter roll.
  2. Unroll some of the new roll, tape to tail end of the old roll. The old roll will be damp, so I would put tape on both sides. Press firmly & give a slight tug to make sure its attached
  3. Push the auto feed button on the side. This will start to slowly pull the new roll through.
  4. Hold the roll and watch to make sure the tape doesn't come undone. If it does, press the auto feed button to stop, reach in and slowly pull back the old roll. You may need to lift the old roll out of the roller cradle to be able to do this. Repeat above steps if needed.​
  5. Once you see the tape, in my case I used blue painters tape, press the auto feed button to stop the feed. Put the new roll into the cradle.
  6. Remove the old roll from the cradle, unravel enough of the roll so you can take the tape off. Discard old roll.
  7. Rewrap the new roll on the roller, replace in the cradle. All done!

I found this process significantly easier for me. No water mess, no shutting down pumps, I wish I figured this out from the start! My sump is setup like a peninsula, so I have access to both sides. It may work out just as good if you have this roller mat within the tank cabinet. I can also see how a similar process would work with other types of compact roller mats though you are going to have to experiment on your own. The key is to do this before the dirty roll gets fed to far through. I have noticed that on the theiling compact roller mat, once its off the new side, It almost never pulls the matt all the way through as the water simply bypasses the filter roll. This process may not always work, but its worth a shot and will save you a significant amount of time!

Thanks for checking this out and I hope this helps you out!