I was running a 1.5g betta tank (i know it is too small, betta is now in a 5g tank), and was in desperate need for a good filter. Internal filters were out of the question as even the smallest internal filters had too much flow and the only one that fit, the Tetra whisper 3i, had a air pump that made too much noise. So i found this little filter and decided to give it a try. Packaging:
Filter comes in a small box with all parts and an instruction manual. Simple, efficient, filter was well protected. 5/5 Assembly:
Straight forward HOB setups, tubes go in obvious places. There intake tube is split into 3 segments so the depth was adjustable. Filter media is 2 pads that slide vertically in so there was no specific order to put the filter together. The only problem is that the pads are soft and the housing is tight, getting the foam to go all the way in and down to the bottom of the housing required some maneuvering and forecepts to get it to be a complete seal and force all the water to go through the foam. 5/5 Pricing and availability:
These little filters are ~10USD from what I have seen and comes with all the basics of a nano filter set. Everything you need to start is here. However, I have found that the filters are not commonly carried at all and only appear in large online stores like amazon or very specialized pet stores. 10 bucks is pretty reasonable for this, although dollar per power ratio may not be high, the size of the product is specialized enough to warrant the price. 9/10 Design:
The filter is of a pretty standard design, motor draws in water, pushes it through the media, gravity does the rest. However, I find that there are some mild flaws with this filter.
1) The main media housing is narrow, the motor pushes the water hard and in the small housing, it is easy for water to get over the media instead of through it, reducing filtration efficiency.
2) The media is frustrating to put in, but like many HOBs, this can be fixed by the owner using their own media, filling it with a different foam cut to size, filling it with biomax, etc.
3) Noise. This thing can get loud and the motor vibrates hard. In small tanks, this is incredibly noticable, creating a low humming noise and if the HOB is on the edge of the tank in the corner, easily creates a humming noise as it vibrates against the sides.
4) Clear housing. Although nice to be able to see whats in the filter, in such a small machine, algae easily clogs the media, and the intake tubes. Then it becomes unsightly, inefficient, and a pain to clean.
1) This filter is small, it fits in a lot of places where nother filters will not fit
2) The flow control is effective at its purpose, the design allows you to obstruct flow and reduce GPH or allow the full amount of GPH with the simple turn of the knob.
3) Filter intake is of cuztomizable length allowing smaller topped but deeper tanks to use it as well.
Overall, it does what its supposed to and has all the same flaws as many other HOBs on the market.
As it is a nano filter, maintenance on this machine is a pain. Normal fingers, except that of a small child will have a lot of trouble cleaning. Even with a toothbrush, there are hard to reach places. Although this is needed for it to be a proper nano filter, it is still a pain to use, and compared to other nano filters, more difficult to maintain. The addition of having to clean the intake tube is also very frustrating. The angles are sharp and nearly impossible, even with a pipe cleaner, to get everything in a reasonable amount of time. 14/20 Final Thoughts:
Overall, this is not a spectacular HOB, but nor is it a terrible one. It does filter the water give all the benefits of larger HOBs on a smaller scale. Originally, for me, this filter was purchased as an alternative to the noisy air pump of the Whisper 3i, and this was quieter, but only by a little. I was a little more lenient with the grading on this filter because many of the design flaws and trouble of maintenance has to do with the size of the machine which is a requirement for the smaller tanks. However, points were still deducted based on how frustrating of an experience it is to own one of these. 78/100