I have a 20 gal planted aquarium and do to my impatience i now have 3 filters so I figured I would give my opinion on them to spread some info to some noods like me. The 3 filters I have are marinland bio wheel for up to a 30 gal, aqueon quiet flow for 20 gal, and the aquaclear fluval for 10-20 gal.
**** Marinland Bio wheel*****
This filter actually came with my 20 gal starter kit. It just pumped way to much water for my tank and created to much current for the fish I have.
Long intake tube that extends close to gravel and has a adjustable second intake at mid level.
Bio wheel is also nice to help establish biological filter and help maintain it.
For some this may be a plus. Really creates some circulation. If u have fish that like currents this is a good filter for it as long as u keep a somewhat clean filter. As it clogs I would imagine it would slow down. I only had it on for a few days.
Fast current. This is also a con for those with fish that like calmer water.
All in one filter. I consider this a con because I have plants and do not wish to have any media in it. Im sure u could modify to get it out but why buy it just to modify it.
Disturbs top of water. The bio wheel actully creates a lot of this problem. Those with plants no why this is bad.
Kinda noisy. Out of all three this is the noisiest. Lots of water splash noise also cause of bio wheel.
Out of the 3 this is second to me. Because it filters better. Noise bothers me a bit cause its right next to where I sit and relax. Not sure the cost as it came with my kit. If I didnt have plants and the fish I have I would of prob kept this filter.
****Aqueon Quiet flow $14.99******
*as it says it is quiet, the motor actually is underwater and the outlet for the water is a little loer so u dount hear the water splash sound.
*low flow, low current. Very good if u have fish that like things calmer.
Not as bulky as marineland bio wheel.
*Intake tube is kinda short and doesnot come with any extentions
*All in one fiter. Again a con to me but not to all
*the filter clogged quick. Not even a week and I was cleanin it.
ITS A $15 dollar filter. The low current it creats is the only real high side. Just plan on more filter up keep with frequent rinses.
****Aquaclear Fluval $34 *****
*Three part filter all seperate. Carbon, sponge, bio media. Great for planted tanks cause u can remove carbon. I run two sponges and bio media in the middle.
*adjustable flow. Just slide the tube left or right to create a higher or lower flow.
*also has a little adjustment to make the water outlet in the water or a little above so u can pick how much water disturbance.
*intake extention. It can either be short or longer.
*the plastic for this filter is clear all other are black. I like this cause I can visually see the condition of the filter without pulling it out.
*I cant think of any so far.
If your buying a HOB filter, this is the one I would go with. Hands down. They way the filter system is setup is what makes the better one to buy cause it gives u options and the adjustable flow is awesone to cause u can adjust it to your tank setup.
Those are my thoughts and findings. Hope it helps someone thsts new getting into the hobby.