Odd how different opinions are. I won't use HOB(hang on back)-aqua clear, bio-wheel, whisper, ect. Hate them. If they don't bother you then go for them, they work fine. I can't stand their design, ability to make noise, lack of space for media,difficulty of swapping out for different kinds of media, and $ for what I think they are worth. When ever I get one for free I scrap it for just the motor if its submersible(whisper) and recycle the rest. Motor works OK as a circulation pump.
I prefer canisters on large tanks and internals on smaller tanks. I never run any carbon unless I need to remove meds, but even then I'd rather just do a full WC. If its a show tank then I'd use a real" brand" filter, if its not I'm cheap and can make a filter thats just as good for a couple dollars and held together by rubber bands.