new tank - some questions - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
View Poll Results: which filter?
Aqua Clear by hagen 1 9.09%
Emperor Bio-Filter 4 36.36%
Marineland Penguin Bio-wheel power filter 0 0%
rena filstar 1 9.09%
vortex diatom filter 1 9.09%
EHEIM Classic external canister 4 36.36%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 15 Old 10-19-2006, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
girlofgod's Avatar
new tank - some questions

ok, so my birthday is coming up in like 2 weeks and as of right now, i will be upgrading my 10 gallon tank to a 46 gallon pentagonal tank, and i am researching filters. i dont have hundreds of dollars to spend on a filter, but at the same time i want one that will work well. so here are a few i found, let me know what ya'll think of each one and which would be the better buy.

rena filstar external canister $61.99

EHEIM Classic EC $69.99 (this is a little more than i want to spend but i still want to know what you think about it for future reference. )

Aqua Clear by hagen $19.99, $27.99

Emperor Power (BIO) Filter $35.99

Marineland Penguin Bio-wheel power filter $21.00

Vortex Diatom filter $68.89

i plan on housing primarily either angels, discus or gourami, with a pebble substrate. i would also like advice on the lighting...i am looking to purchase a new flourescent bulb for my 10 gallon tank. i want one thats a bit brighter and i came across the spectramax super daylight bulb. any thoughts? thanks alot!


"everything happens for a reason...the hard part is figuring out what that reason is."
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-19-2006, 06:20 PM
When selecting a filter, it's usually best to go above and beyond the rating for your tank. Otherwise, you may end up spending frequent water changes to reduce ammonia/nitrIte levels.

Since you will be upgrading to a 45 gallon, you should look at filters that are rated for at least 60 gallons or more. Of course, if you plan to have fish that produce lots of waste, then it's best to get bigger filters, maybe with ratings for 75 gallons or more.

Eheim Filters are known to be the Porche of filters. Of course, with the name, also comes with the cost of the filter. For a 46 gallon, I would suggest either a Eheim Ecco 2234 or 2236. Filstars are ok and I own one myself, but I much prefer the Eheim. The FilStar XP filters DO NOT come with enough media. On the lower end models of FilStar XP1 and XP2, it's best to go with the Eheim Ecco filters, since they already include ALL the media you need to operate it. Plus I like the Eheims becuase it has an nice handle to carry, which also operates as a shut-off and primer for the filter.

HOB filters (Aqua Clear, Marineland Emperor/Pengion Biowheels) do not have enough surface area for the nitrifying bacteria to colonize. The bio-wheel is supposed to help in bio filtration, but I don't really know how much. The Pengiun Bio-wheels are actually a cheaper designs of the Emperor bio-wheels. If you had to decide, ALWAYS go with the Emperors. The reason is, the penguin models bio-wheel turn by the force of the water exiting the filter. If the water flow does not touch the bio-wheel, it will not turn. The emperor models have a spray bar above the bio-wheel to help turn it.

Vortex Diatom filters are basically clarifiers, which are not made to run 24/7, like other filters. Diatom filters help remove algae/parasites becuase of the micron filters. You also need to use diatomic powder with the filter. These type of filters are a PITA to start.
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-19-2006, 08:49 PM
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Re: new tank - some questions

OK Eddie, I am not going to debate filters with you at the moment (although it looks like this forum could use a couple of good old filter debates), but you are wrong on the HOB filters.

Bri, these are my top 4:

1: EHEIM. As Eddie said these are ussauly the un debated best of filters.

2: Emperor Power (BIO) Filter $35.99 Your second best choice, if you can not afford a Eheim.

3: Marineland Penguin Bio-wheel power filter $21.00, not as good as the Emperors (they have a spray bar for the wheel, plus more media capacity).

4: Aqua Clear by hagen $19.99, $27.99, I do not like these as much.
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-19-2006, 09:04 PM

I have some experience with the filters mentioned. I own 2 Emperor 280's, an Emperor 400, AquaClear 20, FilStar XP3, Eheim Pro II 2128, 2 Eheim Ecco 2234, Eheim Ecco 2236, and some kind of Tetra Whisper and a similar filter from Walmart.
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-20-2006, 01:11 AM
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I know all of these filters, and many more. I have had long debates with the company reps, and have worked with fixing them for the customers, too. Top of the line is Eheim, of course, but you will pay for it. The Marineland filters, Penguin and Emporer filters are good, but tend to need a lot of "fixing" as time goes on. They are noted for issues. AquaClear is a good brand, they're sturdy and tend to last a long time, easy to maintain, and easy to fit in as much media as you need. Tetra filters are also good, though they, like the Marineland filters, don't provide much space for extra media when needed. One I was suprised not to see on the list is the Cascade put out by PenPlax. This is a good, sturdy filter, lots of media room, and easy to find parts should something break. They weren't so good when they first came onto the market, but the reps and I had many long conversations and I voiced a lot of complaints until they made some changes. Siince the changes over the past yr or 2, they are a good filter and a lot cheaper than the Eheim. The cascade is also pretty easy to use, easy to prime.
I'd avoid Magnum filters like the plague, as they're the most popular for issues.
Hope this helps a bit.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-20-2006, 02:09 AM
My only problem with AC filters is if you need to rinse out the sponge filter, you need to remove the whole tray. Whereas, with the Emperors, you can remove either or both trays at your leasure.

I've seen allot of hobbyist who recently purchased PenPlax filters and had problems. FilStar, still problematic, was the highest rated, next to Eheim.

I found the Eheim Ecco filters the easiest to prime. The handle serves as shutoff and primer.
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-20-2006, 02:23 AM
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I've never had problems with my Cascade since they upgraded the shut off valves. I've had it since they were new on the market, and it does wonders for my oscar tank.
As for the AC fliters, the sponge isn't supposed to be rinsed unless it gets really dirty, and this should be done in dirty tank water, never under the tap. With the AC filters, I like the fact that they leave a lot of space for filter media, and lifting a sponge out of it has never been much trouble for me. The AC also has a good water flow to it and the parts are sturdy. The AC was the one we did the least amount of repairs on during my 8 yrs at the store and they work well for saltwater, too.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-20-2006, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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the only reason i had not heard of cascade by penplax is because i was looking for something i could purchase at petsmart, which is the only major fish retailer around here, and these were the choices available to me within my price range. thanks so much for all of your input! i would love to hear from blue too...

"everything happens for a reason...the hard part is figuring out what that reason is."
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-20-2006, 07:44 PM
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I voted for the canister filter in the poll, because I have heard they are excellent. Personally, I have always used the HOB aquaclear filters. They last and last, are very user friendly, and my tanks are very clean. There is plenty of current and biological filtering going on.

I have a small marineland aquarium with the built-in bio-wheel filter and I'm not at all impressed with it. It just doesn't seem to move much water at all, and I have resorted to adding aeration with an airstone to keep the tank clear.

You know what the definition of hobby is: something of interest that is going to cost you lots of money!
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-24-2006, 05:42 PM
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I'm looking into gettting the Aquaclear power filters, I use the Tetra power filters, but I'd prefer to have more control over my media.

I've never used a external canister filter before. I did try to hook up a Fluval canister filter to my 30 gallon, don't remember the model, but it was old -- used by my husband maybe 10 years ago. There was this big O-ring that was a huge pain and never really fit right. I gave up on it, and got quite wet in the process. The valves were difficult to close as well. Since then I've been quite hesitant about canisters -- can someone explain why the Eheim for example is so preferred? Are they easy to use? Is it O-ring free? :)

Snorkeling is a must for every fish lover!
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