Should I switch to a canister filter?
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Should I switch to a canister filter?

This is a discussion on Should I switch to a canister filter? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Current tank conditions~ I have a 50 gallon tank fully stocked. I was thinking of switching over to a canister filter but I have ...

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Should I switch to a canister filter?
Old 09-30-2013, 06:24 AM   #1
 
Post Should I switch to a canister filter?

Current tank conditions~

I have a 50 gallon tank fully stocked. I was thinking of switching over to a canister filter but I have many questions about them with my tank conditions.

I have a marineland penguin 350 HOB filter(works fine. Just creats alot of micro bubbles). The only bottom dwellers I have are Black Kuhli Loachs.

I have gravel in my tank right now and will be switching to sand in the next few days( I have all the info I need on sand)

My HOB filter is the only thing creating ripples on top of the water.

I have a Powerhead in the tank creating a "surge" water flow.
~~~
The filter I am looking at is "SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Filter, 264 GPH" on amazon.(Ill put in a link if its not against the forum rules)

My questions are ~

Do I need to purchase any other equipment with this filter?
Would the sand harm the filter?
Would I need an airpump to create ripples?
Should I keep my powerhead in the tank?
What other "pro's" are there to owning this canister filter compared to my HOB one atm?

Thank you in advance !
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imacat View Post
Current tank conditions~

I have a 50 gallon tank fully stocked. I was thinking of switching over to a canister filter but I have many questions about them with my tank conditions.

I have a marineland penguin 350 HOB filter(works fine. Just creats alot of micro bubbles). The only bottom dwellers I have are Black Kuhli Loachs.

I have gravel in my tank right now and will be switching to sand in the next few days( I have all the info I need on sand)

My HOB filter is the only thing creating ripples on top of the water.

I have a Powerhead in the tank creating a "surge" water flow.
~~~
The filter I am looking at is "SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Filter, 264 GPH" on amazon.(Ill put in a link if its not against the forum rules)

My questions are ~

Do I need to purchase any other equipment with this filter?
Would the sand harm the filter?
Would I need an airpump to create ripples?
Should I keep my powerhead in the tank?
What other "pro's" are there to owning this canister filter compared to my HOB one atm?

Thank you in advance !
welcome to the forum

First thing I would suggest is looking at ebay for the filter (search for "canister filter")- I believe they are cheaper there. I like the sunsun filters and run 4 of them, of various sizes. For your tank I would look at getting the 303 model (370 gph). It comes with or without UV, designated by A or B (303A or 303B). The 302 comes without UV (though I think they just started making them with UV too), the 303 comes with or without, and the 304 comes with UV. The UV is useless for anything other than clearing green water, if it can even do that, so I would avoid spending that extra money if you can. Too, when looking at these filters, some with have a built in surface skimmer and others do not. You don't have to use it if you don't want to, but I do suggest getting one with the skimmer. I think they call it a "dirtiness entrance". silly name, but you will see it in the diagram in the item description. Also, some on ebay will come with only mechanical media, while others come with additional media.

You do not need to purchase anything additional for the filter, expect possibly media. Whats great is that you can customize your media and you don't ever have to replace it. I use fluval ceramic prefilters in the bottom tray (stage one), then mechanical media in the middle (stage two) and then fluval biomax in the top try (stage 3). The prefilters trap large particles, which helps the finer mechanical pads from getting clogged. I am super impressed with them.

Canister filters are impervious to sand. I keep my intakes an inch off the sand. Unlike HOBs, canisters have their pump at the top of the filter, so in addition to gravity keeping the sand out of the motor, all the stages of filtration prevent the sand from reaching the impeller as well. HOBs have their motors at the bottom of the filter, which is where the sand will collect.

You will not need an air pump - the spraybar will create more than enough surface disruption to facilitate the gas exchange.

It may not be a bad idea to keep the power head. If you get the small filter, I would say definitely keep it so that you can improve circulation in the tank. With the larger filter, you probably won't need it unless you notice some dead spots in the tank - areas that are stagnate, usually on the opposite side of the tank from the filter. HOBs are terrible at circulating water, so it's a good thing to use with them. Canisters are much better at circulation.

The pros of the canister over the HOB are too many to list. Literally, everything is better. The only thing that is not is cleaning the filter. It is significantly easier to clean an HOB than a canister. However, HOBs need to be cleaned much more frequently than canisters so I see it as a wash. I only clean my canisters twice a year. They have SOOOOOOO much more media in them that it takes longer for it to get dirty. Even the smaller 302 can house at least 4 times as much media as your current HOB. The 303 holds at least 10 times as much as the HOB. I mentioned cleaning the filter every 6 months - I do not use carbon, so there I only ever open up the filter to clean it. If you were going to use carbon, I suggest running it in a small HOB to make changing it every 3 weeks SIGNIFICANTLY easier. Otherwise, put the carbon on the top of the top media basket so that you can change it without making a mess. All you would do is pop the top and swap it out. It's really not that big of a deal - pulling the filter out from under the tank is the most difficult part just because it's heavy.

Canisters can be a bit intimidating at first, but once you get familiar and comfortable with them there is no going back

Last edited by jaysee; 09-30-2013 at 01:13 PM..
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Imacat (09-30-2013)
Old 09-30-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
 
Both the 302 and 303 are skimmers(the ones I see) . Would it be a bad idea in the long haul to get the the 302 rather then 303. Would there be any real drawbacks other then it not filtering as much water per hr?
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Old 09-30-2013, 02:34 PM   #4
 
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All three sizes come with the skimmers....but some don't. If its not in the picture, then it doesn't come with it. I bought one that didn't. I contacted the seller and said that I assumed that it did. They said only if pictured, and they sent me the piece free of charge.

I believe in large filtration, which is why I suggested the next one up. Truthfully, if it were my tank I would put 2 of the 302s on it. Is that needed? Not from a water quality standpoint. 0 is 0, so as long as you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites then you have enough filtration. However, I ask more of my filtration systems than to just maintain water quality. I could just use one filter and a powerhead, but I would rather use a filter than a powerhead because it is more useful - why not increase the tanks filtration capacity? If I'm going to spend money on improving circulation, then I might as well spend a little more and double my filtration
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Old 09-30-2013, 02:43 PM   #5
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysee View Post
welcome to the forum
.

The pros of the canister over the HOB are too many to list. Literally, everything is better. The only thing that is not is cleaning the filter. It is significantly easier to clean an HOB than a canister. However, HOBs need to be cleaned much more frequently than canisters so I see it as a wash. I only clean my canisters twice a year. They have SOOOOOOO much more media in them that it takes longer for it to get dirty. Even the smaller 302 can house at least 4 times as much media as your current HOB. The 303 holds at least 10 times as much as the HOB. I mentioned cleaning the filter every 6 months - I do not use carbon, so there I only ever open up the filter to clean it. If you were going to use carbon, I suggest running it in a small HOB to make changing it every 3 weeks SIGNIFICANTLY easier. Otherwise, put the carbon on the top of the top media basket so that you can change it without making a mess. All you would do is pop the top and swap it out. It's really not that big of a deal - pulling the filter out from under the tank is the most difficult part just because it's heavy.

Canisters can be a bit intimidating at first, but once you get familiar and comfortable with them there is no going back
I seem to be the exception that proves the rule here. I think that the canister is easier to clean, When I had the AC50 or the penguin 200 there was always water all over the place when I finished cleaning the filters. Part of that was the necessity to prime the AC. The other thing that was a problem was the accumulation of a brown gelatinous matter on the outflow lip of both HOB. I suspect it was fish poo so the filters had to be disassembled every time cleaning was done. Both filters had to be removed from the tank to the sink washed and then reassembled on the tank. The penguin would restart by itself, noisy as all getout until the water got to the impeller chamber. The AC made the same noise until it was primed because it didn't pull the water into the impeller chamber w/o pouring some from the make up water into the impeller chamber. If the shutoff lever on the fluval that I have is operated before shutting down the filter, the water is maintained though out the system and it just starts up pumping water noiselessly.
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:17 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by jaysee View Post
All three sizes come with the skimmers....but some don't. If its not in the picture, then it doesn't come with it. I bought one that didn't. I contacted the seller and said that I assumed that it did. They said only if pictured, and they sent me the piece free of charge.

I believe in large filtration, which is why I suggested the next one up. Truthfully, if it were my tank I would put 2 of the 302s on it. Is that needed? Not from a water quality standpoint. 0 is 0, so as long as you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites then you have enough filtration. However, I ask more of my filtration systems than to just maintain water quality. I could just use one filter and a powerhead, but I would rather use a filter than a powerhead because it is more useful - why not increase the tanks filtration capacity? If I'm going to spend money on improving circulation, then I might as well spend a little more and double my filtration
You do have a point . I'll just buy the 303 for the little price difference. Thanks for the heads up on the skimmer and the time you have spent answering my questions !
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:28 PM   #7
 
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You're very welcome

Start a thread when it comes time to set it up - there are a few little things you should be aware of before you begin.
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:04 PM   #8
 
Will do !
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