08-01-2008, 01:16 AM
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I just set up my first canister filter a few days ago, and I've gotta say it's nice. The aquarium in question is a 29 gallon. I'm running a HOB filter with both sponge material and filter floss. I put play sand in the tank and I'll be honest - I didn't rinse it as well as I really should have. I had the power filter running for about 24 hours on the tank but the water was still quite cloudy. However, after having the Fluval 204 running on the tank for about two hours, the water was crystal clear. I can't vouch for this filter completely as I've read some negative reviews of it and I've only had it running for a couple of days.
I still think a combination of filtration methods is the best way to go. Sure, you can buy a huge canister filter that's rated to cover your whole tank, but getting a smaller canister and using it in conjunction with other filters would be even better.
Also, there are much cheaper alternatives to Petsmart. Their online prices are generally better than what you'd pay in the store, but there are online-only retailers that are cheaper still. Aquariumguys.com and drsfosterandsmith.com are two good sites. Also, if the hefty price of canisters gives you a bit of sticker shock, consider looking at craigslist. Sometimes people sell equipment for really good prices there.