Im just getting back into the hobby after being out of it for about 20 yrs. My tank collection is growing by the day:-D. My question is about filters...HOB's and canisters. From what I gather, the Aqua Clear HOB's are good???? And the rest are basically worthless???? I also was told that the Rena canisters bypass too much water.
Which are the best HOB's?
Which are the best canisters?
What canisters should I not waste the money on?
from my experience aquaclear HOB are good. if i remember correctly, my roommate had an aquaclear HOB and it had media bags and such. if he needed to change the filter or media he could toggle a switch and flow would decrease or be diverted from the main "chute". i like them for that reason. on my 10gallon tank i'm using an odyssea which came with the tank as a deal. it does what it needs to, lets just say haha.
on my 40 gallon im using an eheim canister. i did a lot of research on eheim versus rena versus fluval. eheim are generally higher end than the other two, but they are also pricier. however i can attest to their literal silence. i can't hear mine at all when it is running. i have the ECCO pro series. other members on here can probably tell you more about their experiences. i like eheim canisters personally for the quiet; my roommate likes his rena because of the flow.
I have a couple of Aquaclear 70 filters made by Hagen and I think they're great. They allow us to control the filter media unlike the limitations of a cartridge filter HOB*. Also, the inlet tube can be rotated over the impeller to reduce the flow while increasing re-filtration within the filter. The filters come with sponge, activated carbon bag and bio-max ceramic media. I have separate bio-filtration, but I use sponge, periodically activated carbon, Seachem Purigen, API Nitra-Zorb and always top off with filter floss to 'polish' the water.
(*Most cartridge filters have no, or very limited capacity for bio-media. Many cartridges have carbon inside, but in an insufficient quantity to do much good. When the cartridge is discarded, so is any beneficial bacteria it contained.)
Another contender is Hagen's C4. Similar to the Aquaclear, although a bit less flexible, it is the first HOB I know of to leverage drip filtration for bio-media. It's worth a look.
I don't have a canister as I found that the AC70 HOB on my 60g does just fine. I hear that Eheim, Rena and Fluval are all contenders in that order.
I have a Penguin 400 and 350B on some of my tanks, they are slightly noisy compared to the Aquaclear and move an awful lot of water.
I also have the RENA XP2 AND RENA XP4 on my tanks as well and have never had any problems with them at all. I also have a Fluval FX5 and that is a beast of a filter.
What size tank are we talking about? and what do you plan on stocking it with? Some filters can create too much flow for certain fish, so this information is required before offering suggestions.
IMO "bypass" is a gimmick put out by eheim and perpetuated by their fan base. Yes, eheims have zero bypass, and yes there is *some* bypass with other canisters, but no one ever talks about HOW MUCH.....because they don't know. So they could be touting this wonderful zero bypass when other canisters are 98% bypass free. To me, that is inconsequential. For starters, the Rena/fluval/sunsun baskets fit pretty tightly together - tight enough that you often have to pull them apart to separate them. Not a perfect seal, but pretty darn good. Second, the water is being sucked up through the center of the filter - in order for the water to leave the filter, it must go through the media baskets - there is no water leaving the filter that hasn't been through media, though a small amount may not necessarily have been through every stage of filtration. Also, if the concern is water leaking from the baskets back to the perimeter, then it would just get refiltered. However, the laws of physics would have to be suspended for that to happen.
I have 12 canisters from 5 brands - the renas are my favorites, closely followed by the Sunsuns. Factoring price into it, the Sunsuns come out on top.
Most people like what they have, and so that's what they recommend. So as always, it's a matter of WHY. Sunsuns are my favorites because they are cheap, they hold a ton of media and they have built in surface skimmers.
Which are the best HOB's? Aquaclear
Which are the best canisters? Eheim, Rena, Fluval
What canisters should I not waste the money on? Marineland
Penn-plax also makes a good HOB filter with separatefilter floss+carbon cartridge and Bio sponge. They are silent and there is a valve to vary the flow rate from full on down to a trickle.
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