Eclipse System 6
Eclipse System 6
I received an Eclipse System 6 for my birthday and decided to write up a review of the system.
The actual tank of the Eclipse system would best be described as a baby bowfront. It has a trapezoidal cross section with a curved front pane. For those of you like me who detest bowfronts don't despair. The bow is slight and distortion is not noticeable. It also narrows very slightly from top to bottom. It's not obvious until you fit a background on it so be aware. I had to trim mine to get it to fit without hanging out. I was surprised by the base of the tank. Rather than being flat the bottom is molded with several round feet across its width. To be honest these concerned me as they look to be a good number of stress concentrators and could be a problem if you don't place the aquarium on a level surface. In my case I used a piece of foam board insulation under the tank to even out any irregularities.
The filter that comes with the system is a modification of Marineland's HoB designs. Rather than using a vertical cartridge it has the traditional blue cartridge laying horizontal. Water is pumped up from the tank and poured out over the top of the cartridge. The bottom of the cartridge section is shaped to encourage water to flow horizontally through the fiber and carbon before spilling into a reservoir. The water fills the reservoir then spills over into a compartment with a biowheel. The wheel is underflow driven much like the Penguin series of filters. The filter is quite powerful for its size and kicks out a good deal of flow. Like I've come to expect from Marineland the filter runs silently.
The hood for the Eclipse encloses the entire top of the tank, hiding the filter from sight. The Eclipse's 8W light is also housed here. Fitting in the filter and the light results in a tight space inside the hood. This leads to two issues, first there is very little room to feed your fish if the hood is left on and you use the access door in the top of the hood. There is no way to work with the tank through the hood at all. Second, with the filter tanking up the rear half of the hood the light must be mounted on the front half. This results in a light shadow in the rear of the tank as the front is well illuminated. Depending on the look you are going for this may or may not be a good thing.
The primary reason I chose this tank over assembling my own with off the self parts was this tank was intended to be kept at work. As such the fully enclosed hood and modern shape helped this tank not look out of place in an office environment.
Overall my initial impression of the Eclipse 6 is favorable. I will update the thread as time progresses.
A Small Update
I use my Eclipse in my office as a tank for a betta and several harlequin rasboras. I was initially concerned with flow from the Eclipse's powerful filter and took steps to reduce this flow. One of these steps was to wrap the intake with a piece of filter foam. This was a Bad Idea. The Eclipse's filter ran fine for almost a week before I came into work and found the filter not running. A week of experimentation trying to fix this problem ended with a call to Marineland. They quickly sent me, free of charge, a new pump/box unit that arrived in three days. In that time however I removed the filter foam and the motor worked reliably. The foam was apparently creating too much restriction and causing the filter's motor to overheat and shut off. It has not had even a single problem since the foam has been removed.
1) Do not restrict the motor's intake. These pumps seem intolerant of it.
2) Marineland's customer service is impeccable.
My Eclipse continues to do well. The acrylic hasn't been noticeably scratched even after almost 8 months of use. No leaks, not real problems. The light has managed to sustain a java fern and crypt quite well promoting nice growth in both. I have had one significant incident though.
The filter in the Eclipse is actually tilted ever so slightly forward. This was done as far as I can tell to encourage any water that overflows the filter box to spill back into the tank instead of out the back where the filter rests right against the back side of the tank. Well after maintenance one evening I move the filter and it wound up tilted backwards. This combined with my older modified filter cartridges resulted in water overflowing the back of the tank and out. Over two inches of water from the tank were pumped out in just about 2 hours. I was using modified cartridges that were significantly gunked up at the time but it is a caution I would give all Eclipse owners, make sure the filter is tilted in the proper direction, in.
I also have a Marineland Eclipse 6. 3 mos of use, and no real complaints so far. Some small amount of scratching from cleaning the inside with a scrub brush. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and clean algae by hand with a soft cloth rather than a scrub brush. Plenty of flow from the filter (almost too much for our ADF's), and so quiet we can hear the ADF sing to his mate from across the room. We change our cartridge out 1-2x per month. Our plants seem to love the lighting from the fluorescent bulb. Have had one small issue when water got in the small vent hole for the impeller motor. Just unplugged it for a couple days and let the moisture evaporate and it started working again. No big deal. Cleaning is a snap. The entire filtration system can be removed, broken down, cleaned and reinstalled in about 10-15 mins. The cage around the filter intake keeps our frog from getting limbs stuck in there. Absolutely LOVE the in-tank setup with nothing hanging off the back.
Great review, and I would also add that the Eclipse 6 is extremely durable. I bought one when my daughter was just a few years old, and she is now 11. However I purchased a new Eclipse 5 Hex, and while they added a nice door in the front to make it easier to feed, the pump is noticeably louder. I think I will return it and stick with the original.
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