HOB or Canister for 20g?
I have a 20 gallon tall tank and I am planning on building a stand for it this weekend. The stand will be made to accomodate the filter so I would like to know what kind of filter would be best for my tank before I build the stand. This will be a heavily planted tank with some tetras and a gourami. After some research, I learned that plants do a majority of the filtering in an aquarium and the neon tetra like a calm water. So it seems that i would need a filter that does mainly mechanical filtration and one that does not produce a lot of current. correct me if im wrong. I currently have the HOB marineland biowheel 150 that came with the aquarium kit. Will this be enough filtration? too much? should I go with a canister instead?
With a 20 gallon that is planted you would be fine using a sponge filter. I use them in all of my tanks. They provide a good area for biological filtration, the plants from my understanding will provide the mechanical filtration with the breaking down of fish waste and using it with your rooted plants. I also know that Byron here uses sponge filters on his smaller tanks.
It really comes down to your preference and cost. HOB's are less expensive than canisters initially, but the cartridges can get pricey over time and I don't care for the water flow noise from some HOBs. I enjoy my canister simply due to the lack of noise. My Eheim is really, really, quite on my 55g, but does take a little maintenance every month or so. I have an HOB on the back of my 29g, but find it noisy and the water flow would not be well-suited (in my opinion) for Neons. Some here have built a diffuser for HOBs that deflects the water flow and seems to work very well.
It all comes down to preference. I also have a 10 gallon planted tank with only a sponge filter and my next tank will likely be a 40 gallon planted tank with only a sponge filter. Mechanical filtration can be useful, but it's not a requirement. My eventual plan is to purchase a diatom filter for occasional mechanical "scrubbing" of my tanks and use undersized canister filters or use sponge filters with air pumps/or really low-flow powerheads.
As long as you have some surface water movement to avoid the surface film that looks nasty, and don't overfeed, you can succeed with almost any filter in a planted tank. There is not really a right answer - sorry!
A 20g is a relative small tank, and I would not waste money for a canister filter when a simple dual sponge or single sponge connected to an air pump will handle the task superbly. As someone mentioned, i have sponge filters on my 10g, 20g and 29g, and they are the 3 clearest water tanks of my 7; the others have canisters. Simplicity is often the best course.
The Elite series from Hagen are good sponge filters, there is a single and dual sponge; and the Hydro series is also good. I have both.
Thanks everyone! I am very glad to hear that I can stick with my HOB or get a sponge filter. I am on a very tight budget and I was worried my tank was going to need a canister filter. I can't wait to build my DIY stand this weekend and get my tank going. I will probably have a lot more questions in the future. I want to make sure I do everything right and provide the best environment for the fish. Sometimes research gets confusing, so you guys have been a great help. :-)
I would go with the sponge filter. I have a 50 gallon tank with a HOB filter (soon will get canister). But what I have seen is that the HOB filter creates way to much of a current on one side and all my neon tetras stay to the calmer side of the tank. So, I constantly have one side of the tank that has no fish activity in it. I'm still new to the hobby but from what I have read around here and experienced your fish will enjoy the calmer sponge filter more than the HOB.
Thanks Kmic, I am going to see how the HOB works for now and if it is a problem for the fish then I will definently make the switch over to a sponge filter
Just went back to check the fish planned, and with forest fish and esp gourami I would get a sponge filter. The HOB creates far too much water current in such a small space, believe me. A sponge filter and small air pump is not expensive. And the fish will be better for it, as will the plants.
Gourami all occur in swamps and ponds and ditches with little if any flow. Water movement is stressful.
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