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what would be the best method to filter a 180 gallon tank with angels and some catfish .. i know everyone will say a wet/dry sump. but i dont have the room for one so i was thinking 3 emporer 400 or 1 and a xp3 canister filter... with some under gravel jet to move the water around .
 

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Try this:
http://www.pennplax.com/Pages/Aqua.pages..../Aqua19F.html

I'd work with the 1500 model. I have been running one of these on my oscar 220 gallon for about 6 yrs now, and I love it! They're sturdy, they run well, easy to maintain, easy to set up, and if you have questions about them, you can call the company and get information. I'm not a big fan of Penn Plax, but with this filter they won me over. Their company reps are good at responding to problems, but so far, other that when I first got it (it was new on the market), I haven't had a problem in over 5 yrs.

For all that they are and all that they do, they're not priced sky high, either. I've used and sold a lot of these filters over the yrs, and I suggest them to anyone. If you can't find them at your LFS, ask if they can get them, they're pretty easy to get a hold of.
 

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Canister filters are good for large tanks and are quiet. You could go with a marineland emporer bio wheel. They tend to be a bit ugly and louder but is the cheaper alternative.
 

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you could use a canister and a HOB like the emperor. Or an even better idea is to make your own sump. Just buy a cheap 10-20 gallon tank with no hood (costs like 10 dollars at petsmart). An overflow box, a powerhead, and some airline tubing. You can read some articles about this. They're not that hard to make.
 

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For a 180, I would use at least a 30 gallon tank for sump... 10 gallons won't get you far.
As for the canister filter debate... the Cascade is just as good as the FX5 and the Eheim for a portion of the cost. Eheim is going to be about the most expensive canister you'll find, and the only one that never goes on sale. The manufacturers know they have the best, so they never give the retailers any kind of sale or break on price. The extra features on the Pro III are nice, but are they really worth that much more money?
The cheapest price I could find online for the Eheim Pro III is $379.99, but I found the Cascade 1500 on sale for $139.99 here:
http://www.worldpetstore.com/ca15cafi.html
If you're wanting to "over filter", its still cheaper to get 2 of the Cascade 1500's... you're still only spending $279.98 and getting plenty of filtration!
I found the Fluval XF5 on sale for $239.95 online, and after the company reps came in to train us on the XF5, me and my coworkers all found the Cascade to be "less complicated" and to work just as well. The Cascade actually has just as much space as the FX5 for media, and is A LOT less complicated to use. When the company reps have a hard time working with a filter during a training seminar... that alone says something!!! I was disappointed in the FX5 overall, but would still suggest it over the Eheim based on price differences and ease of use/maintenance.
Something else to take into account before selecting your filter is about how easy it will be to get replacement parts and/or tech support if you need it? For Fluval... good luck in finding the parts, and also in dealing with the company for them. Penn Plax seems to have Fluval beat in that area.
 

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Sorry eddie if I sounded like a "rep" for any of the filters, but a big part of our training was in filtration units. Our job was to know how to use them, which ones were best for which situations, how to fix them, clean them, put them together, take them apart... and to pick the brains of the reps when they brought us a new or improved model to sell. The reps had to win us over before our boss would stock something on his shelves.
Over 8+ yrs in that store, I saw more Eheim and Fluval repair issues and the need for replacement parts than I did Cascade. Come to think of it, for the many Cascade filters we sold, I can only remember 1 coming in for any kind of problem, and that was during the 1st yr they were on the market. Since they improved them, I can't remember a single one.

Because I run so many tanks at home myself (usually anywhere from 30 - 50 at a time), I have to be up on the filter scene... I use or have used just about every filter on the market. When something breaks down, it gets retired to the "parts box". After a while, you start to notice which brands fill the box quickly, and which never make it to the box. Believe it or not, 2/3 of what is currently in "the box" is penguin filters and various MarineLand power heads.
 

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O rings was surely the biggest problem with the eheims, and sometimes more often than it should have been... but overall, with ALL filters of ALL types, the problems stemmed from lack of maintenance.

I've never had any problem with bypass in the Cascade filter, and like I said, I've been running the 1500 model on my 220 of 6+ yrs now. I also never had leakage problems or cloudy water problems, and my oscars are pigs. That is the one tank that is lax on water changes because it is at my ex's house... He started that tank with HOB filters, and always had problems with noise, mess, and accessibility issues. The HOB he had were cheap and didn't work well. Since putting the Cascade on there, I've never had any problems.

If I had a choice between the FX5 and the Eheim, I'd still go with FX5, simply because they have more "features", run equally as well, and for a portion of the price. I just was not impressed with the FX5... I didn't find it to be worth the cost, and I don't think Eheim's products are all worth the money they charge for them.

When it came time to stock our parts wall, Eheim was the one that always had the biggest order, the biggest need for stocking. Anything from O rings to impellar assemblies, we were always selling out of them, and people were always bringing us Eheims that were leaking or clogged.
I have an older style Eheim and I honestly don't care for it because it's hard to prime, making maintenance a pain in the butt. I've worked with the newer ones, but never understood why, in freshwater, they were "so much better". I just have never seen any proof of this.

My husband was always an Eheim enthusiast, until I introduced him to the Cascade. We sat with both filters, and I asked him to show me how Eheim was better... and then we compared the 2. What we found surprised him enough that he gave the Cascade a chance... and now it's one of the filters he reccomends to others almost as much as I do. I am currently bugging Penn Plax to do something better with the valves, because I like the way the new Eheim valves pop off in one piece, creating a good seal when doing maintenance... but outside of that (which to me wasn't worth THAT much more money), we couldn't find much for differences in functionability... not enough to justify the cost differences.
 

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I have (2) 300g tanks, (1) 150g tank, and (2) 125g tanks. I run a combination of filters in all of my tanks. In the 300's for example I have (4) Magnum 350's, (4) Marineland 400 powerfilters, and (6) Marineland 660 powerheads using reverse flow(yes I still use undergravel plates!). My tanks are VERY full of fish. In one 300 alone, I have well over 500 cichlids, clown loaches, lahachata loaches, a dwarf giraffe cat, and a smattering of synodontis' including a 12" gray synodontis(and he's a bruiser). I guess I'm kinda like Toolman Tim, if one is enough, two is better. I try to turn my water over a minimum of 6-8 times per hour as a starting point. Most of my tanks are being filtered at 2-3 times that rate.
 

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Ehiem filters are overated and overpriced. I do have four of them but 2 were won as door prizes and 2 came with a setup I purchased 2nd hand. I do not think i would buy one as their are many an the market just as good and more user freindly. My old Magnum 330s are my favorite, but they aren't made any more. The HOT models don't get my vote either. The new Magnum 350's are as close as I can get to my old favorite. I hate to say it, but, I like the old Vortex models better than I like Eheim. Am I giving away my age now?
 

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craze -- don't tell me you use the fiber inserts et al in your canisters. I have a snipit of help for you. I covered my intake tubes with a foam "sock" and use open spheres in the compartment of my canister as a media for my bacteria to collect on. I still use the sock that fits over the filter chamber, but, believe me, it sure cut back on the cleaning and maintainance of those canisters. All I have to do is clean the sponge sock on the intake tube about every other week. Canister maintaniance is down to about once every 3-4 months now.
 

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Craze - I guess being old(me) doesn't necessarily mean you're the first and only one to fabricate "new and improved" equipment, huh? I will bet you one thing though, when the call chow time, I'm mighty tough to beat. May I ask why you don't use another sponge pre-filter instead of the mesh?
 

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craze - it's not being anal. I read some where that they call it "taking pride" in one's possessions. Ain't nothin' wrong with that!
 

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That's an awesome idea for the intakes, eddie, thanks for sharing it with us!!! :eek:
 
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