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Newbie first ever tank Part 2 - Help choosing a new filter

1044 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  jeffk
Hi All,

Thanks to everyone who has helped so far. Much appreciated. My tank is now in it's new spot in the house and is close to being ready to start cycling.

Anyone wanting to read part one can find it in this thread

Now on to the new question (and sorry if this is a bit long winded...)

My tank is a second-hand 4' (45gal/175litres) and the filter that came with it is an Aqua One 103F internal filter. It's rated at 960 litres per hour so it should be fine to at least get my tank started while I decide on something else - but - the manufacturer only recommends it for a 100 litre tank and first thing I read in the downloaded user guide is that they don't recommend it be used as the primary filter.

So now I'm thinking I should just bite the bullet and get a new filter. My budget is tight (which is why I was hoping to stick with the 103F for a while) but I think I've narrowed it down to these options...

1. I can hack the existing filter. It's essentially a power head with two boxes below it. I have no idea why they think it's not suitable to be the primary filter but I would think that if I jammed some sponge in box 1 and some other media in box 2, it should do the job. I can see that its current two sponges don't touch the sides of the containers and so water, taking the path of least resistance, is probably just flowing around them.

2. I can replace it with another internal filter. I'm looking at an Aqua One Moray 700 (700 litres p/h) which has many output options and three separate media chambers (sponge, ceramic media, carbon). Not entirely sold on the ceramic and carbon being in cartridges but I can live with it for a while.

3. I could just (only just) afford a cheap no-name canister filter rated at 1,100 litres p/h. I'm aiming to get a canister filter in the long run (Probably something from Eheim) and I figure this could be a way to learn about that type of filter and who knows, it might work well and last for a few years anyway.

In all cases I'm also planning on putting a cheap sponge filter in one corner of the tank to make an extra home for those good bacteria. I read they're handy have around to shortcut the cycling process in another tank in case of emergency.

And I still have the filter that came with my tank to add some extra filtration if needed.

I'm laying awake at night trying to make a decision on this so all thoughts and feedback welcome.

Jeff K
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What are you intending to put in this tank?

We often get questions of "do I have enough filtration", but "enough" is relative to the goals one wants to achieve so it's not usually a straight forward answer. The only clear answer is "no", which would be the answer if there were chronic ammonia/nitrite issues. The most important thing the filtration system does is remove ammonia and nitrite, so if your test results are 0 and 0, then you have enough filtration. From there, different people have varying levels of expectations of what the filters are going to do.

Me? My filtration systems provide current throughout the tank as well as collecting waste. I run huge systems so I don't have to clean them as often, and I have enough filtration to stock my tanks with whatever I could possibly want.
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Thanks for the reply - missed it completely.

Ultimately, I went for an internal filter as a temporary solution while I save for an external canister and decide if fish keeping is my thing...

Advice form one of my local fish stores was very similar to yours - ultimately how big a filter I get depends on the tank's bio-load and how often I want to be cleaning, etc.

Right now, the 4' tank is looking to be cycled and stable and is being test driven by a school of neon tetras that really aren't putting much of a strain on the system. Another week and I'll start adding fish a few at a time and see how it copes with the increased bio-load.

Now sure if that's how it's usually done but it seems like an gradual increase in load would make the most sense with a new tank.

jeff K
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can you find an all ponds solution, gretch or sunsun filter where you are. they make nice and modestly priced filters.they are pretty much the same filter but rebranded.
slow and steady wins the race,if there are only a couple of neons
in there,then i would say possibly you'll have some bacteria die off
as there isn't much in the way of food for it,so adding fish very slowly
at a time is the best way to go,and let the filter catch up.
can you find an all ponds solution, gretch or sunsun filter where you are. they make nice and modestly priced filters.they are pretty much the same filter but rebranded.
I've been looking for them but so far here in Australia I've only found them at similar prices to name brand canisters.

I spotted an Aqua One CF700 in the clearance section of a local pet store over the weekend for $50 (they retail here for $150+) so I'm wondering if 700 litres per hour would be be ok for a 175 litre tank? They only rate it for 150 litres which is why I didn't buy it but surely it'd be a step up from the aquatopia 500lph internal I have now (which they say is rated for a 250 litre tank)?
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Found the instruction manual online so to answer my own question: not really. they say it's flow rate when fully loaded with media is only 400 litres per hour.

... which leads to the question: is the flow rate as important as the amount of filtration? Just looking at the Fluval 206 canister which is topping my list of possibilities at the moment and it only has a working rate of around 460 lph, which Fluval recommend for a 200 litre tank.

So now I'm back to wondering if the 400 lph Aqua One wouldn't have been ok as long as I stocked the tank to it's capacity rather than the tanks? Just trying to wrap my brain around the nuances of the whole filtration thing...
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