Canister Filter Recommendations

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Offline TopCookie

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Canister Filter Recommendations
« on: April 10, 2018, 02:13:42 AM »
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The AquaVogue Aqua One tank I have came with an 850 l/h rated canister filter that I can't help feeling is just that little bit under powered in the 170 litre aquarium as the flow around the tank has always been very modest and I absolutely cannot manage to get any significant surface agitation or ripples etc...  To be honest, I'm not that surprised that the filter in an all inclusive package would be only just adequate for the job...  The one good thing about the filter is that it's very easy to work with and to be fair, a second good point is that it's virtually silent...!!!

So, the search for a better quality canister filter that has a flow rate a little higher than 850 l/h is on...!!!  Within reason, I don't mind what the cost is if the quality is there...  Top of my wish-list at the moment is the Oase BioMaster Thermo 350 that has a claimed flow rate of 1100 l/h, which looks more like the sort of figure to suit the tank and the way it's set up etc... 

Trouble is, I'm finding that pretty much ALL the current canister filters seem to have cons alongside their pros and there are an alarming number of reviews that mention leakage etc...  Bit of a nightmare trying to sort the wheat from the chaff to be honest, so I'm hoping some of you guys n gals can throw a few suggestions forward for consideration...  :)

Offline Matt

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 04:22:53 AM »
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I have an Eden 522 300w. It is very similar to the oase but taller (check it would fit in your cabinet with enough hose room) and cheaper (always a plus with me). I have had no problems with it at all though it is the first canister filter I've owned so I'm probably not 5he best to ask how it compares... served me well though. Flow is rated at 1000l/h.

Offline Hampalong

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 05:40:58 AM »
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I use APS filters. Never had a problem with them and they're very easy (quick) to clean.

Offline Sue

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 09:11:18 AM »
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I understand that APS filters can be a little... shall we say flimsy compared to other makes? But if the owner is aware of that there should not be a problem.

Flow rates can be misleading. Some manufacturers quote the flow rate of an empty filter so as soon as media is put in the flow rate drops, often significantly. Other manufacturers quote the flow rate with media in place, but even there the actual rate will drop as the media gets dirty.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 10:26:30 AM »
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That's a couple of good recommendations there for consideration, thanks folks... 

Offline daveyng

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 12:33:36 PM »
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I have a JBL Cristalprofi e1501. Itís rated at 1500 lph, but, itís massive and comes with no heating. It will give you the required circulation though. I find the JBLís easy to clean and they are robust.
There is an e902 which pushes out 900 lph.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 12:41:15 PM »
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Yeah, that looks & sounds like a more suitable candidate for the wish-list... 

The Eden & APS filters sound like terrific bargains, but I don't think they'd necessarily be an upgrade on the current Aqua One Ocellaris filter...  I still certainly appreciate the recommendations though, for sure...  The JBL would definitely be an upgrade though...

Offline fcmf

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 12:42:54 PM »
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I'd recommend checking reviews on Amazon and Trustpilot as manufacturers and sellers seem to have a tendency only to publish the positive reviews. [For example, when buying a new internal filter a couple of months ago, at the last minute, I almost fell for the extremely good reviews of APS filters at half the price; I then double-checked against Amazon and read a couple of horrific reviews of them catching fire which immediately put me off. Less than a month later, I read a comment elsewhere in which a fishkeeper had heard a bang and the filter had completely exploded and charred; my intrigue was to whether it was an APS one was accurate as she revealed that in the next post.]

Although I've never had an external filter, I've read extremely positive reviews about Eheim ones and, to a slightly lesser extent, Fluval ones. I'm liking my new JBL internal filter.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 01:00:35 PM »
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Which one did you get fcmf...? 

I must confess that I have considered adding a small internal filter as another option...  Ultimately, the Aqua One Ocellaris is doing ok really, and isn't faulty or leaky etc...  The prospects of an internal could be a good affordable way to help boost the current one... 

I still favour a new canister as a long term plan, but a high quality internal is definitely not ruled out...

Offline fcmf

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 01:08:43 PM »
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Which one did you get fcmf...? 
https://www.jbl.de/en/products/detail/5958/jbl-cristalprofi-i80-greenline

Very discreet in the back corner of the tank, very quiet/no sound, and seems to work well. Downsides always appear over time - my only complaint is that, when taking it apart to squeeze out the filter sponges, I find the various pieces don't always easily slide back into place together and there's a certain technique to it, but hopefully I've now mastered that. Eheim and Fluval do very good internal filters too - Sue can tell you about the former which I was very tempted by.

Offline Sue

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 01:14:21 PM »
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I have had Eheim internals for years, both Aquaballs and Biopowers (which came out after I had the first aquaballs). Aquaballs contain sponges, with a small box for more sponge/carbon/floss/ceramic media, while Biopowers have sponges first and last in the direction of water flow with baskets of substrat pro (their equivalent of ceramic media) between the sponges. All have flow rate adjusters.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 01:48:34 PM »
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The little JBL looks decent and I like that HOB style water flow back into the tank - surely will help with surface agitation and oxygenation etc... 

Looking at the Eheims on Pro-Shrimp, they have the "Pick Up" range, with the 60 and the 45 looking ok, but that's presumably different to the Aquaballs & Biopowers...?

Offline Sue

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 01:50:58 PM »
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Yes, the pick-up had just one sponge as the medium. I've never had one myself but they do get good reviews https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/tank-equipment-reviews/eheim-pick-up-filters/

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 02:44:50 PM »
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Hmmmm...  so they look like another option then, for sure...  Would be a small one though, so as not to overdo the flow in the tank...  The APS surface skimmer @ 350 l/h blows up a bit of a tsunami, lolol...!!!

Offline Hampalong

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2018, 03:06:22 PM »
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What do you consider as "an upgrade" Pierre, more than 850lph or better build quality than the one you have? Or both?

Eheims have always been considered the 'Rolls Royce' of canister filters. But for me a good filter only needs to pump water and not leak. I used to favour Fluval, which were quite reliable. I also had some Eheims. The weak link for both of these was the canister clips, which tended to break over time. These days I prefer APS. They're simply made, which to me is a bonus because there's very little to go wrong, and I actually find the build quality to be very good. They probably use a bit more leccy than some but I'm ok with that. And the canisters are quite big relative to most other brands, which means you can get more media in them before the flow rate starts to drop drastically.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2018, 05:48:05 PM »
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Definitely both, I would say...  The idea being that it should hopefully last a good while and remain reliable etc...  Tricky part will be getting a tad more flow than the 850 but without stepping up so far that the filter is too powerful for the tank, in terms of flow... 

Been out this affy, but was looking at the Eheim Professionel 4+ 350 earlier, looks like it could be a candidate...  A little better flow at 1050 l/h that could make it a better choice for my tank than the big JBL at 1500 l/h

Offline Matt

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2018, 08:52:43 PM »
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Just to throw something else into the mix here!... are you after more/better filtration or are you just after more flow surface agitation? If its the latter, would you consider a power head or wavemaker.  Your tank is quite well planted so I would imagine that you are not struggling for filtration capacity...

Offline Helen

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2018, 09:25:48 PM »
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If you want to increase the flow throughout  your tank, a small powerhead at the opposite end to the filter might be better for the plants. It also gives you more flexibility with how the position the flow and affect surface agitation.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2018, 10:18:26 PM »
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It is a dilemma, for sure...  First point to note is that I'm still very much a noob fish-keeper and more or less at the beginning of the learning curve... 

I definitely would like more flow and would like more surface agitation...  Not 100% sure that I "need" more filtration, other than for the business of being unable to gravel vac significant areas of the substrate, leading to a fair old bit of detritus and the consequent experimentation with the Seachem Pristine etc... 

I do have the APS Surface Skimmer filter, which is superb at what it does in fact and they are cheap as chips - but it's a bit too powerful from a flow point of view (350 l/h) and it's "fugly", as they say...  Because it's a bit vicious, I don't run it all the time - which in itself is bothersome as it means inconsistent flow for the tank inhabitants...

So, I'm basically trying to navigate my way through and find the best all round solution to cover these various interlinked problems...  The neatest solution would be the better canister filter, then the cheapest solution would be the small additional internal filter choice...  That would still be a little intrusive, being in the tank, but infinitely more affordable... 

I have considered wave makers, but they all tend to be a bit too powerful and start in that same ball park of flow as the surface skimmer...  I have found, on eBay, a 150 l/h submersible pump that looks ok and is really quite small and is cheap - giving another option, although that's a bit too similar to the existing surface skimmer in terms of how to boost flow but wouldn't contribute in the same surface clearing way as the skimmer... 

There doesn't appear to be an absolute "best" solution as such, so at the moment, all avenues are still potentially wide open...  :)

Offline daveyng

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2018, 10:24:28 PM »
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Has anyone mentioned the Fluval 306 thatís rated at 1150 kph. I have one running on my 270 litre tank along with the JBL. Had no problems with it.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2018, 10:37:36 PM »
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Of those two Dave, I'd prefer the JBL by a mile...  I know the Fluval stuff has its fans, but I've read way too many reports of Fluval canisters being a bit leaky...  :(    Love that 1150 l/h figure though, that sounds ideal...!!!

At the moment, I still favour the Oase the most...  followed by the JBL & Eheim canister filters...  That, of course, is still "if" I go down this route (which I probably will actually, truth be told)

Offline Helen

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2018, 02:10:30 AM »
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Before you spend lots of money on a new canister filter, try googling filters for planted aquaria. I've been reading about the effects of live plants on stocking capacity and there was a lot of commentary on the role of a filter in a planted tank. In summary, in a planted tank, a filter provides mechanical filtration and water flow; the plants provide the biological and chemical filtration.

Offline daveyng

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2018, 06:31:43 AM »
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Iíve always aimed for something approaching 10 times the capacity of the tank for circulation purposes. The JBL e1501, Fluval 306 and a Tunze Circulation pump pretty much approach that, allowing for losses. I do aim for a lot of surface water movement as well to minimise CO2 levels overnight.

Offline Helen

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2018, 09:45:06 AM »
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If I remember correctly, you inject CO2, @daveyng ? I think @TopCookie  may have a lower tech set up.

Offline daveyng

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2018, 10:39:41 AM »
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Yes, sorry forgot to mention that. I do inject CO2 so this probably cancels out the loss through the surface exchange.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2018, 12:19:16 PM »
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Yeah, Helen is on the money...  Definitely geared towards low tech as much as possible...

Interesting point on the 10x flow rate for filters...  I've seen this figure recommended many times in a variety of places... 

My set up is 170 litre tank and 850 l/h filter...  This equates to a 5x flow rate, which seems a little underpowered to me...  There is the surface skimmer which is rated at 300 l/h too but then with both running, there is a significant flow, perhaps edging towards too much even, just slightly... 

I can't imagine what a flow of 1,700 l/h would be like, but I suspect it would be too much flow in my set up... 

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2018, 10:31:57 AM »
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Decision finally made...  I picked up the Eheim Pickup 60 from Wharf on Saturday...  Funny thing is, it was my intention to look at both the 45 and the 60 to compare physical sizes but ended up looking only at the 45...  Then bought the Pickup 60 on the grounds of larger filter capacity etc, without looking at it out of the box, got home and it is a LOT bigger than the diminutive Pickup 45...  Dashed back to Wharf yesterday and swapped the 60 back for a 45 which is now installed in the tank at the back left corner where you don't notice it so much... 

This has improved both the flow in the tank generally, but also is set only just beneath the surface and is giving me those all important ripples too... 



Now the APS Surface Skimmer is gone and the Seachem Phosguard no longer part of the equation...

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2018, 05:24:21 PM »
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Gave the little Eheim filter a bit of a service today...  Couldn't be any easier...!!!  What a great little product and bargain priced, too...  :)

Offline Matt

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2018, 07:39:00 AM »
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Good to know  :cheers:

Is your algae situation still improving?

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2018, 10:28:50 AM »
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Hard to be objective about it at the moment Matt, as I have cut several affected areas of the filamentous algae away and things look better for sure - but difficult to know if the new and temporarily high fertiliser routine is impacting or not tbh...  The plants certainly look to be enjoying this new regime at the mo and that was always the theory, to get the plants growing well again and out-competing the algae for nutrients etc...  I suspect it will take quite a while before seeing any major results with the algae... 

Total fertiliser dose is now 3ml a day, or 21ml per week...  I estimate my tank to hold about 150L of water so the TNC recommended dose should be around 15ml per week...  Once I get to the end of week two of this high dosing regime, I'll cut it back to 2ml per day so as to get back on target with what TNC recommend...

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2018, 08:41:35 PM »
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What is your water change regime?  You need to do 50% water changes weekly ideally when dosing like this.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2018, 11:55:43 PM »
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Broadly following the Diana Walstad method, I try to keep my water changing to a minimum - a concious decision & plan from day 1...  I would say that my average is 10% per week... 

The Walstad thing is key here though, in that the sub-substrate is John Innes #3 and the whole low tech plan is that the mulm should "feed" the substrate, which is a high CEC rated choice... 

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Re: Canister Filter Recommendations
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2018, 09:57:07 AM »
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I have to admit, you've got me thinking Matt and I ought to thank you for that...  I'm inclined to agree that the water changes should be a bit larger while "overdosing" on ferts... 

I did discuss that stuff with Adam, about the Walstad thing and low water changes, and he didn't seem phased by that at all nor did he advise me to increase them etc, but common sense definitely suggests upping my water change % during this overdosing period...  Point noted and will indeed implement your advice... 

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