After researching some more (lurking and reading about a hundred Eheim vs. Rena Filstar posts on this board), I decided to pull the stock filter from my Eclipse 2 and go with an Eheim 2026 Pro II. I also decided to switch to Eco-Complete, readd my stock Eclipse 2 x 15 watt NO lighting, and begin a fertilizer regiment. The goods:
I also purchased three pieces of Malaysian driftwood from Drs. Foster & Smith. I couldn't be happier. They are an appealing dark color and sank immediately (dry!):
(only two show up well in the picture, the third is the small dark bit in the upper left corner)
Over the course of a few weeks, I took the gravel down to just enough to cover the bottom of the tank (shown in the tank photo above, it was not always that shallow of a gravel bed). After this process, I developed a green water problem that I had never previously experienced (more later..)
This past Saturday I removed the ornament (which had become a horrid bright white from the nice green/brown it started out.. curse poly-resin ornaments). I scrubbed the sides down and vac'd out what algae I could. I pulled the pleated material off the biowheel and put it in the canister with the Ehfisubstrat Pro to maintain my biological colony. The hope was that any mini-cycle would be countered by the 'silent cycle' phenomenon. Anyway, I fired up the 2026 and let it run in the bare tank while I went out for dinner. I must say that the canister is whisper quiet. When I returned I was very pleasantly surprised that not only was the free floating algae I had just scrubbed off the tank walls completely gone, the water appeared less green than before I began the changeover.
Eheim Pimp Club Member #10
25 gal. Planted - SeaClear, Eheim 2026 Pro II, Retro Eclipse 2 hood w/1 x 65 watt CF & 2 x 15 watt NO, Hagen CO2, Eco-Complete