Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Pedro, California
We have used Eheim for 50 years and our oldest working one is about 40 years old. Our very first one had a very different design from the modern ones. Although they are very quiet they can be finicky when you first start them up. Trapped air gets into the system and you need to play with it a lot to get things running smoothly. That's the issue I have with them. The Rena Filstar is more noisy, but it's much easier to get it running, IMO, but it is more noisy.
I like to use 2 canister filters on tanks over 40 gallons. One with only biological media and the other filled with sponges. My Eheims are filled completely with Efhi Mech and I rarely, if ever, open them up. Just due to the issues I stated above. The Eheims sit outside of the stand because they are so quiet. I use the Rena with sponges, inside the stand, because they make more noise. But your needs are slightly different.
I would recommend you get the biggest Eheim you can afford and use only one canister and get the built-in heater if you can afford it. One great option is to get a "Y" connector and create 2 intake syphons. Eheim makes a pre-filter syphon that sits on the bottom of the tank. Then consider the Eheim surface extractor. It is an amazing piece of equipment.
The surface extractor takes water from the midlevel of the tank and also has to syphons that float at the water surface and removes any film buildup due to overfeeding, or whatever. It's a VERY tricky thing to initially find the right balance to work correctly and most people give up on them. But even with THAT in mind I think it's worth the effort.
The surface extractor has to have the perfect balance of drawing water from the surface and midlevel. There is a control valve on the top that adjusts the flow from the surface part. When you lift or lower that valve a counter-weight in the middle of the unit adjusts the intake from the lower syphon. I know what I'm saying is difficult to understand and I'm only telling you about to emphasize the beauty and complexity of it's design. There are other surface extractors on the market that are much simpler in design, but they only take water from a fixed angle at the surface. The Eheim top syphons float at the surface and can adjust to the water level changing due to evaporation.
So if you choose to get the"Y" connector this system it will draw water from the bottom, midlevel and water surface. There is NO OTHER company that comes close in doing that. It may sound like overkill, but THAT is what makes Eheim so great, IMO. My family has used them for 50 years. Also all of their other products are extremely well made, but you didn't ask about them, lol.
Good luck with your tank!
After 50 years I do a lot of things right, but still get things wrong