I planned to keep running the HOB filters .. maybe. One HOB is planted with filter pads, the other is stuffed with sponges, bio-media in addition to the filter pads. Would have to see how I like a canister and how it performs but really intended to have it for additional filtration.
Not sure the best way to setup a canister if I'm still using the HOBs. I planned to put the spraybar & maybe return in the back middle with the HOBs toward the sides.
I was ready to pull the trigger on the Xp3/L until I saw this thread. The problem is the now that API doesn't include some of the accessories like they used it limits my options setting up. Not to mention the value is not there anymore. If I have to buy (or make) the additional items I might as well go with another brand that already includes the items.
I would go with the Eheim Classic 2217 but not sure I like the fact they it doesn't have media trays. Sounds like a PITA to clean the bottom filter and in my tank the filter pads get muddy if the substrate gets stirred up to much. Which is probably going to happen a lot now that my bluegill started his nest building. That's why I like my HOBs .. they're quick and easy to clean the filter pads.
I dunno what I'll do now .. may try a SunSun or Aquatop.