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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-25-2009, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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My Review: SunSun "Outside Filter" HW-302

Many of us have seen these filters popping up on Ebay and other aquatic sites, but few people have taken the plunge(and admitted it) on this and other forums. When searching for reviews of the SunSun filter/product line, usually all you find is other forum members asking for reviews and a little speculation about the quality of said products. The thought is simple--you get what you pay for....

Or do you? Having looked around for a good canister filter to replace my obnoxiously loud AC300, I pondered many options. I tossed around the idea about Eheims, Fluvals, and the like. I have used Eheims and the Magnum series in the past, and while happy with both, I was never impressed, especially when it came to cost.

About the subject tank:

This tank is only sorta planted/sorta riparium/most about the fish(a midas and pictus cat). It is a standard 75g, 4 foot with inert white sand, a boatload of snails, driftwood, small rock pile, a koralia 1 for circulation, and a pretty rambunctious Midas Cichlid.

This tank was initially filtered by an Marineland biowheel and an AC300. They became so noisy you could hear them inside my bedroom with noisemaker running... Being in the livingroom, next to our 10 month old sons wall, this just wasn't acceptable to us(my wife informed me that it was to be fixed... or it would find itself fixed in a pile next to the dumpster...).

I set out exploring my options. I know Eheims are great filters. The trouble is the sticker shock involved. They are great, but they are not THAT great. Fluvals are good too, but I just wasn't impressed with the price point. The Marineland C Series is nice, but again, the price is still not all that impressive. I'm sure all of you think I'm crazy at this point. You are all willing to spend this money on these filters, but I just wasnt--not after seeing that there ARE other options out there.

This brought me to the Ebay Special SunSun filters. I looked through every auction, over, and over. I read feedback, checked out the few reviews out there, and was uneasy at first. Not because of poor reviews, cause there really aren't any--but because there just aren't many reviews at all. I decided it was worth the risk and you can all thank me for it!

I went with buying from someone domestic on Ebay. The item shipped from N. Cali and arrived in 4 business days via UPS Ground. It was packed well, in a nice think shipping box, inside was a standard package with really, really piss poor English. The grammar makes zero sense. It is essentially a big box of Engrish Fail. Bad grammar aside, the box is also the closest thing to directions you get with it... SO look close! This brings me to the negative things first:
  1. Directions are non-existent
  2. The intake and spray bar are a little flimsy, but solid enough. I have no intention of using them as a hammer.
  3. One of the filter baskets is a little too snug, but with some manipulation it came out fine.
  4. Did I mention no directions!
  5. The surface extractor seems to be useless if you run water up to the top. If you used this with a rimless tank it would be fine. It is too short for my water level.

It took me a bit to figure out how to hook up hoses, but once I did it was a no brainer. The Quick disconnect for the hoses works as a shut off just like on the JBJ Reaction series and the Marineland C Series. Flip it and you can pull the hoses off, take the lid off, and head to the sink to do maintenance. The three baskets plus prefilter tray are more than spacious. I have a prefilter, carbon, ac 110 bio media bag, another filter floss, a basket of beads as bio media, then a basket with filter wool.

Now lets go over the positive sides:
  1. Primer works great and quick.
  2. Baskets have plenty of room
  3. On/Off quick release is super handy. One lever shuts off and disconnects both inlet and outlet.
  4. This filter is silent. Dead silent. I even leaned it up to my stand, put it on blocks, did everything I could to make it make noise. It doesn't make a sound. My wife thought something was broken when she came back from work because it was so silent.
  5. The Filter housing itself is strong--feels identical to that of the marineland or jbj.
  6. The latching system is idiot proof
  7. The flow is great
  8. THE PRICE!!!!

After one week of using this filter I am sold. At a mere 55 dollars shipped, this filter blows the competition out of the water. There are also several models with higher flow than the one I list here, but this does the job for me. In combination with my Koralia 1 in my 75 G tank, it more than does the job. Some might say I need more flow, but it IS doing the job. Please ask if you have questions, and I will continue to post my experiences.

For the money, I really don't think there is any competition. This filter seriously rocks my socks off. I have used the "great" filters out there and can't find a logical reason yet to spend the extra money. The quality seems solid enough that I am not concerned about product life, despite having owned it for a short while.
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