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Crow 11-12-2012 08:48 PM

90g Canister filter?
I am new to the site. (Introduction Thread) anywho..

I have a 90g sitting in my basement, and I was thinking of doing a planted aquarium with it. I've been looking at planted aquariums all over the net and was surprised to see the use of canister filters. Having only been in the saltwater aquariums for 20+ years, we used sumps, and such.

So it seems Eheim filters are the filter of choice pf some outstanding planted tanks. But with everything in the world, sometimes your paying a premium cause of the name and popularity, more then the quality.

So since this will be my first freshwater and planted aquarium, I wondered if the lower cost canister filters could work as well?

I found this filter that looks good, and even comes with a UV. Aquatop CF400-UV or the CF500-UV. Or should I just save up and go with a Eheim Classic 2217, etc?

Filters, filters, filters.... so many for a newbie to choose.
Once again this would be for a 90g (Marineland Standard Dimensions)

Sorry for the rambling!

Evilgrin 11-12-2012 09:09 PM

Welcome to the forums!

I just started up my 55g planted tank almost 4 weeks ago. For filtration I opted to go with the SunSun 303B due to the size of the media trays as well as the unbeatable price 80$ and that's with a built in UV light. It's very similar to the aqua top filter but for a lower price point I ordered mine from amazon about a week wait time for shipping.

I've used Fluval filters in the past but after finding that my old fluvals we discontinued so finding filter pads would have been a hassle saw a review of the sunsun on this site and so far I'm perfectly happy with it.

Crow 11-12-2012 10:02 PM

LOL Am I wrong or isn't the SunSun the very same thing as the Aquatop?

SunSun =

Aquatop =

Yes you are right, its cheaper(sunsun), but isn't it the very same thing? Maybe a china knock off?

PlantedRich 11-13-2012 03:05 AM

They both appear to be knockoffs of the Marineland but with UV thrown in. I would not buy a cheap canister again. There are lots of things that go wrong that can't be seen or measured until you get hands on and a couple years down the road. A good canister is a true blessing, A cheap canister is often blessed but not in the way we like. While all filters do fail, cheap ones fail quicker. Some points to judge which can only be done with use:
Thin plastic, cheap impellers, can you get parts?
Water bypass?
Does it have gaps or does the water have to go through the media?
Is media provided and is it good quality media so that it last and has lots of good bacteria spaces?
How much electricity is used? This is something you may have running 24-7 for the next ten years if it works well.
I favor Eheim for all of the above. A cheap filter is not cheap if it has to be replaced twice as soon and never really did the job anyway.

the4x4hoss 11-13-2012 11:34 AM

If you have an extra sump hiding in your basement they work very well in planted aquariums. I run a 40 gallon sump on my 135 gallon tank and have had no issues with it in over two years.


Sumps can handle a greater bioload as they have much more room for media than your average canister.

Sumps are great at oxygenating the water as it travels down overflows and into the sump allowing you to really crank up your CO2. (Fauna can tolerate higher levels of CO2 when oxygen levels are higher)

Sumps allow for additional water storage and tanks with a sump do not have to be topped off every other day.

Sumps are a great place to dose ferts and I keep my heater in the sump to unclutter the tank.


The biggest disadvantage to a sump is that you will have to seal it (I use Tom Barr's duct tape method) to prevent CO2 loss. Duct tape is cheap and it takes me a whopping 5 min to reseal it if you need to clean media or replace a pump.

Bubba_Shrimp 11-13-2012 01:03 PM

I run 2 x Rena Filstar "L" (former XP3) on my 90 gal. So far I'm happy. Amazon sells them for ~$120

roadmaster 11-13-2012 01:07 PM

Two Eheim 2217's are what I use on 80 gal, low tech planted tank.
Water is drawn in from each corner,and both spray bar's are mounted on back glass pointing toward's the front glass.
Tank ran fine on one eheim 2217, until plant mass and fish number's were increased.

thefisherman 11-13-2012 02:26 PM

+1 on sumps for primary biological filtration and ability to cram equipment otherwise would be in tank.

- thefisherman

KH2PO4 11-13-2012 04:11 PM

I think performance in simple equipments can be
easily matched these days without raising the
production cost too much.

Although I used to break an Eheim's double tab connector,
cheaper filters tend to be more fragile, flimsy.
You need to handle them with more care, and that
can be annoying and tiresome at times.

exv152 11-13-2012 04:43 PM

A lower cost filter will probably work just fine, but for how long is the question. The eheims are absolute workhorses, and take a ton of punishment before breaking down. I prefer the classic series myself, little hassles, simple design and durable. I've never tried the aquatop filters so I can't compare, but I have a ton of eheims, and I've seen it time and time again, you get what you pay for.

Crow 11-13-2012 08:26 PM

Thanks you guys for the replies!!

msawdey 11-13-2012 09:37 PM

I love my eheims and fully believe with aquariums you get what you pay for.

For me, the thought of buying a cheap filter and ending up with 50 gallons of water on my floor is unnerving. There are a lot of threads on here though about the sunsun filters and people seem to like them. I just cant get myself to go away from a solid product like eheim

Crow 11-13-2012 10:18 PM

Ok question...

Why are so many people listing more then one on there systems? Are they not rated correctly? Meaning if a canister is rated for "up to" 90g are they not able to handle a 90g planted tank?


Oxl 11-13-2012 10:56 PM

Eheim 2217 is the way to go, starting out just replace the kix medium with seachem matrix which is 2-3 times more effective giving you the equivalent of about 25 gallons worth of bio balls in a small low power package. I'd pair it with an Aquaclear 70 or 110 hob for surface agitation.

Evilgrin 11-13-2012 11:12 PM


Originally Posted by Crow (Post 2076511)
LOL Am I wrong or isn't the SunSun the very same thing as the Aquatop?

SunSun =

Aquatop =

Yes you are right, its cheaper(sunsun), but isn't it the very same thing? Maybe a china knock off?

Yes while researching canister filters they are 99% identical all parts are interchangeable. While reading up on them the sunsun was the first then aquatop is supposed to be the US version and there is another one available in the UK.

I've had mine set up for a month now and have no issue have read on this and other sites where people have had them setup for 2 years or more with no issues.
In my own experience the locking mechanism is far more robust then what was on my old Fluval 305, the media baskets on the sun sun interlock to reduce water bypassing the filter media, The quality of the plastics used in the canister are fairly thick and robust the tubing used for water flow is of good quality and quite large in diameter. The only parts that gave me pause are the intake and outflow parts the plastic does feel a bit cheap but should hold up just fine as long as your not driving nails in with them for their intended use they will work fine how often do you really move them around once you have them set.

I've used fluval & ehiem in the past and while I do like them quite a bit I built my tank on a budget and ~90$ for a good canister filter that has a large following and many positive reviews or spend near 200$ for a more well known canister filter that has all the same features minus the UV light just didn't make financial sense and with the money I saved I got the media I wanted and still saved a good chunk of money for other tank related items.

While in most cases I would say that Yes you get what you pay for this is not one of those cases and I speak from the experience of actually owning the product in question. as for the electrical usage the canister uses 35w total with the additional 9w for the UV light, so the equivalent power usage is the same as a common compact fluorescent bulb (spiral type). And the newer models all come with 3 prong plugs unlike some that claim otherwise.

Best bet is to do your research on your own and draw your own conclusions. I have yet to find too many that buy any canister and are not happy with them until something goes wrong weather it be a mechanical problem or lack of maintenance.

Most of the canister flow rates are measured with no media in the baskets a general rule of thumb is to cut the listed flow rate by at least 25% if not 50%. The flow rate decreases depending on how much media you cram into the filter as well as what type of media you put in the baskets. for example 3 coarse sponges will restrict the water flow a lot less then 3 fine felt pads. Also the flow will decrease as the canister gets dirty this is a gradual slow down and can be harder to judge but it does happen, and there is the impeller old or dirty impeller will slow down your flow as well.
As for running 2 filters some do it for extra biological or mechanical filtration or simply for added surface agitation.

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