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ringram 01-19-2007 06:56 PM

Rena Filstar XP3 review - compared to Eheim
Ok, this is opening a door for flame wars (not intended), but I wanted to throw my comparison out there, since I've always owned Eheim, but bought a Rena XP3 recently. Just got one of these yesterday and wanted to write a quick review, but didn't see an actual review section, so here goes.
Upon opening the box, I noticed the large size of the actual canister. It was actually larger than I expected (not a bad thing!) and a good 2-3" taller(but narrower) than my Eheim 2026. The plastic is cheaply made, that is obvious, but it's functional so I have no complaints. I actually broke one of the clips for the suction cups when I was putting it together, something I never did with any Eheim product (own or have owned 3 Eheim canisters).
The housing/impeller assembly seems solid. Not as solid as the one on my Eheim Pro II, but its also less than 1/2 the price. The smaller parts all came in a shrink-wrapped styrafoam box, which didn't seem necessary and was kind of a pain to unveil, but it serves its purpose. I like the semi-transparent look of the canister. I was expecting the solid, light blue color that the other Rena filters I've seen have been. This makes it easier to see the media and determine if things are flowing effectively, etc.. So, kudos to that design idea. The hoses are kind of a clear-bluish/transparent color, which is better than the Eheim tubes IMO, as they are not as much of an eyesore. I also like that the spraybar has many parts to customize it to your liking and/or application. The 3 media baskets contain a large storage capacity. It came with several different sponges of various size pores, but no actual media. That was ok, as I used filter floss and leftover "cocoa puff" balls from my Eheim media. This seems to be working quite well.
Overall, the filter seems very solid and well-enough made. It's not an Eheim, but as the age-old comparison goes, its like comparing a BMW to a Honda Civic. Both are good cars and will get you where you need to go, but the BMW is simply better made and looks nicer.
But, hey, for $89 + shipping, I'm not complaining. I would recommend this filter to anyone not willing to shell out a lot of $$ for a decent canister filter and/or someone looking for good horsepower(gph), as this one delivers.
I can't say I'm overly impressed as you get what you pay for, but I'm sure it will work fine. It's also not as loud as the reviews led me to believe. It's louder than the Eheim, but still pretty quiet.


crazie.eddie 01-19-2007 07:15 PM

True there hasn't been any written reviews on the XP3, but I know there are some comparisons on them.

I own the Rena FilStar XP3 and the Eheim Pro II 2128. Both are rated for about the same size tank, with the exception that the Eheim has a built in heater. I use an ETH201 200 watt inline heater with the XP3.

1. The XP3 hoses were not as rigid as the Eheim hoses, so I replaces them (XP3) with the Eheims. Since the hoses remained behind and under the tank, the color of them didn't matter.

2. Except for the filter pads and flosses, I didn't use the media available for the XP3. I had some left over media from my 2128, so I used the excess Eheim media to fill the baskets in the XP3. Strangely, the amount I had was more than enough to fill all the baskets of the XP3, using the same media configuration as the 2128. I know the excess media is not enough to fill the baskets of the 2128, but was enough to fill the XP3.

3. The XP3 is noisier compared to the 2128. Both filters are being used on my 125 gallon tank. Both filters are next to each under, in an enclosed cabinet. If I turn off the XP3 and let the 2128 run, I cannot tell it is running, unless I bring my ear close to the filter. If I turn off the 2128 and let the XP3 running, I can definitely tell the filter is running, even from a distance.

4. The XP3 appears to have a faster GPH than the 2128, but I do notice that the XP3 does slow down faster when it clogs. I often compared it as Torque (Eheim Pro II 2128) vs. HP (FilStar XP3). Although the XP3 has faster flow rate, the 2128 appears to keep the same constant flow as the pads collects detritus.

5. The casing on the XP3, as you mentioned, does appear not to be as sturdy as the Eheim, which doesn't really appear to be a major difference.

original kuhli 01-19-2007 07:48 PM

I don't own the Eheim and therefore shouldn't post but two things come to mind:

1. The XP3 is not unacceptably loud, in fact I don't notice it whatsoever. I wouldn't consider noise a problem.

2. Build quality meets my expectations and is superior to the products I've previously run into. I've not used Eheim before as they're generally $300+ for a decent sized filter in Canada.

3. The XP3 plugs almost instantly in my tank. To be honest it drives me asbolutely raving mad...I can't really communicate it here. But within 48 hours the things slows down to a crawl nowhere near adequate for a 125 gallon.

Georgiadawgger 01-19-2007 08:04 PM

I had an XP3, but the slight--yes slight buzz still drove me nuts. Underneath a stand it seemed to become amplified even more (wierd, but that was the sense I felt).

Pros: quick disconnect, hoses were fine, spraybar was fine, power was great for the cost (no big issues with clogging).

Cons: I classify it as noisy COMPARED to an Eheim 2213 or 2224 or 2026. Water leaking out of the motorhead at the junction of where the powercord enters/exits the unit--replaced original and second one did the same thing. I thought it was a hazard so...

scrapped it and got an Eheim 2213...dead silent and haven't looked back since. All three Eheims I have/had never leaked where it wasn't supposed to.

The XP3 is good for the cost...and like ringram mentioned, its like comparing a BMW with a Ford Escort.

ringram 01-19-2007 08:58 PM

I've never had problems with Eheims, but I really hope that my XP3 doesn't leak like yours did. The only Eheim issue I've had is with my Eheim 2222, which is ~ 2 yrs old. One of the clamps that holds the hoses secure to the filter is broken. No big deal, since they stay on well enough without it. It was also leaking recently, but I discovered that it was because one of the rubber "feet" on the bottom came off. This is kind of poor design if the rubber feet keep it from leaking on the bottom. Still a rock solid filter though.
I'm not quite sure what the "jet" is on the XP3 spraybar. It doesn't look like it's pushing any water, so I'm wondering what the purpose is. I constructed my spraybar to include this, but it doesn't appear to do anything. The water simply comes out of the spraybar holes.

cbennett 01-20-2007 12:49 AM

I've bought and XP1 and just a couple weeks ago got a XP3 and both came with the media.

There is a faint hum with the XP3 but I only notice it late at night when the TV and everything else is off.

I like that the outflow assembly is very customizeable, I personally use the jet instead of the the spray bar.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you only prime the filter once when you first install it and then you just use the lever to disconnect.

I also really like that all the the inflow and outflow parts have different colors and have really simple arrow diagrams where the hoses connect with the filter.

And of course, gotta love the price! Got the XP3 and media, shipping included, for $100.

Moe 01-20-2007 01:04 AM

I ordered an XP3 a few days ago, should be here Monday. I sure hope it isn't to loud. I searched the web for reviews, I hope I did the right thing!
The only thing I can say is the price was right.

crazy loaches 01-20-2007 02:36 AM

I have an XP3 and a 2026. I know the rating would seem like the XP3 should be more comparable to the 2028 but after its packed with media and slows a bit I beleive it is very close to the 26.

Some of my opinions are:
The Eheim is definately quiter, hands down. The XP3 though is quiet enough that its almost unnoticable. Most powerheads are noiser than my XP3 it seems.

Negatives - The Eheim seems to have trouble priming after cleaning the canister (see my other thread) but I am thinking this is because of the turbo twist capturing air. My XP3 has never lost prime since the day I installed it. I also think the mechaincal pad with the eheim is way to course, and the ceramic cylinders dont seem to do much. Pretty much everthing is caught by the final fine pad. I may have to try some custom filter pads. And the shape isnt ideal for cutting your own whereas the XP3 is perfectly square. I do like the filter pads in the XP3 but the medium pads seem to be a bit to fine and clog a bit quicker than I'd like. Also the green intake and spray bar kinda seemed like a joke... but mine came with additional intake and spraybar set, which were pretty good. Sometimes with the XP3 I worry that the disconnect lever operates to easily. For example when I am putting the filter back in place in the cabinent after a cleaning i worry the hose assembly might get caught behind it and the level pressed back so it starts dumping water, never happend yet but something I think about every time I do it. I should just come up with something I can hang the assembly on out of the way when manuevering the unit back in place.

Betowess 01-20-2007 06:37 AM


Originally Posted by ringram (Post 359982)
I'm not quite sure what the "jet" is on the XP3 spraybar. It doesn't look like it's pushing any water, so I'm wondering what the purpose is. I constructed my spraybar to include this, but it doesn't appear to do anything. The water simply comes out of the spraybar holes.

The jet component is if you want to push a lot of water fast, such as a reef application, I believe. It is to be used without the spraybar and has a smaller output so forces the water to "jet" through it, I think. I never have used it, though I tried it out like that once out of curiosity. Also, I use the Eheim intake/outflow "installation sets" on my XP3. I like them so much better and have combined one for a very low outflow (without a spraybar).

original kuhli 01-20-2007 07:21 AM

My xp3 hose release/siphon lock is very firm, no chance of it accidentally releasing, if it did it would be open and the siphon locked closed? Am I missing something?

crazy loaches 01-20-2007 08:55 AM

If your refering to what I posted then I am talking about the lever opening and dumping water out of the hoses when its not attached to the canister. Its not like there loose or anything, but pretty easy, and I am overeacting.

Edit> since this post has been resurrected I will make a correction. I never realized the level actually locks off when removed, no chance of accidentally releasing the water flow when its off the canister. Silly me. :icon_redf

2wheelsx2 01-20-2007 06:27 PM

I recently switched my 125 setup from an AC500 and XP3 with a 2028 to FX5 and the 2028.

I have pretty much the same experience as most users here. I don't like the spraybar and intake setup of the XP3, and I found that the flow rate in it slowed much quicker than my 2028. I think it has to do with the prefiltering of the ceramic noddles in the 2028 (whatever Eheim calls that stuff). I pretty much had to clean my XP3 3 times for every 2 times I cleaned my 2028. Could be because of higher initial flow rate, or it could be the way the filter media flow is designed.

Yes, it was louder than my 2028, but much quieter than my FX5. :D

I have since sold my AC500, but have kept my XP3. I think it's a great filter for the money, but it's in that territory of not cheap enough to be really cheap, but not high quality enough when you compare to Eheims. At full retail, it's tough to swallow the cost of Eheim, but you know what? I love it.

If I had 5 or 6 tanks in the 75 gallon range, there would be no doubt that I would be getting more XP3's, especially if they are in a fish room. However, for my measley 2 tanks, I'll stick with my Eheim and FX5 (and a Fluval 204 which I eventually hope to replace with an Eheim classic.

spypet 05-17-2007 01:04 PM

I got an XP3 bargain priced during a PetSmart promotion.
It will take a little getting used to after my Fluval 205,
but I am very pleased with my purchase thus far.

I do have one observation aimed at other XP3 owners:
My XP3 makes a intermittent water trickling noise.
It also makes a low humming noise, like a tiny fan.

I've turned the canister every which way to get as
much air out as possible, but that does not help any.
It does not matter if the flow is restricted or on full,
or at what height the canister is relative to my tank,
or how many minutes I wait till turning it back on.

Has anyone else noticed this? Is it a problem,
or just something I'll have to learn to live with.

my Fluval 205 is so quiet - I often doubt it's even on,
but to be fair my XP3 is moving twice as much water.

tpl*co 05-17-2007 01:27 PM

Ugh, why didn't I see this post yesterday during double bonus points days? I was searching for a review on whether to replace my XP3 with an Eheim 2026.

I have an XP3 that I had on another tank and is in storage and I was debating on whether to get a new Eheim. I filled and plugged in the XP3 and it still worked and I have other things on my wish list so I ended up not ordering the Eheim (but you guys are making me wonder...)

Spypet, did you check the gasket on the lid? check for anyplace that may not be completely sealed. Yes, remembering when it was in commision that clogging can be an issue, but get a good sponge pre-filter on it and it'll be a lot easier to maintain. Never had an issue of losing water from the hoses, even if I wanted it to empty for storage! Had to connect it to the top while it was off the filter to finally get the hoses to drain!

I've had my XP3 run in less than ideal conditions (like not enough head space to the top of the aquarium) and it did fine. Again I have to agree with it needing to be cleaned more often though (but that means it's doing its job right?) Very easy to clean and put back into operation. I was intimidated about cleaning my Fluval FX5 and didn't clean it for a few months, always remembered to clean the XP3 because it had to be cleaned!

OK, still got in the last few hours of double bonus days and ordered the Eheim 2026 :). We'll see if it is all that you guys say. Of course it being so quiet may not mean much if I run a sponge filter too?


PRESTON4479 05-19-2007 03:28 AM

I purchased 2 xp3's when Petsmart was running their special ($75.00 each). I was also worried about the noise after reading these reviews. After setting up the 2 I had bought I noticed that these filters hardly make any noise at all!! Actually I have to put my ear up to the filters to hear them running. These filters are great!! Easy to clean, lots of room for media, quite, hold their syphon, and priced very well.

I was in the car parts business for 10 years. So believe me when I say that you can purchase a Mercedes Benz and get a lemon too.

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