Rena Filstar XP3 review - compared to Eheim
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Equipment


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-19-2007, 06:56 PM   #1
ringram
Planted Tank Guru
 
ringram's Avatar
 
PTrader: (66/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: West Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,600
Send a message via AIM to ringram
Default 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.

-Ryan
__________________
90g journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ph...rnal-pics.html
---------------------------------------------------
SFBAAPS member - http://www.sfbaaps.com/

SAPS member - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacaquaticplant/
ringram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2007, 07:15 PM   #2
crazie.eddie
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Illinois
Posts: 1,681
Send a message via ICQ to crazie.eddie Send a message via AIM to crazie.eddie Send a message via MSN to crazie.eddie Send a message via Yahoo to crazie.eddie
Default

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.
__________________
125 gal (473 liter): Low Tech (1.5wpg PC for 10 hours, no CO2/ferts, gravel substrate), Equipment (72" Coralife PC, Eheim Pro II 2128 w/built in heater, FilStar XP3 w/Hydor ETH201 inline heater), Fish (6*Discus, 2*Angel, 5*Clown loaches, 4*L-018 Gold Nugget pleco, 1*L-260 Queen Arabesque pleco, 7*Cories, Farlowella cat)
crazie.eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2007, 07:48 PM   #3
original kuhli
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
original kuhli's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 741
Default

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.
original kuhli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2007, 08:04 PM   #4
Georgiadawgger
Planted Tank Guru
 
Georgiadawgger's Avatar
 
PTrader: (14/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Arlington, VA (Near the Pentagon)
Posts: 2,416
Default

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.
__________________
40g AGA Breeder: Pimp# 44: Eheim 2026; Anti- Filstar; CLTT UV; 3 wpg PC, pressurized CO2. GATA! FTD!!!
Georgiadawgger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2007, 08:58 PM   #5
ringram
Planted Tank Guru
 
ringram's Avatar
 
PTrader: (66/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: West Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,600
Send a message via AIM to ringram
Default

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.
__________________
90g journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ph...rnal-pics.html
---------------------------------------------------
SFBAAPS member - http://www.sfbaaps.com/

SAPS member - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacaquaticplant/
ringram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2007, 12:49 AM   #6
cbennett
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
cbennett's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 786
Default

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.
cbennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2007, 06:37 AM   #7
Betowess
Planted Tank Guru
 
Betowess's Avatar
 
PTrader: (27/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Skagit County, Washington State
Posts: 3,199
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringram View Post
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).
__________________




Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
Betowess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2007, 01:04 AM   #8
Moe
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Moe's Avatar
 
PTrader: (49/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Nolanville, TX
Posts: 833
Default

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.
Moe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2007, 02:36 AM   #9
crazy loaches
Wannabe Guru
 
crazy loaches's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Gahanna, OH
Posts: 1,315
Default

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.
crazy loaches is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2007, 08:08 PM   #10
Naja002
Planted Tank Guru
 
Naja002's Avatar
 
PTrader: (50/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Usa
Posts: 2,600
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy loaches View Post
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.
If You look at the xP quick disconnect assembly--there are 2 little locking mechanisms to prevent exactly what You are talking about. The handle won't move unless its connected to the filter.....


HTH
__________________
Naja002 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2007, 09:16 PM   #11
crazy loaches
Wannabe Guru
 
crazy loaches's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Gahanna, OH
Posts: 1,315
Default

I actually edited my post already for exactly that - didnt realize back then that the valves couldnt be opened after disconnection. And I dont know why I have some kind of problem with typing level instead of lever. lol.
crazy loaches is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2007, 06:12 AM   #12
2wheelsx2
Wannabe Guru
 
2wheelsx2's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,238
Default

Except that tab that keeps it from moving is rather flimsy. I managed to break it when I was cleaning it when I was taking the filter down. No big deal I guess, just have to be careful not to pull the lever when it's disconnected.
__________________
Filstar pimp #59 (shhhh on the Eheim)
2wheelsx2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2007, 07:21 AM   #13
original kuhli
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
original kuhli's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 741
Default

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?
original kuhli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2007, 08:55 AM   #14
crazy loaches
Wannabe Guru
 
crazy loaches's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Gahanna, OH
Posts: 1,315
Default

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.

Last edited by crazy loaches; 05-21-2007 at 06:59 PM..
crazy loaches is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2007, 06:27 PM   #15
2wheelsx2
Wannabe Guru
 
2wheelsx2's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,238
Default

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.

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.
__________________
Filstar pimp #59 (shhhh on the Eheim)
2wheelsx2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:11 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012