Equipment Review: JEBO 828 Canister Filter (a.k.a. Odyssea CFS4)
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Old 11-29-2004, 01:37 PM   #1
aquaverde
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Equipment Review: JEBO 828 Canister Filter (a.k.a. Odyssea CFS4)




Unit Model: Jebo 828
Company: Zhongshan Zhenhua Aquatic Accessories Co., LTD.
Power Consumption: 28W
Rated flow: 1200 L/h (~317gph)
Price: $68

Accuracy, not Attitude
Disclaimer- I'm a pretty average guy when it comes to intelligence, mechanical ability and the sort of talent it takes to evaluate a piece of aquarium gear. My experience is also limited- I have owned a whole two canister filters to date. The Jebo is one of them. I'm sure I might have a different impression about some of Jebo's virtues/weaknesses if I had used a wider variety of product. So please bear that in mind while reading this review. If I missed anything, and you're a Jebo owner that can enhance this review with your experience, feel free to post comment. I've really tried to be fair-minded and factual, I have no axe to grind, and I see no value in presenting anyone with my ďattitudeĒ- it only damages the hobby. So any errors, omissions or other inaccuracies are honest mistakes. I hope anyone else who contributes will do so in the same spirit.

Jebo lists 4 models: the 825, 828, 835 & 838. The latter 2 models lack the translucent green housing, but appear the same otherwise. No other information about those models was provided. Maybe they run on European voltage. I'm guessing.

The box came delivered "pre-textured" from UPS, but all appeared to be well inside. My other canister is the Filstar XP-1, and I was surprised by the sheer size of the 828. It could have swallowed a pair of XP-1s and burped afterward. The 828 has the really nice facsimile-Eheim green color. This is not a coincidence. I saw a photo of an Eheim Pro II the other day. That's very similar to what the Jebo looks like, especially due to the large round priming button.
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Last edited by aquaverde; 03-04-2005 at 12:53 AM.. Reason: Model Name Changed
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Old 11-29-2004, 01:38 PM   #2
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Parts
Besides the filter assembly, you get 2 hoses (mine were pre-kinked), shutoff valves, 2 spare o-rings (that fit the shutoff valves), small tube labeled "sealant", inlet and outlet tubes, a spray bar, a 90 deg. elbow for the spraybar, and a two-piece strainer for the intake with a small assortment of clips and suction cups, and a drip pan that the filter assembly sits in. The plumbing affords virtually no versatility. You hook things up one way, and one way only, and be hopeful it fits your application. The fit is not close tolerance, but rather Jebo uses some soft material for the elbow and end cap that allows enough "give" to assemble the pieces. Once it's all together, the look is a little cheap (it's a cheap unit, after all), and the pieces didn't make right angles on my unit. There is a cap on the end of the spraybar with a triangular hole in it, and the directions boast that you can direct the water flow with it. This is true. In order to do it, the cap has to be pulled almost all the way off the spraybar, and it looked like water pressure would blow it off the end of the bar. That didn't happen, though, and the unit worked as advertised. The assembled intake, since it is a single piece terminated with the 2-piece strainer, has no adjustment. If it is too long, your only resort is a non-reversible fix via a hacksaw or the like. Too short for your liking and there's no fix.
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Old 11-29-2004, 01:39 PM   #3
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Filter Construction
The motor assembly is held on the body by two large side clips. The clips have a robust feel and a satisfying snap when closed. This forces the indented top edge of the media housing against a recessed o-ring in the motor assembly. The assembly feels solid when closed. Inside are 4 baskets with included media. The power head itself has the obligatory inlet and outlet, and these are angled slightly and fixed- they don't move. The filter comes with shutoff fittings that are screwed into the inlet and outlet. They are differentiated by different size output tubes, and you have to pay attention during the installation as the disconnects can be reversed. The motor assembly has "IN" and "OUT" helpfully molded on the top. Donít expect to be able to read that in the darkness of an undertank cabinet- theyíre too hard to see for that, but they are there. Hose attachment to the shutoff is via a castellated compression fitting and collar nut. Insert hose, tighten collar, and voila. The shutoffs cut the flow via two individual stopcock handles- one in each disconnect.

The filter body comes with 4 baskets complete with media. At the top is a grate, and under that the topmost basket has 2 sponges, 1 each of coarse and fine, the second basket has small porous ceramic media, the 3rd larger ceramic media, and the bottom has activated carbon. The 2, 3 & 4 baskets have some sort of woven material in the bottom as well, that serves to keep media from falling through the baskets. Water comes in and travels top-to-bottom through the canister. The volume of media in this very large filter is quite impressive- enough to maintain a biological filter far beyond the needs of a planted tank. A tube is built into each of the baskets and the top grate, with the top of each tube fitted with a rubber gasket. The gasket fits into the bottom of the tube in the basket above it, so that one long tube is created from the bottom to the top when they're all nested together properly. The gasket in the grate then fits into the impeller chamber in the motor assembly, so that water is drawn up from the bottom of the canister. The close-fitting baskets and design of the grate is such that it looks highly improbable bypass will occur in this design. Water flows through the media from top to bottom, returning through the segmented/gasketed tube. Fitting all the parts together and getting the gaskets and tubes to seat properly was a bit fiddly, especially when trying to place each of these into the close-fitting housing. At this point, you find out why each of the baskets is equipped with its own handle. Removal or replacement would be pretty difficult without them. I found if things aren't placed just right with all the gaskets properly seated, the housing clips can't both be properly secured.

There is a large round priming button on the top of the motor housing that prevents the need for awkward priming. Just push the plunger down and it evacuates air from inside the filter through the return hose and draws water in through the intake. This is a real plus.

Documentation
The filter comes with an instruction manual, and it wasn't written by a native speaker of English, and could present some difficulty to the not-so-mechanically-inclined. Some important discrepancies caused me to wonder. In one part, the directions claim the outlet spouts can be positioned, yet in my unit they cannot. The directions are inconsistent. A part is referred to by one name in the illustrated parts list, and by several other names in the directions. Included assembly illustrations use yet other names for parts. Relying on these instructions makes the assembly process somewhat confusing. The tube of "sealant" is never mentioned anywhere in the entire pamphlet. My guess is, it's o-ring lube. I didn't open it, as everything went together without the need of undue persuasion and I didnít get any leaks. The first time I do maintenance, though, I hope things come apart as easily as they went together!
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Old 11-29-2004, 01:40 PM   #4
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Assembly
I put the hoses in some hot water to try to get the kinks out before I put things together. One kink never did come out of the larger hose. Fortunately, it was close to one end, and I cut that section out and used it to kluge the Hydor heater into the output plumbing.

Emptying the media into their baskets was a simple matter. There was enough, but not too much, so it everything fit together with room to spare. The large intake hose was a bit of an interference fit into the shutoff valve, and I had to wrestle with it just a little to get it seated properly. The smaller hose goes in much easier.

Plumbing the hoses presented some problems. They are soft and kink very easily, especially the smaller diameter return hose. Plumbing the Hydor into it didn't help matters. I found that just about no "blousing" of the lines was possible, as the weight of the hoses would cause them to collapse. This is probably true to some extent with most of the hose that comes with any filter (some tradeoff between spine and ease of assembly), but it was especially true with the Jebo. Add to that the fact that the outlets were fixed, and setup was restrictive. On the smaller hose, I had to decide where it was going to go in the tank and pretty much cut it exactly to size. I had some additional problems because the smaller hose used on the output didn't fit the Hydor inline heater. I got some adapters at the hardware store to go from small to large hose and back again on either side of the Hydor. This is not a Jebo responsibility, of course; they canít be expected to design product to fit some other companyís stuff, and Iím not aware of any de facto standard for plumbing canister filters. It is still important to know the output hose is smaller than 5/8ths if you want to use a Hydor ETH, though, when considering this filter.
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Old 11-29-2004, 01:42 PM   #5
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Operation
Priming was a matter of making sure the shutoffs were open and pushing the priming button down a couple of times and holding. Water filled the cavernous media housing pretty quickly. It still takes a little while to fill, as this filter must have a couple of gallons of capacity. Once primed, just plug in. The filter spun up and ran fairly quietly. After a few weeks, it is still quiet. Not quiet like you hear described of an Eheim, but I can hear my XP-1 across the room. I have to open the cabinet to confirm the Jebo is operating.

Flow Rate
Jebo advertises 317gph flow rate for this filter. What I saw coming out didn't impress me- so much so that I decided to check it. I devised a simple check using a 5-gallon bucket that I had measured for 5 actual gallons. There was a good-sized length of leftover outlet tubing because I used the Hydor, so I hooked that tubing straight up without anything else on the outlet, for the most optimistic flow rate results possible. This means only the diameter of the motor section outlet would impede flow. No other tubing or pipe involved. I pumped into a bucket that was a little over a foot below the aquarium water level, so the bucket would have filled via gravity alone with the disconnects open (this was almost my undoing at the end of the test). I dropped the tube in the bucket, hit the power switch and timed how long it took to pump 5 gallons. It took 113 seconds to fill. Unless my math is as bad as I think it is, that works out to about 160gph, and this under ideal conditions with a foot of head pushing (in other words, better than you will get in actual operation). I've heard it said that rated flow in the industry is pretty inflated, maybe it's so, but these results were very disappointing.

Injecting CO2
I drilled a hole in the "basket handle" (the adapter that goes between the strainer and inlet pipe) to fit my Duetto 50 fitting and plugged the CO2 tubing in. From there I proceeded to inject about 100bpm through my Milwaukee pH-controlled system into the filter to see how it handled this. I got some gas accumulation in the flter, and that caused an increase of noise, as incoming water now splashed through the gas after a time. The impeller will not engage any injected gas unless the entire filter is evacuated of water (the flow is from top to bottom, then back to the top through the segmented tube and through the impeller). By this mechanism, an air lock is practically impossible with the design. I had problems with gas accumulation before in my external reactor, and that made me prefer the Duetto, which pulverizes the CO2 bubbles before blowing them out of the unit. So I am not taking any points away from Jebo for the gas accumulation, as I have not been able to isolate the cause of this problem. It is certainly safe to inject CO2 into the filter, and a lower bubble rate might prove to be no problem. But Iím certain the flow rate is a contributing factor in the dissolution of the gas.
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Old 11-29-2004, 01:43 PM   #6
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Maintenance
To perform maintenance, cut the intake shutoff, then the output shutoff while the pump is running (to avoid pressurizing the canister), then unplug the power and unscrew both disconnects from the inlet and outlet fittings. The head height alone is enough to pressurize the can via gravity so that you get a splash on opening if the directions aren't followed (don't ask how I know). Remove the motor assembly by unbuckling the two side clips and lifting it off the filter housing. The media baskets are removed for cleaning, like any other canister. Directions for impeller cleaning are included, but I think they will make more sense once I start the actual disassembly for the task, if you get my drift.

Reliability
The jury is out on this one. It takes years to confirm reliability, and a single premature failure to ruin it. Time will tell.

VERDICT

The Good
Large capacity filter with media included
Self-priming!
Quiet
Low price



The Bad
Accessory plumbing extremely limited and cheaply/poorly designed
Instructions poorly written/inaccurate/incomplete
Low flow- half the advertised rating

Conclusion
You get what you pay for.
If you don't have any special plumbing needs, have an average tank of say 40 gallons (30 gallons heavily planted), and are on an austerity budget, this is a can at a price. The generous filtering capacity might make this good for a tank with messy fish. This filter is fairly simple to operate, and the self-priming feature is glorious. If this unit provided anything like the advertised flow and a decent plumbing package, Jebo would have a great deal here. For a DIY-er the plumbing might be overcome at an additional cost, but the low flow rate makes this otherwise nice design not such a deal after all.
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Old 11-29-2004, 03:52 PM   #7
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Default re water flow..

Nice review Aquaverde
Interesting about your flow experiiment. I can't imagine if the flow was double in my tank as I already have problems with some plants being blown around in my heavily planted 70 gallon. I have a hard time believing an xp3 would be double the flow rate as I have heard some people have 2 of them on 75 gallon tanks.
I'm not sure why you would say it would better for a 40 gallon tank as eheim listed flow rates for the 2026 are 172 GPH and rated for up to 90 gallon tanks.
That is with media in place in the filter without the media it is rated 251gph. I looked on the eheim website and all eheim canisters are rated for pump output and filtration output. The filtration output was 40% less on most of them. Iwould hazard a guess the jebo was rated the same way without media ? with media it seems inline with the eheims outputs.
http://eheim.com/pro2.htm
I did have the kinked hose at one but it was at the end like yours so I cut it off. The sealent is silicone for the "O" rings and such .
I find I only need about 45 bpm to get co2 to 25ppm using diy co2 so it will get much quieter.
Btw how is the hydor heater working for you? That was something I was looking at as well.
Nice Work
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Old 11-29-2004, 04:20 PM   #8
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Btw if you like surface skimmers a hagen skimmer works like a charm wiith the inflow. To use it cut 2 inch long piece of the leftover input tubeing and install that on directly on the input pipe. The black flexi tube form the hagen skimmer fits perfectly into the 2 inch piece. Take out the skimmer adjutment rod on the skimmer and attach the jebo strainer basket directly in the botton of the skimmer. I then use heat shrink tubing to hold it in place and cover the original input holes in lower part of the skimmer. You will have no adjustment but the skimmer will never need it.
I'll post a pic when I get a chance.
Also I fed my Co2 into the 2 inch junction piece between J tube and flexi tube.
Sounds complicated but it's not...

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Old 11-29-2004, 04:33 PM   #9
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Nice review there. Keep us posted on how it does down the line.
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Old 11-29-2004, 05:07 PM   #10
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Hey Botia,

Itís not unusual to have 2 filters on a larger planted tank, they seem to eat up so much flow. When I tested the Jebo, the only thing not in the filter was the carbon, so one basket was empty. When I eyeballed the flow, I was very surprised. It looked like significantly less than my XP1, and thatís what made me decide to test it.

I hope to do the same test on my XP1 sometime soon. Itís good to get objective data rather than rely on oneís eye for this. Remember, my Jebo test was optimistic. I doubt I am seeing 160gpm in operation.

The Hydor works like a charm so far. I love the concept, and it is large enough it doesnít seem to impede the flow noticeably.

I like the idea of a surface skimmer, long as it doesnít outgas CO2. I might give the Hagen a try. Thanks for the tip.

And thanks for the encouragement on the review. I hope itís a help.

Ibn, thanks, will post any changes. I may post other reviews later if this sort of thing is wanted.
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Old 11-29-2004, 05:34 PM   #11
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Great write-up. Clearly lots of work went into it. Thanks for the review!

Brian.
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Old 11-29-2004, 06:27 PM   #12
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Thanks for the review.
I'll give it a try. I'm planning to buy one from SE Asia or Hongkong (~$30) the next time I travel.
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Old 11-29-2004, 08:24 PM   #13
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Well done!

Is it just me or would anybody else worry about a canister filter that came with a pan to place it in???

All kidding aside, good luck and keep us up to date!

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Old 11-29-2004, 09:13 PM   #14
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Where did you buy this filter from?
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Old 11-30-2004, 09:57 AM   #15
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Bought it from here. I notice that the Hydor is now listed as one of the "Customers who bought this also bought" items.

The drip pan is just big enough to catch some drips down the side. It's good for preventing damage from failing to wipe off wet feet after sloppy maintenance.
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