Canister filters for small tanks -- looking for advice.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:46 PM   #1
rah-bop
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Canister filters for small tanks -- looking for advice.


Hi guys. My current HOB filter is starting to crap out so I'm thinking of getting my first canister filter. I have been doing a lot of research on my own but because I value this community's experience and knowledge I thought I'd try soliciting some advice here too.

I have a 10 gal planted tank with shrimp (so many shrimp... send help). In the future I'd like to upgrade to a 20 or 30 gallon so if I can use the same filter, that would be a plus. Also, my significant other won't let me have aquariums unless they are completely silent, so a filter that makes no noise is mandatory. I'm also guessing I need something with adjustable flow so I don't turn my tank into a shrimp tornado.

Right now I'm leaning toward the Eheim 2213, but while searching these forums I've heard a lot of people say that it's not worth the cost, or that they break easily, or that there are better alternatives. What are your thoughts on this? What are the better alternatives? I've heard a lot about Sunsun recently but it's hard to find information about the specific filters to know which one would be right for me.

I am happy to explore off-brands but reliability is very important to me. I am willing to pay more for a filter that has a lower chance of leaking or crapping out.

Aside from what I have read on the internet, I don't know anything about canister filters. Is there anything in specific you guys think I should know? How do you think a canister filter (vs. HOB) impacts quantity and regularity of water changes?

Thanks, everyone. Your advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:07 PM   #2
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I have a 2213 running on my 20high and I am very very happy I went with this brand. It's completely silently and super easy to clean. I found it to have the perfect amount of flow. Easy to clean. And I recently snapped the shaft in the impeller which was entirely operator error (got a little to umm vigorous with the cleaning process), and found replacement parts inexpensive and easy to find

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Old 11-05-2012, 06:33 PM   #3
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I don't have a 2213 but do have several other Eheim and I find them to be the best. I tried a Cascade 1000 and it showed me the difference. We each will have our fav but just for info, the Eheim Classic line (2213,2215, 2217) are about as old as a filter design to be found and they still are the same filter. That tells me they were designed right and lots of people still like them. Some newer designs use baskets for the media but that can be solved by putting the loose media in bags so you don't have to handle it one piece at a time.
I have to have quiet and canisters are that. They also greatly reduce the frequency of cleaning as they hold lots more media. GPH may not be as high as some would like but that is because you are sending the water through more media but less often so that the cleaning is equal.
When shopping price don't overlook that the Eheim comes with media and others may look cheaper due to media not included. Eheim often uses less power which can be worth something as it runs 24-7 for years. They have ceramic shafts which last much longer. ( but do break easier than metal!)
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:33 PM   #4
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You might want to check out the ZooMed 501. A small canister for up to 30gal, I've had good luck running this on a paludarium with only about 10gals of water.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:39 PM   #5
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^im using a zoo med 511. Rated 160gph!

It's perfect!! Trust me!

I have the 501 on my 8 gal, and wish it had a lil more flo.

I work at a LFS and was able to get a deal on one , but I believe Petco has it cheapest for $80 right now
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:48 PM   #6
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for $80, you can get a 2213.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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^true

Your call buddy!
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:41 PM   #8
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Thinking back over all the filter questions I've read, there seems to be one big problem with the Eheim but it is not the filter or how it works. It is more the directions. Most of the problems I see crossing through the forum here lead back to not reading and understanding the directions. I think a lot of this is just amatter of how we operate.

The directions are written in many languages as the filter is truly as universal seller used all over the world. The directions are a whloe long list almost a book. Lots of people have little patience for looking through to find their language and they just breeze over them when they set thing up. That leaves all kinds of problems for when they want to prime the canister.
Maybe reading over the directions for several canisters would be a help before deciding?

This is the manual for the 2213. It has lots of pictures of how the filter goes together but where many fail is the "putting into operation" section. They want to put water in the canister and that will mess with the priming.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:54 PM   #9
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Finnex PX-360 is a good canister filter for a small tank and comes with everything for $45. Great support from Finnex is an additional plus. For a full-size canister filter, Eheims are hard to beat.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:07 PM   #10
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Yes indeed, go with one of the Eheim models.

I have a 2211 on a 12 gal (flow is a bit low for my taste) and an EccoPro on another 13 gal (rated for 35 gal tank - much better flow). Both filters have silent operation - the EccoPro is in the bedroom, literally 3 feet from my head space on the bed. No disturbance whatsoever.

So my advice would be to stick with a reliable widely used brand. Lots of people have experience with these and can advise you. Also, Eheim has a full range of spare parts available and they take pains to replace any broken bits in good time
Furthermore, I always get filters with a greater rated flow than the volume of the tank. The media will invariably gunk up over time reducing flow. Maintaining higher flow will give you leeway on cleaning. It will also be more beneficial to your plants - and happy plants make for happy livestock.
And finally, you can prevent a shrimp tornado by manipulating the tube diameters for the outflow tube, thereby significantly increasing flow (narrower tube) or decreasing flow (wider tube) based on what your animals require.

These model are very reasonably priced online (think of that store named after the very big river...).
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:00 AM   #11
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I would pick between the new Fluval 206 and Eheim 2213.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:44 PM   #12
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If you're going to upgrade to a larger tank, you'll want to consider something larger than a 2213. I wouldn't use an Eheim 2213 on anything larger than 10-12 gallons. 2215 would probably be okay for 20 gallons. 2217 would be a minimum of what I would use on a 30gal tank. (Though, I use 2217 on 20gal tanks)
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:31 PM   #13
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I've run a 2211 on a 20 gallon long without problem. I've also run 2213s on 29 gallon tanks without a problem.

Today, I have 2213s on a 20L and a 15.

I've got a 2217 on a 55 and can't imagine using it on a 29, unless you had fish that really liked a very strong current.

In short, if you're thinking of moving to a 20 or 29 gallon tank, I think a 2213 would be fine.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:41 PM   #14
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My first experience of a canister filter was a 2213. It's on a small tank, 25 litres. Really pleased with it overall. I'd recommend the plus version that includes the taps. There are a couple of YouTube videos showing how to set up these classic filters, I found them helpful as I knew the instructions that come with the filter aren't so good.

I drilled a few extra holes in the spraybar to reduce flow. Priming is easy, and if you get the package with the taps, then you only have to do this once
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:58 PM   #15
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Anyone know the going price for the 2213s?
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