Best filter for heavily planted aquarium
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:14 PM   #1
TorontoPlantMan
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Best filter for heavily planted aquarium


Hey guys, Big Al's is having a pretty big sale this weekend and I was hoping to capitalize on this by picking up a new filter for my 20 Gallon low tech tank.

They have a bunch of Marineland Canister filters on sale for a fairly decent price and was hoping someone could give me some insights on them if they've previously owned one.

Here's the link to the sale

http://www.bigalscanada.com/Stores/S...ale_w_Pet.html

The filter models are Marineland Canister Filter C Series- C160 $79.99, C220 $109.99, C360 $149.99, and C530 for $219.99

They also have the Tetra wisper filters on sale starting from $12.99, anyone ever use one of these? I'm currently running an Aquaclear made by Hagen for 20-30 gallons i believe.

Attached is a picture of my tank and favorite plant which is just shooting roots like crazy!

Thanks guys
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:32 AM   #2
Rich Guano
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A heavily planted tank IS the best filter. Keep it simple, your doing great with what you have. Good job.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:42 AM   #3
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With a 20 gallon you could do a canister or a HOB. Overall canisters will do a better job and have less maintenance. HOB are cheaper, you have to do maintenance a little more often, but it's easier to do the maintenance as you don't have to break it all down.

If you were going with a canister the Eheim classic series is very highly rated, for a 20 gal, model 2013 or 2015 would be good.

If you are going the HOB I would go with a Marineland Penguin or Emperor. The Penguins are a little quieter than the Emperor but doesn't have the spraybar. They both have biowheels for extra bio-filtration and lots of space for media in the box. Penguin 200 would be good for a 20 gal, and has in extra media slot you could play with aside from the cartridge.

Many people run both a canister and HOB then you have the best of both worlds, with plenty of filtration, and 2 stable colonies of beneficial bacteria. Tons of media options with both. You could keep your HOB and get a smaller canister like the Eheim 2011 to save some money, and the combo of both would be great. Your plants and animals would thank you, haha.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:48 AM   #4
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I use a Tetra Whisper EX45 on my 29g high. I love it - very quiet.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:41 PM   #5
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All depends on stocking! I tend to match my filter to the number of fish more than the size of aquarium.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:08 PM   #6
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I have a C160 on my 10G shrimp tank and I am very happy with it so far. I have had it about a 1.5 years. I paid 79$ with free shipping from Big Al's Online.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Guano View Post
A heavily planted tank IS the best filter. Keep it simple, your doing great with what you have. Good job.
Thanks Rich Guano, I appreciate that ! The reason for wanting a new filter is because the one i have now just won't create much surface movement for some reason, i've cleaned it every which way possible yet no results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolfan View Post
With a 20 gallon you could do a canister or a HOB. Overall canisters will do a better job and have less maintenance. HOB are cheaper, you have to do maintenance a little more often, but it's easier to do the maintenance as you don't have to break it all down.

If you were going with a canister the Eheim classic series is very highly rated, for a 20 gal, model 2013 or 2015 would be good.

If you are going the HOB I would go with a Marineland Penguin or Emperor. The Penguins are a little quieter than the Emperor but doesn't have the spraybar. They both have biowheels for extra bio-filtration and lots of space for media in the box. Penguin 200 would be good for a 20 gal, and has in extra media slot you could play with aside from the cartridge.

Many people run both a canister and HOB then you have the best of both worlds, with plenty of filtration, and 2 stable colonies of beneficial bacteria. Tons of media options with both. You could keep your HOB and get a smaller canister like the Eheim 2011 to save some money, and the combo of both would be great. Your plants and animals would thank you, haha.
Thanks for the advice Dolfan I appreciate it. Unfortunately money is sort of an issue, I'm still a college student so I'm trying to save a buck every which way possible. Eheim is way out of my price range as they tend to be pretty pricey and rarely on sale where I am (Toronto). Sorry to sound like such a noob but what exactly is a HOB filter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpchick View Post
I use a Tetra Whisper EX45 on my 29g high. I love it - very quiet.
How long have you had that filter? I've read some bad reviews about it but then read some good reviews. I'm worried about my fish getting sucked into the filter, it's happened twice so far with my Chinese Algae Eaters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulG View Post
All depends on stocking! I tend to match my filter to the number of fish more than the size of aquarium.
I have 3 clown plecos, 4 Odessa Barbs, 5 Tiger Barbs, 3 Chinese Algae Eaters, and 6 Cory Cats. So a total of 21. Their all in the 20 gallon i've posted above. How would i match a filter to match these fish?


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big Buddha View Post
I have a C160 on my 10G shrimp tank and I am very happy with it so far. I have had it about a 1.5 years. I paid 79$ with free shipping from Big Al's Online.
Awesome to hear that, It's the filter i'm looking to get i'm just not sure if it's overkill for my tank since it's already heavily planted, but it's fairly stocked as well. We'll see this weekend what I end up picking up!
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:30 PM   #8
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only overkill on a filter i think is if you crank it to raging torrent levels for current - otherwise, it never hurts to have a big filter i think. i have an aquaclear 30 for my 20 high, and it seems to do the trick just fine.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahn View Post
only overkill on a filter i think is if you crank it to raging torrent levels for current - otherwise, it never hurts to have a big filter i think. i have an aquaclear 30 for my 20 high, and it seems to do the trick just fine.
Okay sweet thanks a lot Jahn, I have an Aquaclear as well on my 10 gallon, It used to be on my 20 but the one for my 10 broke. I just really wanna get the surface movement going on, it's very minimal with the sh***y filter i have on there now.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:15 PM   #10
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I just bought the C220 for my 29 gal tank. It has more than enough flow. In fact, I am thinking of throttling it down. Its only rated at 220gph but it has a stronger output than my Rena XP3 which has a higher gph rating.

I was impressed with the build quality, it seemed pretty robust to me.

The one thing I didnt like about it is that it didnt come with a spray bay, just an outlet tube with a directional horn on the end.

I'm using a DIY PVC spraybar and am thinking of adding a pvc shut off valve to it to throttle the flow a bit.
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Old 05-24-2013, 02:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmagerl View Post
I just bought the C220 for my 29 gal tank. It has more than enough flow. In fact, I am thinking of throttling it down. Its only rated at 220gph but it has a stronger output than my Rena XP3 which has a higher gph rating.

I was impressed with the build quality, it seemed pretty robust to me.

The one thing I didnt like about it is that it didnt come with a spray bay, just an outlet tube with a directional horn on the end.

I'm using a DIY PVC spraybar and am thinking of adding a pvc shut off valve to it to throttle the flow a bit.

Mmm i must say that is quite disappointing that it doesn't come with a spray bar, that is what I really wanted with purchasing the canister. Was the DIY PVC spraybar easy to make? I didn't even know they made PVC pipe that small. Do you know if you can fit other spraybar's onto your filter?
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Old 05-24-2013, 02:53 AM   #12
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Toronto, Everyone is trying to save a buck these days, so no need to explain yourself there. I'm right there with you. Focus on school and get that degree. As for your questions...

HOB stands for Hang On Back filter, others may call them a power filter. Just your normal cost effective filter that sits on the rim of your tank. Aquaclears are good models and are usually highly recommended, but I love my Marineland Penguins and Emperors as they have the added bio-wheel, which keeps an extra beneficial bacteria colony on the wheel to work with whatever filter media you use in the box compartment.

If you worry about fish getting sucked into your intake you can buy a sponge prefilter for the intake. Make sure your sponge is an aquarium sponge or at least a sponge with no additives or chemicals. Cut it to size, and slide over the intake, super easy to do. And this provides an additional site for beneficial bacteria. Also make sure the sponge has large pores so it wont clog super easy.

As for your canister filter options, you said you were looking at a Marineland C-160 which is $79, the Eheim 2011 is $62 and the 2013 is $79 all at Bigalspets.com which has a Canada store, or at least ships to Canada. I think they started up there somewhere. I've used them for years, they rock, super cheap, good customer service. If you want a super cheap canister, ebay has SunSun HW 302's for around $50 with free shipping. When I get my next filter I think that will be the one. Search that model here on the plantedtank and many have reviewed it well and recommend it. Good luck with your search.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolfan View Post
Toronto, Everyone is trying to save a buck these days, so no need to explain yourself there. I'm right there with you. Focus on school and get that degree. As for your questions...

HOB stands for Hang On Back filter, others may call them a power filter. Just your normal cost effective filter that sits on the rim of your tank. Aquaclears are good models and are usually highly recommended, but I love my Marineland Penguins and Emperors as they have the added bio-wheel, which keeps an extra beneficial bacteria colony on the wheel to work with whatever filter media you use in the box compartment.

If you worry about fish getting sucked into your intake you can buy a sponge prefilter for the intake. Make sure your sponge is an aquarium sponge or at least a sponge with no additives or chemicals. Cut it to size, and slide over the intake, super easy to do. And this provides an additional site for beneficial bacteria. Also make sure the sponge has large pores so it wont clog super easy.

As for your canister filter options, you said you were looking at a Marineland C-160 which is $79, the Eheim 2011 is $62 and the 2013 is $79 all at Bigalspets.com which has a Canada store, or at least ships to Canada. I think they started up there somewhere. I've used them for years, they rock, super cheap, good customer service. If you want a super cheap canister, ebay has SunSun HW 302's for around $50 with free shipping. When I get my next filter I think that will be the one. Search that model here on the plantedtank and many have reviewed it well and recommend it. Good luck with your search.

Thanks Dolfan, I appreciate that. Thanks for explaining everything to me as well, I'm still an amateur in the aquatics game.

Anywho, Bigalspets.com is different then bigalspets.ca and unfortunately the American and Canadian prices differ greatly. There is no Eheim canister filters for under 100$, cheapest is 129.99 last time I checked.

I unfortunately didn't end up getting any filter this weekend as my 10 gallon tank randomly cracked this morning and I was in a panic to fix everything. Ended up buying a new 10 gallon with a new hood and came with a [censored][censored][censored][censored]ty ass filter I wont even bother using. That pretty much took away from any money I did have to spend on the canister filter. Oh well, next time !

I thought i'd share some of my progress with my 20 Gallon incase you were interested though, In the matter of 1 week this is the difference between the tank after i started dosing and using a proper light schedule. I'll create a separate entry showing people my success and failures so far.
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:22 AM   #14
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Wow, looks good, definitely got some good growth there. A few inches in just a week.

Sorry to hear about the crack in your tank. But check out Bigals again, I wouldn't think the prices would be that much different. Maybe there is some conversion from Canada to US money that I'm not factoring in.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:02 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dolfan View Post
Wow, looks good, definitely got some good growth there. A few inches in just a week.

Sorry to hear about the crack in your tank. But check out Bigals again, I wouldn't think the prices would be that much different. Maybe there is some conversion from Canada to US money that I'm not factoring in.
Yeah I was so surprised when I saw the difference, I didn't realize how much dosing ferts can help the plants. Even the leafs on a lot of them are super green, it's awesome.

I think it's just Canada is more expensive than the US in general. They have to pay duties, taxes and tarrifs anytime they import something some the U.S to Canada. I remember buying a pair of limited edition Dwyane Wade shoes once which only cost 149.99 at the time, and having to pay over 125$ in duties/taxes. Super [censored][censored][censored][censored]ty! USA is the place to buy goods, doesn't get any cheaper.
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