Looking for a small internal filter - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 98
Looking for a small internal filter

Hello all. As the title says I'm looking for a compact internal filter, to replace the stock filter in Aqueon's 5 gallon Minibow 5. (You don't have to read further than this if you already have a suggestion.) oh yeah, this ain't a high tech tank, so I'm not spending a wad on this filter.

I know it isn't a great tank, but I'm letting my kid start with it, and we'll see where it goes from there. Anyway, I've always hated the filter design on this thing. It barely filters, it blocks half the light, and because of that, it is the only part of the whole setup that even threatens to grow algae. Which it does within a few days of new filter cartridge installation. Anyway, enough venting.

I don't want to try an HOB, and it doesn't really seem worth a canister. A small internal seems the way to go, but I'm open to arguments. I don't even insist that it be formally rated for 5gallons. I think I could turn OFF the filter, do a 20% water change each week, and match what the stock filter (plus 20% water change) gets. I just don't have any experience with or knowledge of internal filters, so who makes one that will get the job done? Preferably for a reasonable price?
mikeh is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 01:00 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PlantedRich's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 12,410
How do you feel about the noise of air pumps? They can power a sponge filter which can work very well on smallish tanks. Cheap simple, easy to clean and lots of good bacteria---if the noise is not a problem. The simple old box filter in the corner can do it also.
As a step up for a starter filter, I am liking several things about these for an internal at under $15.
On the auction, look up this? E-bay links not allowed.

Aquarium Internal Power Filter 3-in-1 Multi-Function Up to 85 Gallons Fish Tank
PlantedRich is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 02:58 AM
Algae Grower
 
milingmiles's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: TX
Posts: 25
I recommend "Tetra Whisper 10i" - a canister filter for up to 10G tanks. I like these because 1) they are quiet which is one main advantage of having a canister v. HOB filter; my aquarium sits in living room; if I want to hear the sound of water flow, I have to move right next to the tank; even then the motor noise is not detectable. This was the best selling point for me to switch from a HOB to a canister filter one year ago.

2) Great filtration rate: in general you want at least 5x tank volume per hour; so for a tiny 5 gallon tank, you need at least 25 GPH. Whisper 10i provides you with plenty of filtration at 90GPH.

3) 3-stage filtration in all-in-one design: it provides mechanical filtration via a mesh Bio-Bag, chemical filtration via a activated carbon inside the Bio-Bag, and biological filtration via a bio-foam grid (shapes like a fish, should not be removed)

4) Inexpensive: $11 on Amazon (see maintenance cost below)

5) Durable: I have owned my Whisper filter for over a year now; never had any device failure or malfunctioning. Cleaning simply requires you to unplug the filter, clean, then plug it back in.

The minus side is the bulky size and cost of replacing filter mesh. The filter fits well into the back corner of my 10G tank, but for a 5G tank, it may take up space and may not appear appealing. Tetra only sells a smaller Whipser 3i filter for 1-3G tanks, which is NOT adequate for your 5G tank.

Additional maintenance cost include the filter cartridges. Tetra sells 12 Biobag filter cartridges at $9.40 on Amazon. Each cartridge lasts about 1-3 months depending on subtrate, fish and plants in your tank; 12 cartridges will last you at least a year. You can reduce this cost by buying activated carbon and mesh in bulk. My tank is established, so I simply use bio-balls for both biological and mechanical filtrations in my tank.
milingmiles is offline  
 
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 03:38 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
 
PTrader: (66/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 6,754
Hi mikeh,

Hagen Elite Mini Underwater Filter has adjustable output flow, direction nozzle, venturi if needed, small internal sponge. Also can be altered to be used as a DIY CO2 diffuser.


Roy_________
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1X 59W Fluval Plant (3.0); 45 Gallon Tall, 1X 46W Fluval Plant (3.0); 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 & (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
Seattle_Aquarist is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
How do you feel about the noise of air pumps? They can power a sponge filter which can work very well on smallish tanks. Cheap simple, easy to clean and lots of good bacteria---if the noise is not a problem. The simple old box filter in the corner can do it also.
As a step up for a starter filter, I am liking several things about these for an internal at under $15.
On the auction, look up this? E-bay links not allowed.

Aquarium Internal Power Filter 3-in-1 Multi-Function Up to 85 Gallons Fish Tank
I don't want to go with an airpump because it will be in his bedroom. I might consider powering a sponge with a powerhead if that would work. I do like the looks of those filters. Appear to be made by Sun sun (Not sure if "made" or "marketed" is the right term there). What is their reputation? I see the name occasionally, but not enough to know whether they are decent or "avoid like the plague." If they are good, this very well may be the way to go--especially since the one rated for 20 (the smallest I can find?) claims to be adjustable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by milingmiles View Post
I recommend "Tetra Whisper 10i" - a canister filter for up to 10G tanks. I like these because 1) they are quiet which is one main advantage of having a canister v. HOB filter; my aquarium sits in living room; if I want to hear the sound of water flow, I have to move right next to the tank; even then the motor noise is not detectable. This was the best selling point for me to switch from a HOB to a canister filter one year ago.

2) Great filtration rate: in general you want at least 5x tank volume per hour; so for a tiny 5 gallon tank, you need at least 25 GPH. Whisper 10i provides you with plenty of filtration at 90GPH.

3) 3-stage filtration in all-in-one design: it provides mechanical filtration via a mesh Bio-Bag, chemical filtration via a activated carbon inside the Bio-Bag, and biological filtration via a bio-foam grid (shapes like a fish, should not be removed)

4) Inexpensive: $11 on Amazon (see maintenance cost below)

5) Durable: I have owned my Whisper filter for over a year now; never had any device failure or malfunctioning. Cleaning simply requires you to unplug the filter, clean, then plug it back in.

The minus side is the bulky size and cost of replacing filter mesh. The filter fits well into the back corner of my 10G tank, but for a 5G tank, it may take up space and may not appear appealing. Tetra only sells a smaller Whipser 3i filter for 1-3G tanks, which is NOT adequate for your 5G tank.

Additional maintenance cost include the filter cartridges. Tetra sells 12 Biobag filter cartridges at $9.40 on Amazon. Each cartridge lasts about 1-3 months depending on subtrate, fish and plants in your tank; 12 cartridges will last you at least a year. You can reduce this cost by buying activated carbon and mesh in bulk. My tank is established, so I simply use bio-balls for both biological and mechanical filtrations in my tank.
I think those are probably too big for my 5, and I also would be a little afraid of that flow rate. Putting the water through would be great, but it seems like it would create a pretty turbulent tank! Thanks for the rec though, if/when I need something for my 10 or 20, I may look to one of those.
mikeh is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 98
Missed this when I first replied:
This looks really interesting, partly because it is downright diminuitive. The flow rate seems easily enough for a 5 gallon, why do they only rate it for 3? Is it so small that there's just not enough filter media to rate it for more? Still very tempting to try out (especially since I can apparently repurpose it and finally get into co2 if I decide it isn't enough filtration!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle_Aquarist View Post
Hi mikeh,

Hagen Elite Mini Underwater Filter has adjustable output flow, direction nozzle, venturi if needed, small internal sponge. Also can be altered to be used as a DIY CO2 diffuser.

mikeh is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 04:43 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Seattle_Aquarist's Avatar
 
PTrader: (66/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 6,754
Hi mikeh,

Yes, the sponge area is small so it would likely need to be rinsed in tank water (the water you remove during water changes) once a week. That way you don't kill the beneficial bacteria. I have used these little filters for several years now, they are rugged and work well. I use them in my two emersed tubs to keep water circulating and clean.

It's hard to see but the filter is in the back, right corner.

Roy_________
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1X 59W Fluval Plant (3.0); 45 Gallon Tall, 1X 46W Fluval Plant (3.0); 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 & (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
Seattle_Aquarist is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 03:32 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PlantedRich's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 12,410
Some points that seem to be pretty standard are that when we get into the cheaper internal filters, it is the size and design much more than quality of materials. There are those who treat things gently and they will work a long time. There are also those who are rough and break almost everything! So some thought on how that might work?
But I find little difference in the name brand small filters and the cheap, no name once I look past the size and design. When speaking of noise, I'm against it so air is out. So it has to be a balance between how much space I want to lose versus how much media I can get. I have to admit that I've become spoiled and now go with small canisters that go outside the tank, so that I can get the extra size and not lose the space.
Small automatically means cleaning more often. Many small filters are a simple sponge/pump combo even when adverts say they do mechanical, bio and chemical filtering. That often means a cartridge with carbon and I do not like to be tied into something that requires a full time tap on my wallet! Carbon is not needed ion most cases and is a real messy nuisance, to avoid. I look for something that I can cut pads out of flat stock like sponge or filter materials that are much, much easier to fit to what you want as well as much cheaper.
One of the good points of HOB is that it gives you a hole that you can stick most anything into and then it pumps water through. Some of the Wal-mart types like Regal have served me well.
I would not hesitate long to recommend something like this.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Yescom-Aq...Pump/131053799
Cheap price. so two could be used if finding one is not enough. Ditch the carbon and put some other media like a pot scrubbers in the space for bio bacteria and alternate cleaning on the two?
Works for a year or more and then you know if more/ better is needed or if it is a total bust of an idea? Sponges last nearly forever it seems (not really) and are cheap to cut out of flat stuff like this.
https://www.petsolutions.com/C/Floss...ter-Media.aspx
PlantedRich is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
As a step up for a starter filter, I am liking several things about these for an internal at under $15.
On the auction, look up this? E-bay links not allowed.

Aquarium Internal Power Filter 3-in-1 Multi-Function Up to 85 Gallons Fish Tank
So I ended up buying one of these, the smallest one I could find (claims up to 20 gallons) and we'll see how it does. I don't expect it to overpower the 5 (It looks gentle enough running in a bucket of water) but if it is too powerful, well, I've got a 10 I can put it into!

Thanks for the lead. If this thing does the trick, they may become my go-to simple solution.
mikeh is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 05:09 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Kalamazoo Mi
Posts: 504
looks like you had it figured out. but i would suggest this if it doesn't work out. these style sponge filters are basically silent if you put the output right at water level.
Kampo is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may 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
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome