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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
I owned an LFS (still have the store, just got out of aquatics to save it) and a Marineland rep gifted me several Penguin HOBs, as did reps for Aqueon and Tetra. 6 years in, every tank had an Aqua Clear even though Hagen never gifted me a thing. I didn't hate the other three brands, but do prefer the Aqua Clear in just about every application. I don't even sell Aqua Clears in my shop any longer (can't compete with the Internet), but it's what I suggest to any customer who walks in.
A little off topic but curious why got out of aquatics? Just to difficult to make money on or internet competition? My parents had a petshop back in the day and was probably 80% aquatic based with the rest centering around reptiles and birds. Had it for probably 15yrs or so before selling it. Sold it about the time the big chains started moving in everywhere.
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 10:01 PM
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Kind of all of the above. I had worked at local fish stores on and off since the late 80's, and thought my area needed one. I had the capital (I thought, anyway) and set up shop. Even with a healthy markup on fish, it is hard to sell enough of them each week to pay an employee's salary. And I required two employees. We specialized in reef and planted tanks, but there were far too few serious hobbyists to keep things afloat. Then a laundromat opened in the shopping center and things really took a turn. Unattended kids, always finding pennies and gum in tanks, constant tapping, etc. More than anything, I just burned out on people. And dog and cat supplies had kept us open all along so the only business decision that made sense was to get out. I'm truly glad that I did and I'm passionate about my hobby again.
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 10:13 PM
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After big chain moved in, many independent lfs have gone out of biz. But big chain sell only common bread and butter fish, no saltwater, plants or uncommon species. Now their prices for common species arenít bargain anymore. So there is money to be made if indies can focus on selling fish big chain donít sell. But for dry good, there are too many internet and big chain competition that indies have hard time to compete.

I know an owner of a lfs who places AC in every big tank. AC is a power house and work horse that is nearly maintenance free. Noise isnít an issue with lfs, and foam is more economical that cartridges.
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 10:59 PM
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I have a 20 gallon planted Betta tank on my desk and have found this little filter works great and does self prime. This is smaller size for 10 gallon. The bio wheel was the selling feature for me. I have a wet dry on my 180 gallon planted tank.

MarineLand Bio-Wheel Penguin 75 Power Filter, 10-Gallon

I use this as well as a small sponge filter

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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 07:49 PM
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Would also recommend Aquaclears. Very well built and hold up well over time.
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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 08:28 PM
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Emperors were my HOB of choice for 17 years- tried all the others, but kept coming back to this one. The last 10 years have mioved to Fluvel canisters and sometimes miss the simplicity and access that the HOB's provided.

One not to buy- Seacheam Tidals- expensive junk.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 04:53 PM
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Aquaclear flow is bad, too much like a waterfall, not much horizontal water flow. It makes noise. Easy to clog with debris in the water, often requiring to play with it to start it up, sometimes complicated to restart. Old design which never changed since his release in the late seventies. It is beaten by the newer designs.

On the other hand, Aquaclear can be found used-cheap and replacement parts are easy to find. That is the only pro I find for this filter that i know since i was young. It was great by that time, it was one of the first HOBs, if not the first. However IMO Aquaclear is now obsolete.

I am running a Seachem Tidal 55 since 11 months and it is so superior. Silent, easy to prime, it primes itself. Flow is much better, more horizontal flow.


Plants and algae grower.

Last edited by micheljq; 05-10-2019 at 05:05 PM. Reason: details
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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 06:48 PM
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I've had my hands on a Tidal that a rep brought in and was intrigued, though not enough to bring them in. Your glowing post is making me want to buy one to try now!

Here were my thoughts and why I didn't think it was ideal for my tanks.
Surface skimmer: I liked the skimmer aspect overall, but I keep shrimp in almost all of my tanks. I didn't see a way to completely shut that off and so would worry about shrimp fry. An intake is easy enough to cover with a sponge, but wasn't sure a method to fry-proof that surface inlet.

Shape of the filer case: Was bummed that the corners were so rounded. To cut media to put in there, it would be so much easier with square corners. There was no design reason to round them off other than to make the unit look sleek and that hurts the functionality of it IMO.

Blue tabs: Why put light blue plastic tabs that stand out so? I would have to paint those black if I were dropping that in my tanks. Another design flaw that only exists for looks. Might sound petty, but I want my filter to not be noticed.

Large intake box: Just a lot to have in the tank itself, at least this drawback has a function though. Pretty neat to not have to prime your filter, but it's an advantage I'd live without to have less plastic in the tank itself.

Just my initial thoughts from having one in my hands once. I've never so much as hung one on an aquarium so can not speak to functionality though seems well-made and solid. I do like the stair step outlet design a lot. Sicce makes great motors and I have no doubt it runs well and is quiet. The ability to simply hang it on the tank and plug it in will be appreciated by many hobbyists. The design to cut down flow is far superior to the standard "move the intake off of the impeller a bit" design. Using the lid to hold the filter basket for cleaning was a smart idea -I've raced to the sink trying to manipulate an Aqua Clear sponge to keep it from dripping for 30 years! The price point is very reasonable. I personally wouldn't go so far as to say it makes anything else obsolete and certainly not Aqua Clears, but we all have different needs and wants for our HOB filters. If I could combine some features of the Seachem Tidal to an AC it would be pretty darn close to perfect for my own needs.
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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 07:20 PM
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I have 2 Tidal filters and much prefer them over the Aqua Clears, which I've had - and still have 4 running - for several years. I started having issues with the AC's intake tubes not sitting properly so that the lids wouldn't fit flush, and with the impellers not starting, even after cleaning. Minor issue, I know, as I used the point of scissors or tweezers to start.

But I like the self priming feature of the Tidal, there's much more variation in the flow control, and even the plastic construction is a better quality. And it draws much more "gunk" out of my tanks than the AC. Comparing the Tidal 55 with the AC50, there's more room for media, too.

I'll still keep the remaining AC's I have as long as they still run. They didn't have the Tidal 35 when I bought my Tidal 55 and 110 filters, so not sure if that 35 would be too large for a 20g long tank. But the Tidal 55 is way more than I would want for those tanks.
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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 07:40 PM
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I was mostly happy to see the Tidal because it was the new first HOB filter design that didn't run on premade carbon cartridges -none of those are ideal for planted systems. I hope that it's a sign of things to come and more innovative designs will come to market. Next tank I set up with a HOB I'll get a Tidal just to put some time in with it. Hopefully they tweak a couple of things between now and then, but I'm sure I can adjust things to my liking.

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post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-10-2019, 07:52 PM
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I would get a Aquaclear 20 for a 10 gallon tank. The Tidals have their place, but a 10g isn't one of them. I've never had issues with Aquaclears after a power cycle. They don't start flowing again instantly but they definitely get moving after a couple seconds. You will need to top them off after a water change though.

I "hot-rod" almost all of my filters so I prefer simple, open designs. I would definitely recommend avoiding cartridges.

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