Best HOB Filter - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Best HOB Filter

I am in the process of gathering pieces for a 10 gallon freshwater build and am doing my research on a HOB filter. In the past, I've heard Aquaclear is the gold standard. Is that still the case? I've read reviews of concerns if the power goes out that the filter will not prime itself back up and burn the motor out.

Nevertheless, I'm open to all opinions on what people have liked.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 03:42 PM
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I like my Aquaclears; they are the only HOB's I own.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 03:54 PM
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FWIW, I run a Penguin 200 on a 40B and a Fluval C3 on a 34 tall.

The Penguin does feel a little cheap and is not the easiest to upgrade/hot rod, but I think it is the best at self priming. Plus it is inexpensive to buy and experiment with. I added an intake sponge and used the plastic from an old filter cartridge to make my own replacement. The 200 would be too big for a 10G, but I would imagine the different sizes in the line function similarly.

The Fluval is well designed, as you expect, and has multiple compartments for adding different sponge and bio media. Any cut off in power though does require you to pour water into the main body to get it going again. Thats the only thing negative I can say about it. Consider a C2 for a 10G, the C3 created way too much flow for my 10G. I added it to my 34 and I think its perfect.

Hope this helps, and be sure to let us know what you go with!

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 04:08 PM
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I have a AC30 on my 10g and a AC110 on my 40B. It works very well. You can adjust the flow rate on it if its too much initially. I like how they are setup with the media/sponges.

I put foam prefilters on mine primarily because Ive got shrimp in both tanks.

As far as repriming if the water drops to low and the filter back syphons out it doesnt want to reprime. That being said if the water in the tank is full and the filter had been running there is no issue with turning them off, pulling media to clean or change, then plugging it back in and having it reprime itself. As long as the filter has water in it then it shouldnt burn up and will reprime.

Just my experience.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSaxen View Post
FWIW, I run a Penguin 200 on a 40B and a Fluval C3 on a 34 tall.

The Penguin does feel a little cheap and is not the easiest to upgrade/hot rod, but I think it is the best at self priming. Plus it is inexpensive to buy and experiment with. I added an intake sponge and used the plastic from an old filter cartridge to make my own replacement. The 200 would be too big for a 10G, but I would imagine the different sizes in the line function similarly.

The Fluval is well designed, as you expect, and has multiple compartments for adding different sponge and bio media. Any cut off in power though does require you to pour water into the main body to get it going again. Thats the only thing negative I can say about it. Consider a C2 for a 10G, the C3 created way too much flow for my 10G. I added it to my 34 and I think its perfect.

Hope this helps, and be sure to let us know what you go with!
I run a dozen Penguin filters of various models for all my tanks, some over 20 years old that Marineland no longer makes. I never buy the expensive cartridges but cut my own filter pads from polyester batting for 5c each. There is no need to make your own as Marineland sell cheap filter holder. I agree itís a reliable self primer, an important safety consideration in power outage. For 10 gal, Penguin 150 will be the right size but you have to fabricate your filter holder because Marineland doesnít make it for small models.



https://www.chewy.com/marineland-penguin-refillable-filter/dp/126002?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content =Marineland&utm_term=&gclid=CjwKCAjwza_mBRBTEiwASD WVvhkc6FZ4VuoA3V5BS1cUkbIEaW-DTCAAVu34oosT0nbvDQhPm_SOSRoCp-kQAvD_BwE

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 07:35 PM
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I have to say I like the Marina Slim that came with 10gal kit years ago. For me space was an issue, I didn't want the tank pushed out too far away from the wall, there's no priming, I find it super quiet, and I don't use the cartridges, I just add my own media into it. I do find that it flows too deep into the water and there isn't any surface agitation, but I just clipped a binder clip onto the rim of the tank and it raised the filter enough to give perfect surface agitation.

I also have a Fluval (C70?) and an Aquaclear that I liked for my bigger tank (when I had one), but they are boxy and I didn't like how far out my tank was.

I'm using my Marina Slim again after sitting in a box in my basement for the last four years and other than losing the little flowrate piece, it's doing awesome.


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 12:49 AM
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Aquaclear HOBs rule. The issue with not restarting after a power outage is because over time, crud gets down in the impeller magnet chamber so it sticks and won't turn when power is restored. The simple fix is to clean this once a month or so.

Another 'complaint' is that the filter will back siphon when the tank level gets low (like a partial water change). If the filter is emptied, it won't self prime. The simple solution is to pull out the inlet tube prior to draining the tank!...then put it back in after the tank is refilled.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 02:22 AM
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I have found that an AquaClear 30 on a 10 gallon tank is perfect, even for heavy stocking. If you plan on breeding shrimp, either put a sponge prefilter on or you can modify a sponge filter and attach it to the intake.


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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-04-2019, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
I have found that an AquaClear 30 on a 10 gallon tank is perfect, even for heavy stocking. If you plan on breeding shrimp, either put a sponge prefilter on or you can modify a sponge filter and attach it to the intake.
I Agree. Aquaclear 30 is great. I especially like the holding box on the aquaclear. Can hold a good amount of sponge, filter floss and media.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 01:32 AM
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I used an AC50 on a 10 gallon I had and just swapped in the impeller from my AC30 and adjusted for minimum flow to drop the GPH. An AC30 would be optimal for a 10 gallon. I can't think of another filter that is nearly as customizable as the AC. Over the years I've had a number of different types of Whispers, Aqua-Techs, Penguins, and briefly an Emperor. While I haven't tried all of the available HOBs by any means, I haven't seen any compelling reason to suggest that there was any finer design and the reliability has kept me coming back after selling the ones I've had before with other setups. I've never had any problem with them repriming but I clean the impeller wells every few months and I keep the water levels of my tanks very high.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 02:40 PM
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I used an AC50 on a 10 gallon I had and just swapped in the impeller from my AC30 and adjusted for minimum flow to drop the GPH.
You are not alone. I swapped smaller model impeller for my Penguin filters (330 and 350 with 170 impeller). Not only that lower model impeller is cheaper to replace, smaller impeller runs smoother and quieter, and lower gph allows the media to last longer yet filter more effectively.

IMO, all HOBs have oversized gph not commensurate with the media capacity. Biological filtration does best with low flow, and this is why air lift sponge filters is so effective. Mechanical filtration does best with moderate flow, no need for high flow that clogs the media quickly. If one wants high flow into the tank, get a circulation pump. Unfortunately, high gph is a marketable number customers pay attention to in comparing brands.

BTW, does anyone know if Penguin 200 impeller will fit 330 or 350. Marineland no longer makes and sells Penquin 170 and I have to find substitute.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 03:04 PM
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I use a Penguin 200 for my 40-gal and an Aquaclear 70 for my 55-gal. I feel like the Penguin is quieter (when the wheel slows down after a while), but the Aquaclear has more variety. Aquaclear makes a soft rumble. For beginners, I would go with Penguin. The cartridge is very easy to change. I would recommend a refillable cartridge (for more variety) for the penguin if they have those for your 10-gal.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 03:19 PM
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So this is random but the "fluval" coupon code applies to hagen aquaclear filters (but not the "kits") for 15% off at kensfish :/ gotta get to 49$ for the free shipping but uhh I just use the media they come with forever heh and then sometimes take the tops off and grow plants out of them. I usually put a sponge over the intake, these things :/ https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B004K9A15G

Only hobs I own besides one fluval hob (still hagen) that was given as part of the aquatic experience scaping contest thing... though I mostly use sponge filters of some kind

I personally haven't had a problem with the power going out/restarting unless I really neglected maintenance/let the plants grow so many roots it blocked the impeller :/
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Schoolofdisabledguppies View Post
I use a Penguin 200 for my 40-gal and an Aquaclear 70 for my 55-gal. I feel like the Penguin is quieter (when the wheel slows down after a while), but the Aquaclear has more variety. Aquaclear makes a soft rumble. For beginners, I would go with Penguin. The cartridge is very easy to change. I would recommend a refillable cartridge (for more variety) for the penguin if they have those for your 10-gal.
Marineland makes refillable cartridge for Penguin 200 and above, not smaller model. I fabricated one for my Penguin 150 using old Whisper disposable cartridges. For filter pads, I cut mine from polyester batting from JoAnne Fabric for 5c each, not worth to rinse pooped up foam.

I never install biowheels in all my Penguin filters, not that biowheels donít work, they are very effective but I see no need for them as my tank is full of bio media (substrate, plants, and decor). The biowheel will use up energy and slow down flow into the tank.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 06:50 PM
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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.
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