Filter size the more the better right? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 06:06 AM Thread Starter
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Filter size the more the better right?

Right now on Amazon both the 150 and 200 penguin bio wheels are the same price. I was thinking of setting up a 25 gallon which only requires the 150 according to most sources. But since they are the same price why not get the bigger one right? isn't more filtration better? They look the same size as well. And this way I could upgrade if I ever need to. Any thoughts ?

https://www.amazon.com/product-revie...ews-filter-bar
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 11:34 AM
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I always over filter in case my human laze takes over. Aside from WAY TOO MUCH filtration that ends up causing whirlpools, you'll be fine. Go bigger.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by aquapadawan View Post
Right now on Amazon both the 150 and 200 penguin bio wheels are the same price. I was thinking of setting up a 25 gallon which only requires the 150 according to most sources. But since they are the same price why not get the bigger one right? isn't more filtration better? They look the same size as well. And this way I could upgrade if I ever need to. Any thoughts ?

https://www.amazon.com/product-revie...ews-filter-bar
There are 2 schools of thought with filters. And sadly we have no idea which school is ultimately right. What I will call the traditional school is that you need more water movement and lots of surface area in your filter be it from biomedia or sponges etc and this will provide the best filtration option for your fish and plants. The newer school is that you should have less biomedia and slower current in your tank and this will provide the best filtration for your fish and plants.

I find myself leaning towards the newer school personally. The idea being that you want between 4-8 times an hour tank turn over with preference being towards the 4 side of the spectrum unless you have fish that need faster flow. By focusing on sponges in your filter as opposed to biomedia you provide adequate surface area while allowing a moderately to heavily planted tank benefit from the other nutrients your filter does not catch.

If you are running with few plants you may wish to for different filter configuration.

I have run hang on back filters many times before and biowheels of various kinds as well. I frankly do not like them much because they tend to distract from the tank. As the biowheel fills with gunk it spins randomly making the sound of the water change which I find distracting. Thus it becomes another part to clean that is not really necessary.

So to answer your ultimate question, should you buy that filter? I would say no, instead buy an Aquaclear 30. It doesn't have the wheel which I prefer and is generally regarded as a very well made filter.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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There are 2 schools of thought with filters. And sadly we have no idea which school is ultimately right. What I will call the traditional school is that you need more water movement and lots of surface area in your filter be it from biomedia or sponges etc and this will provide the best filtration option for your fish and plants. The newer school is that you should have less biomedia and slower current in your tank and this will provide the best filtration for your fish and plants.

I find myself leaning towards the newer school personally. The idea being that you want between 4-8 times an hour tank turn over with preference being towards the 4 side of the spectrum unless you have fish that need faster flow. By focusing on sponges in your filter as opposed to biomedia you provide adequate surface area while allowing a moderately to heavily planted tank benefit from the other nutrients your filter does not catch.

If you are running with few plants you may wish to for different filter configuration.

I have run hang on back filters many times before and biowheels of various kinds as well. I frankly do not like them much because they tend to distract from the tank. As the biowheel fills with gunk it spins randomly making the sound of the water change which I find distracting. Thus it becomes another part to clean that is not really necessary.

So to answer your ultimate question, should you buy that filter? I would say no, instead buy an Aquaclear 30. It doesn't have the wheel which I prefer and is generally regarded as a very well made filter.
well again, since the 50 gallon model is the exact same price on amazon as that link you posted, would you go for the higher flow rate?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 11:42 PM
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In my opinion, flow rate isn't necessarily in the "bigger is better" category. It will depend on your particular setup, but too much flow isn't good for a lot of situations. If the contents of your tank end up being blasted into a corner all the time, then you may have too much. I don't know how much adjustment you really get on either of the models being mentioned here.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-06-2019, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by aquapadawan View Post
well again, since the 50 gallon model is the exact same price on amazon as that link you posted, would you go for the higher flow rate?
Heh in short, no.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 01:02 AM
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Wouldnít recommend any filter that uses premade manufacturers filter cartridges. Bio wheel is also not needed, in fact will lead to excess nitrate production in the tank.

In that size tank, 2 150gph filter would be my choice rather than one bigger filter. Anything over 200gph on any one filter is to aggressive on most planted tanks with smaller fish. Plus with 2 smaller pumps you cover entire tank with a more effective circulation pattern preventing dead zones of circulation.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Wouldnít recommend any filter that uses premade manufacturers filter cartridges. Bio wheel is also not needed, in fact will lead to excess nitrate production in the tank.

In that size tank, 2 150gph filter would be my choice rather than one bigger filter. Anything over 200gph on any one filter is to aggressive on most planted tanks with smaller fish. Plus with 2 smaller pumps you cover entire tank with a more effective circulation pattern preventing dead zones of circulation.
okay, so what kind of filters do you recommend?
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 10:29 PM
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Iíve alway used Aquaclear filters, reliable, easy to find replacement parts, simple filter basket design allows you to use whatever media you want. Want to add a layer of 25micron filter felt or bag of carbon, no problem with the design of filter basket.

One Aquaclear 50 will get it done for your tank, youíll need little extra push if your talking about a standard 25 which is 24x12x20, mainly because of depth of tank. 50 is 200gph, so probably turn it down to about 180gph.

Most the time I just run the foam they come with for mech filtration, thatís it. Sometimes adding a blue/white bonded dual layer filter pad after that if you need some extra water polishing. Both the foam and bonded filter pad can be rinsed and used over and over again so saves you $$$ in long run. One roll of bonded filter pad costs about $6 and is enough to last you a decade in that filter.

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Blue-Pro...%2C172&sr=1-30
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 10:42 PM
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I'm also in the group liking the ease of changing the media and Aquaclear is about as good as I find in HOB.
I actually run mostly canisters but there are times/places when HOB fit the bill. Being able to easily cut most and media to fit the Aquaclear does sell that brand for me. Almost anything that can be made into a somewhat rectangle shape can be used, so it is really open but I do find their specific sponge is worth buying as it seems just the right opening/pore size to filter well without stopping up too quick.
I really DO NOT like the bio-wheels as they tend to be a total nuisance for me as they stop spinning and when one side dries out when stopped, that section of bacteria will die and the second problem is that the spinning shaft rides on small plastic that they call bearings but are more like rubbing blocks and the shaft gradually works it's way down into the plast so that they need yet more maintenance. I do not like as they require too much fussy work.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 11:23 PM
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I use the Fluval C series HOBs and like them as well as the Aquaclear . I am in the over filtering camp as long as you are not blasting everything in the tank . I use multiple filters of lower flow to accomplish this . I figure the filters get the mechanical stuff and some bio and the plants and tank in general get the rest of the bio . As long as water stays clean it doesn't matter how you get er done......lol and water changes are a must either way you go .

My wife says if I get one more aquarium she is going to leave me . I sure am going to miss her fried chicken .
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 01:23 AM
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Iím in the school that gentle flow provides better filtration than vigorous flow. Donít equate gph with filtration efficiency. The media capacity is more important than gph, and most HOBs have over sized gph relative to the media capacity. If high circulation gph is what one wants, get a dedicated circulation pump. When I retrofit my Penguin 350 with a smaller 200 impeller when it worn out, I achieved more thorough mechanical filtration by slowing down the flow rate and time to replace the media. I donít install the biowheel for my Penguin as good circulation over the substrate will provide all the bio filtration one needs.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 02:18 AM
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How do you like those Penguin filters? I have been tempted to try one of the symmetrical units.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 04:53 AM
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Aquaclear IMHO. Probably the most media capacity for given size HOB and you can adjust flow rate relatively easily.

Only thing I dont prefer about them is inability to change flow outlet direction without making your own dams or water diverters essentially. Think of that before you set one up so its easy to design and make before hand. I used a plexi shelf that I bent with a heat gun and some wood blocks. It slid under the filter and directed the water out and away from the HOB.


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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 04:15 PM
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Only thing I dont prefer about them is inability to change flow outlet direction without making your own dams or water diverters essentially. Think of that before you set one up so its easy to design and make before hand. I used a plexi shelf that I bent with a heat gun and some wood blocks. It slid under the filter and directed the water out and away from the HOB.
Don’t count on HOBs to direct flow which is not what they are designed for. Get a circulation pump with a magnetic attachment so you can place anywhere to direct flow. Since HOBs provide back and front circulation, it’s best to attach a circulation pump at one end to provide longitudinal cross flow.

I am very pleased with Penguin line of filters and have a dozen running in my fish room. They are quiet and reliable self starter, an important consideration if you have power outage. Don’t buy their expensive media cartridge but make your own by filling their refillable baskets. With plants and good circulation over the substrate, there is plenty of biofiltration and no need to install the biowheels that steal the flow.

https://www.amazon.com/Marineland-Ca.../dp/B0009YHSE8
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