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Hi Ben!

The short answer is that the AC50 should be perfect. The long answer follows, and explains why.

A planted tank actually needs less filtration than a non-planted tank, because the plants also help remove wastes from the water.

But unless you're using a tank style where most of the nutrients are in the substrate instead of the water, a planted tank actually needs more flow. This is required to carry the nutrients in the water to the leaves, where they can be absorbed.

A good guideline is to take the number of gallons in your tank, and multiply it by ten. That's how many gallons per hour (GPH) of flow you need.

The AC50 is rated at 270GPH. Just about perfect. Of course, the real-world flow will typically be less, as no one keeps their filter media perfectly clean! But the 10x guideline is just that, only a guideline and not a rule; and you won't have problems if you fall a little short.

There are other possibilities. For example, you could use an AC30, which is rated as sufficient filtration for a 30G non-planted tank. And then add a powerhead to provide the extra needed flow. Might still fit into your under $50 budget. This has the advantage that should the filter's media become clogged enough to seriously restrict flow without you immediately noticing, at least the powerhead will still be providing unimpeded flow.

Sometimes I use that filter/powerhead combo, sometimes just oversized filters. Both work.
 

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I'm planning on an AC50 for my 20g when I set it up. I have two Penguin Biowheel 200's on my 46g and it doesn't seem sufficient. I'm considering stepping up to two AC70's although I don't want to discard two perfectly working filters
 

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IMO the AC 50 would be satisfactory, but you'll get a much better filtration job over the long term with an AC 70, and wouldn't be sorry you went with a heavier duty filter.
+1

I have an AC 50 on a 20 gallon long and wish I had gone with an AC 70. A 50 will be adequate but a 70 will allow you to use whatever media you'd like and prefilters without having to worry about it negatively affecting your flow.
 

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29 G Filtration

Hi
I need to get a filter for a 29 gallon planted tank that I am setting up but I don't know what size is the best. I think that a ac50 will be the best because I am trying to spend under 50 and get the best filtration possible. Any help would be great!
Thanks
Hello Ben...

Hagen makes a good filter, good choice. Your tank needs a filter with a gallon per hour (gph) rating of roughly 6 times the volume of your tank in gallons. So, a filter that turns 180 gallons of tank water per hour is the minimum required.

A Hagen AC50 has a gph of 200 and costs about $40.00. It's perfect for a 29 G tank. It will give you a little bit more filtration.

But, don't rely on mechanical filtration to keep the water clean. A filter only takes in toxic water and returns water that's a bit less toxic. You'll need to remove and replace half the tank water weekly, to guarantee stable water conditions for your fish and plants.

B
 

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If you go with the AC70 and for some reason can't get flow to slow to a point that you like? You can buy a smaller impeller for just a couple bucks. That's the benefit of AquaClear filters.

The 70 is a better bet not just because of expanded room for filter media but because you can also stash some heaters and smaller equipment in the filter without crowding up the tank.

Definitely don't change 50% of your tank water each week unless you absolutely have to. And even then, make sure parameters are closely matched.
 

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Pretty much what everyone been saying. AC70 is the ideal size without having to worry about weak flow. AC50 will do you good also but the flow might be on the weaker side which might settle you for a powerhead or koralia nano.
 
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