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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Getting ready to start a 20gal. planted tank with just a few fish. Wanting the best HOB filter for this build. Any recommendations? Kinda new here and also to the planted tanks. Thanks for all info I hope to receive.
 

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Hi jak61,

Welcome to TPT! I have a strong preference for the Hagen (Fluval) Aquaclear series of HOB filters; I use and own 5 of them. They are reliable, quiet, with excellent customer service and parts availability. The filter media stacks horizontally (which is great if you use the filter for DIY CO2) and output is adjustable. For a 20 gallon I use an Aquaclear 30 or 50 depending upon how heavily planted it is. In planted tanks I use two sponge filters and no charcoal/carbon.
 

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Get a AquaClear or a Fluval, I am using a Fluval C4 on a 10 gallon and the water is always pristine. These filters are way better than the normal HOB because you can customize your media and don't usually have to buy expensive replacement cartridges.
 

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Aquaclear gets my vote for HOB. I still prefer a canister though and they are comparable in price if you look at the Sunsun hw-302 ($46)

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I LOVE my SunSun canister filters, and pretty much every other piece of equipment I bought from Asia, I think the quality and performance often time exceeds some of the major name brands everyone is familiar with.
 

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Where can you get the sunsun 302 for 46??

To the OP.. I'd definitely recommend the aquaclear line. I use an ac50 in my 20's and it works very well
Prices fluctuate, and sometimes multiple times in a day for the same listing on Ebay. I purchased my 4th Sunsun (3rd 302) last night since I got it for 46.99 shipped with media (bio balls, carbon, fine filter pads, ceramic rings). that same ad is listed at 59.99 right now. I don't even need the filter yet, but my tank collection is always expanding. My first 302 from over a month ago was only 43.99 with media.

Here is the 302 I purchased last night:



Here is the same ad with a new price tag today:

[Ebay Link Removed]

Search: "SUNSUN HW-302 3-STAGE EXTERNAL CANISTER FILTER 264 GPH UP TO 75 GALLON W/ MEDIA" since I cant post Ebay link
 

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Thanks randpost!! When I just looked I saw the 59.99. I'll have to keep my eye on it.
Even for $60 this is an amazing filter for the price. Some people complain about it being too strong, I can see why they say that, the out flow is a bit strong, but if you put a little time into it you can build yourself a spray bar and eliminate all the heavy flow and help reduce dead zones in your aquarium. Below is a picture of a store bought one, but you can see the simple design and recreate it with a couple of dollars worth of PVC pipe and about 20 minutes of your time.

 

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I originally bought penguins for all of my smaller tanks.. While they've worked well and never let me down, they can be noisy at times if you use a fine sand in your tanks. As far as the sun Sun canister.. I've seen those very cheap and avoided them because I had never heard of them and questioned the quality.. Maybe now I will have to go back and look at a few I originally dismissed. I too would choose canister over hob any day if the week if I was working on an initial setup all over again. Save money and time in the long run for paying a bit more up front.

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SunSun is a popular brand offered in Asia and is relatively new to the American market a lot of people have not heard of them, but most who have tried them find they out preform conventional brands. Before Hagen was so popular it was "that off brand from Germany", sound familiar, but now it is so popular it's kind of like a broken record, the only filters that really get suggested are AquaClears and Fluvals both made by Hagen, I have suggested SunSun before here and people act like I'm crazy! The only reason I didn't recommend a SunSun in the first place was because you were seeking a HOB filter.

That being said SunSun is an excellent product and I believe it to be far superior to Fluval and many other canister filters on the market, at a fraction of the cost. A lot of the products from Asian manufactures are better than some of the products most are familiar with, fish keeping and aquariums are a MAJOR hobby in Asia, not a niche like here in the states. If you just want to spend more money on a name brand than get a Fluval they are really good but can be expensive, but if you where curious about alternative manufactures that offer a better product I would expand my search past Fluval, I have used Fluval exclusively for almost 5 years till recently when a friend loaned me an Asian made filter when one of my Fluval died. A lot of people are hung up on name brands in the aquarium hobby and should actually focus on quality and results.



The main thing with any filter is to focus on what you need for your tank you will want a filter that will be able to cycle your entire aquariums water table at least twice an hour, a misconception in this hobby is more filtration is better, but most people need to increase their flow not their filtration. The correct flow will help your filters keep your tank at it's cleanest, by eliminating dead spots in the water you will be able to keep your water mixed homogeneously and can help keep detritus from collecting in certain locations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks everyone for all the replies. Ordered the Aquaclear 50 yesterday. Very limited on space to be able to store the canaster filters out of sight. Thanks again.
 

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I had an aquaclear with a API prefilter and a marineland bio wheel (which I would never buy again).
I read a lot on AmericanAquariumProducts.com and decided to try a sponge filter (I have a heavily planted tank and do not want to run a CO2 system so I was looking to take away the surface agitation to keep the CO2 in the water column till the plants used it). The sponge filter ran at first with the bio wheel till the sponge had cycled. I then took the media (just some poly fill basically) out of the bio and added some red mangroves.

Since I added the sponge and mangroves my ammonia and nitrite sits on 0 and my nitrates average 10ppm. My water is crystal clear 95% of the this on my 55 gallon and I am in the process of putting the same on my 75 gallon since the sponge filter cuts back on surface agitation and still provides a flow.
 

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I'm a contrarian. Didn't like my AC, when I was using HOB for my 20 L, I used 2 tetra EX20. Worked great, very convenient with the cartridges. I found the AC cumbersome. Like some of the other posters recommended, a canister might be a better option. I picked up an eheim Ecco pro 35 for about 70 bucks on eBay for my 10 and it works perfectly. Good luck!


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