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Discussion Starter #1
Good evening, I currently have a 45 gallon tank with a HOB filter. I've kept fish for years now and have always had a HOB filter but I am ready to upgrade to a Canister Filter.

I've been doing a fair amount of research on the subject and have decided to go with the Sunsun HW-304B. Where it becomes cloudy is what media to have in the filter.

I understand, in order bottom to top, Mechanical - Biological - Chemical. I have a planted tank so that, from what I understand, limits some of my options.

For Mechanical I want Course, Fine, and Super fine sponges so to say correct?

For Biological I want some sort of ceramic rings, or biochem stars or bio balls correct?

For Chemical do I want something like purigen or zorb or carbon? Will they be a problem with the planted tank?

I guess im wondering if the above is correct and what do you have in your canister filter media wise.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome! I have an Eheim filter, from bottom to top I have this:

Ceramic Rings
Coarse Sponge
Fine Sponge (Really just batting from Walmart)
Biological Media (kind of like little pebbles w/ eheim filters)
Another Fine Sponge (this time from eheim)
I used to have Carbon, but found it wasn't necessary.
Purigen.

I don't feel having a planted tank really limits many of your options as far as media goes. How were you thinking that it would? Having a canister filter really gives you a lot of options to arrange media in a way that works best for your tank. It doesn't hurt to experiment a bit.

If you do a quick search for "eheim media setup" or something similar you can see what eheim recommends for their canister setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I ended up purchasing the sunsun 304b kit which includes filter pads, bio balls, ceramic rings, and carbon. Also purchased filter floss and purigen. So I should be set. Would it be wise to put the floss as the last media before discharge to the tank? Would optimal order be: ceramic rings - filter pad - bio ball - carbon and purigen - floss?
 

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Personally i find it wise to put the floss in the very first stage so it can deliver clean debris free water to the biological media.
 

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In my 304B I have, bottom to top:

Basket 1 - Course pad -> fine pad
Basket 2 - Filter floss
Basket 3 - Chemical (currently charcoal)
Basket 4 - Bio (mix of ceramic rings and bio balls)
 

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My ehiem 2217's are loaded from bottom to top with approx. one inch of substrat pro,three coarse blue pads,one fine filter pad .
Filter(s) could easily hold more pads but I get more flow with less pads.
 

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Be careful when people mention bottom->top as not all filters flow in the same direction.

From input to output I use:

Course sponge
Finer sponge/floss depending on what's handy
(When needed) Purigen
Bio-media (generally Seachem matrix or some ceramic rings)

I believe you want the water as clean as practical before getting to the bio-media, so as to reduce the junk that will compete for surface area with the beneficial bacteria. Also, this reduces the vigor with which you will feel inclined to clean the bio media during filter maintenance.

Same rationale for purigen or carbon - you want it dealing with its specialty, not just being coated with diatoms or rotting organics.

Note that Bio Balls or anything made from plastic is not a real good choice for canisters, as its effective surface area is very small in comparison to matrix or ceramic rings. You want lots of microscopic nooks and crannies for things to grab onto. Bio Balls work better in large sumps where you can have a LOT of them.

I also personally put a pre-filter on my intake to protect small stock, and also because it's a lot easier to clean junk off of it than inside the canister.
 

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Too bad he got the filter used and never read the directions!

If you want to see the correct way to set up the media on the Ehiem Pro 2 which is discontinued, this is the manual which shows pictures of how Eheim recommends setting it.
Also there is the idea that he is not up on some of the newer filter designs which use different flow as Linwood mentioned. The newer Ehiem Pro 3's have a foam prefilter at the top which makes it easy to reach in and grab it without doing a total filter clean.

Bottom line is that it pays to look over the directions on your filter and understand how the media should be arranged as they are not all the same. If Sun-sun doesn't provide guidance on how and what should be used, that would be a good reason to avoid that filter.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the information, the reason I asked was because I ordered everything online as my LFS is 45 minutes away. I understand there are many options available, I was only looking for suggestions and what other people with more experience have used. I'm sure soon I'll be in the canister filter club soon!
 

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I use the biomedia (substrat pro) as mechanical media to capture the big stuff before it goes through the coarse media and finally through the fine media before entering the aquarium.
Not much concerned about biomedia getting dirty for it gets back flushed by pouring the water I drain from the canister back through the biomedia which rests on the bottom.
Besides,,there is enough bacteria present on substrate,plant leaves,wood,rocks,glass,inside canister hoses, and on canister walls.
The boxes that my ehiem 2217's came in show a couple different way's to set up the media and I chose the one I am using.
Does not really matter how large surface area of biomedia is or how porous it may be for there will only be bacteria enough for what need's to be processed.
You can have all the biomedia you want ,but if you only have a few fish ,,then you will only have bacteria colony that can process what these fishes produce in waste, and or excess foods that may find their way to the substrate.
I have seen filter's crammed with shower scrubbies,tinker toy's,lava rock.
Anything placed in the filter will over time,collect that which will feed/establish bacteria.
I do however try to see that the water passes through finer material before re-entering the tank but only because I like clean,crisp looking water.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I finally received the filter today decided to go with media in this order:
Course media sponges
Bioballs/Ceramic rings
Carbon/Purigen
Filter Floss
Appears to be working well at this time. Tomorrow I will do more fine tuning as I realized the intake and spray bar dont need to be as long as they are and I could probably cut down some tubing to maintain good flow.

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone, and the advice has been excellent. I have now entered the exciting world of canister filters!!!!
 

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SUNSUN HW-304B 5 Stage

Hello~
I had a Fluval 404 in a 55 and 75 gallon tanks for about 6 years before it gave out. After much research and questions decided on the SUNSUN HW-304B 5 Stage External Canister Filter 525GPH 9W UV Sterilizer w/ Media...now that was a mouthful! It came with Bioballs, 4 Filter Pads, 1 bag of Ceramic Rings, 1 bag of Charcoal and no instructions. I was really disappointed to find the lack of instructions and/or help on their web site! Anyway, I finally put it together like my Fluval and almost had a stroke trying to get the thing primed. Today I was cleaning the filter and had a box of Marineland Ceramic Rings by accident what did I see on the back of the box but an illustration of how to load the stages! From bottom to top: Coarse Filter (looks black), Charcoal, Bioballs, Ceramic Rings with a Cotton Pad on top of them. Bless their hearts! I'm on my way out to re-arrange the baskets so I can put my tank back together, but wanted to share my good fortune with everyone!
 
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