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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been spending every waking moment planning out my next aquarium, and I've hit a bit of a roadblock choosing the canister filter. I was initially planning to use a single Eheim 2217, but I decided to upsize the tank a bit. With a 64g tank, the 2217 will only give me ~4x hourly turnover. Sufficient, perhaps, but I don't want the bare minimum.

I'd like to keep the filtration cost under $300 or so, and it is of the utmost importance that it not leak. Minimizing visible equipment is also important, so I'd also like to be able to run an inline heater and diffuser/atomizer/reactor.

I've compiled a list of all the most popular and highly-rated filters that I think might work. I'm shooting for 8-10x hourly turnover. If possible, I'd like to have a single filter - half the leak potential and half the hoses going in/out of the tank - but I've read that many prefer a setup with two filters, so I didn't rule it out.



My first thought was the Fluval FX4. It pumps a ton of water, and it's still pretty affordable. However, I realized that it was enormous 1" ribbed hoses. Not only does that rule out an inline heater, but I'm just not a fan of having such a fat hose going into and out of the tank.

I've considered putting a Y in the outlet pipe and reducing the two branches to 5/8", but I think that would reduce flow pretty significantly. If I remember my fluid mechanics class correctly, friction in a pipe increases very roughly according to the diameter cubed (Reynolds number and all sorts of other complicated nonsense plays a role too). 2*(5/8)^3 = 0.48, so that solution could halve flow. And I'm sure not going with four 5/8" hoses!

Instead, I read a suggestion to tee off a 5/8" line for the heater and CO2 and put a ball valve downstream on the 1" line to control flow through the 5/8" portion (not a great explanation, sorry). That could work, but then I'm still dealing with having 1" lines going in and out of the tank. It looks like you can get a spray bar, which I've been considering, but lily pipes are out of the question.

SunSun is the obvious value option, but I'm really afraid of going that route and having a leak. I think the few hundred bucks for a higher-quality filter is worth it for peace of mind.

Next in price comes the Fluval 307/407, but they have the same type of ridged tubing as the FX series which complicates the inline equipment - if I'm going to DIY something, I think I'd rather go for the FX4.

The Hydor Pro 350 and the Eheim Classic 600 (2217) are pretty similar in price and performance, so I could go with two of either of those. I think I'm leaning toward the Hydor - it has media trays, and it's a newer design than the 2217.

I think it comes down to two Hydor Pro 350 vs one Fluval FX4. The FX4 gives 25% better flow for a 12.5% lower cost, but it has those enormous hoses that I'd have to jury-rig. I'm leaning toward the 350s, but what do you think?

Edit: The more I think about it, the more appealing the SunSuns sound. Are they prone to catastrophic leaks, or just slow leaks? I'll have a leak detector, so I can handle the risk of a slow leak.
 

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Can give you my impressions of ones I currently have. I have the Fluval FX 5 and it's a beast on a 125. Would be too much flow for some applications but the white clouds in that tank love it. Also have a Marineland C 530 on another 125. It's older and has been through only one impeller, and I know the intake has clogged many times. I've been very pleased with it. I have an Eheim on a 50 gallon and while I don't like it as much as older Eheim's I had in the past, it's been running for probably 15 years. Pretty sure I've never had to replace a part on it either, so in spite of it not feeling as durable and high quality of Eheims of old, it's sure standing the test of time. Also have a smaller Fluval on another 50 (not at home to check the models on the 50 gallon tanks) but it's the filter I own that I dread cleaning the most. I never don't have to get out towels with that one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Go with 2 hydro or 2 eheim. I have 120p approx 115g I use one 2217 and one pro4 600.
Thanks. Your 120P is 115gal? Do you have a 50gal sump or something?

How do you like having two canister filters (as opposed to one large one)? Is it worth having twice the hoses and twice the filters to clean?

Can give you my impressions of ones I currently have. I have the Fluval FX 5 and it's a beast on a 125. Would be too much flow for some applications but the white clouds in that tank love it. Also have a Marineland C 530 on another 125. It's older and has been through only one impeller, and I know the intake has clogged many times. I've been very pleased with it. I have an Eheim on a 50 gallon and while I don't like it as much as older Eheim's I had in the past, it's been running for probably 15 years. Pretty sure I've never had to replace a part on it either, so in spite of it not feeling as durable and high quality of Eheims of old, it's sure standing the test of time. Also have a smaller Fluval on another 50 (not at home to check the models on the 50 gallon tanks) but it's the filter I own that I dread cleaning the most. I never don't have to get out towels with that one.
Thanks!

With the FX5, how manageable is the enormous hose? Do you have any pics of the hoses going into and out of the tank? I just don't want it to look like I have a shop vac hose coming out of my tank.

Although if the FX5 (900 gph I think?) is almost too much for a 125, I'm guessing the FX4 (700 gph) would be a lot on a 64.

I hadn't come across the Marineland C-series, but a single 530 would do the trick on a 64. I'll definitely consider that! Edit: Looks like its outlet hose is 3/4" ID, which won't fit the Hydor inline heater.

Ive got the 600 on my 75, have it cut down probably 33%. Even at that it is borderline too strong going across 48".

They are rated with media inside (unlike most canisters), so what it says is exactly what you will get in terms of gph. Also they are adjustable so you can turn it down to suit your needs.

With that in mind, I'd go with one of the bigger models.
@burr740, just came across this post of yours. Is the principle of "10x hourly turnover" based on the flowrate without media? I was wondering if even two 350s (560gph combined) would be enough for me, but a single 600 on a 75 is about half that turnover.

From earlier in the thread:
350: 240 GPH circulation, 280 GPH output, 22W, 4 media trays, $106
450: 260 GPH circulation, 320 GPH output, 34W, 4 media trays, $136
600: 290 GPH circulation, 345 GPH output, 35W, 5 media trays, $150



I find it interesting that wattage barely increases from the 450 to the 600, but flow rate increases as much as from the 350 to 450. I wonder if their reported flow rates are accurate? I suppose the 600 could have a larger hose diameter than the two other models, but as far as I can tell they're all 5/8" ID.

Hydor has an interesting graphic on the product page:


Some strange trends there. The 350 really stands out as a trend-breaker. It can handle the most head of all models (180cm vs 150cm for the 250/600), it consumes the most power of all models when running on 240v but far less than the 450/600 on 120v.

I notice that there are two flowrates, though - "filter circulation" and "pump output". I think the former is the rating with media, which would mean that the commonly-reported flowrates are actually those with the filter empty.
 

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snails are your friend
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Mine is on a tank built into the wall, so from the front it's fine. But yeah, the tubing is thick and lightly corrugated and the body itself is almost the size of a small shop vac. If you want something subtle and tucked away, might not be the choice for you. It does have a feature where the power shuts off every night (I think it's once per 24 hours) to allow it to release any trapped air, which is neat. But it's a lot of filter.



Pardon the mess, I had to pull a huge cabinet out to get a shot of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mine is on a tank built into the wall, so from the front it's fine. But yeah, the tubing is thick and lightly corrugated and the body itself is almost the size of a small shop vac. If you want something subtle and tucked away, might not be the choice for you. It does have a feature where the power shuts off every night (I think it's once per 24 hours) to allow it to release any trapped air, which is neat. But it's a lot of filter.

Pardon the mess, I had to pull a huge cabinet out to get a shot of it.
Thanks for the pic! I've always wanted to have a tank recessed in the wall like that. Off-topic, but I'd love to see a picture from the front. I looked at your journal, and it looks like pics you posted there aren't showing up anymore. You should post some new ones there!

It does sound like it's not the filter for me, thanks for the insight.
 

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@burr740, just came across this post of yours. Is the principle of "10x hourly turnover" based on the flowrate without media? I was wondering if even two 350s (560gph combined) would be enough for me, but a single 600 on a 75 is about half that turnover.

Turnover rate is based on the actual flow. Most of my tanks are in the 4-6x per hour range. 10x is fine but you dont absolutely have to have it
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Turnover rate is based on the actual flow. Most of my tanks are in the 4-6x per hour range. 10x is fine but you dont absolutely have to have it
Thanks, I think I might plan to just do a single Hydor 350 (4.4x turnover before heater and reactor are added) to start. I can add another if I need to.

By the way, love your tank! I just finished reading through all hundred-and-whatever pages of your journal, and I was blown away by the level of detail in there.
 

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Thanks, I think I might plan to just do a single Hydor 350 (4.4x turnover before heater and reactor are added) to start. I can add another if I need to.

By the way, love your tank! I just finished reading through all hundred-and-whatever pages of your journal, and I was blown away by the level of detail in there.
got a good deal on ebay on a new hydor 450 on my 60 gallon and i love it so far, though i did drop the impeller and break the ceramic shaft during a cleaning lol. in the past ive used an eheim 2217 on a 55 but for ease of use so far i prefer the hydor. priming is simple and maintenance is very easy
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just an update, I ended up going with the Fluval FX4 (got it for $165 on Black Friday), and I love it. It's hard to say if it will be too much flow since I only have a few, tiny plants in there right now, but you can partially close the output ball valve to restrict flow. (Fun tidbit: Generally speaking, throttling a pump like this doesn't "overwork" the pump, substantially reduce efficiency, etc. Throttling a pump reduces its power consumption due to the principle of conservation of energy, and in some cases can actually increase the pump's efficiency. I was very interested to learn that when reviewing pump curves in my fluid mechanics class.)

The filter feels very well-designed and well-built, and the various valves/connectors all work well without leaking. The only downside is the large hoses it uses - they're a bit cumbersome, and unless you want to DIY some plumbing you can't use an inline heater or CO2 diffuser/reactor. That said, my biggest misgiving when considering the pump was the aesthetic, but the included hose brackets make the hoses coming over the back of the tank look very clean and professional, IMO. (Ignore the cloudy water and floating sand - just got it set up last night.)

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I use a FX6 on a 125G and found the flow to strong for a planted, so i found a spraybar on amazon, plumbing fits perfect, comes in different lengths very adjustable..I couldnt tag it but search flow tamer spraybar
Good to know, thanks. I'd definitely rather go to a spraybar than turn down the flow, at least if the spraybar looks nice. Any pics of it installed?
 

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Good to know, thanks. I'd definitely rather go to a spraybar than turn down the flow, at least if the spraybar looks nice. Any pics of it installed?
Its impossible to see unless I lower the waterline 6 inches, easy to install comes with brackets for a high, or lower install. I put it right up against the trim so you cannot see it. Pics on amazon, ill take one next WC
 

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Unpopular opinion but get an Inland Seas Nu-clear filter with an external pump. Gobs and gobs of space for media and also insane filtering capacity. Then add whatever external pump you want for desired flow. I really like the Fluval SP series because they have absolutely bombproof motors and can push some serious flow. Then if pump dies just buy a new pump and you not out 300 bucks for a whole new canister filter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Unpopular opinion but get an Inland Seas Nu-clear filter with an external pump. Gobs and gobs of space for media and also insane filtering capacity. Then add whatever external pump you want for desired flow. I really like the Fluval SP series because they have absolutely bombproof motors and can push some serious flow. Then if pump dies just buy a new pump and you not out 300 bucks for a whole new canister filter.
Already pulled the trigger on a Fluval FX4, but that's an interesting option. I will say, if I were buying an external pump for anything I'd definitely get a DC pump - SO much quieter, plus the adjustability is nice. And I think they run cooler too (?). Night and day improvement over AC.
 

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Already pulled the trigger on a Fluval FX4, but that's an interesting option. I will say, if I were buying an external pump for anything I'd definitely get a DC pump - SO much quieter, plus the adjustability is nice. And I think they run cooler too (?). Night and day improvement over AC.
I've used both on reef tanks and unless you are using a massive Iwaki external pump the difference in power consumption between a good AC pump and DC one is not that big. I have an SP4 which I then switched to a Neptune COR-20 and the difference was not night and day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've used both on reef tanks and unless you are using a massive Iwaki external pump the difference in power consumption between a good AC pump and DC one is not that big. I have an SP4 which I then switched to a Neptune COR-20 and the difference was not night and day.
Gotcha, wasn't sure about the heat generation. For me, it's worth it just for the quietness of a DC pump.
 
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