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Canister Filter Suggestions

2817 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Mike16T
Hi All,

I've used this forum for a lot of my fish equipment suggestions in the past as a reader but after some back and forth regarding filtration systems and types I could use some advice.

Me: A beginner hobbyist
Tank: Aqueon 15 Gallon LED Column Tank + Stand

Heater: Fluval E 100Watt Electronic Heater
Current Filter System:
Underwater Gravel Filter with two towers that lead into activated charcoal
AA Aquarium Mini Green Killing Machine 3W | UV Sterilizer
Air Pump: Eheim 200 Aquarium Air Pump
Stock - Freshwater Fish, it was 9 (with the layers of the tank evenly distributed)
Cleaning - Once a week, sucking all the crud from under the gravel

My tank recently got hit with an Ich breakout, which has lead to me buying the new heater so I could manually raise the temperature of the heater, and a new air pump to circulate more air into the tank.

My biggest struggle<s> (I believe) for a successful tank have been:
1) My filtering methods need a major upgrade
2) The shape of the tank has made it a little more difficult (especially with dispersing heat evenly throughout the tank.
3) Stocking, I think I stocked the tank too much and the filtering setup couldn't keep up
4) Fuzzy Fungus (I think food particles?) appearing/floating in the water - I'm hoping a canister filter will help with this.

Currently, I'm looking at removing the underwater gravel filter system and the UV Filter and replacing them with a canister filter.

As I said, I've been doing a lot of reading so I know the forum seems to lead to the Eheim 2211/2213 but I have a question. As a beginner with no experience with filtration (chemical, Bio, and Mechanical) I was wondering if the tray system provided by the Fluval would be more beginner-friendly?

I'm currently deciding between:

Eheim 2213
Fluval 106

I also reached out to the PondGuru and they suggested the Fluval 306 if I do plan to upgrade to a bigger 21-34 Gallon tank.

What do you guys recommend? I'm willing to go the distance to have a happy tank (Any help would be much appreciated).
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Maybe a few thoughts on the basics of filtering will add some light? I think of filtering needs as mechanical to strain the water to keep it looking clean. Basic filter floss, sponge, etc. is pretty easy to understand. Then we want a home for the good bacteria to grow in large numbers and that is all bio-filtering means. once up and running well we find bacteria living on all surfaces and might even go so far as saying we would not need bio-filtering but that is pressing the luck and I don't do that.
Can we assume you are up on the "nitrogen cycle"? If not, do it now as that is the major first step to understanding the tank and filter. That's my standard setup as chemical is not one I find needed in most cases. Carbon is the most common and it does do a good job of removing smells, colors or meds that we may want removed but the big point is that we don't have any of those if we collect the debris (mech?) and bacteria converts it to nitrate which we remove with water changes. So I don't normally deal with carbon (chemical?) as it is too messy and doesn't stay useful long enough as those tiny little holes get stopped up way too soon. So when I get a filter that has carbon, I just lay it back in case I do need it sometime.

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Almost all canisters will have a group who likes or dislikes each, so about all I can say on which is that we need to look at how we each operate. The classic line is definitely a good one but it also has many things lacking when compared to newer designs. It gets down to the same as the old reliable car that doesn't have the bells and whistles and seems fine until we get one that does have things like power windows and AC!
The classic can be a real pain if we don't get the disconnects so we can remove it from the tank, that combined with the nuisance of working with those disconnects and figuring out how to control the loose media, has driven me to look at some of the cheaper brands with far more features like simple one lever/one button cutoff/disconnects and trays for the loose media. But then that leads us back around to how we each operate as the cheaper brands do use thinner plastic, so it pays to be honest with ourselves about how we treat equipment. If we are rough on things, go for the old bulletproof stuff and live with the lack of convenience but if we are a careful person (don't tear up an anvil?) we can often get better value in newer designs like the Sunsun lineup. I also like to look at the price of replacement parts as it is true that ALL filters may need things changed out at times. Things like sand in the impeller will kill both a high value or cheap filter and then we need to look at a $30 Eheim or a $10 Sunsun for replacement.
Choosing the poison is the hard part as there are no simple answers that fit all of us.

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12,433 Posts
Shopping is one of the best ways to get value if we do it right but that also takes a little knowledge of what to look for on each. Not always easy when first go! This is a link to one source for the 2213 and it does show the double disconnects down in front. Something to check when shopping is that the parts like these and media are the same when comparing two offers.

But the picture does give me a chance to mention a part which I feel makes the Classic a bit less easy to deal with when cleaning. Certainly not a killer but something to know as it does change the value.
These are called double disconnects and they do two things on two tubes. One disconnect/cutoff goes into each input and output line, so to disconnect the filter and move it for cleaning we need to close two ball valves on each line, unscrew the fitting on the middle that keeps the two sections from pulling apart. You can see the ball valve handles with the fitting between them on each set? The irritating part is that it is really easy to find them stuck somewhat and as we stand leaning over so the head is upside down, it be pretty easy to lose track of things as simple as which way to turn to loosen. Sounds really simple, leftie loosie, rightie tightie, and it is simple, until you screw up and turn the cutoff the wrong way and snap the handle off!!
That's where I love the newer designs which have a lever which you flip to cut off flow in both tubes. No way to confuse which way as it is either left and you push it right or the other way and then the whole thing pops up when you push a button on the filter head.
No perfect answers, just something to be aware of when shopping??

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I've had my 2217 for probably close to 7 years.

Only a few negatives:

-Replacement parts can be expensive.
-No media baskets.
-Replacement filters seem kinda expensive.

Other than that it has been great.
The old 2217 Classic is certainly a good filter and there are ways to work around some of the design features lacking.
One of the small points that bug me is the lack of baskets to control the loose (ard stuff?) media but a bit of DIY can help. I found that an empty drywall mud bucket is just the right diameter to cut down and make a slip fit in the canister. When one of the plastic screen items that are normally found at top and bottom is added to the cutdown bucket, you have a tray! Get your co-co puffs and barrels mixed and you have a sorting trauma! :grin2:
For the media replacement, I never buy the stock replacement for the soft media as there are so many cheap alternates. One way to go is to buy cut to fit pads in bulk. Carbon is not something that I use. Just too much trouble for the small value it brings.
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