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Canister Filter Suggestions

2818 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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· Registered
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome to TPT.

Eheim's Classic filters (2211 - 2217) are the simplest canister filters there are. They have not been changed in decades.
In terms of filter size, you can always decrease the maximum flow. Increasing the max flow is much harder. Go at least one size larger then what you think you need now.
Thank you very much!

· Registered
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I moved away from canisters and on to a sump when I moved into larger tanks, but a sump on a 15 gal is a bit absurd.

Look through a few of the setup and/or cleaning vids on Youtube for both. That may steer you best. There are pros and cons for each. Cleaning is where many tend to fall short.

As you watch the vids look at the crud that's in them, especially the ones that are only cleaned once every two or three months. All of that crud is organic material that is in the process of breaking down into (eventually) nitrate. The more often the filter is cleaned and the more efficiently that stuff is removed the less there is to reduce to nitrate.

Thumbs up on losing the undergravel. Real nitrate generators. And I like that you vacuum regularly. Don't fall back on that. It's a major component in keeping planted tanks, more so than many beginners think.

Good luck.
Will do on the vacuuming! It's kind of amazing how much is sucked up. Hoping the Canister filter will cut that down significantly.

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.
I'm beginning to understand the whole process behind cycling the tank and the nitrogen cycle. I'm making sure that I have a good balance of Bio, Chem, and Mech filtration.

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.
If you can recommend disconnectors that will go with the Eheim I will totally order them along with the Eheim 2213.

Looking forward to having a smarter tank!

Thanks, everyone!!!
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