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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently purchased the 350 model of this canister filter and tonite, was finally able to get it setup. Prior to actually taking down the existing filter (AquaTop CF500) I did my best to measure the output of the existing filter to try and quantify how much less flow I would have. Supprisingly, the arc of water coming out of my DIY spraybar setup seemed nearly identicle between the 2 filters. So, I am starting to believe some manufactures overrate their filters.

FYI, I am "trying" not to make this an AquaTop bashing thread but I fear it may turn that way. Hopefully by weeks end I will be able to give a little better review of teh Eheim unit, but for now I can offer the following;
The flow path of the incoming water makes a lot of sence. The very top tray is where the most dirt will accumulate (or I assume). This would make by weekly maintenance much easier as I will only have to clean this tray. How long I let the other trays go will be only a guess for the first 6 months (I am hoping for 2 months but not holding my breath).
The mechinism for shutting off water flow and disconnecting the filter body seems much beefier than the out going unit and definitely better than the Marineland C350 that I started with.

Will add more to the as the days go by.
 

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I think you will be very happy with the change but perhaps not by the water flow measurement. I find it pretty common to get hung up on the amount of flow when that is only one of the factors in making a good filter. Part of what I see if that we each may need different things in different tank situations. Some will need more flow and they may/ may not get that with a cheaper filter IF they also are running that flow through far less and less effective filter media. We can get fooled into thinking item "A" is better than "B" because it runs more gallons through. Do we get more effective filtering running 200 gallons through half the media or do we get better by running 100 gallons through a full load of media? I feel it depends on what we each want from the filtering. If we want lots of current in the tank, "A" may be better. But then for those who want to get a lot of real filtering like mechanical and bio, "B" may be far better as it does more mechanical separation and provides far more bio bacteria. I go with "B" for most of my tanks and add cheaper, easier to maintain, powerheads if I want more water movement.

I love the 2075 for several items like the cutoff system. It is a super improvement to just push a button to cutoff and disconnect the tubing. I never really got past figuring which way to turn the knob on the 2217 cutoffs. My canisters are often under stands and figuring lefty/righty can get funky when I'm looking at it upside down? I get 3-6 months on cleanings of my filters and find I never use the top tray cleanout feature. It does get several items of things like leaves and bigger junk but not so much that it slows flow, so I just go with full cleanings each time I shut down. Love the trays and being able to adapt to each tank as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input PlantedRich! In looking back at the success of the 2217 filter and how everything is arranged, I am a firm believer that 100 gph thru a fully loaded filter is much better than 200 gph thru a partially loaded filter. I also agree with addiing power heads as needed to get the circulation directeded to where it is needed most.

Now for a little AquaTop bashing / complimenting for those that might care. After some very careful measurements, I finally figured out why I hated this filter so much (by-pass). It seems once you stack all the filter trays in correctly, then place the top plate onto the filter stack, the inflowing water from the pump head is barely flush to the top plate and very much 3/16" from correctly overlapping into the filter stack. So, me being the DIY guy I am am, I created 3 PVC rings that were 3/16" taller than the ears in the bottom of the filter can. This raised the filter stack high enough to make a correct overlap. Then I observed the 1/16" gap between every filter tray and the inside of the filter can (again, not good). So, the 3 tray from the bottom received enough layers of duct tape strips to make a good seal. Then I setup a test rig using a 5 gal bucket mounted approximately that correct heigh above the modified filter. After everything was primed I dumpsed the dirty filter water from other filters into the bucket. Sure enough, within a few hours the buck had clean water (this is what I was hoing for when I bought the AquaTop originally). Upon taking the AquaTop back apart I noted indeed the top of the floss filter (in the 3rd tray from the bottom) was still clean!!! Since the original purchase, the top of the floss and more importantly the bio meda in the top tray were always dirty (not good). Again, most of my reasoning for doing this experiment was to better simulate the 2217 where there is no filter trays. All the filter pads seal correctly to the filter can. The water has no choice but to go thru the filter stack and thru the bio media (the way it should).

Now onto the Eheim Professional 4+. Upon careful observation I noted that the tray that houses the filter floss and bio media seals very well to the filter can. The filter trays seal to each other in such a way there is minimal to no by-pass. The filter pump input is gasketed to the top tray so the only way it can get water into the filter pump is thru the filter stack (no short cuts or by-pass), unless you activate the fine filter by-pass mechinism (which can be a useful feature when you are re-arranging plants and don't want your fine filter to clog up immediately). So, what I am most interested in is if the top of the fine filter is still clean (i.e., no bypass) - well, with only 1 week of poop filtration, the top of the fine filter is still clean!!!! And, as predicted, the water flow from the spray bar is also significantly cleaner than it has been for the last 5-6 months (should have done something sooner).

Bottom line, the AquaTop CF500 can be made to work. The Eheim Profession 4+ Model 350 does basically the same job as a modified AquaTop, takes up less space, and provides similar water flow at the output.
 

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I think this may be one of the small points that is easy to miss when canister shopping.
I did this with buying a Cascade 1000 at one point. It seemed like much the same filter but then as I used it, there just seemed something was wrong. I kept finding grossly large parts of debris like leaves sticking on the inside of the output spraybar. The only way for it to get there was finding a massive bypass to go around the media. I started looking and found I could stick a flat wooden ruler down beside the baskets. Water likes to follow the path that is easy so when the media got even a bit plugged, the water was just going in the canister, along the sides and out rather than really passing through the media. I had lots of flow but very little true filtering.
By the time I found with unscrewing the funky disconnects for a few years, I was ready to deal and passed the problem on to somebody else. I did tell them I did not like the filter, but I did get rid of it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, guess I am going to have to bash one of my AquaTop filters again. Not what you would call a good day to day - went to service the CF400 on the wifes tanks and the lever simply would not shut off the incoming water. Ended up pulling the inlet tube and shoving a cork in the end of it. And yes, there was a bit of water in most of the places I would rather not have water. Took the valve body apart and guess what? Yep it broke. This filter is not even 6 months old!!! Oh well - looks like I will be in the market for another Eheim.

Which, by the way, has been working great! Yes, the flow is much less than the Aquatop CF500 that it replaced, but my ammonia and nitrite levels are still zero after approximately 1 month. So, I can only concluded that Eheim has a better idea on how to build a good filter than I do. Or, all my plants are doing the most of the work and the filter is just limping along...... no, I didn't think so either :)

Now, on to a pic of the AquaTOP carnage. See if you can spot the issue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What kills me is if you look straight at the end IT IS HOLLOW!!!! Common guys, you cant be saving much money making it hollow. Have half a mind to machine a new one out of stainless - unfortunately the rest of the filter just is not worth the effort :-(
 

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I think you will be very happy with the change but perhaps not by the water flow measurement. I find it pretty common to get hung up on the amount of flow when that is only one of the factors in making a good filter.
I love my old millenium hob filter, it has a plastic cartridge behind the media compartment fed by and air venturi. But after all these years it was not pumping quite as much as it used to.

Last week I found a corner filter sponge with a hole the hob filter's intake fits perfectly, this probably more than doubled the filter media, and with the intake not getting clogged by small leaves, the thing is flowing better than it has in years. I use it in a growout tank and the fish love picking the foam clean all day. I'll post a pic later, wife is still sleeping and my phone is in the bedroom.... I'm enjoying the quiet in the house before the girls wake up.


PS, you can reconstruct that broken piece, use superglue mixed with bicarb, sculpt the area and file it back down to shape.
 

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There seems to be a lot of engineering talent wasted in designing things to break rather than things to last.
I had a refrigerator that had a design problem in the way the icemaker dispensed ice.
The first repairman tried to tell my wife she should only use cubed ice because the crushed ice would not last long. Of course she told him where to take that idea and continued to use crushed ice. Somewhere about the third repairman, told us the company knew these were defective but would not replace the refrig until we had five repair calls as they assumed the customer would tire of getting it repaired and just buy another frig. After five calls they did rebate the price and we bought another brand.
The reason we bought that particular frig was because we had liked the former one of that same model. The "new improved" model had a part that broke way too soon as it was hollow plastic rather than solid plastic.
 

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Prior to actually taking down the existing filter (AquaTop CF500) I did my best to measure the output of the existing filter to try and quantify how much less flow I would have. Supprisingly, the arc of water coming out of my DIY spraybar setup seemed nearly identicle between the 2 filters. So, I am starting to believe some manufactures overrate their filters.
If your spraybar is restricting the flow (and it is restricting the flow, judging by your description), then the length of the arc is not an accurate measure of the nominal flow (GPH) produced be the filter pump.

GPH value is determined by the manufacturer under some standardized conditions, which define how much restriction/drag/friction is experienced by the pump. This typically involves some nominal media load in the filter (or no media at all) and no other flow restrictions.

Once you start adding additional restrictions (like your spraybar), you basically throw a spanner in the works. Different filters will react differently to such changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I have to give credit where credit is due.
As stated above, the shut off valve on the wife's AquaTop Cf400 broke yesterday (tab broke that turns the ball valve). Was not happy as the filter was maybe 6 months old. Stopped by Aquatic Environments (where I bought the filter) and showed Adam (owner) the pic of the broken part. 1 minute later he handed me a new assembly and said "sorry, take this one". Can't say thank-you enough!
Aquatic Environments
 

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Well, guess I am going to have to bash one of my AquaTop filters again. Not what you would call a good day to day - went to service the CF400 on the wifes tanks and the lever simply would not shut off the incoming water. Ended up pulling the inlet tube and shoving a cork in the end of it. And yes, there was a bit of water in most of the places I would rather not have water. Took the valve body apart and guess what? Yep it broke. This filter is not even 6 months old!!! Oh well - looks like I will be in the market for another Eheim.

Which, by the way, has been working great! Yes, the flow is much less than the Aquatop CF500 that it replaced, but my ammonia and nitrite levels are still zero after approximately 1 month. So, I can only concluded that Eheim has a better idea on how to build a good filter than I do. Or, all my plants are doing the most of the work and the filter is just limping along...... no, I didn't think so either :)

Now, on to a pic of the AquaTOP carnage. See if you can spot the issue?
5.00 bucks on fleabay. Whole valve assembly. Broke my 7 year old Sunsun one a month ago. >:)
But awesome they hooked you up! Customer service!

Bump:
There seems to be a lot of engineering talent wasted in designing things to break rather than things to last.
I had a refrigerator that had a design problem in the way the icemaker dispensed ice.
The first repairman tried to tell my wife she should only use cubed ice because the crushed ice would not last long. Of course she told him where to take that idea and continued to use crushed ice. Somewhere about the third repairman, told us the company knew these were defective but would not replace the refrig until we had five repair calls as they assumed the customer would tire of getting it repaired and just buy another frig. After five calls they did rebate the price and we bought another brand.
The reason we bought that particular frig was because we had liked the former one of that same model. The "new improved" model had a part that broke way too soon as it was hollow plastic rather than solid plastic.
Think we have moved from planned obsolescence to designed in failure as in TTF dates (time till failure - my own term lol) now in design. I could go on and and on and do. The wife has quit listening lol.

Bump:
What kills me is if you look straight at the end IT IS HOLLOW!!!! Common guys, you cant be saving much money making it hollow. Have half a mind to machine a new one out of stainless - unfortunately the rest of the filter just is not worth the effort :-(
Now wait a minute, I might BUY some of those from you lol
You could have a whole new market!:wink2:

Recently purchased the 350 model of this canister filter and tonite, was finally able to get it setup. Prior to actually taking down the existing filter (AquaTop CF500) I did my best to measure the output of the existing filter to try and quantify how much less flow I would have. Supprisingly, the arc of water coming out of my DIY spraybar setup seemed nearly identicle between the 2 filters. So, I am starting to believe some manufactures overrate their filters.

FYI, I am "trying" not to make this an AquaTop bashing thread but I fear it may turn that way. Hopefully by weeks end I will be able to give a little better review of teh Eheim unit, but for now I can offer the following;
The flow path of the incoming water makes a lot of sence. The very top tray is where the most dirt will accumulate (or I assume). This would make by weekly maintenance much easier as I will only have to clean this tray. How long I let the other trays go will be only a guess for the first 6 months (I am hoping for 2 months but not holding my breath).
The mechinism for shutting off water flow and disconnecting the filter body seems much beefier than the out going unit and definitely better than the Marineland C350 that I started with.

Will add more to the as the days go by.
So nearly the same flow @ 3x the cost lol. And to be fair something was seriously wrong with yours. Even the 304B I sent back for leaky UV sleeve had no issue requiring those massive spacers. But I can't argue on bypass that was horrid. We will see if my 2016 variant has addressed that issue when it arrives. And yes I have Eheim envy just not an Eheim wallet. :alien:
I saw one of those 350+ on YouTube and it was silent and had a cool digital display indicating something fantastic I am sure.
 
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