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Hi, I want to setup a 20 gallon low-tech tank. As far as filters go, would any of you advise to use Marineland penguin filters, the ones with the bio ball? Are there any better options as far as hangon back filters? I'd appreciate some suggestions. thanks. :icon_cool
 

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I use a penguin on mine that's a decade old. Any HOB you can choose your bio-media.
I use matrix, and ceramaic rings topped with pillow stuffing in mine. You replace the pillow stuffing like once a month, and i've never had to replace my bio-media as you shouldn't have to, and my ceramic rings have never clogged which people love to say happens which i've never seen happen, but i guess i never allowed my bio-load to get so high.

My one quam about AC filters though is if you have to clean off the impeller from plant debris your going to have to drain it to remove the motor otherwise the water will fall out of the bottom, opposed to a penguin i can just pull out the impeller.

Penguins or aquaclears are both good filters.
 

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I've had my bio wheel for over 15yrs and still going strong. If I were to get another HOB, I'd go with Anything aquaclear. Their filter trays are 2nd to none.
 

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I had a Penquin Bio-Wheel (think it was the 150 but not sure now). And I also have three Aquaclears (all are 70's). I would go with Aquaclear all the way. The bio-wheel would stop spinning often, even after just cleaning it & the parts around it. Very irritating. It made more waterfall noise than any of my AC's even though one doesn't fit properly on my 75 so sits really high above the water. I keep all my tanks water level really high though so keep the noise down.

AC's are easy to replace any part needed. Not sure about the Penquin since it quit working after 1 year of purchase. Much easier to customize the media in the AC. Didn't try with the Penquin since I was new to aquariums & didn't know about all that. From what I can remember about it, it didn't have a lot of room behind the filter cartridge. Can use much cheaper filter media material in the ACs. You can modify the Penquins cartridge to just add the blue bonded pad but it didn't work as good and just too much hassle.

I can remove the impeller from an AC without removing it from the tank, dumping water or taking the motor off. Just need to take the basket out, the impeller cover off & then grab the impeller. Being able to remove the motor is a plus also, not only for replacement if needed but for cleaning also.

AC's have a flow adjustment don't think the Penquin's do unless they've changed them.

My Penquin had a square intake tube making it harder to customize it, for example wanting to extend or use something like an ATI Pre-filter. Not sure if they're still made that way or not. Now realize it's a big negative for me.

The biggest negative I have about the AC .. it doesn't always start up when plugging it back in. It's not just me as I've seen it mentioned frequently on the web. It's more of a hassle when I'm home .. I just use a wooden stick & "help" the impeller start. But if I'm away when it happens, such as might happen with a temp power lose, it will probably ruin it. Of the 3 AC's I have, only have this problem with one.

I might be just a bit biased I guess since my AC's are all old and still work while my Penquin died so quickly. But the ACs are just so much more versatile.
 

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I find easiest way to start an AC and this always worked for me, is to fill the filter with water first, since it's very easy when you remove the lid. Then the AC will be able to prime and start to flow almost immediately. Unless I am mistaken about you were referring to :)

I had a Penquin Bio-Wheel (think it was the 150 but not sure now). And I also have three Aquaclears (all are 70's). I would go with Aquaclear all the way. The bio-wheel would stop spinning often, even after just cleaning it & the parts around it. Very irritating. It made more waterfall noise than any of my AC's even though one doesn't fit properly on my 75 so sits really high above the water. I keep all my tanks water level really high though so keep the noise down.

AC's are easy to replace any part needed. Not sure about the Penquin since it quit working after 1 year of purchase. Much easier to customize the media in the AC. Didn't try with the Penquin since I was new to aquariums & didn't know about all that. From what I can remember about it, it didn't have a lot of room behind the filter cartridge. Can use much cheaper filter media material in the ACs. You can modify the Penquins cartridge to just add the blue bonded pad but it didn't work as good and just too much hassle.

I can remove the impeller from an AC without removing it from the tank, dumping water or taking the motor off. Just need to take the basket out, the impeller cover off & then grab the impeller. Being able to remove the motor is a plus also, not only for replacement if needed but for cleaning also.

AC's have a flow adjustment don't think the Penquin's do unless they've changed them.

My Penquin had a square intake tube making it harder to customize it, for example wanting to extend or use something like an ATI Pre-filter. Not sure if they're still made that way or not. Now realize it's a big negative for me.

The biggest negative I have about the AC .. it doesn't always start up when plugging it back in. It's not just me as I've seen it mentioned frequently on the web. It's more of a hassle when I'm home .. I just use a wooden stick & "help" the impeller start. But if I'm away when it happens, such as might happen with a temp power lose, it will probably ruin it. Of the 3 AC's I have, only have this problem with one.

I might be just a bit biased I guess since my AC's are all old and still work while my Penquin died so quickly. But the ACs are just so much more versatile.
 

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I used to use an AquaClear 30 and I would recommend it. I didn't like the way the water flow changed as the tank water level got lower.

I bought a Fluval U2 internal filter. Don't absolutely love it, but it's better than an aquaclear. I might try an Eheim if I was to do it again.
 

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I find easiest way to start an AC and this always worked for me, is to fill the filter with water first, since it's very easy when you remove the lid. Then the AC will be able to prime and start to flow almost immediately. Unless I am mistaken about you were referring to :)

or you can just plug the filter in then fill with water, does the same thing and is the easiest way to get to prime.
 

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I find easiest way to start an AC and this always worked for me, is to fill the filter with water first, since it's very easy when you remove the lid. Then the AC will be able to prime and start to flow almost immediately. Unless I am mistaken about you were referring to :)
I always fill with water then plug in. Priming is not the problem. The problem is the impeller won't spin up. Takes a "push" to help it get going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Everyone, thanks for the advise, and sorry for the late response. So I decided to buy an Aqua Clear 30 for my 10 gallon tank. My Aqua Clear 30 is being a bit noisy. For you guys, does that filter make quite a bit of noise to you, or is it almost dead silent?
 

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I never noticed any noise from my AC 30. Of course, I only used it for about 2 years.

You could listen to where the noise is coming from. I bet it is the motor, the impeller. A good cleaning of the moter and the impeller might help. You can also buy a replacement impeller from Hagen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I never noticed any noise from my AC 30. Of course, I only used it for about 2 years.

You could listen to where the noise is coming from. I bet it is the motor, the impeller. A good cleaning of the motor and the impeller might help. You can also buy a replacement impeller from Hagen.
I just bought my filter a few days ago. The noise seems like it's coming from the impeller or motor. The noise of the filter went down by a lot. So I don't know how much noise is normal for that filter. Is it normal for that filter to make any noise?
 

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I tend to have to keep the lids off of ACs. Means I have to top off the tank more often due to more evaporation, but the lids rattling drive me bonkers LOL
 

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I just bought my filter a few days ago. The noise seems like it's coming from the impeller or motor. The noise of the filter went down by a lot. So I don't know how much noise is normal for that filter. Is it normal for that filter to make any noise?
No, the filter shouldn't be making any noise. Maybe you should exchange it for another one.
 

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AAAHHH! The AquaClear hum and rattle, I have only used AC's Since the 90's. What you're hearing is most likely the lid, the motor does cause some vibrations, and the lids (being plastic) do not always sit perfectly flat and flush. Thereby causing the lids to rattle and/or hum. Simple fix; put a rock on the lid. Or do what I've always done and just leave the lids off!!! Problem solved (for me anyway). Hope this helps.....
 

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Hi, I want to setup a 20 gallon low-tech tank. As far as filters go, would any of you advise to use Marineland penguin filters, the ones with the bio ball? Are there any better options as far as hangon back filters? I'd appreciate some suggestions. thanks. :icon_cool
Hello!

I would do as Walstad, just use a internal powerhead / sponge filter. I think spong filters are underestimated. There are many advantages with internal filters: Easy to hide when hidden behind plants, no technic sticking out of the tank. No risk for water leaks from filter. Very easy to clean and handle.

So if your tank not is very small, i would go for an internal filter.

Jnad
 

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I just bought my filter a few days ago. The noise seems like it's coming from the impeller or motor. The noise of the filter went down by a lot. So I don't know how much noise is normal for that filter. Is it normal for that filter to make any noise?
I've never bought a new one but I wouldn't think it should be making noise. I'd try to exchange it for a different one.

My ACs are all very used so I sometimes have to mess with them to avoid noise, such as Vaseline on the shaft which usually helps. Sometimes just messing with the way the intake tube sits can stop the noise. I don't use the tops but if I recall they did rattle a bit & maybe that's why I don't use them. My tanks aren't heated anyway & I don't lose a lot due to evaporation. I'll probably have to buy new shafts/impellers in the near future but the noise is not bad enough since it's correctable to warrant it right now.
 
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