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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have Eheim canister filter, it works great but after repairing ten grand worth of floor damage due to a dishwasher leak and then dealing with more damage from a fridge leak, I am really nervous about a hose falling off. I know it very unlikely, it’s been fine for 5 years, but it makes me worry. So I was considering shifting to either a hob filter, a bubble filter, or both. Thoughts? I’ve never used a bubble filter, do they work?

I have a 55 gallon planted tank with tetras and shrimp and snails. I do a 25% water change once every two weeks and clean the filter once a month.
 

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Sponge filters work, BUT they are ugly, noisy, and for a 55 gallon you would need a few of them. A HOB works as well but frankly you are more likely to get a HOB overflowing then a canister filter. Even a sponge filter needs a checkvalve to keep from siphoning, or special care in placement of the pump.

The reality is that keeping glass boxes of water in our homes is always going to come with a certain element of risk. That said, a canister filter kept in good repair is the least likely to have any issues. If you want some extra protection you can get a tub and put the canister filter in that tub and then put in that tub one of the water detection alarms they sell, which include ones that wifi and can contact you if they detect water. This is the ultra paranoid method but /shrug it may be what you are looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sponge filters work, BUT they are ugly, noisy, and for a 55 gallon you would need a few of them. A HOB works as well but frankly you are more likely to get a HOB overflowing then a canister filter. Even a sponge filter needs a checkvalve to keep from siphoning, or special care in placement of the pump.

The reality is that keeping glass boxes of water in our homes is always going to come with a certain element of risk. That said, a canister filter kept in good repair is the least likely to have any issues. If you want some extra protection you can get a tub and put the canister filter in that tub and then put in that tub one of the water detection alarms they sell, which include ones that wifi and can contact you if they detect water. This is the ultra paranoid method but /shrug it may be what you are looking for.
I have to admit, I have had two leaks with my 10 gallon hang on the back filter... both small but still left for days could have caused damage... I have it in a tub. The WiFi alarm might help me sleep better while I’m on vacation.
 

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I personally like internal filters but they are ugly as heck and hard to hide, but I never worry about over flow and it gets good water movement and surface agitation. I use sponge filters as well and love them, just they aren't ideal for your average set up, if you do decide on a sponge remember with some you can use a powerhead instead of an air pump- cuts back a lot on the noise and adds circulation. I've also spent 10s of thousands of dollars on fixing and upgrading my house and it's horrifying thinking about having to do it over and over again.
 

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I think cannisters are safe if you keep up with them and check them for leaks every so often. I run two Aqueon 200GPH cannisters in my 50G so if one has a problem, I still have one going. I have them each in one those standard blue 7 gallon recycle bins in the cabinet under my tank. It won't capture all my water but I can easily check those to see if any water is there (which would be a red flag) and it can catch SOME of a leak before it causes damage.

Surprisingly sump tanks seem the most safe to leaks, provided the upper tank was originally built for a sump.

In your situation I would probably buy a new, or couple new cannisters (transfer your bio media) just for peace of mind that I have new and likely reliable equipment. Unless I felt super confident with my 5 yr old cannisters. Of course product failure rates are usually a U shaped curve, many failures out of the box, followed by stability for most users, followed by accelerated failures as the product ages. So when you first switch to the new ones is when you are at most vulnerable to a leak and when you have to pay attention the most in the event of user error or manufacturing defect on your unit.

If you are looking for maximum leak safety a sponge is the way to go but you are sacrificing some filtration and taking up space in your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you guys for your thoughts, I am going to try a sponge filter using a power-head and see how it works. Right now I have an Eheim surface skimmer in line because my surface often gets oily, would I likely get this issue again if I switched to sponge filters?
 
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