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-- SUNSUN HW-304B and Aquatop CF500UV --

I bought a SunSun HW-304B on 11Jan2013. I thought I would tell everyone about it. The filter cost $89 with free shipping on a certain online auction site.

First from my research I can't find any differing specs between the SunSun and Aquatop models.

The shutoff/disconnect mechanism seems to work great. My only complaint is that the plastic feels flimsy. The actual body of the filter is heavy duty and has nice rubberized feet that help with vibration. The filter comes with a 9w UV spiral lamp. The UV lamp is housed in a glass guard. The pump is located in the cover of the filter so the water is flowing through the filter baskets from bottom to top by means of gravity only, no forced filtration. The pump is hardwired to the plug but the UV lamp has a switch with a LED power light. The priming mechanism doesn't work all that great but once you get the siphon going the filter fills up fast.

The biggest complaint with the SunSun and Aquatop models seems to be the flimsy intake and return plumbing. I don't like it because it feels very flimsy and there is no good way to fasten it to the take. I plan on making my own fixtures to replace them at some point. The intake does come with a small surface skimmer attachment. I can't say how well it works because I don't usually have scum of film on top of my water.

So far my water is crystal clear and my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels seem to be under stable and very low. I haven't done an exact flow measurement but it seems to be very close to the rated 525 gph. I am using this filter in a 55 gal freshwater tank. I have a Korellia 550 and this filter and the current in my tank looks great. The filter came with 4 white (fine) sponges for the baskets but I have purchased a blue (course) sponge to add at the bottom level. I also have about 1000g of activated carbon in the top basket. I bought a 500g box of Fluval bio-max ceramic rings and have those in the 3rd basket. Standing up on end the bio-max rings cover about 70-80% of one basket, that tells you the size about. Don't let me forget once the air is all out, it is SILENT!

After 14 days I am going to open up the canister to see how it looks and to see how hard it is to clean.

Bottom line so far, I got a silent canister filter rated for more than twice my tank size for a killer price!
 

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