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Your favorite filter, small tanks

1386 Views 15 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  talontsiawd
So our 40L is doing pretty well, it has an Aqueon T8 Full spectrum 8000k bulb ATM and is just a standard low tech tank, with no CO2 being added. Our plants are flourishing, in gravel none the less (root tabs). It's running a standard BIOwheel 200, with an undergravel filter as well.

I want to try my hand at a 10 gallon high-tech planted tank, that will most likely be for shrimpies.

I've been doing research, and have been looking at filters. What is your favorite type and brand for small tank filters? I've been looking at Eheim and Marineland Canister Filters (so far). Would a BIOwheel type filter work well for a planted tank (with shrimp)? Any filter suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
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I've never used a bio wheel. it may be fine.

I would use an Aquaclear 30 (maybe 20) if you want an HOB or a Sunsun HW-302 if you wanted a canister instead. Sponge cover on either intake.
My favorite is a sump. Take a look at my 12 long.

For shrimp you don't need much. Pretty much any type of filter would do if it's sized right. For power filters or canister filters you should add a pre-filter to prevent shrimplets from going up it. You can use foam or stainless steel meshes (they are sold on this forum).
I'd look online for a sale in an eheim 2213 or 2215.. I own one of each and I'll never use a different filter. If you want a hob then use an aquaclear 30. If it's just shrimps you could get away with a 20. I'd get a pre filter sponge. Floral makes one and its $3 but it'll get junk in it so clean it with water changes.
Finnex PX-360 and Zoo Med 501 are cheaper then "full" size canisters, work well in smaller tanks, and been around for ages.

Check out the Aquatop red devil HOB Canister filter go to
I have great luck using both an Aquaclear hob along with an Eheim classic canister on all my tanks.
Aquaclears have always been one of my favorites, since while being a HOB, their media is still interchangeable. You can always take out one piece of the media and switch it out for another piece, whereas most other HOBs, you'd have to replace the whole cartridge.
Ive used a lot of Marineland Bio-wheel filters on fish only tanks. I think they perform well and would be OK for a small planted tank. I prefer Aquaclear though, because as mistuhmarc mentioned, the media is very versatile. Also like being able to adjust the flow and they are virtually silent.
I use an Eheim Ecco Pro 35 for my high tech 10 gal planted tank. I love it, problem free setup and maintenance. I used some marine pure bioballs in the baskets with the eheim substrat stuff sprinkled over to fill the gaps. Good luck!
Finnex PX-360 and Zoo Med 501 are cheaper then "full" size canisters, work well in smaller tanks, and been around for ages.

+1 on the Zoo Med. It may be cheaper, but it is a very nice product. And it's quiet. I have to double check the leaves of my plants in the tank to make sure they're moving to know that it's on.
I run 10 year old, and still running penguin 170's on 2x 20g planted shrimp tanks, and works just fine. The bio-wheel isn't all that effective, but i prefer how the outflow drop is different then a aquaclear filter. Other then that they both work the same. The concept of a filter isn't a complicated one, just the flow of them with HOB's in my opinion.
If it was me I would go with a Fluval 106. I love canister filters because they're so quiet and easy to maintain and allow you to get all the equipment out of the tank if you want to get everything inline.
I have 2 marineland penquin 350s on my 55. One is about 1.5 years old and the other is about 8! And the 8 year old puts out just as much as the newest one. They are great filters and easy to change media and I like the mid intake on them. If I was going to but a new HOB I would get an aquaclear. Adjustable flow and I love the way the three stage media is setup!
I would try a Zoo Med 511. I love my little 501 and even had it on a 10 but it's a bit too small. It's about perfect on a 5.5. It's nice because it has enough room for a bag of Purigen which I use on all my small tanks. The 511 is just a bigger version, rated for double the size which would be perfect for a 10 gallon.

You could also go with Eheim, likely a 2211 or 2213 and the price is actually cheaper than a 511. That's actually a "true" canister that goes under your stand. It's probably a better bet but I like the easy maintenance of the Zoo Meds myself. Because the Zoo Med's are at tank level, it takes me way less time to clean as I can really just pull them up and off the tank.
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