Fluval is a top notch filter and comes with everything but make sure you have enough bacteria media. If you are going some nice sized groups of schooling community fish then the size may get ify. I like to have double the flow rate of what I need.
I am in the same boat as you are I have a 90 gal
and mixed community fish. So far 5 Tinfoil Barbs, 5 Tiger Barbs, 2 Paradise Gouramis. In addition I want 5 more Tigers and five Scissor Tail Barbs. My Filstar XP 3 rated 350 gph
is supposed to take care of 175 gal
tank but that like Fluval's 340gph the 350 and 340 gph
rating is without any media in the cannister I believe,but I could be wrong. But I have had it running for a month now under load and it is still very quiet. What it will do when the tank is fully loaded (overloaded) I have no idea.
If necessary I will add some large corner filters with floss media. Very inexpensive and do just as good as the high priced filters in my estimation. One large triple flow corner filter cost less than $6. It is supposed to take care of a 100 gal
. A bag of floss cost is less than $15 and will last a year or longer, a very good air pump cost less than $20 and I have been using my Tetratec Deep Flow for a long time, and it has a limited life time warranty. You can get two filters for less than $12.00, Floss and air pump all for less than $50 and they work just as good as the expensive filters. We just love to have the latest technology but I am not buying any more high priced filters. I just need two Triple Flow Corner filters and I will be good for most any thing. May get a little wet when I reach down in the water to pull them out, wash out the floss, remove the really dirty part and replace. Do you know how much it is going to cost us to maintain the Fluval and Filstar?
The XP 3 that I have is very quiet but they did have a bunch of noisy ones out there with bad parts. The factory would replace the parts but my understanding of the warranty is that you have to pay shipping back to the repair shop and pay it again to send it back even if it is under warranty.
Stick with the Fluval, I don't know if it is as hard to prime as it used to be but the XP 3 is very easy to prime and you only have to do it once.
If you will check with places like Dr Foster and Smith and That Fish Place you may find greatly reduced prices for any filter you want. I will stay with my XP 3 it is very quiet and will worth the $99 that I paid for it, the last time I checked they were priced at $88. IF you buy an FilStar XP3 check with the dealer and see if he will take care of you if it is noisy. You might check with DR Foster and Smith and if you buy from them and it is noisy they will probably pay to it sent back to them and send you a new.
Recently I purchased a Hagen heater that did not work and thatpetplace paid for returning it and sent me a new one and paid shipping on that also.