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Old 12-29-2003, 12:26 PM   #1
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Eclipse Filter vs. HOB filter

In my 37 gal tank I have the Eclipse bio-wheel filter, and was wondering if I can achieve better results with something like an AquaClear 200 or 300. I am pleased with the overall performance of the eclipse system, but since it is my first and only tank I have nothing to compare this to. I do not have any fish in my tank that produce a large bioload, and as I mentioned before I am pretty happy with the way my current filter works, but I am always looking to improve the quality of life for my fish (and reduce costs). I have done some reading about the AquaClear filters, but had some questions that I thought someone might be able to help me with:

1. The eclipse system filters at a rate of 250 gph while the AquaClear 200 (which has been suggested for my 37 gal tank) only filters at 200 gph. I assume that moving to the AC200 would be taking a step down in performance? If so, would there be an issue in using the AC300 which filters 300 gph, or would that be too much for my tank?

2. I have read that many people prefer the AquaClear and other similar products because in comparison to the eclipse filters, they are much cheaper to maintain. Just looking for someone who has had both and can speak to this point.

3. My assumption is that I can not use the AquaClear with the standard eclipse hood?

4. Is there anything besides the filter/media, and new hood that I would need to convert from the eclipse system?

5. Anyone have any suggestions as to products similar to the AquaClear which they consider to be better?

Thanks in advance to anyone with the patience to answer any of my questions.
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Old 12-29-2003, 01:06 PM   #2
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I like my AC's but there are plenty of good choices. If things are working fine right now I wouldn't change. BioWheel are liked by maany people. Overall you want a turnover rate of something like 5-6 times tank capacity per hour. So 200-250 gph should be in the target range. It generally works out to be 1.5 times the recommendation of the manufacturer IME.

The only reason I would change right now is if there are problems or you want to upgrade your lighting to grow more plants.
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Old 12-29-2003, 03:08 PM   #3
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An add-on question - I'm adding filtration to my 55 gallon, in anticipation of moving to a 125 gallon tank. I'm torn between the Emperor 400 or the Aquaclear 500. The Aquaclear is a little less expensive and pumps more. Beyond that, is there a major difference between the two in quality or performance?

Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2003, 03:14 PM   #4
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I have owned both the Emperor and AquaClear filters and I can tell you hands down I prefer ACs filters any day of the week. At one time I had Emperors on every one of my tanks but found that ACs were much more efficient, quiet, and lower maintenance and slowly replaced all of the Emperors with ACs and have never looked back.

As for your 37g, I would be reluctant to reconstruct and replace components of your tank just to accomodate a new filter. If you are happy with what you have and it is performing well for you, then why change it !

As for your 125g, I would go with the AC500. It is less expensive, will give you excellent filtration and will be working long past life expectancy of the Emperors.
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Old 12-29-2003, 03:53 PM   #5
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Thanks cindywindy! I'll take your word for it - sounds like I can get the better filter and save money at the same time! I'll be getting one for my tank, and another for my buddy's 75 gallon!
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Old 12-29-2003, 04:30 PM   #6
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Thai,

I forgot to mention this earlier, but just in case you are not already aware, www.bigalsonline.com has filters for sale at such a low cost that even after shipping, the prices are still a fraction of the LFS ... literally. An AC300 that I looked at in my LFS was $27.99, but $13.99 at Big Al's. A savings like that is hard to ignore !
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Old 12-29-2003, 04:46 PM   #7
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A couple of things here. Upgrading your filter doesn't mean you must discard your old one. I double filter all of my tanks. This way I've always got an assured bio mass working for me.

Cindywindy is correct about the reliability of the AC. But if you've got an HOB already, spend a few more bucks and add a cannister. Big Als sells the Fluval for around $65. That's a steal on an awesome filtering device
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Old 12-29-2003, 04:58 PM   #8
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I've got a Magnum 350 working on my 55 gallon right now, which I figure is marginally enough filtration for the load I've got in there. However, when I get my big tank this month I'll definitely be needing more filters... the Aquaclear sounds like a bargain!

Any preference on which cartridges to run? I've looked at Big Al's and the prices are great, but there are four different types of cartridge for the AC.

Thanks for all the input!
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Old 12-29-2003, 05:29 PM   #9
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Go for whichever one will give you the most sponges. Most of them come supplied with carbon, but I consider carbon to be a waste of space unless you have medicated and the healthiest thing you can do for the overall health of your fish is to provide as much surface area as possible for your biological colonization. In my AC300 I have stacked two sponges and have no other media. Some people use one sponge and fill the rest with floss which polishes the water nicely, but either way, you will be very happy with the appearance and health of your water.

The only maintenance involved with the AC filters is to give a good rinse and squeeze of the sponges and/or floss in dechlorinated water every couple of weeks to use them over and over again.
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Old 12-29-2003, 06:52 PM   #10
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Perfect! I can't wait to get my new tank set up!

I'm also looking at a wet/dry DIY project - they're not too expensive to build for big tanks, and the filtration is awesome! Oscars are pigs, so I figure overkill is good...
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