Well one of the little plastic clips from the clear plastic circular cover busted as I was taking it off (my fault b/c I thought it was undone already and lifted, but it was not).
That could be it, the impeller (white piece of plastic, shaped like a star) looks fine).
Everything about it though seems like it can break easily, the handles that lock on the sides, the paper thin plastic, the fragile ceramic shaft the width of a toothpick: all too fragile.
The flow is also not what I was expecting, though it is probably what it should be, I was just expecting/hoping for a little more.
Thank you so much for all your help. I'm back into the hobby with a new vigor!
LOOK! A NEW LEAF!!!!!