An interesting discussion. There are so many products on the market for filtration and the truth is they will all do an adaquate job if used properly. Kind of like a 20 year old Dodge will get you to the same place a brand new Mercedes will.
I'm using all kinds of filters on my 11 tanks. The most important considerations are:
1. What do I want my filter to do?
2. How much am I willing to spend?
3. How much maintenance will I have to perform?
4. What's my experience with brand recognition and brand satisfaction?
On all my discus breeding tanks I'm using air driven sponge filters solely. Well, I do have box filters only so I can use cc
to buffer the water. The reason is my major concern is bio filtration. They are very easily cleaned and I've a ready source for seeding tanks. They also provide enough surface agitation for O2
I do enough water changes that mechanical filtration is of no concern.
On my pleco breeding tanks I'm using a combination of sponge filters and AC400s. Plecos are messy and I require additional mechanical filtration. The HOBs all have sponge pre filters as well. They protect the fry from being sucked in and just a quick rinse under the faucet and I'm ready to go.
On my stocked discus tanks again air driven sponges (lots of them in each tank), and Penguin 330s. HOBs are really very easy to clean and clean is where I want to be with these tanks. I will also diatom these tanks about an hour a week each.
On my planted tanks I use cannister filters only (Fluvals and Eheims). I find cannisters to be the best bang for the buck. I can set them up the way I want, control surface agitation, and they are just the most versatile. They are all set up with sponge pre filters to limit the amount of solids accumulating in the cannister. I'd rather rinse the sponges every few days than open up the filters. I do find the Fluvals easier to clean than the Eheims. However, I only clean these monthly (sometimes every other month). That consists of rinsing the sponges (which aren't replaced more than yearly), and changing the filter floss. Every six months of so I rinse the bio-mech in tank water, and thoroughly clean the cannister and tubing.
That's my take and routines with filters.