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Old 02-14-2011, 11:13 PM   #1
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Okay, here's the thing:

I am about to set up an aquarium, and I don't know what type of filter to get. My biggest fear? A malfunction that puts 50 or 60 gallons of water on my floor!

So ... the question is: HOB or canister? I'm looking to do a 50-70 gallon tank. I've been reading fish forums, and I've seen comments by folks who've had their canisters leak all over the place. I JUST had new laminate put down! And then I read about someone's HOB cracking and pumping half a tank onto the floor.

What's a girl to do?
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:40 PM   #2
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saltwater or FW? saltwater i would suggest a sump. if done properly there are built i safety features to prevent water from the sump overflowing the tank and vice versa.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:44 AM   #3
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Oh, good gawd! I wouldn't have a CLUE how to run salt water! Nooooo, we're talking fresh water here. (I have so much to learn. *worry, worry, worry*)
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:35 AM   #4
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Well, you want to get a filter rated for about double the actual size of your tank. At 50-70 gallons it's worth considering a canister. If you're worried about it leaking, maybe stick it in a plastic bin under the stand or something.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:30 AM   #5
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I prefer canisters. I've had great success with them in the past, and hopefully will in the future. I've never actually had either HOB or canister fail on me in such a way that put water on the floor, though I know it can happen.

Last I saw you could get a Fluval 405 (rated for 100g) for ~$140 here and there on the internet.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:15 AM   #6
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Canisters are more prone to leaking simply because they have more connections and O-rings. If you buy good equipment and don't abuse it, neither type of filter should leak.

If you go the HOB route, the AC110 is a fantastic filter. I've got one on my 40B that's been set up for about six months. I've clean it once and I didn't even need to do that. The amount of media in that filter is ridiculous.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:29 AM   #7
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+1 on the Aquaclear. It's hard to imagine a HOB cracking unless there was some sort of hard impact.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:35 PM   #8
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That is my first thought, trackfast. If I don't whack the thing or drop it, how can it leak? This Aquaclear 110 ... it's big enough for a 50-70 gallon tank?

I'm looking at buying used. Hopefully with at least a couple of fish so that I don't have to go through that whole "cycling" thing. (How come we never did that when I was a kid?) Most that I've looked at include a Fluval 404. One had an Aqueous (?) HOB.

If I go with a tank that has a Fluval 404, one assumes the first thing to do is get new o-rings all around? Anything else a girl ought to replace before starting?

And were you me, would you go with a used Fluval?
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:49 PM   #9
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The AC 110 would be big enough to handle a 50-70G tank. Are you looking for a use total set-up? Just with the move, you'll probable experience a little cycling. I think it's best to do a fishless cycle and then add livestock when your levels are good. Fluval have a good reputation and a lot of hobbyists go with them. Replacing O rings would be a good precaution. If you wanted to go with two HOBs that would work too. If I were doing a tank like yours I might go with one of each.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:04 PM   #10
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As with most anything - you're taking more chance with a used Canister than a new one, especially since the #04 series is not longer the current series of Fluval Canisters. The #05's (205,305,405) are the current generation of Fluval Canisters and in fact the biggest reason that they went from #04 to #05 was to fix design flaws that caused leaking.

The most common point of failure on a Fluval canister is the giant O-ring that seals the lid / motor onto the body of the canister. If you don't apply vaseline or some form of aqua-safe lubricant to it every time you service the canister, it can dry out and start a slow leak.

I used a HOB before my Fluval 205 on my 26gal, and the biggest issues I have with HOBs are:

1. You need space behind the tank to support the HOB reservoir, and my tank is close enough to the wall to just squeeze the hoses up.

2. HOBs that use Media Bags and / or Bio-wheels are generally better than the ones that use "all-in-one packets", but you need a bigger reservoir to support that media.

3. For some reason, my HOB would get air caught under the outflow, and it would cause these "micro-bubbles" to get shot throughout the tank - basically made my tank look like it had dust floating around in it, but they were bubbles.


On a side note - if you do decide to get a canister and set it inside a bucket - you can invest in a "moisture alarm". These are battery powered and similar to smoke detectors but you set them down near anything that might leak water (washing machine, dishwasher, etc) and as soon as they detect an excessive amount of moisture, they'll go off.
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