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Old 08-18-2014, 09:08 PM   #1
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Opinions? Fluval 306 vs. SunSun HW-402B

I would like your opinions. If you had to choose between a Fluval 306 or SunSun HW-402B for a 46 gallon bowfront, which would you prefer? The Fluval is rated at 303gph and has three media baskets, in addition to the large foam frame. The SunSun is rated at 264gph, also has three media baskets, and a UV sterilizer lamp (which I probably wouldn't use). The media for either would be similar: coarse pads, fine pads, Matrix, bio-balls and/or plastic scrubbies, and Purigen.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:43 PM   #2
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For the canisters I would go with the Fluval personally. People seem to like the SunSun's but I would wait for a bit longer track record and more consumer reviews. Nothing worse than coming home to half your tank water on the floor.

As for your choice of bio-media, I would not use bio-balls or scrubbies in a sealed system like a canister filter. IMO they are OK in a wet/dry scenario but they have way less surface than dedicated bio-media like substrat pro, bio-max or matrix.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:46 PM   #3
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I've seen a lot of people on the forums use bio-balls and scrubbies in canisters. So you'd recommend two trays of Matrix or Biomax (or some such)?
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:58 PM   #4
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People do use it in canisters all the time and ultimately it will work. But it is not as effective as dedicated bio-media. I used to have a bookmark to a chart that had the surface area for various kinds of bio-media and scrubbies and bio-balls were pretty low. I am not home right now or I would share the link.

So indeed, I would use as much as I could of one of the above.
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Old 08-19-2014, 12:00 AM   #5
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306

Honestly I would spend another $30 and get the 406, also look at the Cobalt EXT, but of the 2 the 306 is what I would go with.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:56 PM   #6
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I bought the 306 first for a 45G tank. For a new tank much larger I needed a lot more, so I bought two SunSun 404B's. Have received them, tested, but not installed.

The 306 is a delight -- easy to maintain (contrary to what people say), quiet, etc. HOWEVER, two months in my flow is about half what it was -- I've cleaned the media, I've cleaned the impeller. I found the impeller cover warped and replaced it (actually Fluval sent me a new one), I reduced the amount of media, replced the floss (both), removed the carbon entirely. Still significantly reduced flow, to the point I worry if I'm getting enough surface agitation. I have no idea what is wrong.

So that's why instead of (say) a Fluval FX6, I decided to try the SunSun.

The SunSun's are what I expected -- basic, simple, nothing fancy, and cheap. The only problem so far is that their flow is low also -- these I measured in a sink, with NO media, at 278 GPH. But by eyeball comparison it's still twice the 306 (now).

Makes me wonder if all the manufacturers just lie about their flow rate.

If it wasn't so much trouble (since I'm depending on the bacteria in it) I'd measure the Fluval. Maybe next water change. I'm guessing I'm getting 150 GPM or less.

Anyway... so far I've found no issues with the SunSun (other than flow, which also is an issue with Fluval). Basic, Simple, Cheap. Easy to open, primes OK, LOTS AND LOTS of media space (though it came with practically nothing, just some floss pads).
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:10 PM   #7
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I've heard that before about Fluvals losing flow with time. Have you contacted them? I have a 206 on a smaller aquarium. I haven't noticed the flow lessening, but it's only been a month or so. Anyway, I ordered the 306 from PetSmart today. I couldn't pass up the price. It was $108 after the sale and 15% discount. I guess I'll see how well it works.
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qquake2k View Post
I've heard that before about Fluvals losing flow with time. Have you contacted them? I have a 206 on a smaller aquarium. I haven't noticed the flow lessening, but it's only been a month or so. Anyway, I ordered the 306 from PetSmart today. I couldn't pass up the price. It was $108 after the sale and 15% discount. I guess I'll see how well it works.
I'd like to hear also.

I did call Fluval, they sent me a free impeller cover when I told them mine was warped, and that did help a bit, but it wasn't the whole problem. It's really not a complex piece of equipment, it is bugging me that I can't see why it is low. That and how to discount my own expectations.

One mistake I made is I didn't do any measurement before -- media or no media or whatever. So I have no actual number to compare to even if I measure the flow. You might want to do that -- just time the filling of a 5 Gallon bucket under specific conditions (like no media and a given height of source water and bucket). Then if you have no issue you wasted 15 minutes, if you do you can compare quantitatively.

But you'll like the filter itself, I found it quiet, and nice.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:30 AM   #9
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The 306 is rated for 206gph according to the documentation.

The problem is that most manufacturers publish specs for the pump capacity not the filter itself.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:29 AM   #10
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The problem is that most manufacturers publish specs for the pump capacity not the filter itself.
Yeah, but at least for the sunsun, that's pretty much all that's involved when you run it with no media (no trays at all). The water source as well as destination was 36", it's (if I recall) a 19" filter so the head height is at most 17", and since the source was also 17" that mostly balances out.

Losing half the rated flow in that situation seems... well, just a lie. Unless they are quoting how fast it spins in air.

Next time I have it apart i'll sit the filter in a chair so there's zero height difference but I bet it makes little difference, as there wasn't much before.

I found a couple of no-media tests of the 306 (rated at 300 gph) and people are quoting a bucket test speed of about 170 gph, often 150 gph, again near half, so I am not suggesting this is only a SunSun issue.

All we can hope is every manufacturer lies proportionally and we can still compare.

Maybe we all should contribute to a kickstarter "Consumer Reports for Aquariums" that doesn't take advertising and does independent testing.
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