This weekend I installed an Eheim Ecco Pro 2236 and 3 days after having it run I can say I'm happy with it. Assembly wasn't terribly difficult and as many have said the instructions didn't help much - but they did help a little. So there is some value to the instructions. I've never owned or used a canister filter before so it was a new experience. I was considering a Fluval 305 or 405 in conjunction to this filter. The reason I chose Eheim was because they are supposed to be extremely quiet and the rated aquarium size of the 2236 was slightly higher than the Fluval 305 (80 gal
. vs 70 gal
.). I was on a budget so the 305 and 2236 being the same price I chose the Eheim. Besides, it's manufactured in Germany.
I like that the plastic trays for filter media lock together, although they do feel a bit flimsy so I was careful that I didn't try to twist them apart too hard. I think they trick may have been not to squeeze it or it doesn't want to twist apart. I was also very happy that it came with 3 bags or Eheim's Substrat Pro sintered glass. One box alone usually goes for $25-$30, so not having to buy that is a great selling point. I don't know what Fluvals come with though.
Once I got everything washed out and assembled I followed the directions on how to siphon the water into the filter. It worked great and no spilling. It probably would have gone faster if my aquarium was filled all the way and could have siphoned from both ends. I know many people have said that these models are very susceptible to breaking if run dry so I made absolutely certain than the water was filled up all the way. I plugged it in and it's not given me any trouble. I remembered to tilt the filter and tap/shake it a little to get any excess air out to quiet it down and I think that did help.
Overall it runs very quiet, I have it inside my stand and it echoes a little bit because I don't have cabinet doors yet, but with cardboard temporarily cover the openings so our curious cats can't get in, it's very quiet. My small air pump, I forget what size, maybe a Tetra 20, is louder than the filter.
So far the only thing I'm not fond of about the filter is the outflow tube. It's nice that you can direct it and it's a simple and effective design that works fine but I think it's more clunky, for lack of a better word, that what I might like. I think it sticks out too much from the side of the aquarium.
Other than that I have no problems with the filter. I will probably need a second one because it is filtering a 75 gallon aquarium, but so far so good. I would rate it 8/10. I take off one point because I don't know what the perfect filter would be (so I'm really starting at 9/10) and I take of one point because I don't like the outflow tube so much.