Originally Posted by ryan_calif
Aqua clear for the easily maintainable filter basket.
The only downside is that they are quite noisy the first few weeks.
You might take the time to read my post above yours. I have both on my 38 gallon tank running side by side. The Fluval C makes the aquaclear obsolete. All I have to do is squeeze out the sponge pre-filter and change the (non-factory) 100 micron polishing pad every couple of weeks. It's a snap.
The Aquaclear does such a poor job polishing the water for the optimal (not just adequate) "fish swimming in air" look that I am going to order a second Fluval C3 for my 38 gallon tank and just use the AquaClear 50 as a spare. The C4 on my 29 gallon tank makes the water there look almost "diamond studded." And as for that "easy" basket in the Aquaclear 50, doing the custom media with floss and all that is a much bigger "pain" than just slipping a new 5" x 5" x 1/12" 100 micron cut to fit polishing pad into the C3.
[My old setup on the 38 gallon tank was a custom media aqua-tech 30-60 (walmart) including two 100 micron polishing pads - one at each outlet. It worked much better than the current set up with one aqua clear and one C3. I replaced it because it was so much trouble to do custom media on it]
As for noise, it's random. My C3 came from the factory with horrible rattling sound. In one month, it was dead silent. My Aquaclear came dead silent out of the box on Dec 26, 2013. The noise in the new C4 for the 29 gallon is "moderate" but not annoying and seems to be quieting down as time goes on since its installation date of 1-6-14.