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Old 05-13-2005, 04:55 PM   #1
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What Makes 1 HOB Power Filter Better Than The Next?

I've searched through various forums and generally the consensus is to favor a certain brand over the other.

I currently have a Penguin 170 and mini, Whisper 20 and Aquaclear 300 HOB filter and they all have been working fine for years.

Below is just my experience based of no scientific testing.

I like the Penguin because of the Bio-wheel, but the filter media is more expensive than the Whisper and has less surface area for mechanical filtration. When the filter begins to clog, the water level rises in the chamber and begins to overflow back into the tank without going through the media.

I generally change out the media once every 2 or 3 weeks on all my filters and the Whisper has never clogged the way the Penguin has. Maybe that's a plus for the Penguin since it's trapping detritus? The Whisper will lose significant flow, but it will continue to filter unlike the Penguin.

I like the Whisper because it seems to be the best at mechanical filtration and replacement media is cheap; approx. $1 per cartridge. I dislike the Whisper because it does not have a bio-wheel type stage for bio-filtration. Although there is an additional foam filter after the cotton/carbon media which I assume is to serve the same purpose as a bio-wheel. I usually rinse it in old tank water when I replace the cotton/carbon media.

I like the Aquaclear is because it holds the largest volume of media. Since the foam is suppose to be on the very bottom stage, I dont feel like it does well in mechnical filtration. Instead of replacing the foam everytime, I generally just rinse it in old tank water and it isn't as dirty compared to the Penguin and Whisper filters.

A benefit of the Aquaclear is that you can fill it with tons of bio-max or similar media which does wonders for bio-filtration.


IMO, this is how I see it...

Aquaclear for max bio/chem-filtration.

Whisper for max mechanical filtration.

Penguin for medium bio/chemical and mechical filtration. A compromise...

On quality, the Whisper has been the quietest of the three brands. The Penguin 170 is making an annoying noise form the impeller area. Probably needs a new impeller. The mini has been silent.

The Aquaclear sometimes makes a buzzing noise coming from the lid caused by the resonance from the motor. I've also come home a couple times to find that the impeller stopped spinning for no apparent reason. A couple taps and it starts right back up.


Please feel free to comment or share your experiences with any HOB filter.

HTH
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Old 05-13-2005, 05:01 PM   #2
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I like the Aquaclear is because it holds the largest volume of media. Since the foam is suppose to be on the very bottom stage, I dont feel like it does well in mechnical filtration. Instead of replacing the foam everytime, I generally just rinse it in old tank water and it isn't as dirty compared to the Penguin and Whisper filters.

A benefit of the Aquaclear is that you can fill it with tons of bio-max or similar media which does wonders for bio-filtration.
my aquaclear doesn't have any foam, it has a sponge that is the first stage of mechanical filtration. Then the carbon for chemical, and the bio-max on top for biological. I've had mine for 2 months and ive only changed the carbon twice and i was told you only change the sponge when it starts to fall apart, but i haven't changed the bio-max... do i just wait till it deteriorates?
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Old 05-13-2005, 05:09 PM   #3
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Actually, I used the word foam and sponge almost interchangeably.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...803+2146962565
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Old 05-13-2005, 07:54 PM   #4
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I look at a couple of criteria....cost, flow-rate, reliability, total media volume, media customisibility, operating noise.

Based on these, I prefer the Aquaclear line over any other I have tried, as they are reasonably-priced, have large and adjustable flow-rates, are reliable (with regular maintenance, I have had units running in excess of a decade), have great media volume (that big media basket holds quite a lot of anything), media is almost infinitly customisable (I run most of mine with all sponge or sponge/biomax combo), and when properly maintained, are very quiet.
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Old 05-13-2005, 09:01 PM   #5
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I agree ... i use a few HOB filters and i think that Aquaclear is by far one of the best ones out there!
I like that i don't have to use the AC media and can fill the chamber with whatever i want really
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Old 05-13-2005, 10:44 PM   #6
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Aqua-clear all the way. The chambers can be used in any combination (so long as you keep the media in the proper locations within it. The foam/sponge does an incredible job of mechanical filtration. My 30gal tanks water is so crystal clear, it looks like you can drink it.
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:29 PM   #7
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number one job of a filter is biologic filtration. If a filter is weak on this, you have trouble. Number two is mechanical filtration, since we all want crystal clear water. Chemical filtration is usually not an issue. Thus, a filter with proprietary cartridges that forces you to change mechanical, chemical, and maybe all the biological all at once is frowned upon. That is why a filter that allows for chambers or partitions that allow selective media management is highly favored. Canisters and the Aquaclear seem to provide the media management versatility and are well liked. A possible exception is the biowheel type filters. So much bilogic filtration can reside on the biowheel that proprietary cartridges for mechanical and chemical are not an issue, other that cost. I would never buy a filter that did not allow me to have a biologic filter (either chamber or biowheel) that could be preserved and managed independent of mechanical and chemical filtration. If you have an independent biofilter area, then HOB or canister is simply a matter of preference and cost.
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Old 05-19-2005, 09:30 AM   #8
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On the Aquaclear, it doesn't seem like the water path is flowing from the very bottom and up through all the media. There's a slit in the media basket towards the bottom where I have the foam, but it appears that water is only being filtered through half of the foam block.

It also looks like some of the water does not even flow through the media. Instead, it appears that some of the water that is pulled in from the left side flows right over the media basket.
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Old 05-19-2005, 09:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TygGer

It also looks like some of the water does not even flow through the media. Instead, it appears that some of the water that is pulled in from the left side flows right over the media basket.
If it does that then the sponge probably needs a rinse.
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Old 05-19-2005, 11:46 AM   #10
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It even looks that way right after I've cleaned the filter. It must just be me...

If the unit was designed to draw water from the tank, divert it to the right of the filter housing from the bottom of the media and up out the overflow, then why is there a water filled space to the left of the media basket?

It looks like the media basket was designed to partition the chamber into two, but then what is that stagnant area for?
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