I have always ran my 55g with a UGF
and at one point had a medium HOB
. Set it up again this year and the HOB
was no good (15+ yrs old) so only UGF
w/2x550 penguin powerheads. I have a community with about 25 or so fish, and a 10g full of molly and guppy fry (45 !! in total), some of which will eventually go in the 55 and it will be quite full. I also have 4 swords, some mundo grass, and vallisneria. This is my first tank that I've really tried to keep well planted. The vals propegate like crazy - 2 turned into 8 in no time. 1 sword is doing great, one ok, and 2 not so great, but I think it's due to diatom/brown algea resulting from high municipal phosphates. Plenty of light, no CO2
(probably will do soon). I will probably need something that has space for a phosphate absorbing pad also to control the algae.
So I think I'm starting to see the light about ditching my UGF
, especially with the plants, and have been researching different canister filters and I am having a hard time understanding a few things. Each has their own 'suggested' 'up to' tank size, and then another GPH
. I guess I want to do apples to apples and get the best bang for my buck, since the one I get I am going to stick with, and have to take into consideration media cost, space in canister, and flow.
To start, I have heard that with a planted tank, it's a good idea to have the water turnover rate be less than 5. So with 50 effective gallons, 250 GPH
would be the max I would want for flow. But it seems that the bigger the filter (more space/trays) the better for flexibility, but then the flow rate gets too high for the plants.
I've basically figured that there are essentially 4 major reputable brands: Rena/API, Cascade/Penn-Plax, Fluval/Hagen, and Eheim. I'm looking for the best match, here's what I've come up with so far.
*** Prices are Big Al's Online for a baseline ***
XP1 is 250 GPH
for up to 45g, 1 basket, $100 (too small?)
XP2 is 300 GPH
, 75g, 2 baskets, $140
700 is 185 GPH
, 65g, 2 baskets, $60
1000 is 265 GPH
, 100g, 3 baskets, $70
205 is 180 GPH
'filter flow' whatever that means - from tech manual on website) for up to 40g, ? trays, $115
305 is 260/185 GPH
, 70g, $140
405 is 340/225 GPH
, 100g, $170
Looks like there are 2 styles on Big Al's, 221 and 223 series. The 223 series looks more like the other above (dual connections on top w/disconnect) so I'll just go over those. I could not find GPH
data for Eheim.
2232, 35g, 2 trays, $100
2234, 60g, 3 trays, $120
2236, 80g, 4 trays, $130
So I'm looking for all opinions, positive and negative (I want to hear the negatives!!), as well as some suggestions on the size/flow I should choose.
I haven't had a chance to go shopping and pull some of these out of the packages yet, but from what I see, the Eheim looks like it has great bio media with those ceramic balls compared to I think Rena which had a handful of spiky looking cylinders (kinda like licorice sticks), not much I could find for the others. Also I noticed that Eheim is round vs all others are square. Round seems more logical to me, leave it to the Germans. So I guess right now I'm leaning Eheim. I would love to get a 3e series if I had the $$ those look cool.
So if you have any one of these brands, I would appreciate your input, tell me what bio media they use, how easy to clean (I'm guessing this is about the same for most), how quiet, how much the filter media runs & what you have to replace regularly (besides carbon - not going to use that because of plants), etc, etc, etc...
Thanks ahead of time!!!