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Rena Filstar XP3
Reviews Views Date of last review
13 127065 8/1/2009
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $100.20 8.8




Description: The Rena Filstar XP3 is avery good choice for a canister filter. It has three baskets for media(sponges,bio material, and chemical pouches) and has a micro filter pad at the end, set up and priming of the pump is extremely easy. Once the pump starts there is a little bit of noise, But after 2 days when all air works out , it is almost silent. You have to be right up against aquarium to hear it. It comes with several instalation options and set ups. It comes with spray bar and powerhead. The only problem I had was a slight whistle from spray bar. I enlarged holes one size up with drill bit and no more whistling. This is an excellent filter.
Keywords: canister filter rena filstar xp3
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Posts: 266
Registered: February 2005
Location: York Pennsylvania



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manoosie
Aquarium Advice Regular

Registered: July 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 65
Review Date: 3/5/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $99.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Quiet ,easy setup, easy access to media baskets, One disconnect.
Cons: Directions can be a little confusing (different set ups)

The Rena Filstar XP3 is avery good choice for a canister filter. It has three baskets for media(sponges,bio material, and chemical pouches) and has a micro filter pad at the end, set up and priming of the pump is extremely easy. Once the pump starts there is a little bit of noise, But after 2 days when all air works out , it is almost silent. You have to be right up against aquarium to hear it. It comes with several instalation options and set ups. It comes with spray bar and powerhead. The only problem I had was a slight whistle from spray bar. I enlarged holes one size up with drill bit and no more whistling. This is an excellent filter. :up:
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nevermore
Aquarium Advice Newbie

Registered: November 2005
Location: cumbria UK
Posts: 1
Review Date: 4/14/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $109.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Quiet, easy easy easy setup
Cons: Slight whistle with spray bar

This product was easy to setup and is working extremely well. There was a slight whistle with the spray bar, but took the advice of other posts to enlarge the holes and it works great.
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mark5047
Aquarium Advice Newbie

Registered: November 2005
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 6
Review Date: 4/17/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $104.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Keeps water nice and clear, and is well made.
Cons: EXTREMELY LOUD, this is the loudest filter I have ever heard.

I just ordered a XP3 from petsmart.com for 104.99 which is a pretty good price and they accept returns no questions asked.

Anyway the filter is well made and solid.
The basket system is actually very nice and has NO bypass.

The only drawback is the noise this thing makes, it is freaking loud. This is not the filter to get for a living room setup. I have my tank in the living room and it could be heard over the TV, My wife said why is the filter so loud. I did get all the air out and the hum from the motor and impeller is incredible.

Some had said it takes two weeks to break in, but tha t is just unacceptable.

On a positive note the plumbing included is pretty nice except for the color, the blue intake really sticks out, they should have made them all black or a smokey clear color.

Anyway, mine is going back for a refund and the near silent Aquaclear is going back on.
I actually think a new Fluval would have been better as far as noise goes.
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steelvipers
Aquarium Advice Newbie

Registered: November 2005
Location: chicago
Review Date: 4/21/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Easy to use/maintain
Cons:

Great filter. I have had mine for over a year. It is easy to use/maintain. I have had no noise problems with mine. Actually, my laptop fan makes more noise than the XP3.
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melbourne0
Aquarium Advice Newbie

Registered: May 2004
Location: Somers, NY
Review Date: 5/9/2005 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Well built, easy to maintain
Cons: Priming the filter

I have two of these filters on my 125 gallon tank. They are fairly quiet. I also enlarged the holes on the spraybar to reduce the whistling noise.

The only thing that bugs me is when you first get them ready to go, (and after each time you clean them) you have to pour the water down the intake tube to release the air from the system. This is very ackward for me to do. I just fill the canister as full as I can and then pour about a half gallon of water into the intake tube filler hole....very slowly.

Other than that, I love the way you can arrange and rearrange the media in the baskets like any other of the good canister filters.

It is easy to clean and maintain as well. I have only had mine for about 6 months, but I am happy.

Side Note: I got mine at PetSmart.com for 74.99...but I found out if you wanted to go to the store and get it, they will sell it to you for the online price plus the cost of the shipping if you bring in the web page that has the item and price from PetSmart.com

My Petsmart wanted 149.00 for the XP3, and it was on the web site for 74.99...I got mine for 74.99 from my local Petsmart with the web page from the web site...they did not charge me for any shipping costs. Something to think about next time.
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mountaindew
Aquarium Advice Regular

Registered: October 2006
Location: north fort myers florida
Posts: 82
Review Date: 1/12/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price/preformance ratio, Flexibility, Noiseless, Good Flow, Heavy construction, No bypass.
Cons: Old-fashioned priming system. (but, it DOES work), Set-up complexity.

I been running a Fluval for about ten years. Started with a 203 , then quickly moved up to 303 and sold the 203 because it was too small. About two years ago, the first 303 developed some stress cracks of some of the motor housing parts (clamps). Instead of repairing it, I decided to try the redesigned 30 4 . HUGE improvement. HUGE.


I installed a Xp3 this weekend on my new 70gal corner tank. It's only been running for two days so far, but here is a comparison rundown.

Cost> In pre-purchase comparison, the pricing was close enough among the major on-line retailers as to be a non-issue. (I purchased from www.thatpetplace.com , but www.drsfostersmith.com had similarly attractive pricing). Both the Fluval and Rena were MUCH less than a comparable Eheim.

Set up> Fluval has the edge in setup. The Rena is ultimately more flexible, but at the cost of setup complexity. There are about 20 pieces in the intake/exhaust system alone. The intake tube consists of a u-tube (and incorporates the standpipe for priming), which connects to the variable-length siphon tube (four-five individual pieces), and then to the screen. Exhaust is comprised of a u-tube, and an assortment of elbows, extensions, outlets (spraybar or jet), flow control, etc. All the parts have tapered ends to allow a friction fit except a very few that snap together. All parts are opaque. Exhaust is black. Intake is a bluish charcoal. I prefer black or transparent. Fluval parts are translucent charcoal (1pc. siphon tube) and medium gray (hoses, exhaust jet, couplers). The Fluval comes with a weird convoluted hose and special tank-side couplers that I don't particularly like, but they DO work well. I just prefer things to stay "standard", so repair parts and modifications are easier (like adding an in-line heater or sterilizer). The Xp3 comes with a set 4'-5' thick walled vinyl tubing. It's kind of a frosty translucent blue. Nice tubing. The fitting on the Rena pump and accessories are all barbs. The system includes locking plastic hose clamps. Have a towel or pair of pliers handy when you install them, they are kinda sharp and hard to close tightly (a good thing, IMO). The Fluval uses the aforementioned special coupler on the tank-side accessories and uses plastic threaded compression fittings. In both filters' cases, leak tight operation is simple to achieve. Both units use captivated o-ring seals on the pump/case interface, so there is no worry about twisted or pinched seals.

Priming> Priming is a tossup. The Fluval has a priming pump, the Rena has a standpipe and a funnel. If the top back edge of your tank is hard to access, the Fluval would be easier to prime, IMO... Once set up, priming is almost a non-issue, since the siphon doesn't need to broken on either filter to perform regular cleaning.

Noise> This one is a dead tie. They are both silent enough to run in a bedroom. I've read a lot of people complaining about a noisy Rena, but they probably didn't assemble things tightly enough. Lots of places for air to enter the system... Mine is silent. (I wish I could say the same thing for my Orbit...) Both systems employ rubber feet to help dampen noise and vibration.

Maintenance> Cleanup is slightly easier on the Xp3 because of the tray handles and sponge sizes. Fluval's sponges are a bit thicker, so they take longer to flush clean. The tray dividers in the Xp3 are a nice touch. Repairs from breakage are easier to do on the Fluval, but it's also built less heavily than the Rena, so pick your poison... Both systems have a quick disconnect which includes a flow shutoff for the hose bibs, so you won't lose your siphon during cleanups. The Rena has one lever, while the Fluval uses two (one for flow, one for locking).

Flow control> With a simple control on the filter housing, Fluval has the edge in this area. RENA decided to put the valve inside the tank (yes, submerged). I prefer my tanks to look natural, not mechanical... I elected to keep the flow control out of the circuit, for appearance. Kudos to Rena for allowing this option, but the currents from the unrestricted spraybar are a bit too strong for docile fish. My Giant Danios would love it, but I intend on planting this particular tank and stocking it with more laid back breeds. I'll have to add a valve to the system. I may do that with a ball valve down by the filter or I may drill out the spraybar orifices to about 1/4" instead of the 3/16" they came at...

Filtration> Since I've only been running the system two days, I can't really comment on filtration, but the structural differences between the Fluval and the Xp3 lend me a few clues on how I expect them to differ. The Xp3 has larger trays, so contact time at a given flow should be longer in the Xp3. That will improve biological and chemical filtration efficiency. The trays in the Xp3 nest together a bit tighter than in the Fluval. In addition, the top tray in the Xp3 seals against the pump housing with an o-ring and the top tray cover is MUCH more rigid in the Xp3. These things all mean lower bypass from the Xp3, which means cleaner water. Media choices for either system are practically limitless.

.... In my Fluval, I use the foam pre-filters and ceramic hex-tube for large particle removal. For biological, I use porous ceramic tubes. My final stage is floss for a nice polish.
.... In the Rena Xp3, I am using the 20 and 30 ppi foam for mechanical, 40 FilStar Bio-Chem stars (enough for 200 gallons supposedly) for biological, activated carbon, and finally the supplied polishing pad.

.... Both filters include the foam pads. The Rena also includes a Carbon pad.

.... The Rena media selection seems really nice. Lot's of rechargable resins (similar to water softern resins, but specifically to remove phosphate, nitrites, ammonia, etc.) Instead of throwing them away, you just recharge them.

Appearance> Now, this category may not matter to many of you with enclosed equipment cabinets, but some may care. It is for them that I include my impressions about appearance... The Rena has got cleaner-looking plumbing connections, while the fluval incorporates several bulky fittings that clutter the look on top of the filter. The inlet/outlet of the Xp3 swivel to allow a graceful curve of the hose, while Fluval hoes juts straight out the top. The colors are pleasingly neutral for both systems. The shape of the Rena is a bit more angular than the case of the Fluval, which is composed with many more curves. Some may find the angularity either complimentary or detractful from the style of their other furnishings. The Xp3 is nicer looking unit, IMO.

Bottom Line?
I can easily recommend a Fluval 204, 304, 404. They filter great, run silent, and are durable in normal use. I've seen a few x05 models out there, but I don't know what the changes are. At a glance, they appear the same as the x04 series.

I haven't lived with the Xp3 long enough to stand behind it as solidly as I do the Fluval, but my experience so far has been excellent. So far, I am VERY pleased with the purchase and would not hesitate to recommend one.

Ultimately, It's a toss up. Look at the pros and cons of each and pick the one that fits your specific needs best. Or, If you find one on sale, pick it up.
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mountaindew
Aquarium Advice Regular

Registered: October 2006
Location: north fort myers florida
Posts: 82
Review Date: 1/12/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Price/preformance ratio, Flexibility, Noiseless, Good Flow, Heavy construction, No bypass.
Cons: Old-fashioned priming system. (but, it DOES work), Set-up complexity.

I been running a Fluval for about ten years. Started with a 203 , then quickly moved up to 303 and sold the 203 because it was too small. About two years ago, the first 303 developed some stress cracks of some of the motor housing parts (clamps). Instead of repairing it, I decided to try the redesigned 30 4 . HUGE improvement. HUGE.


I installed a Xp3 this weekend on my new 70gal corner tank. It's only been running for two days so far, but here is a comparison rundown.

Cost> In pre-purchase comparison, the pricing was close enough among the major on-line retailers as to be a non-issue. (I purchased from www.thatpetplace.com , but www.drsfostersmith.com had similarly attractive pricing). Both the Fluval and Rena were MUCH less than a comparable Eheim.

Set up> Fluval has the edge in setup. The Rena is ultimately more flexible, but at the cost of setup complexity. There are about 20 pieces in the intake/exhaust system alone. The intake tube consists of a u-tube (and incorporates the standpipe for priming), which connects to the variable-length siphon tube (four-five individual pieces), and then to the screen. Exhaust is comprised of a u-tube, and an assortment of elbows, extensions, outlets (spraybar or jet), flow control, etc. All the parts have tapered ends to allow a friction fit except a very few that snap together. All parts are opaque. Exhaust is black. Intake is a bluish charcoal. I prefer black or transparent. Fluval parts are translucent charcoal (1pc. siphon tube) and medium gray (hoses, exhaust jet, couplers). The Fluval comes with a weird convoluted hose and special tank-side couplers that I don't particularly like, but they DO work well. I just prefer things to stay "standard", so repair parts and modifications are easier (like adding an in-line heater or sterilizer). The Xp3 comes with a set 4'-5' thick walled vinyl tubing. It's kind of a frosty translucent blue. Nice tubing. The fitting on the Rena pump and accessories are all barbs. The system includes locking plastic hose clamps. Have a towel or pair of pliers handy when you install them, they are kinda sharp and hard to close tightly (a good thing, IMO). The Fluval uses the aforementioned special coupler on the tank-side accessories and uses plastic threaded compression fittings. In both filters' cases, leak tight operation is simple to achieve. Both units use captivated o-ring seals on the pump/case interface, so there is no worry about twisted or pinched seals.

Priming> Priming is a tossup. The Fluval has a priming pump, the Rena has a standpipe and a funnel. If the top back edge of your tank is hard to access, the Fluval would be easier to prime, IMO... Once set up, priming is almost a non-issue, since the siphon doesn't need to broken on either filter to perform regular cleaning.

Noise> This one is a dead tie. They are both silent enough to run in a bedroom. I've read a lot of people complaining about a noisy Rena, but they probably didn't assemble things tightly enough. Lots of places for air to enter the system... Mine is silent. (I wish I could say the same thing for my Orbit...) Both systems employ rubber feet to help dampen noise and vibration.

Maintenance> Cleanup is slightly easier on the Xp3 because of the tray handles and sponge sizes. Fluval's sponges are a bit thicker, so they take longer to flush clean. The tray dividers in the Xp3 are a nice touch. Repairs from breakage are easier to do on the Fluval, but it's also built less heavily than the Rena, so pick your poison... Both systems have a quick disconnect which includes a flow shutoff for the hose bibs, so you won't lose your siphon during cleanups. The Rena has one lever, while the Fluval uses two (one for flow, one for locking).

Flow control> With a simple control on the filter housing, Fluval has the edge in this area. RENA decided to put the valve inside the tank (yes, submerged). I prefer my tanks to look natural, not mechanical... I elected to keep the flow control out of the circuit, for appearance. Kudos to Rena for allowing this option, but the currents from the unrestricted spraybar are a bit too strong for docile fish. My Giant Danios would love it, but I intend on planting this particular tank and stocking it with more laid back breeds. I'll have to add a valve to the system. I may do that with a ball valve down by the filter or I may drill out the spraybar orifices to about 1/4" instead of the 3/16" they came at...

Filtration> Since I've only been running the system two days, I can't really comment on filtration, but the structural differences between the Fluval and the Xp3 lend me a few clues on how I expect them to differ. The Xp3 has larger trays, so contact time at a given flow should be longer in the Xp3. That will improve biological and chemical filtration efficiency. The trays in the Xp3 nest together a bit tighter than in the Fluval. In addition, the top tray in the Xp3 seals against the pump housing with an o-ring and the top tray cover is MUCH more rigid in the Xp3. These things all mean lower bypass from the Xp3, which means cleaner water. Media choices for either system are practically limitless.

.... In my Fluval, I use the foam pre-filters and ceramic hex-tube for large particle removal. For biological, I use porous ceramic tubes. My final stage is floss for a nice polish.
.... In the Rena Xp3, I am using the 20 and 30 ppi foam for mechanical, 40 FilStar Bio-Chem stars (enough for 200 gallons supposedly) for biological, activated carbon, and finally the supplied polishing pad.

.... Both filters include the foam pads. The Rena also includes a Carbon pad.

.... The Rena media selection seems really nice. Lot's of rechargable resins (similar to water softern resins, but specifically to remove phosphate, nitrites, ammonia, etc.) Instead of throwing them away, you just recharge them.

Appearance> Now, this category may not matter to many of you with enclosed equipment cabinets, but some may care. It is for them that I include my impressions about appearance... The Rena has got cleaner-looking plumbing connections, while the fluval incorporates several bulky fittings that clutter the look on top of the filter. The inlet/outlet of the Xp3 swivel to allow a graceful curve of the hose, while Fluval hoes juts straight out the top. The colors are pleasingly neutral for both systems. The shape of the Rena is a bit more angular than the case of the Fluval, which is composed with many more curves. Some may find the angularity either complimentary or detractful from the style of their other furnishings. The Xp3 is nicer looking unit, IMO.

Bottom Line?
I can easily recommend a Fluval 204, 304, 404. They filter great, run silent, and are durable in normal use. I've seen a few x05 models out there, but I don't know what the changes are. At a glance, they appear the same as the x04 series.

I haven't lived with the Xp3 long enough to stand behind it as solidly as I do the Fluval, but my experience so far has been excellent. So far, I am VERY pleased with the purchase and would not hesitate to recommend one.

Ultimately, It's a toss up. Look at the pros and cons of each and pick the one that fits your specific needs best. Or, If you find one on sale, pick it up.
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Rewirtonv
Aquarium Advice Newbie

Registered: October 2007
Review Date: 8/21/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent media control
Cons: manual priming (1st time), tough to assemble (1st time)

This was my first canister. I like how it all works out, however, I found the outlet bar and intake to be a bit difficult to assemble. Also, the instructions, while highly illustrated in beautiful photos, did not do a very good job of illustrating how you *could* assemble the intake/outtake piping.

I don't mind the manual priming since you only need to do it the first time. I am concerned about the quick disconnect feature though. I find that when I disconnect the power, and then disconnect the quick disconnect, there seems to be a pressure inside the canister. If I try to immediately remove the quick disconnect housing, there will be a splash. I have to wait a minute and then slowly remove the quick disconnect so that the pressure is relieved (not sure if this is something wrong with mine - but I own an XP3 and 2 XP1s, and they all do the same).

Overall, I recommend this filter since the negatives I have highlighted are greatly overshadowed by the media capability and high quality filtration.
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aquamurph
Aquarium Advice Newbie

Registered: January 2006
Posts: 3
Review Date: 9/13/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: quite and easy
Cons: whistle from the spray bar

i just got this filter and hookedm it up to my 55 gal cichlid tank. i was running a penguin 350B and it didnt even come close to this thing. within hours the water was cleaner and clearer. it is really quite. quiter than the motors on my HOB filters actually. it just makes a very pleasant humming noise from the motor but only when u out your head near it. it pumps alot of water aswell and all the media baskets allow for amazing verstility and effectiveness. u can have layers of foam and filterfloss and tons of biomedia space. i have alwasy owned HOB filters but this things makes me want to switch to all cannisters. the only bad thing i found was that it makes a whistle noise from the spra bar. can be easily fixed by drilling holes slightly larger or drilling a few extra holes. the problem is that it is trying to push to much water through to small of a space. in short it is worth every penny. i bought mine used for cheap but would have gladly payed full price for a new one. even my used one(i think over a year old) runs like it were new.
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force of habit
Aquarium Advice Apprentice

Registered: October 2003
Location: Wausau WI
Posts: 27
Review Date: 9/22/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $99.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Easy to Prime - 3 Trays - Silent
Cons: Maybe need more power for my setup?

This is my first canister filter and I am very pleased. I am converting a 72g bowfront to a planted aquarium w/ pressurized CO2 and lots of lighting. This canister is replacing a Penguin 400, I think it is, the model with the 2 bio wheels.

Setup was very simple for someone who has never used a canister before. Feels well built and replacement parts are easy to come by. After a lot of research and price comparisons, I didn't feel like I could beat the xP3 for the price, and I have no regrets.

I have cut into the outflow line to install a CO2 reactor and inline heater that seem to have reduced the flow a bit. I may consider going with the xP4 as an eventual upgrade to get more power though my custom plumbing.
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Kuziaaaa
Aquarium Advice Newbie

Registered: June 2007
Review Date: 3/13/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Price, large media capacity, quiet running
Cons: Blue intake

Actually, you don't need to prime it every time you clean it, only when first set up or if you remove the hoses. Otherwise it stays primed with the water trapped in the hoses above the disconnect.

I do really like this filter, good value for the cost and cleans a lot of water. Seriously-why do they have a blue/gray intake? Crazy....
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echobinary
Aquarium Advice Newbie

Registered: May 2008
Review Date: 5/27/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Efficient and quiet
Cons: Can be a PITA to prime!

I have 2 on a 125USFG and I am very happy with their performance.
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pitdogg2
Aquarium Advice Apprentice

Registered: July 2009
Location: illinois
Posts: 45
Review Date: 8/1/2009 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $90.00 | Rating: 0 

 
Pros: lots of media options
Cons: intake and output

This is a very good filter the only problem i have is the intake and output plastic piece's are a JOKE i switched them out for some made by marineland. When i clean the hoses is the only time it will not fill on it's own i just use my water change pump to push water down the output to fill the filter it's really no hassle at all as i am more than likely doing a waterchange at the time anyway
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