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Old 08-11-2015, 06:40 PM   #1
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Does brand matter?

I'm overwhelmed by the variety in brands for each and every possible aquarium 'need' and wondered if any of the brands were 'better' or if all are fairly equal.

For example, I have a Top Fin 10 gallon aquarium that came with a filter. I also have a Fluval Aqua Clear 30 filter and a Tetra WhisperPF10. Is there one of the three that is better for my tank of a couple of tetras, couple of guppies, and some African Dwarf frogs?

I have the API line of water treatments and I also have Seachem (clarity, stability & prime). Is either 'better' for water treatment?

And random question -- when should you/do you need to have a bubble feature/air stone? I'm not sure if those are necessary or personal preference?

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Old 08-11-2015, 07:31 PM   #2
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The aq filters are considered the best of HOB filters by many including myself.
Whether a particular filter is better for a specific (your fish listed) I can't see a big difference.
IMO most would say seachem is higher quality then API for water treatments/conditioners.
Air stones are not needed as long as your filter moves the surface enough to allow gas exchange.

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Old 08-11-2015, 07:55 PM   #3
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Sometimes brand matters. I defiantly recommend doing research and looking up reviews. When I first got into fish keeping, I tended to gravitate towards the less expensive, no-name products and Chinese knock offs. In the long run it ended up costing me more money because I would have to replace them. I have a small closet full of filters, heaters, light fixtures and other random stuff that didn't work well or flat out didn't work.

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Old 08-12-2015, 05:31 PM   #4
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It's the same way with pretty much any product.

If you look at 10 different kitchen knives:
3 of them will be cheap junky Chinese knives that will work for a little while.
2 of them will be cheap and low quality but suitable for occasional use.
2 more will be fairly high quality and reasonably affordable.
1 will be extremely expensive but just as good as the last 2.
2 will be astronomically expensive but live up to their prices.

It's all part of being a smart consumer, you just have to figure out your price range (filters can cost from $15 - $800) and doing research to figure out what will work for you.

As for my personal experience:
Heaters: Eheim Jager are fantastic with good customer support
Filters: Aquaclears are awesome, Marineland filters work fairly well and are a bit more affordable. Sunsun / Aquatop filters are cheap but are also reliable workhorses.
Water treatment: The only thing you really need is seachem Prime. It's the best on the market and is super affordable.
"The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations." -Occam's razor
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:08 PM   #5
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When buying a filter first check that spares are easily available, the good brands have a good range of spares, the knock offs do not. I check for impellers, ceramic impeller spindles, seals etc.

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