My Marineland Penguin 170 HOB
(now called 200) has basically completely died. The water BARELY drips out of it anymore. I have cleaned it top to bottom with no results. It's only about 2 years old, and my Whisper 30 which is about 4 years old on my other tank is still flowing like new. Well anyways, it's time for me to get a new filter, and I have decided to go with a canister instead of a HOB
It is currently going to be in a 30 gallon tank, but will be going into a 55 in a matter of months. It is brackish, and I have sand as my substrate (yes I had a sponge covering the intake on my HOB
to protect it from sand... no sand was ever found in the impellar or in the filter) The tank only has 1 black-fin shark (columbian catfish) and a common pleco, so the tank being dirty really isn't a huge issue. In fact the water is still even staying clear with my penguin barely functioning. I don't have a lot of money to spend, and I really was considering just spending the $25 on a new penguin 200, but I figured I would "spend a little more" and get a better filter. One that will still work great when I move the two fish to the 55, and one that hopefully won't die in only 2 years! I was hoping (and would really like) to only spend about $60, but I don't want to just buy a cheap one and then end up having to spend more a few months down the road. So I would like to keep it in the $60-$80 range.
The important things to me is that it comes with everything I need to get it running right out of the box, and that the output into the tank is some sort of directional jet/stream so I can use it to create current for the black-fin. It is also VERY important to me that this thing is quiet. It is going to be in my bedroom practically right next to my head when I'm laying in bed. It just needs to be as quiet (or quieter) than the trickling of a HOB
I have been looking at the following, rated cheapest to most expensive:
1) Penn Plax Cascade 700 for $55. I know nothing about this brand. It claims it's good up to 65 gallons, but big al's doesn't give me any stats on it. I also can't tell if it comes with everything I need.
2) Marineland Magnum 350 for $67. Rated at 350 gph
. Seems to come with all I need. Has a good review on AA, but I worry because of how quick my marinland penguin died... but this is a completely different product so maybe I shouldn't worry about that.
3) Fluval 304 for $75. It seems to include everything. Rated for up to 70 gallons according to big al. I can't find any reviews on AA, although all reviews for the 404 say good things.
4) RENA filstar xp2 for $80. Rated up to 75 gallons. Reviews on AA range from so quiet you can't even hear it, to so loud you can hear it in every room of the house.
Finally) My LFS
has a HOT magnum 300 (by marineland) for $68. This isn't as good of a deal as online places, but when you factor in that I won't have to pay shipping, it is. Again it's marineland so I don't know if I'm trusting this brand right now. I can't find any reviews on AA, so I don't know how loud it is or anything. (EDIT: I had originally posted this as a 250 for $65, but I just checked and it was actually a 300 for $68. Sorry! I can't change it in the poll).
I put a poll at the top, so you guys/gals can vote that way, but any input would be great too. Like I said, my goal is to not spend a lot of money, but I also don't want to end up with a piece of junk or something that won't do what I need it to. Thanks a lot!!