Power Filter Upgrade

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Aquarium Advice Freak
Oct 27, 2003
Cleveland, Ohio
I have a 30 Gallon with a Whisper 40 on it currently but after some reading am deciding to get something alittle better. I was just wondering if Whispers are really that bad or are fine for a small community tank like mine. I saw one article say they dont have enough bio filtering and also no secondary filtering. If not what brand do you recommend and how much should they cost roughly.

Also noise should be taken in consideration as the tak is in my bedroom.
An AquaClear 50 would do nicely on that tank. They are quiet and you can put just about any filter media that you could want in them.
I use sponges, bio-max, and crushed coral (my tap water is very soft) in mine. They are awesome filters, highly recommended.
Filters and most other equipment are best bought online, to get them cheaper.
Big Al's is a good site for this, they have the AC 50 for $18.99: http://www.bigalsonline.com
my 2 cents .... i run a emperor 280 by marineland on my 29gal and it has worked great so far and is fairly quiet and it also has an extra media container to put any type of media into it that u want ... and the bio wheel on it seems to work magic :) ... HTH

Viperboy said:
my 2 cents .... i run a emperor 280 by marineland on my 29gal and it has worked great so far and is fairly quiet and it also has an extra media container to put any type of media into it that u want ... and the bio wheel on it seems to work magic :) ... HTH


I have to agree. I have one on my 26G and it's awsome. Has been working flawlessly for almost a year and a half now. I just occasionally rinse out the housing and impeller. Other than that, the ceramic rings in the media box stays in, no rinsing, and change out the filter pad when it's clogged. And if the spraybar jets get clogged, use the brush to clear the holes. That's it.
So upgrading from a whisper is a good idea? And are those Bio Wheels things noisy at all?

And also I should always get the filter above what I need right? like for a 30gal I should get a filter for a 40 or 50 right?
Upgrading is always good. As for the Emperors, there is a slight noise of running water. But I like it myself, it's soothing. I like the sound of running water. Other than that, it's pretty quiet.
Not a big fan of trickling water myself. Probably go with the AquaClear, seems pretty nice. But if the Bio Wheels are the best then a little noise will be worth it. Also whats the difference between the Emperor and the Penguin Bio Wheels from Marineland?? I cant see a difference, is one newer and better?
Emperors are good filters but I wouldn't put one on a tank that's in my room. I don't like the sound of running water when I'm trying to sleep either.
The Penguin filters seem to be a little more compact and better for smaller tanks. The Emperors are better filters than the Penguins IMO.
Thanks you so much, Im going to go to my fish store cause I know they have one running on there tank and see if it bothers me. I figure I could get use to it and also my air pump is quiet noisy so Ill see.
I have a 20 gal long in my room in which I am running 2 ac 20s and they are quite and do a nice job filtering. Also I use sand substrate and the filters have quit like 4 times because of the sand and after a short easy cleaning they keep on going. These filters are impossible to break. But I have never used a bio wheel filter because of the water so I can give an opion on those.
richiestang_78 said:
Hey last thing, how much better are the Marineland Bio Wheels then the Aquaclear filters??

I prefer the Marineland Biowheels myself, but both are good filters. I think with the biowheel, the Marineland filters have a slight advantage.
Alright, its jsut this tank is in my bedroom and the trickling water thing I would only put up with if the Bio Wheels are alot better then the ACs.
The AC 50 is a great unit. There is plenty of room for all the bacterial filtration you will need. The bio-wheels are nice accessories but they are not essential by any means. I have a AC50 on my 29 and it does a great job. You cant go wrong with either choice.
Alright thanks you guys, i went to the LFS and listened to the Bio Wheels and forget that, the filer motor was hard enough to get use to but the trickle is just too much for me. Also the fish dude said the wheels get noisier as the filter dirties up so oh well, AC it is.
I am glad you found a great filter but actually I have heard it gets quiter when it startsd to built gunk on it, but once again I have never owned one so maybe someone one else can clear that myth up.
Yes, it gets quieter as the gunk builds up. But it also depends on if you can tolerate the slight sound of moving water. I have a 55G next to my bed with 2 Emperor 400's running, and puts me right to sleep.

If you want something real quiet, why not get a cannister? Like the XP1. I love my XP3, I have to put my head under the tank stand next to the filter just to hear the slight hum.
Tahts alright, I want a HOB filter. Not much room to spare for the canister and tubing. Just want something simple yet effective with not trickling water.
The Aquaclear is much more quiet than the Emperor IME, but you can keep the Emperor pretty quiet if you keep your water level high in your tank. I like to use the Aquaclear with 2 sponge inserts stacked together instead of the carbon. Then I put the Biomax (ceramic rings) on top of that and it's good to go.

Basically, each of these filters has its advantages IMO.
The Emperor has the Biowheel, which allows a big surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow. It also comes with an extra media basket (2 for the 400 model) that I use for filter floss. But, the cartridges are expensive to replace, and the filter itself is more expensive.

The Aquaclear lets you use 2 foam blocks, which IME gives you plenty of surface area for your bacteria. Plus, the Biomax is included, and also serves this purpose. You don't have to buy replacement cartridges, since it doesn't use any. The foam blocks can be rinsed out (in tank water ONLY) over and over. I have some that have never been replaced, and hve been running for a couple of years. The Biomax never needs to be replaced at all from what I can tell. But, there's no Biowheel.

I think both of them are good products, but if noise is your main consideration, then go with the Aquaclear. That said, I use an Emperor 400 on my bedroom tank (30 gal long) and I sleep fine.
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