What is the best HOB filter?

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Dec 21, 2010
Alamogordo, NM
I have heard alot about bio wheels on this site, and alot about Aqua Clear filters. which one is a better HOB filter?
Aqua Clear hands down.

Filters with biowheels (such as the Marineland brand) are more gimmick and hassle.

This is just my opinion, but I have a lot of tanks, and experience with both kinds. They all work, but for HOB, give me an Aqua Clear any day.

I have thrown the biowheel componant out the filters I still have that use them.

If you have the space and the cash, cannisters are even better, especially on a 55 like yours. HOB will still work though.
I used to love Marineland with the Biowheels but honestly, Aquaclear does it in a much simpler method and their filters are def more quiet, only reason I'd get a Marineland bio-wheel filter is if I was buying a tank that had it built into the hood assembly (always loved it then!) You can also check out Cascade HOB, I've heard some people praise them even more than Aqua Clear, but both are great filters I used about 4 diff Aqua Clears and never had a problem with them
yeah when i have to get HOB itll be an aquaclear, so much room for any media, and adjustable flow.
Aquaclear definitely seems to be the way to go. The biggest AquaClear filter I can find online is an AquaClear 110 (rated for a 110 gallon) that moves 500 GPH.

If i get two AquaClear 110's (total 1,000 GPH) and I keep the existing undergravel filters (1140 x2) would that be enough filtration for a 120 gallon tank with about 18 cichlids/misc fish?
I know this thread is dinosaur but I just had to reply because this very thread led me to getting an Aqua Clear 50 for my 20 g tank a couple years back. My water has been crystal clear ever since
Fluval C series

I have both a Fluval C series and AquaClear. Both are made by Hagen and the FluvalC is its newest HOB product and is touted as the next step up giving results closest or equal to a canister.

I can say the AquaClear with three state filtration is just fine but the hands down winner is the Fluval C series with five stage filtration is the best. The extra two stages of filtration .... the polishing pad and the trickle chamber in addition to regular biological filtration are not gimmicks.

The AquaClear can be configured with custom media to give results closer to the Fluval C series by using floss as a polishing pad ..... but it's just easier with the Fluval C series. Both filters perform better with Seachem Purigen than carbon.

Before deciding between the two, I suggest you read this entire thread carefully simply to have more information from which to base your decision:


Here is a 36" side view of the "polished" water in my 38 gallon thank:

Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community - Paul1792's Album: Paul1792's 38 gallon - Picture

The configuration for my media in both my Fluval C3 & C4 is:

Fluval Edge Pre-Filter Sponge -> Acurel Debris Reducing Pad (cut to fit) -> AquaticLife 100 micron non-woven filter (polishing) pad (cut to fit) -> Seachem Purigen 100ml (2) -> Factory CNodes.
Aqua clear for the easily maintainable filter basket.

The only downside is that they are quite noisy the first few weeks.
Aqua clear for the easily maintainable filter basket.

The only downside is that they are quite noisy the first few weeks.
You might take the time to read my post above yours. I have both on my 38 gallon tank running side by side. The Fluval C makes the aquaclear obsolete. All I have to do is squeeze out the sponge pre-filter and change the (non-factory) 100 micron polishing pad every couple of weeks. It's a snap.

The Aquaclear does such a poor job polishing the water for the optimal (not just adequate) "fish swimming in air" look that I am going to order a second Fluval C3 for my 38 gallon tank and just use the AquaClear 50 as a spare. The C4 on my 29 gallon tank makes the water there look almost "diamond studded." And as for that "easy" basket in the Aquaclear 50, doing the custom media with floss and all that is a much bigger "pain" than just slipping a new 5" x 5" x 1/12" 100 micron cut to fit polishing pad into the C3.

[My old setup on the 38 gallon tank was a custom media aqua-tech 30-60 (walmart) including two 100 micron polishing pads - one at each outlet. It worked much better than the current set up with one aqua clear and one C3. I replaced it because it was so much trouble to do custom media on it]

As for noise, it's random. My C3 came from the factory with horrible rattling sound. In one month, it was dead silent. My Aquaclear came dead silent out of the box on Dec 26, 2013. The noise in the new C4 for the 29 gallon is "moderate" but not annoying and seems to be quieting down as time goes on since its installation date of 1-6-14.
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