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Question of the Day Filtration? What you got and why?

Art

Owner/Administrator
Staff member
Supporting
Founding Member
PAFF
  • Oct 29, 2022
    2,161
    2,411
    Miami, FL
    Hey all -

    Let's talk about filtration in the planted aquarium. Here's what I'm interested to know from you.

    1. What filter(s) do you have running on your tank right now?
    2. Why did you go with what you have? Did you have a purpose you were going after?
    3. Are you happy with it? What would you change?

    Here are my thoughts to start us off:

    1. I ran an Oase 250 on my UNS 90L tank. I also ran an ADA Vuppa II skimmer.

    2. I went with the Oase because I thought that the ability to easily change the mechanical filter was a really big deal. I knew that they are somewhat underpowered but I don't believe in using the main filter for all of my flow. I have a separate powerhead so that wasn't too big of a deal for me.

    3. I was OK with it. Turns out, yes it's easier to change the mechanical filter but I ended up not doing it as much as I thought. The underpowered flow was more of an issue, it turns out. The Vuppa II was great though.

    Honestly, next time I'll go with a filter with more flow and prioritize that over some slight convenience. Probably will go back to Eheims next. They have never failed me.

    What about you?
     
    I use canisters on all of my tanks, because of the versatility, and the ability to run things online, like co2.
    Also the flow can be adjusted easily, some plants and fauna prefer more flow, and some less.
    It’s always best to run a filter that’s rated for quite a bit larger tank, so the extra flow is there if you need it, and more filtration is always better.
     
    1. I ran an Oase 250 on my UNS 90L tank. I also ran an ADA Vuppa II skimmer.
    I also run an Oase 250 on a UNS 90L! I agree completely. Went with it because of excellent reviews, prefilter, and thermo option for built in heater.

    That was my first serious tank and I overestimated the importance of a heater, so don't take advantage of that really. Also not super impressed with the prefilter...mainly because there's not a huge added convenience for me, not as much as I thought there would be. I know Oase's stands have the slide out drawer, but unless you're rocking their stand or a really cool custom stand, you're pulling that whole canister out to change/clean the prefilter due to it being the height of the canister.

    Other impressions with the Oase:
    1. It is 100% underpowered. Haven't been able to figure out a good powerhead supplement in the 90L with the small height of the tank, I run an Eheim skim 350 with it for better agitation but it's not super ideal. Blows my back row around even on the lowest setting.
    2. No air trap issues like alot of people seem to experience, at least after the first month they went away.
    3. The way the interior of the prefilter chamber is setup it's kind of a pain in the ass to clean after a few months of buildup
    4. Never had to go through customer service, which is a great thing, just adding because I can't comment on that and it's a huge piece of buying any equipment as integral as a filter imo. Warranty, customer service availability and helpfulness, parts availability, etc. I give a significant amount of weight to the "how many other people are using this" if for no other reason than it'll be that much easier to diagnose potential problems if I can find 100 threads about a given topic versus 1.

    I mostly like the Oase, but for the premium price they carry I don't think I'd purchase another one...at the same time, I wouldn't replace the 250 that I have (not yet anyway)

    The 60p has one of the ADA superjet ss canisters. My primary reason for going with this one was easy: it was free 😂
    Impressions with the ADA:
    1. Quiet as hell
    2. I hate having two different sized hoses for inlet/outlet, I'm sure there's excellent design behind it and it works well but it bothers me a little
    3. I can't fathom why people love the ss canisters, of any make, aside from aesthetics maybe. It looks pretty on the minimalist ada stand for sure. But it's a pain in the ass to clean because, ya know, it's basically a large, narrow steel bucket haha.
    4. It's effective. Never had a single issue with flow on this tank, I do need to suck siphon to start, but very briefly and the pump does the rest. It never has air traps, never stalls after w/c and restarting, etc.

    I like the ADA canister alot. I would never buy one strictly because of price, but that's just my take on it. I wouldn't replace this filter either, I'll keep it on this tank no matter what I do with it.

    For those of you that were giving me good ideas on my 4820 filtration thread, I decided to go with the AquEel suggestion.
    Reasons I went with aquael:
    1. Media baskets reported to be really high quality, stack together securely and easily w no bypass, there's alot of them, and most importantly the straightforward shape..I can cut out a foam square and shove it in there versus what I'd have to trim a sponge to fit the fluval 407s I was looking at.
    2. Have you seen that prefilter setup? We'll save final judgement til they're delivered and I can mess with them, but my expectations are that it's pretty badass (oh no, this is exactly how I sounded when I bought the Oase 😂) it's a straight square that sits on the top of the canister in a separate compartment, and is designed to allow you to change it while the filter's still running. Pretty cool, I've seen a few people do it on review videos with 0 leaks. 100% more convenient than the Oase prefilter at first glance for sure, also worth taking into consideration that it has much less surface area than the Oase filter...not sure how much of a real difference that will actually make but like I said, worth thinking about for sure.
    3. I did think it was standard 16/22mm hosing, a big win over something like a fluval with ribbed hoses in non-standard sizes. On further research...early last year they released an upgraded version 3 of all three filters in the ultramax range; the 2000, which is what I ultimately got because of a massive turnover rate (rather have more and not need it I guess?) originally did have 16/22mm connections, but the update version now has 19/25mm. Is it a big deal or not? Well, I guess we'll see. I can run 3/4 to 5/8 reducers, which have so far been hard for me to find that look to be decent quality/provide a solid connection, and then run all 16/22 hose anyway. Probably what I'll do. But would have been nice to have 16/22 from jump and not mess with any more adapters, connectors, potential points of failure, etc.
    4. Combined flow rate on two of these will give me around 8-10x turnover rate, at absolute worst. Like I said, better to have it and not need it was my logic there.
    Excited to get the filters, and I'm planning on doing a review thread once I get them too. It was a little hit or miss tracking down a couple people who run these and I couldn't find too much definitive info on them outside of youtube videos so I'd definitely like to post up some details here when they arrive. We'll see what size hose they come with too, hopefully both canisters are the same size!
     
    I also run an Oase 250 on a UNS 90L! I agree completely. Went with it because of excellent reviews, prefilter, and thermo option for built in heater.

    That was my first serious tank and I overestimated the importance of a heater, so don't take advantage of that really. Also not super impressed with the prefilter...mainly because there's not a huge added convenience for me, not as much as I thought there would be. I know Oase's stands have the slide out drawer, but unless you're rocking their stand or a really cool custom stand, you're pulling that whole canister out to change/clean the prefilter due to it being the height of the canister.

    Other impressions with the Oase:
    1. It is 100% underpowered. Haven't been able to figure out a good powerhead supplement in the 90L with the small height of the tank, I run an Eheim skim 350 with it for better agitation but it's not super ideal. Blows my back row around even on the lowest setting.
    2. No air trap issues like alot of people seem to experience, at least after the first month they went away.
    3. The way the interior of the prefilter chamber is setup it's kind of a pain in the ass to clean after a few months of buildup
    4. Never had to go through customer service, which is a great thing, just adding because I can't comment on that and it's a huge piece of buying any equipment as integral as a filter imo. Warranty, customer service availability and helpfulness, parts availability, etc. I give a significant amount of weight to the "how many other people are using this" if for no other reason than it'll be that much easier to diagnose potential problems if I can find 100 threads about a given topic versus 1.

    I mostly like the Oase, but for the premium price they carry I don't think I'd purchase another one...at the same time, I wouldn't replace the 250 that I have (not yet anyway)

    The 60p has one of the ADA superjet ss canisters. My primary reason for going with this one was easy: it was free 😂
    Impressions with the ADA:
    1. Quiet as hell
    2. I hate having two different sized hoses for inlet/outlet, I'm sure there's excellent design behind it and it works well but it bothers me a little
    3. I can't fathom why people love the ss canisters, of any make, aside from aesthetics maybe. It looks pretty on the minimalist ada stand for sure. But it's a pain in the ass to clean because, ya know, it's basically a large, narrow steel bucket haha.
    4. It's effective. Never had a single issue with flow on this tank, I do need to suck siphon to start, but very briefly and the pump does the rest. It never has air traps, never stalls after w/c and restarting, etc.

    I like the ADA canister alot. I would never buy one strictly because of price, but that's just my take on it. I wouldn't replace this filter either, I'll keep it on this tank no matter what I do with it.

    For those of you that were giving me good ideas on my 4820 filtration thread, I decided to go with the AquEel suggestion.
    Reasons I went with aquael:
    1. Media baskets reported to be really high quality, stack together securely and easily w no bypass, there's alot of them, and most importantly the straightforward shape..I can cut out a foam square and shove it in there versus what I'd have to trim a sponge to fit the fluval 407s I was looking at.
    2. Have you seen that prefilter setup? We'll save final judgement til they're delivered and I can mess with them, but my expectations are that it's pretty badass (oh no, this is exactly how I sounded when I bought the Oase 😂) it's a straight square that sits on the top of the canister in a separate compartment, and is designed to allow you to change it while the filter's still running. Pretty cool, I've seen a few people do it on review videos with 0 leaks. 100% more convenient than the Oase prefilter at first glance for sure, also worth taking into consideration that it has much less surface area than the Oase filter...not sure how much of a real difference that will actually make but like I said, worth thinking about for sure.
    3. I did think it was standard 16/22mm hosing, a big win over something like a fluval with ribbed hoses in non-standard sizes. On further research...early last year they released an upgraded version 3 of all three filters in the ultramax range; the 2000, which is what I ultimately got because of a massive turnover rate (rather have more and not need it I guess?) originally did have 16/22mm connections, but the update version now has 19/25mm. Is it a big deal or not? Well, I guess we'll see. I can run 3/4 to 5/8 reducers, which have so far been hard for me to find that look to be decent quality/provide a solid connection, and then run all 16/22 hose anyway. Probably what I'll do. But would have been nice to have 16/22 from jump and not mess with any more adapters, connectors, potential points of failure, etc.
    4. Combined flow rate on two of these will give me around 8-10x turnover rate, at absolute worst. Like I said, better to have it and not need it was my logic there.
    Excited to get the filters, and I'm planning on doing a review thread once I get them too. It was a little hit or miss tracking down a couple people who run these and I couldn't find too much definitive info on them outside of youtube videos so I'd definitely like to post up some details here when they arrive. We'll see what size hose they come with too, hopefully both canisters are the same size!
    Nice write up Ryan and I am looking forward to seeing how you like the new filter once you get it. Filter reviews from people you know are the best kind.
     
    Hey all -

    Let's talk about filtration in the planted aquarium. Here's what I'm interested to know from you.

    1. What filter(s) do you have running on your tank right now?
    2. Why did you go with what you have? Did you have a purpose you were going after?
    3. Are you happy with it? What would you change?

    Here are my thoughts to start us off:

    1. I ran an Oase 250 on my UNS 90L tank. I also ran an ADA Vuppa II skimmer.

    2. I went with the Oase because I thought that the ability to easily change the mechanical filter was a really big deal. I knew that they are somewhat underpowered but I don't believe in using the main filter for all of my flow. I have a separate powerhead so that wasn't too big of a deal for me.

    3. I was OK with it. Turns out, yes it's easier to change the mechanical filter but I ended up not doing it as much as I thought. The underpowered flow was more of an issue, it turns out. The Vuppa II was great though.

    Honestly, next time I'll go with a filter with more flow and prioritize that over some slight convenience. Probably will go back to Eheims next. They have never failed me.

    What about you?
    Hello 👋

    1. I am using 2 x Aquael Ultramax 1500 canisters on my 120cm x 60cm x 60cm aquarium.

    2. This is my first planted aquarium using canisters, as my previous set-up was filtered by a sump.
    I did do quite a bit of research before purchasing the aquael filters.
    I wanted quality filters that had pre-filters, were easy to clean/service and operated quietly as my tank is in the living room.
    I was often recommended by others to purchase Oase, but I wasn't 100% satisfied to do so after my research. Here in Australia, I was able to purchase 2 x Aquael Ultramax 1500 canisters for the price of 1 x Oase Biomaster 600.

    3. I would have to say I am very happy with the Aquaels. They are strong, sturdy filters that hold a lot of bio media and operate very quietly. I like the convenience of the inbuilt valves on the Aquael's, which makes disconnecting/connecting the inflow and outflow pipes a breeze.
    The only downside, is that cleaning the pre-filters is not quite as convenient to what the Oase seems to be.
     
    Hey all -

    Let's talk about filtration in the planted aquarium. Here's what I'm interested to know from you.

    1. What filter(s) do you have running on your tank right now?
    2. Why did you go with what you have? Did you have a purpose you were going after?
    3. Are you happy with it? What would you change?

    Here are my thoughts to start us off:

    1. I ran an Oase 250 on my UNS 90L tank. I also ran an ADA Vuppa II skimmer.

    2. I went with the Oase because I thought that the ability to easily change the mechanical filter was a really big deal. I knew that they are somewhat underpowered but I don't believe in using the main filter for all of my flow. I have a separate powerhead so that wasn't too big of a deal for me.

    3. I was OK with it. Turns out, yes it's easier to change the mechanical filter but I ended up not doing it as much as I thought. The underpowered flow was more of an issue, it turns out. The Vuppa II was great though.

    Honestly, next time I'll go with a filter with more flow and prioritize that over some slight convenience. Probably will go back to Eheims next. They have never failed me.

    What about you?
     
    Last edited:
    Oh nice an aquael guy! The pricing seems roughly the same state side for us, about 200 more a pop if I'd gone with Oase 600.

    How long have you been running them? Curious on any details and would like to hear about your experience with their prefilter. I can tell you in my experience the Oase prefilter wasn't what i made it out to be in practice
     
    Oh nice an aquael guy! The pricing seems roughly the same state side for us, about 200 more a pop if I'd gone with Oase 600.

    How long have you been running them? Curious on any details and would like to hear about your experience with their prefilter. I can tell you in my experience the Oase prefilter wasn't what i made it out to be in practice
    Hi Ryan,

    I've had the Aquael's for 5 months now. Priming them can sometimes be a challenge, I'm not entirely sure why. Could possibly be a little user error here, I don't know.
    The pre-filter is quite effective though, preventing leaves etc from entering the rest of the filter. Also provides another home for a few shrimp that find their way in there 😆.

    I didn't use the coarse filter pad that came with Aquael's, only the fine pad. The pre-filter has a reasonable sized coarse pad in place.
    For the first tray, I cut the fine filter pad in half, and then topped that with filter floss. Doing this allowed for another tray of bio media to be used. I also replaced the bio media that came along with the Aquaels with Seachem Matrix.
    3 trays of Matrix in each filter, along with the tray containing the fine pad and floss.
     
    Currently running a Fluval FX4 on my 75g tank. Have run several different filters in the past (Marineland, AquaTOP, Eheim). Most were a disappointment in one way or another - Marineland simply failed, AquaTOP had a major bypass issue, Eheim did not have enough flow.
    The FX4 has a sufficient amount of flow, is easy to maintain, and so far - runs very quiet.
     
    My low tech tanks mainly use hang on back filters, these seem to be doing the job without issues as long as I clean them on a weekly basis, sometimes they can keep working fine for even 2 - 3 weeks without cleaning, but I usually use 2 of these in each tank, so that I reach a filtration volume of 10 x the tank water volume per hour

    Recently I started using Seachem Purigen in these filters, this is the first time I use this and believe me I will buy it for all my current and future tanks, it keep the water crystal clean even if I didn't do the weekly filters cleanup, it is some sort of magic 😊

    I do have like a couple of questions about 'seachem purigen' but I will post these in another thread
     
    I run 2 canister filters on my 135. One is a Fluval FX4. Its definitely not the best looking filters on the market but its a workhorse. Good flow, fairly easy to maintain. I may upgrade to an FX6 if any black friday deals come around.
    My second canister is a Sunsun 304B. I know a lot folks dislike and wont recommend this brand but it has not given me any issues. And i open this filter every 6 weeks for maintenance. It definitely cant be man handled like my FX. A little smear of silicon grease on the gaskets to make sure it doesnt twist when putting it back together and have not had any leak issue. I use this to feed my CO2 reactor and still get good flow from it.
     
    I am running 2x Oase Biomaster Thermal 350’s on a 68g tank, and 2x 850’s on my 85g.
    Initially chosen for the pre-filter and integrated heater, I started with one and added the second (on both tanks) to get more flow, and also to have redundancy in both filteration and heating.
    With 2 canisters on each tank, the flows and coverages are more than sufficient (am using larger, longer aftermarket spray bars) and I have the filters in the basement underneath my tanks, with plenty of room to lift and clean the pre-filters. I also use sponges on my intakes which get changed twice a week, so the canister pre-filters only really need attention once or twice a month.
    Three of the Biomasters are wonderfully quiet, but the fourth and most recent one I bought, an 850, is a little rattle-y, and I can’t seem to correct that. Happily, being in the basement, I can’t hear it, but It would be pretty annoying if I had it in the tank cabinet.

    I started my planted tank journey off with an inheritance so money was actually not a limiting factor. I realize a more budget minded person would see these filters as overpriced for the amount of flow, but in my opinion, sized correctly (or doubled up) they are worth it and suit my purposes perfectly.
     
    i use hydor prime10 for a 40L which is doing a great job for more than 3 years, i think i can say this small filter is perfect for me so far
    Eheim 250 with another 2w powerhead for a 70L
    Fluval 407 with another 3w powerhead for a 80L, maybe my favorite filter, its just not as strong as you imagine
    Oase 250 with another 3w powerhead for a 140L, now its a low tech after 2 years with co2

    my least favorite is actually oase, i dont like all these small parts and when it leaks it can be PITA to locate where the leak is from.
    i like using neo flow as well with the skimmer and the round output, i like its flow pattern alot, very good for small/medium tanks imo
     
    Last edited:
    I copy a FX4 review I wrote some time ago, I do apologise for my laziness

    Tank: 250 liter high tech, heavily planted and low fish stock

    Purchased FX4 from HK retailer, 2019.
    It replaced an EHEIM Pro, that I thought had not enough flow, but with hindsight I would have been smarter purchasing a gyre instead to address that issue.

    I have not not recently researched other canister filters in the market, so I am not really able to compare my FX4 to others.

    What I like about FX4 (and I may be wrong on some comments, other posts can correct me if I misunderstood)
    • The full 1 inch tube diameter, I am less concerned about algae and dirt limiting flow than in a smaller size tubing.
    • The ribbed hosing is good, no kinks when bending. What Fluval does not mention is that traditional hosing can be used for example with inline reactor or heater.
    • Big volume and very robust build - both inside and outside.
    • The dirty tank water flows from the outside of the cylindrical foam body to the inside. My understanding is that this gives a really big surface area to capture the dirt and avoid clogging as long as possible. Overall I find the buildup of the canisters interior quite smart.
    • Big canister volume, lots of flexibility to play with foams and biomedia
    • The utility valve at the bottom is nice. Can be used to drain the filter (it is heavy), or to fill the tank from a bucket. (When using the utility valve to fill the tank from a bucket, be sure to add dechlorinator to the bucket to protect microorganisms in the canister)
    • Never had any water leak concern.
    • Never had to replace impeller in 4 years, although I do keep a spare for just in case.
    • My filter has always been very quiet. I sometimes put my ear the the aquarium glass, to hear if my fish must be experiencing the sound of a loud construction site. I believe it still makes sense to place the canister on soft mat, if it were only for the vibrations to the tank.
    What I don't like
    • It has no pre filter like some competing products
    • The ribbed hosing is expensive, and I had to buy a couple as I am sometimes changing my setup. I personally believe Fluval loses a lot of business because despite the negative chatter around ribbed hosing, they stubbornly stick to it and continue to defend it.
    • Disconnecting the valves when taking the canister from the aquarium cabinet for cleaning can be challenging, especially if the access to the filter is limited. I now use gloves for this, as I once damaged my skin doing it. Probably I should apply some grease though.
    • The filter, filled with water is heavy, and may be too heavy for some hobbyists. Using the utility valve to drain helps.
    Would I recommend, or buy again? Short answer YES
    I am really happy with his canister, and I like it better than my previous EHEIM professional. If I would buy again though, I would hope Fluval has upgraded its FX4 design with a pre-filter. I would also consider to buy an FX6, as I love flow and filter media volume to play with and the price difference is not that much.

    Note: Am I really smart to spend on a bigger canister filter for a heavily planted tank with limited stocking? Probably not, but I still like it and would do it again. I mostly focus on capturing organics and frequently removing them from my system with monthly canister maintenance and weekly cleaning of my DIY pre filters.
     
    Last edited:
    Where do I start. I've got a sump on my Waterbox 135.4. I've never found it to be a particularly effective in regards to biological filtration, but it's what the tank came with.

    In my search for better growth, I ended up adding two media reactors (Aquaforest 110 and 130) filled with pumice and I've never had better success. I consider them to be two simple canister filters. I love the sump as it gives a bit of extra water volume, easy to change mechanical filtration in the form of filter socks, a place for me to hide my heater, auto top off, dosing lines, air stone, purigen bags and CO2 reactor. The CO2 reactor and two media reactors all run off an auxiliary pump.

    It's needlessly complex and expensive and really designed for a marine setup. I'll likely sell the tank in the near future, and I'll aim to replace it with another sump, but this time designed for a freshwater setup with optimised flow through the biological media. That way I can run the media reactors in some other way.
     
    1. What filter(s) do you have running on your tank right now?
    A 20 gallon long sump.

    2. Why did you go with what you have?
    Did you have a purpose you were going after?
    I always found the idea of a sump fascinating, but the plumbing aspect of it always intimidated me. I bit the bullet years ago and drilled my first tank and went with a bean animal setup. I wanted a quiet system with plenty of room for media if necessary, as well as space for reactors/heaters etc.

    3. Are you happy with it? What would you change?
    The biggest problem I have with the sump is accessibility to it for maintenance. It’s more of an issue with my stand, so I’d recommend any considering a sump to really take some good measurements of where it’s going to be in the stand and how much clearance you have to access it. The more tucked away and inaccessible it is, the less likely you will make an effort to keep it clean which could seriously impact the health of the system as a whole.
     
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