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Slowly up-grading question?


11 Feb 2018
Hi All,

I am slowly upgrading my one tank set up ! Lol....(very long term plan to buy all the kit)
My 90l co2 tank has come on massively in a few weeks since reading articles and info on this forum thanks But I really want a new tank to set up from scratch, as the exsisting tank is home to my fish etc....more a dipping my toes into planted tanks. (And to be honest i am more interested in scapes than fish - though i have an angel fish of 4-5 years in there and cannot bare to move him! - he’s really friendly - so i need another tank to play with!!)
The Plan is to buy bits and pieces along the way, taking what i have recently learned and use to guide me in buying the appropriate kit for my planned new tank.
When funds allow my intention is to buy a 4ft rimless for a shrimp / tiny fish aqua-scape.
So anyway .... i am hunting around for a decent external filter at the moment man enough for an approx 300l tank....
The tank would be co2 injection, low to medium light.
I am on a budget but there are so many out there i have no experience with externals....and want to measure twice and cut once if you get my meaning....i have like many bought things in the past to cut corners and it has ended up costing more as i realised later you get what you pay for....Thanks Chris Derbyshire UK
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Beeing on a budget and thinking of the future than IMHO you are best off thinking in seperate modules instead of a complete all in one unit for a specific fixed setup.

Make use of prefilter cannister(s) as for example this Sun Sun HW- 602b/603b canister, it comes for about $ 25 without pump.. It has a 1,5L - 12/16mm or 2,5L - 16/22mm capacity. Depending on what you need and want you can connect 2 in serie. And connect a seperate suitable water pump to it. The canisters are a once in a lifetime buy, they do not suffer any wear other than maybe a new gasket. The general rule of thumb is1 litre filter media for 100 litre aquarium water is sufficient. so 2 x 2,5 litre canister gives you enough room to play with a 300 litre tank.

The quality and quantity and expense is in the pump connected and the only thing that can and may wear out. If it ever wears out, connect a new one and your done. Thinking ahead DC pumps are easily regulated with motor controlers to run at different capacities. Or find a suitable external AC pump in the pond shop.

Anyway all in all you might be ready to rock and roll and filter for less than $150 for a 3000L/H setup with 2 canisters in serie and one pump.

With a all in one fixed capacity setup, if the motor fails you lose all attached to it as well. If you ever want to size it down, for a different smaller setup than you need to go for a complete new smaller setup. Suffering from multiple tank syndrome on a budget, than having seperate moduls to play with is a releaf.

There is a lot of rant on china bay materials, sometimes i agree and sometimes i don't. A lot comes down to your own will to investigate, for example reading a sellers feedback on his offers can already tell a lot about what they are selling. Buying and trusting blindly always is a risk and bad idea.

I already have the above 603b pre filter canister in use on a small tank, with a $13.- china DC 12 volt pump connected in use, already 3 years running 24/7 without any issues.at all. :)
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This is really appreciated info!......makes very good sense to be modular and maybe just carry an emergency motor back up.....Never even knew you could do this! (Complete newbie to bigger set-ups) i also like the idea you could use on a smaller set up by swapping out the motors? -to reduce flow?
Is it best practice to have 2 smaller or 1 larger canister? - does this not over complicate pipework etc?
Anyway this is food for thought....i am at the moment getting info and looking at prices....like you say a prefilter set up could last a lifetime - this appeals to me as i like to buy things once - really do not want to get on the never ending upgrade route chasing the rainbow!!....just get some solid reliable kit and enjoy the aquarium!!
Thank you very much for your help!
does this not over complicate pipework etc?

No it actualy doesn't.. Many people use prefilter connected to a regular canister filter to increase bio capacity or simplify maintennance. In principle it comes down to the same thing using 2 prefilters and connect a stand alone pump.

I don't see any complication. :) Contrary, you choose the motor capacity and the number and or size of cannisters connected.

Spend a for example a $ 100 on 4 cannisters, 2x small 2 x bigger. And you can go either direction with any pump of you need.. With canisters enough for a lifetime.

Budget wise with MTS this is the way to go.

As said i run a 2,5 litre cannister on a 60 litre tank.. It doesn't mater what size the canister is, it can't be over sized. The pump connected is a 650 L/h that's where the juice goes. If i want to go smaller i still can use the same cannister, i run the DC pump at a lower voltage to reduce capacity. If i ever want to size it up the cannister can easily run a 200 litre tank, only need to upgrade the pump. Do i want to go even bigger i add an extra canister and an even bigger pump.. :thumbup:
For filters there is a fairly large choice, depending on your budget and preference. A lot of folk with a tank that size use two filters - in your case each turning over around 1500 l/h. This gives you two inlets and outlets, one at either end of the tank. Obvious benefits are you get good flow and distribution of CO2 and fertz and if one of the filters breaks down you still have a back up.

At the high end there are Eheim and Hagen/Fluval, and as Marcel mentions above, at the other end you have China bay products like the filters sold by APS https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Pond-S...1649701031&ie=UTF8&qid=1519465813&sr=8-2&th=1 The latter filters work well are reasonably reliable and quite, and inexpensive.

You can also buy filters with built in heaters or use an inline Hydor 300w. Another advantage of two filters is you can place the heater on one and an inline CO2 atomiser on the other.

Again there is a large choice for lighting. You can quite easily spend a fortune. Whatever you buy make sure it's controllable with at least a dimmer, so you can regulate the intensity. At the high to medium end are makes like Kessil Tuna Sun 360, EcoTech Marine Radion XR15FW, and ADA Solar RGB. And at the other end are China Bay products like Chihiros RGB.
i have like many bought things in the past to cut corners and it has ended up costing more as i realised later you get what you pay for

I would save some money and get "good" / high end lighting. For a 4ft tank I would go for 2 x twinstar s (pendant style next to each other). And if you really like over the top lighting, have high demands and budget go 2 x ada rgb solar (you pay a lot for the name ADA but damn this light is GOOD IMO!). The thing with lighting is you can get them much cheaper (like chihiros) but in the end you want to upgrade (depending on your demands) and lose money (if you didn't buy it second hand). On the other hand the market goes fast in developing.. It's very confusing some times what to do.

In this video you can see some popular / high end models compared to the ada rgb solar. Some people find the ada rgb solar "over the top" and like the twinstar s series more.
Wow - thanks for all this info....its so interesting digging into pros and cons....just need to rob a bank now...as i cant wait (but will have to!! Lol) and yes i see from the simple diagram that its not complicated as all - just my in experience. I was a little apprehensive when i ordered my regulator and fe - eventually just took the plunge and turned out to be surprisingly easy to set up. I am quite capable, just like to research a while before i make an educated guess....and shell out some cash!!
Hi, and after reasearching a million canisters (well alright a lot!) i am befuddled to say the lease....too much good and bad reviews mixed up.....quite a few reviews on every filter I looked at reporting leaks!....this was on budget allpond solutions to fluval fx6’s.....what is the truth.?? ..i must admit i am apprehensive of the potential dumping gallons of water and the loss of my tank inhabitants!!!! Am i being daft thinking this (i have only ever had internal filters!!)....i am now looking at hang on backs.....Help me make an informed decision on a reliable canister or a couple of hang on backs for a planned 300l planted tank.....
Personally I'll always stick with Eheim filters, others will no doubt have others they swear by but you generally get what you pay for, saying that you'll a get a random bad egg no matter how much you spend and those are the horror stories that find their way onto forums rather than the good reviews

Don't worry too much and stick with one of the most commonly used and you'll be fine

Even some of the cheaper canisters with pumps will do a job, don't overthink it (I'm bad for it as well)
Hi and thanks.....need to just go for it i know.....just want to buy once and get on with the fun stuff......Cheers
I have been thinking about getting the 2217 though not sure if this would be too much flow ??? In a 280-300 4ft
I have been thinking about getting the 2217 though not sure if this would be too much flow ??? In a 280-300 4ft
For a 280-300 liters tank, using the rule of thumb 10x flowrate, you should be looking for a filter that does something like 2800lph. The Classic 2217 is 1000lph, so you should probably get a bigger one. When a filter is rated for a 180L to 600L tank, you should pay more attention to the minimum rating (180L) part, in my humble opinion, getting a bigger filter means it will need less maintenance. I run a 2213 in a 20L tank (a Fluval Chi).

I don't think you will have to much flow fast, but if you use the Eheim valves, yan can close one on the outloop a bit to reduce flow.
In my experience, using EHEIM taps to reduce flow will make the taps leak. I've tried it with at least a few, and even opened one up, just to realize they haven't been built for that purpose. They are good when completely open or completely closed, but the internal design hasn't been done with half closed (or half open if you prefer) in mind. A cheaper tap from ebay will do a better job.
Hi and thanks for this info... I have read very conflicting flow vs power head...I suppose it depends on tank layout... my idea was to have decent filter (plants doing the rest sucking up the nutrients) and a controlled flow...not a local blast lol. Then on the opposite dead/slow zone a power head to compliment the movement, the sensible amount given by the filter. ...cheers