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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I currently have a mostly Malawi African tank that is 59 gal (13 x 48 x 24), and I'm using dual HOB Aqueon Power Filter 30's. I was thinking of switching to something more "robust" for keeping a pH buffer, since I really dont think I have one now, being that I'm only using Petsmart pebble/gravel substrate and active carbon and "bio-bags".

I was considering buying a cartridge filter, and maybe taking one of the HOBs off (they seem to be energy hogs, and I've been told Aqueons are loud). My question is what other things would I need to buy if I purchased, lets say an Eheim 2213 or the new Marineland Multi-Stage C-360. I've heard the term "powerheads" tossed around quite a bit, would I need those? Also, I see pictures of the PVC looking bars across tanks with bubbles coming out of them, would I need that? I apologize for sounding like a newbie to fish, but I pretty much am. I got into cichlids a little over a year ago.

Sorry to switch topics and include this other issue in the same post, but I am also re-scaping my current tank from normal Petsmart pebble gravel to Cichlid sand, and LFS decor (sigh, I know) to black shale about 1/3-1/2 way up the height of the tank. What cleaning method is reccomended for something like this? Is this going to be a complete cleaning nightmare, or is it feasible?

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. I know a few people were very helpful on my first post, so I'm running into more questions. Thanks!!

Brandon :thumb:
 

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Canister filters are a great choice. especially in combination with a power filter. which is what your suggesting.

I would go with Eheim over Marineland based on my observation of the review section as well as from reading other posts. You will have to set up your canister carefully to make sure you don't end up with leaking issues.

As for your HOB. As long as your not experiencing issues go ahead and keep the Aqueon running.

However most HOB fans tend to pick Aqua Clear or Marineland.

I use an Aqua Clear 70 and it works perfect and has an easy to deal with media basket.
Most canisters come with everything needed to run them so you won't need to get pumps or anything like that.

The set up your proposing is very common so I'm sure if you have any issues someone here can help.
 

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I personally love the Marineland 400 biowheel. Cheap, effective, and good quality. Canisters in my experience are more hassle than their worth. Maybe i have had bad luck, but they can leak, drain your tank, and are more work to clean. I have had no luck with the fluval canisters and my brother has had a lot of trouble with a particular eheim. Im sure one day i will venture back into canisters, but for now im happy with my biowheels.

For power heads, *** recently found Heto to out perform my typical name brand models. I have yet to try out a new Marineland i recently purchased, so they may be good as well, but stay away from fluval, their power heads/ internal filters are terrible.

Also no you dont need a spray bar, some people prefer it but i personally prefer good ol' surface agitation which is the most effective way to get oxygen in your tank. Your tank is very do able, in fact you could fill your tank all the way up with rock. Its really no problem as long as you place filters and powerheads accordingly.
 

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Ya I only use Aquaclear or Marineland Penguin or Emperor filters depending on which has the better sale at the time. I would go with the Eheim 2217 if your going to go that route and I really like the Rena XP Filstar series of cannister filters and have heard nothing but bad things about the Marineland cannisters.
 

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For 59 gallons I don't think you need to fool with powerheads. Your HoB and a canister should provide plenty of movement in the tank. I have both a Rena XP3 and a Fluval 204, they both to a great job but since you mentioned quietness, I feel like the Rena is much quieter.

As for other things you need to buy, I've not heard of a canister that comes without all the parts you need.

As for cleaning, rinse the sand a few times and since shale isn't porous you could use a bleach solution, you could boil them, or just scrub them really good under warm water. I don't know about cichlid sand, but I cleaned 100lbs of pool filter sand and ~100lbs of old live rock in about an hour a few months ago.
 

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+1 to Rena. I love my XP2. No problems in about 5 years of operation. I have an XP3 that came with a 125, but have yet to get that tank setup yet.

I have also had success with the sunsun brand canister off ebay, very cost effective for a canister. I read about them before I purchased one, there was lots of good stuff people had to say about them. I have only had mine a few months, but I have had zero issues with it. I would buy another, actually plan to at some point.
 

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I know its been mentioned but take a look at the aquaclear or fluval hang on back filters. Customizeable, quick maintenance, and they are extremely quiet. I personally run 2 Fluval c4 filters on my 55 and my fish float in air.
 

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My aquaclear 110 (bought second hand) must be a defect then. It's louder than my sump and 204 combined.

That's not a complaint, just an observation. I love that thing, I noticed an almost immediate water quality improvement once I added it. That, plus the rinse and reuse foam block make it a nice addition.
 

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Yeah I have heard the 110's can be noisy but my experience lies with the 70's and C4. The 70 is quiet and I can't even tell my C4's are running half the time.
 

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That's good to know. I've always wanted a bedroom tank and had ruled out aquaclear for the HoB I'd use in tandem with the canister/wetdry system I'd use. When I say my 110 is loud, I mean, it's barely masked by the sound of the AC duct pipes above. But it's in the mancave and the mancave is rarely a quiet place so it's not a big problem! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Reading up on the XP2, I cant find anything stating which "stages" the water goes through. Is it similar to other canisters that pass through a carbon pad, foam, and good bacteria media? I'm considering this one, since they boast the "easiest to clean, most reliable".

Also, is it loud? The dual Aqueon 35s are pretty bad, I would compare it to the level of noise that a cool mist humidifier makes. My aquarium is in the room next to my bedroom, and I can hear it when I sleep, but its not loud/annoying enough to keep me up. Would a canister filter be louder? I'm guessing the noise wont be a problem by the way I hear people talk about canister filters.

Thank you all for the advice, I've ordered all of my plastic plants and 60 lbs of CaribSea Eco-Complete sand. I'm in the process of cleaning the rocks, which I'm having some issues with. The rocks (shale) are pretty "slimy" and some have light algae, and mud/clay, that when I scrub them with a wire (bronze) and nylon brush they take FOREVER to clean. A few of them are larger than a lobster pot, but I was considering boiling most of them. Also, would soaking them in bleach aid in stripping some of the impurities off? Is there something else that someone would reccomend using? I havent tried scrubbing them after bleach water soaking yet.
 

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I think you will be very happy with the noise made by a canister. Especially if you have a stand where it is below and enclosed. That muffles the sound a lot.

For the rocks, there is always the question of using bleach brought up. Since you seem open to the idea, I will throw some ideas your way. The rocks sound like they may not be quite up to life in water full time if they continue to give off clay, etc. after washing and scrubbing. If they are good solid rocks, one soak and wash should do it. Boiling is not really very handy and serves little purpose to remove oily residue if there is any. The expert water and health folks say keep water at a rolling boil for several minutes to kill bacteria. That really isn't practical for a rock of any real size. It takes time for water to soak into all the little spots where bacteria or oil might be and then when you boil rocks and let them cool all you have is rock that has been boiled in olily water. Things have to get really, really hot for a long time to boil off any oil. A cup of bleach and soaking overnight will react with all the organics like bacteria as well as any polutants like oil. It gives time for it to soak into all the right spots and do the total job rather than just a feel good deal. The bleach can then be diluted by rinsing and any left over chlorine blows away when you set it out to dry. Chlorine is in the water we use anyway and we deal with it so worry about it in bleach is just a matter of dilution.
 

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The XP2 has two baskets for media. IIRC, it comes with four foam pads, with different porosity, and I believe some kind of chemical 'water polisher'. I'm still using the original foam media that came with it minus the water polisher, I have replaced it with filter floss.

Mine is super quiet. It's under a closed cabinet, but I don't ever hear it. Even when I am working on things I have to touch it to feel it to see if it's on. My HOBs and sump on the other hand, they make all the noise in my house.
 

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Yes they are similar in that respect, however, once your carbon media runs out, do yourself a favor and don't spend anymore money to replace it. Buy those pot scrubbers instead. In my XP3, 2 rows of 5 pot scrubbers fit like it was made for it.

On the 55 that the XP3 is on, there is also a whisper brand air pump, the air pump is louder than the XP3. :thumb:

I wouldn't go heavy on the bleach but I've read that a 10% solution overnight works well.
 
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