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Came across this internal filter and decided to give it a shot. Yep, I know it is not big enough. Nothing below is scientific and I have not tested my water in 25 years, so I can't give any numbers.

CURRENT SETUP: Overstocked 55 Gallon African Cichlid tank with no live plants. Caves, Caves and more caves. Tons of the silk style plants from Petco. So many fake plants you hardly see the caves, fish seem really happy with this set up. An Aqua Clear 70 with Filter Max III pre-filter. Contains the Aqua Clear course Sponge, Poly-Tech Super Filter sponge (cut to fit) and biomax. One Seachem Tidal 75 with Tidal course sponge, water polishing white and blue sponge (cut to fit), Seachem Matrix carbon, and Seachem Matrix biomedia.

I added the Fluval U3 as is, no extra media. The tank was already clear, but now it looks like the fish are swimming in the air.

BUILD QUALITY: Should be ok, so long as I don't drop it. The plastic seems flexible, so hopefully it won't become brittle over time. The cartridges are flexible as well and don't hold a lot of media, but it should be fine as a supplemental filter.

FILTER MEDIA: Aqua Clear long course sponges, poly/carbon media in the outer two cartridges and biomax in the center cartridge. Sponges and poly/carbon media seems a bit thin, but seems to work pretty well (at least in the short term). If I decide to continue with the poly/carbon I am stuck buying the Aqua Clear replacements. They are cheap, so not such a big deal. I don't rally care about the carbon, so will only replace when completely clogged and cleaning them no longer works. In the end, I may simply replace all filter media with polishing media and just use it to clear the water.

PERFORMANCE: Can't hear it at all. Cleared up tank completely in 24 hours. I use the bottom water outlet and it seems to produce a nice current at the bottom of the tank. After 24 hours I removed the cartridges and it seems to be doing a good job grabbing the dirt from the water it filters. I intend to let it run for 30 days with no cleaning unless absolutely necessary, then we will know. Not sure about the rest of you, but my Cichlids are PIGS, so I may have to shorten that time.

CLEANING: With the three separate cartridges, it should be a snap. When I removed the cartridges this morning, I left the filter running. Looks like 5 minutes to clean unless you need to remove the unit to clean it. Nicest thing is you can remove the entire thing leaving the suction cupped holder in place. So easy to put in and take out.

CONCLUSION: Is it the best option? Maybe not, but I really like it, so we shall see over the next month. I like the ability to have the water flow from outlets at the top or bottom or from the bar in the center (easy to set as you see fit). I like the cartridges and I do believe you can put pretty much whatever you want into them with in reason, just not a ton of it. I imagine you could just leave out the cartridges and place a good size filter bag of bio media in it if you wanted to, may try that as well. I do believe this would do well in a 40 gallon or less properly stocked tank. I believe you should always have more than one filter going to allow hard core cleaning of one while the other maintains the cycle. If I would have known about these sooner, I may have bought two U4's to allow my tank to be against the wall instead of having a 1/4 inch of tank hanging off the built in book case/shelves. I do believe they work as advertised. Hope this helps someone.

Thanks, Rob
 

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Hey Rob, thanks for the review! If you could, post any reviews in the Product Reviews section as they tend to get lost in the Equipment forum. Here is the link to that brand/model filter.
 
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