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Hello all! I've been keeping cichlid aquariums for close to 20 years, but my setup has been mostly on auto-pilot the last few years. I'm about to revamp my 125gal, but I'm afraid I'm a little bit out of the know on what gear is best these days. I don't need the very best...just want something reliable. I typically run an underground filter with a powerhead at each end of my 6.5' tank.....what are some of the better brands? How much power is recommended for an aquarium this size? I also need to consider new hoods and lights. Any advice appreciated.

By the way....in case it matters, I keep mostly S. American cichlids, occassionally adding a few Africans.
 

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Welcome to CF, and welcome back to the hobby. I won't say under gravel filters can't be made to work - you obviously kept you fish alive with them for 20 years, and so have many other people. But to be frank, I found the concept flawed when I started in the hobby in 1977. You will have a hard time finding anybody these days who recommends using that type of filter - unless they are trying to sell one, of course :lol:

For a tank that size, I would recommend a good canister filter. I am using an Eheim 2260 on my 125G, and couldn't be happier - no frills, but a huge media volume, super quiet, and built like a tank. If money is tight, even a couple of large sponge filters in my opinion would do a better job than an under gravel filter.

Not sure if you are into DIY, but I built a canopy for my 125G, and the lighting is described here.
 

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fmueller said:
You will have a hard time finding anybody these days who recommends using that type of filter - unless they are trying to sell one, of course :lol: .
You don't really find anybody using those anymore either unless they purchase a 'startup kit' or something similar from walmart or chains like PetsMart. I find the lift tubes valuable for building sponge filters, but don't like the UG type filter. People have obviously used them for years, but typically not your above average aquarist. In my opinion its unnecessary equipment in the tank, plus, I use egg crate under the substrate. Canisters FTW. Sumps are nice, but you just can't beat the simplicity of setting up and maintaining a canister like Filstar's. Not to mention they do an excellent job, at their job.
 

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I only see under gravel filters on small tanks 75gals or less. fmueller hit the nail on the head with the Eheim 2260, or you can go a little bigger with the Eheim 2262. The 2262 simply has a bigger pump moving more water.
 

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for ease of use i agree that a canister filter is great but personally i think a well built (preferably DIY) wet/dry would serve as well..... in such a large tank getting oxygen into the water is not so hard (a lot of surface area) but i still like the effect of the wet/dry...
 

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smitty said:
I only see under gravel filters on small tanks 75gals or less. fmueller hit the nail on the head with the Eheim 2260, or you can go a little bigger with the Eheim 2262. The 2262 simply has a bigger pump moving more water.
What makes the Eheim better than, say, a Rena? The price point on them is higher than for the Rena. I have an XP2 on my 55g and it does an excellent job. What justifies the cost differential between an Eheim and a Rena? I've browsed various canister filters and Rena seems to be the cheapest for the amount of filtration, but I love my Rena. Can other canisters be that much better?
 
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