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for a 30 gallon freshwater tank ... i currently have the penguin bio-wheel and the bio-wheel stops spinning completely every single week and the impellar has a rubber tip that went wonky so i tossed it and now it makes a vibrating sound that is seriously annoying ... i have looked at these two filters as possible replacements, suggestions otherwise accepted :)



 

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Maybe if you buy a new impeller for your biowheel filter you can keep using it? Could the biowheel be slowing down because the water isn't going into it fast enough? Have you got a prefilter on the intake tube that you could remove? Have you cleaned all the gunk out of the part where the water goes into the pump? I fixed mine that way.

I find ACs a bit noisy. But many love them.
 
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ever since i have had this filter, every week i have to take it completely apart and there is never anything stuck or gumming it up so i don't know why it functions that way ... no prefilter, and there are even two intakes, i have tried it with only one or both open, no difference ... i wondered about the noise factor on the aquaclear and considering i live in a room i need something quiet :)
 

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I've owned A/C Before, a few of em, just the small ones.. I never had a problem with them, but I just find them loud! I only use internal or canister now~ But A/C If you choose between those!
 

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I havn't used Penguins but my 5 AC's are running great for the last couple years. They do however have a tendency to rattle when new, but once some slime starts to develop onto the propeller it'll go away (unless it's faulty). You also get the added benefit of stuffing whatever you want into the housing.

Jim
 

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If you are going planted, do not use biowheels. they will degas your dissolved co2 in the water. So if planted definately go AquaClear, i has one before and it fulfilled its purpose well. I also used to have a penguin, but it also would get bogged down and stop turning.
 

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i use the AC filters...and fill it with combination of different filter medias...dun even have to fill it with the official AC filer inserts...plus they are easy to take apart and parts are almost available everywhere
 

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I swear by AC's for hang on the back filters. IMO the best ones out there. As others have stated you can fill them with all kinds of bio media. As for noise I don't really know what people are talking about. Most of mine I don't even hear. If it's making lots of noise then most likely the impeller and or shaft are worn. I keep my water levels right up so the waterfalls aren't too noisy. I know of guys who have been running the same AC filter for many many years.
 

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IMO get a cannister filter, i had the old hang on the back kind on mine but tbh you have to maintain them far too often and the cartriges are pricey.
if you get a cannister filter its more customizable and you can get things like filter floss and carbon in bulk(saves alot of $$ in the long run), and theres way more room in there for biofiltration substrates.
also i just serviced mine this weekend for the first time in 2 months and it only took 15 minutes, wasnt too messy etc.
mine is an eheim ecco.
 

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IMO get a cannister filter, i had the old hang on the back kind on mine but tbh you have to maintain them far too often and the cartriges are pricey.
if you get a cannister filter its more customizable and you can get things like filter floss and carbon in bulk(saves alot of $$ in the long run), and theres way more room in there for biofiltration substrates.
also i just serviced mine this weekend for the first time in 2 months and it only took 15 minutes, wasnt too messy etc.
mine is an eheim ecco.
You can do all those things with AC's too. I just buy filter floss and stick in there with potscrubbers. You don't have to buy the cartridges that are made for AC's.

Yes canisters are probably the better way to go if you can afford one but not always. Hang on the backs are much cheaper.

Here is something to compare. I bought a XP3 canister and an AC500. The AC was about half the price, holds almost just as much media. The XP3 only does 300gph whereas the AC500 does 500gph.
 

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Of all the hang-on-back filters, I like the ACs. They are the easiest to service and you can use whatever media in them you wish. I just use plain sponges in mine and a sponge over the intake to keep fry out.
I just had to replace the motor on one of my AC 70's.. After about 30 years use the pin the impeller runs on wore completely out and snapped.
Cannister filters are great on large tanks with a heavy bioload, but HOB's are far more convenient to me for most aquarium use .
 

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ive got an overstocked african cichlid 37 gal, i NEED the bio filtration provided by a cannister :p i also like that its quieter and i hardly ever need to service it, and when i do its quick n easy. no dripping water sounds, no space taken up in the tank etc etc.
i kinda disagree on the convenience thing tbh, i originally got the cannister because of convenience and being able to do maintenance on them less often, my old AC gunked up quite frequently and i even had an undergravel filter in the tank helping it out.
 

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I only service my AC's every month or so. The things you stated above are some of the reasons why people prefer canisters. Take up less space behind the tank as for in the tank its the same space if not more for canisters because you have an intake and output whereas with HOB's you only have an intake. Most people that I know that prefer canisters do so because there is no waterfall noise. Personally I love that noise:D This is the kind of debate one could go on and on about. The is really no right option just preference.

As Dave stated he has had an AC running for 30years and has only had to replace the pin. With canisters there is so much more that can go wrong and need replacing and alot of the times those parts can be hard to find.
 
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i think i will go with the aqua clear ... a canister filter might be too complicated for me to deal with ... i wasn't sure if the bio-wheel was important or not because the majority of my tanks have been eclipse with the wheel built in and one tank i had for five years and it never stopped spinning ... i haven't even had this penguin bio-wheel for a year and it has stopped spinning pretty much from the beginning and made loud noises and when i take it apart, if at least there was something for me to clean out, and i take it right apart and clean the intake, the impeller, everything, if there was anything to clean out i could at least justify why it is stopping but there never is ... big al's has the aqua clear on sale now so i think i will get that one ... i appreciate everyone's suggestions but it seems aqua clear wins out (and it is the cheaper of the two so my credit card thanks you :O)
 

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Go with the AC Cheryl. They are cheap and easy to maintain. I've used biowheels before and as you have experienced, they do stop, but it doesn't break their function. What it does is decrease the bio surface area, as of course not all parts of the wheel are touching the water anymore. The reason you got the racket is because you removed the rubber tip which centers the impeller and keeps it from wobbling around and also prevent the metal from contacting the plastic.

The AC, as others have said, can be very flexible and you can add in anything you want. I ended up with only Biomax and 2 foam blocks in my AC. Just rinse the foam blocks in dechlorinated water once a week (discarded tank water will do just fine for rinsing) and you'll be good to go. They do sometimes make a racket also as they get older, and I didn't like the splashing noises, even with the water all the way up. I now run all canisters, but since you're not injecting CO2, it makes not a whit of difference to you, and the splashing will help with gas exchange anyway.

Another one to consider is the Rena Smartfilter (I have a used Smartfilter 20 if you're interested), but they are much bigger and more cumbersome to use. They do use the cartridge sleeves, which I rinsed out once a week and chucked out once a month (One of the two) to prevent clogging, but they have a lot less bypass then the AC's or Penguins or Emporers by design.

For the price, though, AC's can't be beat.
 

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IMO get a cannister filter, i had the old hang on the back kind on mine but tbh you have to maintain them far too often and the cartriges are pricey.
if you get a cannister filter its more customizable and you can get things like filter floss and carbon in bulk(saves alot of $$ in the long run), and theres way more room in there for biofiltration substrates.
also i just serviced mine this weekend for the first time in 2 months and it only took 15 minutes, wasnt too messy etc.
mine is an eheim ecco.
personally i use a cannister aswell, but i see hang on back filters as a preference to some, not as inferior. With tanks you shouldn't be overstocking in the first place, you dont oversize the filter to have more fish, you oversize the tank for your fish load.

Cannisters may be able to use more bio filtering, but take into account the tank size, does she really want an xp3 on a tank that size? Its way overkill, i use an xp1 on the same size tank, its perfectly sized for it, and i have just enough room for my media, mechanical (coarse, fine sponges), Bio media, crushed coral, filter floss and a micro polisher. All of that would fit in a Hang on back filter fine if its properly sized for the tank. I just use a cannister because i have a cabinet and its convenient for that.
 

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I have a noisy Aquaclear 70. I bought it online and couldn't really send it back. Hagen suggested that I replace the impeller. I did. Still noisy. Maybe noisier. I am very unhappy with it! But I know that many other people have quiet Aquaclears.

I have a few Eclipse biowheels, they tend to become noisy whenthe impeller gets dirty (even a little) orgets old. I think this is the samemanufacturer as the Penguin. I like my biowheels but theimpellers are not cheap and they are a bit finicky toclean inside.

Right now, I would recommend the Eheim Liberty. I have one for my 8 gallon. It is silent. I have the 100 but there are two other sizes and one of them suits a 30 gallon, I think. It's an attractive filter. You can get them from Island Pets in Richmond or from BigAls.
 

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Wheels are good. I swear by them after 14 years of use. The empoper 280 is somewhat oversize for what you need. A penguin 200 would suffice. Either way, I have both (x 14 tanks) fitted with blank media cartridges i load with poly wool. (comes with the 280). I keep only discus and rams, planted, unplanted, and bare bottom. In bare bottom breeding and rearing i use no media, the wheel supports the bio load, siphon and change 5-10% water daily for mechanical.
 

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AC all the way for smaller tanks as I have some that are over 15yrs old and only had to change the impeller as they get demagnetized over a period of time.
 
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