For decades I've used a Diatom filter for water polishing. In a past review I did a bit of complaining regarding how temperamental they can be - as well as difficult to set up and break down.
That said, I realized the Diatom - which hasn't changed since 1970 is really a piece of aquatic care history and there's no other supplementary filter on the planet that can deliver the results a Diatom can.
They're still made my hand, in the USA - which in itself is unheard of these days.
I've since bought the large XL system and the smaller D-1 - This review is about the D-1 Diatom Filter by Vortex.
For those not familiar with the Diatom it uses diatomaceous earth as a filter media. Diatomaceous earth or DE are tiny fossilized organisms called diatoms which are crushed to an extremely fine powder.
DE has the ability to filter out particulate matter, pathogens and parasites as small as one micron - it's the only material of it's kind and the Vortex Diatom filter is the only filter on the planet that can rid a tank of parasites like ich.
That said, they deliver unrivaled results when it comes to crystal clear water, but they are cumbersome to use.
For the larger XL model set up alone is a bit of a challenge, it's time consuming and finicky. You need to be able to open the motor casing, replace bearings, oil certain parts, put silicone on gaskets and fittings and so on. it's not rocket science, I think anyone can do it but this is one filter that does need a little extra TLC.
The D1 is much easier to deal with and handle and a great choice for up to a 55 gallon aquarium. You can go larger say, 75 Gallons by letting the filter run longer but chances are you'll need to replace the charge of DE.
The XL for instance takes 3 cups of DE - the D1 only one cup and remember, the more it clears the water the more the DE coating on the filter bag will clog and that means lower performance. So you might have to clean the filter and recharge with new DE for a larger tank.
But any effort invested with Vortex Diatom pays you back in spades.
It's a one of a kind specialty filter that does something many products today don't - it does exactly what it promises to do.
And that's to leave you water so pristine and clear it'll knock you out. Turn off your aeration and you'll think your fish are floating in air - the results are that good and that dazzling.
As a primary filter for your aquarium I can't recommend it. It's limited to mechanical filtration only. You can use activated charcoal Vortex Super - Char is quite good.
But in opinion I think charcoal should be used sparingly and only to remove mediations and tank treatments.
Activated charcoal can become toxic quite quickly and should never be used in aquarium water on an on going basis.
Many of the problems hobbyists encounter, lethargic fish, fish loss, slow growing plants, dying plants in many cases can all be traced back to using activated charcoal.
* Certified Flow Rate of 250 GPH
* No water bypass
* Good for tanks up to 55 gallons
* Only filter that can remove anything down to one micron in size - including ich
* 2 year manufacturer's warranty
For any one who wants that icy clear water that's so pristine it's almost surreal - is going to love this filter.
Once you get the knack of using it - it becomes second nature. They're a little quirky but they are built like iron and should last you a lifetime. You'll end up tweaking it from time, mostly adding a drop or two of oil into the two oil ports from time to mine.
Like a good friend - treat it well and the benefits far outweigh any minor inconvenience.
Own a piece of aquarium history and get yourself a Diatom - you're guaranteed to love the results.
5 FINS UP!