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Aquaclear Vs. Penguin


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Guest Luke Anderson

I have both kinds of filters on my 29 gallon tank (a aquaclear 150, a penguin biowheel mini, and a penguin biowheel 170 , all three with added on intake tube extensions so they work more effectively).

Both are decent filters, but i prefer the aquaclears because hte impeller is easier to take out and clean, and becuase the flow rate is adjustable (which is handy when feeding).

If i had money however i would go with a cannister, as from what i ahev seen and heard they do a more effective job.

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For a 29 gallon tank, I would go with the AquaClear. I like the fact that you can use three sponges in the media area, and alternate the rinsing of them. Also, there are other medias that can be used, if needed. It is easy to clean and maintain. I have had several for years now, and they have been very dependable.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest spyhawk

I have 2 Penguin 330's in my 55 gallon tank. The only 2 things i don't like about them is:

1) The replacment filters come in packs of 3 not 2 and are kind of exspensive.

2) The filters sometimes (bloat) get puffy and hit the bio wheels. I have to reposition them sometimes.

Other than that they do a great job cleaning the water and the have a meda basket so you can add your own meda.

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The Emporer 280 & 400 (big brother to the penguins) have spray bars and adjustable flow controls. Both have media baskets to add additional stuff.

Plus the biowheel.

http://www.bigalsonline.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi

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I love the Emperors for larger tanks, and the Penquins are a nice solid filter for 30 gallons and under. I have been nothing but frustrated with my Aquaclear filters. For some reason, the water level in them runs at about 1/16 of an inch under the edge of the filter. As soon as the sponge gets the slightest waste in it, the filter does not spill into the tank as fast as it pumps, and subsequently overflows backwards onto the floor. I had a 20 gallon tank empty about 10 gallons onto the hard wood floor one night, and it ran down through the ceiling to the basement below. It was awful.

I have had this back flow happen numerous times, with all three Aquaclear filters I have, but luckily, except for the one time, I have always caught it in time.

I have never had a problem with a Penquin or Emperor. I like adding extra bio-media to the filter, and I love a bio-wheel on a filter.

A canister is great, but I think that you should have an additional filter hanging for additional filtration and wet/dry filtration.

JMO

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Yay im so glad to hear that people like the Penguins, i just recently got like the 10 gallon kit with the bio wheel mini thing, and well it has worked fine but everybody says that aqua clear is better, im glad and can rest asured that i didn't get riped off, thanks peoples

Cheers

DPG

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I know it's already been said and wasn't one of your choices, but an emperor 280 is great for a 29 gallon tank. It's just enough filtration, I think. For my 28 gallon tropical tank it's really more than I need. They're made by the same people as the penguins... the biggest difference is that the water goes onto the bio-wheel from a spray bar, giving the good bacteria more oxygen (is it really better, I don't know). Only downfall is that it takes up some room behind your tank... can't have it as close to a wall, if that's what you wanted.

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Here's a paste of comments I made in another thread regarding my experience with an Emperor 280:

I got sick of my Emperor 280. The problems I had with it:

* The spray bar for the bio wheel pumps unfiltered water, causing the bar to clog, I was having to poke the holes with a paperclip 2-3 times a day. Searching the web for reviews revealed this to be a common problem.

* The amount of water being pumped over the biowheel wasn't very strong (it's supposed to be a "wet/dry" system, and in such systems, the flow rate is MUCH higher.

* The pads are vertical, so water flows through horizontally. Most of the media in the cartridge and basket fall down to the bottom over a week or two

* There's only one pre-made cartridge for it, and it comes filled with carbon, I don't like using carbon (I have a planted tank and use Purigen)

* You can't use two media baskets on a 280, they both don't fit

You can buy the blue cartridge material seperately (it's sold as "uncut blue bonded filter pads) and cut it to fit, but it doesn't have the plastic backing so it doesn't fit as well, and the media basket is hard to load with Purigen.. as stated above, the material slowly falls to the bottom over a week or two (just like it does with the White Diamond zeolite media).

The idea behind a bio-wheel is that the bacteria gets a higher amount of oxygen since it's exposed to air, so it works faster. But the bio-wheel on the Emperor and Penguins is very small. For a true wet-dry system, Eheim makes them in canister-sized cases now. The older ones (they're still sold) are big tubs that sit under the tank.

I switched to an Aquaclear 300, which is more like a small canister as it pumps water vertically from bottom to top instead of horizontally. No place for media to fall to the bottom! So far I like it a lot. The only Hagen pre-made media I'm using with it is the Aquaclear sponge. Under the sponge I put 1/3 cup Eheim Ehfimech, and on top 1 cup of Eheim Ehfisubstrat Pro, then one top of that 1 1/3 cups Purigen in Seachem's The Bag. I took some plastic plant stakes and cut them to form an "X" on top so they hold the stack and basket down. Now it can't overflow! I also wrapped a Fluval 104 sized sponge around the intake screen with 2 rubberbands to make a prefilter. So far it's working perfectly!

However you use an Aquaclear, all you really have to do is put two pieces of scotch tape on each side of the lid to secure it down in case the basket does float up. This easily overflow-proofs it.

I've read that "ammonia neutralizing crystals" like White Diamond and other brands of zeolite (like the kind pre-packed for the Aquaclears) don't work well if any salt or minerals are present in the water. I use both salt and minerals (Seachem Flourish) for my plants. Carbon also absorbs stuff that's good for plants, so Purigen is a good substitute for both Carbon and Zeolite.

Important notes for Purigen are:

* Don't use it with slime coat or detox products that contain polymers or amine based compounds because it will get absorbed very quickly by Purigen, then release chloramine if any trace amounts of chlorine touch it (new water added to tank). They recommend you use "Prime" for detox and "StressGuard" for slime coat.

* Unless you want it all over your tank, use it in Seachem's "The Bag" as it's premade for it to allow maximum water flow with no leakage.

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  • 5 months later...
  • Regular Member

I have 2 AC 300's on my 50 gallon tank, and I like them pretty well. I've never had any overflowing-out-the-back-of-the-tank problems, and really I can't even understand how it's possible because the back is much higher than the front; if the filter clogged it would just run out into the tank, not on the floor. I like the big media baskets on the AC's which you can put whatever medias you want in them, and they run well and quietly. The only thing I really don't like about them is that they don't fit well over the side of my tank because the plastic rim on the tank is a bit too fat. :)

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although ive had great experiences in the past with aqua-clears, ive got a few bones to pick about it:

i recently had an 3 month old ac200 break one of the impeller paddles. just for good measure, i compared it to one that ive had for years and i was pretty surprised at what i found. the new impellar plastic is much more flimsy than my older model.

the same new filter came with a sponge that i believe is way less porous than the one that came with my older model. this allows it to clog very quickly and makes the sponge frame pop up and knock the lid off of the box.

with this in mind i would say that aqua-clear/hagen seems to be cutting corners on production costs at the expense of the consumer.

dont get me wrong, i still like ac's very much and i belive them to be top-notch. :)

as for the penguin 170's and 330's, they are THE best hob filters going. if you have many plants and your worried about carbon being in the also, im not too keen on the emperor series because i believe them to have a few too many bells and whistles wich just complicate things like pelvis posted about.

at big als online, you can get a penguin330 for under 30 bucks shipping included. thats just a phenominal price for a filter that so obviously outperforms the other companies that charge more for a filter of the same caliber. i am thuroughly 100% happy with mine and suggest it to everybody whos in the market for a new filter.

good luck with your purchase! :hi

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I also like the Penguins. I have a Penguin 170 I've had for years and am very happy with it. It's the only filter I could find for my tropical tank that could handle an aquarium with fine sand as a substrate. The other ones I tried would stop working because the sand would clog the propeller thing. The Penguin never quit though.

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Guest Ceridwen

Toothless, the sponges seem to vary. I have a brand new AC mini that has big holes in the sponge compared to the brand new AC 300 sponge, and some of the other brand new mini sponges (I have 4 AC minis).

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oooooo. i see. i still like my aqua-clears. it just seems that my last one i bought (ac200) was a lemon. i guess ill just have to go look for an ac sponge that is more porous. ill pick through each and every box if i have to. :D

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Guest Ceridwen

Try for one in the new type of packaging, that is the only difference between the one mini and the other ACs I have, maybe they decided to go back to the older style sponges with bigger holes.

I took apart one of my other mini's to clean it today after stripping and resetting the tank its on for the rams I got today and the impeller blades seemed pretty sturdy. I'll have to see if its any different on my 300.

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