Filter & Pump Fact Finding

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sass

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Ok Here I am and I know I am about to open a can of worms so to speak.

I have 20g long tank and I need a filter ryanr has been really helpful and has calculated that I need a 32g/hour filter. Now I have looked at filters and pumps and totally bamboozled myself. I like bubbles, quiet and I have a limited budget. This will be a communal tank, possibly live bearers.

I know it is largely personal preference, and everyone has their own opinion on the options. I also had a snoop around some specialist stores and find the info on the boxes a bit vague, and as we all know store staff have little or no product knowledge.

I am really interested in YOUR experiences, and preferences. I would like to know what you use, why you prefer it and what you see as the pitfalls. This isn't to incite argument but to glean as much information to make an informed choice. Also I suppose availability on the UK market would be useful.

Thank You for all the help you have given me so far. Things have really moved on since I last had a tank.
 

Meenu

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welcome to FL, sass.
For a 20 gallon, if you are getting a hang-on-back type filter, something about 200g/hour is ideal. If you get a canister, something that does 100g/hour is great. Do you know which you are leaning toward? The canisters are more expensive, but also more efficient, and usually quieter.

If I got a 20g, I would probably buy an aquaclear 50. ACs have a fantastic reputation. They hang on the back of the tank, but use loose media instead of cartridges, like a canister. They are also less expensive than canisters.

I am sorry, I can't help you with availability in your area. I hope this helps.
 

Prince Powder

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+1 on the Aqua Clear! I prefer the loose media as opposed to the cartridges. I personally prefer to keep my tanks with carbon and changing the carbon with cartridge filters is a pain. With the Aqua Clear filters each piece of media is separate from the others making changing one MUCH easier. Also, the AC's offer alot more surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow. And to me the media seems a bit more lasting. Even though a cartridge should be used until it is literally falling apart, I could see the floss falling apart happening with a cartridge way before it would happen with an AC sponge. Plus the AC's have an adjustable flow rate so you can get a more powerful model and have all the benefits of extra media, while being able to reduce the flow so the tank doesn't turn into a whirlpool. Cutting back the flow to the minimum level cuts it back to either 1/2 or 1/3 the regular flow rate, I can't remember which.
 

Tigerfishy

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I bought one of these (well 2). There's a handy flow rate table there too at the bottom. I ordered from this site too, hope it helps!
Adjustable flow control too (quite quiet, but the lid can rattle, just leave it sitting slightly off the top, and it returns to silent...)


EDIT: We don't get Aqua Clears sadly, but if I ever come back to America, I'm leaving with some lol!)
 
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sass

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Tigerfishy, what a great link had a good nose round and am very impressed.

Now this might seem a ridiculous question folk, but with the thumbs up being given to the A/C would I need a pump with this or does it aerate as well?

Its certainly a very affordable unit and well within my budget.

Sorry if this is a dimwitted question but thought I should ask
 

Prince Powder

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Almost any filter will supply some aeration. All it takes is some surface agitation. Air pumps are not really necessary most of the time, but they are good to have on hand in the event that the temperatures need to be raised. Higher temperatures means less oxygen in the water. I have air stones in my tanks, but I simply prefer them.
 

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Almost any filter will supply some aeration. All it takes is some surface agitation. Air pumps are not really necessary most of the time, but they are good to have on hand in the event that the temperatures need to be raised. Higher temperatures means less oxygen in the water. I have air stones in my tanks, but I simply prefer them.
Good response.
 
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sass

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Fabulous Prince Powder, I happen to like seeing bubbles and I suppose an alternative might be an aerating ornament (?)

I have also been looking at thermostatic heaters on-line this afternoon, so things are coming along now with some of the big decisions being made.

I am still interested in peoples personal experiences
 

claudicles

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If you get an aerating ornament you still need a pump to drive it. That choice depends a bit on whether you are going for natural or aritificial decor. Airstones fit in better with natural decor, imho. Nemo with bubbles coming out his mouth doesn't . Have you thought about decor? With the smaller tanks if you are going artificial picking a theme can look awesome.
I'm not really helping with the filter choice am I?. I have canisters on my larger tanks and HOBs on my smaller tanks with two spare hobs on bigger tanks in case of emergency. It keeps them cycled so I can move them around or set up a sick tank if needed. I have one on a Betta tank atm to help with an ammonia spike I can't explain. If you are planning livebearers, you may need a fry tank (unless you are planning for your fry to be fish food). The choice to have a pump depends a bit on the sort of conditions your fish like too. Some fish like lots of current, some like it quiet. I don't have livebearers but they are brackish fish so I am guessing they like it quiet. I'm sure an expert will let you know soon.
 

Prince Powder

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Keep in mind, just because a species either likes or dislikes a current doesn't necessarily mean that every fish of that species will follow that rule. I have bettas which, as a species, tend to like calm waters with almost no current, mainly because they are not strong swimmers and their long fins can get them swept around rather easily. However, a few of my fish LOVE having some current. I have one who is somewhat obsessed with the filter current and another who enjoys several hours a day in the relaxing spa that is the bubbles from his air stone. He will literally sit with just his head in the bubble stream for what seems like forever. Definitely take into account the preferences of the species, but don't be afraid to try something a bit different just to see how your fish like it. Providing of course that what you're trying isn't harmful.
 

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I have several air pumps, and many attachments! The ones I prefer are the long airstones, my one is about 6 inches long, bury it in the gravel at the back of the tank and a little wall of air appears, it looks good. Also I have a sunken broken shipwreck deco item that I can put on top and it looks like the shipwreck is bubbling.

I also have a disc shaped one that is good for a column of air rising. For some reason one of my guppies fell in love with this and practically lived in it lol!

I use pumps in addition to my filters except in my fry & betta tanks, I like the bubbles too! You can get sponge filters for very cheap as well that provide bubbles too, they work by attaching them to an airline. I have a Huey Hung one as a backup. Link (Let me know if it doesn't work). Basically the thin airline goes down the tube you see at the top, this sucks air in through the sponge and bubbles return back up the remainder of the plastic tube, giving bubbles. As I said, I'm running this as a spare in case any of my filters break down, I like to know I have backup (and cheap backup too).
 
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