Having a "They Don't Make Them Like They Used To" moment

AndyP

I have a 29 gallon tank in my living room that I added a sponge filter to. Threw on a Tetra Whisper Air Pump on there, put it in the cabinet, and sat down to read. 15 minutes later the noise was REALLY bothering me.

I went into my garage and found a box of old air pumps. I pulled out an old Second Nature Whisper 400, hooked it up, threw it under the cabinet, and the only thing I really hear is the bubbles from the sponge filter.

Almost all the Second Nature brand products were nice and quiet, even their power filters. Then Tetra bought them, and slowly cheapened them to the point where I don't want to use any of the new Whisper products.

I feel the same way about Marineland products. Once great, now not so great.

Both have the same parent company, Spectrum Brands. Spectrum Brands is the new name for the Ray-o-Vac battery corporation.
 

OutsideFoodBlob

I’ve only been fish keeping for a few years so not familiar with older brands but there are some horrible air pumps on the market now to be sure. My whisper 10 is actually pretty much silent but I thought I was being clever getting a 60 on sale. Nope! Jack hammer loud in comparison so it lives in it’s box. Emergency-emergency use only.

It speaks to how well your old pump was made that it started right up without issue. Also that you know from experience that air pumps should run silently. The first one I ever bought was a little top fin monstrosity and I thought who in their right mind would ever use air pumps based on it’s spastic dance and incessant noise.
 

mattgirl

I have these moments pretty often. Unfortunately not much of anything is really built like it once was. I am still using one of the very first heaters I bought at least 30 years ago. I had to replace my marineland heater after 2 winters of use.

I have some of my original air pumps that are still running as quiet as they did when new. I bought a fluval air pump last year. Even sitting on a sheet of foam inside a cabinet the noise was more than I could stand. Hubby looked into it and found screws weren't tightened. He fixed that and it quietened down. I have already had to buy new bellows for it. :(

HOB filters that once had a great reputation are now not worth bringing home. AquaTech HOB's were an inexpensive filter but just because they were cheap didn't mean they weren't dependable. I ruined one I had been using for many years by allowing sand to get in it. I replace it with a new one. The new one lasted less than a month. company replaced it but the replacement lasted even less time. Both went into the trash.

Sadly even name brand doesn't mean anything anymore. I am old, I actually remember when great pride was put into making a product that would work well and do so for a long time. That is not the case anymore. :(
 

AndyP

On the aquarium behind me I have 2 Aquaclear 110 HOBs. One I bought used. 3 years ago. One I bought new last year.

The used one was easily 5 times quieter than the new one.

I took a caliper and measured the filter. The basket is the same size and the same thickness. The motors look the same. But the old one is so much quieter.

I reached out to Fluval and they told me the Aquaclear filters are still made in Italy, in the same factory, like they always have been. I wonder if the formula of the plastic has changed.

As for Aquatech. Spectrum Brands make those filters. They look exactly like the old Marineland Penguin filters that they made pre-biowheel. The only difference is that the plastic is a lot thinner than what it was back in the 80s.

Can I ask what brand of heater has lasted you 30 years? I get maybe 3 years out of heater these days. But the old Visi-therm heaters (long before marineland bought them) that I owned and were gifted to family and friends are still in use.
 

mattgirl

Can I ask what brand of heater has lasted you 30 years? I get maybe 3 years out of heater these days. But the old Visi-therm heaters (long before marineland bought them) that I owned and were gifted to family and friends are still in use.
The only writing on it is Radiant. It was made long before submersible heaters came along. I am not sure what wattage it is but it still works perfectly on my 5.5 gallon tank.

This is the 4th year now on the replacement Marineland heater. At least the guarantee is good. All I did was email them. They asked for a copy of the receipt and a photo of the bad one with the cord cut off and they replaced it right away. I now have several backups. Don't want my fish getting cold while waiting for a new one to get to me.
As for Aquatech. Spectrum Brands make those filters. They look exactly like the old Marineland Penguin filters that they made pre-biowheel. The only difference is that the plastic is a lot thinner than what it was back in the 80s.
The new aquatech filters I got were quite a bit different than my original ones. The edges are more rounded and they come with some kind of plastic insert that is suppose to be a place for bacteria to grow. The filter body itself looked to be well made. Unfortunately the motors were trash.

I now only run penn-plax cascade 300's. I have been using my original one for well over 20 years. It seems the new ones are still just as well made. The smaller cascades are not as well made it seems. I bought a smaller one for my 5.5 gallon tank. It lasted about 6 months. :( I am now running a 300 on it. Probably over kill but it works. :)

Back when I was buying them they were one of the cheaper brands. Fortunately I bought 2 backups before they doubled in price so am set pretty good as far as filters go.
 

Rgtx

I'm just 38 days into my first tank, and I gotta agree on how loud the tetra air pump is. I got the 100g version and it's pretty loud. All the reviews say it is one of the quietest around... Tbh not sure if the seachem tidal filter is any quieter then the tetra air pump. It's so annoying because the tank is in my living room. Definitely want to replace these two due to the noise.
 

jaysurf7

I agree a lot of things were seem to have been made better than many of today's things, I still have a filter and powerheads that's still running on my tank for well over 20 years now, even a lot of the tanks today don't seem to have the thickness of the older tanks, when I had to get a new tank I noticed that it was lighter than the old one, the old one was so heavy compared to the new one. I had an old air pump that had a dial to control the flow it was very quiet one of the best, but they don't make them anymore i was told. Some things you buy today might be just as good, but a lot of things from years ago to seem to have much better quality then todays.
 

SotaAquatics

I am lucky to have most heaters last a year... new fish room I am working on now will be heated independently of rest of house so that I can stop wasting money on heaters....
 

AndyP

I now only run penn-plax cascade 300's. I have been using my original one for well over 20 years. It seems the new ones are still just as well made. The smaller cascades are not as well made it seems. I bought a smaller one for my 5.5 gallon tank. It lasted about 6 months. :( I am now running a 300 on it. Probably over kill but it works. :)

Back when I was buying them they were one of the cheaper brands. Fortunately I bought 2 backups before they doubled in price so am set pretty good as far as filters go.
I have some old Penn-Plax Canistar filters. They were HOB filters that were pressurized. Kind of a hybrid between a HOB and canister.

I'm just 38 days into my first tank, and I gotta agree on how loud the tetra air pump is. I got the 100g version and it's pretty loud. All the reviews say it is one of the quietest around... Tbh not sure if the seachem tidal filter is any quieter then the tetra air pump. It's so annoying because the tank is in my living room. Definitely want to replace these two due to the noise.

The new Eheim air pumps are REALLY quiet. Aquarium Coop did a video on various air pumps and used an SPL meter to measure how how loud each one was. The Eheim is the quietest.

Set up a Craigslist search for Whisper Air Pump. I bought a box of 10 different sizes of Second Nature Whisper air pumps for $10.00. They're quieter than anything made today.

I know back in the 80s, every store sold Whisper air pumps and replacement air filters and rubber diaphragms for them. These things were user-serviceable.

My Seachem Tidal 75 is very loud. Has been since the day I bought it. And it has bypass issues. I'm not why they get such praise.

I had an old air pump that had a dial to control the flow it was very quiet one of the best, but they don't make them anymore i was told. Some things you buy today might be just as good, but a lot of things from years ago to seem to have much better quality then todays.

That's probably a Hagen Optima. I have one of those. Nice and powerful and really quiet.

I think my #1 example of "They don't make them like they used to" is the Whisper HOB power filter. I have an old Second Nature Whisper 1 power filter. It's insanely quiet. When I lived with my parents, the aquarium sat in our dining room. I would never hear the filter running while sitting at the dining room table.

The modern Tetra whisper equivalent is so much louder. It's loud enough that it was bothering me while I work on the aquarium next to my desk.

I think I may be more sensitive to noises than the rest of my family. I will often hear the sound of the clothes washer go click when the thing stops and and the door latch releases from 2 rooms away. And I can be in the basement working, and I'll hear the mailman's truck pull away from my mailbox.
 

Rgtx

My Seachem Tidal 75 is very loud. Has been since the day I bought it. And it has bypass issues. I'm not why they get such praise.



That's probably a Hagen Optima. I have one of those. Nice and powerful and really quiet.

I think my #1 example of "They don't make them like they used to" is the Whisper HOB power filter. I have an old Second Nature Whisper 1 power filter. It's insanely quiet. When I lived with my parents, the aquarium sat in our dining room. I would never hear the filter running while sitting at the dining room table.

The modern Tetra whisper equivalent is so much louder. It's loud enough that it was bothering me while I work on the aquarium next to my desk.

I think I may be more sensitive to noises than the rest of my family. I will often hear the sound of the clothes washer go click when the thing stops and and the door latch releases from 2 rooms away. And I can be in the basement working, and I'll hear the mailman's truck pull away from my mailbox.
Yea I'm noticing bypass on my tidal filter as well, basically when I open it up pass the lowest flow setting it bypasses, the higher flow the more it will bypass. I was influence by YouTubers mainly on the tidal...need to figure out which filter my brother has since I never hear his.
 

AndyP

Yea I'm noticing bypass on my tidal filter as well, basically when I open it up pass the lowest flow setting it bypasses, the higher flow the more it will bypass. I was influence by YouTubers mainly on the tidal...need to figure out which filter my brother has since I never hear his.

YouTubers influenced me as well. I like some features. The heater clip is a good idea. The motor in the water is also a good idea. I like the fact that is has a removable basket.

But it's loud, and the bypass is a deal breaker.

I originally started out with a Tidal 110, and I thought that maybe the noise and bypass was unique to the 110. I returned the 110 and months later bought the 75. It had all the same issues. That one I put on the aquarium next to my wife WFH setup. She asked me to please change the filter because it was too loud.

I've experimented with a ton of different filters over the years on various aquariums. In the end, I always end up going to back to Aquaclears.

I would love an Aquaclear with the motor/pump in the water.
 

kallililly1973

A good way to silence air pumps are to hang them off the eyelet they usually have on them or by the thick part of the wire that goes into the pump itself with a piece of coat hanger string or zip tie.
 

Rgtx

YouTubers influenced me as well. I like some features. The heater clip is a good idea. The motor in the water is also a good idea. I like the fact that is has a removable basket.

But it's loud, and the bypass is a deal breaker.

I originally started out with a Tidal 110, and I thought that maybe the noise and bypass was unique to the 110. I returned the 110 and months later bought the 75. It had all the same issues. That one I put on the aquarium next to my wife WFH setup. She asked me to please change the filter because it was too loud.

I've experimented with a ton of different filters over the years on various aquariums. In the end, I always end up going to back to Aquaclears.

I would love an Aquaclear with the motor/pump in the water.
I have heard some folks got with seachem and they replaced the propeller. For some that helped others it did not. I was considering the Aquaclear as well from research I was doing but the internal properller of the tidal swayed me to it. I'll be on the look out if Aquaclear come out with the internal properller myself.

A good way to silence air pumps are to hang them off the eyelet they usually have on them or by the thick part of the wire that goes into the pump itself with a piece of coat hanger string or zip tie.
I tried hanging myself holding it up and didn't noticed any noise difference...
 

AndyP

I have heard some folks got with seachem and they replaced the propeller. For some that helped others it did not. I was considering the Aquaclear as well from research I was doing but the internal properller of the tidal swayed me to it. I'll be on the look out if Aquaclear come out with the internal properller myself.

Seachem sent me a new impeller. When that didn't work, they sent me a whole new motor. That didn't work either. I then lubricated the impeller with vaseline. That didn't work. Washed it off and tried silicone lubricant. That didn't help either.

I took the filter, the impeller and the extra motor, shoved them all in the same box and returned it to Amazon.

The Tidal 75 I bought at my LFS and still have because he has an awful return policy. He charges a $10 restocking fee, and only gives you store credit. And it must be in "sellable" condition.

I may just stick it on my 29 gallon and keep it turned down halfway.

I like the idea of having the motor in the water. But both the Tidal and the new Marineland filter motors that sit in the water are HUGE compared to the ones that sit on the bottom of the filter box. I'm hoping the next generation of these filters have a much smaller motor on them.
 

GlennO

In some cases they don't make fish like they used to either.
 

AndyP

In some cases they don't make fish like they used to either.
That's true of most livebearers.
Here's another Don't Make Them Like They Used To item:


joTRjTQ.jpg

Someone gave me this Hagen Optima back in 1991 used, and it's 2022 and it still works. No diaphragm change. The "filter" is just a compartment to put some filter floss inside.
 

jaysurf7

Wow,they sure don't make them like that anymore, I had an air pump similar to that one it was the best I had. And I can almost guarantee it'll run another 20 years.
 

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