Should I Switch Filters?

  • #1
As of now, I have a 20 gallon tall aquarium that is cycled and has no fish in it (planning to get some soon, as well as more decorations). I have gravel substrate with a couple of rocks and decorations. My current filter is the Penguin BIO-Wheel 150, and I was thinking that I want to switch it out with the Emperor 280 Filter System because I have heard it works better than the Penguin. Is this a good idea? Should I stick with the Penguin?

Also, the wheel on my Penguin filter is barely spinning, so I don't think it's collecting the bacterial colonies which means a worse job at filtering the water in the tank (from my understanding, correct me if I'm wrong). Also, the Emperor filter has unfiltered water contacting the wheel, unlike the Penguin, which I think is better for the bacterial colonies (again, correct me if I'm wrong).

My overall questions are:

-Should I switch to the Emperor?

-Will switching filters harm the tank?

-Would I have to cycle the tank again if I switch filters?

-Are there any other filters for my tank that you guys suggest?

Sorry about all the questions, but help is appreciated

Oops, I just realized this is in the wrong section of the forum...
  • #2
well I like aquaclear filters the best as far as HOB filters go. but if I were you I would just get a canister filter. you can adjust the flow on most of them if its to much for your fish.

the 280 will work better but only because its a bigger filter. the Emperor's are not any better then the Penguin form what iv heard. you could just buy another 150 if you wanted more filtration.
  • #3
not sure on those filters but I agree, the bio-wheels do not work that well. I also know that unless you use the media from the first filter you WILL go through another cycle, but, if you use the media from the already cycled filter then you should be good as long as you stalk the tank with fish slowly.

now my suggestion for a filter is a fluval c series filter, probably the fluval c3 would be the best for you. most people will say the aqua-clear is the best (and I will say they get the job done and done well) but in the reviews and videos that I have watched I have to say I really like the fluval c series. I have the c2 and the c4 (got them this morning) and I think that they are matchd with the ac filters. check them out you may really like them. also they are good for tall tanks because they have a telescopic intake tube that could easily reach the bottom of a 20 tall (suck stuff that is on the bottom). seriously check them out.. they are awesome.

EDIT: you may think that you have a lot of questions but it is really good that you decided to ask. the more questions you ask the more you will learn.
  • #4
I had a 20 gallon tall and my filter was a penguin 200. Worked good on that tank.
  • #5
not sure on those filters but I agree, the bio-wheels do not work that well. I also know that unless you use the media from the first filter you WILL go through another cycle, but, if you use the media from the already cycled filter then you should be good as long as you stalk the tank with fish slowly.

yeah but you can just run the filters together until the new one is seeded. its usually recommended to run them together for a month.

I have seen videos of the fluval c series and they do look like great filters. I might have to try one sometime. so far I like aquaclear the best over marineland but will always go canister for any tank I can afford it on.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thanks for all the help guys! I will definitely look in to the Fluval C Series, the Aqua-Clear Filters, and canister filters. I'm looking forward to it
  • #7
Just to add to what others have said. I have one penguin and dislike its design and function. I've heard the emporers are better, but I prefer the aquaclear because the flow design is better, parts here are more readily available, and it just makes more sense to me.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Well, I went to the LFS and spent about 100 dollars on various items for my aquarium (decorations, plants, dechlorinator, filter, ect.). I looked at the filters, and ended up buying the Aqua Clear 50 Filter. Its design and technology made sense to me, and it was at a very good price. I did also look at the canister filters, but they were pretty much way over what I would spend. Overall, I would say the filter is very effective, but also simple to put together. Right now, both my Penguin and my Aqua Clear filters are running at the same time until the Aqua Clear is seeded. Again, thanks for all of the tips, guys... It helped me out a lot
  • #9
All you need to do to switch filters is place the old filter media in the new filter, or run the new filter alongside the old one for about a month before removing the old filter.

I have Fluval C4, and it doesn't always like to start after I turn it off... I've heard a lot of good things about Aquaclear....
  • #10
OK, a couple of very basic questions, but couldn't tell what the answers would be based on the posts.

1) How did you cycle your tank? (not terribly important at this point, but curious)

2) You state you do not have fish in the tank now. Are you doing something to maintain the cycle? If you leave it go for long without providing a source of ammonia, your newly established and still vulnerable BB colony will start to die off.

As others have said, running the old and new filters side by side is a great way to get two active filters from one tank. If I were you, I would leave both of them on semi-permanently. The added filtration will never hurt, and you will have one ready to go if you need to set up a quick Quarantine tank.

Didn't mean to insult with the above questions, just wanted to make sure you weren't undoing your previous cycling work.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
1.) I did a fish-less cycle by adding fish food until ammonia levels started rising.

2.) I have about 20% water changes every 6-7 days to keep all of the toxin levels down. Also, when I replace the water I use a dechlorinator called Prime, which also removes ammonia, and detoxifies nitrites and nitrates. Plus, I keep track of my water tests. My tank contains 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, and 40 nitrates (ppm).

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