turning a cheap filter into an outstanding one!

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rileyrk190

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HI everybody! I was at petsmart the other day, and was lucky enough to get a worker who really knows his stuff and is an avid fish-keeper himself. I was asking him some questions about filters and this is what he told me. He said that he is a retired engineer, and what do engineers do best? They steal ideas from other people, lol. So he was explaining to me that the petsmart brand filter (topfin) is not all that different from an aquaclear other than it won't be as quiet. He told me that if I really wanted to make it a top-notch filter to purchase the Rena Micro-filter pads along with the fluval carbon pads. Then he told me to take the regular cartridges that the filter came with, remove the carbon, and insert the carbon pad after cutting it to size. Then put some of the micro-filter pads behind the cartridges. Now I was a little skeptical at first, but I figured i'd give it a go...And after running it for a couple days, its the clearest my 55 gallon tank has ever been! Here are some pics.. my camera's not the greatest, but hopefully you can see some of the clearness.

Top fin filter rated for up to 70 gallons = 23.99
Fluval carbon pads= 6.99
Rena micro-filters= 9.99

total: 40.97

VS.

Aquaclear rated for up to 55gallons: 49.99

The only downside I have found is that the topfin is very noisy, but if you are on a budget and looking to save a little, this is a great substitute!
 
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rileyrk190

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I keep getting this error message every time I try to upload any photos:

Fatal error: Out of memory (allocated 44826624)

Anybody know what's wrong??
 

striker

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rileyrk190 said:
I keep getting this error message every time I try to upload any photos:

Fatal error: Out of memory (allocated 44826624)

Anybody know what's wrong??
Sounds like the s are too big. Try resizing them or use .
 
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rileyrk190

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there we go, I guess it was still too big
 

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Jaysee

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Going with custom media increases the filtration capacity, for sure.

One thing about AC's that makes them superior, IMO, is that they push water UP THROUGH the media, as opposed to ACROSS the media. I prefer filstar XP canister filters for the same reason.
 

peacemaker92

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That's cool! :shock:
 

Aquarist

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Good morning,

I'm a big fan of the micron filter pads. Here is a link to what I use:

I use the 50 micron as it filters out smaller particles than the 100. With this you can cut the pad to fit whatever filter you have.

I use it in my wet dry filter only and I rinse the pad every 5 days or replace it with a new pad. I clean the pads by soaking them in bleach water solution over night, rinse them out, then I soak them in water with Amquel + added to remove all bleach and rinse again. They look like new! I also let them air dry before I use the pad again.

Remember these pads may clog faster than regular filter media. Well worth it and my water stays crystal clear. They have also helped to reduce the # of times I use my diatom filters every month.

Thanks for your tips! I'm sure members will find it all helpful!

Ken
 
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Lucy

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Thanks for this info rileyrk190.

As a filter illiterate will your modification push the water up as Jaysee explained or through and what would be the difference?

I recently bought an AC for my 20 long. I like the way the media is stacked. Seems like it would do a better job than the water being filtered through one cartridge and a sponge.
 

ccb04

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Cool tips. I add/modify media in some form or fashion for all of my filters ... including my AquaClears.

As far as HOB filters go though ... it's hard to beat an AquaClear in terms of being able to customize media to suit varying needs.

Also, as Jaysee mentioned ... the AquaClear utilizes an 'upflow' system similar to a canister filter which is unique among HOB filters.
 

Jaysee

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what's funny is that the hagan (AC) canister filters DO NOT utilize the up flow design that the HOBs use.
 

kuhliLoachFan

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My favorite "filter MOD" is to "over buy"but under pay. :) Get the AquaClear 70 for anymore than $47 and you over-paid for your aquaclear 70.

If you have a 20 gallon tank, you do NOT want to buy the AquaClear MINI. Instead, at least buy the AquaClear 50 or 70. Or you can do what I do: Buy an Aquaclear 110, even for 20 or 30 gallon tanks. If the flow is too much for your fish, or you have fry in your tank, cover the intake with a sponge. I usually run with dual sponges and no fancy sintered glass or ceramic tube or spherical media. Just the sponges.
For extra "polish", add some floss atop the upper sponge.

Every month, rotate the pair of sponges. Every several months, squeeze one out before you rotate, to increase overall flow.

The second filter Mod is called "how to throw out your crappy filter". If I got a free (cough Aqueon cough) filter included in some "starter kit", I throw it out and get a proper one.


W

P.S. I've graduated from "noob" to "fish bum". Yay for me!
 

ccb04

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Jaysee said:
what's funny is that the hagan (AC) canister filters DO NOT utilize the up flow design that the HOBs use.
The way the media chambers are configured in their Fluval canisters is interesting.
 
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