Yet Another Filter Question...

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Gilly, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. Gilly

    GillyValued MemberMember

    Hey fishlore,

    Just wondering. I want to compare options for cheap filters. I would love to prove that an ebay filter with some customization or media changes can perform with the big boys (fluval g series and high tech excluded). Has anyone run cheap and simple filters and had good luck? I will add a challenge to this by setting a $30 dollar budget. The tank is a 56 gallon column. Let's hear what you got!


  2. fissh

    fisshWell Known MemberMember

  3. grantm91

    grantm91Fishlore VIPMember

    Agree with @fissh about the $30 part unless you go pr-owned off a buy and sell site, in fact that sunsun was the only canister i ever purchased brand new as it was only £40 which is amazing. A year later though i replaced it with a fluval 306 which i got pre-owned for £40 i since paid the big bucks for a fx6 on my 120, well my gf did. Fluval cans are epic but expensive, i have a cheap hob running on a 32g sw set up which cost £12 and its an animal never stopped once. I went off topic a little but i guess I'm trying to say if its stupidly cheap it does not hurt to take a gamble once in a while weather that be on a pre-owned fluval or a brand new no name thing.

  4. maggie thecat

    maggie thecatWell Known MemberMember

    As long as you are turning the water over an appropriate number of times per hour through a bed of beneficial bacteria, the cost of the filter shouldn't be an issue. Have you seen the filters made up of Sterlite drawers and a submersible pump?

    I find other factors to be more important, like self starting if the power toggles or being able to restart without having to climb into the tank. I have one HOB where you can only jump start it from the bottom. (Aqueon) That is a nuisance. Another where the intake tube has to be wrestled off to clean, but it's otherwise a dream because it's dead quiet. (Aqua Clear).

    I customize my media either when the free filter cartridge wears out or from the get go depending on what's in my cupboards at the time, but nearly all my filter media is non standard.

    I guess my point is that everyone has different qualifiers as to what is a good and cheap filter.
  5. OP

    GillyValued MemberMember


    Well that certainly would be a good solution! But, as I am sure you know, that is a bit hard for us hobbyists to believe in....

    The fun part for me is waiting for the upgrades and doing things within budget. I think its nice to wait till Christmas to upgrade a filter, or to spend a year or two getting to know my fish and then introducing something new. If I had thousands to just spend up front, I would be too bored! That is why I want to try to get a tank running as cheaply as possible... just to take it and run with it from there. The tank and stand have me out 40 bucks (also included the heater. The light, which I cant really skimp on too much, was 76 bucks price matched at Petco. I normally would eBay the light but when it comes to LED's and electronics, I wanted a warranty, and didn't want to mess around with shipping and eBay disputes. Substrate you cant cheat, that was Eco-complete, and that ran me 24 bucks a bag (3). 60 pounds for a 56 gallon column. I know its on the thinner side, but I plan on mixing some sand in there in spots for color differences and for beds for some softer fish down the road.

    I fix my own cars, repair my own fixtures, etc. I don't mean to sound snobby but I do take some pride in being able to avoid some of the typical reliance on services and brand names.
  6. fissh

    fisshWell Known MemberMember

    If your handy, look for preowned stuff an CL. There's some great deals if you know what your looking for. Good luck!
  7. OP

    GillyValued MemberMember

    unfortunately, my local CL seems to be a bit dry. I will probably fire up a couple sponge filters for now, add my plants, and go the Safe Start route, and wait for my tank to cycle. I want to wait to get a proper canister filter, such as Hydor or a Fluval FX6, rather than spend 60 or 70 on a cheap one that I may regret. I will post pics tonight of whatever I choose to pick up. Unless I dont. LOL
  8. OP

    GillyValued MemberMember

    I posted progress in my wimpy 56 gallon progression thread over in tank builds.
  9. purslanegardenWell Known MemberMember

    Think of it this way. You want the 2 or 3 types of filtration, depending on the size of the tank (small tanks will need less variety of filtration options). If you have media that can do that, then it didn't matter if it is DIY or if it came from a top brand off-the-shelf item (OK technically it does matter because we want more surface area, but let's say, X surface area is enough to handle the bioload and bacteria population, so it didn't matter if we have X+Y surface area).

    Let's assume we agree on that. Then the next thing is how many GPH the filter can support. If we go with the 8-10x filtration, then if the cheap filter can do that with its pump and impeller and total hardware, then that is also handled.

    As a result, if you modify a cheaper filter with more media or better media than it came with, it certainly can become better able to handle the tank that you might be using it in.

    An example is a 10 gallon tank where you could buy a $10-40 filter. Or you can buy a $5-10 air pump and DIY some filter media inside a plastic bottle. Your bioload will affect the overall successfulness, it but assuming both filter methods handle the tank, then you succeeded in handling the 10 gallon tank at a cheaper price.
  10. OP

    GillyValued MemberMember

    I appreciate that info. I ended up going a bit out of budget but price matching a Magnum internal canister, which you can see in my profile pic. I will end up with an external at some point, but for now the 300gph in this canister is sufficient for what I am doing.
  11. shiv234

    shiv234Well Known MemberMember

    DIY all in ones. Check the King of DIY for ideas
  12. ounderfla69

    ounderfla69Valued MemberMember

    If you are brave enough to drill holes in a tank a sump can outperform pretty much any canister can be made cheaply, allows for much more custom filtration, easier to clean, and adds a large volume of water improving water quality. Personally most of the high tech expensive filters just have a lot of bells and whistles that cost more but as long as you have good flow and proper bio and mechanical filtration they pretty much work the same. Over the past year I have gotten a 75 gallon acrylic tank a stand and a 30 gallon for just over $100. I also got a couple wet dry filters and a bunch of other stuff too included in that.

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