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Rena Filstar External Filter and other types of filtration

Badmans Tropical Fish Message Center: General message area: Rena Filstar External Filter and other types of filtration


Sunday, January 20, 2002 - 08:15 pm
Hey everyone,

I'm considering purchasing a Rena Filstar XP2 external canister filter for my 55 gallon freshwater tank.

My questions are:
1. Reviews on the performance of these systems
2. Can I get rid of my undergravel filter with one of these? Or is it still good to keep it?
3. Would it be possible to put the filter to the side of the tank--no cabinet underneath to store it--and run the connecting tubes into the back?

any help anyone can give me would be most appreciated.

I did notice that someone named Rose posted on the Rena back in August of 2001 but I don't know how to post an individual on this list.

Rose, Are you still out there? If so I'd love to talk to you some more about the system.

PS today someone at a local pet store gave me another option--two eclipse filters on a 60 gallon--apparently they have the tanks special made to fit the hoods--not sure how it works--have not gone to the store to view this--but the guy told me the hoods fit inside instead of over the top of the tank. As you may know the company that makes the Eclipse filter/lids does not make one large enough for a 55 gallon aquarium--so I had not previously considered it.

So I guess my question about this is--would anyone favor an eclipse filtration system over a Canister system for a 55 gallon? I like my eclipse with one small problem--I tend to get water dripping out under the hood --to the back--water level is not too high--not sure why it happens--but I am not sure this type of filtration would be enough for a large tank.

thanks everyone,
Sincerely Karen



Monday, January 21, 2002 - 07:16 am
Karen I am getting a Eheim canister for my 75 gallon. With a 55 gallon you should be able to just use an Emperor biowheel without all the hassle and cost of the cannister. The only reason I am getting a cannister is due to fish density on stocking an African tank. I have a 55 gallon that currently has a HOB aquaclear 300 and that seems to be adequate filtratin. Anyways.. up to you cannister filters provide great filtration just usually used on 75 gallons and 120 tanks.
By the way you are stuck with the UGF unless you totally breakdown your tank. All the junk that has built up under the filter plate will become a toxic bed if you stop using the UGF. I have the same problem on two of my tanks and just added filtration to them.



Monday, January 21, 2002 - 07:35 am
Another quick note here. I knew someone who got a fluval cannister and had trouble getting it to prime unless it was directly underneath the lines, so you may have problems if you try to put the cannister on the side of your tank and have the lines running into the back. One of the reasons I went with the Eheim was because of the priming features on it! I hate trying to get filters to start and even though it cost me quite a bit more money I decided it was one big plus! I'm lucky with my 75 gallon stand as the back is a cut out, so I can easily put the filter underneath.



Friday, January 25, 2002 - 12:30 am
Hey Joyce,
Thanks for the imput.

I looked at the Eheims online too and the Rena Filstar is probably close enough for me to ask you some general questions about the system.

The Rena also has the self-priming function and that was a plus for me too.
Since you mentioned that someone had difficulty with a Fluval --getting it to prime with the piping not right over the system--I will ask the manufacturer about it--but do you know if that system had the new self priming feature? Perhaps this new feature--which most of the new units seem to have takes care of the problem.

I will get the XP II if I get it which is for 55 gallons plus--that way if I do someday get a larger tank I won't have to buy a larger filter.

I have been doing more research and now am not sure if I completely understand the biological component of the external canister filters (I only have UGF on my 55 now.)

1. How do you clean the rest of the Eheim without killing the beneficial bacteria--can you pop something out and leave it in the tank? Clean it really fast? How long can the bacteria be out of water before they die?

My only other biological filtration is a biowheel in a small Eclipse tank--I just put the wheel down in the tank if I have to dissasemble the entire lid and you don't have to do that often.

How does this work on the Ehiem and that will tell me what I need to do for my sytem too I imagine.

As for the UGF I can keep it or completely get rid of it--I was hoping to get rid of it for aesthetic reasons.

My tank is on a low brick wall that was once a planter. It is situated between the front hall and the living room and the tank can be viewed from both sides--so the Hot Magnum I have hanging off the back now looks pretty bad and I want to get the filtration off the back and to the side primarily to improve the view.

That is also why I wasn't going to go with a biowheel--which work great--but would also have to hang off the back and look tacky.

I love having my tanks where I can see them from both sides--the other one is on the kitchen counter bar.

Also the Rena is advertised as very quiet and I want a quieter unit--my Old Magnum has gotten loud and every air bubbler gets loud eventually--Whisper or not--I know this from experience.

If you can tell me how these units are cleaned-do you take it to the sink or outside and run water over it or pop out filter plates or what?

Do you purchase the company's filter pads etc or make your own, what about charcoal do you buy a pad with charcoal in it or can you customize that?
what do you use to grow your biological filter on?

Do you think you can get enough beneficial bacteria growing in a compartment in a Eheim or Rena or Fluval--compared to all the stuff that can live under a UGF plate?

I could always keep a air bubbler on the tank and the piping for it --but it would be nice to get rid of it to clear up some of the visual clutter.

thanks again for your help,
I hope I have not overwhelmed you with questions but I have been researching this online and have still not found all the info I need.



Friday, January 25, 2002 - 07:47 am
I know of a couple of people on the net that reallly had some problems with the fluval. Also when I was at that terrific fish store mid-state a couple of weeks back I found they were Eheim dealers and refuse to carry Fluval's since people had some problems with them malfunctioning. Granted they wanted me to get the Eheim, but I have really heard it is a superior filter.The store will sell me any replacement parts I need in the future for the Eheim if I don't want to wait for the filter through them). I did choke a little on the cost comparison. I just looked over the instructions last night and may set up this weekend. It has three compartments inside the cannister that hold different types of filtration. I would think if you are worried about the media, placing the compartments in a small bucket of tank water would be ideal for keeping the bacteria going. There are two different types of media(German names and I can't remember exactly) and I think one media can be replaced as long as you keep the other and don't change them both out at the same time. One material goes on the bottom compartment and the other goes in compartment 2 and 3 (eheimsubstrat or something for 2 & 3). There is also supposedly a place for carbon maybe in compartment 3, but I don't use carbon in the I didn't really pay much attention to that. Petwarehouse sent me the two different types of media and these styrofoam-like plates that fit between the compartments. Also don't forget that the older your tank the more algae and bacteria etc you have on the decor and in the water.
The advantage to the cannister is that you can't see much filter hanging in the tank(visual) and also that they really do move larger volumes of water around your tank.
Anyways to answer the cleaning question..although I haven't gotten to that point. I plan on putting the internal media compartments in a bucket and cleaning the plastic container in the sink. This is really the same procedure I use for cleaning out my Aquaclear HOB just that the cannister is a little bigger.
I will order any filter pads from where I buy virtually most of my supplies. As far as getting the filter going I plan on leaving the magnum HOB biowheel in place and just replacing the aquaclear that way my tank will stay cycled. I really like the idea of two filters going as I feel if one ever fails when I'm not home the fish will be okay. My tank is 75 gallons and I have a cutout at either end two support two filters. My African do also need a high level of filtration because of fish density, high ph, and cichlid salt in the water. These factors tend to impact the oxygen levels, so most people tend to go 7x or more filtration on African Rift Lake tanks. The tank stand also has no back panel which makes putting in a cannister ideal as it can sit under the tank. If you have any other questions get back with me.



Thursday, February 14, 2002 - 11:59 pm
About the RenaFilstar XPII I have decided to get it--and am just hoping the set up is not too complicated--at the company site they have some intricate looking options involving lots of piping for air circulation inside the tank, also something called an airwand--has anybody else purchased this unit and set it up with all the bells and whistles?

thank you Joyce for your help back in January--yes I have been weighing my decision carefully, but I will post to the list once I get my XP2 up and running on my 55 gallon.




Friday, February 15, 2002 - 07:16 am
Your welcome and good luck.Please let us know your opinion once you have it set up.


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