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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
January 20, 2002 - 08:15 pm
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
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.
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.
January 25, 2002 - 12:30 am
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
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.
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 petwarehouse.com(ordered 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
tank...so 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
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
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 petwarehouse.com 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.
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.
February 15, 2002 - 07:16 am
Your welcome and good luck.Please let us know your opinion
once you have it set up.