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filter question

After coming across this list and digging thru the archives for a few hours
I think I'll try asking my question here.

I've currently got a 30gal tank with:
4 - 1"-2" clown loaches
4 - 1.5" yoyo loaches
4 - ottos
5 - neon tetras
5 - guppies
1 - 5" red tailed shark
1 - albino cory
12-15 small easy to grow plants.
2" of epoxy coated gravel from wal-mart (mistake!!)
UGF Filter
Emperor 280 Filter (not bad for the price)
60 watts of fluorescent lighting.  (I'm using 2 of those GE bright-stik's
right now)
DIY CO2 (just setup)

I need to get another filter so I can use the Emperor 280 on another smaller
tank I'm setting up.  After digging thru the archives I have yet to find
anyone against the Eheim filters (at least the Pro II's).  I'm thinking that
I'd like to get one of the 2028's (it's likely a LITTLE bit of overkill for
a 30gal tank but it seems like a good investment for when i get a bigger
tank), but I'm a little confused as to where to buy it from.  I see that
there are a few Vancouver (2010 - yeh!!!!) people floating on this list that
might be able to point me in the right canadian direction here.  Big Al's
has the 2028 with media listed for US$199 on the american side of their
site, and on the canadian side they list it for CDN$469.  I know the
canadian dollar is pretty lousy, but that's just a ridiculous exchange rate.
Since I haven't ordered from Big Al's before is it possible to order from
the american side and get it shipped to canada? anyone else sell these
filters in canada at a reasonable price? or help???

I'd also like to rip out the UGF in the tank.  I think it actually does
pretty good, I can see the difference in water quality with it turned off,
but I don't like the look of the powerhead in the tank.  I'm thinking it's
probably a good idea to tear the tank down after I get the new filter
settled in.  That way I can replace the epoxy gravel.  I'm thinking of using
Seachem's Flourite for the job.  From what i can find it seems to be about
the easiest and safest ways to go.

I think I'm going to make my own here, that way I can get the ballasts out
of the road and down below my tank.  2x36" fluorescent tubes was my plan.  I
see that people don't always recommend using the fluorescents from LFS's.
They are pretty expensive (~$30 each).  What do people here recommend for
tubes.  I've seen the GE Plant/Aquarium bulbs at canadian tire for about $6
each.  Has anybody used these before?  Thoughts???

I'm going to add another piece of driftwood to the tank soon and get a few
more hiding places for the loaches.  I'll also get around to putting a black
background on the tank soon too.  I put a couple of pics of my current setup
up on my webspace at http://home.westman.wave.ca/~cooperj/fish/ if anyone is