Canister Filter

>Don Griffes wanted to know about canister filters.

I have owned Magnums, Eheims etc.  All are reliable.

But the Rainbow Lifegard modular system is the best that I have used for my
55 gal planted system with CO2 injected right into the intake tube.  All of
the CO2 is absorbed by the time it exists.
The output is restricted with a valve, and I use PVC pipe throughout, with
the output in the form of a "spray bar" with holes facing toward the back
of the tank and down, with no top agitation.  This provides a nice, slow
current in the tank which is asthetically pleasing to watch (lovely on
I use the chemical module for bioballs, not carbon, and the heater module
for my heater.  It keeps it out of the tank and provides for more even heat
distribution and efficiency - as long as I remember to unplug it when
changing filters.
The pump I use is the smallest Iwaki.  I have owned Little Giant, and a
Hydrothruster, and find the extra cost of the Iwaki well worth its quiet
operation, lack of maintainence and outstanding reliability.
The only drawback to this system (aside from its cost) is that it is not
self-priming.  You have to start the water intake yourself.  I installed a
valve on the intake, which I close during filter changes, to maintain the
water at the pump.
One other thing, unlike common wisdom, my filter setup is above the tank
not below it.  This makes changing filters a breeze.  I have everything
(including the tank) enclosed in a cabinet so it is out of sight.  As long
as I maintain a positive output pressure with the output valve, the pump
doesn't care.

Augustine Rodriguez
Elk Mound, WI, USA