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RE: Eheim Internal filters
Andrew Innis asked me the other day about Eheim Internal filters, and this
morning Robert Rickets made some excellent comments about them.
Now, before I say _anything_, let me say this first to protect myself from
rabid "flame baiters" - what follows is _my_ experience with these units in
_my_ tanks, over the past ten to fifteen years. If anyone thinks I am making
a personal attack on them, go take a shower before you attempt to bait me
into an argument over my recommendations.
With that out of the way, let's begin...
I've seen the new Eheim Internal filters "in the flesh" only once, at a
local store. They looked really nice but I didn't need any new equipment
that day so I just gave it a casual glance. Recently, I _was_ looking for a
few new filters for a set of four tanks I'm setting up and I thought I'd
give them a second look. Alas, my local store stopped carrying them as
"regular stock" so I couldn't give then a real look.
They appear to me, at least from my brief encounter with them, to be very
similar to the Aquarium Systems "Duetto" filters or the Fluval Internal
Cartridge filters. All of them are basically just a water pump with a sponge
filter attached to it. I have several Fluval Internal filters and they work
well, but the foam used has a tendancy to collapse after a while (perhaps I
just don't rinse them out often enough). They all basically offer just
mechanical filtration, but they do work very well for this purpose. The new
Eheims look to be a bit easier to maintain than the Fluvals, as you just
remove the foam cartridge module, leaving the pump in place inside of the
tank. With the Fluval, you take the whole thing out of the tank. Purely a
matter of personal preference.
Now, the older line of Eheim Power Pack filters I have a lot of experience
with - I have four of the 2252 model (the biggest one, with a pump rated at
1200 L/hr). This is certainly _not_ a thing of beauty, it is ugly as sin and
hard to hide inside of the tank, but my heavens can it move water! Basically
it is just an Eheim 2250 pump mounted on rails with foam cartridges stacked
onto it. But _what_ a pump! On my six foot show tank I have two of them, in
the corners, with the water flow running the length of the tank. Their
mounting brackets allow you to place them low enough so that there isn't too
much surface disturbance, but there is a very definate water current in the
tank now. The leaves on my C. crispatula var. blansae wave about as though
they were in a real tropical brook, and my school of Dwarf Neon Rainbows are
now really a "school" - they race against the current in a tight group, and
seem to really be enjoying the rush of water. I picked all four of mine up
for $89.00/ea (Cdn.), they were on sale, but they were still expensive. But
I know that they work now and will probably still work 10 years from now.
The beauty of the Eheim line, and one of it's biggest drawbacks as well, is
it's modular design - there are all sorts of options and extra little "bits"
which can be used to change the water output and flow patterns to suit your
needs exactly. But they are all extra cost items. And they can add a lot to
the final price. When I bought my Eheim 2260 canister on sale for $250 Cdn.
I thought I was getting a "real steal". But after I bought the necessary
"double tap quick disconnects", elbows, media, etc., I think I laid out an
amount equal to the cost of the filter. But now that I've amortized the cost
of the stuff over the evenutal lifespan of the equipment it doesn't seem
like such an expensive option after all.
(Now, that was _my_ opinion - no need to feel that I'm attacking anybody!)
Rio makes a filter attachement for several of their internal pumps which
appear to be dead ringers for the Eheim units which I have. Several of the
mail order houses have them, and they cost _much_ less than the Eheims. But
I have no experience with Rio pumps and cannot comment on their quality.
So, if you are just really looking for mechanical filtration, and you want
lots of circulation (generally a very good thing in any aquarium), any of
these units work well. Just pick the one which is sized for your tank.