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External Canister and Powerheads with Filter

I would like to know if it is more advisable to use an External Canister
Filter like an Eheim Professional as against a Powerhead with an attached
sponge material for Filtration.  I think initially the Canister will work
fine because it will absorb excessive chemical by using Activated Carbon
but after a while, there will be no use for biological filtration because
the plants themselves will be the one to feed on Nitrates and Ammonia.
Now, the problem now will be the solid waste of the fishes,  this can be
solved by a Powerhead with Sponge media?  

Thank you very much for your answers,  this will truly be a big help for me.

Edison Yap