Which external filter is best for my tank?
I’ve been told I would benefit from an external filter on my 125 l/28 gal tank. It’s something I’d never thought about, so I’m quite keen to buy one to reduce cleaning time. But I’ve heard many opinions on what’s good and what’s not.
Could you please recommend two or three external filters that would work well with that size tank? I gather most people buy ones that are for use with bigger tanks so as to get better filtration. I just don’t know where to start! DIANNE, EMAIL
BOB says: In the vast majority of cases, external filters offer the best solution for filtering freshwater aquaria. They provide a large media capacity that doesn’t affect the volume of the tank and can be discreetly hidden. As you say, there are dozens to choose from and they all work along the same lines; it usually comes down to a mixture of price, running costs, media capacity and personal preference.
Top-end externals can cost hundreds of pounds, while some of the budget models are surprisingly cheap – but you do generally get what you pay for and cheaper models may suffer from brittle, flimsy plastic and power-hungry pumps. Look into their power consumption too, as they’ll be on 24/7 and over a year this can make a considerable difference in running costs which may mean your ‘bargain’ isn’t such a good one long term.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Fluval external filters and have used them since the mid-1980s. Currently I run an FX6 on my 220 l/49 gal tank and it’s a wonderful piece of kit but may be a bit too powerful for your tank. There’s a smaller model (the FX4), but unless you are keeping fish from fast-flowing rivers it may still be too powerful, so have a look at the Fluval 206 or 306 instead. These are rated for tanks up to 200 l/ 44 gal and 300 l/66 gal respectively.
If you don’t fancy Fluval, then Eheim has a well-deserved reputation for making top-end externals, and the Ecco Pro range are solid performers with the Pro 200 or 300 being good fits for your tank, with low power consumption.
When buying an external power filter, be sure the model will fit in your cabinet.