Which ex­ter­nal fil­ter is best for my tank?

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Advice -

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.

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