“ Brand: All Pond Solutions / Type: Filtration „
Several years ago we switched from internal filters which required considerable maintenance at least every other week to a Rena XP-3 external filter - which can easily go 4- 5 months between cleaning. Having used an external filter - I would never go back to internal for the big tank ( external filtration isn't always practical for a tiny tank). However, the Rena was on it's last legs. It was still filtering well, but any touch or bump resulting in leaking and I was terrified of coming home some day to an empty tank. Realistically, I most likely could have fixed this with so new seals and such - but the price I was quoted was £26. I simply wasn't willing to invest another £26 on a very old filter when I could buy this filter at only £49.99 delivered, and I did know other people who had used this and swore by it - not to mention Spiderdreams timely review just before the leaking got completely out of hand.
My aquarium is 48" x 12" x 18" which gives it a total volume of 169.9 litres of water. When buying a filter though, I have always looked for one with at least double the recommended volume capacity as my actual tank. This is because minimum filtration means maximum work, a great deal of extra effort put in maintaining the tank, and it is also calculated based on a lightly stocked tank with low waste producing fish. I have large fish in this tank, which I have owned since they were tiny fry. My Parrot fish were only 1 1/2" long when I bought them at £1.35 each. They are worth closer to £60 now, but I'm also attached to them. I like fish and expect to keep fish for decades, not months or years. This requires good tank maintenance.
I knew the Pond Solutions filter was meant to be the best bargain on the market today, but I do always shop around before buying anything. This filter is capable of filtering a 400 litre tank, with a filtration rate of 1,000 litres per hour. Many people mix up the filtration rate per hour with the maximum capacity and I have seen one of these used on a tank which was 6 foot long, 2 foot high and 18" wide and well stocked with cichlids, without problems. That said I would recommend a higher output filter for anything over 4 foot ( There are two larger models of this exact same filter, the 1400l/h model which sells for £69.99 and can handle up to 600 litres and the 2,000 l/h model which can filter tanks up to 1,000 litres in volume for only £79.99). It really is best to invest the money in an adequate sized filter for the tank you are using and a few extra quid can save you a lot of work and grief in the long run.
By comparison Fluval 406 External Filter designed to filter tanks up to 400 litres in size, which is the smallest I would have considered sells for £115 on Amazon, and a bit more any place else that I have found. A Rena XP-2 with a maximum capacity of only 180 litres would cost £145, an Eheim Ecco Pro 300 which can filter up to 300 litres is £99 and a Superfish Aqua Pro 600 Power Filter which will filter a 600 litre tank was £77.64. The Superfish Aqua Pro was only one I considered competitive in price, but it looks quite old fashioned and not nearly as sturdy as the Pond Solutions model, and it does not have the self priming function.
I chose the Pond Solutions filter without the ultra violet sterilisation lamp, reasoning that I have never had one before, I didn't really need it and could thus save £10 plus the extra 9 watts of electric usage 24 /7 for the next several years. In fact I probably do not need ultraviolet sterilisation. I have an established tank which has been running several years and no issues with algae. I tend to use de-chlorine products anyway ( the ultraviolet light can help reduce chlorine etc). But if you are in the process of stocking a new tank UV light can be a life saver, killing many ( but not all) nasty pathogens which can be introduced with new fish. It does reduce bacteria, and therefore may reduce odors. If you are buying for a marine tank - it is an absolute must. If you do wish to buy the model with the UV light please ensure you choose the 1000EF+ which sells for £59.99 as opposed to this model, which is otherwise identical. If buying a larger model, the choice is removed . It will come with the light.
So now that I have squandered 800 words on the decision to buy this, I will finally get on to specifics. The pump for this filter is 18 watts. Measurements ( lifted from Amazon) are : 232 x 232 x 395 mm / 9.1" x 9.1" x 15.6" The unit includes 3 filter baskets and 4 types of filter medium - biochemical cotton, active carbon, bio balls, and ceramic rings. There is some debate as to the use of active carbon in this type of filter. It's active life is fairly short - 6 weeks tops, but you most likely will only open this filter every 4 months or more. I debated whether or not to include it, but went ahead - basically because it was already there. It does help remove chlorine and harmful chemicals or heavy metal in your tap water, as well as reducing odors. If for any reason you must use medication in the tank though, you will have to remove this first. Bio balls and ceramic rings both used to create a growing place for all the good bacteria that break down waste in the tanks. There is some controversy as to which is better, I honestly do not know myself, but with this filter does use both - so it seems your bacteria colonies will have a choice of dwelling place. The cotton of course just filters out debris.
You also get two very generous hoses. Our tank is not on a traditional cabinet, and we do need longer hoses than most, so we were prepared to buy extra hoses if needed. Thankfully it was not, we had plenty of room to spare. Finally you get all sorts of little black pipes, two spray bars - and surprise, surprise, a small skimmer unit. I've never seen this on a freshwater set up before, but what it does is remove any oily residues or scum from the top of the water. Brilliant idea, likely not powerful enough for a salt water tank on it's own, but an excellent addition to a fresh water filter.
The instructions with this filter are in short - rubbish. But it isn't too hard to figure out - There was only one curse word used during setup and that was a certain word used to refer to the instructions, rather less polite than my "rubbish".
Once it was all assembled and ready to go we had a chance to try out the self priming unit. Both my husband and myself had scoffed at the claims of self priming before setting this up. After all our Rena said the exact same thing and it was nightmare to prime. This one really is self priming though, all you do is push a button. It is brilliant - genius, unbelievable. No more spending and hour fiddling about with cups and hoses and everything else to get the thing to work. Nor more flooding the living room floor or trying to feed a garden hose through the window to get the water moving. Just one simple button, only those who have grown accustomed to struggling with an external filter can appreciate this - but this little button is absolutely revolutionary! You will most likely have to push it 3 or 4 times, but that should take less than 30 seconds. My husband says he'd have paid £50 for the button alone had he known it existed. Considering the fact that I lost £100 worth of books once due to a flood when the old filter wasn't primed right - I think I would have too. I know other filters say self priming - but this one really is.
We've had this running a few weeks now. The water is crystal clear and no trace of fishy smell when you open the lid- and I am very sensitive to smells. We had been running an internal filter as well for extra water flow but this is no longer needed. The filter is running absolutely perfectly and is quite honestly the best filter I have ever owned. It is an unusually thick and durable plastic so should last long. I checked online and found replacement parts for this cheaper than the competitors as well should it ever need them. But there is one more feature about this filter I just had to mention - it is silent. Most pumps make a noise and you get used to them. You actually have to open the cabinet to hear this and put your ear next to the pump. I am also overly sensitive to sound and could hear the old pump upstairs as my bed is just above the filter. I think the lack of noise is brilliant as well.
I really can not think of a single flaw with this product. This is so much better than anything I have ever used that I am considering saving up too replace the small internal filters in my sons tanks as well with this brands internal filters. the prices on these are brilliant. I understand this company started out producing supplies for ponds, but when aquarium keepers recognised the quality of the products and the saving to be had, they started buying filters made for ponds at a bargain prices. Many companies would have raised prices. Pond Solutions mass produced the items and reduced prices. This is quickly becoming one of the most trusted names in the aquarium industry and will be the first place I look for any new aquarium kit in the future.
I really wish I could give this 10 stars. 5 seems to be shortchanging them but as I can not go higher I'll have to settle with this.
Following the purchase of our snazzy Bullet-shaped fish-tank (review already written) we wanted to set it up perfectly so spent a little more money and got an external filter.
As this was our third fish-tank (getting bigger each time) we were sick of seeing the ugly filters submerged within the tank and were always horrible to clean. This new tank had a large base with a space perfect for an external filter.
We chose the EF 1000 which is suitable for tanks up to 400 litres so could easily manage our 180 litre tank and would allow us to go bigger if we ever wanted.
Our tank is fresh water however this filter is also suitable for salt water aquariums.
It is a large white unit with a removable lid. This locks into place with four (one on each side) lever locks that keep the unit watertight (so it doesn't leak if it falls over).
There are two long thick plastic tubes that are attached to the filter head and these tubes then thread through the end of our tank base and into the lid.
The dimensions of this unit are: 232 x 232 x 395 mm / 9.1" x 9.1" x 15.6"
[Inlet and Outlet]
The inlet tube is a long black vertical tube with a grate on the end and draws water in from the tank, down the second plastic tube and into the filter. The outlet tube is connected to a spray bar to return the clean, filtered water and increases aeration to the tank. (Ours is situated just above the water line so we get this lovely trickling/babbling brook water effect)
There is a multi-layer filter system in the unit, three gridded baskets stack on top of each other each filled with a different filter media material lined with cotton. By having this three layer system you get a thorough filtration using chemical, biological and mechanical.
The unit came with four types of filtration material - ceramic rings, bio balls, activated carbon and fine filter foam, allowing you multiple options for arranging the filtration as you want it.
There is also a 9W UV bulb included that sits inside the filter within a sealed quartz glass sleeve. All water pumped into the filter goes passed this bulb and the UV sterilises it. These bulbs can be replaced when their lumen-life ends. There is also an indicator light on the top of the unit to let you know when this bulb needs changing.
Setting this unit up was easy enough, take the three trays, put in the cotton liner and then pile up different filter media in each tray on top of the cotton. Stack each layer on top of each other, clicking them into place (making sure to line up the hole in each one where the UV bulb will sit. Fit the bulb and then click the lid back into place and then fix the two thick plastic tubes onto outlet and inlet fixtures and its all packed ready.
When the unit is filled and attached, it is just a case of priming it. This consists of a large push button on the lid that needs to be pumped in and out. By doing this the air is pushed out of both lines causing a vacuum affect that sucks the water into the filter. Once the circuit of water has been completed the system becomes self-sustaining.
It took a little time getting the filter set up and working and then because we are paranoid we checked it every day, making sure the water was going around and nothing was leaking. However when we finally realised it was doing its job we left it alone.
We needed to clean our Internal filters almost once a week to once a fortnight, this external filter can go for months and it is truly noticeable how clean the water is. It has been over 5 months and the external filter still does not need cleaning. The water is crystal clear.
We have just over 20 fish and lots of live plants, gravel etc so there is waste and bacteria in the tank and yet we have had to do so little cleaning, just the usual water change and even then it has been able to go for longer before the water needed changing.
The ease of maintenance really takes the ache out of this chore. To clean the filter you need to first detach it from the inlet and outlet pipes, however this can be done with the release of a tap. There is a drip-free shut off tap that sits between the two pipes on the filter. This shuts the circulation of water off, and then the section where the two pipes connect is just lifted away.
You can then move the unit to where you want to clean it, remove the filter layers and change/rinse the filter material as required. Upon replacing all the pieces and reattaching the pipes, it just needs to be re-primed again to get the water circulating once more.
This comes from AllPondSolutions.com, which is the same place we got our fish tank. The goods arrived swiftly and well packaged, everything was in perfect working order and I find this company to be very reputable.
They supply all the replacement parts such as hoses, filter media material and UV bulbs.
The unit is also given a 12 month warranty.
Flow Rate: - 1000 Litres per Hour
Hose size: - 20mm / 0.8" Outside, 15mm / 0.6" Inside Diameter
Hose length: - 1.8 Metres
Water Volume: - 8 Litres (Approx)
Height Max: - 2 Metres
Voltage: - 220-240v
Power: - 18w
The price at AllPondSolutions is £59.99 which is actually very good for an external filter, especially one that does such a great job
Our original filters always had carbon as other filter media never seemed to fit within the filters. However the problem we have with activated carbon is that it removes large molecules from the water and since our tank is heavily planted, the plant food we add would be filtered out.
So instead of using the carbon we use Superfish glafoam+ instead of the carbon and with the other filter media provided it keeps our water crystal clean. (another benefit of not having to use carbon, if our fish get sick and need medicating we don't have to faff removing the carbon which you would do if you used it, as it filters out the medicine).
We have had our tank set up for months now and barely need to give the filter a second look at the moment. The water quality is excellent, as we have glass mounted monitors and frequently test the water for pH, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia and they are always at the perfect levels.
All our fish and plants are happy and healthy and I would never go back to an internal filter now this handles our 180 litre tank, with its many fish and live plants excellently.