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on June 30, 2014
I have used Fluval, Eheim, and Penn-Plax Cascade canister filters in the past. This filter seemed to offer an excellent value for what it offered. However, there are a couple of major drawbacks associated with it.

This filter is not packed well for shipping. This isn’t the fault of Amazon but rather the manufacturer. The canister lid should be encased in Styrofoam but it is not. As a result, one of my filters ended up with a cracked off clasp assembly and the other ended up with a crack by the seam where one of the clasps is located. These are not user repairable such that the integrity of the filter will be preserved. Having two out of two suffer this problem is unacceptable. I would imagine a good number of customers will experience the same issue, as the way the filter is packaged almost asks to be broken in transit.

The filter, itself, suffers from a flaw where it may not fill completely with water and a good amount of air will be trapped at the top of the unit. There is a good YouTube video showing how to remedy this: [...]

This problem should have been discovered and corrected prior to the product being released for retail sales.

As others have mentioned, the unit may be finicky with the quick disconnect. Either too much or too little pressure may cause it to leak.

The company should do right by customers and extend a free replacement (including postage both ways) for what appears to be clear design defects. The company that makes these filters was bought out by a larger entity. If you discover these issues after having past the return period, I hope that they will make good on their warranty.
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on May 20, 2015
I've had aquariums, salt and fresh, for a number of years. Rena Filstar filters have been used on several of my tanks in the past. After a couple of years without aquariums, I decided to try freshwater planted aquariums. Immediately, I ordered a Filstar XP-M for a 29 gallon. No problems and it is still running. However, when setting up a 75 gallon aquarium a few months later, I had problems from the start with the larger XP-L. The first cannister came with a clasp broken off the body. The replacement filter ran for two weeks and the flow went to near nothing. After a complete and thorough cleaning, the filter still have a very weak output. I called Amazon and they sent another replacement. Again, a clamp was off and there was a rattle in the motor head. The clamp was not broken so I snapped it back in place. However, that corner clamp had a leak when I started the filter. This time, the filter goes back and I search for a different filter.

It is unusual for me to leave feedback or reviews, but I felt this warranted a review. Three filters and bad experiences with all three. I do believe shipping mishandling caused some of the problems with the broken pieces, but the second filter was intact but lacked power after a couple of weeks.

The overall quality of the API Filstar is not as good as the old Rena filters. For those who don't know, API purchased the Rena filter several years ago. Evidently, the result is a cheaper product being sold. It's a shame because this filter was a great alternative to some higher priced canister filters on the market.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2014
This is an easy to use and easy to maintain filter......clean it in about 10 min every two weeks and your water will stay crystal clear. Look on youtube to see tutorials on users that demonstrate their setup and maint processes.
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on October 30, 2013
I bought this filter after using a Penguin 200 and a Fluval 306 on my 75g tank. I was very happy with the 306 and started looking at the 406 but it was a little too expensive at this time. I remembered seeing the Filstar at Petco a few months ago and went back to take a look. I have been running the filter for a week and my tank is as clean as ever. I not no longer have the water trickle sound from the HOB but still don't hear this one, which is a good thing. I would say that is fairly quite. I was disappointed that it did not come with a Spraybar but was able to fabricate on that seems to work.

Since this is rated for a 175g aquarium it puts out a pretty hefty current and there is no flow control. I always had the 306 opened all the way but being able to control the flow was nice. This is an option they took off of this filter a couple of models ago.

Pros:
Price. Amazon has this at $105. Well worth the money
Flow rate and GPH. The Fluval 406 is only rated at 90g and the next step up is the FX6 rated at 400 gallons. This filter sits nicely in the middle
Easy set up.

Cons:
Not as well made as the Fluval which feels considerably more durable. My first Filstar arrived with a cracked case and Amazon replaced it but the fact remains that it would take a ton of punishment to break the Fluval.
It only comes with half of the media you need. When you buy you will need to order more bio stars, more charcoal and more 20 and 30 ppi filters.

That is all. Nice filter, especially for the money.
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on October 16, 2013
If your water level is lower than the outtake tube, a quick fix is to wedge a bit of the tubing on it so it flows directly into the water. If you don't, this filter sounds like you are filling a bathtub into your tank. This isn't a problem with a product, though if you keep turtles it could be helpful. Or any other animal where the water level wouldn't be at the very top. The outtake only extends three or four inches down. It did seem to overpower a few feeder fish I had in there, so you may want to be careful with smaller fish. The intake didn't bother them.
I would recommend buying more biomedia with it, I can't see the five pieces included doing any sort of filtering, though they may hold a fair amount of bacteria. They are a bit rough, but not porous.
As well as some different sizes of foams, the one included is fine for what I have it set up to do now (it's filtering about 10 gallons of water temporarily), though for the 55 gallon it may struggle. (The setup if for a turtle, not fish.)
The filter runs very quietly, you wouldn't notice it with any sort of background noise. I have very sensitive hearing, it should be silent for most people. The hum of my laptop fan is quite a bit louder, the ticking of a clock is around twice as loud as well.
There are only enough grips for the tubing for one tank setup, if you plan on switching setups you will need to buy more. Tubing as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2015
I love this filter. I have been using the medium version for my turtle tank for years now. I upgraded to the large just to have extra insurance, but in realty, I probably did not need it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2009
I agree that this filter system is a quality product. This was my first aquarium filter system and I did my homework to make sure I bought a problem free and effective system for my new red-earred slider and fish friends. I live in Hawaii close to sea-level, so my 100 gal Rubbermaid stock tank is my outside aquarium on blocks under a tree. It's necessary to follow all directions. One of the most important is to keep the filter at the correct level below the water level. I have my tank on 3 rows of cement blocks and still had to dig a hole where my XP3 sits inside a 10 gal bucket. I went overboard with too many fish, but the filter still had no problem keeping all critters healthy and the turtle spends most of his time chasing his girlfiend red koi and basking on an island made out of PVC and coated chicken wire. I only have to change the mechanical filters monthly, and only the micro (white) filters cannot be reused. To keep algae down I added a UV filter. I find that the nitro-zorb, bio-zorb, and phos-zorb packets that Rena makes keep the water very clean. 16 months now and my XP3 is still quiet and efficient. I liked it so much I bought a spare. I see that the price is going up, so, since these turtles live over 40 years, maybe I should get yet another while I still have a job!
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on March 5, 2011
I bought this filter to replace two Marineland Emperor 400 hob filters on my 75 gallon community tank. I have only had it set up for a month but I am amazed at how quiet it is! I read reviews that stated the plastic clips broke easily or that it was difficult to assemble. It did take longer to assemble than I expected, but unless you have a faulty product or are trying to force pieces together that aren't meant to go together the fittings shouldn't break.

Admittedly I have only had it set up for a month but I am very happy with this filter. My water looks fantastic, my fish are happy and my living room is much quieter than it was with the two hob filters.

Edit - April 2013
I have now had this filter for over two years and it still runs like a champ. I have had less time to clean my 75 gallon and have only cleaned the filter once but the tank still looks great. It is still quiet and all the pieces are still entact. I have only had to prime the filter once and that was after the cleaning, otherwise it primes itself (we have had several storm related power outages these past two years. My hob filters always required priming in order to start up again.) I still highly recommend this filter.
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on March 22, 2014
Excellent clarity, great flow, versatile, quiet, efficient, and very simple to clean. I wanted our aquarium to sit next to the wall, rather than 4 inches away to allow for a hang on the back style, that meant getting a canister filter. We have a heavily planted, 55 gallon brackish aquarium with more invertebrates than fish. The high flow really helps the water circulate well, and does an amazing job of filtering. We have the L model, which means there 6 separate chambers in the filter allowing you to customize your filtration/treatment needs. The media selection is great, and inexpensive. There is a bit if a learning curve in understanding how best to prime it after a cleaning, but it's simple enough. The lid removes completely, so you never have to disconnect the hoses when cleaning or changing media. The only aspect that ever concerns me is the durability of the 4 latches, I've had no issues with them, but I take great care when opening or closing the unit. I'd read other reviews before I purchased it, and owning it for several months I would say the bulk of the review complaints are due to "user error", not mechanical failure. Handled properly, it will serve you( and your fish) very well.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2013
Because my first one worked so well for the past 10 years, I purchased another, when the first finally died.

Just plugged in the motor and done!!
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