Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
A bare bones workhorse of a filter...
on November 18, 2013
These have been around a long time. They are pretty much all I need in a HOB power filter, they move tons of water, the media compartment is roomy, and they come apart easily to clean up if the impeller slows or starts making noise. The lift tubes can be extended as far as needed with added pieces and the strainer style is good at removing larger debris without clogging too rapidly. The lift tube is easy enough to pull out and clean off when it is clogged. Replacement impellers are readily available (and will be eventually needed since these just keep running forever). The price is appropriate, unlike a lot of power filters now marketed. A low watt motor attached to a plastic box just shouldn't cost all that much.
That said, if you want the "kit" , meaning you intend to use the manufacturer's media cartridges, then pass on the Whisper line. "Bio-Bag" cartridges are possibly the worst filter media out there. The floss bag is thin, poor at filtering finer particles, and needs replacing far too often just to maintain mediocre performance. As a receptacle for carbon (which you may or may not even care to use) it fails since most of the carbon will be at the bottom of the bag and bypassed anyway. Without carbon, the bag itself is virtually useless as filter media and the plastic/fiber "bio mesh" is only barely adequate for the size tank this filter is intended.
There are clamshell frames available that fit this filter and allow use of your own floss/media. You can also simply cut some good quality reticulated sponge to size and have a fine filter with permanent mechanical and bio media that simply requires an occasional quick rinse in tank water.
I have at least a dozen of these running 24/7, many for several years now, and I've yet to have one quit.*(see below) They aren't always the quietest, but not bad. The impellers do get worn and noisy and have to be periodically replaced to quiet it. For good flow, the right price, and a long life you can't go wrong. Just don't expect much if you use Tetra's media in them.
02/06/2015 After many years of use I emptied a couple of tanks with one of these filters on each. Both tanks remained empty and dry for a couple months and when I filled them again and restarted the filters the O-ring seal between the motor and the case completely gave out. I had pushed the impeller into place a bit forcefully, something I've done many times before without issue but never on a previously dry filter. What happens is water begins dripping out of the bottom of the filter casing around the small motor and down the cord (and into the wall socket if god forbid you don't have a drip loop). Potentially a very messy situation since the filter has excellent pull and will continue to bring in water until about half the tank is empty. I don't consider this a reason to lower the rating since I should have known better than to let any, let alone such an old seal dry out, and if I wanted I could reseal them. I chose to toss both, they gave me more than my money's worth. I just wanted to add this heads up to warn anyone as addle brained as I was to not make the same mistake, and to check for any leaking whenever you remove and replace the impeller-intake tube assembly. It's still a fine filter.