Friday, September 07, 2007

Hagen AquaClear Filters

Some products are just so well designed and versatile that they become the work-horse of their market. The Hagen AquaClear filters are just that. They're cheap, they're dependable, convenient, and they get the job done. I've had my AquaClear for over 10 years now and it still performs as if it were brand new.

The AquaClear line consists of hang-on-back (HOB) filters in diffe
rent sizes that simply hang over the edge of the aquarium, eliminating the need for hoses and space beneath the aquarium to house an external filter. They are a perfect solution for beginners and those short on space. The filters are also extremely economical, ranging from just $22 for a Mini which is rated up to 20 gallons to $65 for a monster 500 which can handle up to 110 gallons all by itself.

The system works by pulling water up through an intake tube via an impeller and pushing it through the filter media and back into the tank via an overflow lip. The media is where the AquaClear filters really shine. Unlike other HOB filters that use cartridges, AquaClear media is held in an easy to remove insert, but each set of media (biological, chemical, mechanical) is it's own individual unit, wrapped up in a mesh bag and stacked one on top of the other. This makes it very easy to clean and prevents shock to the aquarium since you can replace the media one at a time, allowing the bacterial colonies to propogate from the old media to the new. It also spreads out the media over a greater area, allowing longer contact times and improving efficiency. Using your own media is possible, though not as convenient as in a canister filter. The set-up also allows for easy restarts, since the distance the impeller has to pull the water is minimal. All is needed is to fill the filter with water and the impeller will do the rest. The filter also allows the flow to be adjusted by simply shifting the intake tube to the side of the impeller. This is handy during feeding times when you don't want the filter's flow to create a blizzard of food flakes. The lack of tubing and the ever-annoying suction cups (ever done battle with a suction cup inside your tank that just doesn't want to let go?) also makes it very easy to move this filter from one tank to another, making it an excellent choice for a quarantine tank filter or a seeding filter to jumpstart the bacterial colonies in a new tank.

The quality of the plastic used in the filters is a little questionable, but unle
ss you routinely abuse your filter equipment with heavy objects or like to leave it out on the floor to step on, it's not a big deal. The only other qualm users might have is the waterfall style outflow. This can get quite noisy depending on your water level (unless you enjoy the noise of splashing water) and for those of you with CO2 injection of some sort, the water disturbance will cause a lot of CO2 to escape.

If you're looking for a cheap, basic filter that is dependable and convenient, AquaClear filters are definitely a best buy, earning five out of five fish.


Buy Hagen AquaClear Powerfilters at Drs. Foster & Smith now. icon


  1. Amen! I've been using AquaClear filter's for as long as I've been keeping tanks. Though nowadays I have to use different filters for nanos, and cubes have built-in filters, there is no doubt as to which filter I would use if I were setting up a tank with HOB from 10-55 gallons.

    BTW, I love the site. Good design, and the content is almost freakishly focused on the exact areas I'm interested in.

  2. I like the AquaClears, but I had a problem with the 110 developing loud noises in the impeller. I returned the one I had and got another one that developed the same problem. I haven't a clue why.

    I ended up giving up on the 110 but I use the smaller ones on other tanks for some added mechanical and bio filtration.

  3. HI, just thought I should let you know I've created a feed of your blog on LiveJournal:

    I find your blog informative and fun to read so thought I'd spread the word around the LJ fish community and make it easy to access.


  4. I ju8st bought an Azoo Mignon 240. Going by the description of the Hagen, I'd say the Azoo is ok, but not as good! That being said, I've shoved a bit of filter floss in the large empty compartment and its really cleared the water on my new tank with messy substrate. Crystal clear!

    Great site by the way. I'm a recent finder of your blog and intend to follow it more often! Keep up the great work!

  5. I've got AquaClears that I used as a kid on my aquariums, and they're still going strong. They're bad for CO2 injected tanks, but great otherwise.

  6. Thnx for the information i never no there is a cool method other than
    refrigerator water filter


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