When I started the aquarium at home, I first managed with the built-in filter, but began to read articles on the Internet, and realized that I was missing great opportunities. Firstly, it took me out every week to remove and clean the built-in filter (Aquael FAN Filter mini plus), secondly, biological filtration, as it turned out, is extremely important; external devices are best coped with this task. Moreover, the word "filter" here does not have something 100% common with purifiers, for example, for drinking water. The water in this aquarium fixture in a fairly large volume passes through various components, and is purified, predominantly, not mechanically, but by bacteria (toxic nitrogen compounds turn into safe).
Nevertheless, I saved, and purchased a new device of the old model. It was supplied in a large cardboard box with a handle, the kit included detailed instructions in many languages, all the necessary fastening elements (suckers, tubes, adapters, hoses) and the cleaning fillers themselves.
The assembly took about an hour, because I was warned that there could be a leak, and then you won’t end up with problems. I assembled it in such a way that it has been a year now, but it has not flowed through me!
It looks like a filter in working condition. Firstly, it is very convenient that there is a handle on top – it is easy to move and carry with it. It is inserted inside when carrying is not required. Here she is in a raised position. By the way, next to the pen in the photo you can see a round black button – it is used for effective launch. I will write about this at the end.
The second thing I liked was the green faucets that regulate the flow of water (the pump always rotates at the same speed, but the width of the duct is governed by these valves). And when I need to remove the filter, without touching the hoses, then I block these green things and take out the hose assembly, and the lower part goes to the flushing.
Inside the aquarium are installed in the kit plastic tube. The suction of water takes place through the grate, for a whole year I did not wash it, it was overgrown with dirt from inside, but this does not poison me, so I left it as it is. Fishes and other inhabitants are not taken inside, the grass also usually keeps out, and I clean it when cleaning.
Water enters through a different plastic pipe, and a “flute” is provided – a pipe with a series of holes so that the purified water creates flow and better mixes the layers of the aquarium throughout its volume. However, my design of the cover (the lamp did not fit) began to interfere with the installation of the "flute", and I took it off. Now just a trickle pouring inside. You can pay attention to the introductory knee black rubber gasket – such little things are thought out, so that the water does not flow ahead of time)
By the way, about the flute, I also want to say that the cork at its end, after six months of operation, decreased in size and stopped holding on, from which the flute became useless – the water left the end of the tube.
The hoses of this filter are not super, with time they are covered with brown bloom from the inside and become solid (faded). There is mobility, if you move something, you can, but carefully and cautiously. I met on sale brand brush to clean the hoses, but again, I still do not see the point. And, by the way, quite expensive – 400 rubles!
In this case, the inverted Tetra logo should not confuse anyone, the purpose of the photo is to show the hose and its color. At first the hoses looked like ordinary transparent silicone.
With the head removed, the filter looks like a rectangular bucket with baskets in which cleansing fillers lie. Cleaning takes place from the bottom up – dirty water flows immediately down, and the pump sucks it through three baskets.
It looks like the bottom of the filter head. In the center of the plastic mount hides the impeller pump – ingenious design with a magnet that rotates in a magnetic field, chasing water with its blades. I read a lot that this impeller, having a ceramic shaft, wears off for three years, and it is also fragile, and you can damage it when cleaning, so be careful!
Since the filter should work without interruptions (there are live bacteria that always want to get dirty water – they only live off of the flow of water), it becomes important how much the filter consumes. I like the fact that his requests are modest – just 10 watts. At the same time, it pumps about 600 liters per hour, although it seems to me that it is already a little less, since my hoses and tubes are dirty.
When working, the device almost does not make noise, we sleep next to it, and absolutely do not notice its slight rumbling-buzz.
What bothered me most about this filter was the Tetra FF fine gasket. In fact, it is a synthetic winterizer, cut into the required shape with some slits. The instruction requires regular replacement of this gasket with a new one every month. The first few months I bought it regularly, but there is a branded box with two gaskets about 200 rubles! Then I tried to buy a synthetic winterizer "by weight" and cut it, and now I took it off altogether, and nevertheless I am satisfied with the filter cavity.
Under the thin filter is a large sponge.
We remove the upper basket, and if we don’t drain the water, the bio-balls immediately appear – plastic balls, ribbed from the inside, with a well-developed surface area. There, the majority of nitrifying bacteria settle in them.
It is recommended to rinse these balls not with running water, but with the very "working out" – the liquid pumped out from the aquarium. All because of concern for microorganisms, chloramine is contraindicated.
A third one is located under the second filter basket, the latter for this filter model. In it bioceramics are cylinders of finely porous material, microscopic tenants are also settled in the pores, who "eat" what flows into the filter from the aquarium.
The manufacturer recommends changing such fillers once a year, and, fortunately, there is no reference to the type, brand and so on. Therefore, you can experiment and add fillers of other brands.
When assembling filtering baskets, it is necessary to observe the recommended order, and most importantly – to follow the orientation, for which there is an arrow on the handle of each basket, which should coincide with the similar arrow on the filter housing.
In principle, as you understand, the maintenance of this filter is a simple matter. I really like that it requires little attention, but it does a great and important job. The water in the aquarium is clear, transparent, without turbidity, greenery, suspensions. I replace 20% of the water every week, pouring out the old one and pouring in a new one.
I’ll tell you a little about the introduction of the filter into operation (whether it is new or after cleaning). When all baskets are installed, the hoses are connected and the water can already fill the machine, you should lower the filter itself below the water level in the aquarium (I put it on the floor) and open the green valves. The water itself in the filter does not immediately flow, so you need several times carefully, but strongly press the start button. It is mechanical, and clicking on it will entail pumping water through the inlet hose. After everything boils and the water reaches the pump impeller (you will notice this, because the turbulence subsides), you can turn on the filter in the socket – then he himself will begin to work with the electromechanical "heart" of your aquarium. The first few minutes or even hours after launch, you can hear cavitation sounds from the filter – air bubbles will make a noise when you circle the impeller. To get rid of this problem, you should gently slightly incline the working filter from side to side.
I heard about two problems associated with the pumping button – first, someone stuck to it in the depressed position, and second, someone started to leak water between the button and the case. Maybe I was too careful, but with my filter there was no such thing.
After the purchase, I began to compare my filter model with other similar Tetra filters, and I found an interesting detail. In the product line there are EX800 and EX1200 models, but in principle they differ little from mine. From the increasing numbers in the title, of course, it is clear that they pump 800 and 1200 liters per hour, respectively. And there are different quantities of baskets with cleaning fillers, in my three, and in the other four. That’s the whole difference, but the differences are striking in price! I think that for a 250-300 liter aquarium I would put two of my filters than one EX 1200, however, this is a personal matter for everyone.
I recommend to consider this filter as an option for external filtration of water in your aquariums. I think you will be satisfied! Besides, once after the treatment I tried to put a bag of aquarium with activated carbon and the water just became perfectly transparent – with such internal tricks it’s almost impossible to do!