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I just set up my new Seachem Tidal 110g filter. I'm very impressed so far. Solidly built, quiet, big area for media and several ways to adjust flow. It only came with a sponge - which has really big pores, I might add a finer sponge too if crud is getting through - and a smallish bag of Matrix Bio Media that fills about 1/3 of the available space. I added some bioballs and ceramic noodles because they were my cycled media.

One thing that seems unique to me is that there is a skimmer built in and you can adjust whether all the water goes to the skimmer or only part. You can't turn the skimmer off completely but I don't think that's a problem.

You can also balance the whole filter so it sits evenly on the side of the aquarium, not tilting forward or back, by adjusting a little wheel. This affects how the water falls out of the filter so may affect oxygenation/surface agitation.

Lastly you can adjust total outflow which I've done so my goldfish don't have too much current. When the outflow is turned down there is more flow through the media so you're not decreasing total filtering. I'm not sure I understand that but it sounds good. :) 

So I'm very happy! 

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When you lower output flow it makes the water being sucked up get cycled through the media longer and is supposed to increase the efficiency of the filter despite the decrease in flow. I believe it is a way for the filter to not sacrifice filtering performance for lower flows (or something like that); the Aquaclear filters are supposed to do something very similar but the flow control is likely not as fancy or refined as the new Seachem filter.

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Update - Still really liking this filter. A few quirks though. When I have it leveled on the side of my tank and fill the tank all the way up the water covers the top of the skimmer so it doesn't skim. Not a huge problem to lower the water level by an inch but I don't really need much skimming - mostly to get dust and cat hair off the surface :).

Secondly, when I turned the flow down all the way it doesn't filter enough - my water started looking dirty. So it may provide good enough circulation for the bacteria to thrive but it doesn't really filter well on low. I have it turned up and my guys seem ok with it - they have a quiet corner to sleep in which I was most worried about - so I haven't tried using intermediate settings.

Thirdly, the mechanical filtration sponge it comes with has quite large pores and I've added a finer sponge layer to do a little more aggressive cleaning. Dirty goldfish :) 

Overall still very happy. Extremely quiet - oh that's another thing. They've made the water output so it's completely silent. My Aqueon filters made a little waterfall noise which I liked. This filter just has a quiet hum of the motor. I used the waterfall noise in my meditating but the hum works ok too.

 

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