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This was my very first canister, and definitely going to be my go-to brand in the future :D 

This model is the 370 gph version, I got it on Amazon for about $60. By contrast, the equivalently powered Fluval 406 with almost the exact same gph is currently sold for $177. It's pretty good quality material too for that price, solid plastic with water tight sealing and a dead silent motor. 

Like any canister, it's got tons of room for media. It only comes with a few thin sheets of floss, and the extra media options were a little pricy for my taste. But I just filled it up with cheap bulk floss and biomedia and those are doing the job just fine.

It has a built in UV sterilizer which, while not mandatory for freshwater tanks, I've liked having as an option. I've definitely noticed a reduction in diatoms since I started using it. I probably won't keep it up long term since replacement bulbs every six months would probably add up in cost. But the filter still functions the exact same with the UV switched off.

Two small drawbacks: crummy assembly instructions and no easy way to lift the canister up once it's filled with water. Really could have done with a good handle somewhere on it :/ so cleaning is a bit of an ordeal. The instructions aren't a big deal if you've had a canister before, it's pretty basic and not that different from any other canister, but as my first one I had a lot of trial and error sticking tubes together and figuring out what fit where.

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Mine is perhaps a slightly larger version, again with the UV filter, and it is rated for 2000Litres per hour, which seems to be 528 Gallons.

It has run for three years without fault.

If the instructions are poor (mine came with pretty good English instructions), use foams in the bottom and biological above the foams.

Mine is a rebranded SunSun for the UK Market..

https://www.allpondsolutions.co.uk/AllPondSolutions/media/SiteImages/PDF files/EF1-EF2-EFX-plus-manual3.pdf might be better,

and here is a video about them...

 

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Whoa thanks so much for the link, that's way better. Mine was just one sheet of cryptic diagrams with hilariously mistranslated captions that were basically incoherent :D 

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Updating this about a year later now that I've actually had some significant time with the thing, and also its larger cousin the HW-304B which I picked up a few months ago.

First off is some secondhand info that I've heard from 2 separate people now, that these canisters apparently have an issue with the plastic casing getting hairline cracks and leaking. This usually happens about a year into use. I'm not sure what models this affects, or if it's all of them, or if it's just off brand ones or what? My 303 has made it well past the 1 year mark with no issues and my tank stand is full of moisture alarms anyway so I'm not terribly worried. I also haven't found any better alternatives as of yet, at least in my book, taking into account pricing, power, and suitability for goldfish bioloads. 

Things I've noticed over the last year:

  • It's worth keeping up with the UV sterilizer! I noticed a dramatic improvement in algae with the light running. With my tank being in semi-direct sunlight I can't really escape the diatoms and it really made a difference when I had the light from the new 304 start back up. I think I'll be splurging for the bulbs this time around, it's worth it not to have to bleach/scrub all the decor in a 150 gallon tank so often
  • There's occasionally an issue with the filter emptying faster than it fills, I'm not sure what triggers it exactly. But it'll sound like it's constantly priming, sort of a whoosh whoosh every few minutes, really annoying. Sometimes unplugging and pumping it manually before restarting it will fix it, otherwise taking the top off and opening the impeller housing up and putting it all back together will also fix it. Both filters have done it, I figure it's just a weird quirk in the valves.
    • It's also very important to talk to them sternly while you do this, maybe give them a good kick, let them know you're watching them and aren't gonna stand for any shenanigans in this house. I can attest this is a crucial part of the troubleshooting process. 
  • I'm not sure if the 303 has lost some strength over the last year, or if it just clogs faster now that there's many more fish in there. I probably should clean it more often to see if that helps it but cleaning them really is such a pain, they're hard to drain so I always spill all over the floor :$ It's still running an ok pace though.

The two models are basically the same except the 304 is a good bit bigger and has another media tray. And the intake on the 304 is NOT adjustable, which actually I don't like so much. It's fixed in position so you can vise-clip it to the side of the tank, but that doesn't really work if it's acrylic with a lip like mine. Or if you want it to sit at a different angle or height than the default. The output is also fixed but the spray bar axis pivots a little bit so you can adjust that up and down at least. 

Tl;dr, I'm still satisfied with them. Keeping an eye out for leaks and occasionally give em a whack if they misbehave. But they're still dead quiet 99% of the time and doing a good job of filtering so I'm happy. 

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Me too, just giving the filter a good tilt on occasions will fix the whooshes, for a while, but I ALWAYS get air coming out of the spraybar, and I have many times checked the intake side for leaks, and cannot find any. My spraybar is underwater pointing upwards, to be quiet, but still agitate the surface - I have no bubblers running at this time, since I removed the gravel, but I also live in a cool climate area, so O2 I think is not a big issue.?

3 Years down the line, and still, having thrown the body accidentally onto the driveway (I tried to empty the water and accidentally threw everything - it slipped and flew:() Still not cracks though!

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I also got a similar model recently, don't remember which one it was though :/ It's been working fine so far.

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