Category Archives: Reviews
I have used several powerheads over the course of the last two years. When I upgraded a 20 gallon fish tank of mine to a 40 gallon breeder, it became apparent to me that the current, rather small powerhead I had in use wouldn’t cut it. While reading reviews and looking at price tags of different powerheads, I stumbled across the Hydor’s Koralia line of powerheads.
Hydro Koralia powerheads are a little bit different compared to conventional powerheads, as they use a propeller to push water, not the usual impeller. This design gives off more of an indirect flow of water, instead of the normal direct stream given off by usual powerheads.
The Koralia Nano line (Hydor Koralia powerheads, only “nano”) has models with flow rates of either 240GPH or 425GPH and range in price from $20-28 a pop.
For my 40 gallon breeder, I purchased the 425GPH model. Like all other Koralias, the powerhead uses a combination of vibration cancelling suction cups and in/out of tank sandwich magnets to attach to the glass of a fish tank. Because of this, I have heard very little noise out of my Nano, which is virtually silent overall.
The flow rate of the Koralia is great, and has stayed consistent throughout its use. So far the only problem I have had has to do with the small ball found at the end of the powerhead. This ball is inserted into the a small hole found in the in-tank sandwich magnet/suction cup. This little ball n’ cup joint is what allows one to easily adjust the position of the powerhead. Over time however, the little ball has bent considerably, and has threatened to break on me. As long as I do not take the powerhead and magnet apart however, it should stay intact.
All in all, Hydor Koralia Nano powerheads are a great buy, due to their cheap pricing, overall quality and indirect flow.
“Made in the U.S.A.,” “For hobbyists, by hobbyists.” In the aquarium industry those two statements tend to be rather rare when online stores and aquarium related products are concerned. You can, however find these two promises at RootMedic.com: A hobbyist run online aquarium business.
Why the name, “RootMedic” you ask? Along with the concept of being the “medic” to your plants (and there root systems), the owner (Justin) is also a paramedic himself.
RootMedic started in February of 2010, when Justin, a South Dakota native (a long time aquarist and the man behind RootMedic), decided that it was time to fill a gap. This gap was a lack of specialized aquarium plant fertilizer products designed with the advanced hobbyist in mind, and not the masses. RootMedic’s products aren’t for everybody. They combine strong, consistent results with a level of convenience worth paying for.
RootMedic’s product line is always evolving. It went from carrying a single basic RootCap fertilizer (they’re version of a root tab), to 9 specialized types of RootCaps, 3 different liquid fertilizers and 4 shrimp breeding and care additives, all since early 2010. The newest of which (oneSTEP) came out within the last week.
When describing the 9 different types of RootMedic RootCaps, I used the term “specialized.” This is because that is exactly what comes to mind when you see the list of the different RootCaps. When dealing with fertilizing plants, this make perfect sense. Certain plants require certain specialized nutrients. Lack of iron is the Achilles heel of Amazon swords. Want your Rotala to look a little redder? Adding some phosphates will probably get you the lush hue you desire. Whether your plant requires extra iron or maybe peat moss around its roots, RootMedic is the place to go.
What if you have some riparium plants planted on a trellis raft, or maybe some java fern that could use some nutrient “oommff.” what about them? RootCaps (or tabs) won’t be much help to you here. This is why RootMedic also has liquid, water column dosing solutions.
Although I am not partial to them myself, some people are really into spineless aquarium pets (aka, shrimp!). BacterBio Balls (bio-film buffets), Mineral Rocks (got to keep those exoskeletons hard!) and various other mineral additives are available from RootMedic to keep your many-legged shrimp friends happy.
I placed an order with RootMedic for a Macro 250 liquid fertilizer, a Micro 250 liquid fertilizer, 25 Complete Original RootCaps, 25 Complete+ RootCaps, 25 proSand RootCaps and 20 Tourmaline-P Rootcaps. The 500ml of liquid fertilizers, 95 RootCaps and shipping came out to a grand total of $91. Not at all bad considering that the individual RootCaps last 6-8 months a piece.
Every package from RootMedic is sent via USPS Priority mail, and is usually received in less than a week. Mine arrived after 5 business days.
Now just a quick note, although my order was received in such a short time, there are several cases that I know of were the package arrived up to 2 weeks late. This is usually because of either a slight error (or overtime work shifts) on RootMedic’s part, or the USPS making “Priority” not so much of a priority. When this does occur however, extra goodies along with an explanation and apology is often included with the late order.
On receiving my package, I was deeply impressed with several things. First being the professional feel given off by the packaging of the RootCaps. The individual bags and glossy labeling almost put the old packaging of my API root tabs to shame. Second, when it came to the liquid dosing, there was no measuring! I didn’t have to take up 10 minutes of my day taking teaspoons of certain liquids or powders and adding them to my tank. With the pump dispensing bottles from RootMedic, simply press, and you are done!
The day that the products arrived, I started use of them, immediately. I have the different RootCaps placed according to the suggestions found at the RootMedic website (along with several in my Riparium Supply Planters). For liquid dosing, I am following an easy print-out sheet available at the RootMedic website. Because barely any time has elapsed between the date I started using RootMedic, and right now, I am going to make this a two part review. So be sure to tune in later for the “Before and After” portion of the review!
Final Thoughts (aka Summary)
RootMedic is a well put together U.S.A based business. It brings specialty (and basic) aquarium fertilizing additives to the table, allowing one to cater to the specific needs of their aquatic plants. And they do this while keeping their prices competitive (about 50 cents per “standard” (Complete Original) RootCap). Shipping, though on occasion hit or miss (but always ending in you getting what you ordered, maybe just a little late) is generally reliable. Their customer service is grand, while their products over all get a solid “A.” All in all, I highly recommend RootMedic.com!
Filtering nano aquariums has always been a problem for me personally. Either I had too much flow, or too little filtration. This was one of the problems I had when finding a filter for my 2.5g betta (Betta splendens) tank. This is where the Tom Aquarium Products Internal Filter comes in. I bought this filter for $15 at a large chain petstore. The filter boasts a circulation rate of 45 gallons per hour, though, thanks to a small fail-proof mechanism in the filter catridge, it is adjustable. The filter comes in two main parts: The head/pump and the filter cartridge. The cartridge is a small perforated plastic box made out of flimsy plastic that is filled with filter foam, and a very small compartment of activated carbon. The cartridge attaches to the bottom of the head. At the top of the head, there is an output hole. This is where one can place one of the two included output attachment. The two attachments are a smaller spray bar and a V-shaped tube. These allow one to play with the configuration of the water flow around the tank (ie, more surface agitation, less flow, etc). One can clean and customize the media inside the cartridge. When one breaks/wears out however, three packs of new cartridge are available online and at certain chain petstores.
The filter as a whole is decent in the beginning. Unfortunately, over time, it clogs very easily. Also, the way that the cartridge attaches to the head is rather shifty, as it is way to easy to take apart (at least, in my opinion).
Although the price and output attachments are appealing, the filter on a whole does not operate well, do to excessive clogging and lack of decent media. I do not recommend this product for long-term use. For a quick quarantine tank use, definitely.
Ever wanted your tank to have a cleaner look? So that when you look into your aquarium, you see plants and fish, and not a honking filter and heater? Well combine a canister filter with a Hydor Inline heater, and your problem is solved!
One thing about inline heaters kinda flummoxed me for a while, what does inline mean! Well simply put, inline means that you attach it in place of some of your canister filter’s tubing. This means that water, after going through your canister goes through the heating element of the heater. This means that instead of having a big Stealth heater taking up space in your tank, you can have a Hydor take much less in your stand! The Hydor ETH also heats your aquarium much more evenly when compared to in tank heaters which heat only the small portion of water that it comes into contact with.
The heater itself is positioned inside a black and blue plastic case, with a very easy to read temperature changing knob. The heater also sports a small red light that turns on whenever the heater is doing its job.
I have had my Hydor (200w, 5/8″ input version) for about two month, and I have been loving every second of it! My aquariums water stays at a very consistent 73* Fahrenheit, which is what I have it set to.
Hydor sells several different version of the ETH inline heater, all of which vary in wattage and input/output size. When buying, remember to purchase the version that not only has the proper wattage for you tank, but also has the right input/output tubing size as your canister!
Budget wise, the heater is not very expensive, usually running a solid $40-50 depending on where you buy.
In all, I highly recommend the Hydor ETH inline heater for its solid performance, no in-tank space and price!
Ever wanted a nice piece of equipment that wouldn’t break the budget? One could do a tank with knockoff filters and heaters for very cheap. But as always, “You get what you pay for.” Or do you? After reading several positive reviews for the “SunSun” HW-302 canister aquarium filter from Ebay, I decided to break the ice and not my budget. Before I tell you about the canister, I need to fill you in on where you can get it, and where it is manufactured. The reason the brand name “SunSun” is in quotes, is because the brand changes. Some people will order the same filter for the same price as another person, but when they both get them, one will be by “SunSun” or Perfect or a host of others. You still get the same filter, just different “brands”. The filter itself is manufactured in Asia, and has about the same design as the Marineland C-series filter and the JBJ filter. It has even been speculated that they are made in the same factories. Though, that is rather far-fetched in my opinion. On to the review!
About a week after buying the “SunSun” HW-302 for a whopping total of $46 shipped to my door, I got the package in the mail. The filter box was wrapped in a large layer of bubble wrapping and was inside another box, larger box for shipping. Everything arrived in tact and in great condition. Setup is fairily easy, as long as you have prior canister filter experience. This is due to the fact that the instructions are in “Engrish” (aka very bad Chinese, English). This is why I recommend reading up on canisters before you set the 302 up. Like any canister knowing how to set it up will save you time, tears, and the pain of cleaning your wet floor. Anyway, included with the filters itself are three baskets for media, three rather thin plastic floss pads, a couple of feet of green 5/8in tubing, inflow with optional surface skimmer (a great thing to have, especially in ripariums. Surface scum gone in a snap!), double, quick disconnect, and a two piece spray bar. The in and out flows are black and very easy to hid. There construction is pretty good. Maybe just a little flimsy when compared to the concrete EHEIM in/outflows, but they serve their purpose very well. The media containers are not built the best, and can fit rather snuggly, but they work and provide plenty of space for all media.
Now to the canister. The canister is white with blue and grey accents. The canisters head has a large “press-to-prime” prime button that is very easy and effective, for at least the first time. The quick disconnects use two rotating heads to which the tubing is attached. To stop the flow through the filter, simply pull and a lever and you’re done! The filter is on the quiet side, but in my case not dead quiet. Several others “SunSun” users report that their HW-302’s are dead quiet. Even quieter than an EHEIM Classic. All in all, it is quiet, but not silent. The flow rate for the HW-302 is advertised at 265GPH, which is about right when it is filled with media. To secure the filter head to the canister the filter uses four “locks” so to speak that highly resemble those used on Fluval canister filters.
Cleaning wise, my waters is crystal clear. I have this baby on my 40g breeder with a Hydor inline heater, and it is great. The flow rate is rather low for my setup, but with the addition of a powerhead, everything is great.
All in all, the “SunSun” HW-302 canister filter is a decent buy. Great if you want a good canister filter that won’t break the bank! Click here if you would like to check these babys out!