No more simple canister filters?

Glenn407

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Hi everyone. I was doing a filter cleaning the other day on my Magnum 350 and the charcoal canister broke. Considering this filter has been running non stop for probably over 40 years I can't complain at all! It's a testament to it that you can still find a replacement charcoal canister. This got me to thinking it could have been something worse and while I was ordering new O-rings and the mesh insert I began browsing filters. Unless I am missing something it seems that no-one makes a simple media and charcoal filter anymore of this design. All the ones I saw have multiple filtration components and they all appear to be proprietary to that filter.

Did I miss something?

The 55 gallon tank also has a Marineland hangon with two biowheels.
 

jimwg

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No you missed nothing. New filters also just don't last as long as the old ones (like everything else). I have a Penguin 280 (at least I think it's a 280 since the E type clam filter cartridges still fit it but I got it 30 years ago and can't remember what number it is for sure) which just keeps running and running but I've heard some bad things about the new Emperor 400 which I'd likely try it also fitting the E cartridges. I've heard worse about the 450.

I also have a 20 year old Marineland canister for 30 gallon tanks which is presently stored until I re-set up my 20 gallon and I am sure it will fire right up. Though it and my 3 year old AquaTop 400 have the stacked media chambers which I actually like, since you can put anything you want in one even charcoal, even though yes they are only going to fit in their respective filters.
 
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Glenn407

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Thanks. It seems like all these places have decided they can make more money selling the media that only fits their units after you commit to them.
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Charcoal used to be a 'thing', but isn't any more.
Charcoal is great for removing unwanted meds and it's great surface area can make it useful for housing beneficial bacteria.
It can also give your water a 'polish', by removing finer particles.
However...

It's been found that charcoal, to act effectively as a filter, will need constant replacement to be effective and now that we know more about biological filtration, the mechanical filtration of charcoal is less important. (Bear in mind my comment about housing BB above, though).
There was also some suggestion that chemicals absorbed by charcoal will leach back into the water over time, so even when used to remove excess medications, the charcoal will need to be removed, once the task is done.
Rather than stick carbon in a cannister, we now seem to be sticking in media that will house BB, such as the ceramic 'noodles' and sponges.

In terms of filter development, the old airpump-driven filters and Hang-On-Back filters of old, got replaced by the cannister filters, that did sterling work for us...alongside undergravel filters, with powerheads.
Then, I believe, quality internal filters came on the market and these seem to have replaced many of the cannisters, especially for the smaller tanks.

The current trend for built-in filters seems based on the need for an all-in-one tank set-up, where people can make the one purchase, flick a switch and it's all marvellous and ready for fish! More often than not, though, when the hobby then develops further, it often appears that the built-in filters are inadequate and either HOB or cannister filters then make a comeback.
 

AbbeysDad

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Inasmuch as activated carbon adsorbs impurities, it is considered chemical media. However, it is true that it is short lived and may release unwanted contaminants back into the water. It also will remove any ferts used for plants so it's just not practical in any tank with plants.
Although the Magnum 350 is discontinued, it was very popular 'back in the day'. However, it was often finicky to prime and often leaked. It was replaced by Marineland's Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter. I have one and use it here and there as a diatom filter.
In this case, I think (as mentioned) that I also would fill the internal compartment with some type of bio-media instead of activated carbon.
As to the history of filters, a misconception continues. We have been conditioned to think that more filtration is better...and more filtration too often is interpreted as more water flow with either more powerful filters or additional filters. In reality, good filtration is about how well we filter water, not how much or how fast we push water through media. To a point, better filtration might be had with greater filtration surface area rather than greater water flow. A greater surface area allows for both mechanical as well as biological filtration.
So power filters replaced box, bubble up HOBs, and undergravel filters...and typically for larger tanks, canister filters. The truth is that there are pros and cons to all filters and they all work well as longe as they're properly serviced as required.
I'm also not a fan of commercial bio-medias and have found [broken record here] that sponge material is both excellent as mechanical filtration as well as biological filtration. (All of my filters, including my large HW 304-B canister filter, are completely filled with sponge material.)
:)
 
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Glenn407

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Thanks for the replies. Do you have something in mind that I can use in place of carbon in my existing Magnum? I happened to notice that I think my loss in flow was caused more by the carbon mesh being plugged with scum than the media itself being that dirty. Not sure if it's been that way for decades and I never paid attention or if unfiltered water was somehow bypassing a portion of the media.
 

jimwg

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Although the Magnum 350 is discontinued, it was very popular 'back in the day'. However, it was often finicky to prime and often leaked. It was replaced by Marineland's Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter. I have one and use it here and there as a diatom filter.
:)

I had a Magnum HOT for many many years complete with biowheel waterfall attachment. Eventually I got rid of the biowheel and just used the water fall for surface motion and filled the chamber with bio media with a prefilter sponge attached. It worked great though it was a real pain to re-prime if you had to dig into it for any reason.
 

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