An internal canister filter for just over a tenner? Nathan Hill checks out this new budget offering from All Pond Solutions.
All Pond Solutions has delighted me in the past with affordable gear for aquarists on a shoestring. I’ve fallen in love with lights, external canisters and old-school, air-driven internal foam filters. But I’m oddly ambivalent about this canister.
At time of writing, the pump is reduced down to just over £10, which for a 600 lph canister in today’s market, is pretty damned awesome. However, in this instance, I’m not immediately wooed.
All the basics are there. The unit feels sturdy, and it has enough physical presence to inspire confidence. It looks big enough to cope with a 60cm/24in or even 80cm/32in tank with ease. It stands just under 22cm/8.8in tall, and is weighty, as I’ve come to expect of competent internals.
There are also a couple of nozzle options, allowing the addition of a venturi if you want, or a smallish hosetail if you fancy using it to power something else. It’s gutsy enough to cope with something like a small UV on the back of the tank at a real push.
The bracket holding it in place is sucker-based only, and having seen this kind of sucker before, I’d give them maybe eight months in a hardwater area before they start to scale up. That’s actually not too bad a run.
Inside the canister the media is foam based. You could probably improvise if you wanted, squeezing in some biomedia or carbon, but you may end up impairing the function. Primarily, it’s designed with that dual mechanical/biological foam in mind, I suspect. The only problem there is that the compartment housing the foam is clear, and anyone who knows their nitrifying bacteria will tell you that light and biological bacteria aren’t a good match.
Getting to the media for maintenance involves either pulling the whole unit out of the water, or detaching the filter compartments in the tank and removing just those. Whichever you choose is straightforward, and the foams are easy to access.
What I don’t like is the flow controller and impeller. Both seem brittle, but the former is just outright precarious — a piece of thin plastic that bevels on an equally brittle holder. In fact, I just opened my sample model again to have a look at it, and the controller has fallen out, like it does every time. Only now it’s somewhere in a pile of junk by my desk and the device has no flow control. That’s what I don’t like — one mistake and you’re stuck up the creek.
Either way, if you’re in the market for a cheap, gutsy canister, or need a quick, inexpensive temporary replacement, then this is your model right here. Just open it like you’re opening the tomb of a long dead Pharaoh, and watch eagle-eyed for anything that drops out.
Cheap as chips, functional and full of flow. I just wish I still had the working parts of mine.
Ease of use:
Value for money:
Usually £11.99, but £10.19 at time of review.
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