Aquael remind me a lot of how Citroen used to be, when Citroen were trying to be innovative, says Nathan Hill. And just like the Citroen CX my dad bought in the mid 80s, I’m looking at the Midikani filter and thinking ‘is that how it should be, or is that a bit bonkers?’
At a glance, the Midikani is an external canister filter, the likes of which we’ve all seen a thousand times over. Then you look closer and realise that it deviates from typical designs.
You’ll see that unlike almost every other canister in the world, the pump isn’t encased within the hood. No, the Midikani has a separate pump that can sit either inside or outside of the tank. For normal running, you attach it (with provided suckers) either inside or outside one of the glass panes on the aquarium. But you can also secure it underneath the tank or, with a little priming hassle, above the water level — good if you’re setting up a quirky, semi-filled system like a mudskipper tank.
Straight away, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that’s a modification that nobody ever asked for. You’re thinking that a separate pump, with an inlet and an outlet, adds two more potential spots to spring a leak. And you’re probably also thinking that it’ll be extra faff when it comes to maintenance.
Well, maybe. I immediately went in critically too. But then I tried looking at it with kinder eyes, and now I’m seeing a couple of benefits.
For one, if you’re trying to keep water at a very specific temperature, then having the pump outside of the tank is going to reduce the amount of heat being generated. A minor point.
More importantly, I can access the impeller without having to lug an entire canister about. As someone who is hot on impeller maintenance, this is a big plus point for me.
Another big plus point is that (in theory at least) it’ll be a whole lot cheaper to replace one of these pumps if it dies than it would be to change an entire head unit. And, I daresay, a whole lot easier. Can you think of a store that carries all the head units of all the different external canisters? No, me neither.
Aside that, the Midikani behaves a lot like any other external canister. There’s one other innovation that I’m still deciding whether I like or not, and that’s how the port on the top of the canister (where the inlet and outlet attach) doubles up as a flow controller. Turn it completely, and it stops flow altogether, meaning you can open the thing up and do your maintenance without flooding the place.
The model I have is the 800, which relates to the unrestricted flow rate of the pump — 800 lph. In real terms, that equates to a filter flow of about 650 lph. Combine that with the 5.2 l capacity canister, and you have a filter that copes with tanks in the 150 to 250 l range. Obviously, capacity varies based on stocking density — this’ll cope with a typical 180 l community tank, or a heavily stocked 120 l tetra or barb set up, but for a 250 l system, heaving with messy cichlids and wood-munching plecs — you’re asking a lot from it.
Inside the canister you get four trays (1.3 l capacity each) pre-loaded with media: biomedia hoops, zeolite, foam block, and a curious synthetic wool at the top.
Accessing it all is as simple as unclipping the four clips that secure the lid in place. Watch your finger placement when doing this — I caught mine between the clips and thehandle the first time, and swore like a sailor.
Regarding space, the Midikani measures roughly 21 x 21 x 33cm (height last) and comes with 2 x 120cm lengths of inlet and outlet hosing. The power consumption is a mere 6W, and it all comes with two years of warranty as standard.
For the ugly duckling of filters, this is actually a pretty good deal. Considering the price most stores are knocking it out for (roughly £85), it’s on par with other economy models of filter out there, but is frankly a whole lot more flexible.
If you can get your head around the separate pump thing, you’ll adore it. It’s actually a whole lot more user friendly than you’d expect.
Ease of use: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5
Price: Full retail is £114.99, but shop around and you’ll find it in the sub-£90 region.
More info: www.aquael.pl/en