Review: Easy Aqua EX500 filter from Aqua Essentials

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Nathan Hill on a new filter that almost has him won over...

This is a midway filter, halfway between a bulky external and a struggling internal. It’s tidy, flows well and has a bundle of features. I almost love it…

There’s one bugbear and you find it the first time you go to clean the filter. The four media chambers inside, in a mixture of biological and mechanical filters, are among the most awkward to open and close of any filter I’ve played with.

They are clipped together firmly, but that’s the issue and they are swines to try to prise apart. Once apart they don’t like slipping back together and the whole exercise is not something I look forward to doing repeatedly.

Aside that, the concept is excellent. At a claimed 500 lph the filter has an ample flow and apart from the inlet and outlet pipes it doesn’t unduly impose on the look of the tank.

You’ll need an open-topped tank to run it, otherwise you’ll have to botch holes into your hood — but for the larger of the small aquascapes this is ideal.

Flow can be controlled by easy-access regulators on both inlet and outlet. You can alter the depth of the outlet pipe and have a choice of spray bar or duckbill for the return.

The duckbill has a Venturi attachment, so users of CO2 can connect up their supply directly to inject into the water flow.

The brackets that hold filter to tank are sturdier than I’d expected, and a rubber ‘bung’ at the foot of the unit means it’s upright and not angled. If you need to shuffle the filter in closer to the tank just slip the bung out and go for it.

Impeller access is almost on a par with getting to the filter media and, with wet hands and no tools or props, prepare to get frustrated trying to get in there.

At 6.9w it’s pretty economical to run and for the inventive aquarist there’s plenty of mileage in tweaking the pipes so it sits further away and even more out of sight.

Verdict

I’m going to take to mine with a pair of cutters to see if I can tweak the filter media compartments, and then I’ll be over the moon.

Price: £39.99.

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