Review: Aqua Design Amano Super Jet filter ES-600

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This is one filter you definitely won't want to hide away in a cabinet. Nathan Hill has to have his hands prised off this latest offering from ADA...

This is a thing of total beauty. It’s taken me most of one day just to stop fiddling with this filter. I’d love it to pieces, but short of taking an angle grinder to it, it’ll never be in pieces.

Let’s establish from the offset that if you’re on a budget, or worried about your spend, this isn’t for you. This is like every sports car rolled into one and turned into a filter. It's the Ferrari of equipment — and it costs!

However, if you can stretch to the £650-plus this filter will set you back you’ll have the best canister money can buy. I don’t say that lightly and this is coming from someone who has played with a lot of externals.

You can keep your USB connections, mysterious latches and other trappings of modern filters. All I want is robust, solid reliability and I honestly can’t think of any brand in the UK that could touch this filter for that.

You need to hold the unit to appreciate how weighty it is. You also need to feel the sturdy nature of the fastening clips and metal welded to metal. Nothing will snap off. In 30 years’ time this filter will still have a great sealing top and be just as rugged.

The Iwaki pump that sits firmly on the top drives the filter and as a standalone pump it’s winning the hearts of top-end reefers all over America.

With a power consumption of 13-16w, it’s more energy- efficient than some internals and you get a flow rate of around 350lph. That rates it realistically up to a 60cm/2' tank of about 30-35cm/12-14” high and the same wide. Some sources rate the filter as coping with an even bigger volume, but I wouldn’t push it.

Transformer

However, the pump is rated at a voltage of 100v, not the 220v we have in the UK. To keep things safe, you'll need to run the unit through a step up/down transformer which will cost you about another £20.

With a half-decent selection of spanners you can access the working parts of the pump, but it’s not the kind of design where you just slip off an impeller well cover and yank bits out.

Inside the canister it’s blissfully simple. It’s one huge empty chamber where water draws through the base and flows upward through media.

The downside is that with poor media packing you run the risk of the water channeling through without touching most of the media, but that’s why this is aimed at top-end keepers who think such things through.

The media included is a huge bag of activated carbon (named anthracite) comprising four litres in total, plus two litres of 'bio cubes' which are diced sponge media with excellent surface area.  

You can remove, add, tweak and change any media you choose.

The whole lot is then secured by a smart and functional rounded metal grille, so it’s not getting sucked into the pump.

There’s no mechanism to self-prime and if you refer to the Amano online videos you’ll be horrified to see them suggesting sucking on the pipes to get things moving. There are enough hand-priming mechanisms out there to get around this.

At 18cm/7” in diameter and standing 42cm/17” tall, including the pump, it’s easy enough to slip into a cabinet, but then why would you?

If I had one it would be on show all the time!

Hosing is included, as are the inlet and outlet pipes – all in glass. You even get to choose which size inlet and outlet you want before buying, so that it matches up to your tank.

You even get some hose tails and a pouch of metal polish to remove fingerprint marks.

The seal ring is the kind of thing you could strangle a horse with — it’s that heavy duty! I’d be inclined to lubricate it before use and at maintenance time, but it’s a step up from the flimsy things I all too often see on new canisters.

An obvious point to make, but one I’ll make anyway, is that this filter is only for freshwater use! You may be slathering and thinking how great it would look on your mini-reef, but the first dash of salt is going to devour the poor thing.

My only gripe is about those Japanese electrics that need to be swapped over before use. It's annoying, but there's no way I'd risk this on a full-fat English electrical current.

Verdict

I have never wanted a filter so badly and I know it’ll be the last filter I’ll ever buy, once I can afford one.

This will outlive me, by a long way, and will never let me down. It’s gimmick free and exquisitely-crafted perfection.

Sell the house, sell the car, sell the kids: just get the cash for one of these by any means you can.

Price: £660, available from The Green Machine.

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