What you have here is something that appears to be an identical small pump that has been given three different applications and three different model names, says Jeremy Gay.
The miniUP is a conventional small internal canister filter, pushing up to 300lph (adjustable) and for just five watts. The miniFLAT is designed to be positioned on its back in shallow water, so it’s perfect for paludariums and the skim (pictured above) is a highly effective surface skimmer.
I've tested the UP long-term but it’s just not like an EHEIM! I recall my criteria for internal filter buyers' guides gone by: multiple sponges for alternate cleaning, adjustable output, directional output, room for other media, no channelling through sponges, and ease of cleaning and maintenance.
The EHEIM Aquaball internal filters scored top marks for everything, but this internal is riddled with issues. Yes, there are two sponges and adjustable flow but there is no directional flow, and all the dirt is channelled on to the fronts of the sponges and nowhere else. The suckers are small and poor, and when you go to maintain the filter the head unit and middle bit come off in your hand, when you really just wanted to access the sponges and leave everything else in the tank.
I grew up with EHEIM being head and shoulders above the rest, but I have seen the competition catch up of late. And now for the first time ever, I think they’ve produced a filter that is no better than anyone else’s. It’s worse than some competitors in certain cases.
On a much more positive note the EHEIM skim350 is a superb product. EHEIM led the way in creating surface skimmers for the inlets of their external filters and they did it decades ago. This time they’ve turned the miniUP upside down, fitted a surface skimmer to it and the result is a really well working, really cost-effective surface skimmer that is perfect for planted tanks and marine nano tanks alike, both of which are negatively affected by surface film.
Note that this is not a protein skimmer though marine keepers, and although it will draw protein off the surface of saltwater really effectively, it will just shoot it back into the tank — unlike a protein skimmer that traps and removes it.
The miniFLAT (pictured above) just does what it does. The miniUP is OK but could be much better, and I feel it’s not worthy of the highly esteemed EHEIM brand. It’s clearly a model where value matters, so why not rebrand it as such?
The FLAT is more for the terrapin and amphibian market. That leaves the skim350, which is not only really practical it’s great value — I love it!
They all use the same powerhead though, and it did occur to me that all three plastic bodies could be placed into the same package, meaning that you get three filters in one and loads of applications.
Now that would be EHEIM innovation, but for now the only one I’ll be buying and backing is the skim350.
Price: miniUP £21.08, miniFLAT £21.08, and skim350 £26.35. More info from J and K Aquatics.
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