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Coming at this from someone who still uses their stock HOB.

I'd say biggest advantage of the Aqua Clear($89) is, after looking at the dimensions, it looks like it has more space for media which means longer periods between maintenance or at least more options in terms of layering your media.

SeaChem($68) is obviously less expensive but not so much I wouldn't consider the other option if it better suited my needs. It also mentioned in the product description something about an optional clip for attaching a heater. That could be a good selling point if you've been wanting someway to discretely integrate your heater into your filtration, though I have no personal experience with that sort of thing. I also prefer the flat bottom intake opposed to the pointed one of the AquaClear since my medium porous prefilter has no bottom to it.

What annoys me is there's no gph listed, I'd like to know what the flow rate would be since I have an awkwardly tall tank and need something that's going to provide adequate downward flow to all corners and I'd rather not have to trust their estimates on what is acceptable.

Probably the Seachem for me since I pretty much use my HOB to stir my water. If I needed more media capacity I'd go with the AquClear.

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Well I don’t have or have ever had or used the SeaChem filter.  I have used and own a couple of the AquaClear.  In fact I have one that is about 20 years old.  And still running.  20 years ago they called it the AquaClear 500.  I guess it moves around 500 gallons per hour. I think with regular maintenance most filters will run for years - many years ….   
Good Luck 

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What’s funny….  My favorite HOB filter is everyone else’s least favorite.  I love the Marineland Bio-Wheel filters. My favorite is the Emperor.  
 

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Aqua clear all the way.

I have both, still use both. But got rid of a tidal 110 after it died. The surface skimmer on the seachem is not good, the filter chamber is smaller and the pump is not as reliable in my experience. The aqua clear has a larger chamber so way more flexibility in usage, easier to work with and more reliable. There’s a reason the Aquaclear HOB are so popular.

I wonder though if you can find it cheaper? That price seems high. 
 

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Another vote for the AquaClear. 
 

Tidal: motor in the water - not needed, the skimmer - not needed, the blue pieces on it - not needed; and looks bad imo. The 'tab' that pops up when you need to service it - not needed. 
 

The Tidal could've been great; and they just did a lot of annoying things with it imo. 

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On 5/24/2022 at 11:16 AM, Zachariah987 said:

Ac 110 or sc 110

Aquaclear:
-Cheaper
-Less Reliable
-Louder
-More difficult to maintain (see below)
-Extremely old design with flaws.
-Very bad flow adjustment
-Restarting issues with Impeller design

Seachem:
-"nicer" (preference thing)
-Issues with bypass (see thread below)
-SO QUIET
-Amazing pump, awesome warranty and customer support. I had them send  a pump out within 5 minutes of talking to support.
-Restarts easily when power goes out
-Flawless flow adjustment

Regarding my experience with both...

For the seachem, please review my notes in this thread.  You're going to have bypass.  You're going to be annoyed at the skimmer but it's fine and not a big deal.  The only reason to suggest against the tidal is because if you have small or flat bodied fish, they can get stuck against it when they are sleeping. That being said, if that's a concern, I'd still recommend it and use silicone on the skimmer to close it off.  The basket makes it so easy to clean, the flow warning actually works, the flow adjustment is the best one you can find.  Unfortunately, getting past the skimmer for some is a dealbreaker, but the real reason I would avoid the filter is purely based on your comfort with "fixing it". 


When it comes to overall use, once you cut out the basket, you're pretty much "fixed" with the bypass issues if you know what you're doing.  I have to use sponge to protect the media but there is one big advantage to the seachem for me in comparison to the AC. Reliability.  I was forced to get the AC110 because it was the only filter at my local store that was available for my 75G tank.  I had used an AC75 for a long time on my 55G and had a very similar experience, so this information is applicable to both AC models.  On the 110, every single time I did a pump clean, used a brush to clean the impeller, added silicone to the shaft to keep it spinning, there was a very high chance I would have to take it apart or replace the impeller.  The design is so ridiculously old that the shaft just wears.  When I had 2 replacement shafts on hand, 2-3 replacement impellers on hand "just in case" I realized how stupid this product design was.  I know a lot of hobbyist swear by them, all they did was make me swear.  Here's a video that breaks down the issue.  And this is something I would see after 30 days of use on every single AC I ran.

Second biggest issue for me is that the 110 sponge is insane. I wish it was cut in half just to make it easier to clean. It's something like 2.5-3.5" in thickness and it's so difficult to really get it clean. Even using a sink with water pressure, there is likely going to be some mulm/gunk stuck in the central region of the sponge.  When I say it's difficult to clean, that's what annoyed me most. The basket system sucks, but it's whatever. I am sure there is bypass as well, but the seachem takes the crown on that one.
 

 



 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/24/2022 at 4:07 PM, Bjorn said:

What annoys me is there's no gph listed, I'd like to know what the flow rate would be since I have an awkwardly tall tank and need something that's going to provide adequate downward flow to all corners and I'd rather not have to trust their estimates on what is acceptable.

The tidals have the extended "output" and have much better flow path and do a much better job providing high flow to the tank itself. If you are concerned with flow in general, run two tidal 75s.  You cannot run multiple AC75s on this tank because of the smaller rim clearance. 

AC: 500 U.S. Gal./h (1890 L/h)
Seachem:
450 US GPH (2000 L/H)

This works really well to push the water a lot further in the tank and it's a lot stronger output flow.

image.png.ed08521362cf4749aed152c0b93f8951.png

Here's the AC Geometry.

image.png.a85fcc4b0adb7b0f2932957fcd1db247.png

 

On 5/24/2022 at 5:04 PM, ScottieB said:

But got rid of a tidal 110 after it died. The surface skimmer on the seachem is not good, the filter chamber is smaller and the pump is not as reliable in my experience.

Did you talk to Seachem regarding the failure?  The one I had issues with, it still works to this day.  The issue was the impeller was dirty and nothing more. They still sent me a pump out without any hassle for the sake of failure.  If you had a pump failure, they very likely would've sent one out or it simply needed to be cleaned. 

I'd like to hear the story of how it failed, sicce is known for how good their pumps are and how reliable they are.

 

Edit. Here's a side by side so everyone can visually see the size and unboxing.

 

Edited by nabokovfan87
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I have an aquaclear - not sure which model - maybe 70 - i used it on a 40B and i can say i did not like how the water flow into the tank from it - it was a like a heavy waterfall. I've not use the tidal or marinland (which a lot of folks like); but from the pictures the tidal probably has better flow allowing for more surface current without the water fall effect.

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