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Best, quietest HOB filter?


Hobbit
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I have a 55g tank with platys and corys that has no formal filtration right now, just two air stones. It’s under stocked and planted, so there’s plenty of beneficial bacteria to go around. The only thing that’s missing is some mechanical filtration to catch the mulm.

Now, I do love me a sponge filter and I use them in my smaller tanks. But if I’m being honest with myself, I know I will not want to reach into that tank up to my elbows to try to retrieve a mulmy sponge for cleaning. It just won’t happen. On my other 55g I have a powerhead with an intake sponge, and that’s fine, but apparently I’m a cat at heart and I’d really like to not have to reach into the water at all. 😅

Is there such a thing as a quiet HOB that will collect mulm for me?

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On 12/19/2022 at 9:34 AM, Hobbit said:

I have a 55g tank with platys and corys that has no formal filtration right now, just two air stones. It’s under stocked and planted, so there’s plenty of beneficial bacteria to go around. The only thing that’s missing is some mechanical filtration to catch the mulm.

Now, I do love me a sponge filter and I use them in my smaller tanks. But if I’m being honest with myself, I know I will not want to reach into that tank up to my elbows to try to retrieve a mulmy sponge for cleaning. It just won’t happen. On my other 55g I have a powerhead with an intake sponge, and that’s fine, but apparently I’m a cat at heart and I’d really like to not have to reach into the water at all. 😅

Is there such a thing as a quiet HOB that will collect mulm for me?

First off I am new to the hobby so take my word with a grain of salt. I happen to have a Fluval aquaclear, and it is super quite. HOB filters get mulm in the bottom part of the filter (I think) so it should work. I believe there is an option for a 55 gal tank.

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I like the aquaclear and marine land biowheel. I can’t stand noise. Both get noises but easily fixed. 
The aquaclear lid rattles. I remove the lid. The wheel in the marine land rattles so I remove that. 
Both of these make fantastic riparian planters which helps with water quality. 

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Edited by Guppysnail
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For quiet, I would look into the Seachem tidal series. I have a tidal 35 on my 10 gallon tank that's right next to my bed. Once in a while there is a vibration\rattling noise. That's when I clean the filter and everything is fine after that. Otherwise, I don't hear a thing.

Edited by sairving
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On my Aquaclears I use the rubber band trick on the lid to keep the rattle away. 

I've found that regardless of the brand, what typically makes noise is the impeller. I even had this issue on a Tidal.

I have some Trident silicone lube that I use. Simply remove the impeller from the motor, grease the impeller shaft that holds it with a q-tip dipped in the silicone, put the impeller back on. Repeat 4 or 5 times. If the filter is new I may have to do this again after a couple weeks, but works like a charm - I also hate noisy filters. 

Also FYI Amazon appears to be blowing out their AC50s - $30 here in the states: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000260FUM?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details - a couple of those might do ya. 

Edited by MattyM
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I use aquaclear HOBs in two of my tanks and they are kinda noisy in my experience.

Aqueon quietflows on the other hand are basically silent. They don't have a lot of room for filter media though, and the mechanical filter sponge they use comes with activated carbon which is not ideal. If you use a pre filter sponge and replace their sponge with your own sponge I think it's a good option if you are prioritizing silence. 

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I have Tidal, Aquaclear and Tetra. They all make noise from time to time and need some tinkering but when they're running in good nick they're all pretty quiet. 

I have a power head with sponge filter that’s dead silent, but it is underwater and it's messy to clean. 

Maybe something like this would be a good compromise: 

Fluval U3 Underwater Filter, Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium Filter, A475 https://a.co/d/fDpdz0g

 

 

 

 

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Edited by Patrick_G
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On 12/19/2022 at 9:34 AM, Hobbit said:

I have a 55g tank with platys and corys that has no formal filtration right now, just two air stones. It’s under stocked and planted, so there’s plenty of beneficial bacteria to go around. The only thing that’s missing is some mechanical filtration to catch the mulm.

Now, I do love me a sponge filter and I use them in my smaller tanks. But if I’m being honest with myself, I know I will not want to reach into that tank up to my elbows to try to retrieve a mulmy sponge for cleaning. It just won’t happen. On my other 55g I have a powerhead with an intake sponge, and that’s fine, but apparently I’m a cat at heart and I’d really like to not have to reach into the water at all. 😅

Is there such a thing as a quiet HOB that will collect mulm for me?

That’s one thing I envy about canister filters, you don’t have to stick your hand in and make a mess to clean it

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Couple comments. 

I agree with @sairving that the tidals are super quiet. I had a 36" long display tank that had an Aquaclear 50 on one side and tidal 55 on the other. The tidal was like assassin quiet. I also liked how the outflow was carried across the water's surface, not plunging to the bottom like the AC. 

The question of or trick to getting mulm off the bottom is different but related. This comes down to water movement. You need something to resuspend or lift the mulm/detritus, then any old hob filter will eventually capture the bits. The two best ways are flow, or creatures. Of the creatures, cories are tops at this, IMO. Amano shrimps are also good, if your tank/community allows them. Kuhli loaches are decent as well. Or you can use a powerhead mounted to the side, pointing generally down at the substrate. Even the gentlest of flows (or creature activity) will keep the mulm moving, and the hob uptake will eventually pick it up. 

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On 12/19/2022 at 12:42 PM, TOtrees said:

The question of or trick to getting mulm off the bottom is different but related. This comes down to water movement. You need something to resuspend or lift the mulm/detritus, then any old hob filter will eventually capture the bits. The two best ways are flow, or creatures. Of the creatures, cories are tops at this, IMO.

Yes, I would have to agree. Before putting the corys in there, the sand got dirty but the plants were clean. Now the sand is spotless and the plants are filthy! 😆

To everyone: thanks for your advice! This is super helpful.

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I've used the fluval/aquaclear, aqueon, tetra, seachem, and marineland (old one).  The quietest one I've used is the tidal and it's not close.  It's so quiet when setup right that you literally don't know it's on.

That being said, you're going to want to seal the skimmer, mod it, that isn't for everyone.  I have a very detailed guide and can break down things if you need any help with it. 

Second to that, I run ACO / sponge filters with the ziss airstones and those as well are near silent with a lid.  Even with a very overpowered airpump.

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I have found that HOBs are quieter when the water level in the tank is close to the outlet. The farther the water falls, the more noise it makes. You might try tucking a piece of fabric under the mechanical filter media and over the lip of the HOB and down into the water to prevent splashing. Netting (maybe several layers) should work for this as well. 

If I notice the HOB getting quieter, or the water volume dropping, I know I need to clean the media in the HOB so the prefilter gets maximum flow and stays clean. If the upper media is partially clogged, the flow slows and the intake filter and tube fill with crud. Much bigger, messer job to clean that than to keep up with the upper filter.

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I am using a canister filter on my  current house and  55 gallon and hang on back is impossible for me to use with the tank location 

 but in the past and past house and tanks i used the aquaclear. they are a work horse and they last for years and i used the rubber band trick for its lid rattle .. they  are easy to clean and maintain i always fill the  water level where the noise was not as noticeable but the filter noise has never bothered me in my living room or bedroom  plus i have always use sponge filters  to 

Edited by Bev C
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