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Tidal vs Aquaclear


Rycraft
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So I got a Tidal 55 as I had seen very positive things about it and it helps me sleep a little easier knowing a late night power outage won't effect it like it would for the bio filter in my Aquaclear 50.

So I've had the Tidal 55 up and running for about 2-3 weeks now and I have to say I like almost everything about it but I feel like it does a terrible job of actually pulling floating debris out of the water column (which is kind of the whole purpose of having a filter, right?).  Anyone else have any experience with this? I have coarse sponge attached to the surface skimmer and the intake tube (which I really wish was longer! I had extensions on my AC that got right near the substrate).

Having the debris floating has been so bothersome I'm thinking of going back to my AC and just dealing with repriming. I could keep the thing running the entire time I did water changes too with the intake extension. I have to turn the Tidal off for even a small water change. 

Edited by Rycraft
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Thank you for the post. I have been reading multiple reviews on both and have seen multiple people say the same thing with Tidal HOB. I personally like Aquaclear because of all the room to customize the media. The only down fall I have had with Aquaclear is the priming. They would capture the market if they made a filter with a in tank pump. 

 

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@Garren B the Tidal definitely has a large media basket, however I'm not sure it does much good if the filter doesn't draw in the detritus to run through your sponge/filter floss. Very frustrating. I may go back to the AC or sprint for an OASE Biomaster thermo. Expensive but I'm not sure it gets an easier for filter maintenance and time is money!

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6 hours ago, Garren B said:

Thank you for the post. I have been reading multiple reviews on both and have seen multiple people say the same thing with Tidal HOB. I personally like Aquaclear because of all the room to customize the media. The only down fall I have had with Aquaclear is the priming. They would capture the market if they made a filter with a in tank pump. 

 

On the other hand, the pumps are incredibly easy to remove to clean the impeller.

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I've been running a Tidal 75 for 5 months now. Here are the pros for me:

  • It moves a lot of water. I have it in a 29-gallon pleco growout so that's a big plus.
  • It has a very wide range of flow settings making it versatile for different tank sizes, livestock, and filter media.
  • It self-primes

Those are the three things it has going for it over the aquaclear. I have a lot of gripes about the tidal, but some of those gripes may be preferable to others:

  • The skimmer seems to be the most effective part of the intake. You can't turn it completely off, and there's no out-of-the-box way of adding a prefilter to it. Because of the skimmer being so prominent, I do think it contributes a lot to the filter's lack of water-polishing ability. I, too, have more floaters in that tank (granted, it's a pleco growout so the feeding never stops)
  • The media basket is really, really restrictive. You have to fill it loosely and lightly if you want to minimize bypass. And a large amount of bypass is basically inevitable at full flow. People have modded theirs by drilling extra holes in the media basket. 
  • Because of the bypass and restriction, you may have to deal with the nagging blue cylinder reminding you, the dumb fishkeeper, to clean the media even if you just cleaned it an hour ago.
  • It's noisier than the aquaclear equivalent -- not the motor per se, but the water turbulence. Guess it has something to do with how the water exits.

It's a functional filter. Maintenance is easy, it's reliable, and it's probably very popular for anyone who wants the specific features that are completely absent in the aquaclear.

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I have an aquaclear 30 and a tidal 35. I have noticed that neither really polishes the water at all as sold. I have to add some filter floss to the hang on back in order to pull small particulate out of the water. Just place the sponge at the bottom, filter floss next, and then biomedia bag ontop that. 

 

Both work well. But everytime you shut off the aquaclear to feed the tank it siphons all the water out of the unit and you have to reprime it every time, which is super annoying. In power outages you would have the aquaclear running dry until you catch it, so there is that.

My aquaclear seems to run louder than my tidal as well. That little ramp helps avoid the water splashing sound if you keep your water level from dropping too much. The aquaclear may have more oxygenation due to more water fall, but someone would have to test this out. I doubt the difference would be much though, you'd need a small waterfall and stream bubbling over rocks to really oxygenate the water significantly I'd wager. Just a small half inch to one inch waterfall wouldn't do too much.

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I am struggling with my Tidal 55 as well. So far I have tried sponge filling the bottom layer, then bio balls in a bag and some floss on top.  This results in bypass within a couple days and this week nearly shut off flow. Water was coming out of the control knob! 
 

Today I removed a bit of the sponge on the bottom and left out the floss. Seems like not much mechanical filtration but I guess I’ll see what it does. 
 

I have cleaned the impeller and the filter is only a month old. Runs perfectly right after cleaning. 
 

any ideas?

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@Clovis I'm currently running coarse sponge on the intake tube and over the surface skimmer (bought from Aquarium co-op). I changed the skimmer sponge to the aquarium Co-Op stuff yesterday when doing maintenance and that seems to have helped. I think I had more of a 'medium' sponge on there before which was getting clogged and the Tidal definitely draws more water from the skimmer than the intake which is incredibly annoying. 

As for the media box I have the original blue sponge in there with an additional sponge over it and a bag of seachem carbon and a bag of matrix on top but was running into the same issues where it was overflowing and not running through the media. The AC mechanical sponge is far superior and I would only have to clean it once a month. I feel like I'm going to be cleaning the Tidal sponge weekly which is again very annoying. 

I think I'm just going to save my pennies for the OASE Biomaster. The prefilter on it does most of the heavy lifting and you can just pull it out separate from everything else to clean. 

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2 hours ago, Rycraft said:

Tidal definitely draws more water from the skimmer than the intake which is incredibly annoying. 

It's a deal breaker for me. And it's not just the forward-facing skimmer intake grate. There's another grate on the bottom of the motor housing that draws in water and debris, and shrimp and fry. I cleaned out my Tidal last night and discovered several small plecos (still alive) that must've been living in filter sludge for months. And lots of baby shrimp, and a few large dead cherry shrimp.  Overly restrictive media housing with wide open intake holes is a bad combo for me.

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@Clovissure thing!

Sponge I used on the outside of the skimmer: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/collections/filter-media/products/sponge-pad-coarse

Sponge over the intake tube: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/collections/sponge-filters/products/medium-pre-filter-sponge

Just cleaned the Tidal yesterday and it's already sending a bunch of water bypass through the sides of the basket. Can't win with this thing. Probably going back to the Aquaclear 😑

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