The Fluval AquaClear 110 is supposed to be the #1 HOB filter on the market but that doesn’t mean that it is. To determine if the hype was real or not we decided to do a review on the highly acclaimed filter and compare our experience with comparable filters like the Aqueon and Marineland models.
This particular filter has a unique design in that it is able to funnel water to the very bottom of the filter box forcing the water through the thick sponge (mechanical filtration), then through the activated carbon, through the ceramic rings that house the beneficial bacteria and finally back into your aquarium. What makes this filter appealing to many aquarium hobbyists is that it allows for more of a custom filter set up because it doesn’t use the cartridges that all the other brands use. It seems brands like Marineland, Tetra and Aqueon just want you to keep buying replacement cartridges each month versus creating the most efficient filter. Fluval has seemingly broken that mold.
Water Flow: is very impressive on this filter. The box claims that the unit moves 500 gallons per hour and this doesn’t appear to be out of the realm of possibility after watching the filter in action.
Large Media Storage: The area supplied for storing filter media is large and perfect for custom combinations of ceramic rings, lava rocks, carbon, bio balls, filter floss or whatever else your filter media preferences are. Comparing the results that I’ve had and the results that others have expressed using poly fill after the sponge and before your final stages yields quite the favorable outcome.
Relatively Quiet: This is a key point for a lot of people! I can’t stand loud aquarium equipment, fortunately, I have two of my tanks in the garage and I’m to have one in my office when I move into my new place. But for those who have their tanks in a bedroom or other area where noise is a concern, this filter isn’t a bad choice at all. When I initially set up my first AquaClear 110 it was SUPER LOUD! I was almost disgusted by how loud it was but after setting up the second filter I realized that this wasn’t typical. After spending a few minutes troubleshooting I noticed that my air stone was sending bubbles into the inlet of the AquaClear which was creating a horrible sound. I simply slid the AquaClear over 2 inches on the back rim of my aquarium and all of the chaos stopped.
No Need for Cartridges: One of the best parts about this filter for a HOB (hang on back) is that it doesn’t use those annoying and expensive filter cartridges. Check out YouTube for “AquaClear filter setups” and you’ll find inexpensive and more effective solutions than the cartridges.
Easily Accessible Water Flow Valve: There is an easy to access and use water flow valve right on the top of the filter unit. This feature is great for noise control and also extremely effective for feeding time. Sometimes when the current coming from the filter is too strong it can move pellets all over the aquarium making it hard for fish to feed.
Overall the AquaClear is hands down a standout filter. The pump is very powerful and moves as advertised 500 gallons per hour. Focused on delivering performance over making a repeat sale of filter cartridges the AquaClear out works comparable filters. Well worth the money, the AquaClear 110 retails for $99.99 but can be found online or even in stores like Petsmart on special for around $70. If you see this filter on sale and you’re in need of a filter you won’t be let down. I love hang on back filters because they are simple and in my opinion safer than the alternative canister filter. I had a crazy experience when one of my hose clamps on my Sun Sun canister filter failed and caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to my house.
The Final Verdict:
Well worth the money! If you purchase the Fluval AquaClear 110 you will not be disappointed. In my honest opinion it’s worth the extra $20 you’ll pay for it. I was able to get mine from Petsmart.com they had a buy online pick up in-store promotion. Picking it up on this deal I was able to nab the unit for a considerable discount so I bought two! Will you be switching from another hang on the back filter? Then smile because you won’t ever have to buy preset filter media again customize your set up and use cheaper alternatives like lava rock.