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Hagen - Fluval Series 4 Canister Filters
Fluval 204: this model filters my 150 L medium planted community tank. It's been running for about 18 months with no problems. I'm using the 4 coarse filter pads that came with it, but I've filled the baskets with Eheim Ehfi Mech and Ehfi Substrat. I clean it once a month - overkill I know but it's easy to do. My weekly tank maintenance is to clean the glass, change 20% of the water via gravel siphoning, and to add white spot treatment (as a preventative). This weekly maintenance cycle plus my Fluval 204 keeps my tank and its inhabitants crystal clean and healthy. I had better mention my SAE and shrimp - they contribute too. As an aside the 204 is extremely quiet - another bonus.
I've got a 204 and no problems so far. I can understand some of the comments I have seen above about the pipe connections. The instructions were not clear, however, I think I have sorted it out. Try putting the lock nut on first, then the pipe and next you undo the locknut and it compresses the pipe into position. Seems to work.
Have had my fluval 304 running for 11 months now and so far had no problems with it. I have it fitted to a 45 G cichlid tank and have crystal clear water. The only negative thing I have to say is that the hoses do get blocked far too easily, resulting in reduced water flow. On the whole though a really impressive canister.
I have one Fluval 404 in my 450 liter tank right now. The filter is only supposed to filter out 300-400 L/h I believe, but it works better than the Eheim 2213. I have had a Fluval 2 series and the canister was made out of thin plastic and it broke within a month. I have a feeling my series 4 Fluval 404 will last me years. And what was the bypass I heard about? I tested it and mine works fine.
I have an old style 404 that's about 3 years old, plus a new style 104 and a 304. The 104 and 304 run 40 L and 100 L gal planted tanks respectively. The 404 ran a 350 L fish tank. I have had trouble with warping on both the 104 and the 404 to the point that the head on the 404 cracked and I had to replace the clasps on the 404 and 104. I had an earlier model fluval that ran for 17 yrs and would be running still if parts were available. Sometimes simpler is better, I think.
I have a fluval 104. I've had it for a while now, and after two years it's leaking from the top (the water starter mechanism) and at the sides (at the ring seal). The motor doesn't work right anymore: when it starts, sometimes it turns one way and sometimes another; Sometimes it doesn't start at all and I have to open up the top and slide the barrel in and out. The barrel is magnetic and must have lost it's polarity. Or maybe it became too magnetic with time. It is also true that the water flow gets cut in half after a very short time of using the filter (a month or two approximately).