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Rena XP3 vs. Eheim 2028 vs. Marineland C-360 - Initial Impressions

Rena XP3 vs. Eheim 2028 vs. Marineland C-360 - Initial Impressions

Rena XP3 vs. Eheim 2028 vs. Marineland C-360 - Initial Impressions
Post by: dalto on February 19, 2007, 09:18:32 PM
Recently, I had an opportunity to setup a couple of new tanks and wanted them to look nice so I went with canister filters.  I spent some time trying to decide what I wanted.  In the end, I elected to get an Eheim Professional II 2028, a Marineland C-360 and a couple of Rena XP3’s.  The Eheim and Marineland units are new to me but I have used the Rena Filstar line of canisters for some time.  I thought I would take a minute and share my initial impressions.  Please understand that this information is entirely subjective and comes from my own experiences with these products.  These are in no particular order.

Tubing
The Marineland canister uses big black translucent tubing.  I do not know its exact size but I would guess it has an internal diameter of at least 3/4”.  It was firm and relatively easily to work with.  However, its thickness made it very difficult to cut.

The Eheim uses bright green tubing that has an internal diameter of 16mm (Roughly 5/8”).  This tubing was absolutely a joy to work with.  It is flexible, easy to cut and was easily pushed onto attachments. 

The Rena made unit came with clear tubing with an internal diameter of 5/8”.  It is easy to cut but extremely difficult to push onto attachments.  I found that putting the ends of the tubing into boiling water helped somewhat.

The Eheim is the clear leader in the tubing category.

Outlet attachments
The C-360 comes with a pre-assembled outlet unit that splits the outflow into two ~45 degree angles and can be turned to project the water in various directions.  It did not include a spray bar.  The unit is black which may help it blend in to your setup depending on what your background is like.

The 2028 comes with a fixed outlet assembly that a spray bar can attach to.  It is bright green which may make it stand out more.

The XP3 comes with two depth options, a power nozzle, a flow control valve and a spray bar which can be connected however you like.  It is dark gray except for the spray bar which is black.

The XP3 is the obvious winner in this category, the flexible setup was great to work with and really gives you some options.

Intake tube
The Marineland canister comes with a translucent black intake tube and it is quite long.  It is fixed in length so if your tank is not fairly deep you are going to have a problem.

The Eheim canister comes with a translucent green intake tube and it is quite long.  It is fixed in length so if your tank is not fairly deep you are going to have a problem.

The Rena unit comes with a segmented intake tube that allows you to be fairly flexible with the depth of the tube.   You just use the appropriate number of segments.

The XP3 is the obvious winner in this category, the flexible setup was great to work with and really gives you some options.

Media trays
The C-360 has 4 shallow and wide media baskets with handles.  The trays snap in very tightly.  I suspect Marineland's claims about minimal bypass are fairly true.

The 2028 has 3 tall and wide media baskets with handles.  These baskets are quite large.

The XP3 has 3 tall and narrow media baskets.  Each basket comes with a divider to allow you to use two kinds of media.

Although I like the design of the C-360 the best, there is no bad here and all are good designs.

Included Media
The Marineland unit comes with a full complement of media.  Two kinds of foam, 3 bags of carbon, small bio-balls, ceramic rings and a fine filtration pad.  Everything you need.

The Eheim comes with a foam pad and a fine filtration pad.

The Rena unit comes with 2 kinds of foam, a bag of bio-chem zorb and a fine filtration pad.

The Marineland C-360 wins this category without doubt.

Quick disconnect setup
The quick disconnect unit on the canister from Marineland has hose fittings that are screwed on and easily removed which will help in cleaning.  The unit has two levers.  The outer lever pulls up and stops the flow of water.  The inner lever pulls up and twists to release the quick disconnect from filter.

The Eheim unit has a single clamp that covers both hoses which is also easily removed.  This unit also has two levers.  However, in this setup the outer lever is the only one you have to worry about.  You pull the lever up to stop (or slow) the flow of water.  If you want to release the unit from the tank, you push a release and pull it back the rest of the way.

The XP3 has a single lever the both releases the unit and stops the water.

I like the Eheim best but the Marineland design is a close second.  These two are both vastly better than the XP3 design.

Priming device
The C-360 has a button which is depressed twice to start the flow of water.  I found I had to press a lot more than that, I wasn’t really impressed.

The 2028 has a large button which is depressed and released a couple of times.  I found it to work well.

The XP3 does not have a priming device and has to be primed by hand by pouring water into the intake hose.

The Eheim has the best setup here.  However, you do not prime your filter very often, so I am not sure how big of a deal this is.

Instructions
The Marineland instructions were brief but they use a lot of pictures and are relatively easy to follow.

The instructions from Eheim are verbose and many languages.  Unfortunately, the combination of having few pictures with some fairly rough translations makes this a fairly tough read.  I think I would have struggled if I had not setup canisters in the past.

The Rena instructions are great.  They have lots of pictures with good descriptions.

The best instructions are definitely the ones from Rena.

Pump power
Please note that this entirely subjective.  I visually inspected the flow coming from these units to make these judgments.

I would say that the flow is strongest from the 2028, then the C-360 and then the XP3.  The flow difference between the XP3 and the 2028 was substantial.  The interesting thing is that the pump on the 2028 is rated quite a bit lower than the other two.

Noise
They are all sufficiently quiet.  With the doors closed I can’t hear any of them.

Quality of construction
Yet another case of the Eheim being the best followed by the Marineland unit with the XP3 coming in last.

Overall Assessment
The Eheim unit is clearly the best canister in this group.  However, it is not the obvious choice because it costs more than twice as much as the other two when you factor in the cost of media.  The C-360 is pretty close in price to the XP3 when you factor the cost of media.  However, it is very new and has not had enough run time to know how reliable it will be.  The XP3 is cheap and simple.  It has also been around long enough for people to believe in its reliability.  At the end of the day, all of these filters meet my needs.  There is not a bad one in the bunch.  If I was only buying one and money was an issue, I think I would get the C-360 despite its relative newness.  If I was getting more than one, I think I would buy two different models.

Note 1:  Although I have also used the Fluval 405 I did not include it in this group because I no longer have one.  Also, they say if you have nothing good to say than you should say nothing at all.

Note 2:  The Eheim Professional II lineup including the 2028 appears to be in the process of being replaced with the new Eheim 3e line of canisters.

Note 3:  The Eheim 2028 can be purchased with optional installation kits which make IT the clear leader in the intake and outlet attachment categories.

I will follow-up once I have had them for a while to let everyone know how it is going.

Update:
After having the C-360 for about six months I began to have problems.  First, it became noisy, then it developed a leak at the quick disconnect block.  I believe that the noise could have been cured by taking apart the impeller assembly and I honestly did not spend much time trying to resolve the leak issue.  After it dumped about 5 gallons of water on my floor I dumped it.

I would not go so far as to label this a bad product because of my experiences with a single unit but I did feel it important enough to mention in a follow-up to my previous review.


Title: Re: Rena XP3 vs. Eheim 2028 vs. Marineland C-360 - Initial Impressions
Post by: crystalview on February 19, 2007, 10:08:32 PM
I agree with you on what you said.  Thanks for taking the time to write it.   I like all the features to my Eheim Professional II 2028 (2128 with internal heater) and the C-360 except that when my power goes off for a short time they do not re-prime and they stopped working until I was able to prime it.  I also had to buy extra hose for the inlet and outlets along with extensions for inside my deep tank for the 2028.  I hope the new E3 is as good.  Sounds like E3 re-starting (auto-prime) would be better.  I find that the C-360 is much like my Eheim 2028 except I must pump the prime several times and the Eheim barley once to restart.  I think I like my Eheim the best over all.  With the heater outside the tank I seem to have better heating.
In the Fluval 405 I have trouble with the bypass, buy it started right up after the power outage, but I would rate it third in your list.  Auto-primes so this one started right up (with power)


Title: Re: Rena XP3 vs. Eheim 2028 vs. Marineland C-360 - Initial Impressions
Post by: Aiptasia on February 22, 2007, 10:26:57 AM
Good article.

The new XP4's have an additional media compartment and come with bio-chem stars biomedia as well as extra sponge filters, and the flow rate is better. Otherwise, the design is the same as the XP3's. Low price is it's main selling point. I do like the versatility of it's inputs and returns, which makes it adaptable to many different setup situations.


Title: Re: Rena XP3 vs. Eheim 2028 vs. Marineland C-360 - Initial Impressions
Post by: dalto on February 22, 2007, 01:50:53 PM
The new XP4's have an additional media compartment and come with bio-chem stars biomedia as well as extra sponge filters, and the flow rate is better. Otherwise, the design is the same as the XP3's. Low price is it's main selling point. I do like the versatility of it's inputs and returns, which makes it adaptable to many different setup situations.

I have 5 XP3's and a XP2 so I am pretty happy with this line of canisters.  My problem with the XP4 is that it is really expensive as compared with the XP3, almost twice as much.  I would much rather have two XP3's for this amount of money.


Title: Re: Rena XP3 vs. Eheim 2028 vs. Marineland C-360 - Initial Impressions
Post by: Aiptasia on February 22, 2007, 02:23:54 PM
I don't blame you. I bought two of the XP4's for the new 120 gallon tank in my garage and they appear to be an economical, sound design. But they were a bit pricey. I had to get petsmart to price match from an online retailer to knock off $45 each on the ones I bought. I'm glad they do that.

I'm eager to hear the long term review of the new Marineland filter.


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