Good products vs. bad products


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When you become heavily invested in a hobby like this one, you’ll invariably come across numerous aquarium products. Some of them you’ll like and some of them you won’t. In fact, products in this hobby aren’t unlike those in other hobbies with respect to branding. Some brands are better than others – quality, dependability, etc.

I don’t shy away from highlighting products that I like here on the blog, including brands that I’m loyal to. What I won’t do is use this platform to denigrate a product by name or otherwise encourage hobbyists not to buy something because it’s of poor quality. I’ve been asked many times to review a product and sometimes I’ll post those reviews here. If I don’t like the product, I won’t post the review. However, I will share it with the vendor that asked me to do the review.  Are there products and/or brands that I personally won’t endorse? Absolutely. In fact, there are some products that I consider poor quality and won’t use.

Sadly, I experienced one of those this week. As I mentioned in the previous post below, I just set up a 5.5 gal fry tank. I had a small HOB filter that I received as a sample from a wholesale company but had never tried. In fact, I’ve had the filter for probably a couple of years. I dug it out, inserted some media, plugged the filter in, and it ran like a charm. I unplugged the filter after a couple of days to move the fry into the tank. I swapped the media that I had initially placed in the filter with some seeded media and plugged the filter back in. It failed to draw water up the intake. No big deal, I thought. I decided to give it a headstart and force water up the intake with a small pump. The filter began to draw but the flow seemed a little weak.

I came home from work the next day and the filter was running but no water was flowing. I checked it to make sure the intake hadn’t become blocked or something had come dislodged with the assembly causing it to lose flow. Nothing. Unable to get it going, I removed it and replaced it with a spare AquaClear HOB I had stored away.

I took the new HOB and put it on my test tub to try and flesh out the problem. I checked and rechecked everything, removing the pump assembly, the intake tube assembly, the impeller, etc. It ran fine but still wasn’t pulling water. Normally, that would indicate a seal problem (air getting in the intake preventing a solid vacuum effect). I eliminated that as a possibility. In short, I couldn’t find the problem. The filter ended up in the trash. I won’t disclose who makes it. But needless to say, I won’t be buying one. The fact that it worked initially and then stopped working after the first shutdown without any clear reason is unfortunate. That may not be indicative of the brand, but I’ve never owned that line of product before nor have I have heard from anyone that has. I’m labeling it a bad product.

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