After choosing the ADA 30C as the tank to house our aquascape, the next step is to choose our filter. We selected the Eheim Classic 2213 for the job and proceeded to write about it, then we remembered that the Eheim Classic 2211 is also a firm favourite among nano aquascapers. So, to make things more interesting around here, here is an article on both these filters.
The boxes of the Eheim 2211 and Eheim 2213 are not that great of a difference, with the 2213 being about a quarter bigger. The filter themselves however, are another story. The Eheim 2213 is significantly bigger than the 2211, with triple the media capacity.
Eheim Classic 2211
For aquariums: 50 to 150 litres
Flow rate: 300 litres per hour
Media Capacity: 1 litre
Energy used: 5 watts
Height maximum for tubing: 1.2 metres
Dimensions: 110mm x 290mm
Eheim Classic 2213
For aquariums: 80 – 250 litres
Flow rate: 440 litres per hour
Media Capacity: 3 litres
Energy used: 8 watts
Height maximum for tubing: 1.5 metres
Dimensions: 160mm x 355mm
We do not know what test parameters does Eheim use to establish their filter to aquarium size recommendations, as such, we will not comment much on them but to say that they are optimistic. In our experience, the strength of the flow of water within your aquarium is highly important. And if we based our filter selection on Eheim’s recommendations, the chosen filter will not be adequate for the job.
Good flow in an aquarium allows fauna the option of swimming against a current. And the availability of such a current ensures the good health and development of fauna by allowing them a means of exercise. However, this rate of flow needs to be adjusted according to the fauna you have, for example, Cardinal tetras will be able to live with a higher flow compared to Discus or Bettas. Fauna have also shown to have a better appetite when they are kept in a aquarium of a good current, growing to be strong and healthy.
There are some that argue our aquariums should not have a good current because the streams and rivers of the wild are gentle. This is true when you look at a specific location in a stream or river, but when you view the entire system as a whole, strong currents do exist in certain parts. In our minuscule aquarium, a good current is thus essential.
Besides the benefit of healthy fauna, a good current in the tank ensures that all uneaten food will not be left decomposing in your flora mass and is instead swept by the current into the filter. The elimination of such detritus is important. Many an aquarium has crashed overnight when the amount of detritus build up to a critical level. In nano tanks, this can happen in a matter of weeks.
Your flora will also thank you for a good flow. Flora grow better in such conditions as nutrients, CO2 and Oxygen are spread by the current to all areas of your aquarium. Some hobbyists today have even started using marine pumps in their freshwater tanks to achieve strong flows of about 100 times the turnover rate!
If you are wondering how much current is too much, we have a simple rule of thumb. Fauna should have places in the aquarium where flow is reduced because of rocks, wood or flora, and they are able to rest there without getting blown around. When they swim in the open spaces, they should be able to do so without difficulty, being moved by the current only if they stop swimming. If you happen to buy a filter that proves to be too strong for your aquarium, do not lose heart as all you have to do is to purchase Eheim’s connecting taps, this will enable you to manually control the amount of flow to your desired amount.
Because of the importance of a good current within an aquarium, the Eheim 2213 was chosen for our 30 litre tank. The Eheim 2211 was not chosen because of its lower output.
The Eheim 2211 is a cute little filter. If you have been exposed to normal sized filters, laying your eyes on a 2211 for the first time almost brings out a chuckle. It is the exact, same Eheim Classic filter but in miniature, and only holds a litre of media. We have used the 2211 for our 10 litre tanks and it is perfect. We would recommend the 2211 for any aquarium with an aquascape under 25 litres.
The Eheim 2213 is much bigger than the 2211 but is still a small filter when compared to the rest of the Classic range. It holds 3 litres of media, 3 times the capacity of the 2211 and this is significant. For any aquarium with an aquascape above 25 litres to about 45 litres, we would recommend the 2213.
The build quality of an Eheim is among the best for filters. Quality control is usually excellent, but was slightly better in the past when Eheim filters were made exclusively in Germany. Eheim filters are also famous for their low noise operation and can be safety recommended for aquariums found in bedrooms. You would have to be almost beside it to hear it hum.
Besides being quiet, these filters are also known for being energy efficient. The 2211 takes only 5 watts to run and the 2213 takes 8 watts to run. Other filters from competing brands sometimes require up to 3-5 times the wattage of the 2211 to push the same amount of water.
Eheim Classic filters have been around for about 30 years and were Eheim’s first cannister filters. Although Eheim now carries numerous higher tech filters, the Classic range remains a cult favourite due to its ease of use, its simplicity, its time-proven effectiveness and its favourable prices. And on top of all these strong points, a favourite function amount its users is the ability to back flush the filter, thus cleaning the filter without the removal of the media from the filter body.
The Eheim 2211 consists of 2 plastic meshes, a blue sponge (mechanical filtration media) and a white sponge (polishing/fine filtration media). Here is how you should set up your 2211:
1. A plastic mesh is first inserted into the filter with the legs of the mesh facing downwards. This creates a space at the bottom of the filter where large particles will be trapped till their removal during filter maintenance.
2. The blue sponge or mechanical filtration media is inserted next. Mechanical media is designed to stop large particles from passing through, while allowing minute particles and water to pass. These large particles will accumulate over time and we recommend performing a back flush every month to wash these particles out of your filter.
3. You would have to purchase biological filtration media as it is not included and this media is inserted after the mechanical media. Biological media is the most important media in your filter as it is on the biological media that beneficial bacteria establishes. These bacteria converts toxic ammonia to nitrite, and from nitrite to relatively harmless nitrate.
4. After biological media, you may want to add chemical filtration media. Chemical media works by the attraction of organic pollutants by static forces. These forces will bind the pollutants to the chemical media until all space on the media is filled, absorption effectiveness will thus diminish over time. Activated carbon is a common form of chemical media and we recommend its replacement on a monthly basis to ensure optimal absorption.
5. The last filtration media that is added should be a fine sponge that polishes the water as it leaves the filter. This fine sponge will also trap minute dirt till their removal during filter maintenance.
6. Lastly, the second plastic mesh is placed on top of all the media with its legs facing upwards, this ensures the necessary space for optimal water flow into the impeller chamber.
The Eheim 2213 consists of 4 blue sponge, an activated carbon sponge, and a white sponge. Here is how you should set up your 2213:
1. The Eheim 2213 is the only filter in the Classic range to come equipped with a filter basket. Remove the lid of the basket and insert a blue sponge or mechanical filtration media. If you look into your filter body, you will notice that there are stands to hold your basket above the base when its inserted. This stands create a space at the bottom of the filter where large particles will be trapped till their removal during filter maintenance. These large particles will accumulate over time and we recommend performing a back flush every month to wash these particles out of your filter.
2. Unlike the Eheim 2211, the 2213 comes with 4 blue sponges. These blue sponges can double up as biological filtration media if you need them too, however, they will not be as effective as dedicated biological media. Our recommendation is to purchase dedicated biological media if you are able to. Biological media is the most important media in your filter as it is on the biological media that beneficial bacteria establishes. These bacteria converts toxic ammonia to nitrite, and from nitrite to relatively harmless nitrate.
3. After biological media, the activated carbon sponge is next. This sponge is quite thin and its absorption properties will not be as strong as other forms of activated carbon, such as activated carbon pellets. If you desire stronger chemical filtration, either use pellets or simply add more sponges. Chemical media works by the attraction of all organic pollutants by static forces. These forces will bind the pollutants to the chemical media until all space on the media is filled, absorption effectiveness will thus diminish over time. We recommend its replacement on a monthly basis to ensure optimal absorption.
4. The last filtration media that is added should be a fine sponge that polishes the water as it leaves the filter. This fine sponge will trap minute dirt till their removal during filter maintenance.
5. Lastly, replace the lid on the filter basket, screw it shut and place the entire basket in the filter body. You will notice that the lid is quite deeply flushed within the basket, this is to ensure the necessary space for optimal water flow into the impeller chamber.
Here are some pictures of the sponges that come with the filters.