Ben Lobaugh Online

I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

Ecco Pro filtered tank

Eheim Ecco Pro Canister Filter Review

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With the upcoming build of my 90 gallon aquarium, I have been using my 30 gallon tank as a bit of a testbed for exploring different filtration methods. Thus far I have implemented an under gravel and a homemade sump.  Both have worked quite well. In this article, I will share the results of using the Eheim Ecco Pro canister filter. 

Ecco Pro

For three decades I have turned to under gravel filters as my filtration method of choice. Though incredibly simple, I will always contend that, when properly set up, the under gravel filter is a fantastic choice.

The sump was not your traditional sump, it was made from a 5 gallon bucket. I posted details on it in this article. It took some fiddling to get it, but in the end, it did the job it was supposed to do and kept the water a lot more clean than the under gravel filter. However, the wife was not a fan of the running water noise it produced, so back to the drawing board. 

While visiting my parents, I took a look at my father’s fish gear cabinet. There are things in there that have not been made in decades! It is a treasure trove, and in the corner of that pile, I spotted an Eheim Ecco Pro canister filter. I had found my next filter to test!

The hoses were missing and it was covered in thick, crusty, dust. My father did not know if it worked. I brought it home, disassembled it, and cleaned it up. When I first popped it open I was pleased to find it had three media compartments, which still contained Eheim’s glass beads. The Eheim Ecco Pro is a small canister, which gave me pause, 30 gallons is not a big tank, would this provide enough filtration?

Ecco Pro Media Baskets

The Ecco Pro is an outside-in filter, meaning that water comes into the canister around the outside of the media baskets. It is then sucked up from the bottom and through the middle of the media baskets. Water then gets pushed out the top via a return pump, and back into the tank. 

With filtration, there are three components that go into every system: mechanical, biological, and chemical. Unless you are an advanced fish keeper, they should also go in that order. When I looked at the order in the Ecco Pro baskets, I noticed the biological filtration was before the mechanical. Not only that, but Eheim’s own manual also shows it that way! For an otherwise great product, this misinformation disappointed me. Not to worry though, the baskets are highly configurable. I simply swapped in some of my own filter floss and moved the biological filtration later in the stack. 

Ecco Pro Sink Test

The Ecco Pro has been running on the 30 gallon for a couple months (as of the writing of this article). The numbers on my water test kit are consistently on target. The pump is nearly silent and there is no water flow noise, a big plus for my wife. I was able to use some common hose that I picked up at the local hardware store for cheap. 

Ecco Pro filtered tank

Would I use a canister filter on the 90 gallon tank? Yes, but not an Ecco Pro. 30 gallons is the max I would consider using it on. 

Do I recommend the Eheim Ecco Pro canister filter? Absolutely! It is a great unit, quiet and compact. The Eheim glass bio-media works well. Just make sure you put the mechanical filter in front of the biological or the biological media will gum up real fast and become ineffective. 

Link to manual

Check prices on amazon. 

Seventh week update on the nano reef tank cleanup

Seven weeks into the saltwater, nano reef, cleanup, and the tank is looking great. With the help of the newest cleanup crew members from Reef Cleaners, the tank has finally stabilized itself and the water is crystal clear.

The inhabitants are quite happy. The coral polyps have been showing signs of growth. I am guessing that over the next two weeks, all the original algae issues will be gone.

For comparison, here was the tank as I received it:

Nano Reef Tank Crashed

A few Aiptasia keep popping up, but the numbers are few and fewer.

Oscar, the Emerald Crab, has already pulled in 66 followers on his new Instagram account! You should go follow him too.

Here are a few more photos around the tank:

P.S. I found the Nano Reef site and it has been consuming me. I ran across TheRope’s 3 Gallon Pico tank and and have been having some very naughty thoughts about starting up my own pico reef tank…. trying to decide between coral or rock anemones at the moment….

New fish for the 30 gallon freshwater tank

Having been stuck at home for the last few weeks, I have been playing with my tanks. That, of course, has had me wanting to change things up a bit.

I had intended to swap the 30 with the 90-gallon tank by now and was waiting to get new fish, but I decided that with the elevated light that an algae bloom was well on its way. The Wet Spot, maybe the best fish store on the West Coast is offering free shipping this month, so I sprang for some new fish.

Specifically, I have been wanting a Golden Nugget Pleco.

The German Blue Rams have caught my fancy too.

So I ordered them! Tossed a few Cardinal Tetras in as well.

It has been a couple of weeks since they arrived, and I am really enjoying this Ram.

Clara's First Birthday

What My One Year Old Teaches Us About Reaching Our Dreams

Today more than two dozen friends and family gathered from all across the United States and even across the international border to celebrate the first birthday of my beautiful little daughter Clara.

As I pause to reflect on this last year of my life I feel myself a bit overwhelmed. They say having a baby is a massive change in life, and it could not be any truer. A year and nine months ago, my wife and I were on a sailing trip to the San Juan Islands of Washington state. The two-week vacation was just what we needed after two intense years. Alix had just finished her master’s program, and I was working a soul-crushing job to support us.

During that sailing trip, we had time to decompress and talk our short and long term dreams. The trip also coincided with our anniversary. We brought a bottle of wine along to celebrate. My wife is an extremely lightweight drinker, even just two sips of wine and she’s a goner! I am not kidding, anybody who knows her will vouch for that! After hiking one of the gorgeous San Juan Islands, and taking an icy cold swim in Puget sound, we settled into the cockpit of our sailboat for the evening and popped open the bottle, to celebrate our anniversary. I had only a couple of glasses, but Alix finished the bottle herself!! It was usual, but we did not think too much of it at the time. A couple days later as we made our way home Alix laid inside the cabin for the entire seven-hour trip, with what I assumed was a slight case of seasickness. A few days later she asked me to get a pregnancy test. I thought she was joking, but multiple tests were positive!

This was not part of the plan! We wanted kids, but our dream was to be more established in my real estate investing, and her new teaching career.

Clara was born on April 20, 2019. A beautiful and healthy little bundle of joy.

Our plans had been derailed, but for the moment I did not care. Watching Clara’s change week by week has to be one of the most incredible things that I have ever seen in my life. After a few months, she tried to stand by pulling herself up using a support, but she fell right back on her rear. She fell a lot, but every time she got right back up for another attempt.

Her perseverance inspired me. She never admitted defeat! Failure was not an option.

Failure was not even in her vocabulary.

Over and over she would attempt to stand up and fall, then attempt to stand up again. To her, falling was a minor bump on the road toward achieving her goal of standing.

Clara got me thinking a lot about my life and the excuses I make when it does not seem like something is going as well as I wanted to.

I have mentored and coached many people, and I see this common thread amongst the most successful- they never give up. Falling down is just a speed bump in their journey. Those that do not pick themselves up are never able to gain momentum toward their dream.

John Maxwell has said that a steam locomotive without momentum cannot push through a brick wall, however, if that brick wall is simply in the path as it is steaming down the rails toward its destination, it will smash through it with only a minor shutter, and continue on toward its goal. I saw that lived out in front of me every day for the last year.

Sometimes our plans in life take years to come to fruition. I’ve been around long enough to see the cycle play out several times, but seeing my child developing new skills every week drove it home on a much more compressed timeline.

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”. Whatever your dreams are, you need to be setting your sights solidly on them and believe in yourself. Power up your steam locomotive and burst through those brick walls. You will encounter setbacks along the way, but they are only bumps along the journey to reaching your dream. I believe you have what it takes. I know you have what it takes. If you will simply grab on and pull yourself back up when you fall then you can achieve your dreams and more

Fifth week update on the nano reef tank cleanup

The tank is coming along quite well! The ecosystem seems to have stabilized. I believe that between restructuring the sump, the Aiptasia-X, and a mess of new snails, that the recovery is guaranteed.

With the last update, I mentioned the Aiptasia-X. There are 3 Peppermint Shrimp in the tank and they could not keep up with the rate of spread of the Aiptasia. I dosed the Aips two or three times while they were still populating like bunnies. Since then the numbers have not gone up. The Pepps are not doing an amazing job of eliminating them, but they are not spreading either. It has been a couple of weeks since the last dose. Used it again today and I am not seeing any more Aiptasia.

With the Aiptasia under control, I turned all my attention to the algae infestation. You saw two of the rocks were scrubbed clean last time. That was done outside the tank. Because I could not get the bubble tip anemone off the other rock, I have been scrubbing it in place. While hunting for a cheaper source for snails, I came across Reef Cleaners. At first, I was thrown off by their low prices, but they have tons of great reviews, so I ordered from them. John at Reef Cleaners is great! Top-notch customer service. He even followed through afterward to ask how everything was adjusting.

The new algae crew consists of 2 Turbo Snails, 5 Astrea, 3 Trochus, and 2 Blue Legged Hermit Crabs. Together, they have been able to stem the tide of algae in the tank. I also tried blacking out the tank last weekend, which seemed to help.

This wall had the worst of it!

Water changes are much better also! Before, the water I was pulling out was a dark muddy brown. The last change was nearly transparent.

The Bubble Tip Anemone now looks very healthy and happy. During the day it has been sticking out loud and proud. No more hiding inside the rock. It is good sized too, maybe five inches across.

Oscar, the Emerald Crab has been hamming it up on Instagram. 48 followers in just 13 days!

All in all, the tank is coming along well!



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