Aquarium product reviews Filtration

All Pond Solutions External filter (EF range) review

All Pond Solutions external filter 1

Today we’re going to take a look at the All Pond Solutions EF range of filters. These external filters are low priced in comparison to many other brands, so are they good value for money?

All Pond Solutions External Filters

Most UK Aquarists have come across a company called All Pond Solutions by now.

Despite their name, they offer more than just pond equipment and cater for a range of aquarium setups too.

They produce a range of external filters that have caught the attention of many aquarium owners due to their very low prices in comparison to many other brands.

Low prices are great! But are these filters any good? Today we’re going to take a look at the All Pond Solutions EF range and find out.

All Pond Solutions

All Pond Solutions have been running since 2006 and began to introduce their own branded products to their store in 2008.

All Pond Solutions is located in Uxbridge, West London, where they operate from a 23,000 sq ft warehouse whilst attending various aquatics trade shows.

Their EF external filter range has been available for a while now and despite a few slight changes in its appearance, the filters themselves have remained roughly the same throughout.

If you have taken a look at the All Pond Solutions External filter range, you may have noticed that they look a lot like ‘Sun Sun’ canister filters – these are available in the US but I have not seen them available in the UK for a while.

I would guess that they are indeed the same filter but have been branded by All Pond Solutions.

All Pond Solutions External Filters – EF Range

The EF range has recently expanded and whilst I have been using these for several years, I haven’t tried them all.

This article will look at the larger filters in the range, the EF-1000, EF-1400 and EF-2000, there are now two versions of each available with the newer models being named the EF2 range, spec-wise they’re very similar but the design has changed slightly.

Here is the EFX (new design 2000lph):

all pond solutions external filter 7

These filters are all available with or without a 9W UV bulb fitted.

Here are some stats for All Pond Solutions filters:

EF-1000

  • Suitable for aquariums up to 400l
  • Flow Rate: 1000 Litres per Hour
  • Hose size: 20mm / 0.8 Outside, 15mm / 0.6 Inside Diameter
  • Hose length: 1.8 Metres
  • Water Volume: 8 Litres (Approx)
  • Height Max: 1.4 Metres
  • Voltage: 220-240v
  • Power: 18w
  • Dimensions: 232 x 232 x 395 mm
  • Warranty: 12 Months

All Pond Solutions external filter 2

EF-1400

  • Suitable for aquariums up to 600l
  • Flow Rate: 1400 Litres per Hour
  • Hose size: 20mm / 0.8 Outside, 15mm / 0.6 Inside Diameter
  • Hose length 1.8 Metres
  • Water Volume: 12 Litres (Approx)
  • Height Max: 2 Metres
  • Voltage: 220-240v
  • Power: 35w
  • Dimensions: 258 x 258 x 430 mm
  • 12 Month Warranty

All Pond Solutions external filter 2

 

EF-2000

  • Suitable for aquariums up to 1000l
  • Flow Rate: 2000 Litres per Hour
  • Hose size: 25mm  Outside, 18mm Inside Diameter
  • Hose length 1.8 Metres
  • Water Volume: 20 Litres (Approx)
  • Height Max: 2 Metres
  • Voltage: 220-240v
  • Power: 55w
  • Dimensions: 290 x 290 x 485 mm
  • FREE 12 Month Warranty

All Pond Solutions external filter 1

Performance of All Pond Solutions External filters

Looking through the spec of these filters, they look pretty good, especially when you combine the figures with their low price tags.

The EF-1000 models are available for as little as £52.25 and the EF-2000 models from £71.24 (As I write this) – You would be hard-pressed to find another external filter at this price with this spec.

But how do they really perform?

I’ll start this off by confessing that I am a huge fan of these filters. At this price, I haven’t yet found anything that can compete with them.

Power

As with all external filters, I recommend taking the ‘Aquarium volume’ figures with a pinch of salt. I am currently running an EF-1000 on a 200l aquarium, it keeps the water crystal clear but there isn’t quite enough circulation to remove all the detritus and plant matter from the bottom of the aquarium.

This works perfectly for this set-up though as this is my Amatitlania Myrnae breeding tank, anything more powerful may suck up the fry.

I have never detected any trace of ammonia or nitrite whilst using this filter on this set-up, even with the rapidly expanding population of fry.

Here is a quick snap I took down the length of the Roma 200:

All Pond Solutions external filter 4

Noise

In all honesty, the All Pond Solutions EF range are not the quietest filters in the world. They’re not noisy by any means, but they certainly make a little more noise than the likes of an Eheim.

In a silent room, you may hear a slight hum from inside the aquarium cabinet, this has never been loud enough to bother me and most, if not all, of my air pumps are louder.

Media Capacity

These filters have loads of space for media!

Each filter comes loaded with bags of filter bio-media and sponges. So if this is for a new set-up you will have enough media to get the filter running straight out of the box.

The EF range comes with fitted media trays allowing you to separate your media very effectively making it easy to clean and manage.

Admittedly, the trays are an awkward shape which makes it difficult to cut your own sponges, the good news though is that (as these filters are) pre-cut replacement sponges are pretty cheap. (From £5.69)

There is also a gap below the bottom tray meaning you can add additional media there too if you wish – just be careful not to block the inlet.

all pond solutions external filter 5

Pipework

The All Pond Solutions EF range come complete with all of the pipework required for setup and use.

The hoses are of good quality and there is plenty of length provided to reach under an aquarium cabinet.

The plastic tubing can be a little fragile, but as long as you don’t force it too much it works perfectly, there is even a skimmer attachment for the filter inlet pipe.

The plastic tubing is easily adjustable by adding additional sections of pipe. This is great and means that the outlet and inlet pipes can be adjusted to fit your aquarium, though you can be slightly restricted by the length of each section.

This means that the outlet doesn’t always sit perfectly at the bottom of the tank. I found that with the Roma 200, the outlet sits a few inches from the bottom of the tank, adding another section of the pipe would make it too long.

This isn’t the end of the world, some filters do not even have the option to extend the outlet pipe (Eheim) and as you can see below, it does still pick up the mess (Sorry! Its due a clean).

all pond solutions external filter 6

The skimmer attachment is a great idea, but it can suck in a bit of air if it is sat perfectly straight upright. I found that sitting it at a slight angle relieved this issue quite effectively.

Overall

The All Pond Solutions External filter range offers a great alternative to the ‘big brand’ names that won’t break the bank. All Pond Solutions external filters are amazing value for money and they do a great job of keeping the tank clean and healthy.

Are they the greatest filters in the world?

…..No.

But they are by far the best that I have used at this price, or even close to this price.

As a comparison, I recently bought a JBL e1902 Cristalprofi filter. It’s awesome, but it cost 3X the price and is slightly lower-powered than an EF-2000.

Don’t get me wrong here, the build quality of the JBL is far superior and it does do an amazing job. But does it keep my aquarium any cleaner than an EF-2000 would? No – that is mostly down to filter media rather than the filter itself.

Great value!

What the All Pond Solutions External filter range are, is great value for money. An All Pond Solutions filter will do just as good a job of keeping your aquarium clean as a far more expensive filter.

That means that if you’re in need of a filter for a larger aquarium, but don’t have a vast amount of cash lying around, then an All Pond Solutions external filter could suit both your needs and your budget.

Aquarium UV – do I need it?

I mentioned earlier that these filters come with the option of a built-in UV light. UV has become more widely used in the aquarium and can be used to kill algae and bacteria as it passes through the filter.

I have had one of these filters in the past which had the UV light fitted, the EF-1400. The filter was great, but unfortunately, the bulb blew after around 2 weeks of use.

I replaced the bulb and around 2 weeks later it blew again.

This was a few years ago now, so maybe the bulbs have improved since then?

In all honesty though, a UV bulb is a great idea but it isn’t essential. A well maintained and well-filtered aquarium has no need for a UV bulb.

So, when it comes to the choice of UV or no UV, I’ll leave that up to you if it is worth the extra few quid.

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Common Problems

As social media has become more popular it has become much easier to see ‘bad press’ on just about everything.

I’ve seen loads of issues come up with these filters, one such issue being with the priming function.

Priming issues

These filters ‘self-prime’, which means they are able to start the syphon from the aquarium without you having to suck on the hose, which regularly ends with a mouthful of water.

The priming function is fairly simple and works by you depressing a large button on top of the filter. However, it doesn’t always work.

This is the case with many filters, my JBL e1902 wouldn’t self-prime at first either, but it does work and so does the EF range’ priming function.

If you are struggling to get the filter to prime, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure the aquarium is full.
  2. Ensure the filter pipes are not longer than they need to be (Cut them down).
  3. Remove any additional pipework from the filter inlet (the shorter the pipe, the easier it is for water to be pulled through). This means only having the inlet hooked over the aquarium and no pipe leading to the bottom of the aquarium until the filter is started up/filled with water.
  4. Ensure the filter outlet pipe is above the water (this allows air to escape from the filter more easily).
  5. Try to prime the filter again.

Following these steps should resolve any priming issues.

Air pockets

Another common issue is air being trapped in the filter. Air in the filter can make it sound much louder and more ‘rattly’.

Luckily, this is an easy fix too:

  1. Turn the filter off.
  2. Ensure that the surface skimmer, if used, is not sucking in air (these tend to work better when tilted at a slight angle).
  3. Check that the impeller is correctly seated and is free of damage.
  4. Ensure the filter outlet is above the water line (This makes it easier for air to escape).
  5. Ensure there are no kinks in the hoses (Cut them down if necessary).
  6. Wait a minute for any air to escape.
  7. Turn the filter on.
  8. If it is still loud and rattly, tip the filter slightly to each side (This allows the air to exit through the filter outlet.
  9. Repeat from step one as necessary (One or two times should be sufficient).

(Please note – these issues are not specific to All Pond Solutions external filters but can happen with any external filter).

The Verdict

All Pond Solutions external filters are great value for money and do a great job.

Their little EF-1000 is keeping my Roma 200 crystal clear with zero traces of ammonia or nitrite and cost less than £55. It’s a bargain!

In roughly 8 years of running them, I have never had a leak, never had one break and never had any issues other than a UV bulb blowing.

All Pond Solutions external filters offer a great, budget-friendly alternative to the ‘big brand’ filters. They are much, much cheaper and do a great job of keeping your aquarium clean and healthy.

You will find links to the EF range in our ‘shop‘. Our shop is a list of recommended products that have been tried and tested by us and have found to be great at what they do and/or great value for money.

In this case the All Pond Solutions external filter range ticks both boxes.

You can find the full range of All Pond Solutions external filters on Amazon using the link below:

All Pond Solutions Filters on Amazon

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases) .

If you need some tips on how to set your external filter up, check out our guide to filter setup HERE.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid or sponsored review. This is my own, honest opinion of these products and has not been influenced in any way.

 

Frequently asked questions:

 

 

 

References:

www.allpondsolutions.co.uk

Photo credit:

All Pond Solutions

 

About the author

James @Seriously Fishy

I am a fish keeping enthusiast with over 20 years experience. I currently keep American Cichlids (CA) which are my favourite fish to keep so far. I started Seriously Fishy as I noticed a large volume of people on various web pages looking for help with Aquarium basics. I created the first Seriously Fishy book to solve the issue in 28 pages, that led to the Seriously Fishy UK fish forum and blog.

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