If you're looking for a good, solid water filter for your turtles without blowing your budget, you should definitely check out SunSun's lineup.
Overview & Features
Among some of the highlights of this filter:
- Mechanical, biological and chemical filtration
- Built-in UV sterilizer (with on/off switch) to kill potentially harmful bacteria in your tank
- Is good for up to 150 gallon tanks
- Relatively cheap, compared to other external canister filters
- Easy to assemble and clean
Continue reading for a more comprehensive and impartial review of this filter.
Pros & Cons
Instruction manual is poorly written
Filtration trays very easy to set-up and change
Mixed reactions regarding built-in UV light
Lower price than competitors
What Filter Process Does It Have?
SunSun's HW Series (301, 303, 304, 404, etc) are all have three stage filtration processes:
- Mechanical filtration: Physically removes dirt, grime, uneaten food, etc.
- Biological filtration: Process that converts turtle's ammonia-laden waste into nitrite, then nitrate
- Chemical filtration: Removes undissolved substances from the water, usually carbon
One of the bigger benefits of this filter (and the other similar models) is that it is quite easy to load your trays into their respective slots.
Additionally, the 304b model has four trays instead of 3 (all other SunSun canister filters only have 3), so you will be able to stack another media (mechanical, biological or chemical) for improved water filtration.
As far as any additional media, it doesn't come with any, so you will need to buy your own (which is usually very inexpensive).
The 304b has an additional benefit in that it has a built-in UV light, to kill algae and other potentially harmful bacteria that will pass through the filter and get cleaned out.
How Is The Build Quality & Noise Level?
Although many consumers may see a "Made in China" tag and automatically assume that the build quality is rather poor, rest assured, because for this SunSun model (and other SunSun canister filters), they are not.
SunSun is a large company in Zhejiang Province, China, the most developed part of the country.
As far as the 304 model goes, it's quite large! Much larger than the 302 for instance. It's trays are much larger, with a much bigger depth than the 302.
As noted above, the filter comes with four trays (others are 3). These trays however are not quite as sealed as the 302, so some water may seep through and not be filtered (but eventually will be as the water returns for further cycles).
One of the biggest benefits of this filter is that it is extremely quiet. In fact, you can hardly tell that they it is running most of the time. You'll probably have to look at the spray bar to even check that it's running, it's so quiet.
There is one minor issue with the built quality, and that comes when you are setting everything up the first time.
The spray bar and the intake filter seem to be made out of a cheap plastic, so be careful when installing and putting them together. The plastic that they are made up of is rather poor and seemingly brittle. Just be careful and you should be good. Once in should everything is set-up, you shouldn't have any problems given that you won't be wiggling anything around.
As far as the actual set-up and installation process, if you are familiar with canister installations it should be a rather snap.
However, if it's your first time, you would be advised to completely ignore the nearly unintelligible, poorly translated directions and instead watch a video such as the one below.
Overall, the set-up (compared to 302) is slightly more difficult due to larger tubes and is harder to prime (the larger primer has more air bubbles, but can fix this when you put more water in your tank).
And one last piece of advice, you always need to fill up a canister filter with water before turning it on.
What Are Its Consumer Reviews?
The consumer reviews of nearly every SunSun product are rather well received.
There are two things to look for here; the number of reviews and the overall rating.
In terms of number of reviews, this (and similar SunSun filters) have been reviewed literally hundreds of times, and the overwhelming vast majority of these reviews have been positive.
The most common praise of this filter was how quiet it was, and the most common complaint was about the UV light sometimes damaging or even melting some of the plastic off the outer tank (nothing that is necessary, just minor damage).
What a Consumer Says...
I have had this product for over a year now. The intake and outlet are a cheaper plastic but have held up perfectly over the year of use. I have even moved the tank several times and moved the intake and outlet pipes over the year with no issues. The filter keeps my 120 gallon freshwater tank clean even with a dirt substrate and many live plants... I would buy this product again for my next tank.
What Are The Pros (In-depth)?
The biggest pro of this filter is it's relative cheapness.
Similar filters easily run into the mid 150's and higher.
This filter (one of SunSun's biggest) will set you back less than $100 and give you a lot of value for your dollar. And of course, if you are looking for something even cheaper, you could always look into the smaller and cheaper 302.
Secondly, this thing is quiet.
As noted above, if you are likewise looking for a filter that is stone-cold silent, you probably won't go wrong here.
What Are The Cons (In-Depth)?
No product is without it's flaws, and the SunSun HW series are not without exception.
Again, as noted above, the trays do not seal 100%. Thus, during each cycle a very small portion of water will seep through without running through each of the four filtration systems. The 302 trays' seal much tighter in comparison. On the other hand, given that the flow rate on this filter is so high, that untreated water will inevitably (and rather quickly) be treated again quickly anyway.
More important than that however were some issues regarding the UV light. Several consumers noted that the built-in UV light damaged certain parts within the filter. Nothing too bad, and nothing that impedes the ability of the filter to do its job, but it may be wise (as other consumers have pointed out), to not keep the UV light running 24/7.
What's The Final Verdict of the SunSun 304B?
Overall, the SunSun HW Filters get a very solid...
Given the fact that...
- It's priced much lower than similar competitors' models
- It runs super quiet
- It has all three necessary filtration systems, plus an extra fourth tray (for the 304b model)
- It has a built-in UV light (for the 304b model)
- Relatively easy set-up
This one was simply a no brainer. If you're looking for a good canister filter for your 150 gallon and below tank, SunSun HW series filters should be one of your first choices.