The Tidal 55 by Seachem- Review
In the saltwater hobby we often say that hang on back (HOB) filters are not meant for saltwater, that they aren’t good enough. I still believe that, but there are times when an HOB filter is just what you need. A quarantine tank for instance, or a small reef tank that a sump would be impractical on. So, if you need a hang on back filter for your saltwater application, I think I found one that you will like.
All pictures by: melypr1985
Seachem has come out with a new hang on back filter for both fresh and saltwater applications. I spent some time with the Seachem rep who took me on a tour of this filter and pretty much sold me on it. The Tidal comes in sizes good for 55 gallons, 75 gallons and 110 gallons. It’s meant to need less maintenance and to be easier to maintain when you do. Of course, we all know it’s best to keep your maintenance up to par no matter how little a product claims to need. The manual even tells you that regular maintenance is important and will greatly increase the health of your aquarium. The pump on this filter is made by Sicce which is an Italian company with great products, quality and reputation. The one I was able to get is the 55 model and I have it on a 10-gallon quarantine tank. It’s way over powered for a tank that small but with the easy adjustment on the speed of the filter, it’s perfect for what I need.
Let’s talk about the features it has. First and foremost, it has a surface skimmer. Wait a sec?! Did she say surface skimmer?! Yup. It’s a pretty cool feature to have for sure, especially in a saltwater application. It also has the same intake that every other HOB filter has, though this one is telescoping to fit more shallow tanks. The self-priming pump is attached very securely to the body of the filter. So securely, in fact, that I had a hard time taking it off. They also state that the impeller is self-cleaning, but we will have to give it some serious time in service to see if this is true. You have to take off the pump to install the intake tube, but the box that holds those parts has a handy, and easy to follow graphic on how to do this. I had it done in about 30 seconds.
There is also a clip on the side to hold a heater. It may sound like a silly addition but those suction cups don’t last long in saltwater, so a handy clip might be nice to have when that happens. Above the surface skimmer, you’ll find a dial that controls the flow rate of the filter. I found this nice and very important when I found one of my anthias stuck to the intake tube this morning. I didn’t realize how much suction was really being pulled in until that moment. I turned down the flow and now everybody else is doing just fine.
Inside the filter, you’ll find a media basket. It’s easy to get out and comes with a blue sponge and a mesh, zip up bag full of Seachem’s Matrix media. For those of you who don’t know, Matrix is a ceramic bio media that is very porous and able to hold a large amount of bacteria in a small sample. There is plenty of room inside to add other media of your choice. I chose to cut a piece of the filter pad in my sump and add it to the mix to seed the media with since it was going on a new QT. You could add anything you wanted, from a very large sponge for your QT, or purigen, carbon, ect. As I said, it’s easy to remove the basket and everything in it with the tabs on either side of the basket. The lid of the filter is designed to hold the basket right on top in the cut in and keep dripping to a minimum. I found that this was handy, but if you don’t let the basket drain enough, you’ll still get spillover.
One of the most interesting parts of this filter is the maintenance indicator on the top. It’s a little blue tube that pops up when the filters need cleaning or changing. The idea is that the filters are clogged and not allowing water to pass through them well enough to be effective. When the water backs up inside the filter it triggers this little blue tube to pop up letting you know about it. I like the idea behind that, but I haven’t seen it happen yet. I will update with that information when/if it happens.
All in all, I think this is a well-made product and I’m not worried about it breaking on me in the next month or two. I know that Sicce is a good brand and stands behind its products with a good warranty. There are some good ideas wrapped into this filter, but only time will tell if it’s really worth the money for them. They are a bit pricier than some of the other options out there at about $55 for the Tidal 55, but have the potential to be worth it. I hope to see some other reviews of this product in this thread and feel free to ask any questions you have about it.
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