View Full Version : Tetratec PF500

04-13-2003, 08:48 AM
Hello all,
I just wanted to give a review of this filter after six months of owning it, because it is much different than my first impression. I will compare first impression with six month impressions.

First of all I never thought the filter looked like a quality piece but I was willing to give it a try. I first set it up and everything was great. It was easy to start the wave type action that feeds the bio sponge and it was easy to get the correct amout of flow. The build in heater was really cool and the sound was not that bad.

Now I hate this filter. The bio-sponge gets clogged all the time causing the wave action to stop. The filters seem to always have overflow. For some reason it is now impossible to regulate flow. The filters when changed pass a huge a amount of waste into the tank. The filter is louder and gurgles way too much.

I still like the heater part, it is accurate and I dont have to worry about it being ejected from the tank. Also, my Oscar constantly spits substrate in the intake, I think he hates this filter also, but the thing will not break or jam. The filter works best with only two filter instead of the four, it also works best as a carbonless filter.

So what I have done is order a emperor 400 to replace the biowheel 330 I was using and then i will run the tetratec with only two filters and no carbon. I should be able to use the biowheel from the 330 in the emperior to start cycling that filter so by the end of next week everything should be cool.

Thanks for reading my rant.

Cliff Note: Don't buy the tetratec pf500 it's crap

04-13-2003, 09:23 AM
I sent an email to tetra we will see if the respond

04-13-2003, 03:03 PM
Huh, I've been running one on my 135 for about three months with no problems. Yes, it gurgles, but that's really nothing major for me. I keep the sponge regularly rinsed and it shows no sign of imminent clogging. I alwasy turn the flow down at feeding time to absorb less detritus and between this filter and the Emp 400 I have on the other end of the tank, I have thus far been fairly pleased.


04-13-2003, 06:14 PM

I totally agree. I have experienced exactly the same troubles. The TetraTec cannot compete with the Emperor in any way. The Emperors are definitely the class of the field so far.

By the way, I don't think the bio-wheel you're trying to swap out will fit. You might want to double check that.

04-14-2003, 06:17 PM
Originally posted by aharris
Huh, I've been running one on my 135 for about three months with no problems. Yes, it gurgles, but that's really nothing major for me. I keep the sponge regularly rinsed and it shows no sign of imminent clogging. I alwasy turn the flow down at feeding time to absorb less detritus and between this filter and the Emp 400 I have on the other end of the tank, I have thus far been fairly pleased.


Maybe once I have my emperor I will have less problems but as a primary filter it does not cut it. Do you use the heating module, I think that might be part of my flow control issues. Glad to hear it works for you.:party:

04-15-2003, 11:14 AM
If you look back at the posts a bit, you will notice that you are not the only one who dislikes this filter. Boilermaker had one leak on his newly laid kitchen floor!

I threw out the small one I had running on my sick tank and replaced it with a Marineland mini biowheel. MUCH BETTER!

I also threw out my Tetratec heater for that sick tank since it never heated above 76 degrees. I sent them emails, but they never reply. Talked to one of their reps at a recent fich club auction/meeting and he totally blew me off. :rolleyes:

04-15-2003, 06:12 PM
I received a response from tetra today only one business day after sending my comment, I am impressed. I will try a couple of the suggestions they sent me. Below is the response that I received maybe it will help some others out:

Hello Shawn,

We are sorry to learn of your disappointment in our product and hope we can help you. We do not refund money, but we do replace improperly working equipment with properly working equipment. If you send your filter in, we will be most happy to replace it for you.

In the meantime, there are some things you can do to operate the filter more efficiently. Regardless of the type of filter, a heavy bioload will increase your maintenance of both the tank and the filter. Our filter was thoroughly tested on many different types of tanks, in private homes, as well as in the lab here at Tetra.
The foam does not clog frequently. In fact, it clogs less frequently than our Whisper ones. The water over the filter cartridges sound like it is a result of clogging or debris also.

Some things you can do is to rinse the foam whenever you do a partial change(recommendation would be once every two weeks, minimum, for a heavy load), and replace two of the cartridges at a time, rotating the front ones to the back and putting new ones in the front. You can also clean the impeller and the motor out about every two months, white vinegar works well.

Filters will help to reduce maintenance and keep fish healthy, but they were not built to take on heavy bio-loads.

One more thing you can check is the levelness of the filter. The
intake tube should make a straight line through the water and be parallel with the back of the tank. If it is not, this will reduce your flow rate, and back the filter up, causing the water to rise over the filter cartridges and the other problems you commented on, related to this.

04-17-2003, 03:25 PM
I cleaned out the PF500 today and starting running whisper 5 filters. So far everything seems to be working as new. This morning the pump was not running because a piece of gravel was jammed into the blades of the impeller but that was an easy fix. Between the Emperor and the PF500 I think I should be ok with my filter needs.

04-22-2003, 12:57 AM
wow, thi was the firrst bad comment on these filters that i have heard...eh, ill stick to whats been working for me :)

04-22-2003, 09:18 AM
Wow, these things sound like a pending train wreck! And what really erks me is the response from Tetra! "Filters were not meant to handle a heavy bio-load"? What the hell kinda comment is that? That's like saying, "Koho hockey sticks break because they were not meant to be used for a slapshot..." (not that Koho would ever say that but the point is rellevant). They designed a ****ty filter that, by the sounds of it, needs weekly (at least) maintenece. I run my two fluvals for a month before I tear 'em apart and clean them... I wonder if Fluval would confirm some of these idiots theories about filters not being effective in "heavy" bioload situations?

And the noise!!! What a crock!


04-22-2003, 11:49 AM
Here is a recent email I sent to them:
To: consumer@tetra-fish.com
Subject: Defective Heater

To Whom it May Concern:
Approximately three weeks ago I purchased a 100 watt Whisper 10-30
heater, made by your company. Today, upon my return home from work, I found the temperature in my 10 gallon aquarium to be 82 degrees. The heater had apparently been on constantly since I last checked it this
morning before leaving for work. At that time the temperature was 76
degrees; the proper temperature for my tank. Upon removing the heater
and inspecting it, I found that a piece (what looked to be some type of
coil/spring part) inside the sealed glass case was rattling/moving. In addition I noticed a small amount of ondensation inside the upper portion of the glass tube. This, also, was not the case this morning.
This is the second Whisper heater that I have had. The first one was returned for faulty operation, to the original place of purchase [Wal-Mart]. I do not have the original packaging from this purchase, so the store will not refund the price; nor do I want another heater of the same type or brand.
I am especially disappointed in the lack of reliability from a brand name
that I trusted for my 35+ years in the hobby. It seems lately that any
Tetra/Whisper product I purchase is not of the same quality as in the
past. One good example of this would be that the Whisper and Tetratec
mini filters that I purchased for my two 5 gallon sick tanks have both been
replaced because of leakage and/or improper operation (including rapid
clogging of the filter media despite the low bio-load of one sick fish). I have since purchased Penguin Minis made by Marineland.
I would like to know what Tetra will do for me in this situation, and would appreciate if a representative would contact me regarding this defective product.
Their response:
It is regrettable that you received two defective heaters in a row. We will
be happy to send a replacement heater to you. One will ship on Friday April 18. If you would like to discuss this further please call me at
800-526-0650, ext 5433.
Rm. Hartman
Consumer Relations
Tetra Customer Care
Today I got the heater. I'll be taking it back to Wal-Mart for a refund.

04-22-2003, 04:13 PM
That's so funny! Still gonna' take it back! Sounds like they lost a customer to me!

I know how you feel. It's not worth experimenting anymore. I stick with Ebo Jaeger heaters, Emperor power filters, etc., etc. There are a few companies (Eheim is another) that continue to put out quality, and I for one find it worth a little extra dough for the peace of mind they provide.

The same goes for brands of food....... not worth the risk to save a little.

04-22-2003, 06:06 PM
The thing that suck thoughs is that tetra used to be the best power filters especially for the price but no they have lost the battle with marineland and I think we will see even more gimmicks and cost cutting measures. It is a shame.

04-22-2003, 09:12 PM
True indeed. I'd been using Tetra stuff for years. Now they're just like everybody else...cheaper is better.

chc: I'm with you. EBO Jager and Emperor, and I still like Aquaclear and Fluval. They haven't let me down yet.

04-22-2003, 09:36 PM
when whisper came out with their triad system, i contacted them about a brand new whisper 4 which overflowed after only a couple of days, though it worked fine if i left off the 'new' feature: the sponge. well, they told me that they they were aware of the problem. period. no offer of a solution, or anything, but they continued to sell a filter that they knew had a design flaw--haven't bought another since.:rolleyes: :mad: :rolleyes:

04-24-2003, 11:08 PM
Oh, forgot to mention in my earlier post:

Tetra bought out Whisper, so they are simply different divisions of the same company.

Ain't that a kick in the pants!:rolleyes:

04-29-2003, 12:12 PM
Bennings how is the tetratec working, I to had problems at the start it seems they get better with age.
I've had two 300's for a year now, and they are just now starting to run smoothly, the heaters are great set em and leave em like a ebo-jager.


Merlyn the filters that leaked on the floor was pro-aquatics by Hydor.
You know I have an old second nature by whisper on the 29g that is 10years old or better never had a problem.
They don't make them like they used to.

05-24-2003, 06:10 AM
I have two PF300's...with heaters...they are working great so far...the only time they don't do the dry/wet fill thing is when the water is low....

I'm also running a huge 125Gal sponge filter but so far everything is working great...no problems with the filters or amonnia or any other by products of bad filtering....

I've had them running in my tank for 2 months now...

05-25-2003, 08:23 AM
Originally posted by Boilermaker
Bennings how is the tetratec working

Well here is the update, ever since I got the emperor 400 up and running the entire system works great together. I also stopped using the tetratec filter bags, I think they clog too easily. I also run a phosphate sponge in each filter and the water has never been cleaner. The pf500 was not enough for my system but when teamed with the emperor it runs like a champ.

05-26-2003, 06:11 PM
That's the same combo I have on my 135g, and I have yet to experience any trouble.