View Full Version : Penguin 350 or Emporer 400?

04-11-2007, 11:48 AM
Hello everyone! New member here and also new to Cichlids :)

To make a long story short, I aquired a 55gal set up for free and was setting it up for Yellow Labs. I am assuming the person bought it from Wal-Mart since the 2 filters are crappy and make horrid grinding noises that I can't get rid of.

Anyway I lucked out and was able to get Yellow Labs and Demasonis (and the tanks's water) for free from a college student who was looking to get rid of them. There's 5 huge Labs, about 4 or 5 adult Demasoni and 14 or so small juvies. Yes, LOTS of fish. I will have to try and get rid of some sooner or later, but for now they're okay.

I want to update the filters, especially since there are so many fish. I am planning on an AquaClear 110 (old 500) and one other. From what I've read so far, an Emporer 400 is the way to go, but I can only buy the filter cartridges online since none of the stores around here carry them. I like the quick and easy filter changes since I don't like to spend more time than necessary cleaning them. My other option I was thinking of is the Penguin 350 because I can buy their filter cartridges from the pet store I work at.

My question is, is it worth it to me to invest in the Emporer and order the replacement filters online and spend all that money (I'm not one for customizing the filters since I like simple things). Or would the Penguin 350 do the job? I want the best I can get, but I don't have unlimeted funding. Any opinions and help is welcome :)

04-11-2007, 03:47 PM
Check into the Aquaclear line they have re-useable media! (Just squeeze them out in old water!)

04-11-2007, 06:14 PM
Yeah, I was planning on buying an AquaClear also. I kind of wanted the two different filters, one an AquaClear and the other with BioWheels. I just can't decide what to get!

04-11-2007, 07:42 PM
Nothing really beats an aquaclear and a canister combo......

04-11-2007, 08:03 PM
I looked into the canisters too, but as it is right now I don't really have anywhere to put one under or around my tank. That's why I had decided on 2 HOB filters. Maybe someday when I am able to purchase a canister I will, but as it is now I don't think I can *sigh*

04-11-2007, 08:27 PM
For what it's worth, I have 2 Emp. 400's just sitting on the shelf.
I went back to AC70's on my 125 along with a couple cans.
Emps. are big, are noisy for awhile (in my exp. anyway), and have always put out micro bubbles no matter what I've tried.
A good filter no doubt, I just like the AC's more.

Steve C
04-11-2007, 11:43 PM
The only HOB I use is the Emperor 400. The penguin is just a cheaper imitation. I have an AC on the shelf, i got irritated with the media tray continuously popping up.

04-12-2007, 04:18 AM
Originally posted by Steve C
The only HOB I use is the Emperor 400. The penguin is just a cheaper imitation. I have an AC on the shelf, i got irritated with the media tray continuously popping up.

But that only happens IME when the sponge is clogged. (I know you've had bad luck with yours)

04-12-2007, 05:17 AM
On the emperor 400s all you need is pillow stuffing to place in the plastic cartridges. The carbon cartridges you could buy online and set aside until you need them (to clear medicines or odors)

04-12-2007, 10:06 AM
Pillow stuffing sounds easy enough. What about the bags of pillow stuffing-like fluff that's made for aquariums? Is that the floss people talk about? (Sure, I work in an aquarium/pet store, but I'm still not familiar with all that stuff yet). Is that stuff kind of the same? And are the plastic cartridges for the Emperor the kind you can just slip the media out of and replace easily? I don't know what the Emperor's really look like inside since I've never seen one up close. If there was a simple way to get filter media for an Emperor then I'd probably buy one.

04-13-2007, 04:34 PM
All i know is the penguins are like having a fringen frat house partying in the room with the fish tank. I had two of them, don't get me wrong then kept my tank just as clean if not cleaner then my canister, but i just couldn't take the noise. In my room, down the hall, with the door closed i could here them enough to keep me awake some nights. I got a canister and the bubbles from my airstone are louder. I don't know about the Emperor but don't by a Penguin unless you are deaf.

Steve C
04-15-2007, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by RustyNut
But that only happens IME when the sponge is clogged. (I know you've had bad luck with yours)

Yeah, everyone has their own experiences with products, Im sure I haven't hurt AC's sales at all. I wish I would have put all that cash I spent on HOB's towards Eheims! :sygypsy:

04-17-2007, 09:31 PM
But isn't all the noise with the Penguins or Emporers from the waterfall with the bio-wheels? Or do the parts tend to grind and rattle?

04-18-2007, 09:52 AM
On the penguins, it is the pump and its' vibrations that makes all the noise. I had a whisper HOB filter and i loved it. Unfortunetly, it got jacked when i moved and the only thing i could get locally was a penquin. I regret spending the money on them. The waterfall and bio-wheels didn't make vary much noise at all; the noise it did make was tolerable.

04-18-2007, 04:07 PM
Thanks for the help. I have a small Whisper filter on my 10 gal and it is super quiet, I can't even tell that its running. I have a small Penguin on my 30 gal and the only noise that makes is from the waterfall. I've never owned a larger filter until I aquired my 55 gal so I don't know if the size makes a difference in the noise they make also...? All I know is the crappy filters I have on my 55gal right now have been grinding and rattling ever since I put them up and it drives me nuts!

Steve C
04-19-2007, 12:43 AM
My Emperor is only loud when the water level drops, or I use the flow control for feeding. Otherwise I don't hear it . There is no water fall sound from it, I think if you adjust the spray bar to the correct angle you can get silent operation. I had it on a 55 and my water was crystal clear. I can't recall if the penguins (larger) have a flow control or adjustable spray bar. I know my small penguin doesn't but even that is pretty quiet.

04-28-2007, 09:32 AM
I totally love my Emp 400.
If I had the space, I'd hang 2 on the back... change one every other week.... The maint is so easy and quick.
The extra media tray is great!
I have 50micron pad I cut to fit the extra tray so I get a water polisher that gives me crystal clear water.
Once a week - a quick rinse with a hose and right back in.
Every 3 months, I cut a new piece of pad and throw out the old one.

03-20-2008, 10:26 AM
I currently have both, (1) Emperor 400 & (1) Penguin 350B on my 125g tank. They use the same filter pads. Dimensionally, the filter housings appear to be the exact same size. I suspect that the main difference between the two are the pump motors, where the Emperor must have a slightly higher output motor.

BTW, I don't notice any difference in sound between the two. My only noise complaint is related to the waterfall effect. I am considering replacing both power filters with canisters, for that reason.

03-20-2008, 11:03 AM
Abenez: where do you get 50 micron pads?

Steve C
03-20-2008, 03:25 PM
Main difference between the emperor and the peng is the spray bars and flow control on the emp. The emp's spray bars are adjustable to control the angle they hit the bio wheels and the flow control (up/down) slows the rate of water, most usefull for feeding time.

03-20-2008, 03:46 PM
Steve C, thank you thank you thank you for that last post!

I was about to reply that the Penguin 350B, like the Emperor 400, also has the adjustable spray bars. Then it hit me, maybe I can quiet my noisy filters by doing just that (adjusting spray bars). Badaboom badabing, now both the Pen350 & Emp400 on my tank are quiet as can be.

And now, I have to retract my earlier statement that the Penguin is not louder than the Emperor - I was wrong. Now that I can hear the motors better, the Penguin is definately MUCH louder than the Emperor.

Hopefully my wife will be happy now and I won't have to run out and spend a fortune on canister filters. Though, I would like to pick one or two up in the future for additional filtration. Just now I won't have to remove the power filters. \o/

03-20-2008, 04:38 PM
Almost forgot to mention...

My Penguin 350B has the flow control, while my Emperor 400 does not. Maybe they switched up the configurations over the years?

Steve C
03-20-2008, 05:49 PM
There is no switch in the center of the filter, grey lever type deal?

03-20-2008, 06:31 PM
Nope, the Penguin has the grey lever in the center. But my Emp 400 does not. I think that the 400 is pretty old. They may have changed the design over the years.

03-30-2008, 09:28 PM
I have Emp.400 and 280 and love them for ease and performance, BUT, the impeller noise from the 400 is getting bad. This is the second 400 that has gone noisey on me in 2-3 years.