The Eclipse is a top-of-the-line aquarium filter put out by Marineland. It is the best filter you can buy, for any freshwater tank up to 37 gallons.

The Eclipse is ideal for freshwater tanks, especially of the tropical variety, and both encourages plant growth and keeps even the most delicate fish thriving. Goldfish and cichlid tanks will push the filter to its limit, but may be successful if regularly cleaned and carefully maintained. Eclipses can be used on tiny saltwater systems if the tank is stocked at about a quarter of a normal saltwater capacity. (This means maybe four or five small fish, tops, in a 37 gallon tank. Ideally, saltwater tanks should be 55+ gallons.)Don't put anything expensive in a saltwater Eclipse. It's too risky.

So what is it that makes the Eclipse so special? The most obvious answer is it looks elegant. Instead of a flat hood with the omnipresent protruding light and obvious filter hanging off the back, it's a single unit that's light and filter both with a smooth, streamlined profile. It also makes the fish glow and the plants thrive because in most cases, it has two lightbulbs built in instead of a single bulb like every other hood.

But what makes it really worth the money is the filtration. They call it a "three stage filtration, but it's really sort of a "two" stage--at least the filter has two parts. The intake tube reaches nearly to the bottom of the tank, instead of midwater like most filters. The output spout is also totally diagonal from the intake, so there's a lot more vertical circulation in the tank. Once the water reaches the filter, there's a long blue cartridge which provides both "physical" filtration (strains out the particles) and "chemical (runs the water through charcoal to detox it. Now, most power filters have these two stages. This filter should be changed once a month, or rinsed every 2 weeks and replaced within 3 months.

What makes the Eclipse unique is its bio-wheel. It's in a chamber always half filled with water. The many meshy folds in the wheel, and the fact it turns to air and water respectively, allow a LOT more benificial bacteria to culture on the wheel than on most filters. The second advantage to the wheel is that, while bacteria will culture on a cartridge, when it's then replaced you lose most of the culture. The biowheel is never replaced (unless your dog eats it--they seem unnaturally fond of them) so the culture never has to restart. Now, in all fairness, there are some filters on the market that also have biowheels, but they're generally for larger 55+ tanks. The Eclipse is the first one for smaller tanks.

The Eclipse comes in several sizes;

"tiny tanks"

  • Eclipse Explorer, a two gallon bowfront tank with no light, comes in five colors
  • Eclipse system 3, a three gallon bowfront with a single bulb
  • Eclipse hex 5, a 5 gallon hexagonal tank with a single bulb
  • Eclipse system 6, a six gallon bowfront with a single bulb
  • Eclipse system 12, a twelve gallon bowfront with a single, extra-strong bulb. This bulb is sufficient for live plants to thrive.

    Eclipse hoods/tanks:
    (All are available as a setup or hood only. However, many stores stock systems only and the hoods will have to be ordered online. The hood is a better deal than the setup. An empty tank costs maybe 15 bucks, but the systems cost usually half again as much as the hood alone.

  • Eclipse1 : fits 10x20" tanks (10, 15 'tall', 18 'tall') and moves 150 Gallons Per Hour. Comes with a single bulb, but Eclipse1's with a dual bulb can sometimes be special-ordered. Get a dual-bulb if you want lots of live plants.
  • Eclipse2 : 12X24" tanks (15, 20, 25 'tall') and filters 200 GPH. All 2's have a dual bulb. The Eclipse2 setup is probably the best starter system on the market. A 20 gallon is ideal to begin, and the Eclipse makes maintaining the tank easy.
  • Eclipse3 : 12X 30" tanks (20 'long', 29 or 37 gallon) filters 250 GPH. All Eclipse3's also have the dual bulb.

    Eclipses are by no means the cheapest tanks on the market. The Explorer is about 20 bucks, a whole lot more than a fishbowl, but with a whole lot fewer dead fish in the end. The system 12 runs about 80-90 bucks all told. Going back to hoods alone, they're a little cheaper. The Eclipse1 usually starts at about 70 bucks, the 2 80 and the 3 at 100. Setups, the prices vary wildly from store to store, but they're usually overly costly.

    However, the Eclipse brand, in my mind, is well worth it. I've had fish for 14 years now. I bought a 2 hood for my 20 gallon the year they came out. Cost me nearly 150 bucks all told and I haven't regretted a minute of it. In fact, I bought another 2 hood just two days ago for a new tank I acquired. I've had a couple of mini-systems in there as well. Whenever I can afford it, they're the only things I use. I've never had great success with live plants, but the Eclipse (with proper fertilization of course!) has given me wonderfully green, thriving tanks. Buy one. You won't be sorry. (pricing)