Taking care of an aquarium is a lot like taking care of a garden in that it requires a lot of work and dedication in order to flourish. New aquarium owners often underestimate exactly how much time – and sometimes, money – needs to be spent tending to their aquatic gardens.
Naturally, water plays a big role in taking care of an aquarium. Specifically, the quality of the water will determine how long the fish in your aquarium can survive. It needs to be cleaned constantly in order to maintain its purity. And to this end, you will need a water filter.
Big tanks require big filters to ensure that the water is always clear and clean. Unfortunately, bigger does not always mean better, but it does mean “more expensive” – for the most part, at least.
The Polar Aurora 4-Stage external media filter seems to be the exception to the rule. With its undemanding price, you would be forgiven for thinking that there must be some sort of catch. After all, corners are cut all the time when it comes to cheap products. Is the Polar Aurora the exception to that rule as well? More importantly, is it even worth your money?
The Polar Aurora is a vexing piece of equipment. It comes with a relatively forgiving price tag, along with a bevy of useful features that may seem out of place. What is certain, however, is that this filter is best used in medium to large size aquariums.
You will also notice that the Polar Aurora comes with 3 separate media trays, along with an adjustable spray bar (which plenty of other filters do not include). This makes it perfect for those who appreciate a little variety, as the media trays are more than capable of handling any type of media you throw at them, such as SunSun’s activated carbons, ceramic rings, or bio-balls.
The sheer amount of supported media means that buyers can use the money saved on their initial purchase of the filter to get their hands on some more substantial, quality media to maximize the mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.
All in all, as long as you have a tank big enough to support it, the Polar Aurora may be for you.
The Polar Aurora includes all the components typical of every canister filter, with a few stand-out features. These include a 9-watt UV sterilizer bulb, which helps eliminate algae spores and other bacteria, and a self-priming pump that eliminates the need to siphon the water yourself.
It is a solid overall package that will neither surprise nor disappoint aquarium aficionados. The inclusion of a spray bar is also a definite boon and is something that surprisingly few filter canisters include.
The Polar Aurora is fairly conservative when it comes to features. You will not find anything revolutionary or innovative here. However, the features it does include seem to be implemented well, for the most part, and you will find that they are easy to get to grips with.
For starters, you will notice that the Polar Aurora uses a four-stage filtration process. The 3 separate media trays allow you to choose exactly which media should be used for each step of the filtration process, from biological to mechanical.
Secondly, in order to ensure that the water is as clean as possible, the Polar Aurora also comes with a 9-watt UV sterilizer bulb which helps to reduce algae spores and other, more stubborn forms of bacteria. It also provides some much-needed light.
The self-priming pump is also a great addition to the relatively short list of features. While it is certainly not an innovation, it is convenient and helps to cut down on the amount of labor you will need to perform when it comes to cleaning.
Lastly, the Polar Aurora also includes an O-ring which is meant to reduce the amount of leakage whenever the filter’s cap is removed. However, the O-ring is far from effective, and you will still have to contend with leaks.
The Polar Aurora is easy to set up and get running, but you will need to closely follow the instruction manual in order to ensure that it functions properly.
- Cheaper than most canister filters
- Variety of additional tools and features
- High capacity
- Convenient and easy to use
- Easy to set up
- Leaking issues are still prevalent
- Struggles with higher capacity tanks
For such a low price, the Polar Aurora manages to deliver in terms of quality for the most part, though it suffers when it comes to preventing leaks. For newcomers, this should be a great entry-level canister filter, especially if you have a medium-sized tank to boot.
Aquarist & Writer 22+ Years