Review: Sicce Whale External Canister Filter

sicce-whale-4Launched earlier this year, Sicce’s Whale RANGE external canister filter is something that we perhaps initially didn’t give the attention it deserves as, to be honest, we rarely see modern reef tanks equipped with such devices. On second thoughts though, given the fact that this technology does have applications that extend beyond the typical reef aquarium, we are happy to review this item on the invitation of Sicce.

Actually, we’ve been impressed with their products before (having recently looked at the X Stream E). With a global reputation for quality, Sicce products represent the culmination of over 40 years’ experience in the aquatics industry. Based on innovative research and advanced technology, their pumps are highly regarded, being incorporated into many systems, either in stand-alone application, or as parts of other devices.

So let’s take a look at the Whale, and firstly take note that this range comes in 4 different sizes with a power consumption range of just 5 – 18 watts, as below:

Designed for ease-of-use, and effective and efficient operation, the Whale range features a handy self-priming system so it’s really easy to get the siphon going on the intake tube. The intake tube itself features a clear down-pipe for easy inspection while the outlet tube is tipped with a flow regulation control dial, and a handy directional nozzle which can also be rotated to provide both upwards or downward flow. Both the inlet and outlet tubes are formed from quality, thick-walled grey pipe and feature curved bracket assemblies and suckers that should securely affix them over the rim of most aquaria. Both tubes come together into a single ‘quick release’ assembly at the canister and this assembly simply slides in and then locks into the pump head assembly. This makes it very easy to disengage the tubes when it comes time to service the filter, and means no drips from the disconnected tubes.

The canisters pump head assembly itself feels substantial but not too heavy. Featuring an efficient Syncra Silent motor with double-insulated pump wall, advanced rotor and ceramic impeller shaft, this is a class leading unit in terms of energy efficiency (see table), and is safe for both marine and freshwater use. The assembly securely fits down inside the man body of the filter and is hermetically sealed there with an O-ring and 4 large, high-pressure locking clips on each corner. These clips not only make it very easy to lever the head from the body, but also keep the two tightly in union when the unit is in operation! Inside the main body of the filter we have a variety of floating media baskets and these feature handy clip-on handles to allow for ease of insertion or removal without even having to get your hands wet! The media baskets themselves are very spacious and take note that these filters come with a variety of high performance filter media included (all units feature mechanical and biological media while the largest mode, the 500, includes Sicce’s AkuaClean chemical media). All in all, the filters offer a large filtration volume and effective, uniform passage of water through the different compartments.

In operation, our Whale 500 really is whisper quiet. In fact it is totally silent behind the closed doors of our cabinet. Of course the pump head plays a part in this but also take note that the filter body sits on rubber feet to absorb any vibration-induced noise (this is also a nice touch for the odd occasion just after start-up where the filter needs to be gently rocked to dislodge any air-pockets). Using our plug-in energy monitor, power consumption readings matched with those claimed by the manufacturer, as did the approximate LPH through-put of the units (we wouldn’t expect anything else from Sicce to be honest!). All of the key features worked very well. Coming with a generous 3 year warranty, the Whale range starts at an RRP of £80 for the 120 and goes to £150 for the 500. We think this represents superb value given the craftsmanship and clever design features in these filters indeed they’ve made us re-evaluate the potential for running this kind of equipment on our reef aquaria. Certainly if we were running maybe a FOWLR system, isolation tank, or freshwater system of any kind, the Whale would be top of our list!

Check out Sicce’s website for more detail.

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