Update: Do not use the Magnum HOT 250 to vacuum an aquarium with a sand substrate, since if sand gets stuck in the HOT 250's impeller, it can force the motor to seize. If you are away from your aquarium for any length of time, this can result in the motor burning out, or an *unserviceable fuse blowing, which prevents the motor from starting.* I'm not certain if the HOT 250's motor has an internal fuse or not.The other night I had vacuumed the bottom of one of my planted aquariums, using a piece of 1/2 inch tubing that I'd installed on the intake tube of the HOT 250. At first the unit worked fine. However, I later moved the HOT 250 to another tank to polish the water in this aquarium, after I removed the extension hose and reinstalled the HOT 250's intake strainer.When I returned about 30 minutes later, I found that the filter was no longer circulating water. I thought that the HOT 250's micron filterhad just clogged, so I turned the unit off.However, the following morning after I cleaned the HOT 250, I went to turn it on again, only to find that there was no power coming from the motor.If you place your hand along the side of this filter you can feel a slight vibration when its electric motor is running. However, that was not the case here. There was no vibration at all. Either the motor had burned out, or as I had stated above, if the HOT 250 contains an internal fuse, it blew out from the motor being forced to run once the impeller clogged with sand.When I attempted to remove the impeller from the motor, the bottom portion was actually so badly jammed, that I could only remove the top half of the impeller. the bottom half was frozen.Sand had clogged this motor and and impeller assembly, and destroyed them. Still worse was that I had only purchased this filter two weeks earlier and used it a few times.This is the first time that I have ever had the electric motor on an aquarium filter burn out. On occasion over the years, I have found the motor from one of my Aquaclear power filters temporarily seized, after a brief power outage.The water in the Aquaclear drained back into the aquarium and the filter would not reprime itself. So it seized and ran for the entire night. The motor was hot to the touch the following day, however, after I allowed it to cool down, it ran fine when I reprimed the Aquaclear.Fortunately, I was able to get a great deal on this filter $47.99. The spare parts alone (excluding the filter motor and its housing) would cost at least $90 - $100 to purchase separately. So I bought two more HOT 250's on sale for an even better price - $44.99 each, including shipping. So for less than $140 I have two new HOT 250's plus most of the spare parts for a third one.I still really like the HOT 250 and its flexibility. However, I will not use it to vacuum up sand. Nor will I use it to filter one of my plantedtanks after I stirred up the substrate from a rescaping job, since there will be quite a bit of sand in the water which can still be sucked by the HOT 250's impeller. I will just use for HOT 250 for *diatoming some of my smaller planted aquaria, and for polishing the water with its micron filter once a week.The Magnum HOT 250 can also be used as a diatom filter, by coating its micron filter with diatom powder. The water flow is significantly reduced, however, is more than enough to filter an aquarium ranging from7.5 to 20 gallons within a few hours. For a larger tank, you're better off with a Vortex D-1 or XL, since these filters are designed to run diatomaceous earth, and their powerful motors can clean an aquarium much faster than the HOT 250 can, when it's being used as a diatom filter.For vacuuming up sand, I will only use a Vortex diatom filter, since their impellers are large enough to not get gunked up with sand. I have been able to do heavy duty cleaning jobs with my Vortex D-1, after replantings and rescapings. And the huge impeller on the D-1 never came close to seizing up.Earlier...For the past several years I've considered purchasing a Marineland Magnum HOT 250 to use for heavy duty clean ups, after rescaping a planted aquarium. I've owned a Vortex D-1 for decades which I've used as both a diatom as well as mechanical filter. The Vortex, in spite of its quirkiness, has worked extremely well over the years, and even after four decades, there's still no better mechanical filter for polishing the water in one's aquarium.However, the motor on my D-1 is more than three decades old. And even though it had no use for the two decade hiatus I took from this hobby, it has been used regularly over the past several years.So I decided to purchase another workhorse which could be used in conjunction with the D-1 in order to give this ageingdynamo a break.The HOT 250 has turned out to be the ideal filter for my use, since I use this filter for the taller tanks that I have (since it's too tall to fit on my shorter tanks), and I use the Vortex on the shorter tanks (after cutting the tubing so that it can be placed in these tanks without reaching the substrate in these aquariums).As for the HOT 250's performance, all I can say is thatthis is the most practical filter I have used to date.The filter chassis is light, weighing in at just 3.7 LBS minus water.As for performance, the HOT 250 does a superb job of filtering an aquarium's water column - especially when used with its micron filter.The unit is sturdy enough, and is not the nightmare to put together that some HOT 250 owners have described.In fact, the HOT 250's assembly is straight forward, its parts are of a good quality, and it comes with a nice tube cleaning brush that also works quite well on the hoses for some of my other canister filters.Moreover, if you are in the midst of cleaning a really dirty tank and you need to clean the micro filter, you can remove the top of the HOT 250 while it's still hanging from your aquarium, and remove the micron filter for easy cleaning.Then just put the filter back in the HOT 250, secure its top, and resume cleaning your aquarium.The HOT 250 is a product that has been around for many yearsand whose design has stood the test of time.In fact, I would say that the HOT 250 has aged as gracefully as any canister filter on the market. And the fact that it remains affordable is yet another plus.I paid $47.99 for mine including shipping. And at this price I don't think there's a better canister filter on the market. In fact, at this price, the HOT 250 isn't much more expensive than a number of HOB power filters that can't approach its ability to filter an aquarium.And because this filter has been around for so long, virtually every component for the HOT 250 is still available.There's nothing at all that's fancy about this filter. From its simplistic utilitarian appearance to its ease of operation, the HOT 250 is all business. And it does do a superlative job of keeping an aquarium's water column crystal clear.Oh, and I nearly left out one of the nicest features of theHOT 250 - a convenient on/off switch.Highly recommended!
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]