Review: All Pond Solutions 1000EF plus Aquarium External Filter

1000EF Plus
All Pond Solutions 1000EF Plus

The 1000EF Plus is an external filter system for your aquarium complete with a UV sterilizer.
This filter sits purely in the budget range of external filters claiming a stunning 1000L/h for less than £50 a bargain in anyone’s eyes.

For such a budget filter going up against the £100-£200 Fluvals etc of the same capacity and flowrate I wasn’t expecting much to be honest.
So I was pleasantly surprised when a lovely big box turned up a couple of days after ordering.  Opening the box revealed the main tub containing the baskets and the media and a separate pull out box containing all the fittings and connectors and pipework.

Being already familiar with setting up external filters I actually skipped reading the instructions but went back a couple of days later and read them just to check.  Everything was just about right with a couple of minor spelling mistakes and a tiny amount of lacking detail it wasn’t much for setup instructions but then external filters aren’t really rocket science anyway.

In the box there were plenty of fittings and clips although 2 of the clips were lacking rubber suction cups it wasn’t a problem as they appeared to be excess / spare clips anyway.

The feed pipe comes with plenty of extenders so it will reach down into even very deep tanks.  However for shallow tanks even a single piece of pipework is too long I had to cut down one of the pieces of pipe to make it fit inside the tank.  It would have been nice to have a couple of 1-2 inch pieces of pipe instead of just the 4x3inch pieces that were in there.

The supplied tubing is quite large bore and nice and thick even my cats haven’t managed to chew through it yet so its tough stuff.  Connections to the feeder, spray bar and filter connections are nice and tight with no sign of drips or leaks it feels very very safe.

The connection heads for the filter are again nice and sturdy and feed well built unlike some of the more premium brands that feel flimsy despite their price tag.  This was a nice surprise for me as it is a common failing area for many other external filters.  Getting parts should you need them is also not a problem as All Pond Solutions do sell a full range of spares.

Inside the tub the trays all fit together nicely and the lid fits in securely and tight.  The media comes in little little bags which is quite important for the coal to stop it from breaking up and getting into the water however the bag for the ceramic is unnecessary.  There are 3 pieces of floss style foam cut specifically for each tray which while nice I would have preferred to have had a more coarse foam layer at the top and none in the lower trays but that’s personal preference over everything else.
The trays and media have nice cut outs in them for the UV light tube to fit down in and through the filter and in general its all well thought out and designed.

The spray bar as you would expect takes the return pipe from the filter and back into the tank.  Unfortunately – and this could be specific to my tank – the weight of the pipework pulls down heavily on the spray bar so its almost impossible to get the spray bar level and feeling sturdy.  When first piping it up I also had a few issues with it disassembling its self with the weight of the pipe pulling it apart as I was attempting to get it level.
If you can live with the spray bar not being level or have some way to take the weight of the return pipe off the spray bar connector then you won’t have any problems though.

Priming and start up is simply a case of pre-filling the filter with your aquarium water pushing on the primer button 3-4 times to fill the feed pipe from the tank and then turning it on.  The only point to note here is that if its not priming for you then take the skimmer off the input pipe and put your finger over the skimmer feed hole to block it this will make it prime up in 1 or 2 pushes no problems.

Operation is near enough completely silent and the filter could quite happily sit in your living room or bedroom and you’d never even know it was on which is a big step up over some other externals which can usually be heard.

My only real issue with the whole setup is its flow rate.  No way is it ever 1000L/h the water comes out of the spray bar in a 2 inch trickle while it does create quite a nice current/flow in the tank its certainly no where near the rated / labeled flow rate.
To test this I filled and timed a 2 litre pop bottle filling from the return pipe. Filling it took roughly 20 seconds. Which with a bit of maths is 6 Litre per minute 360 per hour.  Now this is a very inaccurate method of measuring and I do really like the filter despite this so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say that its more likely in the region of 400L/h turn over.
While this is far from the advertised 1000L/h its still a fairly decent flow rate and more than good enough for most home tanks under 4 foot.


All in a very nice external filter, well designed, sturdy and very quiet in operation.  Its let down by a couple of small points notably the flow rate and the spray bar however these shouldn’t cause any issues for the usual types of tanks encountered in the home.
Factoring in its very low price point and its shortcomings suddenly become quite insignificant.  For the price of 1 of the better known external filters you could in fact have 2 of these!
If you’re in the market for an external filter or would like to free up some space in your tank by removing the internal filter going for a All Pond Solutions 1000EF plus Aquarium External Filter is far from a bad choice.

All Pond Solutions 1000EF plus Aquarium External Filter

UPDATE At the request of All Pond Solutions all links to their website have been removed from this post they claim it is under “backlinking” to improve their site SEO rating which we all know is rubbish. Its more likely they don’t wish to have anything but 100%, 5* reviews pointing to their site/products.

42 thoughts on “Review: All Pond Solutions 1000EF plus Aquarium External Filter”

  1. I’ve got an 1000ef external filter is suppose to have a light on on the lid because it’s not coming on

    1. Water goes down the shaft and then moves up through the filter layers to the top where the pump sucks it out. Personally I run coarse in the bottom 2 layers and soft/fine in the top layer to “polish” the water of all the small debris so to speak. Change the soft foam at the top weekly

  2. Just bought the 1000ef. My first external filter. 150 litre tank. What do you think of the skimmer on it. It seems pretty useless to me. It’s float fine, just doesn’t seem to take water in. Thinking of buying a separate skimmer and putting it on when needed.

    1. Think the skimmer attachment is mostly a novelty and certainly on a tropical tank the skimmer is kinda pointless. Wouldn’t bother buying a dedicated new one unless you run marine not really needed for freshwater tropical


    1. Aside from your broken caps lock I think you probably have a broken filter too. As far as I’m aware there is no way to reset a thermal cut off your best bet would be to contact all pond solutions directly.

  4. Quick question, I have just purchased, (not yet arrived) the 1000 EF to service my 125 litre aquarium. If I use the spray bar, do I still require a separate air pump or will the flow return suffice? .


    1. You never have to use an air pump however its always a good idea to have one for extra surface agitation to assist in oxygen exchange. A similar effect can also be achieved by just aiming the spray bar towards the surface from under surface level

  5. I’ve just set this filter up but the “skinner connective pipe” has water leaking from it or pouring out the top of it whilst trying to prime, I have no idea how to sort this problem and as it’s the weekend I can’t call aps. I need to get this running and the turtles back in their tank asap. Any ideas?

    1. Make sure all inlets and outlets are under water when attempting to prime including the skimmer bit. I find filling the pipes with water to prime quicker than pumping the button too but that’s just a personal thing

      1. I figured out that with the adjustable skimmer, you can drag it down until it’s underwater. I was skeptical at first as to wether it would work but once I did the priming part was the easiest part.

  6. see the baskets for the media inside the filter canister, are they meant to be lined up in a certain way ?
    Like i know there is a tube is on each of them, is they tubes meant to be lined up.
    If yes how do i go about disconnecting the filter to fix the media baskets without having my tank empty everywhere lol

    1. Make sure the tube hole is lined up all the way to the bottom on the baskets. when you open the taps by pulling the little lever vertical to unlock them from the head that locks out and seals the pipes from the tank. you can then remove the black tap section from the filter head and you won’t lose your tank water everywhere. then clean your filter put it all back together and once your done push your black tab section back into the head, push the lever down flat and it’ll re-open the taps to your tank water which will refill your filter for you.

  7. Could you please tell me where you can get replacement O ring for the motor head?,as mine is leaking

      1. I have just installed my APS 1400 EF but its not priming, yet everything looks like its in place. Any solutions? I presume the left tap is for the spray bar and the right for the intake? Also I didn’t realise you had to fill the tank manually first until someone told me. This would have been useful instructions in the leaflet! Hope you can help.

        1. The in and out should be clearly marked on the tap head but it’s easy enough to work out whichever hole goes straight down and through the filter is the dirty water in hole.
          When priming I always filled the tub put the lid on then connected the pipes. I then filled the pipes with water from a little jug before I locked down the tap head and opened the seals. Doing this means you don’t need to start the siphon yourself if the pipes are already full and submerged in the tank usually just clicking the black leaver to locked on the tap head was enough to start it filling from the tank
          You can tell when its filling right as any remaining air will come out of the pipe. Usually then a couple of good pushes on the priming handle full top to bottom then turn it on and your away

  8. I have an ef 200 with a uv light had it for over 12 months, just changed the media (carbon) cleaned all the rest of it, the uv light is not working, and its cloudy, its got flow and return, but its not cleaning the tank help.

    1. The bulbs can and do blow and the crystal cover does go cloudy over time you can order replacements direct from the APS website you may also find them on eBay but never looked personally as long as there’s flow through the pump it’ll be working as a filter for your tank its just the UV has failed

  9. Worst filters on market. Plus check power consuming joke. You save money buying them but electric bill will hurt.

  10. We have just fitted our EF 1000 plus 24 hours ago and our tank is pretty green. Though I may have seen a slight change by now, from what people are saying about this equipment. It is 180 ltr tank. Do you know how long it is before you notice a difference.

    1. If your water is like pea soup green make sure the uv is on and decrease the length of time you have the tank lights on for.

      If you dont have live plants in the tank lights on for no longer than 4 hours. If you leave it completely blacked out for a few days it should clear up faster

  11. i just bought a EF 1000 for my 200 litre tank but i seem to have done something wrong i have air coming out of the down pipe strainer and the surface skimmer wont stay on the connecter attachment. i did have to press the primer button alot more than once any ideas what i have done wrong first time with external filter help

    1. The surface skimmer is abit of an odd one because its not really height adjustable I found (as you are) that it sits too low below the surface of the water and so comes off its uplift. I resolved it by simply cutting down the surface skimmer main bit that sits in the outlet pipe (the wide part of the tube not the thin bit the skimmer sits on) this shortens the overall outlet slightly but raises the surface skimmer bit up in the water level allowing it to sit on the surface better.

      As for the air make sure its fully primed it’ll take more than one pump best off just keep pressing it until no more air comes out. Also check all your joints, head and tap connectors are all tightly fitted together. It’ll probably take 24h or so for all the air to be pushed out the canister but it should settle down after a while.

  12. Sounds like their customer service isn’t very good! I hate it when you cant get hold of the people who are supposed to help you.
    Have you got it resolved? Feel free to message us if you like we’ll be happy to help

    1. The customer service was fine just the item turned out not to be that good in the long term. Its pretty much useless now so I’m considering swapping out to ehiem externals but struggling to justify the price despite their reputation. May well just end up drilling the smaller tanks fitting overflows and sumping them all.

  13. Today is the 26th March 2012
    Sent allpondsolutions an email this morning, they did not even bother to reply. Does anybody have a direct phone number for them so I can speak to a person not an answer machine that ignores you. If not does anybody have any suggestions. Any help would be appreciated as I cannot use my filter. Thanks Ted

    1. When I get home tonight I’ll dig out the contact details of the person I spoke to when I had filter problems. I’ll send them through to you hopefully it’ll help get it resolved fast.

  14. I bought an all pond solutions 1000 ef plus off the their web site on the 8th of march 2012. It arrived on the 12th but they had sent me the wrong one
    no uv. I sent an e mail to tell them and they told me to wait for a returns label to send it back before they could send me the right one. I sent it back on the 15th, the right one arrived on the 20th however there was no impeller or impeller guard. I e mailed again and also asked them to phone me as my confidence in them was dissapearing although they have a phone number on the web site it’s just a recording and they never rang back. I did not get the phone call, instead another e mail telling me that they would send me the missing parts out in the post. on the 23rd the post arrived and guess what only the impella no guard it is now the 26th of march and I still have no working filter. I am still waiting for them to resolve this . I would just like to say that their communications and customer service is the worst I have ever come across. This was supposed to be next day delivery!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have had better communication and service from hong kong.

    1. Sorry to hear this. I’ve had nothing but good dealings with them however you’re also not alone I have heard about others who have had issues in the past. I guess its the same with any retailer sometimes you get good service sometimes you get crappy service. Hope its sorted for you soon.

  15. Thank you for the excellent article. I have to agree that they are a very good unit, I have the 2000ltr per hr +UV. I agree that the flow rate isn’t what they say on the box, but all manufacturers do as they are rated without media. All Pond is a good company and offer what I feel is a great product for a great price. Naturally, most aquascapers will opt with an Eheim but I run mine on a small 100ltr mountain scape and haven’t encountered a problem. I do agree with the problem regarding the weight and rigidity of the pipes, they do move the spray bar a lot but I found cutting the pipe to exactly the right length, it supports its own weight. I since changed to lily pipes with monster suction cups so weight wasn’t so much an issue.

    1. yeah the flow rate is a let down especially if you’re aiming for the 10x rule for planted tanks

      But when you consider the price suddenly its not that bad as a whole. Think rather than swapping the pipes on mine I’ll be opting for grabbing a couple of the big 2k’s instead they’re still 50% of the price of a more well known rate so the tradeoffs balance out quite nicely.

      The only problem with my scape now is all the fish ate the bloody plants 🙂

      1. Just an update- still running my 2000ef and all is well dispite others having problems. Still run lily pipes and now on a 200litre high tech tank, 30ppm co2, EI dosing, hard water, high LED light and high plant mass. Should rly get some photos up soon!
        You still got yours?

        1. Glad you’re still getting on with the filter. I don’t actually have any planted tanks at the moment any more I’m in the middle of having a big clear out and change around. Selling up all my breeding plec pairs and moving into some chilids for a while. I have the big tank planted still but its not really a proper display tank more of just some plants jammed into some substrate and the co2 bottle ran out this weekend so need to get that filled soon too.

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