I’ve always used aqua-one canister filters so can’t comment too much. I don’t mind them but don’t have automatic priming, etc. I only clean mine out once or twice a year (it’s a planted tank) so a little different as don’t need so many of the nice features.
Imo UV filters on canisters are a waste of space.
I’ve swapped the wool filters to fine sponge. Not quite as good to polish the water but heavily planted. I run a small internal filter that gets cleaned more often and is backup.
Once your tank is cycled (up to 2 months) and stable (say another few months) then the nitrifying bacteria tend to be more bullet proof. Just about any media will suit them - I no longer worry about which has best surface area.
- Ms_Mermaid likes this