penn plax cascade canister aquarium filter review

at 6:58 pm

The Cascade Canister filters don’t really have any one feature that is amazing. However, for its price and class it is one of the most affordable units on the market. My first canister filter was a Cascade 1000, and for this very reason. They are affordable. I didn’t really know if they were quality filters, but after having that very same canister for 6 years now, I can say with proper maintenance they will last. Undoubtedly you can find a higher quality, more efficient filter, but I am happy with the way my Cascades have performed.


  • Affordable: If you’re short on cash this is going to be easy on your wallet. Think Walmart brand that is solid and reliable.
  • Easy setup, easy prime.
  • Good water movement. The Cascade 1000 moves 265 gph, the Cascade 1600 moves 350 gph.
  • Quiet: All canisters should be quiet, and this canister is no exception.


  • The impeller housing is prone to melting. This, of course, only happens when you are running the filter dry for prolonged periods of time. With proper maintenance, it’s usually not a problem.
  • The media housing is loosely connected and does not prevent bypass. This means not all of the water coming into the filter goes through the media. Especially if there is a clog, it will just flow around the sides.
  • The canister is mostly plastic. Though the plastic makes it light, it’s parts are more prone to cracks and breaks.

Recommended Maintenance Procedure:

  1. Power off canister and block the flow from the Intake and Outflow valves on the motor.
  2. Disconnect I/O tubes and remove pump from body of canister.
  3. Fill 5g bucket half full with “dirty” tank water.
  4. Remove and Rinse off filter floss and bio media in “dirty” tank water.
  5. Scrub any parts that may have accumulated gunk with an old tooth brush.
  6. Refill media cartridges.
  7. Reassemble canister filter.
  8. Prime filter – If you left the intake tube blocked off and the intake filter is still underwater inside the aquarium, then all you have to do is hook it back up and unblock the flow. The ‘prime’ remains intact. If not, then hook the tubes back up, unblock the flow and Prime the canister.
  9. Power up.

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