Fluval 406 Review: Should You Consider Buying It?

When it comes to choosing filtration systems that are versatile and easily applicable to larger tanks, canister filters are at the top of the list (or at least near the top). As part of our efforts to identify the best filter units in the market, we discovered the Fluval product line. If you need an external canister filter that will simplify the filtration of your aquarium and make it as worry-free as possible, then you should consider investing in Fluval 406 External Canister Filters.

The Fluval 406 is an upgrade of the Fluval 306 that promises to perform better and consume less power than its predecessor and previous generations. It has a filter capacity of 100 gallons and offers a multi-stage filtration which provides a deep clean for your large tank, ensuring the safety of your guppies.

This filter boosts many unique design points that make it superior in performance and efficiency to other canister filters of similar size and shape. Given its high filter capacity, you get up to 35-50% more water and you don’t have to worry about cleaning and maintaining the unit all the time. In terms of sustainability and reliability, this Fluval 406 canister filter is second to none. Even in the most demanding situations, it will still impress.

In this article, we are going to take a close look at the features of this product, as well as what to expect if you eventually decide to purchase it.

Fluval Canister Filter for Aquariums - 406 - 100 Gallon
  • Multi stage filtration for healthy fresh & saltwater aquariums
  • Suitable for aquariums up to 100 gallons. Flow Rate: 1450 LPH (383 US GPH)

Pros

  •         Highly versatile and flexible
  •         Easy to clean and maintain
  •         Quiet operation
  •         High filtration efficiency
  •         Easy hose disconnection
  •         Advanced motor technology
  •         Compact size and style

Cons

  •         No spray bar
  •         Impeller might be defective

Fluval 406 Features and Benefits

Quiet Operation

Canister filters that produce a lot of noise are no joy to anyone, not even when they are powerful. Such units can be extremely annoying if you had to stay in the same room where the aquarium is. Luckily, Fluval filters perform differently.

Although the Fluval 406 can support aquariums up to 100 gallons in size, it doesn’t produce much noise as one would expect. Just like its predecessors, it has quiet operation even though it comes with a bigger and more powerful motor.

The noiseless environment of the filter gives you the chance to place the aquarium somewhere in a room such as your living space, where everyone can notice and admire your little guppies. The reduced noise level of the machine can be attributed to its sound dampening impeller design which makes it up to 15% quieter than its competitors, especially the hang-on-back options.

That said, you may notice a little noise when you first set up the unit, but that should be resolved after a few days of use. And in case you come across any other problem within the first year of use, you have the product warranty to cover you.

High Capacity and Flow rate

As earlier indicated, this unit is meant for aquariums or fish tanks that have up to 100 gallons capacity. In other words, it’s the big boy of the Fluval bunch.

In addition, the machine has a flow rate of 383 gallons per hour, which is quite impressive. A hydraulic motor is also added to the filter to increase the rate of filtration, which in turn improves flow rate and lowers the maintenance of the filter.

This unit also boasts of an efficient filtration system which consists of multiple removable baskets for holding the filter media responsible for mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. What really makes this filter a beast is the fact that it directs the water flow through a path that ensures maximum contact with the filter media. This ensures nothing escapes the filter, thereby leading to an output that is cleaner and clearer water, much to the delight of your guppies.

Unfortunately, the Fluval 406 doesn’t come with a spray bar. So if you ever need to spread out the water flow in your tank to accommodate more fish, you will have to purchase an additional spray bar.

Compact Design

When you tell someone about a large capacity canister filter, the usual expectation is a machine that is robust, loud, and heavy. But this is not the case with the Fluval 406 canister filter.

This filter comes with a square-shaped compact design that helps you save space despite the large capacity of the filter. Due to this design, the machine can hold up to 40% more volume of water than round filters that has the same size. This also allows you to pack more filter media into the filtration baskets.

The product dimension is 10 x 8 x 20 inches and it fits well into any aquarium cabinet. The base material for the filter is made with high-quality plastic which makes the entire construction lightweight yet rigid enough to be hooked to an aquarium. The low weight of the unit also makes it portable.

Easy setup and low maintenance

Installing a canister filter can be a bit challenging especially if you are doing it for the first time. Luckily, this is not the case with this unit. The process of setting up this filter is quite easy and doesn’t take much time. No need for a siphon – thanks to its instant prime feature.

Admittedly, the instruction might not be straightforward but if you can follow the images you should be able to set it up in record time.

It will also interest you to know that cleaning and maintaining this filter is super easy, and that is because it features patented Aqua-stop valves and lift-lock clamps.

The Aqua-stop valve is useful for stopping water flow when cleaning the filter so as to prevent possible leaks. This way, you can do maintenance without really disconnecting the main supply pipe. The Lift-lock clamps help to ensure greater stability by locking the motor housing in place so that cleaning and maintenance will be much easier and simple.

FLUVAL 406: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. What’s the height of the Fluval 406?

For the 406, the canister is about 20 inches tall

2. The Fluval 406 model has how many volts?

It’s a 120-volt model

3. Can the filter operate horizontally?

No, it can’t, it has to be placed vertically upright.

4. Does it come with filter media?

Yes, it comes with filter media.

5. What’s the gph for the Fluval 406 canister filter?

383 gallons per hour.

Other Alternative Filters You Can Use

Depending on the process of filtration you need for your aquarium, you’re likely to get a different filter that can be challenging to select from. It is essential to understand the use of each filter before you can proceed with buying it. Some filters are crucial when you are removing unwanted substances through biologically, chemically, or mechanically filtration systems.

You might be wondering what this filtration system means and how does it happen? Yes, you need to understand these filtration systems. These include:

  •         Chemical filtration. It’s the use of chemicals where you add them to water so that it dissolves waste that might be present, for instance, the use of activated charcoal.
  •         Biological filtration. In this process, you need the help of bacteria helpful in breaking down ammonia and nitrite into a less toxic compound nitrate. You will have to provide all the conditions necessary for the bacteria to thrive and help you in this filtration system.
  •         Mechanical filtration. Some conclude that mechanical filtration involves removing solid waste in circulating water as you strain through some aquarium filters. This process is essential to help you eliminate floating particles that may decay and cause harmful effects to the fish. Always clean this filter or replace it every two to four weeks in your aquarium.

You need to use a filter to run all the water you are using in your aquarium for at least four hours each day. Before choosing a filtration system, you need to pay attention to the services each filter will offer. Here are other types of filters you can choose to invest in.


  1. Overhead Filter

This works by placing it above your aquarium tanks, and you can have your source of water submerged. When you have everything in place, it helps you draw water up to the aquarium via the plastic pipes. It has an extensive filter compartment that users can use quickly and do maintenance without turning off your water pump.

  1.     Under Gravel Filter

Under gravel filters come with filter plates in the gravel, thus allowing water to flow freely. You will need to pass the water through this filter which would enable both mechanical and biological filtration. You will need to attach the pipe to the plate to ensure you have a good filtration process. If you are a shrimp’s keeper, this type of filtration is essential to prevent your shrimp from being siphoned into the filters. 


  1. Canister Filter

Do you need silent operation when you are filtering water? Yes, canister filters are there for you. They operate at low power consumption rates and can hold more biological filters to help your filtration process. This is considered to provide outstanding performance and enhanced reliability that feature four-stage purification.

Conifer filters do not require plenty of space in your aquarium. You can consider getting canister filters with an inline heater, UV sterilizer, and automatic priming if you have small tanks. Because of its quietness, many hobbyists consider this filter as the king of all readymade filters.


  1. Sponge Filter

To use a sponge filter, you will need at least three-component. You will need to have a sponge filter, air pump, and airline tubing to connect them. At this point, you will need to use air pumps to push air inside sponge filters. You will notice rising bubbles that draw in the walls, thus collecting debris. This is essential for mechanical filtration as the bacteria can grow in the walls of the sponge filters.

You can get this filter because it is pocket-friendly, easy to clean, and has few mechanical parts. You are sure to get good circulation of water as well with surface agitation. If you are breeding fry fish and other slow-moving creatures, this filter will work better. If you are experiencing power shortage, you will need to purchase a battery-operated air pump to ensure your fish and bacteria can survive for long in the tank.


  1.  Internal Filter

Internal filter is yet another convenient way you can use for your filtration process. If you have low water level tanks, then you will prefer to use this type of filter. You will need to ensure that the internal filter is fully submerged in the water for this process to work as expected.

  1.   Fluidized Bed Filter

Some may consider these filters as a DIY approach to the filtration method. You will need to direct water into the flow through the chamber of small media granules. As the water passes through these sand or plastic pellets granules, it enhances the growth of bacteria. This bacteria is helpful in your aquarium to reduce toxic substances like ammonia and nitrite.

This filter can easily break because it has few mechanical parts. In addition, it has a large surface area of agitation that improves the level of gas exchange. When you purchase this filter, you will notice a prefilter at the bottom that will help you if you need any maintenance and prevent getting sucked up. It is perfect to use for goldfish and turtle aquariums.

Why Do You Need Filters? (Including Fluval 406)

If you have an aquarium or are planning to invest in one, you must be thinking about the filtration process to use. This is because the fish releases waste to the environment where they live, and they will need to live, eat, and breathe in the same condition. With such a crucial requirement, you need to have an efficient filtration system that will help you boost your fish’s long-term health and well-being.

Before choosing the best filtration system, you will need to consider your aquarium size and feeding habits. Also, you need to understand more about the type of fish in your aquarium to enhance your maintenance practices. Suppose you visit a market, and you will notice that filters vary depending on the size of each aquarium as well. You need to check on the bioload of your aquarium.

Filter helps you to achieve biological filtration to take place in your aquarium. But when you narrow it deeply, you will understand the need for this filter. Some of these essentials are what a filter will do for your tank.

  •         There is improvement in the circulation of oxygen in the tank by creating surface agitation.
  •         Filters create a space where beneficial bacteria will grow.
  •         The filter will keep your water tank clean by removing any debris and toxins that might endanger aquatic life. 

Do You Have To Clean Your Tank If You Have Filters?

You might have the best filter, but that won’t be enough to save your tank for an extended period. It will help if you can clean at least once in two weeks your tank. However, you will need to consider the bioload of your tank, and then it will determine how often you will have to clean them.

It’s also important to clean every part of the tank, including sides, to remove any growing algae. If you have any build-up debris, a gravel siphon will help you remove them. At the end of the process, you will achieve your goals to provide a safe environment for your fish.

Tips To Consider When Choosing The Suitable Filter Pads?

It might seem challenging to attempt many filters before you can succeed in finding the most effective. Depending on what you need, you will have to consider the following to have a better filter pad. These include;

  •         Buy in bulk. You can choose from many pre-cut cut filters, but it will help to buy the whole roll. This will help make it easy to cut filters according to the shape you desire. Purchasing rolls in bulk will save you money as compared to continuous buying of pre-cut filters.
  •         Always choose a thick filter pad that will hold a large amount of debris before you can clean them.
  •         Consider buying a durable filter, and you can reuse them. This will help you save money from buying other filters.
  •         Suppose you have crystal water. You need to choose a filter that will trap any particle that might be floating in your aquarium. You need to be keen and review every filter to ensure you offer such services as dual-density filters.
  •         The color you choose to use in your aquarium should be dye-free. Also, you need to check if it is made specifically for use underwater.

Common Aquarium Problem You Need To Avoid

Keeping an aquarium is a fun and rewarding activity in terms of education and even stress relief. However, when you are new to doing such an exciting job, you may mess up handling your aquarium. Some of these problems you may face include;

  •         Start With A Too-Small Aquarium

 If you are a beginner, you don’t have to rely on small aquariums because they might be challenging to maintain as compared to large ones. You will notice that conditions in the large aquarium are more stable, and if you do a thing wrong, you can quickly correct them. Always start with large aquariums if your budget can allow.

  •         Overstocking

When you are begging to stock your aquarium, you will be running to buy any fish you see. But it would be best if you considered the limits your new aquarium can hold regardless of how efficient your filter might be. You need to know that fish grow after some time and will cause overcrowding that can lead to other fish becoming aggressive. Always err having a few fish in your aquarium to help you avoid problems you might encounter in the future.

  •         Overfeeding

As a beginner, you will worry about your fish going hungry. This might lead to introducing more feed to the aquarium, which in turn may build up to cause harm. You need to feed your fish at least once a day and ensure the whole meal is consumed within two minutes. Excess food will pollute the water leading to a rise in ammonia and nitrite levels.

  •         Overcleaning

 If you are setting up an aquarium for the first time, you will notice the biological imbalance. If not required, you need to avoid cleaning filters and vacuuming the gravel because it will destroy beneficial bacteria in your aquarium. Suppose your filter needs to be cleaned. You can do it two to three weeks after setting up your aquarium. This will happen if you are using small filters not suitable for the job and overstocking your aquarium.

  •         Insufficient Cover

You need to have good aquarium decoration that will provide a secure hiding ground for your fish. This will help to reduce stress and enhance the color that fish might need. If you lack this in your aquarium, you will likely find your fish hiding behind a heater, filter tube, or other objects.

  •         Impulse Buying

Before you decide to buy new fish, it’s advisable to do more research to ensure they are compatible with existing inhabitants. This will help you not to outgrow your aquarium. Some fish may need a particular condition which may not be present in tap water meaning you will have to introduce it. Also, check on the feed they need and ensure the fish gets all nutrients they need to maintain their health status.

  •         Lighting Aquarium

It would be best to not leave your lights on for an extended period because fish need to rest. It is better to consider lighting your aquarium’s day/night cycle in the tropics. Living lights on for long hours may cause stress to your fish and contribute to algae growth. You need to have a timer that will help you regulate how you will light your aquarium.

Fluval 406 – The Bottom Line

If you have an aquarium that is anywhere between large to medium size, up to 100 gallons, then this filter will make a great customization option for your filtering media. The clean water it provides will give your guppies a boost of mood and you can have peace of mind. You will not be disappointed.

On the other hand, if you consider the power too much for your tank, then you might want to go for something smaller. We hope our Fluval 406 review was helpful so you can make the appropriate choice when shopping for a canister filter.

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