Penn Plax Cascade Canister 1000 Aquarium Filter Review: Worth It?

The most vital function of most aquarium filters is keeping the water clean and fresh for your fish to thrive. Bearing that in mind, you can’t afford to do without the best filtration system for your aquarium.

Penn-Plax Cascade 1000 Aquarium Canister Filter – Provides Physical, Biological, and Chemical Filtration – 265 Gallons per Hour (GPH)
  • CASCADE 1000 CANISTER FILTER: Without effort, the Cascade 1000 Canister Filter quietly delivers crystal clear water throughout the tank. This filter cycles water at 265 Gallons per Hour, and is recommended for aquariums up to 100 gallons. It’s compatible for both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks, and is also great for turtle habitats!
  • STATE OF THE ART FEATURES: In addition to the push button primer that allows for a simple and quick prime, this Canister Filter also features two independent valve taps that rotate 360°. This makes for easy maneuvering, even in the tightest aquarium cabinets! The 3 stackable, large capacity media baskets give aquarists the ability to customize filtration.


Keeping your tank clean and healthy is the best thing any aquarium owner can do for the aquarium animals. A healthy aquarium can’t be maintained without the use of a good filtration system.

Dirty water leads to an increase in the rate of disease and reduces the oxygen in a tank which raises the likelihood that your fish might suffocate. Besides that, an algae-ridden tank is just an eyesore to stare at. As a result, you need a reliable canister filter like the Penn Plax Cascade canister filter 1000 to provide your aquarium with clean and crystal clear water.

This filter is in its own class in terms of construction quality. It is neither the biggest nor smallest unit measuring 17” ×10”×11.5” with a total weight of 12 pounds. It’s a good balance between size and durability, it won’t fall apart and can easily be carried. It has a secured locking clamp at the base unit that won’t tip over easily.

This cascade filter is very easy to clean. Simply turn off the filter, remove the hoses and move it to a dink where you can give it a thorough cleaning. Reconnect the hoses and voila! You are done. Compared to other aquarium filters in the market, the Penn Plax cascade feels like a steal because of its relatively low pricing.


  • The presence of multiple filtration stages ensures all dirt and particles are properly removed.
  • Connectors and tubes provided for this model are of utmost high quality.
  • The self-priming feature is great for most aquariums out there.
  • The spray bar support is important for the proper circulation of water.
  • The easy-push button allows for easy and quick starting of the filter.
  • Large media basket allows for customization of media however you want.
  • It is relatively cheaper than most filters.


  • Priming the model for the first time and after cleaning could be a challenge.
  • Consumes a lot of power.

Types of aquariums you can install?

Before you can start investing in aquariums it’s essential to understand the type you will like to buy. Suppose this is your hobby then the maintenance process of these aquariums will be necessary to sustain the animals you will introduce into it. This might seem challenging but it is essential especially when buying filters for your aquarium.

Most of these fish tanks are glass-sealed tanks and comes with the necessary live rock, salinity, and filtration system. It will help to understand how you are going to set this equipment at your home. Here are some of the types of aquariums you can invest in.

Freshwater Tropical Aquariums

This tropical freshwater aquarium seems easy to maintain. But that should not be the reason you will need to start investing in this type of aquarium. You will need to differentiate between cold water and tropical freshwater aquariums, depending on the temperature requirements. If possible, you will need to do more research concerning these two types of water.

You need to know the temperature ranges you will need both cold water and tropical freshwater aquariums. This will alert you when you have hot or cool conditions in your aquarium. You need to maintain the habitat to fit the needs of your fish to avoid dying because of stress.

Other requirements you will need to observe in a freshwater aquarium include; conditioning the water, cleaning the tank, and regularly replacing water. Once you can handle all these issues, then you be surprised how easy to maintain an aquarium. Even though it might take a little time, but you will still need to but little effort.

Breeder Tank

It is considered a smaller and shallow tank as compared to traditional fish tanks. As a result, it improves when the fish is breeding because they need to get to the water’s surface quickly. The tank has a protected filter to help the fish get injuries from the filters.

There is a plastic trap inside the tank, which is helpful. This separates the fish from one another, and well it allows them to see one another. Sometimes you find that some fish fight each other after breeding, but when you have the trap, you will use it to separate them and avoid possible injuries.

In addition, the trap helps in the separation of the eggs, adults, and young of a fish. With a trap inside, you can easily make some rooms to lock your fish instead of removing them out when you’re cleaning up.

Large Tank

These types of tanks are plenty in the market, and you can get one. It has at least one transparent side to allow you to view the fish and plants inside the tank. You can use it to keep fish with other aquatic plants, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.

The purpose of adding plants to the aquarium is to ensure you have sufficient oxygen for your fish. Also, this can help regulate how your fish is growing. With acrylic or glass used to make this tank, it allows it to withstand water pressure.

Ensure to check on essential components such as lighting, a filtration system, and a chiller or heater as you consider using your aquarium. It will work well if you can get large tanks because they have enough room to put your fish and add aquatic plants.

Betta Fish Tank

Some people assume that they put betta fish on the bowl and think that it will live happily in that condition. If you need betta fish to live for long, you will have to consider their requirements for survival. Even though you may consider betta fish to live in little water, it will do well in a large quantity of water.

If you place it in a large amount of water, it will help the fish stretch, swim more, and become healthier. Here you don’t have to consider the shape of the tank but ensure there is enough room for the fish. Betta fish doesn’t like the aeration of the tank, but you can use an excellent filtration system to be on the safe side.

Coldwater Aquariums

You need to aerate this type of aquarium and maintain them at room temperature. If you are a beginner, then this is the perfect aquarium you can start with. You can have this for your goldfish or perhaps even a fish won at the local fair. This might seem common because many people use them to decorate homes. It would be best if you had it to add knowledge on how you will handle your fish.

Why Do You Need to Use Filters in The Aquarium?

If you are thinking of investing in aquariums, you will think about the filter you are going to use. Do you think a filter is necessary? Yes, because you will need to clean up the water and remove any toxins that might be present. For instance, the accumulation of ammonia and nitrate and water aeration for the fish to breathe.

If you don’t have this filter, eventually, you will find your aquarium full of dead fish, which will; not be suitable for your investment. Some people may think of removing the fish and cleaning up the tank by replacing the water. But this won’t be the best idea. Why should you bother doing such challenging tasks weekly?

When you remove the fish out of the water, you will be traumatizing it.  And you will not love to have neurotic fish, but if you use a filter, you will not have to do the work every week.

Suppose you have tropical fish in your aquarium, which will need you to monitor the temperature. This will make your way of cleaning the tank an impractical option.

So, you won’t deny the fact the use of filters will make your cleaning easy. But you don’t have to sit and relax thinking that the filter will do all the work for you. You need to maintain that filter by cleaning to avoid blocking which might cause other problems.

Furthermore, it will be best to understand the types of filters, both internal and external. These two rely on chemical, mechanical, and even biological filtration systems. The type of filter you are going to choose will be based on the type of aquarium you use and your personal preference.

Types Of Filtration Systems

To have a healthy aquarium, you will need to know how you will maintain clean water. This means you have to understand how you will filter out the water to remove any contaminants. You will need to consider these three filtering your aquarium.

  • Chemical filtration. In this process, you will need to add chemical additives to the water to remove dissolved waste present in the water. Most people prefer to use activated charcoal in this process.
  • Biological filtration. You will need to introduce beneficial bacteria that will help you break down ammonia and nitrite into less toxic compound nitrate. For the bacteria to work well, you will need to supply enough oxygen and introduce a service that the bacteria will attach, for instance, sand or rocks.
  • Mechanical filtration. Most people view this method as proper filtration—machinery because it involves removing solid particles present in the water. You need to have an aquarium filter where you will circulate the water. The use of these techniques won’t be sufficient alone because you’re not going to get rid of ammonia and nitrite. You will be removing free-floating waste that can decay, leading to harmful into the water.

To ensure you maintain your aquarium, it will help if you run all the water through the filter at least four times an hour. Before deciding which system to install, it is best to pay attention to the filtration system. Some of the aquarium my combine two filtration system but will have a varying degree of success. You can choose from these standard filtration systems.

Canister Filters

If you have large or medium-sized tanks, this is conserved to be a powerful mechanical aquarium filter. You place these filters outside the tank, and you can easily conceal them beneath the aquarium. With canister filters, you’re sure to get good mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.

When using a canister, you will have to pressure water through filter media rather than allow it to flow, as seen in other types of filters. As a result, you can use it for heavy loads as well. When you add a biowheel, it triggers the capacity of biological filtration. Removing the canister filter for maintenance and cleaning is challenging because you must consider the other side of biological filtration.

Power Filters

Power filters are types of aquarium filters that work well in mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration simultaneously. You will need to hang it at the back of the aquarium and allow it to sack water up through a siphon tube. You can install them quickly, and it doesn’t cost to run it maintain.

You will achieve chemical filtration by allowing water to flow through an activated carbon filter, while in mechanical filtration, it has to flow through a filter pad. In addition, you can combine power filtration with biowheel to increase the level of biological filtration.

Box Filters

It is one of the first filters that was used for home aquariums. Today it is not commonly used because they are costly, and you can load them with filter media. Filters in this box are in compact units that stick to the glass located inside the aquarium. As a result, it makes this suitable for small aquariums.   

However, you can use it as a hospital tank to treat sick fish to save money from setting a tank that you won’t use frequently. Also, you can use it for breeding tiny fry because it has less power intake flow during filtration. Their creation of air bubbles facilitates chemical and biological filtration.

Fluidized Bed Filters

The method is still new in the market but utilizes sand as a filter media. This is effective in biological filtration as you hang the units back in the aquarium. You will need to pump water through the branches and then pass it into the sand to achieve this. The small particles of the sand provide a large surface area for bacteria to act.

You will note that the unit will come without water pumps which means you have to purchase them separately. These filters won’t work well if you need chemical filtration, but mechanical filtration is moderate since the sand traps suspended particles.

Sponge Filters

You will need to fit sponge filters on the air pumps. When you force the water to pass, you will encourage the bacteria to grow as you establish biological filtration. The sponge filter may provide mechanical filtration, but it might block if there is excess debris.

Also, you can use these to prevent fry from being sucked away through the pipe. Furthermore, you can use this for hospital tanks because a sponge will form a suitable habitat for nitrifying bacteria. It will be best to use aquarium water when cleaning the sponge because tap water will denature the bacteria growing in it.

How It Works

The cascade canister filter 1000 comes with a pre-installed filtration media, which means the filter will be ready for use immediately after set up. The floss-pad does a great job at catching small fine particles in the water. The carbon media does the job of removing water impurities. The sponge gives an extremely lovely surface for beneficial bacteria to exit waste from your aquarium.

When the time comes for the replacement of filtration media, it’s a simple matter of sliding open filter trays while slipping in fresh pads and sponges.

All in all, the cascade filter is pretty simple to use, and get your aquarium water squeaky clean as long as you don’t use it in a tank that is too much for the Penn Plax to handle. Power input of 27 watts is required for the filter to function which is common with most mid-sized tanks.

What’s In The Box

The cascade 1000 canister filter is made up of extremely durable and hard plastic which will last a very long time, depending on how much care and maintenance the user applies. It also comes with a filtration media containing 3 large filtration trays, which is definitely sufficient enough to help with the whole filtration process.

No dirt will be able to bypass the filtration media. The filter is also equipped with a filter pump capable of pumping out air from the canister in a short period of 3 minutes. It comes with a spray bar which when engaged adds a bit of disturbance to the surface of your water tank.

The presence of the carbon media will help remove impurities, while the floss pads work at removing small particles from the aquarium water. It also comes with a sponge capable of giving the surface of your aquarium really great look.

What’s Special

The Penn Plax Cascade canister filter 1000 provides your aquarium with an exceptional flow rate of 312 gallons per hour which is a lot. It can even be used on larger aquariums with a capacity of up to 150 gallons. The inclusion of the spray bar makes water aeration and circulation much easier than before. It also ensures that your aquarium waste is properly filtered in the shortest possible time.

This product can actually deliver the best filtration process because of the presence of its large filter trays. The filter is quite easy to maintain because of its portable size. Its soundproof system leaves you wondering if the filter is working at all. Also equipped with this filter is an easy push-down button to make the priming process easy for the user. You will no longer have to siphon water into the filter to get it working.

However, it is advisable to push the button down for about 5-10 minutes, this will make the filter pump out all the air and start running so the filtration process can commence. Nevertheless, we strongly advise that you keep an eye on water bubbles when the water is first filled, there might be bubbles as it is still pumping out air from the canister.

If after 3 minutes, you still see bubbles then there might be an error in the filter connection. More bubbles are caused by air leaking into the canister. Ensure the canister is well connected at this point.

How To Install

Installation of the Penn Plax Cascade canister filter 1000  is often quite difficult for most users, you’d have to endure that your filter is properly set up so as to deliver the proper filtration process. The instructions for setting up can easily be found in the manual, which means it should not be hard to do yourself. But just in case you are not experienced with filter set up, the help of a professional can be employed.

Though most customers claim setup can be done in just 15 minutes, keep in mind, it might take longer for first-timers. Just ensure all the necessary hoses and tubing on filters are properly tightened, it will ensure it’s going to work perfectly when turned on.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will the filter work for a hundred-gallon tank?

Yes, it has a capacity of over 150.

  1. Does it come with hoses?

Yes, it does.

  1. Does the cascade 1000 come with a spray bar?

Yes, it comes with a fully functioning spray bar.

  1. What are the dimensions?

Has a dimension of about 8×9×19 including the hoses space.

  1. Does it make use of carbon?

Yes, definitely!

  1. How big is it?

The cascade filter container is 15 inches tall.

  1. Does it come with tubes?

Yes, the manufacturers include all the tubing sets needed for the filter to function.


The Penn Plax cascade filter 1000 is a heavy-duty external canister filter capable of usage with large fish tanks. It delivers a combination of mechanical, biological, and chemical water filtration.

It is very important to find the right filter for you and your tank, this is to ensure finding a filter that can provide maximum cleaning of your tank. To end, this is what the cascade 1000 offers.


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