Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter Review

Editor rating

0/5 on February 13, 2017

User's rating

1,868 reviews


  • Has 3 filtration trays for multi-stage filtration.
  • High capacity of up to 100-150 gallons.
  • High flow rate of about 265-312 gallons per hour.
  • It is durable.
  • Superb water aeration.
  • Quick filtration.
  • Easy set-up.


  • It requires constant maintenance.
  • Priming the filter can be challenging at times.
  • It consumes considerable amounts of power, about 27 watts.


Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter is a quality fish tank filter that uses multi-stage filtration to deliver safe and clean water to the aquarium.

Penn Plax is renown for producing quality products, and its Cascade Canister Filter is no different. This aquarium filter is designed to keep the water in the fish tank clean and free of toxic chemicals, especially ammonia and the highly reactive nitrates. For this reason, it is one of the top-rated canister filters. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages.

Overview of Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter

The Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter is a superb fish tank filter that features a compact design that allows it to work as an external filtration system. The average filter is 17 inches high, 10 inches thick, and 11.5 inches wide; and it weighs on average 12 pounds. Even so, the filter is shipped alongside its suction cup, clamps, and hoses; and thus its shipping weight is slightly higher about 12.8 pounds.

It is made from hard plastic, and this ensures its durability, as well as a long life span. Nonetheless, there is also need for maintenance so that the filter can work properly for a considerable period. Another important factor that determines the quality and integrity of the filtration process is the flow rate. The flow rate is associated with the capacity of the canister filter.

The product has a high capacity, with the large capacity filters having a capacity of between 100 to 150 gallons. This superior capacity allows the filter to achieve a flow rate of about 265-312 gallons per hour. It has quick-disconnect tubing connectors which can regulate the flow rate. Therefore, this filter can be used for large tanks that demand a high flow rate.

This filter needs to be set-up well so as to ensure the integrity of the filtration process. Poor set-up can lead to leaks, which drastically reduces the utility, or usefulness, of the canister filter. To ensure the fit is watertight and leak-proof, the filter is equipped with 4 locking clamps and a motor-head that has an integrated O-ring.

The filter also incorporates a spray bar that performs two critical functions. First of all, it enhances water circulation, as well as optimizes the degree of water aeration. Secondly, it hastens the filtration process and thus ensures that the time it takes for the water to be filtered is as short as possible.

The filtration media used in the model ensures that the filtration process is as complete and thorough as possible. The filtration media is properly distributed across the three filtration trays of the filter. It has a floss pad which serves to remove any fine particulate matter, while its activated carbon media serves to impurities and toxins.

It also has a coarse sponge which serves as the surface where bacteria can grow and flourish, and also allow these bacteria to perform biological filtration that removes excess food, waste, harmful ammonia, and nitrate compounds. This filter, therefore, uses chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration to remove dirt, impurities, color, and smell from water, and then delivering crystal-clear and safe water. The filter media is provided for free when you purchase this filter.

How it works

You need to prime the filter before you can use it. Priming is done by pushing down a button for about 10 minutes so that air is expelled before water is allowed to fill the filter for the first time. Poor priming leads to the formation of water bubbles which impedes the filtration process.

The internally mounted motor pumps water into the filter and then forces the water through the filtration trays where the filtration media remove impurities and toxins from the water before the water is pumped out through the outlet hose.

Price vs benefits

The product retails for a reasonable price. It is built from quality materials, and it is also well-designed for its functions; and these factors alongside the benefits you get from using this fish tank filter ensures that the value you get from the filter far exceeds its cost or price tag. Therefore, the price-quality ratio of the filter is good.

What customers say

Most customers praise it for its durability and efficient filtration process.


The warranty for this model is valid for 36 months since the purchase date.

Final conclusion – should you buy it?

Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter is a superb external filtration system that features a compact design and components that allow for heavy-duty filtration, with its filtration process combining chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration to deliver crystal clear, non-toxic water into your fish tank. If you need to fit a canister filter, this is a good choice.

If you have any comments or questions about the product, please post them below. Read more about fish tank care and other reviews of products & accessories.

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