Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Review - 2020

Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filters

The aquarium filter is the most crucial accessory for healthy and happy fish-keeping. At some point, you will need an aquarium filter, so make sure you choose the right one. In this article, we’ll provide you the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Review. If you are searching for a good quality canister filter, this review will make your searching process more comfortable.

The Penn Plax is a renowned band and created so many popular products for aquarium keepers. Their products come up with user-friendly features with excellent qualities. Penn-Plax Cascade series offers a heavy-duty multi-stage external filtration system, suitable for freshwater and saltwater aquariums from 30 gallons to 200 gallons.

We have given a detailed specification of each member of the series for your convenience. While you are choosing the right filter for your aquarium, size is the primary consideration.If your first preference matches this product, you can take a peek at our Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter review.

Penn Plax Cascade 500 Canister Filter

For Aquariums up to  30 Gallon

Penn Plax Cascade 700 Canister Filter

For Aquariums up to  65 Gallon

Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter

For Aquariums up to 100 Gallon

Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Canister Filter

For Aquariums up to 150 Gallon

Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter

For Aquariums up to 200 Gallon

Fantastic features of Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

State of the art 

State of the art is a unique and useful feature in which flow valves are rotatable by 360 degrees, and that allows easy maneuvering. This option makes the placement of the filter super easy even the aquarium cabinet is tight and compact. 

Flow control valves and a special type hose allow an effortless flow adjustment. While flow adjustment is an essential feature as some kinds of fish and floating aquatic plants cannot sustain in high water flow. A precise flow control option makes Penn Plax Cascade Canister filters useable in versatile conditions.

Push Button Primer

Sometimes air can be trapped inside the filter body, thus hampers the flow rate. Priming is the process by which you will allow water entrance and remove trapped air. In Penn Plax Cascade Canister filters, a push-button will enable you to do priming very quickly. You can remove trapped air with just a few presses.

The large-capacity media basket

This one provides another useful feature, you can use different types of filter media, single or in a combination, as per your requirement. For different aquariums, the need for filtration is not precisely the same, and they may vary depending on several factors.

In some aquariums, particulate matter is the primary concern to remove, while in others, eliminating toxic gas is the main challenge. You can use a floss pad to remove particulate matter, a coarse sponge that helps remove ammonia and nitrates by promoting bacteria growth, or nitrate-absorbing media like Nitra-Zorb.

The appropriate filter media can ensure aquarium water quality, which is your ultimate target. The large media tray not only allows you to use more media but also reduces filter replacement frequency. 

Quiet operation

Noisy aquarium filter is a common complaint of aquarium users, and it is annoying, in fact! If the filter is loud, the continuous monotonous sound can be unpleasant. So a quiet aquarium filter is well-desired.

The Penn Plax Cascade Canister filters come up with a tip-proof rubber base that quietly keeps the unit in place. Airtight seals prevent sounds from coming out and ensure silent operation. 

Efficient filtration

Effective three-stage filtration is capable of delivering clear and healthy water. Three stages of filtration are mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration using bio-foss, activated carbon, and bio-sponges as filter media. With the directional return feature, it can take maximum waste matters in, that enhance the filtration coverage and provide clear water.

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Review

Cleaning of Cascade Canister Aquarium Filters

Penn Plax Cascade Canister filters provide larger filter trays that help for more extended periods between filter replacement; still, you have to clean and replace filter media regularly. Infrequent filter replacement promotes nitrate buildup, as trapped waste matters inside filter media can be a source of nitrate formation. 

But don’t worry about filter replacement, it is a simple task, and the user-friendly features of the Penn Plax Cascade Canister aquarium filter make it more comfortable. All you have to do, just follow step by step instruction provided by the manufacturer. For your convenience, we are giving you an idea of how you can replace the filter media of Penn Plax Cascade Filters. 

Very first, you have to unplug the electric power. Then you have to close intake valves and disconnect hoses. Then with easy-lift clamps, release the vacuum and remove the top. Take out used filter media and place intake ones. Press the push-button primer for several times to ensure priming. Connect hoses and switch on the filter. The task is effortless and will take no more than five minutes. 

Pros and Cons


  • Useable for both in freshwater and saltwater aquariums
  • Beginner-friendly and simple to install
  • Three-stage filtration with directional return cover maximum dirt to filter out 
  • Attractive in look with a cobalt blue color
  • Adjustable flow rate makes it suitable for all kinds of fish and plants
  • Very quiet in operation
  • Reasonable price comparatively 


  • The push-button primer can sometimes malfunction, so some users faced difficulty making it smooth again after replacing the filter element, some users faced trouble with making it smooth again
  • Power consumption is a bit high

Why filtration is so crucial

The ultimate pleasure in fishkeeping is to see your fish swimming smoothly, and the trick behind ensuring this charm is nothing but keeping them healthy. The best thing you can do for your fish is to provide them a healthy home. The filter plays the most important role in that. A filter in an aquarium is not a luxury, its a need.

You are keeping living beings in an aquarium, they produce biological waste, food leftover, and dead plant matters also produce waste. You cannot maintain a healthy aquarium without managing wastes. You can categorize aquarium waste roughly in two types, the first one is particulate matter, it is visible, and the second one is invisible, those are dissolved gas.

Particulate matters make aquarium water dirty, creating an unpleasant look. Dirty water not only hampers the visual look but also affects fish health. Mechanical filtration can filter out particles. Dissolved toxic gases are mainly ammonia and nitrate, and they are deadly for aquarium inhabitants. Chemical and biological filtration help reducing toxic gas.

So the filtration system’s selection should be wise so that it is capable of performing a balanced action to reduce all sorts of harmful byproducts.


How to setup Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter?

Setting up a Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter is much easier than most beginners think. This filter comes up with beginner-friendly features with all necessary accessories. You will simply place the filter in a suitable location in the aquarium. The rubber base keeps the unit fixed in place.

The pool-style hose clamp is simple to use, and any inexperienced person can easily understand the mechanism. After placing the filter and connecting hoses, you have to do priming. Once priming is done, you simply power the filter up, and hopefully, you will see the result within 30 minutes.

Is the priming difficult for Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter?

This filter unit is incorporated with an ‘Easy Push Button Primer’ to make the priming process more manageable, eliminating the requirement of manual siphoning of water. The manufacturer recommends to press the button down for 5 to 10 minutes so that maximum trapped air gets out.

After starting the pump, some bubbles may come out as all the air is not removable by priming. The rest of the air will be pumped out, forming bubbles. If, after 2/3 minutes, bubble formation continues, you have to check for any loose connection.

How can I change the flow of the water?

There are two flow rate control cut-off valves at the top; one for both input and output lines. You can efficiently operate those valves to control the flow rate. 

It is better to operate the suction valve for flow control as closing the discharge might put some load on the filter pump. During maintenance, you will use those as isolation valves to stop water from flowing.

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Video Tutorial


Every product has its pros and cons, and it is very common that different users have different experiences with the same product. This is why we choose a product carefully to ensure that most of the users had a good experience with it.

In our Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Review article, we included major and minor details that a buyer should know before buying. We hope the review is useful for you, and it helps make your mind. The Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter is one of the best canister filters in low budget, without compromising the quality. So we will happily recommend it. 

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Sujit Modak Aquarium Tales Owner
Sujit Modak

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my aquarium blog. Fishkeeping is my passion, and I started this fascinating hobby back in 2006. Besides my engineering profession, I deeply studied many fishkeeping topics since I started building my home aquarium. I researched effective aquarium filtration and lighting of planted aquariums. I am keeping 20+ species of freshwater and saltwater fish as my aquatic pet collection. I successfully experimented with a complex ecosystem inside the aquarium, biotope aquariums, aquaponics, etc. I would love to share some learnings from my hands-on experience of the last 14 years. Hopefully, my sharing will be somewhat helpful to make your aquarium journey awesome! 

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