Fluval 406 Review
Important update from Jack: Although the review below is still relevant please be aware that Fluval has now released an updated version of this canister filter. You can read my article on the *New* Fluval 07 Series and find out what improvements they made.
If you want an external canister filter that makes filtering your tank as easy and worry-free as possible, the Fluval 406 External Canister Filter is the one to go with.
There are many unique design points that make this filter work better and more efficiently than other filters out there, and you won’t have to worry about cleaning and maintaining it all the time.
Fluval is a well-known brand of filters from Hagen, and they make great products that are reliable and have a lot of useful features. Fluval filters are more expensive than many other canister filter brands, but you definitely get what you pay for.
In our Fluval 406 review, we run this filter through its paces and go over all the pros and cons.
Read on to find out if Fluval 406 Canister Filter is right for you!
Quick Overview Of The Fluval 406 Canister Filter
The 5 Huge Benefits Of The Fluval 406 External Canister Filter
- 4 media baskets capable of handling your choice of filtration media.
Cleaning and maintenance are super easy with Easy-open lock clamps and patented AquaStop valves.
sound-dampening impeller that makes this filter run nearly silent.
An amazing flow rate of 383 gph can handle up to 100 gallons.
The Fluval 406 includes a 3-year warranty so you’re covered if anything goes wrong.
The Fluval 406 Canister Filter improves on the success of their awesome 405 models and adds many additional benefits including better filter performance and easier setup, priming, and cleaning. The 406 also has lower maintenance requirements and quieter operation than the 405.
The Fluval 406 is part of their 06 line that includes the 106, 206 and 306. The 406 is the big boy of the bunch, and it can handle aquariums up to 100 gallons without breaking a sweat.
It also has an amazing flow rate of 383 gph (1450 l/h), so you know your water is going to be clear.
The flow rate on this thing is impressive, but it does have a downside.
The 406 does not come with a spray bar, so if you have more delicate fish or plants in your tank you’ll need to buy an add-on spray bar to spread out the water flow.
Fluval also included a sound-dampening impeller that makes this filter run nearly silent. You can still hear it running, but only if you’re paying attention to it, and it’s much quieter than any hang-on-back filters out there.
Some users have reported the impeller developing issues and becoming noisy after 6-12 months of operation, but Fluval includes a 3-year warranty with this product so you can be confident they stand behind it.
This filter has a unique design that gives it several advantages over other canister filters.
It has a square shape that can hold 35-40% more volume than round filters, so you can pack a lot more filtration media into the four media baskets.
This filter also directs the water flow through a complex path that maximizes contact with the filtration media. More contact with more media means the 406 is extremely effective at filtering water and coupled with the huge flow rate this filter is a beast!
- Many improvements over the already-great Fluval 405
Made with very high-quality materials
Comes with a 3-year warranty
4 media baskets included filtration media
Sound-dampening impeller means nearly silent operation
- Holds 35-40% more volume than round filter designs
- Easy-open lock clamps and patented AquaStop valves make cleaning a breeze
- Solid-color ribbed hose is prone to catching debris and doesn’t allow you to check your water flow through the hose. It also feels cheap and is difficult to connect to accessories like in-line heaters and diffusers. This can easily be solved by buying different tubing.
- Does not come with a spray bar. If you have delicate fish, you may need to purchase one to mitigate the powerful flow from this filter.
- Some users have reported impeller issues after 6-12 months of use. However, with the 3 year warranty you’re covered.
Hands On Fluval 406 Review
The Fluval 406 comes with everything you need and more, including several types of filtration media, ribbed tubing, intake tube, output nozzle, intake strainer, AquaStop valve assembly, and a quick start manual.
This is a very well-engineered filter and it’s made with quality materials. The plastics feel very heavy-duty and sturdy, especially the lid lock clamps, which can break easily on cheaper filters. This filter is clearly made to last a long time.
The only exception here is the ribbed tubing, which feels cheap and is difficult to connect to accessories like inline heaters and diffusers.
The ribbing can also be prone to catching debris and getting clogged. This is only a minor issue since you can easily go out and buy better-quality clear tubing.
Setup is not difficult if you’ve used a canister filter before, but like many other filters the confusing instructions make everything seem more complicated than it is.
Save yourself some time and watch this video for setup instructions:
Cleaning this filter is insanely easy.
The lock clamps open with one touch, and the filter is built with Hagen’s patented AquaStop valve design, which lets you clean the canister without actually disconnecting the intake and output hoses.
The AquaStop valve also includes locking hose nuts so your hoses stay securely in place, and allows you to easily adjust your flow rate.
The re-engineered self-priming system also works really well, as long as you follow the instructions.
Fluval really went above-and-beyond to make sure that operating this filter is as easy and worry-free as possible.
Further Reading: If you’re looking for more great filters consider checking out our review on the New Fluval 07 Series Canister Filter which is a seventh-generation product with more than forty years of history and noted as the best selling canister filter of all time.
Buy The Fluval 406 external filter
The Fluval 406 External Filter is a solid filter if you want awesome performance and nearly maintenance-free operation.
We came away very impressed with this filter after writing this Fluval 406 review.
The unique design and ridiculous flow rate mean your water cycles through a ton of filtration media several times per hour, keeping your tank water so clear it will almost look like your fish are floating on air.
And, even though you won’t have to clean it as often as other filters, features such as easy-open lock clamps and the AquaStop valve makes cleaning incredibly easy.
This filter is a bit more expensive than some other canister filter options, but check out Amazon for the Fluval 406 Best Price, because they often sell it for less than local pet stores.
Further Reading: Need Help Finding A Canister Filter? Our Guide Can Help You Find The Best Canister Filter For Your Aquarium And Your Needs. We’ve Reviewed All The Top Brands From Fluval, Ehiem, API, Marineland, And More.