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As a fish tank owner for over 20 years, I typically use hang on the back (HOB) filters, they’re cheap and they get the job done.

However, I recently tried out the Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter, 100 gallons, 265gph on a 55-gallon tank and the water has never been clearer.

In this review of the Penn Plax Cascade 1000 canister filter LEARN the 3 things that make the cascade 1000 canister filter worth more than it’s priced. I’ll share my thoughts on the filter, including the good the bad and the ugly.

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.

Quick Overview Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter

Value For The Money 100
How Quiet Is The Filter 95
Ease Of Installation 85
Ease Of Maintenance 90
Filtration Capacity 96
Flexibility, Flow Rate, Input, Output 90

The 3 Reasons The Cascade 1000 Is Under Priced

  • For the amount of filtration you get from the Cascade it should cost just as much as a Fluval or Eheim, but it’s much cheaper.
  • Extremely quiet when in operation and if you have it inside a cabinet, you’ll never hear it.
  • Equipped with quick-disconnect tubing connectors that can also be utilized to control the filter’s flow rate. 

Cascade CCF3UL Canister Filter, 100 Gallon, 265gph

What We Liked About
The Cascade 1000

  • Price is very low compare to Fluval or other brands. Cheapest!
  • The filter comes pre-loaded with filter media so you can get set up fast.
  • Extremely quiet when in operation, you will never hear it.
  • The very sturdy tip-proof base makes it difficult to knock over.
  • Equipped with quick-disconnect tubing connectors that can also be utilized to control the filter’s flow rate.

What We Don’t Like About
The Cascade 1000

  • The media trays are pretty small but work. Try putting floss down the side of the trays to get extra filtration.
  • The tubes can be a little tough to connect, nothing a little muscle can fix.
  • The priming seems to be the biggest issue with the Cascade 1000 canister filter as most people need to work a little to get it going.

What You Need To Know About The Cascade 1000 Canister Filter

The Cascade 1000 Canister Filter has a “LOT” of muscle so it keeps the water looking great.

I would recommend using this filter on a tank no larger than a 75-gallon tank. Only because it’s typically better to provide about 50 gallons more filtration than needed.

More filtration is better!

The tubes can be a little tough to connect, nothing a little muscle can’t fix and the priming was not as easy as the instructions indicate.

It notes: “Press it four times and it will fill in a minute” I had to actually repeat the steps they list and few times and it was working in no time.

Also ensure the tubes are cut to the proper length.

Hands On & Unboxing The Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter

The Cascade 1000 (CCF3UL) Canister Filter is a heavy-duty filter rated for aquariums up to 100 gallons and pumps 265 gallons per hour (GPH).

We recommend you don’t use the Cascade 1000 on a tank larger than 75 gallons for best results.

If you are looking to filter a 100-gallon tank we suggest a filter rated for 150-200 gallons like the Cascade 1500 canister filter.

What’s In The Box

When you purchase the Cascade 1000 (CCF3UL) canister filter you should find the following parts featured in the video above.

  • The Canister
  • Preloaded media baskets
  • 2 hoses
  • 2 nozzles
  • 4 connectable spray bars
  • 8 suction cups
  • 1 intake tube & 1 output tube
  • Intake cover
  • Output cover

This canister filter offers all three stages of filtration mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration so you can keep your water clean and clear.

The floss pad removes fine particulate matter, The activated carbon media removes toxins and impurities from the water.

The sponge makes for an abundant surface area for proper biological filtration by promoting bacterial growth to effectively remove waste, excess food and harmful ammonia and nitrates.

One word of caution, if you use the spray bar make sure all the holes are facing downward, towards bottom of tank. Otherwise, you will have a lovely fountain in the middle of your house!

How To Set Up The Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter

Here is a great video that shows exactly how to set up the Cascade 1000 Canister Filter. Below the video I have summarized the steps included in this video.

Step 1) Attach the intake and output nozzles to the canister filter. The nozzles are color coded for easy identification and screw on very easily.

Step 2) Now attach a hose to each nozzle and screw the clamp tight. The hoses are identical so just ensure you attach a hose to each nozzle.

Note: Ensure to tighten the hose clamp really well to prevent air from entering the canister filter.

Step 3) Now fasten the intake tube to the short side of the intake hard tube. Remember the purple colored nozzle is the intake tube ensure to fasten the clamp tight.

Step 4) Now attach the intake cover to the long end of the intake hard tube.

Step 5) Attach the output tube to the long side of the output hard tube. Remember the black colored nozzle is the output tube, ensure to fasten the clamp tight.

Step 6) Attach either the spray bar of the output cover to the short side of the output hard tube.

Step 7) Attach the suction cups evenly as needed to the output spray bar, hard tube. Do not cover any of the output holes on the spray bar when you fasten the suction cups. Also attach suction cups to the intake tube as needed.

How To Prime The Cascade 1000

Step 1) Ensure that the valves on each nozzle are open. You can tell the valve is open if the valve is inline with the tubing.

Step 2) Locate the pump button and pump as directed. This will suck water into the canister filter and will fill the canister with water.

Note: The hoses in this video are too long, which is why he has to pump so long. Your hoses should be trimmed down to no more than 4 to 6 extra inches than would be needed to reach from the intake and output fixtures to the filter itself. The siphon won’t start if the hose goes below the level of the filter motor.

Step 3) Once the canister is filled with water, plug-in the filter.

Buy The Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter

With the time it takes to prime the Cascade 1000 being the only major flaw with this canister filter.

I would highly recommend this filter for anyone looking for a well priced Canister Filter that has just as much “Muscle” as the more expensive brands.

The Penn Plax Cascade 1000 is well worth the price.