Cascade 1000 Canister Filter Review – Why It’s Underpriced!

Cascade 1000 Canister Aquarium Filter

I recently tried out the Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter on a 55-gallon tank, and the water has never been cleaner.

So I decided to share a few of my thoughts.

In this review of the Penn Plax Cascade canister filter, you’ll LEARN the three things that make the cascade canister filter worth more than it’s priced.

We’ll look at how to set it up, prime it, clean it, and what you’ll need to look out for.

I’ll also share my thoughts on the filter, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Let’s go.

Review Summary


  • Very Affordable
  • Extremely Quiet
  • Sturdy Construction
  • Customizable Flow Rate


  • Small Media Trays
  • Tubes Are Hard To Connect
  • Difficult To Prime

When it comes to what we like about the Cascade 1000, I thought the price was very low compared to Fluval or other brands.

The filter comes pre-loaded with filter media to get set up fast, and it was extremely quiet when in operation; you will never hear it.

The sturdy tip-proof base makes it difficult to knock over.

It is equipped with quick-disconnect tubing connectors that can also utilize to control the filter’s flow rate.

When it came to what I didn’t like, I felt the media trays were pretty small but work.

You can try putting floss down the side of the trays to get extra filtration.

The tubes can be a little hard to connect, nothing a little muscle can fix.

Lastly, the priming seems to be the biggest issue with the Cascade canister filter, as I needed to work a little to get it going.

How Does The Cascade Canister Filter Work?

In the most simple terms, this filter works by using an intake tube to suck water out of your aquarium.

The water then is forced through various types of filter media then pumped back to your aquarium.

Why You Need Filtration?

The Filtration process helps clean your water.

It does this by providing a place for beneficial bacteria to grow. This bacteria helps remove harmful toxins like ammonia from your aquarium water.

When water passes over the various types of filter media it comes into contact with beneficial bacteria which removes and converts toxins into less toxic chemicals.

Filters also help remove debris and particulates from the water by using sponges and filter floss ultimately giving your aquarium that crystal clear look.

What You Need To Know About The Cascade 1000 Canister Filter

Quick Overview Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter

Penn Plax Cascade CCF3UL Canister Filter For Large Aquariums and Fish Tanks – Up To 100 Gallons, Filters 265 GPH,Blue

Check Price Now

The Cascade Canister Filter has a “LOT” of muscle, keeping 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.

What’s In The Box

You should find the following parts in the box when you purchase the Penn Plax Cascade canister filter.

  • The Canister
  • Preloaded media baskets
  • Two hoses
  • Two nozzles
  • Four connectable spray bars
  • Eight suction cups
  • One 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 a large 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 the bottom of the tank. Otherwise, you will have a lovely fountain in the middle of your house!


The Cascade 1000 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 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.

Look & Build Quality

When compared to other canister filters, I think the Cascade looks pretty good.

Its blue and black colors are a nice change from the standard black plastic. The square shape also makes it easier to fit into the corner of your stand or cabinet.

The filter itself is about 17″ x 10″ x 11.5″ and weighs about 12 pounds. So, it’s not the smallest filter, but you shouldn’t have any issue carrying this thing around when you need to do some maintenance.

The quality of construction is top of line strong plastic and clamps that security tightly to prevent any chance of this filter to fall over.

The hoses are made of more rigid plastic than I prefer, but it’s not the worst quality.

How Do You Set Up The The Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter

Cascade Canister Set Up Directions Illustrations

Below I have summarized the steps you need to follow to set up the Cascade canister filter;

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

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

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

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

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

Step 5) Attach the output tube to the long side of the hard output 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 hard output 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.

Here is a video that walks through all the steps above.

How Do You Prime The Cascade 1000

Follow these steps to prime the Cascade canister filter;

Step 1) Ensure that the valves on each nozzle are open. You can tell the valve is open if the valve is in line 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.

How Do You Clean The Cascade 1000 Canister Filter?

A diagram showing how to clean the canister filter

Clean-up is very easy. Follow these steps;

All you need to do is turn off the filter, take off the hoses using the quick-disconnect clamps.

Once it’s all disconnected, I recommend removing the media trays and cleaning the media in some old aquarium water.

With the filter media removed from the canister, you can then take the canister to a sink to give it a good cleaning.

Once this is all done, place the media back into the canister, reconnect the hoses, prime the unit and get it going.

How often should You clean Your Cascade canister filter?

Canister filters only need to be cleaned once every three to four months.

Of course, this depends on the stocking levels and types of fish species you have in your aquarium.

Price – Value For Your Money

As I’ve already mentioned, the Cascade 1000 is very competitively priced compared to other models in the same category.

With the priming, my only major complaint this filter is three reasons I think the Cascade 1000 is underpriced.

  1. 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.
  2. Extremely quiet when in operation, and if you have it inside a cabinet, you’ll never hear it.
  3. Equipped with quick-disconnect tubing connectors that so you can also utilize to control the filter’s flow rate.

Comparable Filters

Next, you’ll find three filters that are comparable with the Cascade 1000. We’ll share a brief description and provide a small comparison table so you can see how the Cascade stack up to each filter.

Fluval FX6 Filter

The Fluval FX6 and FX4 are beasts, and they won’t let you down.

The Fx6 looks like someone took a shop vac and converted it into a canister filter; this thing is HUGE! The FX4 is pretty big as well.

So when compared to the Cascade, the FX6 wins in all categories. It has more power, more media, more options more accessories.

But it all comes with a higher price tag if you want to pay for it.

Rating Cascade 1000 Fluval FX6
Power Good Great
Ease Of Use Moderate Easy
Price Very Low Very High

Marineland C360 Filter

The Marineland C360 Canister Filter is worth a look if you’re in the market for something affordable and low maintenance.

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filters are an upgraded version of the C-Series Canister Filter from Marineland, and with 360GPH filtration capacity, it’s big enough for tanks up to 100-gallon tanks.

Rating Cascade 1000 Marineland C-360
Power Good Great
Ease Of Use Moderate Hard
Price Very Low Mid Range

Cascade 1500

If you want something larger than the Cascade 1000 but don’t want to shell out the dollars for something like the FX6, then the Cascade 1500 might be something to look into.

Rating Cascade 1000 Cascade 1500
Power Good Great
Ease Of Use Moderate Moderate
Price Very Low Mid Range


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 with just as much “Muscle” as the more expensive brands.

The Penn Plax Cascade 1000 is well worth the price.

Where To Buy The Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter

You can buy the Cascade 1000 Canister Filter in most local fish stores as well as the big box stores. If you are looking to buy it online you can find it here.

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