Fluval 406 Canister Filter Review (Why You NEED This Filter)

The Fluval 406 Canister Filter is truly sensational. No matter where you look, it only gets glowing recommendations and reviews. In this Fluval 406 Canister Filter review, you’re going to find out why it’s such a great choice for your tank. You’ll also find out some of it’s best features as well as the very limited downsides of the model. So keep reading to find out why this should be the new filter for your tank!

What Comes With The Fluval 406?

When you purchase the Fluval 406 there are a lot of components that come with it. However, don’t let this intimidate you. The instructions that come with it are incredibly clear so you won’t have to worry about how to put together all the different parts. Here’s a complete list of everything you’re going to get.

  • Bio-Foam Max
  • Bio-Foam
  • 70 g carbon
  • Quick-Clear
  • Bio-Foam+
  • AquaStop valve
  • Ribbed hosing
  • Rim connectors
  • Intake tube
  • Intake strainer
  • Intake Stem with intake strainer
  • Pre-Filter basket
  • Media basket
  • Media basket cover
  • Media basket handle
  • Suction cup (30 mm)
  • Output nozzle
  • 2 rubber hose connectors
  • Instruction manual

Fluval 406 Canister Filter Review (Why Is This Filter So Great?)

The Fluval 406 has a lot of great features that as you’re about to find out, makes it one of the best filters for tanks up to 100 gallons in size. Just like everything that comes from Fluval, it’s a sturdy filter that will last years, and keep your tank pristine for just as long!

How Easy Is It To Setup The Fluval 406

A lot of people overlook the setup of a filter when buying it. There’s no point having a great filter if you can’t set it up properly. However, this definitely isn’t the case with the Fluval 406.

It comes with an instruction manual which walks you step by step through the setup. But if you’re used to setting up filters then the chances are you may not even need that.

However, one small thing to note about the setup is that you’re going to have to cut the intake and output hoses to size. Measuring the amount you need is paramount, and to reduce the chance of making mistakes, make sure you cut the hose bigger than you need, and then slowly reduce the size until it’s perfect.

The Self Primer

As well as being easy to set up, the Fluval 406 also has a self primer which makes setting it up a lot easier. To self-prime, simply pull the self primer lever up 3 or 4 times to get the water flowing. Just remember, for best results you should make sure the output nozzle is above the waterline.

One really nice thing to note about the self primer is how easy it is to use. I’ve used self primers in the past that have required a large amount of effort to get moving. However, this isn’t the case with the Fluval 406. Even 2 fingers are enough to get the primer started. And lastly, unlike other primers that need multiple pumps to get started, the Fluval 406’s can get started with just 4 pumps.

How Loud Is The Fluval 406?

A Fluval 406 Canister Filter review wouldn’t be complete without discussing the noise levels of this filter. After all, one of the biggest considerations when deciding what filter to use is how loud it’s going to be. Especially if you’re keeping it in your bedroom.

Recently Fluval has been using noise dampening designs to quash the sound coming from their products. And the Fluval 406 is no exception! The noise dampening design works perfectly, so you can enjoy your aquarium with a whisper-quiet filter!

How Easy Is The Fluval 406 Too Clean?

One of the most tedious things about keeping tropical fish as a hobby is cleaning, and more specifically, keeping the filter clean. Even though the filter doesn’t stand out in your tank, if you don’t keep it clean then the water is going to suffer. Not only will it look dirtier but it can also become dangerous for your fish.

The Fluval 406 is easy to take apart and easy to clean. There’s a lock on the top you simply flick up to remove the lid. And then there are media baskets you can pull out and clean individually. Lastly, one of the best features is the aqua stop valve which you can use to stop water flowing into the filter.

Cleaning the Fluval 406 only takes 10-15 minutes when you know what you’re doing. This is a lot quicker than a lot of other filters, and it stops feeling like a chore. Let’s be honest, there have been times that we’ve all put off cleaning our tanks because of the amount of time it takes. However, with the Fluval 406, this isn’t going to be a problem!

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What’s The Maximum/Minimum Size Tank For The Fluval 406?

If you’re buying the Fluval 406 then you may be wondering what size tank it can fit in. Well, the answer really varies. It can fit in tanks up to 100 gallons. However, I always like to aim a little bit lower when choosing a filter for my tanks, so I wouldn’t put it on anything over 85 gallons.

When choosing a filter for your tank, you always want to pick something that can filter the whole of your tank 3-4 times per hour. The Fluval 406 is able to filer 383 gallons per hour, which on a 100-gallon tank falls nicely within the 3-4 range. However, of course, one thing to consider is how dirty your fish are. If you’re housing cichlids or goldfish then you may need something a bit more powerful.

Because of the flow from this filter, you need to be careful what tank you put it in. While people have reported having great success on tanks as small as 20 gallons, I wouldn’t recommend it on anything smaller than 40 gallons.

Check out the Fluval 406 here.

Other Great Aspects

As you can see this Fluval 406 Canister Filter review has listed the best features of the Fluval 406. However, there is still some more great aspects that improve the filter even more! But don’t worry, this review wouldn’t be balanced without talking about the negative aspects of the filter which you’ll find out about afterward!

4 Media Baskets

One of the things I love about the Fluval 406 is the fact that it has lots of space in it for your filter media. Not only does it have extra space, but it also has four media baskets which can be used to separate your filter media easily, as well as making the filter more flexible to your needs.

While the filter already comes with biological, chemical and mechanical filtration included, with 4 media baskets your choices don’t have to be so small. You can also include water polishers or ammonia removers as well.

Easy To Maintain

Due to the quick lift clamps, and the ease of which you can remove the media baskets the Fluval 406 is incredibly easy to maintain. You’re not going to have to struggle to get inside it when you want to see what’s going on and it’s not fiddly at all. This is a big problem with a lot of filters, but not something you’ll have to worry about.


A lot of people have questions regarding the Fluval 406. Here are some of the main questions answered.

Where Should You Place The Fluval 406?

For best results, the Fluval 406 should be placed underneath your fish tank. While it doesn’t have to be directly underneath, it should be placed somewhere below it. The reason for this is the water pressure works better when the filter is underneath so the filters motor won’t have to work so hard to pump water around.

Does The Fluval 406 Come With Everything You Need To Get Started?

Once you’ve set up your Fluval 406 it’s going to work fine with all the parts that you’ve been given. However, it only comes with the standard filter media you need for your tank. While it comes with mechanical, biological and chemical media, if you wanted any other type of media then you’d need to buy them separately.

Check out the Fluval 406 here.

What Improvements Could The Fluval 406 Have?

The Fluval 406 is a solid piece of equipment for any tank and it’s hard to find fault with it. However, there are definitely some things that I would love to see improved with the next model.

More Filter Media

As previously mentioned, the Fluval 406 only comes with the bare minimum amount of filter media (mechanical, chemical and biological). It would be really nice to have more options to put in the filter. After all it’s quite big, so there’s definitely room for more than 3 types of filtration.

More Hosing

The hosing that comes with the Fluval 406 is long enough if you get the measurements right. However, if you make a mistake then you’re going to have to buy some more off Amazon. It would be nice if there was a little more room for error with some extra hosing included with the filter.







As you can see the Fluval 406 is a great filter for tanks up to 100 gallons. Here’s a quick recap of some of the best features of the filter, as well as some improvements that could be made:

  • It’s incredibly easy to set up thanks to the instruction manual. Just remember to measure the hosing carefully before cutting it.
  • The self primer makes it A LOT easier to get water flowing through the filter.
  • Thanks to noise dampening technology the Fluval 406 is a lot quieter than some of it’s competitors.
  • Due to the easy lift clamps and removable filter baskets, it’s also nice and easy to clean.
  • This filter is great for tanks between 40-100 gallons in size. However, I wouldn’t put it on anything bigger than 85 gallons.
  • It would be nice if the 406 had more filter media and more hosing included with it.

If you wanted to get the Fluval 406 you can buy it here.

About the author

Hey there! I'm Antonio, the passionate owner and chief editor of Betta Care Fish Guide. With over half a decade of hands-on experience, I've become your go-to expert for all things betta and tropical fish.

Over the past 5 years, I've not only kept bettas and other tropical fish but also connected with a diverse network of hobbyists, seasoned fishkeepers, and even veterinarians.

Now, I want to help other beginner fish keepers who had the same questions as me when they were just starting out! So they can save themselves a ton of time and keep their fish happy and healthy!