In this Fluval Fx6 Canister Filter review, you’re going to find out what makes the Fluval Fx6 so great, and whether it really is the best canister filter on the market right now.
If you are looking to get a new canister filter then this is a great choice.
But before we get into the actual review it’s important to know what’s going to come with the tank. If you’re new to keeping fish then some of this might not make sense to you. However, keep reading and you’ll find out exactly what it means and how it can benefit your fish!
If you plan on buying this filter you may be wondering what comes with it. After all, you don’t want to purchase it and then realize that you still need to buy more parts.
Well, that’s definitely not the case. Here’s everything you’re going to get with this filter.
3 Media Baskets
Pump Unit & Power Cord
Utility Valve Hosting
As well as this you’re also going to be getting the filter media you need as well. The filter media you can expect to get are:
Foam (Mechanical Filtration)
Biofoam (Biological Filtration)
Biomax (Biological Filtration
Carbon Pads (Chemical Filtration)
If you’re not happy with the media that come with the Fluval Fx6 then you can always change it! There’s so much space inside the canister for all sorts of media.
Fluval Fx6 Canister Filter Review
Now that you know what’s going to come with the filter, it’s time to talk about what it all means. Here’s everything you need to know about the Fluval Fx6, whether you should get it for your tank, and why it’s so great! As well as some things you should be aware of before purchasing.
The first thing that’s worth talking about is the canister itself. After all, the last thing you want is to purchase this filter and then realize it’s not going to fit or doesn’t have enough media for your tank.
The canister is 22″ tall which means if you have an aquarium stand then in most cases it should be able to fit inside. However, if you think 22″ is too tall then you should check out this helpful review on the Fluval Fx4.
The reason that the canister is this height is so more media baskets can fit in. The Fluval Fx4 only has 2 baskets for example, whereas the Fx6 has 3. This third basket means there’s more room for the filter media you need.
Each basket is going to house foam on the outside which will act as mechanical filtration removing any large debris before it reaches the biological and chemical media.
Once the water runs through the foam it will then go through the biological media and lastly the chemical media. If you plan on adding different filter media, always remember to keep the chemical media at the bottom as it will last longer that way.
The Water Flow
Now that you know what’s going to be inside the canister, the next most important thing to know about is the water flow. You need a filter that’s able to pump at least 4 times the amount of water in your tank per hour. And this is the minimum amount. More is always better when it comes to the number of times a filter can circulate your tanks water.
And the Fluval Fx6 is able to pump around 538 GPH (gallons per hour). One important thing to note is that while it does says it can filter aquariums up to 400 gallons in size it’s really going to depend. When it comes to large filters, it’s always wise to cut the amount they say they can do in half to get a more accurate representation.
So for the Fluval Fx6, I wouldn’t put it on a tank much bigger than 220 gallons if it’s well stocked, or it may struggle to keep up with the bioload.
However, with that being said the fast flow rate and amount of filter media are going to make the water look crystal clear on a tank 220 gallons in size or smaller.
Adjustable Water Flow Feature
One great feature the Fx6 has is its adjustable water flow. If you’re housing fish that don’t like strong water flows (such as bettas) you’ll be pleased to see this too.
The multi-flow nozzles mean you can angle the water flow in different directions reducing its speed. As well as this, if you angle both valves into different sides of the tank it’s going to greatly reduce the flow.
And the nozzles even have different modes of output so you can change them based on the needs of your fish.
As well as this the AquaStop valves mean you can choose to adjust the water flow, and in the case of maintenance stop the water flow altogether, simply by turning them 90 degrees. Just remember to purge the filter before you do this!
Clog Proof Intake
And finally, the clog-proof intake is really going to improve the water flow as well. As you’ll notice, the intake tube has a strainer around it. This strainer is going to catch a lot of the debris before it even enters the filter.
This means less work for your mechanical filter media, and a reduced chance of the tubing becoming clogged.
One thing you need to be careful of is small fish getting caught in the intake. It’s not uncommon to find fry stuck in the intake if they’ve swum to close and gotten sucked in.
The Smart System
One thing I really like about the Fluval Fx6 is the smart system (although there is some room for improvement as you’re going to find out.)
Basically, there’s an electronic circuit board in the filter that monitors the impeller and makes sure it’s functioning at its optimal rate the whole time.
As well as the smart system it also has handy maintenance reminders on the top of the filter to remind you when it’s time to clean it. However, the only time these reminders are helpful is when you’re looking directly at them.
I really think a nice touch would have been a beeping or buzzing to remind you that it’s time to clean your filter.
And lastly, another GREAT feature is the self-priming system. If you had canister filters in the past you may have had to prime them yourself which can be a real headache. Or if you’re new to buying a canister filter you might not even know what priming is.
Either way, you won’t have to worry about it anymore as the Fluval Fx6 is self-priming!
Normally to prime a tank, you’ll have to pour water from the tank into the filter until it’s full up and ready to begin circulating. Or you can also try siphoning it into the filter. Either method can often end up with a lot of water all over the floor.
If you don’t prime your filter it can often cause the motor to burn out because water isn’t running over it. So as you can see priming is important.
However, with the Fluval Fx6, it automatically fills with water, before filtration starts. Just remember, during this stage, it’s normal to hear the filter stopping and starting. A lot of people try turning it on and off at this point.
The Purge Valve
Another great feature of the Fx series is the purge valve. The valve allows you to empty your tank from the canister so you don’t have to keep removing water manually. All you have to do is attach a hose to the purge valve and then open it. The water will start draining through the hose to wherever you want it to go!
You can also add water to your tank through the purge valve, however, it may not be worth doing so. If you’re not adding conditioned water back into the filter then the chlorine from your tap water will kill any beneficial bacteria in the biological media.
What’s The Minimum Tank Size For The Fluval Fx6?
Although the Fluval Fx6 says it can handle aquariums up to 400 gallons it’s always a good idea to half the amount manufacturers are saying to know the trust maximum size. However, you may be wondering what the minimum size for this filter is.
After all, putting it in a 10 gallon is going to be a little bit overkill.
Because of its ability to adjust the water flow people have been able to put this filter in tanks as low as 75 gallons in size. However, I’d say it would be great on a tank 100 gallons in size or bigger.
However, if you’re housing particularly dirty fish such as cichlids then it will work great for a 75/80 gallon tank.
How Loud Is The Fluval Fx6?
For the size of this filter, you’d expect it to be fairly loud. However, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. While it’s not silent (and smaller filters are quieter) it’s still exceptionally quiet.
If you’re wondering how loud it is, it’s noise level is similar to a computer system. While you’re always going to hear it in the background, it’s definitely not going to be something that’s on the forefront of your mind.
And as well as quiet sound there’s also not a lot of vibration either. So you don’t have to worry about a constant humming and vibrating when you turn you Fx6 on.
How Easy The Set-Up?
If you’ve never set up a canister filter before then it may seem daunting. However, once you open the box and look inside, you’ll realize that setting it up is incredibly easy (thanks in part to the self-priming system).
You’ll notice set up instructions on the flaps of the box when you open it, and then there’ll be even more detailed instructions on what to do inside the box as well.
The instructions inside are so easy that even a child could set this filter up. So you don’t have to worry about getting some half baked instructions and having to scour the internet for an hour trying to figure out what to do.
The only part of setting up your Fluval Fx6 you need to worry about is cutting the tubing to length. If you cut it too short then it won’t reach your tank, however, if you leave it too long then it’s going to sag and dip, limiting the effectiveness of the filter.
How Easy Is It To Clean The Fx6?
The hardest part about cleaning the Fx6 is moving it. It holds about 4 gallons of water so as you can imagine you’re really going to have to heave it to wherever you want to maintain it. However, once you get it there cleaning it is fairly simple. Just remove all the baskets out of the filter and swish your media around in the tank water to remove any debris.
Another thing to be aware of is that when you initially detach the Fx6 some water from the tubes is going to spill on the floor. No matter what you do, there doesn’t seem to be a way around this, so it’s a good idea to place a towel down beforehand to catch it all.
And lastly, it’s going to take a little bit of elbow grease to remove the hose from the filter. However, if you get a helping hand then it’s a lot easier to do.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Fluval Fx6.
What’s The Longevity Of The Fx6?
Like all Fluval products, you can expect the Fx6 to last a long time. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Fluval products to last over 7 years. So don’t think of buying a Fluval Fx6 as an expense, but rather an investment.
Will It Work With A Ground Level Tank?
It’s advised that you always run the Fluval Fx6 below your tank just like the instructions state. However, that being said it is possible to use it with a ground-level tank but there would be a few problems. Namely, the lifespan of it would reduce dramatically as well as it’s efficiency. So it’s not recommended.
What’s The Warranty?
If you’re going to buy the Fluval Fx6 then you’ll be pleased to know it also comes with a 3-year warranty.
Does This Filter Come With All The Media You Need To Get Started?
It depends what you’re looking for, It comes with biological, chemical and mechanical filtration. However, if you wanted something else such as a water polisher or ammonia remover, you’ll have to buy them separately.
Can This Be Used In A Salt Water Tank?
You can use the Fluval Fx6 in a saltwater tank.
Fluval Fx6 Canister Filter Review – Recap
As you can tell the Fluval Fx6 is a fantastic bit of kit that’s going to go well in any tank between 75-220 gallons in size. Some of it’s best features are it’s 3 stackable trays, adjustable flow, and smart monitoring system.
It’s also a great canister filter for newbies and experts alike as it’s easy to set up, easy to maintain and easy to clean.
You should just be aware that like everything it’s not perfect. The fact that small fish can get sucked into the filter intake should definitely be fixed in later models.
Likewise, because of its size, it’s going to be quite heavy and hard to move around when you’re trying to clean it.
All in all, though, it’s a fantastic filter, and if you have the money definitely worth the investment.
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About the author
Hey! I'm Antonio!
Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!
If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!