Fluval 306 Canister Filter Review

In a sea of different filters, it can be difficult to select one that can get the job done at a reasonable price. After I set up my aquarium I didn’t really pay attention to the quality of my filter, which was definitely a big mistake.

Cleaning became a mess and needed to occur too frequently, the filter itself was getting noisy and the worse thing is that it didn’t even get rid of ammonia properly. I’ve finally decided to do something about it. After researching a bit, I have discovered the Fluval 306 filter and it seems that it hit all the criteria that I need.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Filter

The filter is one of the main components in your aquarium that ensures a clean and healthy environment for your fish. And whether you’ve just built an aquarium or you’re replacing your current one, getting a filter is a must.

Since there are filters of various categories, you might need to research which kind is the best for you. Here are some of the most common types.

  • Canister filter.
  • Power filter.
  • Sponge Filters.

Canister filters are great for medium to large sized aquariums, since the size of the filter itself is pretty big compared to the other types. It is popular among hobbyists and people mostly use it if they have a saltwater aquarium.

Power filters, on the other hand, are great if you want excellent filtration in terms of mechanical, biological and mechanical filtration. They’re usually hanging over on the sides or on the back of your aquarium, where they pull in water with a syphon tube.

On the other hand, sponge filters have a very basic system and they are recommended for small fish and aquariums. This kind of filter is usually the cheapest.

Before actually buying a filter, you might want to consider the following:

  • Aquarium size. Not every filter has a motor that can support a large aquarium, and if you have a small aquarium getting a filter with a powerful motor might be an overkill.
  • Power consumption. A filter is only going to be turned off when you clean it, so check out how much power the filter uses to save money on long-term periods.
  • Water flow rate. Different filters have different rates, if you have a large aquarium you might want to get a filter with a faster flow rate which is marked in GPH. This way you’re filtering more water faster.

Product Summary

Fluval 306 Canister Filter

Fluval 306 Canister Filter

The Fluval 306 is a canister type filter which introduces a multi-stage filtering system which provides you independent modules for chemical and biological stages. This system promises superior utilization of the entire canister which could in return increase water flow efficiency.

Within the package, you get the instant prime system, a clog-proof intake strainer, dual-layer foam screen, single-motion lift lock clamps and an instructional DVD that explains how to set it up.

It is the 3rd generation and in comparison to previous models, it offers better flow rate as well as media capacity. When compared to one of the most popular canister filters, the Pen Plax Cascade 700, it offers better flow rate and supports larger aquariums.

Fluval 306 is great for seasoned hobbyists who will be able to take advantage of its modular system and fully customize each filtration stage for maximum efficiency. It is also recommended for larger aquariums, up to 70 gallons, that have bigger fish and possibly contain saltwater. For beginners, it would simply be an overkill since they will end up paying more money for a filtering system which they can’t fully utilize.

PROS

  • Easy to set up and maintain.
  • Chemical and biological stages can be removed and customized independently, without changing the entire system.
  • New bearing system reduces vibration and noise.
  • It efficiently uses as much volume as possible of the canister itself.

CONS

  • Perhaps a bit too large.
  • Uses a lot of power.
  • Some parts of the impeller break easily during cleaning since they are made out of porcelain and plastic.

Features & Benefits

In the following section, we are going to mention some of the notable features which may or may not be useful, depending on what you need in a filter. But let’s still check them out in order to better understand this filter.

Stronger Motor

When compared to previous generation models, the Fluval 306 offers a stronger motor that increases the overall pumping power and supports larger aquariums. With this, you get a maximum flow rate of 303 GPH, while the 106 model offers 145 GPH at a maximum of 25 gallons and the 206 offers 206 GPH at a maximum of 40 gallons.

However, this increases power consumption placing it at an average consumption of 16W. The size of the filter gets larger as well due to the bigger motor, placing it at the dimensions of 9.5’’ x 7’’ x 14.4’’.

User-Friendly Features

There are a variety of different features in this filter that can offer you an easier setup as well as maintenance. Some of these features are patented by Fluval, such as the AquaStop Valves, Lift Lock Clamps, Quick-change mechanical media, and Instant prime.

AquaStop Valves could be useful for you since it is basically a system that can stop the flow of water without the need to remove the hoses. With this, you can freely remove the filter if you need to store it or place it on another aquarium. You also don’t need to worry about any leaks that could create a huge mess.

Lift Lock Clamps, on the other hand, provides you further stability by locking the motor housing into place in a secure and quick manner.

Instant Prime is a feature mainly centered at beginners who may have problems while setting up the filter for the first time. With this feature, you can instantly set the filter up without having to do any manual siphoning.

Quick-change mechanical media allows you, as the name implies, to quickly change any media needed for the filtration stages without somehow creating a chance for you to mess up. With this system, you can securely change it with filtration media of other material, types etc.

Multi-Stage Filtration

With this system, all filtration stages are separated and work independently. This way, you can make use of this system by customizing each stage without affecting the other modules. It is also easier to clean since you don’t need to worry about damaging or interrupting the bacterial environment in the biological stage.

Besides the reduced need for maintenance, this system utilizes the entirety of the canister volume in order to make the filtration process as efficient as possible. There are no significant drawbacks to this feature; the only “bad” thing about it is that you need to put in more effort for maintaining each stage.

Quite Operation

Even though you might expect a lot more noise, considering the previously mentioned motor which uses more power and is larger in size, the operation of the filter itself can’t really be considered noisy.

Users do mention that the filter might get noisy during the initial setup, but after it gets used to the aquarium and starts working in full force, it will get a lot quieter. This is thanks to the improved bearing, which will reduce the vibration and general noise caused by the impeller.

Efficient design

Besides the aesthetic design which can blend in with aquariums, the build itself is designed to be in an upright position in order to hold about 50% more media than other canister filters that a similar size.

Due to the user-friendly features, you also have more stability added to the filter since it is securely locked onto the aquarium thanks to the lift lock clamps. And when you take into consideration the other features, you also have a design which will reduce the number of leaks that occur between the hoses.

There are only some parts of the design that aren’t that good, but it isn’t any deal breaker. The thing that manages to turn some people off is that some parts that need to be cleaned are made out of plastic and may break if not taken care of safely.

Social Proof

Fluval is a well-known brand in the industry, and as such, it wasn’t really hard to find personal stories of how people dealt with the product in question. Generally, most customers praised the filter for how powerful it was compared to the earlier models and how it had a larger storage as well as capacity.

Some people who had this filter also mentioned that it was quite durable and that cleaning it posed no challenge. But we did notice some negative remarks about how bulky it was, some were even put off by the high-power consumption.

Alternatives

Fluval 406

If you really think that they are a reputable brand and really want to buy something from them, you might want to get the bigger brother of the Fluval 306. This might even be a good choice for upgrading, since it uses the same Fluval media as the 306 while giving you more power. Read our detail review about Fluval 406 Canister Filter.

It even works in a similar manner, the only bad thing about it is that it has even greater power consumption and that it is more expensive. But on the other hand, the similar design is a big plus since you might be familiar with it, something new would be that this version also includes a UV filter.

To summarize, keep in mind the following benefits:

  • Has a UV filter.
  • More power.
  • Similar in design and backwards-compatible.

Penn Plax Cascade 700

This filter is yet another canister type filter that offers you a similar multi-stage filtration system. In terms of power, it can provide up to 185 GPH of flow for aquariums up to 65 gallons. The build is also sturdier and smaller in size, but you have to consider that you’re saving a lot of money by buying this kind of filter.

At the time of writing this, the Penn Plax filter is up to $100 cheaper than the Fluval 306 while offering acceptable power in return. The only thing lacking is the significantly lower flow of water compared to the Fluval 306, so this filter might be for someone who doesn’t need that much power and might be low on cash.

To summarize, keep in mind the following benefits:

  • More budget-oriented.
  • Smaller power consumption.
  • Sturdier build quality.

SunSun HW303B

Sunsun provides you almost the same amount of power when compared to the Fluval 306, but with a cheaper price and smaller dimensions. The things that make this filter different is that it provides you UV light filters, support for up to 100-gallon aquariums as well as water flow of up to 370 GPH.

This budget-oriented filter also offers you three large media trays. The downside to this filter is that you will have a hard time figuring out how to set it up, as it is more difficult to use compared to the Fluval. The worst thing is that the instructions are almost non-existent, but hopefully, once you get it to work, everything will be way easier.

To summarize, keep in mind the following benefits:

  • Cheaper.
  • UV filter included.
  • Similar power.

Conclusion

Filters are very important when it comes to aquariums and not having one can be very dangerous. Fish just aren’t adapted to small areas where water isn’t changed frequently, and because of this you absolutely need to get yourself a filter.

The Fluval 306 could greatly help you when it comes to removing food excess and dangerous chemicals in the water due to being a canister type filter. This way you’re not just helping the inhabitants of the aquarium by filtering a greater amount of water, you are also providing an easier way for yourself to maintain the aquarium.

If you’re interested in buying one, click here to check out the Fluval 306.

About the author

Toby Sanders

With more than 15 years of experience in aquarium sector, i'm totally passionate about creating Aquarist Guide blogspot. I enjoy sharing all of my knowledge to help you guys effectively build your own tank. I believe that when you find the easiest way to raise your lovely fish successfully throughout my blog, you will definitely fall in love with fish keeping more than a popular hobby.

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