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Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter (1000) Review 2023: Pros, Cons & Verdict

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter (1000)

Review Summary

Editor Rating: 94%
Build Quality: 95%
Power: 97%
Features: 95%
Price: 92%

Many newbie aquarium owners think that they can just stick fish in a tank of water and forget about it. Even though most movies portray fish care in such a way, fish require a lot more care and concern. Especially if you own sensitive fish or want your fish to live a long time, you must buy a few aquarium appliances and spend time taking care of your scaly friends.

One such appliance you will need to buy is an aquarium filter. The filter ensures that the water is safe and healthy for your fish. Although the idea of a filter is simple enough, picking out an aquarium filter can be difficult.

A popular aquarium filter is the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000), but is it worth the hype? In this review, you will find out. As a spoiler, we love this product! Let’s get started.

Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) – A Quick Look

Penn plax cascade aquarium filter
Image Credit: Amazon
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Easy to use
  • Strong motor and pumping power
  • Utilizes 3 filtration methods for optimal cleaning
  • Suitable for large tanks
  • More affordable than other premium filters
  • Requires being primed
  • Trays are fairly small
  • Does not come with an extra filter
  • More expensive than budget picks


Brand Penn-Plax
Line Cascade
Dimensions 14 X 14 X 14 inches
Ideal Tank Size 100 gallons
Weight 01 pounds
Number of Media Baskets 3
Warranty 3 years

Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) Review at a Glance

If you don’t have time to read the full article, here is a brief rundown of our thoughts about the filter. The Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) is a top-notch aquarium filter that includes all you need for the filter and numerous features. Although a bit pricey, the Cascade Canister Filter is one of the best for keeping your tank and fish healthy.

Many Features for Superior Clean

The Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) is considered one of the most effective aquarium filters on the market. It comes with a number of features that are durable and efficient, allowing your tank to be completely clean and free of harmful compounds. You can expect crystal clear water with this filter.

It’s suitable for both fresh and saltwater tanks. Plus, it comes with all of the most useful filter types for enhanced clean.  For example, it cleans the water using floss pads to remove the large chunks. Simultaneously, the filter includes a chemical component that keeps the water balanced and free of any harmful compounds.

It does not forget about the biological method either. This filter comes with a sponge surface that encourages natural bacterial growth, allowing the harmful bacteria to be turned to helpful compounds via the nitrogen cycle. More so, all of the features include state-of-the art technology that get the job done.

All of these filtering parts are separated for easy clean and use. The mechanical and chemical filters are on a two-tray setup that makes cleanup easy. The biological filter sits over the top to minimize size and bulkiness.

This filter is suitable for large tanks as well. It is designed so that it can pump over 265 gallons every hour. In case you aren’t familiar with fish tanks, that is a great pumping capacity that is hard to match, let alone beat. The motor is very durable too, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking!

Aquarium Plants
Image Credit: Andrey_Nikitin, Shutterstock

Because there are so many features, the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) comes with many parts, including:

  • Output cover
  • Outtake tube
  • Intake cover
  • Intake tube
  • Suction cups (8)
  • Spray bars (4)
  • Hoses (2)
  • Nozzles (2)
  • Canister
  • Media baskets

Make sure that your Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) comes with all of these parts. We couldn’t find any reviews of the product lacking parts, but it doesn’t hurt to check before setup.

Easy to Use

Even though the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) comes with a lot of features, it is surprisingly easy to use. Multiple customers reported that the instructions were straight forward and easy to follow, creating an overall easy experience.


Price-wise, the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) is reasonably priced. In comparison to other premium picks, it is affordable and borderline cheap. That being said, this filter is far from being a budget filter. You can easily find a more affordable model, but the cheaper model will be no where near as effective.

So, we are pleased with the price of the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) given its effectiveness. It isn’t overpriced, but it isn’t a budget pick either.

Image Credit: chaikom, Shutterstock

FAQ: Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter

Why do I need an aquarium filter?

Without a good filter, your fish’s water can quickly become toxic from waste, leftover food, and other chemicals. Two particularly dangerous compounds that might plague your fish tank are nitrate and ammonia. These compounds create a toxic environment for the fish.

Just as we can’t breathe in toxic air, fish can’t breathe in toxic water. So, your fish will quickly die without a filter.

What types of aquarium filters are there?

There are three main types of filters available, and the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) includes all three: mechanical, chemical, and biological. Mechanical filters work by removing solid particles from the water. The water will continue through the filter while the solid particles remain trapped. Most mechanical filters are made from pads, floss, foam, earth, and some other items.

The benefit of a mechanical filter is that all big particles are removed. However, they aren’t perfect. Non-physical contaminants cannot be removed. Plus, the mechanical filter must be cleaned out a lot, which can be annoying. Chemical filters are like mechanical ones because they involve a filter. The difference is what is filtered out. With a chemical filter, compounds like ammonia and nitrates are targeted, not physical particles.

Like mechanical filters, chemical filters have both pros and cons. Chemical filters keep the water clean from compounds that are deadly killers, which means they don’t have to be cleaned as much. However, they do not filter out physical particles that make an aquarium unsightly. Biological filtering uses bacteria to turn the fish’s waste into nutrients. So, the compounds are turned into something useful instead of harmful.

Is the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter good for saltwater or freshwater?

The Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter is a great choice for both saltwater and freshwater tanks. It design and number of features make it one of the most effective models for all tanks.

aquarium with neon tetras
Image Credit: Dobermaraner, Shutterstock

How do you set up the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000)?

Setting up the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) isn’t very difficult, but it may be a daunting task if you have never set up an aquarium filter before. Here are easy steps for setting up this high-quality filter:

  • Attach Nozzles to Canister: There are two nozzles: the intake and outtake nozzles. These nozzles will be color coded so you can easily distinguish between them. Attach the nozzles to their appropriate place in the canister filter using the color code.
  • Attach the Hoses to Nozzles: Now, you need to attach the two hoses to the two nozzles. It does not matter which hose attaches to each nozzle. So, there is no color coding on the hoses. Use the clamp to completely screw the hoses in place. You want the fit to be as tight as possible.
  • Attach the Intake Tubes: There is an intake tube and a hard intake tube. Attach both the intake tubes together on the short side. Note that the intake tubes are purple, and make sure to fasten them tightly like before.
  • Fasten the Intake Cover: Fasten the intake cover to the intake hard tube. It should attach at the long end of the tube.
  • Attach the Output Tube: You will basically repeat step 3, but attach the output tubes instead of the intake tubes. The output tubes will be black. Fasten the clamp tight and create a tight seal.
  • Attach the Spray Bar: Attach the output converter’s spray bar to the output hard tube. It will connect on the shorter side.
  • Attach the Suction Cups: Attach the suction cups to the spray bar on the output converter. Make sure not to cover the converter’s holes with the suction cups. Attach suction cups to the intake tubes too if needed.
  • Prime the System: One downside of the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) is that you have to prime the system before use. To do this, open the nozzles so that they are all facing the same direction. Find the “pump” button to pump water into the container.
  • Plug the System In: Plug in the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) and turn it on to finalize setup. Your filter is now ready for use.

What the Users Say

Most users are in love with the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) because of its effectiveness and price. Many people rave on and on about the amount of filter material and highly durable products. People specifically note that the motor is by far the best of its price point and make it work the purchase over a budget pick.

The one complaint people reported over and over again was that it does not come with a self-priming pump. Not only is the forced priming annoying for the price, but it is difficult to perform. So, there were a lot of complaints about the need for priming.

Other than the pump that need priming, customers reported the rest of the set was easy to use and that they loved it.

aquarium plant divider


The Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter (1000) is a great high-quality aquarium filter. It comes with numerous features and multiple filtration types, making it a great choice for large aquariums. The model is a bit expensive, but it is very reasonably priced in comparison to other premium options.

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