To clean and purify the aquarium correctly and regularly, we need the help of a good aquarium filter. And when looking for a versatile filter suitable for a large tank, external filters are always at the top of the list.
Choosing the right type of filter for your tank can be tricky, because there are so many options available on the market today. Some are great products, while others are not capable of doing the job as well as they should.
To save you the trouble of having to learn about some of those unsuccessful products, today we will review one of the most popular and most loved aquarium canister filters in the world of aquarium hobby.
Hagen fluval Series 06
This series provides a complete, multi-stage filtration system to keep your aquarium clean for a long period of time with just a little maintenance.
In addition, this aquarium water purifier has several unique features that make it the best external aquarium filter for many aquarists.
Of the more advanced features that can be mentioned are durable construction, quiet operation, easy setup, and quick and easy hassle-free maintenance.
Of this series, the fluval 306 is by far the most popular choice for many aquarists due to its medium size.
Compared to the 106 and 206 models, this model has more pumping power. But this increase in power also comes with higher power consumption and larger size.
However, size is not always an issue, as this also allows the fluval 306 to have a larger capacity for filter media .
Compared to the 406, it is obviously a little less powerful, but is effective for most hobbyist tanks.
The 306, like all 06 Series models, has been designed with superior efficiency to the 05 Series models, thanks to an advanced motor that is capable of handling more sustained water flow.
fluval has also stated that there are additional “user friendly” features that make setup and operation of the filter a little easier for aquarium hobbyists of any level.
fluval 306 Features
External filters normally maximize filtering capacity by taking advantage of their large filter body. This filter is designed to give the filter as much space as possible in the body for the most effective filtering process.
It uses multi-stage filtration to purify the water and provide a healthier environment for any aquarium.
In addition, it has the most advanced features of the Hagen fluval Series 06 filters, such as better filtration, faster set-up, less maintenance, quieter operation…
Let’s look at the features one by one.
size and work capacity
Thanks to this, the device can fit in smaller places and, at the same time, withstand the workload of larger tanks.
This external filter can efficiently handle the job of filtering an aquarium up to 300 liters (70 gallons) at a maximum flow rate of 1150 liters/hour (303 GPH), compared to the 106, with a capacity of 100 liters and 550 l/h (25max/145GPH), and the 206 with 200 liters and 780 l/h (40max/206GPH).
The square shape allows 35-50% more water than round-shaped filters of the same size, resulting in better, cleaner filtration.
Unlike other brands of canister filters, the fluval 306 mechanical stage is a vertical cartridge that provides a large surface area to trap more waste material. This absorbs more debris and prevent clogging of the media in the filtering process.
This stage occupies much of the space inside the filter, and improves the overall efficiency of the device. That means mechanical filtration is very efficient and this device needs less maintenance than others.
Then there are three baskets that are stacked for the three types of filter loads, offering not only superior filtering capacity, but also powerful flow.
In the chemical and biological stage, the water is treated with chemical and biological processes. These two stages are placed in independent modules that allow easy and uncomplicated cleaning of the media.
The fluval comes complete with media in all baskets ready to go. The large baskets can accommodate various types of filter media for higher filtration performance and to keep the water clean, clear and safe for fish.
Each filtration stage is separate from the others for greater flexibility in filter media change and maintenance.
First of all, the vertical pre-filter made up of two double layers of foam (1) that carry out an effective mechanical filtration trapping debris, preventing clogging and reducing maintenance.
Multiple baskets contain different types of filter media (mechanical, biological, and chemical) that keep aquarium water clear, clean, and free of nitrogenous toxins (ammonia and nitrite).
The «Fluval Bio-Foam» (2), achieves an even more effective mechanical filtration by collecting small particles, and a biological filtration allowing a large host surface for beneficial bacteria.
The 306 also comes with fluval brand BIOMAX media (3), which are small ceramic cylinders that allow for even more colonization by good bacteria.
Carbon filters (4) come standard and help remove odors and discoloration from tank water without raising phosphate levels in the water.
Powerful and adjustable flow
Higher water flow improves filtration due to this filter’s ability to utilize the entire bowl space. The water remains in contact with the medium for a longer time for a better purification effect.
Due to this flow rate, it is very effective in keeping the aquarium water constantly circulating and filtered.
Aqua-stop valves offer the ability to slow or even stop the flow of water through the filter. By controlling these valves, the desired flow can be obtained so that it adapts perfectly to the needs of each aquarium.
Powerful and quiet drive
The pump draws the water from the tank and returns it to the aquarium, where the water is constantly circulated and filtered.
The impeller is designed with an acoustic dampening system for a quieter environment during operation.
Also, the impeller is improved to consume less power than other external filters.
AquaStop valve and seals
The AquaStop valve and tight seals are features that help not only keep the device in perfect working order, but also make it easy to maintain.
The AquaStop valve helps stop the flow of water without the need to disconnect hoses. In addition to easing the workload for aquarists, these valves help prevent leaks and the possibility of fouling.
Tight latches help to quickly and securely lock the motor housing in place.
Assembly and installation
If you have used an external filter before, you will know that the first time it costs a little more to mount it. But when you have done it for the first time and you already know the device, then mounting and dismounting it becomes almost mechanical.
As we have already said, the fluval 306 canister filter comes with everything you need, and once assembled it is ready to work.
The trick is to assemble the unit, put the filter media in the three baskets, the motor in place, and then prepare and fit the hoses.
The included hoses are robust, but not difficult to work with when doing the initial installation.
Fluval 306 priming
This filter features the improved priming system to start the flow of water to the aquarium more easily than the previous Fluval 05 series.
The filter must be filled with dechlorinated water before priming and it is recommended that all blocking mechanisms be rechecked.
Once the filter is on, simply activate the priming lever several times to get the first flow of water from the aquarium and gravity will do the rest of the work to fill the filter.
Below you have the official Fluval Aquatic video for the assembly of the Fluval 306.
As long as the filter is properly sealed, noise is not going to be a problem. If any joints are giving you trouble, a little Vaseline can work as a short-term fix.
Pumping power is not an exaggeration. Even with the filter media it maintains very adequate pumping, and the redesigned impeller on the “06” models keeps a good steady beat.
This model has an inlet strainer that helps reduce possible blockages, and a wide mouth for quick siphoning of water.
There are adjusters to vary the flow rate, and the Fluval 306 has the “Aqua-Stop Valve” that allows hoses to be disconnected and reconnected without breaking the vacuum.
This filter has a robust and aesthetic appearance, the black plastic and the red details give a nice look.
The vertical design of the filter allows it to contain almost 50% more filter material than other canister filters of similar size.
Hermetic closures are a good design complement, as they allow a safe closure of the unit. Combined with the clamping nuts and hose connectors, it’s a fairly consistent system that significantly reduces leaks.
Although it is a vertical unit, the weight of 6 kg is quite manageable. Enough to go to the sink to clean and maintain the filter.
The filter media baskets are very spacious and offer a wide range of options for chemical, mechanical and biological filtration. You can mix and match the filter loads in a personalized way to achieve a cleaning adapted to each aquarium.
Total media filter capacity is 6.94 liters, compared to 3.36 liters for the 106, 4.84 for the 206, and 8.94 for the 406.
The included hoses are made of a durable ribbed plastic with a 1/2″ inside diameter. You can use non-ribbed hoses if you prefer, without the hassle of customizing the hoses to fit the unit.
Cleaning and maintenance
The AquaStop valve facilitates maintenance by shutting off the flow of water without disconnecting the hoses and thus avoiding losses during disassembly.
You must first unplug the filter and close the AquaStop valve to shut off the flow of water from the tank. Now all components and media need to be cleaned separately.
The seals must be opened to access the internal chambers of the filter media for cleaning. Special care must be taken with the impeller, since its stop working would mean the end of the filter.
Of course, you have to reassemble the unit, but it should be easier the second time, and priming should be quicker.
Let’s see a video of a cleaning and maintenance of a fluval filter of the 06 series.
After cleaning the filter media, reassemble the cartridge filter and plug it in. The whole process includes only a few basic steps and is very easy for anyone to do, even a beginner aquarium.
Fluval 306 Price
If you are willing to make the initial investment required to get a high quality filter, then this could be the best thing for you and your aquarium.
Click on this link you can see the current price of this magnificent external filter from the Fluval house.
The price of this filter is usually around €100. As you can see in the graph of its price on Amazon.com, in this last year the price of the Fluval 306 has moved from €90 to €120.
In case the price is too much, there are other models that can be better adjusted to your budget.
Fluval 306 Reviews
On Amazon.com you have 53 reviews with an average score of 4.3 out of 5. More than 60% have rated this filter with 5 stars, more than 20% with 4 stars, and 7% with only one star.
On Amazon.com.mx there are 50 reviews with an average score of 4.7 out of 5. The opinions are even better than on Amazon.com: more than 80% have rated this filter with 5 stars, 12% with 4 and 2% with a star
Amazon.com is where you can find the most reviews, 1291 customer reviews. Here the average grade is 3.9, with 61% rating 5 stars, 12% rating 4 and 3 stars, and 26% rating 2 and 1 stars.
Advantages and disadvantages
Advantages of Fluval 306 filters
- Suitable for aquariums of different sizes
- Suitable for salt water and fresh water
- Quiet and durable impeller
- Powerful and adjustable flow
- AquaStop valves and seals
- Comes with filter media included
- Large storage capacity
- Excellent, multi-stage filtration
- Self priming system
- 3 years warranty
Disadvantages of Fluval 306 filters
- Without outlet flow height detector
- More expensive compared to other products
- a bit bulky
Other External Filters
Conclusions about the Hagen Fluval 306
Although this filter is a bit more expensive than other devices on the market, it may be worth it if its features are what you are looking for.
Although it may be a bit more complicated than other models available, it is not difficult to maintain and is generally quite self-efficient at cleaning and staying clean.
Furthermore, all the filtration features are first class and efficient. It is one of the most appreciated filters.
With this filter you can be sure of purchasing a durable unit that will have more than enough power to keep your tank water crystal clear and healthy.
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