Penn Plax Cascade – Review + Opinions

Greetings friend of the aquarium hobby, today we are going to give a complete review of the series of internal filters Plenn-Plax Cascade, filters for aquariums highly valued among fans in the USA.

The Penn Plax brand has been in the pet business for more than 50 years, and among its many brands is the Cascade series of fish tank filters.

This series is made up of several models of canister filters, waterfall filters and also the internal aquarium filter, which are the ones we are going to deal with today in this review article.

In this review we are going to give a complete review of the Penn Plax Cascade internal filters. They are a popular choice for small aquariums, terrariums, and any medium to large fish tank that requires support for their filtration system.

The Cascade Internal Filter provides crystal clear water for freshwater and marine aquariums, and is also ideal in aquatic terrariums.

If you want a filter in your aquarium that offers advanced mechanical, chemical and biological filtration, while increasing tank aeration, Plenn-Plax Cascade is your submersible filter. Do not miss our review of this great submersible filter.

Penn Plax Cascade Internal Filter Series

This fully submersible filter is designed to filter and clean the water, but also to provide good oxygenation to the aquarium. The included spray bar option helps agitate the surface to facilitate oxygenation. Click on this link to see the offer of this model in the Amazon showcase.

The Penn Plax Cascade model is fairly quiet when placed underwater, is easy to clean, and offers a large body that allows for the use of custom filter media.

This makes maintenance much cheaper, as replacement components for most fish tank water filters often cost much more than the device itself is worth.

The filter can be placed completely submerged or partially above the water. But there is a minimum level of water that must cover the filter, so make sure that the minimum level remains below the surface.

These Cascade Internal Filters from Penn Plax provide powerful filtration for aquariums from 38 liters up to 190 liters.

Official Video of the Penn Plax Cascade Internal Filter Series

Technical characteristics of the internal filters Penn-Plax Cascade

We see the technical details of each of the models that make up the Penn – Plax Cascade internal filter series. Then, a table where you can compare the technical characteristics of some models with others.

Penn Plax Cascade 170

Penn Plax Cascade 300

Penn Plax Cascade 400

Penn Plax Cascade 600

Reviews of Penn-Plax Cascade Submersible Filters

We see the opinions of each model separately:

  • The Plenn-Plax Cascade 600 has over 260 reviews which you can see here. It gets 5 stars in 57% of the reviews left by users, and 19% between 4 and 3 star reviews.
  • The Plenn-Plax Cascade 400 model has more than 80 opinions, which you can see here, with 49% being 5 stars. 22% are 4-star ratings, and 6% are 3-star ratings.
  • Plenn-Plax Cascade 300 has achieved more than 175 opinions, which you can see here, being 59% 5 stars, and 17% 4 stars.
  • The Plenn-Plax Cascade 170 filter has more than 95 reviews, which you can see here, although it is the one with the fewest positive ratings of the 4 models. It has only achieved 44% 5-star ratings, and 21% 4-star ratings.

Penn Plax Cascade Internal Filter Features


The upper compartment houses the engine and impeller. The second chamber contains the chemical medium while the lower chamber contains the filter medium.

The filter can be positioned horizontally or vertically, making it easy to hide it from view.

The casing is a bit difficult to open, which makes routine cleaning and maintenance a bit difficult. But without proper care, the filter will not work effectively.

The sponge filter material that is included is not of the best quality, it wears out faster than other better quality sponges.

Output flow control

In addition, it also includes a directional outlet that allows you to direct the flow of filtered water in any direction and that can be connected to water sources or other accessories that are not included.

This series of submersible filters generate good circulation in the tank water thanks to its adjustable and directional water flow.

output flute

This can be used in place of the directional outlet to evenly distribute the filtered water across the surface of the aquarium.

An elbow is also included to easily connect the outlet bar to the pump for proper oxygenation of the tank water.

The tubes allow the filter outlet to be changed to a flute outlet as needed. This will also increase the resistance of the bomb, making it a bit stronger.

If the filter is going to be completely submerged, it is better not to fit any accessories, as this will make the filter a little quieter.


In addition, we already talked about the spray tube that allows oxygenating the flow of water that returns to the aquarium to ensure that the fish have the best quality of filtered water.

filter materials

  • It is equipped with an activated carbon cartridge to get rid of harmful chemicals and toxins, odors, discoloration and other contaminants in the water.
  • It also comes with a sponge that enhances the colonization of beneficial aerobic bacteria that help remove ammonia and nitrates providing a healthy balance in the aquarium environment.

Thanks to the large capacity of the tank of this range of internal filters, you can also choose the filter media to use to your liking.

Cleaning and maintenance

The filter separates into the three main pieces. There is an impeller locking device on the motor housing which must be removed in order to clean the impeller.

For the other two sections, simply clean the body and replace or rinse the filter media.

Because the body is so large, any preferred filter media can be used, thus achieving customized filtration.

Duration and Warranty

The pieces do not wear out too much, but it is true that they can suffer more depending on the environment of the aquarium. If used in a saltwater aquarium, it will surely be closer to lasting three years than ten.

The great thing about Penn Plax is that they sell any replacement part that is needed individually. This means that each and every part of the filter can be replaced for a minimal cost of replacing the filter itself.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Mechanical, chemical and biological filtration
  • Effectively oxygenates the water in the fish tank
  • The pump creates a circulating stream
  • Directional and adjustable water flow
  • Allows the use of custom filter media


  • Difficulty opening the box and cleaning
  • The included sponge filter is not of very good quality

Installation and assembly

First, unpack all the components from the box. Next, rinse the included carbon cartridge under cold water to remove excess dust and carbon particles from the cartridge.

Next, place the sponge in the lower filter box and the carbon cartridge in the upper box. Connect the two sections and now connect the motor to the casing.

If you want to use the directional outlet tube, simply place the tube over the outlet at the top of the motor and press down.

If you want to aerate the filtered water, remove the rubber stopper at the top of the directional spout. Next, press the aerator tube onto the air valve located at the top of the directional outlet.

When using the filter, make sure the air silencer stays above the surface of the water.

If you prefer to use the flute outlet, place the elbow of the pipe over the outlet and press down. Then connect the flute to the elbow tube.

Other alternatives

Conclusions on the Penn Plax Cascade Internal Filter

We have seen the technical details of each of the models that make up this series of internal filters, with a comparative table included.

We have also seen the main characteristics of this series of submersible filters, the opinions of the users, the advantages and disadvantages, and the installation and assembly.

In summary, we are facing some good internal filters for aquariums and fish tanks. A brand with many years of experience stands behind high-quality filters.

The filter media that come with the filter can be improved, but what many appreciate is that you can use custom filter loads, being able to adjust it to the needs of each tank.

The large number of positive opinions in the Amazon online store indicate that we are facing one of the best valued submersible filters in the aquarium market.

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