Before we dive into the details of our Penn Plax Cascade 1000 canister filter review, let’s face it, canister filters are typically associated with steep price tags. However, they are the most efficient fish tank filters, and their high price is often well justified.

But today, we have selected a not so expensive aquarium canister filter to examine the ins and outs.

On our Cascade 1000 review, we are going to discover whether or not a relatively cheap canister filter can be efficient. We are going to explore its features, advantages & disadvantages, and try to help you understand whether CCF3UL is the right choice for you or not.

In fact we have covered this filter in our top 10 fish tank filter reviews. Make sure you check that out as well.

Reviews of Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter

Supports Up To 100 Gallons Aquariums

CCF3UL pumps water at a quite modest rate of 265 gallons per hour. However, the flow rate is actually just enough for up to 100-gallon tanks (as stated by the manufacturer). 265 gallons per hour isn’t that good, but models with better flow rate usually cost much more!

Sturdy Base

The body, as well as all the components of CCF3UL are made from sturdy plastic. The filter itself has a rubber clamp at the bottom to help you ensure sturdy positioning.

Easy Setup

Canister filters need to be primed before first use, and before auto primers were a thing, you would have to go through that process manually. Fortunately, CCF3UL has a primer that is activated with a push of a button

In addition, because CCF3UL is an exterior filter, you will spend much less time on the setup itself. To begin filtering the water in your aquarium, you only need to spend about half an hour.

Adjustable Valve Caps

The valve caps of CCF3UL can be fully adjusted. Firstly, each of them features independent 360-degree rotation, which will allow you to flexibly and efficiently position both the input and output tubes. This feature will be of most use in tight aquariums. In addition, the flow rate of CCF3FUL can be easily adjusted to your own needs.

Easy Maintenance


Each of the components of CCF3UL can be easily removed to allow you to clean them or perform other maintenance. Moreover, this canister filter doesn’t have many elements, only flow valves, input and output tubes, filter baskets, and filter media.

Large Media Baskets

CCF3UL comes equipped with 3 large-capacity media baskets. With them, you will be able to combine different types of filter media in order to achieve maximum efficiency of aquarium water filtering. The filter media baskets can be easily removed for cleaning and maintenance like replacing the filter media.

In addition, CCF3UL comes with filter media to allow you to start filtering the aquarium water immediately. However, there has been a number of complaints about the quality and durability of the media. You should probably get a couple of different types of media yourself if you want to perform less maintenance and get the most out of this canister filter. Fortunately, CCF3UL, as any canister filter, works with a wide range of filter media, including mechanical, biological, and chemical media.


Probably being confident in the quality of their product, Penn-Plax offers a good 3-year warranty with CCF3UL. In addition, CCF3UL comes backed up by a money back guarantee, so you will be able to return this filter if you don’t like it.


  • An affordable canister filter.
  • Offers good flow rate for those who have small and medium fish tanks.
  • Works with up to 100 gallon aquariums.
  • Comes with a push button primer device.
  • Easy and quick setup and maintenance.
  • Is built of sturdy and durable plastic.
  • Has fully rotatable valve caps.
  • The cut-off valves allow for easy regulation of water flow.
  • Comes with 3 large media baskets as well as with filter media.
  • Supports a wide range of filter media.
  • Covered by a 3-year warranty and a money back guarantee.


  • The included filter media are not very durable. You should buy your own filter media as soon as possible.
  • A number of complaints on temporary leakage after maintenance.

Some Alternative To Consider

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Cascade 1000 Canister Filter Review Video

Let’s watch a video made by Andrew Esquivel

Who Should Go For CCF3UL?

First of all, CCF3UL is a great choice for those who have small or medium-size tanks.

Secondly, if you want an aquarium filter that works with any filter media, this model is a good choice as it supports any media its baskets can accommodate. This feature will be particularly useful if you have the need to take care of fine particles, chemicals, and biological waste at once.

Lastly, CCF3UL is mounted outside the aquarium, meaning that you will have to perform much less maintenance than you would with interior units. If you don’t want to be bothered by frequent cleaning, CCF3UL is a nice choice.

Frequently Asked Question

Does Penn Plax Cascade come with filter media?

Yes it come with filter media, though there have been some complains about the quality of the media.

Can Penn Plax Cascade move out the air by itself?

Unfortunately, no. You have to fill up the filter full with water and clear out the air trapped inside the pipe.

Can I use Penn Plax Cascade 1000 for my turtles?

Turtles are messier than fish. However in a 55 Gallon tank it should work fine with two red ear sliders or Indian Roof Turtles. The filter has four baskets for filter media. Use lava rock or ceramic ring in two chambers, foam in one and activated carbon or charcoal in one basket.

How To Set Up

You won’t face any difficulties to set this thing up. Let’s watch a video about the setup. This will clear any confusion if you still have.


There goes your Cascade 1000 filter review! Was this model the one you have been looking for? If you are not entirely sure, look into its features once more. Don’t also forget about its downsides! But first of all, you have to take into account your requirements. If CCF3UL was absolutely great for you, it may be the right choice!

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