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Fluval 206 (2020 Comprehensive Review)

Fluval 206

The Fluval 206 is built on the success of the Fluval 05 Series filters, but with many new enhancements. It has better filtration, less maintenance, faster installation, and quieter operation than its predecessor.

Fluval is a popular brand in the fishkeeping community. They’re well-known for their high-quality aquarium equipment, particularly their filters. 

Although a large portion of Fluval’s filters are a little on the pricey side, the Fluval 206 is the company’s more affordable alternative. It claims to be an efficient filter for tanks up to 40 gallons, but is it as high-quality as some of Fluval’s other more expensive filters?

To help you decide whether the Fluval 206 external filter is worth using in your aquarium, I’ve taken a close look at its main benefits, features, and drawbacks. 

What to Consider Before Buying a Canister Filter

Canister filters are commonly used in large aquariums as they’re far more powerful than other filter types. If you own certain species of fish, especially those with heavy bio-loads, a canister filter is also ideal. 

A canister filter works by drawing water up through a lift tube and pumping it into an external filter chamber using a pump. The water inside the chamber is then pressed through filter media before traveling back into the aquarium through another tube.

Aquarium Set-Up Equipment
Aquarium Set-Up Equipment

For tanks over 40 gallons, canister filters are very beneficial for keeping tank water clean and sparkling…

For tanks over 40 gallons, canister filters are very beneficial for keeping tank water clean and sparkling. The only downside with them is their normally high price tag. If you’ve never used a canister filter before, then setting them up can seem a little intimidating as there are a lot of different parts. 

Could Take Time to Assemble 

Unlike some other types of filters, canister filters can be a little difficult to assemble. You’ll often require a list of instructions to help you figure out where everything goes. Installing a canister filter incorrectly can cause a few issues, such as leaking and effectiveness. Check out how to assemble a 206 Canister Filter below.

In nano aquariums with small species of fish, a canister filter isn’t necessary. There are cheaper types, such as internal filters, which will clean the tank water just fine.

TIP

If your aquarium is under 40 gallons, then you might not want to use a canister filter.

Fluval External Filter 206

The Fluval 206 is built on the success of the Fluval 05 Series filters, but with many new enhancements. It has better filtration, less maintenance, faster installation, and quieter operation than its predecessor. 

This filter aims to keep your aquarium water clean, polished and sparkling. It includes all the parts necessary for setting up the filter, as well as various types of filter media (chemical, biological, and mechanical), polishing pad, and an instruction booklet and DVD. It also boasts a flow rate of 206 GPH.

Pros
  • Effective 3-stage filtration 
  • Large media baskets
  • Comes with filter media, including a polishing pad
  • Operates fairly quietly
  • Maintenance is easy
Cons
  • Prone to leaking
  • Can become loud over time

If you want a more in-depth review of the Fluval 206, then I’ve provided a full analysis of all of the unit’s features below. 

Features

Accessories

This is a full list of accessories the Fluval 206 comes with.

  • 4 x Foam pads
  • 1 x 70 g carbon
  • 1 x Polishing pad
  • 1 x 120 g BIOMAX
  • 1 x Bio-Foam
  • AquaStop valve assembly
  • Ribbed hosing
  • 2 rim connectors
  • Intake tube
  • Intake strainer
  • Output nozzle
  • 2 rubber connectors
  • Instruction manual
  • Quick start manual

3-Stage Filtration

The Fluval 206 canister filter offers three-stage filtration, so it is able to clean your aquarium efficiently. The mechanical stage comes in the form of foam pads, which help catch leftover fish food, waste, and other debris. You also get a polishing pad with the unit to add an extra sparkle to your water.

The chemical stage uses activated carbon to help remove bad odors, discoloration, and impurities from your water. The biological stage uses Bio-Max sponge and Bio-foam to provide the beneficial bacteria in your aquarium with the perfect spot to colonize. 

AquaStop Valve 

The patented AquaStop valve makes it incredibly easy to connect and disconnect the hoses for the Fluval 206 filter. This means the maintenance is a lot easier than some other types of canister filters.

Sound-Dampening Impeller

With the Fluval 206 external filter, you get a sound-dampening impeller to help reduce noise levels during operation. This allows you to place your aquarium wherever you like, including your bedroom, without the concern of loud or distracting sounds.

Multiple Media Baskets

You get two large filter media baskets with the Fluval 206, which are already stocked with medium. This includes four foam pads, activated carbon, and a polishing pad.

The huge size of these baskets lets you store a vast amount of medium inside them…

The huge size of these baskets lets you store a vast amount of medium inside them. This is useful for when you seed new filter media as you don’t need to worry about lack of space.

Capacity 

Fluval’s 206 canister filter has a water flow rate of 206 GPH and can efficiently clean aquariums up to 45 gallons. If you own a 45-gallon tank or a smaller aquarium with nano species of fish, then this filter is more than powerful and will provide your fish with a healthy habitat.

Installation

Setting up the Fluval 206 is quite easy and shouldn’t involve a lot of mental gymnastics.

Here are the steps:

  1. Install the impeller cover.
  2. Place the media baskets into the filter and fill them with media.
  3. Pack the foam media into the media basket and secure the canister.
  4. Put the AquaStop valve onto the motorhead.
  5. Use scissors to cut the hoses to size (so they can reach your aquarium).
  6. Connect the output hose to the rim connector assembly before attaching it to your tank.
  7. Connect the intake and output hoses to the filter.
  8. Slot the hoses in place on the AquaStop valve.
  9. If your aquarium is empty, fill it with water and prime the unit. You don’t have to do anything else, that’s all there is to it!

See an example of setting up a Fluval 206 filter in the video below

How to Set up Fluval 206 Canister Filter

Warranty 

The Fluval 206 includes a three-year warranty, which is considerably longer than some other filters. The warranty covers any faults or defects with the unit from normal everyday use or the material.

If any parts of the unit need to be fixed or replaced, then Fluval will do so completely free of charge. Make sure you don’t throw out your receipt as Fluval will require this if you want to send the filter to them for repairs.

However, the warranty is voided if the filter is damaged due to the fault of the owner, such as from poor maintenance or handling.

Highlights

Simple Maintenance and Installation

The Fluval 206 is a breeze to maintain and install, so you don’t need to worry about losing countless hours trying to figure out how to assemble the unit.

The Fluval 206 is a breeze to maintain and install…

The filter’s auto prime feature, quick-locking motor housing, and patented AquaStop valves all help make sure you can get the unit clean and set up in no time. The latter allows you to stop the water flow without needing to disconnect the hoses, which can often result in a mess. See a Fluval 206 Filter getting cleaned below.

NOTE

You also get an instructional DVD with the filter so you can follow how to put all the parts together with little confusion.

Large Media Baskets

The media baskets included with the filter can hold a hefty amount of filter medium, which is especially useful if you want to start a new aquarium. You can store extra media in the baskets to be used in your new tank to jump-start the cycling process.

The huge size of the baskets also provides a large surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow on.

Filter Media

You get a good range of media with the Fluval 206, which includes four foam pads, activated carbon, Bio-Foam, BIOMAX ceramic rings, and a polishing pad.

This is really convenient and provides you with everything you need to get the filter up and running. Some filters don’t come with filter medium, which results in you having to purchase it separately. If you’re spending a good chunk of money on an aquarium filter, you’d expect it to come with medium.

It’s great that the Fluval 206 doesn’t suffer from this issue, as the unit includes plenty of fmedia.

Quiet Operation 

Due to the sound-dampening impeller, the unit functions effortlessly and quietly. The dull hum or buzz of a filter in an aquarium can quickly become an annoyance, so I like that the Fluval 206 doesn’t have this issue.

If your tank is located in your bedroom, then this is especially beneficial as you don’t need to worry about the noise of the filter disrupting your sleep.

Durability 

Fluval’s 206 canister filter has a decent lifespan of up to five years, sometimes longer. Cheaper filters are prone to breaking far sooner than this, so you end up spending more money in the long run when you inevitably have to replace them.

Fluval’s 206 canister filter has a decent lifespan of up to five years, sometimes longer…

The device has an impeller cover to make it more hard-wearing than its previous units. The priming system is also much easier to start and less likely to malfunction. Furthermore, the lift-lock clamps have been designed to be stronger and more heavy-duty than past models.

Due to the filter’s durability, it’s much less likely to break or stop working. For this reason, I think the Fluval 206 is a better option over cheaper canister filters. 

Pet Store Aquarium Filter Aisle
Pet Store Aquarium Filter Aisle

Price

When you consider the number of features the Fluval 206 includes, the unit is pretty affordable. Compared to similar canister filters, Fluval’s 206 filter is only marginally more expensive.

Unlike slightly less costly canister filters, this one is a lot more long-lasting, durable, and high-quality. The device provides your fish with ample filtration, so it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re on a budget.

 It also comes with a generous three-year warranty, so you don’t need to fret over being out of pocket if the unit happens to break on you.

Customer Service 

Fluval’s customer service is excellent and their advisors are happy to address any concerns with their products, or if you have any general enquiries. 

This is useful if you have any queries regarding the Fluval 206, or if the unit is broken and you need to mail it off for repairs or a replacement

Drawbacks 

Leaking and Cracking

Unfortunately, the Fluval 206 does have a few flaws. Two of these are its tendency to leak and crack. The device can leak water, which isn’t great for your floors! This can happen over time or during maintenance. 

Either way, I’d recommend housing the filter in a bucket to be on the side of caution.

The impeller cover can crack prematurely, which also increases the risk of the unit leaking. Thankfully, you get a three-year warranty with the device for these types of issues.

Developed Loudness 

Although the Fluval 206 is mostly quiet during operation, it can sometimes become loud or noisy over time. It’s rare but not unheard of for the unit to develop a grinding sound.

Although the Fluval 206 is mostly quiet during operation, it can sometimes become loud or noisy…

Obviously, if you purchased the filter thinking it was silent, then you’d understandably be frustrated with this fault. 

Fortunately, Fluval’s great customer service are happy to assist with this problem and are likely to replace the unit with a newer model.

Alternatives 

If you don’t think the Fluval 206 is a good fit for you, then here are a few alternatives that might be worth checking out.

Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade 700 Canister Filter

The Penn Plax 700 is similar to the Fluval 206 as it provides your fish with 3-stage filtration and features large media baskets.

Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade 700 Canister Filter

The Penn Plax 700 is similar to the Fluval 206 as it provides your fish with 3-stage filtration and features large media baskets. These filter media baskets are already filled with medium, which is a nice extra.

Like the Fluval filter external 206, it’s fairly quiet and easy to install/maintain due to its push-button and swimming-pool-style hose clamps. However, setting it up can still be a bit time-consuming. It has a water flow rate of 185 GPH which can also be adjusted. 

A couple of issues with the Penn Plax 700 are its tendency to leak and the flimsiness of its media baskets. The latter isn’t a problem you encounter with the Fluval 206. However, this filter is a bit cheaper than the Fluval one, which might account for its lower quality.

Pros

  • Slightly cheaper

Cons

  • More flimsy/less durable
  • Lower GPH

Polar Aurora External Aquarium Filter

The Polar Aurora canister filter has a GPH of 264, as well as three media trays, and an adjustable spray bar. The spray bar makes it easy to adjust the output flow on the filter.

Polar Aurora External Aquarium Filter

The Polar Aurora canister filter has a GPH of 264, as well as three media trays, and an adjustable spray bar. The spray bar makes it easy to adjust the output flow on the filter.

It’s a little less pricey than the Fluval 206 external filter, but it’s much less durable and more bulky in appearance. Cleaning and setting up the filter isn’t too complicated, but it can be a bit fiddly, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with canister filters.

Like the Fluval 206, the Polar Aurora filter isn’t too loud during operation. 

Pros

  • Less expensive
  • Higher GPH

Cons

  • Less durable
  • More fiddly to clean/install

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

It provides 3-stage filtration and features a dual chamber, which makes it capable of storing a large amount of filter media. Despite its name, this filter isn’t a true canister filter as it needs to be submerged in your aquarium water.

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

With a GPH of 290, the MarineLand Magnum internal canister filter is a little more powerful than the Fluval 206. It provides 3-stage filtration and features a dual chamber, which makes it capable of storing a large amount of filter media.

Despite its name, this filter isn’t a true canister filter as it needs to be submerged in your aquarium water. Maintenance for this filter can be a bit challenging and time-consuming as there are a lot of parts. Some of these parts are also very small, which makes them easy to misplace. 

It also has a more bulky design and louder operation than the Fluval 206.

Pros

  • Slightly cheaper
  • Higher GPH

Cons

  • More difficult maintenance/setup
  • Bulkier design
  • Louder operation

Conclusion 

After looking at all the positives and negatives of the Fluval 206, I think it’s safe to say that the filter is a great option for your fish tank. It offers ample filtration thanks to its 3-stage filtration system, which provides a clean, healthy environment for your fish. 

Maintaining good water quality is vital for the health of your fish, and the Fluval 206 shouldn’t have any problems delivering this.

The large media baskets are filled with all the media you need for your aquarium, including a polishing pad. Installing and maintaining the unit is simple due to the AquaStop valve, which allows you to stop the water flow rate without disconnecting the hoses.

The filter is suitable for tanks up to 45 gallons as it has a flow rate of 207 GPH, which is plenty of filtration for tanks of this size.

In terms of Price

Fluval’s 206 canister filter isn’t too expensive, especially when you consider the amount of features it comes with and its overall durability. Unlike cheaper, lower-quality canister filters, you won’t need to replace this one too often. 

My only gripes with the unit are its tendency to leak/crack and gradual loudness. The impeller cover can crack prematurely, and the device can sometimes leak water. Some models have a chance of emitting a grinding noise over time, too.

However, as you get a three-year warranty with the filter, this isn’t a huge issue. Fluval has a great customer service department with efficient and helpful advisors.

Hopefully, my review has covered everything you need to know about the Fluval 206 canister filter.

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