Thursday, March 2, 2017

Fluval FX6 Review

Review for Fluval FX6

The Good:
High capacity for media
Put any media you want
Self Primer
3 year warranty

The Bad:
Doesn't come with much media

The new FX6 model came out around 2011 to replace the highly popular FX5. There are very few commercially made filters for large tanks. This new version uses 10% less electricity than that FX5. The filter is rated for 400 gallons but is rated for 925 gallons per hour. To me it seems like it really should be rated for 220 gallon tank as you want to turn over your water 4X per hour. I suppose you could use it on a 400 gallon tank but you'll be doing water changes a lot more often.
I'm running this FX6 on a 75 gallon tank and I'm running 2 FX5 on a 180 gallon tank. Overfiltration, possibly. However I can't argue with my results. Healthy fish, clean water and I do water changes 20% once a week.

Set up in fairly straightforward and easy. It has a self priming feature that helps getting started easy. It also shuts itself off every 12 hours so all the air trapped inside escapes and you have less noise and the most efficent flow.

There are also control levers to change the amount of flow coming in and out of your filter. You can use these to fine tune your filter and also change the amount of noise the filter makes. My is right next my couch so if it make even a little noise, I can hear it.
I put a styrofoam lid under the filter to reduce vibration. The filter can become a little bit noisey. It's usually not from the motor but from the air trapped inside the filter swirling with the water.

Fluval recommends the following media setup for this filter.
I can understand the logic of how this is set up. The water goes through the mechanical filtration first and then goes to the biological filtration and then a water polisher at the end. I guess this will work well if you also want to do maintenance on the filter every month, which they also recommend.

I'm going with a completely different media arrangement. I've removed all the mechanical filtration and put in Fluval's Biomax media in all the trays and even where the mechanical filtration would be. This gives me almost 3X the biological filtration than their recommended setup. This reduces my maintenance on the filter to once a year.

The biological filtration is only good for the amount of "food" (fish's waste) it gets. Since I removed all the mechanical filtration, the waste slowly starts to build up in filter. This wastes provides more food for the bacteria which in turn provides more biological filtration.
My once a year maintenance is removing all the trays and washing out the build up of waste in the filter and then I top off any Biomax that is needed and then put it back on the tank. The whole process takes about 15 minutes. I usually do it in the summer as I can just do it outside plus the warm temperature will keep alive most of the bacteria.

This setup will not work for everyone. It works for me. I've been using this setup for the past 4 years and have never lost a fish.

The great thing about this filter is that you can put whatever media you want. My arrangement works for me and my fish. You can customize it to whatever you want. It comes with two media bags.

The filter is a bit expensive, especially for a 75 gallon tank. What I'm paying for is using up less of my time to do tank maintenance. Some people really like to do tank maintenance. I do not. I want to keep as minimal as possible. Weekly water changes, cleaning the substrate and glass once a month is all I do.

I do like the Biomax but I am thinking of switching to lava rock. It is about 5X cheaper and offers as much surface area if not more. You will need to break the lava rock into smaller pieces. I'm going to experiment with a small canister filter first before I put the lava rock into the FX6. I've noticed that the Biomax breaks down at a rate of about half a box per year with my set up. Initial set up was expensive as the FX6 used up 9 boxes of the Biomax at $10 a box.

What comes in the box:

Two bags for hollow rings (not Biomax)
  • Rubber hosing
  • Rim Connectors, clips and suction cups
  • Inake stem
  • Output nozzle
  • Lid fasteners
  • Filter canister
  • Utility valve and hosing
  • Drain cap
  • Pump unit (motor) and power cord
  • Rubber feet
  • Media baskets
  • 1/2 media baskets
  • Filter lid and other accessories


For fresh and saltwater aquariums up to 1500 L (400 US Gal)
Flow Rate: 2130 L (563 US GAL) PER HOUR
Pump Output: 3500 L/H (925 US G/H)
Mechanical Area: 2,100 CM² (325.5 IN²)
Media Basket Capacity: 5.9 L (1.5 US GAL)
Filtration Volume: 20 L (5.28 US GAL)
Head Height (max.): 3.3 M (10.8 FT)
Wattage: 120V/60HZ – 43 W AND 230-240V/50HZ – 41 W
Dimensions (L x W x H): 40 X 40 X 53 CM (15.75 X 15.75 X 20.8 IN)

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