Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filter Unboxed, Tested, and Reviewed 2022

The Aqueon Quietflow canister filter is available in different sizes rating all the way up to 150 gallon aquariums.

To help you decide if this is the right canister filter for you, I purchased the Quietflow and set it up on my angel tank.

After running it for several weeks, this review will give you a full run down on how I tested it, what I liked and didn’t like, and how it compares to other canister filters.

TLDR: Review Overview

I think this is a great choice for anyone who wants to try out using canister filters, but doesn’t want to drop a lot of money on the experiment.

The Aqueon Quietflow did a great job filtering the aquarium water, keeping everything crystal clear and maintaining the water parameters on my 40 gallon (151 liter) bowfront tank.

This filter doesn’t have a huge motor, so I recommend it for tanks that are 40-55 gallons (151-208 liters). I really wouldn’t try it on anything over 55 gallons.

This Aqueon doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of super expensive filters, but it’s a solid and economical choice that performed really well during testing.

Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter
Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter

    Last update on 2022-10-05 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    How I Tested The Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filter

    I was eager to give this canister a try and get the real user experience with it. So, I set it up on my 40 gallon (151 liter) bowfront tank where I’m growing out a bunch of Philippine Blue Pinoy angelfish.

    I used this filter for several weeks to see what it was like to get it up and running and do routine maintenance on it. As always, I took a bunch of notes and pictures along the way so I could document everything.

    Specifically, I was looking at the following factors:

    • Installation – was it difficult to get this filter set up initially?
    • Priming – how hard is it to get this filter primed when you first set it up and after routine maintenance?
    • Performance – was the filter able to maintain healthy water parameters? Did it do a good job trapping solid wastes? How was the water clarity in the tank?
    • Maintenance was it difficult to carry out routine maintenance on this filter?
    • Noise – how much sound did this filter emit?

    What’s in the Box?

    Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filter Unboxed

    There are quite a few accessories that come with this filter! (Cat not included)

    In the box you’ll find: 

    • Canister
    • 3 stacking media baskets
    • Filter media:
      • Coarse sponge
      • Ceramic noodles
      • Bio balls
      • Activated carbon
    • Hoses 
    • Hose valves
    • Spray bar
    • Directional outflow nozzle
    • Water polishing hang-on-back unit
    • Water polishing cartridge
    • Intake tube w/ stainer
    • Instruction manual

    I do have to say that, of all the canister filters that I’ve tested out, this one has the largest variety of outflow attachments. A lot of canisters only have one or two outflow options, but this filter actually comes with three!

    Hang-on-the-Back Water Polishing Unit

    The Quietflow has a unique feature that none of the other canisters I’ve seen include: a water polishing hang-on-the-back unit. Instead of a traditional directional outflow nozzle or a spray bar, this unit looks like a regular hang-on-the-back filter that hooks over the back of the tank.

    The outflow hose connects to the bottom of the unit and passes water out of the front. The water flows through a filter cartridge with carbon and a super fine white polishing pad.

    The whole idea is that this provides an extra stage of mechanical filtration that will catch small particles and aid water clarity.

    I’m not the biggest fan of this attachment. Part of the appeal of a canister filter is that you don’t notice the filter as much because the canister is hidden under the cabinet.

    But, if you add this hang-on-the-back unit, you’ve now got this hulking, chunky black thing hanging off the back of the tank. Not my favorite look.

    I also think this is a gimmicky thing meant to roping you into buying disposable cartridges every month. Cartridges are the bread and butter of a lot of filter companies, but I really don’t  like them.

    I would much rather use the spray bar for the outflow and then just add on extra reusable mechanical media inside the canister.

    Granted, that’s my own personal preference, but there ya go. 

    So, now let’s take a look at the criteria I set out earlier:

    Installation

    Installing this filter went very smoothly.

    You get three roomy media baskets that come with all of the filter media you need to get this up and running right out of the box: 

    • Coarse sponge
    • Big mesh bag of activated carbon
    • Mesh bag of ceramic noodles 
    • Loose plastic bio balls

    Make sure you rinse off all your media before you install it. The carbon and ceramic pieces are especially prone to creating dust during shipping.

    I love that you get so much biomedia with this filter. I was able to basically triple the amount of biomedia I had running in my previous hang-on-the-back filter. 

    For this install, I put the canister down inside the stand. I ran the hoses through holes in the back of the stand to the top of the tank. Getting this set up went really well. 

    I tried all three outflow attachments, but found that I preferred the spray bar over the other two. Since I have somewhat young angelfish in this tank, I wanted to diffuse the flow as much as possible.

    The hoses were easy to cut to fit and run through the back of the stand.

    One thing I wasn’t crazy about was the quick connect valves that come with this filter. You can easily shut off the water flow, but when you disconnect the hoses, you have to unscrew them  like a garden hose.

    I much prefer quick connections that just unlock and pop off, like the ones on Fluvals, Eheims and Polar Auroras.

    I also wish that there was more mechanical media inside the canister. I have to admit that Fluval beats all the other filters I’ve tested when it comes to mechanical media.

    I did appreciate the instructional manual that came with this filter. Everything was very well explained and laid out.

    Priming

    Ok, so priming this filter isn’t bad, but it’s kind of weird and can be a little messy.

    Aqueon utilizes a different priming method than any of the other canisters that I’ve tried. There is a large screw-on cap on the top of the canister. You open this up to expose a “funnel” underneath.

    You’re supposed to pour water through the opening in the “funnel” to fill the canister with water. Once you can’t pour in any more water, you can replace the big cap and plug the filter in, and it starts right up.

    However, I put “funnel” in quotes because, yes, this thing resembles a funnel in theory, but in practice, not so much.

    I was spilling water all over the place trying to fill the canister. So, I added on an actual kitchen funnel to solve the problem.

    But, if you do this, you have to go very slowly. If you overfill the canister, you end up with a bunch of standing water in the funnel. It could spill all over the place if you try to pull the funnel out. 

    I got the excess water out with a large turkey baster, so it wasn’t too bad. But if I ever need to do this again, I’ll go slower when the canister gets close to full to avoid overfilling.

    Performance

    GPH: 200

    I was impressed with how much solid waste this filter was able to pull out of the tank. And even without the water polishing unit, water clarity was excellent.

    My parameters remained steady and were spot on throughout the testing, despite this tank being heavily stocked. 

    I would be comfortable putting this filter on 40-55 gallon (151-208 liter) tanks. 

    Maintenance

    It’s really not hard to do maintenance on this filter at all, but there are a few nitpicky things that I think could be improved upon.

    My biggest gripe with this filter is disconnecting the hoses when you need to do maintenance.

    All of the other filters that I’ve tested out have a clever feature that lets you turn off the water  flow through the hoses and then quickly detach them from the top of the motorhead. 

    But on this Aqueon canister, you have to unscrew each of the hoses as if you’re detaching the female end of a garden hose.

    This is much more cumbersome and annoying than the quick connect valves on competing canisters. 

    It can also be difficult to get the hoses threaded properly when you’re trying to reattach the hoses. So, you spend a bunch of time turning and turning the thing, but you’re not getting anywhere.

    This was especially awkward since the canister was located in the bottom of the stand. I had to bend down and get in there at a weird angle to get the hoses unscrewed.

    Once the hoses were detached, it was simple to unclamp the motorhead and set it aside.

    Another thing I didn’t like about doing maintenance on this filter was getting the media baskets out of the canister.

    You have to stick your hand down in the yucky, dirty filter water to pull each basket out individually. I much prefer to have a central handle that lets me pull out all of the media baskets at once, like on Fluval filters.

    This isn’t an absolute deal breaker or anything. I’d just rather not stick my hand down into the murky poop water.

    Once I had the filter taken apart, it was simple to rinse out the sponges and biomedia in a bucket of tank water. I didn’t like how much debris was all over the biomedia in such a short amount of time.

    Going forward, I’ll add on a lot more reusable sponges to catch more of the gunk and keep it out of the biomedia. 

    Noise

    Used a decibel meter to measure how much sound this filter emits. 

    I got an average reading of 54.9 decibels. This is quieter than other filters I’ve tested, like the Polar Aurora, but it’s louder than others, like both of the Fluval filters that I tested.

    This filter emits a soft whooshing kind of sound. You would notice it in a very quiet room, but honestly, with all the hustle and bustle in my living room, no one notices the sound this filter makes.

    True to its name, this canister is nice and quiet.

    Overall Pros and Cons

    Pros: 

    • Economical compared to other brands
    • Quiet running
    • More outflow options than any other filter 
    • Roomy filter baskets
    • Lots of biomedia

    Cons: 

    • Needs more mechanical filtration
    • Awkward to disconnect the hoses
    • No central handle to remove the media baskets
    Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter
    Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter

      Last update on 2022-10-05 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      How Does the Aqueon Quietflow Compare?

      I think this filter does a good job standing up to the competition.

      It’s GPH is much less than behemoths, like the Fluval FX6 and 407 filters, but those are meant for much bigger tanks. This Aqueon is great for smaller tanks. It’s done a nice job on my bowfront tank.

      It’s kind of middle of the road when it comes to noise, it’s not the loudest or the quietest. But overall, I would think that any average person would rate this filter as “quiet.” 

      The filter media that’s included is really nice, but I do wish that it had more reusable sponges inside the canister for mechanical filtration.

      Also, this filter is a great choice if you’re on a budget.

      The aquarium hobby can be pretty darn expensive. Just going out and dropping several hundred dollars on a canister filter, just to see if it will work for your tank, is unrealistic for a lot of people.

      But, this Aqueon filter has a lot of great features without the enormous price tag. It’s great for beginners.

      Who is the Aqueon Quietflow Best for?

      I think this is a great filter for anyone who wants to bridge the gap and start using canister filters, but don’t want to make a huge financial commitment.

      This is an awesome canister filter for beginners. It has performed well on my tank and done a great job of trapping wastes and maintaining my water parameters.

      I would recommend this for 40-55 gallon (151-208 liter) tanks. It’s done really well on my bowfront. 

      It was very simple to set up, maintenance was easy and it holds tons of media.

      Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter
      Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter

        Last update on 2022-10-05 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        Katherine Morgan
        Katherine Morgan

        Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. A nunchuck specialist, I've kept aquariums for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast. If You'd like to see more of my tanks, check out my Instagram

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