Fluval 407 Canister Filter Unboxed, Tested & Review 2022

The 407 marks the 7th incarnation of Fluval’s high-performing canister filters.

It’s fair to say I was excited to get one of these and run it through some tests to find out how well it stands up to Fluval’s reputation and competing filters.

In this unboxing review, I’ll go over installation, priming, performance, maintenance, and noise to help you know if the Fluval 407 canister filter is right for you and your aquarium.

Fluval 407 Review Overview

Fluval 407 canister filter

The Fluval 407 is an excellent filter. As always, I’m impressed with the quality and thoughtfulness of Fluval’s design. I love the huge reusable filter sponges and the large media baskets that can be packed with biomedia.

Installation and maintenance are a snap with this filter and priming it is so super easy.

Overall I highly recommend this filter for aquariums 50-100 gallons (190-379 liters).

Shop for the Fluval 407 Canister Filter on Amazon
Shop for the Fluval 407 Canister Filter on Amazon

    Last update on 2022-05-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    How I Tested The Fluval 407 Canister Filter

    I ran the filter for well over a month and then broke it down so I could get a feel for what it’s like to do routine maintenance on this model.

    I was looking at the following factors: 

    • Installation – was it difficult to get the filter installed on the tank?
    • Priming – was it easy or difficult to get the filter primed on initial install and after maintenance?
    • Performance – how well does this filter maintain water parameters? Does it do a good job of removing fish poop? How was water clarity?
    • Maintenance – is it difficult to pull the filter apart to perform maintenance?
    • Noise – how noisy is this filter?

    Fluval 407 Canister Filter Reviewed

    I wanted to get a true user’s experience with this filter. So, I set it up on my 55 gallon (208 liter) angelfish tank in my living room. 

    There is quite a large community of fish in this tank, which makes it easy to run a filter through its paces and check out its performance.

    Unboxing The Fluval 407

    There are only four things in the box:

    • Canister
    • Ribbed hoses
    • Packet of parts
    • Instructional manual

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

    Setting Up The Fluval 407 Canister Filter

    I was pleasantly surprised by how simple it was to get this filter installed. It’s not nearly as complicated as trying to get a Fluval FX6 up and running, that’s for sure!

    I highly recommend that you read through the entire instructional booklet before you start the actual install.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, not my idea of a fun time either. But I think it will help prevent mistakes as you go along.

    Just like with the FX6, I think the biggest pain about the install is the hoses. The ribbed hoses don’t bend very well, you have to clamp them into these curved holders that will wrap them over the rim of the tank and down into the water. 

    You have to force the hose to follow the curve of the bottom part of the holder and then clamp the top half on to hold it in place. Even though I had experience with these particular beasts after installing an FX6, I still had a really tough time with them.

    I’m surprised that the paint didn’t peel off the walls from some of the stuff I said while I was getting this part done. I really wish Fluval would redesign these to be a little more user friendly.

    Putting the rest of the filter together was quite easy compared to that, I’m happy to say. 

    Getting the main o-ring installed was really simple, something that can be a major pain with other canisters.

    As with other Fluval filters I’ve used, I was really impressed with the media baskets. These stack together along the length of a red handle that lets you pull out all the baskets at once. And there’s plenty of room for media.

    I love the reusable sponges on this filter. One whole side of the canister is a sliding compartment with sponges. You can actually take this section out independent of everything else. Since this is the part of the filter that needs the most frequent servicing, I find this to be really convenient.

    Fluval includes mechanical, biological and chemical filter media. For biological media, you get two large bags of ceramic noodles. And for chemical filtration, you get both activated carbon and phosphate removing sponges.

    I didn’t use either of these (I don’t normally use chemical filtration), but for those who are fans of carbon and other chemical treatments, I’m sure getting some for free will be an extra bonus. The bags of carbon are huge! 

    Definitely make sure to rinse the ceramic biomedia thoroughly. It can really build up a lot of dust from being rattled around in shipping.

    The hoses connect to the top of the canister with these really cool quick release valves. You can turn the water off with this valve and then just detach it from the lid of the canister. These valves keep the hoses from leaking and make getting the siphon going again after maintenance a breeze.

    The only other headache that I had with the install is that the instructions do not make it clear that the gray lever between the valves needs to be pushed all the way down to let water flow into the canister.

    Priming

    Getting this filter primed is really simple, you don’t even have to fill the canister with water.

    Once you’ve got everything attached and the valves open, you just push down the little priming lever a few times and water will start to move down the intake hose and fill the canister body with water.

    Then you just plug the canister into power and it starts right up.

    After maintenance, you don’t even need the priming lever because the quick release valves maintain the suction. You just reattach the fitting and open the valves and water will immediately start running down into the canister. So easy!

    Performance

    I have been really impressed with this filter’s performance.

    My 55 gallon is fairly heavily stocked. There are four adult angelfish, three Praecox rainbow fish, five juvenile Boesemani rainbow fish, eight peppered corydoras catfish, six otocinclus catfish and a bunch of blue mystery snails.

    So, there’s a lot of pooping going on in there, just saying. 

    This 407 has done a good job of trapping fish poop. This tank has a sandy bottom, so wastes tend to stay on the surface rather than sinking down into the substrate.

    I’ve noticed much less poop and mulm in the corners since I installed this filter, which keeps the sand looking nice.

    My water clarity and parameters have been excellent the entire time.

    Maintenance: Cleaning The Fluval 407 Canister Filter

    I was very happily surprised at how simple it was to do maintenance on this filter!

    I thought that maybe it would be complicated to break this 407 back down and get everything clean but it actually took me less time and caused less mess than it does to clean out a lot of my hang-on-the-back filters.

    You just lift the gray lever to shut off the water and unplug the filter from power. Then you detach the quick connect valve.

    Don’t forget that lever or water will go everywhere

    I recommend pulling the filter out just enough so that you can take the lid off and use two buckets to help break the filter down.

    You’ll be able to easily pull the media baskets out all at once by grasping the central red handle. The sponges are also easily pulled out all at once since they’re all in their own nifty compartment.

    I just put all the media in one bucket and dumped the canister into a second one. I thought it was a bit easier to carry the water in the bucket versus the body of the canister.

    I dumped the yucky water and filled that second bucket back up with dechlorinated water. I then swirled the biomedia around to get some gunk off and then I squeezed out the sponges. I got an impressive amount of filth out of the sponges, I must say.

    Then I just reassembled the filter and reattached the quick connect valve. All you have to do next is push that gray lever down to open the valve and water will start pouring into the canister and air will burp out into the tank.

    Just plug in the canister and you’re all done! This took me less than 30 minutes and I was by no means trying to rush.

    Put the lid back on somewhere you can really see well. This makes it so much easier to get the lid seated down properly on the gasket. I did it on the kitchen counter and it was much simpler than trying to do it on the floor beside the tank stand.

    Noise

    This filter is very, very quiet. If you’re right next to it in a silent room, you can hear a faint humming sound, that’s it.

    I measured the noise with a decibel meter and got a measurement of 51.9. This was much quieter than the buzzing noise from the SunSun canister filter I also tested, which put off 56.4 decibels.  

    Separate Spray Bar May Be Required

    My only real gripe with this filter? You have to buy a spray bar separately. 

    A spray bar diffuses the water flow coming out of the filter so that the current is more gentle. By default, you’re only provided with a directional nozzle for the outflow.

    I could tell that my angels were less than thrilled with this strong, concentrated flow.

    So, I shelled out for a spray bar as a separate purchase and installed it.

    I really love Fluval products, but they’re also pretty expensive. It would have been nice if the spray bar was included among all the other parts for the filter.

    Fluval sparybar

    At least it was really easy to get the spray bar installed, it just bugged me that I had to order and pay for it separately. Hint, hint Fluval.

    Sale
    Shop for Fluval Spray Bar on Amazon
    Shop for Fluval Spray Bar on Amazon

      Last update on 2022-05-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      Shop for the Fluval 407 Canister Filter on Amazon
      Shop for the Fluval 407 Canister Filter on Amazon

        Last update on 2022-05-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        Overall Pros and Cons

        Pros: 

        • Fairly simple install
        • Easy priming
        • Large, reusable sponges
        • Easy maintenance

        Cons: 

        • Instructions don’t advise about lever on valve
        • Spray bar must be bought separately

        Shop for the Fluval 407 Canister Filter on Amazon
        Shop for the Fluval 407 Canister Filter on Amazon

          Last update on 2022-05-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          How Does the 407 Compare to Other Canister Filters?

          I think that this filter holds its own against the competition.

          Don’t get me wrong, the Fluval FX6 has a lot of bells and whistles, but it’s also a huge monster of a thing meant for giant tanks over 100 gallons.

          This Fluval 407 is a much better size for tanks 50-100 gallons. And since its canister is much smaller, it’s a lot easier to fit it beneath a tank stand.

          I think you get way better filter media with the 407, especially the reusable sponges, than you do with the SunSun, Marineland or Aqueon. Of course, you get similarly awesome media from the FX6 since it’s also a Fluval.

          The 407 is very quiet, much quieter than the SunSun for sure. It’s impressive how much water it pumps but how little noise it makes.

          But, you don’t get a UV sterilizer, like the SunSun has, or an optional hang-on-the-back water polishing unit, like the Aqueon comes with.

          You do have to purchase the spray bar separately for this filter, unlike the Aqueon, SunSun and Marineland. 

          All in all, this filter is excellent and easily competes, or even outcompetes, similar canisters found on the market.

          Who is the Fluval 407 Canister Filter Ideal For?

          I recommend the Fluval 407 for 50-100 gallon (190-379 liter) aquariums. 

          And, if you have fish that prefer a gentle flow, like Discus or angels, I recommend getting the separate spray bar. This will let you diffuse the current coming from the outflow

          If you’re wanting to go with a tank that’s over 100 gallons, I recommend the Fluval FX6 since it’s a bit bigger and more powerful.

          Overall, this filter has really impressed me. Installation and priming were fairly simple, although I did struggle a little bit with the clamps for the hoses.

          This filter has performed well, especially considering that it was tested on a heavily stocked tank. It’s done a great job trapping wastes that would normally have stayed on the surface of the sand.

          I would definitely say that I’m getting better performance from this Fluval 407 than the hang-on-the-back that I previously used for this tank.

          I also really appreciate how quiet this filter is. It only emits a small hum that really isn’t noticeable. 

          This is another great product from Fluval and worth every penny.

          ​​I hope you find this article helpful.

          I wish you and your fish the very best!

          Shop for the Fluval 407 Canister Filter on Amazon
          Shop for the Fluval 407 Canister Filter on Amazon

            Last update on 2022-05-17 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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            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

            3 Comments

            1. Hi Katherine,

              Thank you very much for this breakdown of the 407 Fluval but also the review of the canister filters.
              I am newbie at this but this review/description has really helped me in what I need to do next and how to select a filter.

              Thanks again
              Steve

            2. Thanks for all that information Katherine! Is there a filter you could recommend for a 130litre tank? I bought it with the starter kit and it was working fine for a long time now but as the fish have grown the pump is not running well enough to keep tank clear, even after a massive clean and change of water. Is this fluval overkill for our slightly smaller tank of 130litres? Is there one that works as well as this one a bit cheaper? The tank is sitting on open shelving so don’t want an eye sore either. Appreciate any help you can offer. We are in Australia.

              • Hello, Skye. For your tank size, the 407 could be too much. I am unsure what is available to you in Australia, but I would recommend you take a look at the Fluval 307 or if you needed something more budget-friendly the Aqueon Quietflow.

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