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Buy a Hagen Fluval 05 Canister Filter for Your Aquarium or Turtle Tank

Updated on July 28, 2010

Hagen Fluval Canister filters in the 05 series are what I’d call the best affordable aquarium filter. There are better filters, but from here the prices skyrocket. While one of the best features of the Fluval series is the capacity and versatility of the media compartments, in Hagen’s 05 series all of their previous design innovations and perfections come together to just create a highly functional, easy to use, powerful, media versatile filter.

This is the filter you buy when you want to customize your filtration media. With large, twin foam sponges and 4 to 8 media compartments, you can create the exact water parameters you seek, or quickly deal with any unexpected changes in your aquarium water. If that’s not something you’re really interested in, this is still a great choice. The media chosen may be as basic or advanced as you’re seeking, either way the performance of the Hagen Fluval 05 canisters is hard to beat.

Hagen Fluval 05 Series Canister Filters
Hagen Fluval 05 Series Canister Filters

Fluval's Excellent Filtration Media Capacity and Versatility

The foam sponges, Fluval Bio-Max Ceramic Rings and Carbon are included to get you started. The media additions you can add are varied and numerous. You can choose to up your biological filtration, or your mechanical or chemical filtration. You can also utilize many additives which adjust water PH or hardness. The capacity, flexibility and versatility offered by the 05 series gives your water greater adaptability, meaning you get to choose the fish you house from a greater range of water parameter needs.     

This isn’t just meaningless stuffing either, the design of the Fluval canister filters achieves optimal flow through the chamber for most direct media contact. Incoming water is drawn through the foam sponges, and then directed back up through the media baskets. Bypass is eliminated. With separate media compartments, changing or cleaning media in one compartment is a breeze. Even the multiple sponges are a design feature allowing the user to clean or change one or two of the sponges while leaving the beneficial bacteria colonies on the other sponges undisturbed.

Hagen Fluval Canister Filter
Hagen Fluval Canister Filter

Hagen Fluval 05 Series

  • Saltwater/Freshwater Filter
  • Versatile Filter Media Capacity
  • Easy Assembly and Start-Up
  • Aquastop Valve and Lever for Interior Seal and Flow Speed Control
  • Adjustable Output Adaptor for Flow Control
  • Reinforced, Durable Materials
  • Solid Construction
  • Reinforced Lift-Lock Clamps
  • Self-priming Instant Start
  • Epoxy Sealed Motor Reduces Heat
  • Self-Flushing Impellor Well Reduces Heat and Avoids Debris Buildup on Impeller
  • Long-lasting Ceramic Shaft Impeller
  • Elastomer-coated Impeller Cover Reduces Vibration
  • Quiet, Near-silent Operation
  • 3 Year Guarantee

Fluval 05 Brings it All Together

Don’t think the increased media capacity and versatility is the only thing this filter has going for it –far from it. Every aspect of the Hagen Fluval 05 filter is top quality materials and state of the art technology. The once brittle plastic lift-lock clamps on the old 03 series which caused so much grief to users have been replaced with stronger, reinforced materials.

 The Aquastop valve provides a vacuum seal that allows the user to quickly, easily and without messy spills disconnect the unit from the hoses for maintenance. Impeller housing in the lid features self flushing and avoids buildup.

The impeller shaft is ceramic for noncorrosive, long lasting performance, which is good, but this is also the only complaint on the unit I have heard. If not handled properly, the ceramic shaft may break. I’ve heard of this only rarely, and believe the problem there lies with user-carelessness rather than design flaw.

Designed to reduce heat output, this line of filters can safely be housed in under-tank cabinets. The epoxy sealed motor and self-flushing impeller well make it happen. Additionally this filter runs on only 9 to 21 watts, which is excellent. Compare to the same sized Marineland MultiStage Canister Filter which is rated at 12 to 35 watts.  

Instant start, self-priming is a god-send, saving the filter user much hassle and frustration. Nothing provides a fishkeeper with more regular annoyance than an aquarium filtration system which is difficult to restart.

Even assembly and initial start-up are simple as could be. As much as can be preassembled is, leaving hoses to be cut to fit and a few connections made. They actually include a DVD to guide you through the process and show you how to get the most out of your new filter, including instruction on media choices and configurations.

Choosing the Right Size Hagen Fluval 05

The Hagen Fluval 05 Canister Filters are available in four sizes and suitable for use on aquariums as small as ten gallons up to as much as 75 gallons. Though they state they are suitable up to 100 gallons, that’s a bit high. Most filters overstate their tank size suitability. Stated flow rates generally are established without the use of media and realistic hose configurations. Even the angle of the output can affect flow rates.

The flow rate is hampered by head pressure (upwards flow) if the canister is housed below the tank, as well as hindered by media content and hose lengths. The flow rate on the 405 is stated at 225gph. Add a fuller load of filtration media, 4 feet of hose and head pressure and that amount is going to drop significantly. The recommended turnover is at least four times an hour, so you can see there’s no way a 225gph flow rate is going to turn over 100 gallons of water four times an hour.

Hagen Fluval 105 
Hagen Fluval 205 
Hagen Fluval 305 
Hagen Fluval 405
Pump Output (gph/lph)
125gph /480lph
Filter Circulation (gph/lph)
Stated Tank Capacity (gals/ltrs)
Head Height Maximum (feet/mtrs)
4.4 '/1.35mtrs
Media Baskets/Trays
gallons/liters, feet/meters

In conjunction with a high capacity separate sponge filter like the Hydro-Filter, I’d say this would be suitable for use on a 75 gallon tank, but no larger. Many aquarists choose to use two of these filters on their larger tanks, one on each side. If enough of the media is given over to biological filtration and the oxygen content of the water is sufficiently high, a separate sponge filter may not be needed.  The adjustable output does allow for flow across the surface of the water eliminating the need for any air pump, unless the unit is being used as the sole filtration device on a larger tank.

Always remember that you can never have too much filtration. You can achieve too much flow in a smaller tank, but generally cannot go wrong by judiciously doubling or even tripling the given flow rates and recommended filtration turnovers.

Tank Photo by Lux Tom on Flickr
Tank Photo by Lux Tom on Flickr

Cleaning and Maintenance

With the AquaStop valve, separate media compartments and Self Priming Instant Start system, cleaning and maintaining these filters is about as easy as it gets for a high performance canister filter. Start your routine by rinsing the media once a week and cleaning the unit itself free from debris and gunk buildup every month. You’ll quickly learn to gage the needs of your own particular system, and adjust your maintenance schedule accordingly.

For any media which will need replaced, attempt to use double compartments and stagger the changes. This would be most important with any media used for biological filtration to help you avoid spikes in your ammonia levels. Stagger the replacements on the twin foam sponges. Change one out leaving the other in place to seed it, then change the second one out about three or four weeks later. The foam inserts are long-lasting, and won’t need frequent replacements.

Buying the Hagen Fluval 05 Canister Filter

The price on the Hagen Fluval 05 Canister Filters is a little high, but comparable to other units which it outperforms by far, even without the fantastic media capacity and flexibility. The next rung up is the Fluval G series, quite high tech and a big step up in price, and the JBJ Reaction with UV sterilization. While the price on the Hagen Fluval 05 series may be stretching your comfort zone a bit, it’s well worth every penny for its long-lasting high performance, ease of use and filtration media versatility.

Prices vary on these units, retailing in a range from $120 to $300. Amazon's broad Partnership Program enables them to offer deep discounts, substantially reducing the price range down to as low as $85 for a 105 up to $185 for the 405 unit. That's a huge savings.

You may want to purchase additional media ahead of time, and you can find all of that on Amazon as well. The old A235 Fluval Spray Bar kit that fit the 04 series also fits the 05 series, as does the A240 Surface Skimmer. When purchasing polishing pads or foam inserts for the Fluval canister filters, be sure to check the sizes, as they do vary between the 105 & 205 and the 305 & 405.


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