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Marineland Penguin Power Filter Review

Tank Size Filtration
Noise Level Longevity Price
20-70 Gallons 3 Medium 2-8 Years Medium-Low

The Fluval C Power Filter is a high quality yet basic power filter. It runs water through five different stages of filtration, removing debris and harmful chemicals before returning the water to the tank. The price point isn't too high and the level of filtration is certainly a set up from other hang on back filters. If you'd like an upgrade without having to make the transition to canister filters then the Fluval C Series should be right up your alley.


The filter comes completely set up, making it basically plug and play. Included with the filter are the five stages of filtration, which consist of a poly pad for large debris, a fine foam pad for small debris, an activated carbon insert, the bio screen and a compartment filled with C-Nodes which serve as a home for Beneficial bacteria. You may change any of the filtration stages if you please, however the standard five suited me just fine.

For those with new tanks I advise you seek out an established tank, ask for a piece of their filter sponge and place it with the filters C-Nodes. This will help jump-start a new tanks bacteria growth. Be sure to keep this part in healthy aquarium water while transporting it from tank to tank.


As you will need to clean the filter, it is still important to know how to disassemble and reassemble the Fluval C Power Filter. On the right I have provided a list of the components, courtesy of the included instruction manual. Fluval has even made a video, which is fairly easy to follow along. During this video you can easily see how to open up the filter and clean out any of the components.

If you are not interested in watching the video or don't want to use your data that's fine and I'll describe how to do it here. If you've watched the video theres no need to read this section.

First you will need to unplug the motor. If the filter has not been used yet you can remove the motor if you would like, however if it has been in use you will need to drain the filter or place it in the sink before removing the motor. The motor comes off simply by twisting then pulling down. This should not take too much force. The motor uses an impeller, which can be removed and brushed off before being replaced. You may want to use an impeller brush or cotton swab to clean this off, as it is delicate/magnetic. Any scratches will cause irregular spinning, which will either weaken the flow rate or damage the impeller. When you are finished put the impeller back in place.

To access the filter components you simply need to life off the filter top and slide out the compartment. There are several handles to remove the specific components, with each either sliding or snapping into place.

The filter foams, located in the red basket, can be reused several times after thoroughly rinsing them in running water. The C-Nodes, located in the top basket, should not be touched as they house the beneficial bacteria. Ensure there are not in contact with tap water, as the chemicals will wipe out the colony. Also ensure they do not stay dry for too long.

Indicators & Adjustments

The two key features on the top of the Fluval C Series Power Filter are the cleaning indicator and flow adjustment switch.

The Cleaning indicator will slowly rise as the filter media inside the filter clogs up. This makes it easy to check your filter without having to open it up.

The flow adjustment switch is a simple three setting switch. It works on low, medium and high, with high being the most effective method. Low and medium settings will filter the extracted water more heavily than the high settings, however they will filter less water overall.

It is ideal to run the filter on a low setting while it is first starting, allowing the filter to completely fill with water before switching it over to high power. This prevents a bit of wear on the impeller than results when the motor runs full strength without water.

Warranty & Lifetime

One of the reasons I favor Fluval over smaller companies is their customer service. They will respond to any and all questions fairly quickly and will ensure you do not leave without a solution to your problem. This applies to their warranty as well

The Fluval C Series Power Filter comes with a two year warranty. This starts from the day of purchase, however Fluval has helped me even past the warranty period several times. Always contact them before ordering new parts to see if they will help you out.

The average lifetime on this filter is a solid 4-5 years. The only component that can break is the impeller, so treat it lightly and keep it clean. If you are using the filter in tanks with long, stringy plants like chaeto you may need to clean the motor out more frequently to prevent damage.

To make the most out of your filter I suggest you give it a through inspection at the end of its warranty. Look for any damages and contact Fluval about your products condition. Chances are they can and will help you if anything has degraded too much.