Hydor 450 Professional Canister Filter vs Fluval 406 Canister Filter – What choice is better for your aquarium?

Fish tank filters are an integral part of successful maintenance of fish and other aquatic animals. There are different types of filters like diatome filters, gravel filters, immersible, canister filters and several others. Each of these filters operates differently, but the goal is the same, a clean tank. The choice of filter to use is largely dependent on personal preference.

Marine animals spend a significant chunk of their lives in water. Some, like fish, cannot survive in any other environment. They live, eat, reproduce and even excrete in the water they call home. Others, like turtles, spend some time outside the water. They come out to reproduce and bask, and to soak up some good old sunshine for Vitamin D. Even then, these animals spend a better part of their lives immersed in water. For this reason, if their environment goes unchecked, it gets messy quite fast. Food residue accumulates and begins to decompose, their excretions begin to deteriorate and become toxic and the water gets cloudy and develops an unpleasant smell.

Marine animals in the wild hardly suffer these effects. Nature has a way of balancing these environments. Rivers, lakes and oceans are part of a large ecosystem that has its own mechanisms of balancing out different habitats for these animals. The diverse population of species thrives off each other. Microorganisms in the water help to get rid of excess toxic chemicals by consuming animal excretions. Animals in captivity live in controlled environments and maintaining these habitats takes deliberate effort. This is where a good water filter comes in.

Before purchasing a filter, several factors must be considered, such as size and capacity of the water tank, population of species in the tank and environmental requirements of the aquatic animals. There are several good quality filters in the market that do a stellar job. Some are quite affordable, but you will have to pay a pretty penny for some brands.

The Hydor 450 Canister Filter and the Fluval 406 Canister Filters are brands to be reckoned with. They are high power filters meant for large water tanks. They are both external devices, and combine four techniques for good filtration. I conducted an in-depth review of each of the filters and these were the findings.

Hydor 450 vs Fluval 406 – How do they differ?


Both filters are of sturdy build. The Hydor 450 is a rectangular filter while the Fluval 406 is square in shape. The Hydor 450’s dimensions are 11”x 8.5” x 22” and the the Fluval 406 measures 10”x 8” x 20”. The Fluval 406 is a completely opaque device while the Hydor 450 is partially see-through.

Tank capacity

While both tanks achieve relatively similar results, they have different tank capacity ranges. The Hydor 450 filter handles tanks of between 75 and 125 gallons of water. You will be able to use the Fluval 406 in a larger tank since it can handle up to 155 gallon fish tanks.

Rate of water flow

It is important to note that some species fish get affected by the rate of flow of water. Some prefer their environments calm, while others have no qualms being in fast flowing water. That said, the Hydor 450 has a water rate of 320 gallons/hour which is a lower rate than the Fluval 406’s 383 gallons/hour.


The water filters are powered by inbuilt mortars that give off different amounts of power. Fluval 406 is has a 20 watt mortar to power the filtration process while the Hydor 450 canister has a 34 watt mortar.


Both of these filters have automatic methods of priming. They have eliminated the old way of manual priming. To prime the Hydor 450 canister filter, you will push a primer button 3 or 4 times and the device does the rest. The same applies for the Fluval 406, the only difference is that you will use a lever to achieve the same.

The table below gives a brief summary of the main differences of these filters.

75 – 125 gallon tanks
Up to 155 gallon tanks
320 gallons per hour
383 gallons per hour
34 watts
20 watts
Prime using a button
Prime using a lever
11 x 8.5 x 22 inches
10 x 8 x 20 inches

Key features.

Hydor 450 Canister Filter

This filter is installed externally and is suited for fish tanks that are big. The 320 gallons per hour flow rate is adjustable by a valve and you can change it to suit your aquatic animals’ needs. The powerful 34 watt mortar helps to filter the water effectively. The Hydor 450 has 4 filtration trays and performs mechanical, biological and chemical filtration effectively.


  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Cheaper than the Fluval 406
  • Comes with its own spray bar
  • It is more aesthetically appealing than the Fluval 406


  • It is difficult to clean
  • It tends to spill during cleaning.


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Fluval 406 Canister Filter

Also an external filter, the Fluval 406 is suitable to use in larger tanks of up to 155 gallons. It has a flow rate of 383 gallons per hour and a mortar of 20 watts. There are four filtration chambers that incorporate mechanical, chemical and biological filtration to clean your fish tank.


  • It gives you a higher water flow rate with a smaller mortar
  • It has a sturdier build.
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Can be used in larger water tanks


  • It is pricier
  • I does not have its own spray bar


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Final verdict

Both filters are effective devices that will clean your tank well and leave your fish happy. Each of the filters is well constructed, and are both of sturdy build. The Hydor 450 will give you more value for your money since you will get extra features at a lower price. The pros of this filter outweigh the Fluval 406 advantages.

Kerry Blake

Since I was young, I have always had a thing for sea creatures. Being raised along the beach gave me the chance to interact with all kinds of reptiles, including turtles. I have always found this creature quite fascinating, and at a young age, I asked my parents to get me one as a pet. My love for turtles is what inspired me to pursue marine science when I got to college. Specializing in this field made learning so much about such reptiles. If you would like to get a pet turtle at your home, this guide will be of great help.

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