Fluval 206 External Filter Review

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If you’re seeking a new filter for a new aquarium or a new filter for an aquarium you’ve had forever, the Fluval 206 External Filter might be just what you need.

It’s quiet, easy to clean, and allows you to easily alter the media used due to its two-basket system.

fluval 206 review

Unfortunately, not everyone speaks of a great experience with this filter. Some users have found it came with cracks or leaks, and that it started making a loud grinding noise.

Are these unusual manufacturing defects in an otherwise great device, or the norm?

Before you make your final decision, let’s take a closer look at the Fluval 206 External Filter.

Fluval 206 External Filter: The Details


  • Weight: 4 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 6 x 11.4 x 14.8 inches.
  • Filter Capacity: 45 gallons.
  • Flow Rate: 206 gph.
  • Media Stages: Chemical, biological, and mechanical mediums.
  • Self-Priming or Standard: Includes “Instant Prime” – no need for manual siphoning.
  • Warranty: Three-year warranty.


Three-Stage Filtration

The Fluval 206 External Filter has a three-stage filtration system with mechanical, biological, and chemical stages.

The mechanical stage uses foam filters to absorb debris while ensuring any of the other media is not clogged with large pieces.

The chemical and biological stages are their own independent modules, which allow you to easily replace and remove them without making too much of a mess.

The filter already comes with the foam pads, carbon, and BioMax media included, making it all the easier to get going.

Sound-Dampening Impeller

The Fluval 206 External Filter also comes with a sound-dampening impeller, which means this filter will be much quieter than others.

You can place your aquarium wherever you desire, worry-free that the filter will make too much distracting noise.

Aqua Stop Valve

Fluval’s patented Aqua-Stop valve makes it all the easier to connect and disconnect hoses to and within the 206 External Filter.

Fluval 206 review


The Fluval 206 filter works for tanks and aquariums that hold up to 45 gallons of water.

So, whether you have a smaller aquarium or one that holds all of those 45 gallons, this filter will have you covered.

Your fish will be living in a clean and healthy environment, no matter their number or size.


The set-up of the Fluval 206 External Filter is pretty simple.

Let’s go through the steps:

Step 1: Install the impeller cover.

Step 2: Load the media baskets and place them into the filter. (You will want to rinse the media before you insert them.)

Step 3: Load the foam media basket into the filter and secure the canister.

Step 4: Install the Aquastop valve on the motorhead. (It should snap into place)

Step 5: Cut the hosing to your desired length.

Step 6: Install the intake hosing into the rim connector assembly, and attach the intake assembly to the aquarium.

Step 7: Install the output hosing into the rim connector assembly, and attach the output assembly to the aquarium.

Step 8: Guide the intake and output hosing to the filter.

Step 9: Connect the hosing to the Aquastop valve.

Step 10: Fill the aquarium with water and prime the filter. You’re all set!


  • Four foam pads.
  • One 70 g pack of carbon.
  • One polishing pad.
  • One 120 g BioMax.
  • One Bio-Foam.
  • AquaStop valve assembly.
  • Ribbed hosing.
  • Two rim connectors.
  • Intake tube.
  • Intake strainer.
  • Output nozzle.
  • Two rubber connectors.
  • Instruction manual.
  • Quick start manual.


The Fluval 206 External Filter also comes with a three-year warranty.

This covers anything that goes wrong with your filter due to defects in “the material or the workmanship” of the product under normal everyday use.

If a part needs to be replaced or repaired, Fluval will do that free of charge. The warranty begins from the day you purchase the filter, so keep ahold of your receipt!

Also, note that these warranties are usually voided when the owner of the product does any damage of their own – so be sure to handle your new canister filter with care.

fluval 206 external filter

Fluval 206 External Filter Review

The Positives

Easy Set-Up

Many users noted how easy the Fluval 206 filter is to set up. You won’t be spending minutes to hours fumbling around trying to get this canister filter installed.

The auto prime feature, the quick locking motor housing, and the included instructional DVD all help to ensure even the most novice of users will have no problem setting this up.

One tester even stated that as soon as they had the hoses connected and the filter arranged on the aquarium, priming (the hardest part of the set-up) was simple.

If you do get stuck on the process, there’s a number of YouTube videos also available to help you out as well.


The most important thing to note in an external filter review is if it actually gets the job done. In the case of the Fluval 206, this product is a definite workhorse.

Testers noted that once they had their filter setup and running, it got to work right away. It’s super efficient in cleaning out dirt and gunk from your tank so you won’t be waiting and wondering if this filter actually does its job.

Customers were incredibly happy with the changes they saw in their tank after using the Fluval 206 Canister Filter. They noticed their tanks became crystal clear in no time, making their fish and overall tank life all the happier.

Some even noticed a change in a matter of minutes! Rest assured, the Fluval 206 External Filter will rise to the occasion.


We all like to look our beautiful tank, but we all know how annoying and distracting the whirr of an aquarium can be.

With the inclusion of a sound-dampening impeller and the bearings engineered to reduce vibration and noise, you are almost guaranteed that this filter will be as silent as possible.

best canister filter

If your aquarium is in your bedroom or any room where you don’t want too much noise, this filter will be perfect for you.

Easy to Clean

The Fluval 206 External Filter is also quite easy to clean. With the AquaStop valve, you are able to stop the water flow without disconnecting any hoses, and this makes the filter much easier to deal with and clean.

You don’t have to worry about mess or leaks, and the lift lock clamps also ensure that you can simply lift them to reach the filter for easy maintenance.

The multiple filtration baskets also allow you to take one basket out separately from the others; no need to take them all out when you only need to change one.


Quite a few users also mentioned how long their filters lasted. One user has owned theirs for two years, while another for four to five years. That is a long time for a filter!

Fluval built this device with an impeller cover, specifically to make it more durable than their past models.

They also made the priming system easier to start, and designed the lift-lock clamps to be stronger so they won’t break.

As long as you clean out your filter every couple of months, it should last just as long for you.


The Fluval 206 canister is also very versatile. It will work in saltwater and freshwater and works on varying sizes of aquariums.

It also has a powerful flow rate of 206 gph, and includes a high-performance hydraulic motor that helps reduce how many times you have to perform maintenance.

It also holds 35-50% more volume than other filters!


Given the attention to detail that Fluval has given their external filter, a product of this kind could easily cost you a pretty penny.

Fortunately, Fluval has managed to make the 206 External Filter very affordable, at the fraction of the cost of others on the market.

The fact that it also comes with starter media, and a long warranty, is a great note for those on a budget, or those just starting out in the world of aquatics.

Customer Service

Fluval has been praised time and time again for their outstanding customer service department. Instead of the runaround that other companies give, Fluval’s customer service is efficient, attentive and helpful.

This comes in handy whether you need to contact Fluval for further product instructions, or need to use your warranty.

Know that you won’t be left stranded, and you’ll be in good hands.

fluval 206 review

The Negatives

Cracked and Leaked

Quite a few users had issues with this filter cracking and/or leaking; either it arrived in this condition, or developed this problem after a few months of ownership.

Multiple users complained about finding water on the floor when they went to check out their aquarium, and others experienced cracks in the impeller cover early on.

Even when they tried to fix it, other issues arose. When you spend money on a filter, you want it to last – and that seems to be a problem with this filter.

Fortunately, there’s the warranty in place for problems such as this.

Became Loud

A few testers also experienced issues with the filter becoming loud after a couple of months – specifically, it developed a grinding noise.

If you were hoping for the quiet filter that many users appreciated and this ended up happening, you would likely be very upset.

Though a rare case, should you encounter this problem, it can be resolved through a quick exchange with the company for a new model.

Here’s a video showing what the Fluval 206 looks like out of the box.

Overall Verdict

After looking over all the positives and negatives of the Fluval 206 External Filter, we are recommending it.

While not every user had an issue with their filter leaking, it was enough to make us wary of fully recommending this product.

On the other hand, it provides excellent cleaning results with simple maintenance and set-up, promising to be a strong investment for the future.

Where to Buy the Fluval 206 External Filter

Fluval already has a number of aquatic products (including external filters) under their belt. They’re a brand known for making quality, affordable products, and the Fluval 206 External Filter is just one example.

Fluval products are usually featured in pet and specialty stores, making the Fluval 206 easily available both in-store and online.

To start your search, check out the following online retailers.

And of course, you can also find this external filter on Amazon.

Fluval 206 review

That’s all for our Fluval 206 review. Curious to give it a try?

Fluval 206 External Filter Rated
  • Quality of Filtration
  • Build Quality
  • Accessories
  • Ease of Use
  • Value for Money

FCG Verdict

The Fluval 206 External Filter is an affordable, powerful and quiet external filter that’s easy to use.

With only a few cons, you’ll be backed by a 3-year warranty and great customer service should you need assistance so you can easily let the Fluval 206 ease your worries.

>>> Check current price on Amazon.

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