Fluval 407 vs FX4 – Which Canister Filter Is Right for You?

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If you’re looking for a canister filter for your fish tank, you’ll have probably considered the Fluval 407 vs FX4.

But what are the similarities and differences between these two high-quality canister filter units? And which is the best option for your aquarium setup?

Read this guide for a direct comparison between the Fluval 407 and Fluval FX4 to help you decide which filter is most suitable for your requirements.

At-A-Glance Comparison

  Fluval 407 Fluval FX4
Type of filter: Canister Canister
Dimensions: 19.3″ H x 9.5″ L x 7″ W 16.5″ H x 15.6″ L x 15.6″ W
Weight: 9.7 pounds 14.17 pounds
Output: 383 GPH 700 GPH
Wattage: 23 W 30 W
Price: $229 $268

Canister filters are perfect for use in heavily stocked or large fish tanks and in aquariums housing especially messy fish species, such as goldfish or Oscars.

A canister filter provides you with excellent mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration to keep your fish tank water clean and healthy for your livestock.

However, as you can see in the table above, high-quality canister filters are expensive to buy and are generally regarded by fish keepers as a long-term investment.

How Do Canister Filters Work?

If you’re still considering whether a canister filter is right for your tank, here’s a brief overview of how this type of filter works and what it offers.

Canister filters draw water out of your aquarium through a lift tube and deposit it into a large chamber or canister outside of your tank. In the canister, the water is pushed through several different filter media, where the water is cleaned before being returned to your aquarium.

The water flow direction varies depending on the design and brand of the unit. That means you can have back-to-front, bottom-to-top, outside-in, top-to-bottom, or center-out designs. Depending on the device configuration and your tank’s requirements, the filter can provide biological, mechanical, and or chemical filtration.

Sealed System

Since a canister filter is a sealed system, the unit uses a water pump to move the water around. Some canister filters use built-in water pumps situated in the unit’s cover or base, whereas others require an independent external water pump.

One big advantage of using a canister filter is that it’s external to your fish tank. Canister filters generally live underneath your tank stand or out of sight in the cabinet below the aquarium. That means you don’t have to worry about an unsightly filter taking up space inside your tank.

Fluval 407 vs. Fluval FX4

Fluval is a world-renowned manufacturer of fish tanks and other fish-keeping equipment, including filters.

Both the FX4 and 407 canister filter models are Fluval products that live up to the company’s usual high standards of functionality, reliability, and overall quality.

So, if you want an excellent quality canister filter for your fish tank, a Fluval product is highly recommended.

Filter Dimensions

The idea of a canister filter is that you can put it neatly out of sight so it doesn’t ruin the look of your setup. So, on a practical level, you’ll need to know whether the filter will fit where you want to keep it.

Fluval 407

Fluval 07 Canister Filter Series

  • Powerful motor generates constant pumping power and pressure that endures over time and re-engineered, precision-crafted pump runs up to 25% quieter than previous generation
  • Energy-efficient – some 07 series filters draw as little energy as a single household LED lightbulb

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The Fluval 407 canister filter measures:

  • 19.3 inches tall
  • 9.5 inches long
  • 7 inches wide

Although the filter is undoubtedly large, it’s also pretty compact. In addition, at 9.7 pounds, the 407 is pretty lightweight when compared to many other similar canister filter units.

That makes the 407 easy to set up and move around.

Fluval FX4

Fluval FX4 High Performance Aquarium Filter

  • Multi-stage filter pumps out 700 US Gal (2,650 L) of water per hour, Smart Pump advanced microchip technology continuously monitors and optimizes pump performance
  • Self-starting – just add water, plug in and Smart Pump will take over, trapped air auto-evacuated every 12 hours to ensure maximum efficiency

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In comparison, the FX4 is a popular filter unit that’s also pretty compact and easy to handle and store, measuring:

  • 16.5 inches tall
  • 15.6 inches long
  • 15.6 inches wide

This filter is heavier than the Fluval 407, weighing 14.17 pounds. However, the FX4 filter is shorter than the 407, which is good news for you if you want a canister filter that fits comfortably inside your aquarium cabinet.

Tank Size Suitability

Like most canister filters, both these units are intended for use with large tanks. However, the Fluval FX4 offers more versatility to users.

If you have a fish tank of 100 gallons or smaller, the Fluval 407 canister filter offers excellent performance and economy.

However, if your budget will stretch, the FX4 makes a better investment if you have an extra-large setup. In fact, this canister filter is designed to cope with the needs of aquariums of up to 250 gallons.

That said, the FX4 can also be used with smaller tanks of around 100 gallons or less.

Filter Unit Output

Most aquarists choose a canister filter to cope with the requirements of a large tank.

So, what GPH (Gallons Per Hour) output can you expect to receive from the Fluval 407 and FX4?

The Fluval 407 generates an output of up to 383 GPH.

The superb technology and design used by Fluval ensure that the 407 unit’s performance is reliable and consistent while using only 23 Watts of power, which is less than a standard household lightbulb. Now that’s excellent news for keeping down energy costs!

In comparison, the Fluval FX4 produces almost double the output power of the 407, which you might expect, given that this filter is designed for use in very large fish tanks.

The Fluval FX4 generates up to 700 GPH while using only 30 Watts of power. That makes the FX4 an excellent choice for very large, heavily-populated tanks.

Noise Levels

No matter how efficient your filtration system is, you don’t want to hear it, especially if your fish tank is located in your living room, bedroom, or home office. Canister filters have the reputation of being quite loud and producing vibrations, which can disturb both you and your fish.

So, how do these two canister filters from Fluval perform when it comes to noise levels?

Fluval 407

The Fluval 407 runs a highly efficient, specially engineered pump that’s designed to produce up to 25% less noise than previous versions of this filter.

Users have reported that the Fluval 407 noise levels are up to 50 decibels. So, when the filter is running, you should only hear a very low humming noise.

Fluval FX4

In comparison, the FX4 is somewhat quieter than the 407, generating up to 48 decibels.

To reduce noisy vibrations, the unit is fitted with rubber feet.

That said, the FX4 can sometimes get a little loud when the pump begins evacuating trapped air from the unit. However, that process happens only once every 12 hours or so and lasts no longer than a minute or two.

Filter Media

One big plus point of using a canister filter system is the flexibility of choosing what filter media you use.

The Fluval 407 and FX4 come with a free kit that enables you to customize the media you will use. However, given the different canister designs, the media you choose stacks up differently.

Fluval 407

The Fluval 407 comes with four large filter media baskets that stack on top of each other. That enables you to use alternate chemical, biological, and physical media.

The clever design of this unit features a central handle so that you can easily remove the whole filter media tower for cleaning and maintenance.

In addition, you can remove the vertical pre-filter, which makes removing and rinsing your pre-filter sponges super-easy and convenient.

You get a full set of Fluval filter media with the Fluval 407 canister, saving you money when the time comes to buy replacements.

The replacement filter media includes:

  • Biomax biological media rings (x2 packs)
  • Activated carbon pellets (x4 bags)
  • Quick-clear water polishing pads (x2 pieces)
  • Bio-foam mechanical media (x2 pieces)
  • Bio-foam max sponges (x2 pieces)
  • Biofoam+ sponges (x2 pieces)

So, how does the FX4 compare?

Fluval FX4

In comparison, since you can layer the filter media, the Fluval FX4 permits up to five filtration stages.

The filter unit has a circular, space-saving, basket-in-media tray, enabling you to stack the filter media of your choice in a fraction of the space demanded by other canister filters. The unit features an anti-clog strainer to facilitate continuous flow and reduce the need for pre-filter media.

Like the 407, the FX4 includes all the media kit you’ll need to get up and running, including:

  • Bio-foam mechanical media
  • Biomax biological media rings
  • Biofoam+ sponge

In addition, you can use this canister filter unit with other media types, such as water floss pads, ammonia, and phosphate.

Maintenance

Large canister filters can be somewhat unwieldy to maintain. So, how do these two offerings from Fluval measure up?

Fluval 407

Fluval 07 Canister Filter Series

  • Powerful motor generates constant pumping power and pressure that endures over time and re-engineered, precision-crafted pump runs up to 25% quieter than previous generation
  • Energy-efficient – some 07 series filters draw as little energy as a single household LED lightbulb

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The Fluval 407 is perfectly designed and constructed to save you time on hassle-free maintenance.

The unit’s robust handle allows you to start the filter with a few quick pumps, and the lid releases quickly, thanks to the dual lift-lock, single-action motorhead clamps.

As mentioned earlier in this piece, the 407’s media basket handle enables easy access to the carbon pellets and pre-filter sponges so that you can remove and replace them easily.

In addition, an ergonomic water valve enables the smooth operation of the filter without the risk of spills and mess.

Fluval FX4

Fluval FX4 High Performance Aquarium Filter

  • Multi-stage filter pumps out 700 US Gal (2,650 L) of water per hour, Smart Pump advanced microchip technology continuously monitors and optimizes pump performance
  • Self-starting – just add water, plug in and Smart Pump will take over, trapped air auto-evacuated every 12 hours to ensure maximum efficiency

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In comparison, the FX4 is also designed for ease and efficiency when it comes to filter maintenance.

Thanks to its patented Smart Pump technology, the filter is self-regulating and self-starting. There’s an easily accessible valve that makes routine water changes super-easy and hassle-free. All you have to do is attach a piece of hose and let the Smart Pump do the work for you!

In addition, there’s a telescopic strainer designed to prevent clogging, lengthening the time between media cleaning and helping speed up maintenance chores.

Fluval 407 or Fluval FX4 – The Verdict

But how did the 407 and FX4 measure up?

  • Both of these canister filters provide excellent performance and are ideal for large tanks with a heavy bioload.
  • Both filters consume minimal energy during operation and produce similarly high GPH output.
  • Both filters allow you to customize your filtration requirements to some extent.
  • Both units include a starter kit and a supply of replacement filter media.

Basically, your choice of filter depends on your individual tank setup and preferences.

We recommend the Fluval 407 if you have a tank of fewer than 100 gallons. This model is around $100 cheaper than the FX4, which is worth considering if you don’t need a super-powerful unit.

The 407 can easily cope with medium to larger-sized tanks, although it might not be the best choice if you have a small tank stand.

On the other hand, the FX4 is ideal if you have a large aquarium, a heavily-stocked smaller tank, or you keep messy fish species that generate lots of waste. That said, you will pay more for this unit.

Also, the compact FX4 is the best choice of canister filter if you have a relatively small aquarium cabinet.

Finally, the FX4 has several features that make routine tank maintenance and water changes much less of a hassle.

What canister filter did you choose and why? Tell us in the comments box below!

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