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jgray152 01-20-2008 08:40 AM

Hagen Fluval Fx5 Experience
I recently purchased a Fx5 in december to put on my 55 to replace my Fluval 304 I had on there which was not keeping up at all.

These are quotes from another forum I posted my experience in. Remember that this are posts starting in December 07.

A lot more from the original thread can be found Here
You will find comparisons, pictures and findings etc...


Originally Posted by December 23 2007
Well I got the Fluval Fx5 in yesterday and my mouth dropped when I opened up the box to see how LARGE the filter is!

I couldn't take a close look at that time but today I may pick up the Rena and give both close looks. I hear on the Rena that the impeller breaks due to the torque of the motor. I wonder if impellers from different makers of a better design will fit?

The FX5 seems like it a good design. One issue right now is I have sand in my tank and the impeller is at the bottom of the pump. Although sideways which may reduce any harm from sand being picked up, this is one issue I need to look into. I must look at the flow of the water in the pump to see if the sand can be trapped anywhere or if I can put a polishing or fine foam pad in to stop the sand. Seems the water may have to snake through the filter media instead of going in one direction (up) like the Rena so this may be a reason why the flow is drastically reduced from 900+ GPH with no media to under 600 GPH with media. The multiple changes in direction of flow may be a good thing to reduce harmful sediments from reaching the impeller.

The Rena has the impeller on top which is great for protecting it from the sand. Also that water doesn't have to "snake" its way through the filter like it seems the it has to on the Fx5. I have to look harder on this though before comming to conclusions. Assumptions are never good.

I have a Fluval 304 on my 55 Gal right now which can't keep up but I have had that for maybe 7 years and never had bad luck with it. The o-ring is starting to leak when you put it back together and start it up for the first time but seals up a while later and the impeller is starting to not start up right a way when you plug it in. You have to plug it in and unplug it a few times to get the impeller to start spinning. No big deal, it has never stopped working on me in the whole 7+ years I have had it.

Thumbs up to Fluval

Im going to look into the bypass of the FX5. I hear the rena has virutally no bypass but I need to study the Fx5. My 304 at first had a lot of bypass. I reduced it by using some fish safe silicone and creating a little gasket between the top cover and the cover of the media basket. Creating gaskets on all the baskets would have been even better.


Originally Posted by December 23 2007
Fluval Fx5 Short Term Review

The fluval Fx5 is quite the machine. Well designed in many aspects. There has been some question weather or not the Fx5 is bypas free, I can say that it is about 98-99% bypass free. I say 98-99% because there is a small area near the output where flow could bypass but I don't see this happening especially when you tighten down the lid. (Pictures soon of this)
The Fx5 incorperates rubber o-rings to seal off each chamber and to seel the bottom chamber to the bottom of the filter housing. The top chamber also seals to the top lid, while not with an oring, the spunges get pressed against 2 raised grooves under the top cover. The top lid also seals with even pressure all the way around with many nuts in plastic easy to grab housings to provide a leak proof seal.

The impeller is well deisgned as well. Not using small brittle teeth but instead using another design, I don't know the specific name of the type of design. I do have pictures and will host them soon. The Shaft magnet and impeller are one unit not 3 seporate units like most filters. There is a plate the seals the impeller to the bottom of the housing which is a seporate piece on the impeller assembly. They could get warn if sand got some how got to it. They way the impeller is designed, I can't see sand ever getting to that point. Again, pictures help with descriptions and will host soon.

The water flow has to change direction atleast 3 times in the filter housing. First the water comes into the Fx5 housing and is released into the bottom most outer area of the housing, the water then moves up and through the spunges and travels further up to flow into the center portion of the chambers where biomax is usuall kept, then the water moves down toward the impeller and then gets shot back up into the tank.

Every time water has to change direction, there is a pressure decrease causing restriction in flow. This is probubly one of the reasons why the filter will not flow 900PGH with media and only around 550GPH instead. The water flow coming out of the filter at full is pretty intence. My Fluval 304 didn't even create any current in half of my 55 gallon tank. This can create current in the entire tank.

The filter comes with more then enough hose I think. I didnt use about 4-5 feet of hose. Setup was very easy and the pump circuit does remove air quickly especially after it shuts off in the 2 minute time period after the inital start. There is a small tube on the top cover that leads to the OUTPUT tube so when air is trapped and the filter does shut off, the air can quickly move out of the filter housing. After the air is gone, the filter is near SILENT. I have heard many times that the filer is very loud, I have to largly disagree. The air in the filter can make a lot of noise so maybe this is what people were complaining about?

The output 2 way variable direction nozzel set is great. Direct the flow to exactly where you want it. The intake strainer is a 2 piece design as well. I like this feature incase I need to disolve medication tablets. I can put them in the strainer and let them disappear.

I will add more as time goes in. Maybe in a few weeks or so.

The Rena review wil come soon as well, I may not run this one since I love the Fx5. The Rena does not use orings to seal off each chamber nor does it use orings to seal the cover plate of the top chamber to the top lid. Although I can't see much of any gaps, I would say the Rena is about 99% bypass free.


Originally Posted by December 24 2007
Today I decided to remove the filter from the tank and put in some more filter media. I noticed this was not going to be as clean as the 304 I had before. Well It seems you need to open the drain at the bottom with the hoses still connected but with the valves closed and allow as much water as posible to escape to bring the water level down below the top cover so water doesn't spill out when disconnecting the valves. Once one valve is disconnected, the filter will drain quickly and easily to allow better handling.

I suppose this is one of the cons of the Fx5.

One thing that was MUCH easier on this than the 304 is the self priming. After adding more media, I hooked the filter base back up to the hoses and valves empty, no water. I than opened the valves and watched as most of the air escaped the unit. I than plugged it in and the filter when through its start up phase and got rid of all the air. Amazing!

Cleaning the Fx5 seems it would be easier the my 304 overall. May take longer because of the incerase in filter media but seems it would be pretty easy.

The 2 way adjustable nozzels can limit the flow to a point if you move them in one direction to much they way they are designed. So try not to adjust them to their limits as this will restrict flow. One more con about the Fx5. So far that is only 2 out of the many PROs.

Cross-sectional surface area is limited in them center of the baskets but I don't see this being a problem. 2 baskets of biomax and one polishing basket which consists of filter fiber, fine partical pad and micron poishing pad. I think its 10micron I forget.

I am going to hook the Rena up to my 29 Gallon so I can do a better comparison of the two. Unfortunatly I can't put it on the 55 cause I noticed the tank has Ick which im now treating

jgray152 01-20-2008 08:51 AM


Originally Posted by December 25 2007
Here are the Fx5's trays stacked on top of each other. The middle tray I removed the foam from for the picture. Water Flow around the outside of the foam, travels through it and move UP in the gap between the foam and the inner basket housing as seen in the next picture.

Gap for the filtered water to flow UP and then in to the center of the baskets and down to the impeller to got shot back up again.

All trays have an o-ring to seal against each other for bypass free circulation.

The bottom tray's oring seals against the inner ring on the bottom of the filter housing while the o-ring on the outer ring at the bottom of the filter housing seals against the bottom of the tray before the foam so the water has to pass through the foam in order to circulate through the filter.

This is to show you the increase in space there is between on tray in the 304 and the Fx5. The 304 tray was topped off with biomax (not pictured) while transfering the biomax to the fx5, I could fit a fair amount more in the same tray.

Top cover with the rings that seal against the foam. You can see at the top right where the rings end. They continue on the other side of the tube. ONly about a 3/8" gap. This can be filled in with aquarium silicone if you want to make sure there is no bypass.

This shows you have a possible bypass in the Fx5. Although unlikly when the housings are pressed together, there is a gap in the top cover rings that seal against the foam. This is done to allow a tube to be present which travels from almost the middle of the top cover to the output tube to release air bubbles.

The impeller has been drastically changed. The impeller, shaft and magnet are one piece. I can see this being very reliable.

Top view of the impeller. Hollow with fins and channels to force water in one direction.

Crappy picture of the Fx5 in my cabinet.


Originally Posted by December 26 2007
I prefer the Fx5. Looking at the water flow from the Fx5 it is very good but at the same time disappointing to go from 900 GPH to 500-550 GPH. O well. Its the design of it and the design is great so far. The Rena is more efficient at fluid dynamics but won't touch the filtering capacity of the Fx5.

I did have to modify the Fx5 output nozzel so that when I have the nozzel moved all the way in one direction, the inner housing doesn't restrict water flow. Design flaw for fluval but easy to fix. So far the Pro's still out weigh the Cons.

I suppose if you have 2 Xp4s on a large tank to distribute the load then they would be fine. The design of the Xp Series is great.


Originally Posted by December 27 2007
Continuing my post above....

Price is a big effect on which filter I would prefer over the other. I got both for almost the same price, and actually I looked and the Rena I got for $190 and the Fx5 I got for $180 both new. Considering the Fx5 usually goes for $250-300 and the Xp4 goes for about $180, the xp4 I may prefer over the Fx5 if I was in a jam for money and actually the only reason I got the Fx5 was because I could get it for so cheap. Otherwise, I would stay with the Xp4.

I know above I said the Xp4 may be a step in the wrong direction but I want to change my opinion on that. The Xp4's increased water flow and pressure should help to superceed any restriction caused by the clogging of the foam blocks. My 304 only had about 200gph im sure MAX and the rena would have twice that with little less cross section surface area for the foam but with lots more compaired to the trays in the 304. So it may capture more faster but the increase in negitive pressure the pump is able to provide may be enough to keep the filter efficient longer then my old 304. So in actuallality terms, the Xp4 may not be that bad. I really wish I could eat the cost of the Rena so I could run it for a few months in my 55 alone to see how it performs but I just can't do that. So I may just run it without fittings to see how the water flow is with only the bottom foam spunges and to see how the self priming performs over the Fx5.

Fluval has always seemed to get the most used out of the foam sponges in any of their filters. The is a HUGE thumbs up to them. No canister filter from what I have see, could ever touch the surface are of the foam on any fluval series from x04,x05 to the Fx5 especially. Where the filters compete seems to be in the the size of the media baskets, maximum flow and easy of cleaning including disconnection of hoses. Fluval Fx5 seem to be on top for max flow even compaired to the Ehiem 2080 and the surface area for the foam blocks. Ehiem 2080 I believe can hold a lot more media then the Fx5. I'll take some measurements to see how many liters the Rena Xp4 has for media over the Fx5.

I know I mentioned this before but it should be noted if you are looking for a filter that can be disconnected easily and clean without a drip anywhere. The Xp series seems to have this down packed while the Fx5 is a bit messy when disconnecting and a bit tricky to get enough air inside the canistor to bring the water level down below the input and output connections so that water wont spill out.

I can probubly take a few pictures of this problematic area as well on the Fx5.

A large filter with a large motor like the Fx5 you would think would be a bit noisy running. Still near silent. Can only hear it if your head is a couple feet away.

jgray152 01-20-2008 09:13 AM

Review as off January 20th 2008.

The Fx5 has been running for almost a month now. Been running very strong and very very quiet. Tank water is perfectly clear.

One thing I must say about Hagen's design of the Fx5 is that fact that they could have utilized the space more efficiently. They could have had over 15 liters of bio media available if they wanted to. O well.

Overall its a great, well built, strong filter and reccomend it so far. Long term use is the only best review a product can get so we will see.

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