Are you on the hunt for a new filtration unit for your aquarium? Or maybe you just need a new filter for your fish tank because the old one is busted. Either way, you probably want to invest your money in something worthwhile, not some piece of junk that is going to break down after a couple of months.
Today we are doing a detailed Marineland Emperor 400 Filter review to take an in-depth look at what this particular filter has to offer. It’s not the biggest, coolest, or fanciest aquarium filter out there, but it does have some good features!
Table of contents
Our Marineland Emperor 400 Filter Review
The Marineland Emperor Filtration unit for aquariums is a nice choice to consider for a few different reasons. Let’s take a closer look at the features of this thing to see what it is all about.
One of the features of the Marineland 400 that is worth mentioning, is that it is big and meant for big applications. This particular filtration unit is intended for aquariums up to 80 gallons in size. Now, it does have great processing power and lots of filter media on the inside.
However, if your aquarium is really heavily stocked with lots of plants and fish, we would recommend not using this filter for anything over 70 gallons. This thing comes with dual intake pumps so it can suck up quite a bit of water without issue.
In terms of the water processing power of this thing, it is rated to process 400 gallons of aquarium water per hour. That is quite impressive if we do say so ourselves. For instance, if you have an 80-gallon tank, the Marineland Emperor can process the entirety of the water volume 5 times per hour.
This is not a feature that you will find with all too many filters out there. With that being said, this thing is big and loud, plus it uses quite a bit of energy too. If you don’t mind noise and a bit of a higher electricity bill, this filter is a decent option to go with.
Large Mechanical & Filtration Cartridge Capacity
Another feature of this filter that is worth mentioning is the huge capacity for filter cartridges. Whereas most other filtration units can only handle 1 cartridge in total, or 1 cartridge for each type of filtration, this one can handle double the amount.
It is a filter intended for tanks that are fairly heavily stocked. The cartridges used here are simple mechanical and chemical filtration cartridges.
They last for quite a while, and when they need to be changed, you just have to open up the top lid of the filter, take out the old ones, and put new ones in. The filter media included in the cartridges is of fairly high quality. It is not the best, but it gets the job done (we have covered some good media options for planted tanks in this article).
The Marineland Emperor 400 does come with additional mechanical and chemical filtration capacity, so you can always buy more media and stuff it in there as well. All in all, this particular aquarium filtration unit does a pretty decent job at removing solid debris and chemicals from the water.
Spray Bar Bio Wheel
Of course, this particular unit does also come with a bio-wheel, or in other words, it features pretty good biological filtration for the removal of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites from the water. The bio-wheel is spray bar driven, so it is actually a wet/dry bio-wheel. This type of biological filtration is shown to work fairly well.
Now, while it does work well, the bio-wheel does need to be cleaned every now and again, plus if the mechanical filter is not doing its job, the bio-wheel might get stuck and stop spinning, in which case you are going to have to perform some maintenance.
On a side note, the spray bar that drives the bio-wheel can be a bit loud and this does annoy some people.
One of the things that you might appreciate about the Marineland 400 is that it comes with a really solid and durable outer case. Usually, it is pretty hard to find a filtration unit for aquariums with a good outer casing, but that is not the case here.
While the motor and impeller are different stories, with questionable durability, the outside of this thing is definitely built to last for quite some time.
Hang On Back
The final feature worth mentioning here is that this filter is actually a hang-on back filter. Yes, it is fairly large, so it will need about 12 inches of width and 5 inches of depth in terms of clearance behind the tank.
However, the convenient part here is that you can hang this thing right on the back of the tank. Simply place it on the back, secure it on using the included equipment, and you are ready to rock.
Another benefit that you get from a filter being a hang-on back one is that it does not take up room inside of the tank like other filters do, thus saving more space for fish and plants.
Just so you have a bit of a comparison point, or if you don’t like the filter we just reviewed, let’s quickly take a look at an alternative that you might be more interested in. The alternative we are talking about is the Marineland Penguin 350 filter.
This thing is intended for tanks up to 70 gallons but is probably best used for tanks of 60 gallons. Now, this thing is a bit smaller than the Emperor, so it does not require quite as much clearance in the back. In terms of filtration, it cannot handle as much water per hour as the Emperor, nor does it have room for as much media on the inside.
In other words, the Emperor is best used for larger and heavily stocked tanks, whereas the Penguin is best used for smaller tanks that are not quite as heavily stocked. While the Penguin might not be as durable as the Emperor, it is quieter and it looks a little nicer too.
NOTE: We have done a separate detailed review of the Penguin 350 here.
At the end of the day, the Marineland Emperor 400 is a decent option to go with. In terms of durability, it is not exactly the best, especially if we are talking about the motor and impeller. However, while it works, it works really well.
It has a high flow rate, it can handle some pretty dirty water, and it has ample filtration media space, plus it does not take up room inside of the tank either. It’s a neat option to keep in mind if you need a decent filtration unit for a medium-size tank.