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Marineland Multistage Canister Filters (C-Series)

Written by Kmuda. Posted in Canister Filters

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 CSeries

High-performance, no bypass design means superior aquarium canister filtration. Efficient, multistage filters force water through the Stack n' Flo filter media trays to provide exceptional mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. The result is crystal clear aquarium water and a healthy aquatic environment. Sleek, contemporary filter boasts convenient maintenance features including valve block for quick release, quick prime button, and tote handle. Media included for immediate startup. For fresh or saltwater aquariums.

Includes: Polishing filter-floss pad, filter foam, carbon filter bag, bio-filter balls, inlet/outlet assembly, 5/8" ID tubing (3/4" ID for C-360 and 7/8" ID for C-530), and ceramic bio-filter rings (except Model C-160).

Model
Aquarium
Size
(up to)
Dimensions
Media
Baskets
Max
gph
Filter
Foam
Carbon
Bags
C-160
30 gallons
8.88" x 11.75"
x 13" h
3
160
4
2
C-220
55 gallons
8.88" x 11.75"
x 14.75" h
4
220
4
2
C-360
100 gallons
10.75" x 13.38"
x 17.25" h
4
360
4
3
C-530
150 gallons
18.25" x 13.5"
x 21.5" h
4
530
4
4

Key Features:

  • Quick Release Valve Block - Immediately shuts down water flow and separates from motor housing for quick, spill-free filter maintenance.
  • Quick Prime Button - Quickly fills canister housing with water for self-priming system startup. Fast, no mess, and no manual siphoning.
  • Easy access Stack n' Flo Filter Trays - Individual flow-through media layers provide a large area for total mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.
  • Filtration Media - Marineland C-Series Canister Filters come with all the media necessary to get started.

Marineland C-Series Review:

By Kmuda

Overview

The Marineland C-Series filters, primarily the C-360, provide perhaps the best "bang for buck" of any canister filter in the hobby. While priced in the mid-range of canister filters, its features are more comparable to the very high end Eheim filters. 

While researching reviews of this filter on the Internet, you will come across numerous reports of leaks. This was the result of a manufacturer's defect that occurred during several production runs. This problem has since been resolved. Once discovered, Marineland issued a recall of all affected filters, replacing both the Motorhead and valve blocks. My C-360 was one of these. Even though my filter was out of warranty, Marineland replaced my valve block and motorhead, free of charge. I have had no issues since. If purchasing a new filter, the leak concerns with this filter are no greater than with any other canister filter. I am perfectly comfortable both using and recommending the C-Series filters. In summary on this issue, it is a part of the past and not a valid concern on currently manufactured filters.

Amongst all canister filters, the C-360 may be my favorite filter. With a media capacity of 3.4 gallons, it dwarfs all other filters in its class. You would have to step up the high end ($300+) Eheim filters to find something comparable. Some people want to compare the C-360 with an Eheim 2217. This is an invalid comparison. The C-220 better compares to the Eheim 2217 while the C-360 better compares to the Eheim 2250 or Eheim 2260. I would be perfectly comfortable with a C-360 running solo on a 100 gallon Oscar tank while I would not be comfortable with an Eheim 2217 running solo on the same tank.

Pros:

  • Massive filter volume. At 3.4 gallons of media capacity, it dwarfs all other filters with a comparable price.
  • At 360 gph, the flow rate is respectable.
  • No bypass design is a reality, not marketing hype. No bypass is achieved by interlocking trays, with each tray sealed to the tray below it with a rubber gasket.
  • Four tray design provides substantial flexibility in media selections... and it allows A LOT of media to be used.
  • Quick Disconnect valve block allows for easy, mess free, removal from the tank for maintenance.
  • Solid construction
  • Solid, heavy hoses that will last a lifetime.
  • Marineland Customer Service is the best in the industry, or any industry for that matter.
  • Spare components are readily available via numerous online resources, or they are a phone call away (Marineland Customer Service).

Cons:

  • I have had an impeller break on my C-220. No problems with the impeller on the C-360. So I would recommend ordering a spare impeller and having it available. $15 is not too much to spend on such an insurance policy.
  • This filter is relatively new (at least when compared to some of the Eheims), so reliability and longevity are an unknown and were impacted by the leak issue discussed prior. However, as mentioned, I have no problems purchasing and/or recommending this filter to others. I have been using this filter for about 5 years.
  • The stock media the filter ships with, while sufficient, can be improved upon. The course sponges are great, but the biomedia (plastic bio balls and smooth ceramic rings) are inferior to other biomedias that are available.
  • Care must be taken during maintenance when removing and replacing the trays as the rubber gaskets that seal the interlocking trays are easily misplaced or potentially torn. It's just something to be aware of. I've had no issues with either my C-220 or C-360 as I am aware of it.
  • Care must be taken when initially installing the filter to get the hoses cut to the right length to prevent the hoses from pushing or pulling on the valve block. These are thick heavy hoses. If they are allowed to pull on the valve block, you can introduce a leak risk. I solve this concern by using zip ties to secure the hoses to the tank frame, then adjusting the hose so that it places no pressure on the valve block.
  • This filter is a large filter, it will not fit under some tank cabinets, so make sure you have the room.
  • This filter is a large filter, it is heavy when filled with water.

Other information:

  • Do not over-stack these filters with media. If the latches are difficult to close (when placing the motorhead back onto the filter) then you have over stacked  the media.
  • Do not refill the filter with water before hooking it back up to the tank (following maintenance). Allow the self priming function to fill the filter.
  • As mentioned, the stock biomedia can be improved upon. While I love the included sponges, that is all I use (of the media that ships with the filter). The ceramic rings are more like Eheim Ehfimech than biomedia, and they can be moved to the first tray to serve this same function, with the sponges moved to the second tray. However, my recommended tray layout (from bottom to top) is below:

> Bottom Tray: Stock Sponges

> Second Tray: Eheim Ehfilav

> Third Tray: SeaChem Matrix, Eheim Ehfisubstrate Pro, or quality biomax type ring

> Fourth Tray: SeaChem Matrix, Eheim Ehfisubstrate Pro, or quality biomax type ring

Recommended Maintenance Procedure:

Note: This process assumes you are using the media configuration defined above:

  1. Fill two buckets with tank water
  2. Engage the shutoff on the valve block
  3. Remove the valve block from the motor head and carry the filter to the sink.
  4. Unlatch the motorhead and set it aside
  5. Remove the top layer media (should be polishing pad and place in the sink.
  6. Remove the top tray of biomedia and dump it into one bucket of water (this is your "dirty water" bucket).
  7. Using your hand, swirl the biomedia around in the bucket to rinse off gunk that has built up on the media.
  8. Once the media is clean, place it back into the tray, placing the tray into the second bucket of water.
  9. Perform the same action with the second tray of biomedia.
  10. Remove the tray of Eheim Ehfilav, dumping the contents into an empty, smaller bucket. Pour water from the "dirty water" bucket into this bucket. Swirl the media around and then carefully pour the water into the sink. Repeat this several times until the media is rinsed clean. Then dump the media back into it's tray and place into the second bucket. An alternative to this process is to just dump the Ehfilav into the dirty water bucket but the media is so small it's a pain to get out of the bucket back into the tray.
  11. Remove the sponges, rinsing them clean. I use the "dish sprayer" attachment in my sink. Once clean, place the sponges back into their tray and set aside.
  12. Place the canister in the sink and rinse it clean.
  13. On the motor head, carefully remove the impeller cover, then carefully remove the impeller
  14. Rinse the impeller clean, scrubbing it with a toothbrush
  15. Using a rag, filter brush, or q-tip, clean the impeller housing.
  16. Carefully, place the impeller back into the motor head and replace the cover
  17. Place the tray containing the sponges back into the filter casing, being sure to line up the arrow on the tray with the arrow on the filter casing lip.
  18. Place the tray containing the Eheim Ehfilav back into the filter casing, being sure to line up the arrow on the tray with the arrow on the filter casing lip while ensure the tray interlocks with the tray below it.
  19. Place the first ray containing the biomedia back into the filter casing, being sure to line up the arrow on the tray with the arrow on the filter casing lip while ensure the tray interlocks with the tray below it.
  20. Place the second tray containing the biomedia back into the filter casing, being sure to line up the arrow on the tray with the arrow on the filter casing lip while ensure the tray interlocks with the tray below it.
  21. Place the motorhead back onto the filter casing and fasten the latches.
  22. Carry the filter back to the tank and reconnect the valve block, opening the shutoff valve. The filter will refill with water.
  23. Once the filter is full of water, Plug the filter back up.

nancy1861@yahoo.com's Avatar
FIXED MY C-360 LEAK!!!
Thanks for everyone’s help! I’ve been shopping for an Eheim & while a C-360 valve-head on backorder. Figured if it didn’t fix things – I’d eBay it…

This is what I did:
1) Replaced all O rings
2) Silicone-sealed the bottom of motor- head (along all the grooves)
3) Replaced the VALVE HEAD

NO LEAK!!!!

Note: The replacement VALVE HEAD is much better! The parts that fit down into the motor-head is longer and has 4 gaskets instead of only 2. (Marineland said my unit was made 7 years ago).

I’m a happy camper – think I’ll replace some fish!
Posted: 1 year 6 days ago by bskelton0907 #4308
bskelton0907's Avatar
Good tip.will take that into consideration.thanks pops
Posted: 1 year 6 days ago by popss #4307
popss's Avatar
IMHO they are all pain to prime, if it has a ball valve shut off at the hoses you will never have to refill the lines again except for yearly cleaning, i fill the canister all the way to the top with tank water in the sink so it over flows when i put the power head back on. then break the prime pump loose before putting back in the stand. hook the hoses back up, open the ball valves and give it a few pumps, then fire it back up, then shake a bit to get all the air out of the canister.
Posted: 1 year 6 days ago by bskelton0907 #4306
bskelton0907's Avatar
I have a c-220.filter is a very good filter.just took the carbon out and replaced it with that blue pad stuff.overall the filter does what it has to.solid design.tubes are nice and heavy duty.but it is a pain inthe ass to prime if air gets in the lines ;)
Posted: 1 year 1 week ago by popss #4283
popss's Avatar
DO NOT GO FLUVAL!! I just got a brand new 405 damn thing leaks like a sive. its going back, I have a large Eheim nock off , 4 stage Jebao that is dead quite and has great flow for 69.00 and a Eheim Pro 2 that just keeps cruising along.
Posted: 1 year 1 week ago by renegade87 #4282
renegade87's Avatar
Kmuda's original review of these canisters contributed to my decision to buy two of the C-530's. After one years use, I have not experienced any leaks or other problems using these filters. I have had minor "micro-bubble" issues at startup after maintenance. But that's easily resolved by powering down, and reseating the valve block.

Would I buy them again? I might reconsider and get the C-360's instead. Due to the gross operating weight of these beasts! These babies (C-530) are freakin heavy when full of water and media. Other than that, they work as advertised. Massive media capacity, minimal bypass, reasonable pricing & solid support.

If replacing the C-Series, would I consider another brand? I'd definitely consider Eheim if I could find a cost effective alternative with decent flow rates that wouldn't break my back every six to eight weeks when performing maintenance.

Fluval? Well, they just introduced the FX6. Let's see how that's received.

Others? Well Rena has a pretty good following, but I'd probably stick with what I know. I know what the ML canisters are all about. And Eheim has had their excellent reputation longer than some of the members of this forum have been alive! "Leave the dance with the girl that brought you".
Posted: 1 year 2 weeks ago by tom #3839
tom's Avatar
My C-360 was pretty much brand new, less than 2 weeks running, so I took it back to where I bought it.
They offered to replace it, but I asked for an Eheim 2217 instead and paid the difference in price.
B)
nancy1861@yahoo.com's Avatar
Thanks for all the post! I was really wanting to fix my C-360 because of what I have invested in it. Guess I'll Ebay the new parts & filter media. Was thinking about a Rena XP3 found one for only $166 complete. People here seem to like the Eheim - so I'll check them out. I'm REALLY bummed about all the fish / animals I've lost from filter problems. How did you "upgrade to Eheim for $20"?
Posted: 1 year 2 weeks ago by kmuda #3831
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The Marineland of today IS NOT the Marineland I grew up with. All of the talent that made Marineland what is WAS left after the United Pet Group/Tetra buyout, forming companies such as Dr. Tim's Aquatics and Cobalt. The Marineland of today is really little more than the North American arm of Tetra.

After about 5 years of really good use, my C-360 developed a renewed leak and was replaced with an Eheim 2217.

I love the concept of the C-360. A $150 filter with massive volume. Like most products designed and manufactured in China, it's just poorly executed.
Posted: 1 year 2 weeks ago by tom #3799
tom's Avatar
I had a new C-360 that leaked a couple years ago too.
I traded it plus $20 for an Eheim 2217.
B)
Posted: 1 year 2 weeks ago by whitneygene #3798
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A lot of people love their Marineland canisters, but when I put one on a display tank at work to give it a fair shot and showcase it, I invented about 19 swear words for it in the six months we gave it a go. The company makes good HOB filters. They should stick to those.
nancy1861@yahoo.com's Avatar
I have a C-360 I bought about 4-5 yrs ago. I’ve always kept it in a Styrofoam box to protect my floors. Well it started leaking MUCH more than normal - so I replaced all gaskets. Still leaked lots. I did an internet search & found LOTS of blogs about C-360 leaks. So I called Marine-Land 800-322-1266 the lady said they’ve NEVER had ANY leak issues with the C-360 EVER! My serial number indicated my filter was made 7 years ago (guess it sat on the LFS shelf a few years). I'm going to buy a new Valve Block. Hope that'll fix it ... I was surprised MarineLand didn’t know of any leak problems… she did say it was probably my motor-head – but they don’t sell them separate. Nancy
Posted: 1 year 3 months ago by kmuda #1754
kmuda's Avatar
elijah wrote:
To Kmuda,

I've read your review and in the process of buying the C360 - my only concern is about that leaking problem. I know you mentioned that it was in the past but will I need to put a container under my filter to ensure I don't have a mess on my floor or are you that confident in this product now in 2013.

Thanks for your help.

Sorry for the delayed response. I agree with other members of the site. I have no more concerns with leaks originating from this filter as I would from any other quality canister filter, Eheim's included. While it is impossible to completely eliminate leak risks with any canister filter, the widely reported issues with this filter are a thing of the past. The manufacturer defect issue has been resolved.
Posted: 1 year 3 months ago by elijah #1610
elijah's Avatar
Thanks to all of you for replying - I appreciate all your input.
Posted: 1 year 3 months ago by farmer #1481
farmer's Avatar
Been running c-360 for 1.5 years. No leaks at all. Would buy another one in a heart beat.
Posted: 1 year 3 months ago by plowkill #1474
plowkill's Avatar
If you are that worried about a leak you could always do that but then again you have as much of a chance of it leaking as you do any other canister. I’m running 2 on my tank right now and have no worries of leaks and I’ve taken one of them apart and put it back together (cleaning) a few times now without any issues. Marineland makes a quality filter and there’s a few members that have had theirs running 24/7 for over a year now without any issues.

Another idea you could do would be to cut a hole in the intake tube at the top in the case it does begin to leak it will stop sucking water after the tank water drops below that hole. I imagine if the water ever fell below that line the canister would run dry and would probably mess it up but it would save the tank from being completely emptied. I’ve never heard of anyone doing it on their canisters but it works with sumps so I can’t think of a reason it wouldn’t work with that. Will just mean you can’t run it while changing the water. You would have to take some drill bits and start small and test it while making the hole bigger till it breaks the syphon. Someone might come on here and write Plow that’s a horrible idea but until then it seems logical to me :whistle:
Posted: 1 year 3 months ago by david #1470
david's Avatar
elijah wrote:
To Kmuda,

I've read your review and in the process of buying the C360 - my only concern is about that leaking problem. I know you mentioned that it was in the past but will I need to put a container under my filter to ensure I don't have a mess on my floor or are you that confident in this product now in 2013.

Thanks for your help.

I've got 2 of the 360's running on my 75g, never once had a leak. I got them back in November 2012 and have done plenty of maintenance on them.
Posted: 1 year 3 months ago by elijah #1469
elijah's Avatar
To Kmuda,

I've read your review and in the process of buying the C360 - my only concern is about that leaking problem. I know you mentioned that it was in the past but will I need to put a container under my filter to ensure I don't have a mess on my floor or are you that confident in this product now in 2013.

Thanks for your help.