Marineland Emperor Power Filter Review

By | January 29, 2014

Emperor Power Filter

In this report I will give you an unbiased description of the Marineland Emperor 400 and 280 aquarium filters. After that, I will give you my own review and experiences I have had with this product. I hope you enjoy! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.


The dual-pump construction of the Emperor Power filter line provides exceptional water cleaning capabilities to maximize clarity and fish health. One pump pulls water from the aquarium through the adjustable intake tube and directs it through the effective filter media cartridge made with activated charcoal. This provides both mechanical and chemical filtration of tank water, removing debris and particles as well as compounds that contribute to cloudy conditions.

The second pump directs a spray of water onto one or two bio wheels, depending on the capacity of the filter you purchase. The spray is adjustable so you can regulate flow easily. These provide the best opportunity for biological filtration of the aquarium water, as beneficial bacteria colonize to fix ammonia and nitrate imbalances. The water is pressurized to keep the bio wheels spinning to provide the right amount of oxygen and moisture.

The Emperor Power aquarium filters offer low-profile style with hinged lids and easy-to-install hang on tank set-up. Filter cartridges are simple to replace as needed. The powerful motor will keep the filter running smoothly to polish aquarium water to its sparkling best.

Aquarium Advocate Review:

The Marineland Emperor Power Filter is one that I have a great deal of experience with. I have been using the same Emperor 400 and the same Emperor 280 for over 10 years. These were some of the first filters I purchased as a new aquarist and have been using them ever since. Overall, I have been very happy with them.

There are only the 2 models of this filter and both are made for larger aquariums. The Emperor 280 is for aquariums up to 50 gallons and the Emperor 400 is for aquariums up to 90 gallons. I have been using my 280 on a 60 gallon aquarium for years with no issues.

These are very quiet aquarium filters. Even after 10 years the Emperor 280 is still very quiet. The Emperor 400 has developed a bit of a rattle, but it is not very loud and is not bothersome. They are made of heavy plastic and are very durable.

Both the Emperor Power filters are large and have spacious back compartments for media. They come with foam covered, carbon filled cartridges that can be washed and reused several times before they need to be replaced. They also come with reusable plastic cartridges to hold extra media such as activated carbon. These filter cartridges could be completely removed and you can fill the backs of the filter with bio-media, different sponges, or whatever you’d like.

Bio-wheels….. The Emperor filters, just like most other Marineland filters, come with bio-wheels. I have heard many a complaint about how bio-wheels stop working, stop turning, and spontaneously combust. (joking about that last part of course) Really though, people complain about bio-wheels, and I don’t understand why. I have never had an issue with the bio-wheels on my filters. I have been using the same bio-wheels that came with these filters, for the past 10 years and they still work fine!

Maintaining an Emperor filter is fairly easy. Once every month or 2 I will unplug the filter and carry the entire thing outside to hose it out. Don’t rinse the bio-wheels with tap water because chlorine will likely kill the bacteria. The bio-wheels will probably not need to be cleaned. Just drop them into the aquarium while you are outside cleaning the filter. This filter comes with a small brush. You will need it to clean the inside of the pipe that sprays water on the bio-wheel. If not cleaned, enough water may not spray onto the bio-wheel causing it to stop turning. (mine has never stopped turning, but I guess theoretically this could happen) The pipe snaps on and off easily. Once cleaned I place the filter back on the tank and fill it with water. (I think the 400 holds over a gallon of water) It comes with a priming lever that works well, but I have found the easiest way to prime it is to simply turn it on and pour water in it until primed.

The Bottom Line: The Marineland Emperor power filters are built to last. They are powerful and spacious. These filters are easy to use and maintain. Even if you have heard bad things about bio-wheels, I urge you to try it for yourself, maintain it, and it may last you a decade! 

Click here to read more reviews of this filter on Amazon!