Aquatop CF500UV Canister Filter Review: Is It Good for Turtle Tank?

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Aquatop is one of the leading canister filter manufacturers in the USA. They are highly popular among fish as well as turtle owners for their powerful series of canister filters.

In this Aquatop cf500uv canister filter review article, I’ll talk about the features, specifications, set up, manual, pros and cons of this filter. Lastly, I’ll share my opinion if you should purchase it for a turtle tank.

What is Aquatop?

Aquatop is a leading company formed by a group of aquatic pet fans. Owning a freshwater, saltwater tank or pond and maintaining it is a very challenging aspect of fishkeeping. Fish keepers often have to struggle due to lack of proper instruments.

The goal of Aquatop is to make this hobby easy and available for everyone with their awesome range of products that will help you to maintain an aquarium. All their products are reliable and come with a great price. With Aquatop, your aquatic pet keeping journey will be a whole lot easier than before. For more information, click here.

Aquatop CF500UV Canister Filter:

The Aquatop cf500uv filter takes UV filtration to a completely new level. This is a 4+1 stage filtration system which has a 525 GPH. The filter is suitable for any freshwater or saltwater tank for up to 175 gallons. The filter is integrated with a 9 watt UV sterilizer which works excellent in keeping the aquarium germ free, clean and healthy.

Though it seems that the Aquatop cf500uv is more on the pricey end, however, with this filter you’ll get not only a UV sterilizer but also all the equipment for plumbing installation. The filter has four large compartments for adding filter media. You can add any filter media of your choice.

Thanks to the filter media tray, this canister filter can be fully customized for special aquatic needs. Aquatop cf500uv has a killer mechanical filtration system. It comes with four superfine white filter pads and one rough blue filter sponge for performing the mechanical filtration.

Aquatop recommends to use their premium ceramic rings, activated carbon and bio balls as the filter media for superior filtration. There is also no need for any manual siphoning as the filter has a prime pump. One thing is sure, with Aquatop cf500uv filter, it will be a whole lot easier to keep your aquarium crystal clear and healthy.

How does Aquatop CF500UV look?

The Aquatop cf500uv filter has a compact design with 18 x 11 x 12 inches in dimension. It weighs about 16 pounds. As an external canister filter, it is neither too small or too big. It has a perfect shape for fitting inside a cabinet. The shape of the filter is also sleek and unique.

Aquatop cf500uv has a very appealing and gorgeous appearance. It has an elegant white color as the base and gray matte color in the motif. The body has a blue Aquatop symbol at the center. This filter sure enhances the artistic view of any aquarium system.

What is the building material of Aquatop CF500UV?

Many people put a higher priority on the building material when choosing a canister filter. As the base material, Aquatop cf500uv uses standard quality plastic. The material is sturdy enough to be used in any aquarium system. The plastic makes the filter very lightweight, which results in high portability. The plastic also makes it easier to clean the filter.

How do Aquatop CF500UV works?

At first, the unfiltered dirty water from the aquarium enters into the Aquatop cf500uv filter. The water passes through the 9 watt UV sterilizer and flows towards the bottom of the canister filter. The filter has a vertical structure with 4 stages of filter media compartments. When the water reaches the bottom of the filter, it starts to push through each of media compartments (starting from the bottom compartment towards the top).

The water gets filtered in each media compartment depending on what filter media you chose. By default, the filter is shipped with a white fine filter pad in each compartment and an extra blue coarse pad in the bottom compartment. For superior biological as well as chemical filtration, you need to use other filter media like bio balls, ceramic rings, activated carbon etc.

Once the water has pushed through all the filter media compartments, it comes out of the output valve through the tubing and back into the aquarium. The 9-watt UV sterilizer helps to kill all the bad bacteria and algae thus helping to get crystal clear water.

Things you’ll get with the filter:

  • A nice canister filter (4+1 filtration stage) equipped with a modern UV sterilizer (9 watts).
  • Suitable filter media such as ceramic rings, bio balls, activated carbon, smooth filter pad, coarse filter sponge etc.
  • 5 filtration media compartments.
  • Two plastic hoses
  • Release valves
  • Spray bar
  • Different types of plastic pipes
  • A manual instruction


  • UV Sterilizer: Among hundreds of canister filter, what makes Aquatop cf500uv special is it’s 9 watt UV sterilizer. With the help of this UV sterilizer, this filter kills all the algae and bad bacteria from the aquarium water, thus helping to get crystal clear water. The addition of UC sterilizer has increased the functionality of this filter many times more.
  • Larger Capacity: The filter has considerably larger inner capacity than most other canister filters. It can treat up to 175 gallons of water without any problem. The big inner capacity helps to maximize the efficiency of the filtering process. In the 5 filter media compartments, you can use any filter media you want and customize it in any way you prefer. Each compartment is about 2L in size. So, you can use about 10L of filter media, which is a huge amount.
  • Superior Filtration: Thanks to the 4+1 stage of filtration, this filter really ensures maximum filtration of your aquarium water. The filter is equipped with modern filtration technologies to produce superior results in the quickest time. The flow rate is 525 GPH (Gallons Per Hour) which is amazing.
  • No Noise: Another great advantage of this filter is, it produces next to no sound when operating. You can’t even guess that a canister filter is running in your aquarium. This amazing quiet operation makes this filter more attractive to the turtle owners.
  • Low energy consumption: Like other canister filters, Aquatop cf500uv doesn’t consume a whole lot of power. It is equipped with a 9 watt UV sterilizer which consumes very little energy for functioning. So, you don’t need to worry about high electricity payment.

What are the Aquatop cf500uv parts?

  • Valve for input and output
  • UV switch
  • Prime button
  • Barrelhead
  • Clips of the barrelhead
  • The main body of the filter
  • Clips for the main body
  • Output fittings
  • U-bar for the output and input
  • Suction cups
  • Clips for suction cups (both short and long)
  • Spray bar parts
  • A cap for the spray bar
  • An option for attaching a surface skimmer
  • Adjustable fittings for the input
  • Input fittings parts
  • Strainer for the input
  • Both fine and coarse filter pads
  • Cover for the media tray
  • Trays for the filter media
  • Tubing for input and output


  • Suitable for up to 175 gallons of tank
  • 525 gallons per hour flow rate
  • The pump has 55-watt power
  • Runs on AC 110V
  • 9 watt UV sterilizer
  • Weighs about 18 pounds
  • A power cord along with ground (5 ft 2 in)
  • The dimension is about 18 x 12 x 11 inches
  • The hoses have 3.4th inches inner dimension

Unboxing of the Aquatop cf500uv:

aquatop cf500uv unboxing
The screenshot is taken from this video

After opening the Aquatop cf500uv filter packaging box, you’ll see another small box and plastic bubble wrapped filter inside it. Take out the small brown box first. The box contains all the inlet, outlet fittings, quick release valve with connectors and hoses.

Now, carefully take out the main filter body from the packaging box. Remove the bubble wrapped plastic paper from it. The side with the prime pump is the front. It is used for siphoning the water. Carefully open the lid. Be very careful as the UV sterilizer is attached to it. Inside the filter, at first, you’ll see a cover for the filter media compartments. Once you remove the cover, you’ll see five filter media compartments each having a white fine filter pad inside. The last compartment will have a coarse blue filter sponge additional to the filter pad.


Aquatop cf500uv setup:

  • First, remove all the filter compartments from inside the filter body. The compartments will be packaged with filter pad and filter sponge. However, I’ll recommend using additional filter media for superior filtration such as bio balls, ceramic rings, activated carbon etc. Use whatever filter media you want and customize the media compartments however you want.
  • After filling up the media compartments with filter media, carefully place them back inside the filter body. Then put the compartment cover inside the filter. After that, carefully insert the lid otherwise you may break the UV sterilizer bulb.
  • Now it’s time to set the inlet out outlet fittings. These come with various pieces and you are free to set them up however you want. When setting them, keep in mind the height you want of these inlet and outlet settings.
  • Once you have set the inlet and outlets, now it’s time to connect them with the quick release valve connectors with the green hosing pipes. Be sure that the hoses fit tightly otherwise you’ll face leaking problems within a few days.
  • Once you have connected the hoses and placed the filter in your desired position, it is time to turn on the filter. But before powering on the filter, you need to prime it. This is the step where most owners get confused. All you need to do is press the prime of the filter for 5 seconds and release it. You will see water is coming down through the hoses. Do this continually until you see water getting siphoned from the aquarium automatically until the filter is filled with the aquarium water.
  • Now, it’s time to power on the filter. Congratulations, your filter is ready to roll.

Aquatop cf500uv Manual:

The Aquatop cf500uv manual contains information about the specifications, warranty, safety information, problem troubleshooting, product diagram, list of the parts, assemble as well as setup guide, maintenance tips, and bulb replacement instructions. You can get the manual from here.

Warranty Information

All Aquatop aquatic products have a limited 180-day warranty from the original day of purchase. Warranty is only valid for defective products as well as workmanship. Keep in mind that, the UV bulbs are not covered in the warranty.

Troubleshooting various issues:

The self-priming pump doesn’t work: if the self-priming pump isn’t showing any response to compression and decompression, then the problem may be error attachment of the input/output tubing to the input/output valve. Reattach the tubing correctly and make sure they are airtight to solve this issue.

Motor not working: Either the power is not on properly or the impeller is missing some of its parts, the shafts are broken or the motor is clogged with any object. Identify the root of the problem. If the shaft is broken, replace it. Clean out the motor thoroughly and make sure nothing is clogging it. Double check the power cord.

Slow water flow: It can be caused by many factors such as the tubing is extremely dirty and clogged up, the hoses are connected incorrectly, the hoses are not airtight, air is still trapped inside the filter etc. try to identify what is causing the problem and solve it. If the tubes are dirty, clean them thoroughly. Make sure the hoses are properly connected and airtight. Ensure the filter has no air trapped inside it.

Peculiar sound from the filter: if you are getting abnormal sound from the motor, it may be caused by a damaged impeller or spindle, slow rate of water flow, not enough lubrication or air trapped inside the filter body. If the impeller or spindle is broken, replace them. Make sure the tubes are clean so the water flow is not slow. If insufficient lubrication is the issue, properly lubricate all the O rings.

Water leaking: water leaking generally occurs due to trapped water inside the barrelhead. If you see water is leaking from your Aquatop canister filter, check if the barrelhead is tipped with water. If it is, tip the filter in one side so all the water gets drained from the barrelhead.

Cleaning the Aquatop cf500uv:

  • First, turn the power connection off. Make sure the output fittings are completely off before starting to clean.
  • Place a towel beneath the canister filter, so if any water leaks, you’ll not create a mess.
  • Now, remove the quick release valve from the lid. It is better if you can move the filter body to the washroom, lawn or any place where spilling water won’t be an issue.
  • Remove the lid of the filter and place it carefully beside. The filter should be filled with water. Take out each piece of the filter out from inside the body. At the end of the process, you should be left with a filter filled with dirty water only.
  • Dump all the water from the filter and clean it properly. I like to clean the body of the filter with a hose. It saves time and energy.
  • Clean all the filter media with clean aquarium water from the tank. If you don’t use the aquarium water, the established beneficial bacterial colony may die. Also, replace any of the filter media if necessary.
  • After cleaning everything, it’s time to put them back inside the filter in order. After that, place the filter back where it was.
  • Put the quick release valve back into the lid and set the input/output fittings. After setting them, it’s time to plug in the power cord.
  • Before turning on the power, prime the filter so that it is filled with aquarium water and no air is trapped inside it. After that turn the power on.

What I love about Aquatop cf500uv

I think Aquatop cf500uv is an excellent canister filter. It’s UV sterilizer is amazing and keeps the aquarium super clean and healthy. However, the thing I like most is it’s 5 stage filtration system. Moreover, I can use whatever filter media I want and customize the filter however I want. It is a great filter for turtle owners as turtle tanks tend to get messy within a very short time. For a cleaning geek like me, this filter seems to be really good.

Things I didn’t like:

  • I think the base building material of the filter is not anything exceptionally good. Yes, plastic is good. However, Aquatop can improve it.
  • Most filter companies have a 1-year warranty on their products. However, Aquatop aqua products only come with a 180 days limited warranty.

My Final Thoughts:

I know that Aquatop cf500uv is a bit on the pricey end of the spectrum for most turtle owners. However, if you want to make your turtle tank super clean and look crystal clear, then this is the filter you should go for.

There are certain things where a good investment always pays off in the long run, a filter is one of them. So, if you can spend a little bit more money for a healthy turtle tank, I’ll definitely advise you to give Aquatop cf500uv a try.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.