For aquarium hobbyists, filters are essential as they not only help maintain their aquarium but also contribute to better fish health. In this article, we are going to discuss canister filters in detail.
Canister filters are aquarium filters that essentially aim at removing wastewater from the fish tank via an intake tube, sieve, valve, and pass it through multiple filter media to purify the tank water. The water so filtered is then put back to the aquarium through the spillway or using the spray bar.
Why should you opt for a canister filter?
Well, there are various reasons to consider buying a canister filter for fish tanks instead of other varieties like power filters available in the market. Let’s check out some of them:
- A good canister filter gives you an advantage in selecting the type of filtration appropriate for your tank and then customizes the filter media.
- Canister filters generally come with comparatively lesser maintenance requirements.
- These filters usually replenish the tank water through a spray bar, thereby preventing evaporation and reducing the current.
- These aquarium filters can facilitate mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration based on the chosen brand and requirement.
- Most canister filters come with an inbuilt water pump to push water as they have a sealed system.
- Total media filter customization can be done.
- Ensures easy maintenance.
You will find various kinds of aquarium canister filters in the market that are external and submersible aquarium filters. Still, for your convenience, we have thoroughly researched their pros and cons, varieties, and customer reviews, especially. If you have already decided to buy one for your aquarium, you must go through this article to make your decision wisely and as per your requirements.
8 Best Canister Filter Available in Market
8. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media
This is a legendary classic filter with technology that is tried and tested and has larger systems. It looks somewhat simple in design, but its functionality is top-notch, and it is equipped with features that promote its usability and efficiency.
A laudable quality about the EHEIM Classic Canister Filter is that both the biological, mechanical purification is attained in a single process with a constant circulation of water and oxygen enrichment. The model comes with media and a stand.
- Setting up the filter is straightforward.
- You get a wholly contained media, so no extra time is required for unpacking each media item, and you can easily rinse and install them.
- It’s easy to sue, and for cleaning, you require to disconnect hoses using the double-tap connectors.
- Lack of external features makes the grip of the canister very difficult.
- Some hideous green parts appear like a huge eyesore to the tank.
User Reviews: The users think that this is the greatest filter available in the market. It does not take much time to turn the tank water crystal clear. There are better varieties available in the market, but they are no match to the EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter, particularly when price and maintenance are considered.
7. SunSun Hw304B 525GPH Pro Canister Filter for Fishtank
An aquarium filter shouldn’t just be about removing impurities alone, it has also got to promote aeration to a great extent, and this is exactly what you get by installing this product from SunSun.
This filter is ideal for tanks up to 150 gallons and has an ultraviolet sterilization feature for the elimination of algae and microbes.
It can handle water flow up to 525 gallons per hour. This canister filter features accessories like filter pads, hoses, and other parts that are required to get started. The flexible media tray allows you to add other filtration systems like activated carbon, spores, bacteria and then promotes clear water.
- The amount of bio-media it holds is amazing.
- They hold plenty of room for mechanical filtering.
You may easily change of clean media, like using activated carbon.
- The design is quite unsafe. You need to add a UV option on top of all.
- The installation process might be complicated if you don’t follow the video.
User Reviews: The customers have to say that the filter is quite good, and there is no point in disliking the same. If these filters could be kept like the coarse ones at the bottom and finer ones at the top, that would give the best result. Although it’s fairly expensive, still considering the fact that it facilitates anaerobic cleaning, the pricing is worth it.
6. Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter for Aquarium
This AquaTop CF Series Canister Filter is a uniquely designed device that you can easily incorporate into your aquarium set-up. It will enhance water quality by removing toxins and contaminants from the aquarium.
Besides, this product includes a UV sterilizer to eradicate algae spores and bacteria, and it is suitable for tanks up to 75 gallons. It also has a self-priming pump, 3 media trays, and other relevant features to deliver an effective 3-stage filtration system.
Another exciting thing about this canister filter is that it can be customized for better efficiency – based on the cleaning demand of your aquarium.
- Very sturdy and strong filter.
- It gives great service until 5 years and might even go on further without the slightest problem.
- Some customers complain that the filter starts getting worse after 6 months.
- There can be some air bubble issues attached to the filter for some customers.
User Reviews: One happy customer says that he bought it 5 years back, and it’s still going on well. Although it loses its filtration capabilities after a long time, still not to the extent that it can be dumped. The UV lights can stop working, but they can always be exchanged.
5. Fluval FX 6 Aquarium Canister Filter
The Fluval FX6 Aquarium Canister Filter is a very high-performing multi-stage external filter for aquariums with a capacity of a maximum of 400 gallons. The filter is compact and fits in any of the aquarium cabinets.
This canister filter is one of the most technologically advanced devices [in its category] as it is integrated with a high-tech microchip which fosters optimal performance. It also possesses stackable media baskets that can be removed to keep flooding in check during maintenance.
Additionally, it has an indigenous self-priming system, as well as some other features that guarantee its overall functionality. It is 20 liters in volume, has 5.9 liters of biological filter, and a pump output of 3500l/h.
- It has a huge capacity and dependable media, along with a powerful motor in the lid.
- Moves well with a lot of water, keeping the tank sparkling.
- The filter is powerful enough to suck small fishes like cichlids.
- The filter is heavy and awkward. It has to be put out of the cabinet and then hauled inside for fitting.
User Reviews: Some of the users say that after keeping fish for the last 25 years or more, Fluval is the best type of aquarium filter they used. Fluval gives a wonderful experience of fixing the priming issues with rubber gaskets and dozens of fussy parts. They have a simple assembling experience and prime immediately.
4. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter for Aquarium
The Hydor Professional 600 filter is a complete aquarium in a box. It is an energy-efficient filter that will make your fish-keeping experience worthwhile as you will not have to contend with the unclean internal environment every now and then with it installed.
Stating the obvious; this Hydro Professional canister filter will deliver all the necessary mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration that one may require for a healthy and long-living aquarium experience. Everything is made super-easy and convenient, starting from the priming feature to the telescopic intake tube.
- Setting up the filter is amazingly simple.
- The filter makes the least possible noise.
- It’s powerful and processes lots of water.
- There is a flow in design that prompts leaks to develop at the connection point.
- Washers used for tightening the hose are made of cheap plastic.
User Reviews: Customers shared happy remarks about the Hydor filter, and they think that the long thick wide hoses facilitate more water flow. Also, it’s so quiet that sometimes it feels the filter is not even running.
3. Marineland Magniflow Canister
This canister filter from Marineland has got everything required to promote the hygienic condition of the aquarium water. While the filter foam pads and black diamond carbon function to basically clear the tank of impurities, the bio-filter balls enhance its efficiency.
The Marineland Magniflow Canister filter acts as a multistage filtration in both freshwater and saltwater and has a great design with a top sealing gasket. There is an easy-to-remove lid for the media basket. The presence of a quick prime button makes the filter chamber fill easily.
- Easy to install, no slack in hoses, and no air bubble near the intake strainer.
- It makes up a good filter, with all the spare parts easily available.
- If you move the hoses aloud, there will be a small flood, so handle carefully.
- It requires more service for a smooth flow.
User Reviews: Customers who have used the filter say that the setup and maintenance of the filter are comparatively easy. The water gets well filtered, and the canister is not loud. In case you want to move the hose, the connection on the top of the canister has to be checked.
2. Fluval Aquarium External Filter
The brand is synonymous with quality and so does this particular canister filter which has been made with appreciable technical adeptness. It will surely ensure remarkable water clarity.
Fluval canisters are provided with extra motors for better customer convenience. It features a patented aqua shop valve, rim connector, and multiple filtration baskets. The filtration is packed with necessary media for mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration.
- Better flow with extra media compartment.
- Easy to follow setup mechanism. The installation can be done without any hazards.
- The microbubble so formed makes the aquarium look cloudy.
- The impeller cover falls off frequently, causing inconvenience.
User Reviews: The user review for this filter gets a 5-star rating. Users say that this system has a more powerful motor, which adds greater convenience. The filter holds 30-35% more volume and features a patented aqua stop valve, multiple filtrations, rim connector, and other input, output hoses to keep the aquarium fit for the livelihood of the fishes.
1. Penn Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter
Here is a very powerful canister filter that will effectively rid your aquarium of particulate matters and substances that can contaminate the water therein. And, another impressive thing about it, is that it comes as a complete package.
It features a heavy-duty multi-stage external filtration, especially for the fresh or saltwater aquarium. There are also push primer buttons two independent 360-degree rotational valve taps that make the start-up quite easy. Each pump comes with large filter trays.
This canister filter can support aquariums up to 100 gallons and can manage 350 GPH of flow.
- Easy to install filters with all necessary accessories.
- A quick push-button primer makes all the startups easy.
- Flow rate control valves & pool-style hose camps make the setup easy and adjustable. The airtight seal assures the proper flow rate.
- Inefficient design.
- Too much water flow is affected.
- The plastic used in the handles is not of good quality and, therefore, not reliable.
User Reviews: The users have appreciated and given 5 stars to the product. They have loved the features like three trays, affordability, easy to handle and set up lesser sound-producing technology, and robust quality.
We hope you find this article useful, and it helps you in choosing the best canister filter for your aquarium. In fact, canister aquarium filters are quality products, which are safe, tough, inexpensive, easy to use, and of course, of great value.
Deciding the canister filter for your tank size
In deciding the canister filter that will be appropriate for the size of your aquarium, there are certain important factors you need to consider. Some of these include:
- Flow rate: This is usually measured in gallons per hour (gph), and it ultimately hinges on the turnover rate of the tank water per hour. That said, it is recommended that a canister filter achieve a 5X turnover rate [of the volume of the water] to be considered adequate. So, let’s say you have a 50-gallon tank, you will need a canister filter that can actualize a 200-GPH flow rate.
- Tank dimension: Your tank’s carrying capacity is one thing and the dimension is another. A rectangular tank [with unequal length, width, and depth] will require a large(r) filter as it relates to flow rate while a cubic tank may not necessarily need such a filter – but you should still not overlook the size.
- Bio-load: The number of species – whether plants, fish, or any other pet – also matters. It is very probable that you will stock your aquarium based on its size, and the denser the population of the species, the higher the filtration potential required. In this wise, a large tank will need a highly efficient canister filter with a 3-stage filtration system in place.
Type of Canister filter Media available
Let’s now look at the types of media that can be found in a canister filter. There are three different types, and they include:
- Mechanical Media: The mechanical media simply exist to strain particulate matters from the water in readiness for the next line of filtration – which takes place in the biological media. Mechanical media normally feature pores that can be of varying sizes. This sort of media is available in different grades – extra-fine, fine, medium, and coarse.
- Biological Media: Biological media function to provide an abode in which beneficial bacteria (that is, nitrifying bacteria) can grow and flourish. These bacteria are helpful in sustaining the nitrogen cycle. They can come in the form of bio balls or string media, and in some instances, they can be rock-like.
- Chemical Media: Chemical media are valuable for removing dissolved particulate matter and other contaminants from the aquarium water, and it also helps in ridding the tank of odor. They are majorly available as carbon pads, although there are those made in the form of resins and poly-filter.
The quality of the water in the aquarium is dependent on the effectiveness of these three media that made up a comprehensive filtration system.