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Top Of The Best Canister Filters Reviewed In 2018

Last Updated March 1, 2019
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Adrian HoffmanHi! My name is Reginald Meyer. After putting in 50+ hours of research and testing, I made a list of the best Canister Filters of 2018 and explained their differences and advantages.

In this article, I will be categorizing the items according to their functions and most typical features. I hope that my Top 10 list will provide you great options in buying the right fit for you.



Feel free to explore the podium, click on the pictures to find out more.



How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the Canister Filters by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – Marineland Magniflow Canister

Marineland Magniflow Canister
Canister lids ensures water tight seal
The polishing filter pad acts as a water polisher removing fine debris
The bio-filter balls and ceramic rings provide a large, multifaceted surface area for the growth of bio spires


№2 – 6 – Electrolux Aerus AP100 Canister Filters, Part # LE-2100. Designed by FilterBuy to fit Electrolux / Aerus LE-2100 Canisters & AP100 Series Upright Vacuum Cleaners

6 - Electrolux Aerus AP100 Canister Filters, Part # LE-2100. Designed by FilterBuy to fit Electrolux / Aerus LE-2100 Canisters & AP100 Series Upright Vacuum Cleaners
6 Electrolux LE-2100 filters are designed to fit Electrolux / Aerus LE-2100 Canisters & AP100 Series Vacuum Cleaners
Manufactured by FilterBuy to replace Electrolux Part # LE-2100.
Easily installed and improves overall performance of vacuum unit.


№3 – Fluval External Filter

Fluval External Filter
Multi-stage filtration for healthy fresh & saltwater aquariums
Suitable for aquariums up to 70 gallons
Sound dampening impeller design for a quieter operation


Anything Fluval…

Be it an ’06, a G series or an FX5, you simply cannot go wrong with Fluval. I even cut my external filtering teeth on the ‘0and ’05s!

They’re easy to prime, quiet, reliable, come with all the media and are dead easy to get going and service. I’d recommend these time and time again and sleep well knowing that I had done.

The G series literally broke the mould in aquarium filtration and in many ways is the world’s best external filter. The LED screen monitors water conductivity as well as overviews continuous performance, but what does it for me is the ease of maintaining the mechanical and chemical filtration chambers. I find this an absolute joy and the biggest innovation in filter technology since the Prime was mastered.

I’d describe the FXas the 4xof external filters, being all terrain, having the most grunt, most torque and being able to handle more muck than any other external filter. Yet when you get that sizeable intake strainer out of the box and those 2.5cm/1” pipe fittings you realise you are dealing more with a monster truck than a 4x— and the big messy fish owners of this world simply love them.

Before the FX5, big fish owners used pond filtration in various DIY formations. Now they all just use FX5s… Enough said.

Almost anything Eheim…

I changed that wording at the last moment, altering my Eheim recommendation from ‘anything Eheim’ to ‘almost anything Eheim’!

From the seemingly hundreds of models available (some on sale since 1981), I’m not a massive fan of the Aquacompact (unsightly pump in main tank,) Classic (no priming button,) Experience (no priming button) or surprisingly the all-singing-all dancing Professional 3e (too complicated.)

Instead give me an Ecco Pro or a standard Professional 3, or, better still, a Professional thermofilter option, and I will surely feel in filtering heaven.

The Ecco is super efficient, easy to open, clean and load with media and good value for money. The Professional is everything you want from an Eheim — being large, sturdy, reliable, well built and having huge media capacity — and if I was to choose just one to see out my fishkeeping days it would probably be one of these.

TetraTec from Tetra

Known more for its fish food than equipment these days, Tetra does make a very good external filter which ticks all the boxes.

It’s easy to prime, powerful, quiet, reliable, comes with the media and all the pipe fittings, and I’d happily use one and recommend it to any tropical or coldwater fishkeeper.

The largest model, the EX2400, is a bit noisy as it’s frankly huge, so if into the larger filter market go for the FXinstead.

CristalProfi from JBL

JBL makes some excellent external filters with thoughtful designs, excellent media options and interesting add-on bits like a surface skimmer.

Again they tick all my boxes, including having media, being easy to use, set up and prime, and being quiet and reliable.

The company has even reduced already low energy consumption of existing models and introduced even more efficient ’01’ models.

Aquis Pro from AquaOne

I like the Aquis Pro as it combines everything I want. I don’t like the non-Pro Aquis anywhere near as much, as you have to prime it with a jug, and I don’t like the Aquis Pro 2450UV-C as I find externals with built-in UVs a faff.

However, stick to the Aquis Pro 550-1250 models and you’ll be a contented fishkeeper.

Flow Rate

The flow rate of your aquarium determines how fast it can clean the water of your fish tank. Usually, manufacturers indicate this through gallons per hour. The higher the flow rate, the faster the filtration process is.

It is a good thing if we are talking about efficiency. Moreover, it cuts down your power bill because the filter doesn’t have to run all the time!

Filter Media

When choosing for a canister filter, make sure that it can cater multiple types of filter media.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to come up with a comprehensive filtration system. If possible, look for canister filters that can house mechanical, biological, and chemical filter media. These type of filters can guarantee that your marine ecosystem is 100% habitable!

We got the essential things covered. It is now time to proceed to our reviews of the ten top-rated canister filters on the market today! What are you waiting for? Read on!

Fluval 40Canister Filter

The Fluval 40is a beast! When it comes to filtration technology, nothing can beat this one for now. It has a lot of impressive features that enhances its efficiency and performance.

Moreover, it also comes with a highly-engineered motor that allows it process 380 gallons of water per hour! The flow rate is adjustable, too.

Meanwhile, this canister filter has an instant-priming mechanism for easy start-up. It can accommodate various types of filter media at the same time, thanks to its spacious interior.

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter

Another popular choice for a canister filter is the EHEIM Classic. Many hobbyists use this because of its reliable performance and quality build. It has multiple models as well to cater various tank sizes.

You can get a complete package once your purchase this filter. It comes with installation accessories and primary filter mediums. Hoses, inlet pipes, and spray bars are included in the package, too.

Fluval FXCanister Filter ​You should never erase the Fluval FXin your shopping list. This particular canister filter has more handling capacity than its cousin, Fluval 40Specifically, it can deal with up to 400 gallons of water tanks. Even in high-demands, this filter doesn’t break.

Thanks to its Smart Pump Technology, the Fluval FXcan clean your aquarium efficiently and thoroughly.

Furthermore, FXis both compatible with freshwater and marine setups. It can effectively take out harmful microorganisms while preserving the healthy ones. As a result, you water pets will always have a clean home to stay!

Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter ​The Aquatop CF Series is one of the most innovative canister filters today. Specifically, it has a UV sterilizer which is not present even to the Fluval products. The sterilizer effectively is an other guarantee that all the harmful microorganisms won’t survive in the filtration process.

When it comes to construction, we can say that this canister filter is pretty decent. Most of its parts are plastic. However, you can ascertain that this machine is sturdy and ergonomic.

Cobalt Aquatics EXT Canister Filter ​This canister filter has a unique setup compared to its counterparts. Although it is a canister filter, the way it filtration system works is different.

However, you can guarantee that this machine is sturdy. All of its components are made from durable materials, which makes it resistant to damage and leakage.

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

It is undeniable that the Hydor Canister Filter is the newest in the competition. But it doesn’t mean that this device doesn’t have the “winning” factor. This one comes with five models to cater multiple aquarium sizes and setups.

One of its best-selling features is the “no water leakage design.” Therefore, you can guarantee that the water won’t spill out from the media baskets while it is running. Moreover, it has a smooth and quiet operation, too.

8. Fluval 20External Filter ​The Fluval 20is the little brother of the Fluval 40Therefore, you can expect its quality performance and impressive build. The only difference they have is that this filter works for 45-gallon water tanks. Everything else is pretty similar.

This canister filter could work on different substrates, as well. Moreover, you can also use this canister filter for either saltwater or freshwater setups because of its universal design.

Marineland Magniflow Canister ​The Marineland Magniflow Canister is a fantastic canister filter. From its design down to is performance, this canister is truly impressive. It is immune to water leakages, thanks to its water tight seals.

SunSun-China HW-304B ​We are quite curious why the SunSun-China HW-304B is an underrated canister filter. It should not be the case since this filter has impressive features and performance. Specifically, it has a rate of 52gallons per hour and can handle 150-gallon water tanks.

How To Choose Perfect Canister Filter

There are few important things that you should consider when you are purchasing a canister filter. We have explained the factors below that you should consider. Hope this will assist you to pick the best product from a huge number of canister filters!

Durability is a big thing to consider when you are buying a filter. The most of the canister filter is made of plastic. You have to pick one that is using high quality and durable plastic. A well built and durable filter will provide good service for a longer period.

Think about the purpose for that you are looking for buying the canister filter. All the filter doesn’t have the same filter capability. So if you need much filtration needs then you should go with a canister filter that has higher flow rate.

The motor is an important part of the canister filter. The motor pumps the water into the filter and helps with the filtration process. So you need a quality motor to pump the water more easily.

When you are choosing a canister filter you should keep the aquarium size in your mind. A canister filter will not provide the better result on all size of the tank. So you must check the gallon capacity the filter can hold at the time of purchase.

Always choose a product from a reputed brand. A brand that has a good reputation will not provide you a bad product. So do some research about the manufacturer brand of the canister filter before you make a choice.

You may need to service the canister filter frequently to get more good output from it. So taking the canister filter to the service center to service is not so good, also it will consume your time. In this case, you should choose a filter that is very easy to disassemble so you can do the required service on your own.

The budget is an important thing to consider. For better result, you should take look at the various product, see their features and the price of them. Buy a product according to your budget by doing research and checking their features.

It applies quick & easy push-button self-primer.

The media trays are fairly small. Really, the hardest part is putting the hose to fit.

I think that requires a little more of power when in operation.

Penn Plax Cascade 1500 – Good option for more than 7gallon aquarium


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Mechanism of the Filter

The mechanism following which it works is quite simple but innovative. The filter draws water out of the aquarium using a tube. There is an external device which helps the water getting filtered. After the water goes through the three-step filtration process, the water is put back into the filter.

Most of the Canister filters have a water pump attached to it and that is how they work. However, some cost effective tanks might not have it. They require an extra pump to operate. This is by far the most productive and successful way to keep your fish tank clean.

What to look for while you are buying the Best Canister Filters:

Once you head for a device as effective as this you need to take care of certain things. These kind of filters are usually very cost effective in the long run and comes at an affordable price if you consider the ROI. You need to take care of these particular things once you are planning on buying a Canister Filter.

Easy to clean : You have to take care of the fact that the parts are easily removable and can be cleaned with much ease. The hygiene of the fishes in the fish tank depends on how well the filter cleans the water. To ensure that activity we also need to clean the filter. Thus, this is one of the most crucial things to look for once you are settling for a filter. Filters should definitely be easy to clean.

Availability of Individual parts : Whenever you buy a canister filter, make sure that the parts are individually available. It can happen so that after using it for a long period of time, a certain part is not working well. If the individual parts are not available, you might just have to replace the whole machine. That way it becomes way too difficult and involves a lot of money. If the individual parts are available, you can save a lot of money.

Timely Replacement: There are several important parts of your filter that might need timely replacement. You have to keep a check on those parts as the accuracy of the filter is highly dependent on them. I would like to take the opportunity of naming a few, for example: impellers, rings, rubber gaskets are certain parts that need to be taken care of.

Choose a filter according to your need : The size of the fishtank that you own should decide the size of the filter that you are going to buy. We have made it easy for you by mentioning the gallons while reviewing the best canister filters.


This system is extremely user-friendly. First of all, it comes with a manual so that it is not difficult for the users to use it. Secondly, the operation is quite simple. You just have to click one switch for the filter to start operating.

Pros and Cons of Fluval GCanister Filter

During our review process, I found the device to be working exceptionally well and the sound and vibration ratio was down to minimum level. And ofcourse the device is aesthetically pleasing.

If you take the advantages into consideration, this is a definite buy.


This particular filter supports three-stage filtration and leaves no dirt in the aquarium ensuring the safety of your fishes. The AquaStop feature is also a brilliant addition.

The cast is designed in such a way that it stops too much noise from bothering the users. This in itself is a brilliant quality that has to be applauded.

Pros and Cons of the Filter

The Gis just a scaled down version of the G6, and is suitable for tanks of medium range and during the review I found the device to be pretty amazing.

This Canister filter is surely a go if it matches the specification of your fish tank.

Fluval External 40Canister Filter

If you have to look for the best aquarium Canister Filter, this is undoubtedly one of the most promising ones. I do not brag without a reason and I am totally up for it to prove it. This has the best features and is one of the worthiest filter canisters available in the market.

User- friendliness

There is a guidance manual provided with the item. This will help the users to set this up with their aquariums easily. Also, all the parts are individually available which can be of great help to the users once there is a problem with a certain part.

This item usually has a warranty of three years which is more than satisfactory.

Pros and Cons of the Fluval 40Advanced Filtration System:

You must understand that a few of the devices produced can have defects, and since it was not reported from the major consumer base, we can surely suggest to go for the device. Also, the warranty would serve as a backup all the time.

Hydor Professional 600 External Canister Filter

Hydor Professional External Canister filter is not very new to the market and was already a hit since it had started. The users have realized how great it was and now we will see some reasons why it makes to the top of the list. It is extremely user-friendly and hardly causes any trouble for the people who wants to use it.

Some Inbuilt Features of Hydor External Canister Filter:

This tank is specially designed to filter the water of aquariums that has up to 150 gallons of water. With such huge capacity, this filter is sure to be applauded and praised.

The filter mechanism of this particular filter is the selling point. It is mighty impressive. What it does is, it makes the water pass through the media baskets and therefore there is no water by-pass.

This filter is impressive yet for another reason and that is, it neither makes any sound nor does it create any kind of vibrations. You will find filters that do not make any kind of noise but filters without vibrations are not to found generally.

This filter has ball-valve connections that make the flow of water easier than the rest. This feature also helps to shut the flow easily. You can also remove the parts easily for cleaning them or fixing any kind of glitch.

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The Hydor Professional Series Multi-Stage Canister Filter:

This is undoubtedly one of the best of the C-Series. Taking into consideration all the good features the manufacturers have put in its system, this filter is a must have for all those who are madly looking for the one they need to keep their fishes safe and sound. This clears the filter amazingly with its multi-stage cleaning process and is one of the best for some correct and sound reasons.

Some Inbuilt Features Of The Marineland C-Series Multi-Stage Canister Filter:


The filtration involves a three stage process and is good. A three stage filtration process ensures that all the impurities and harmful substances are wiped out from the aquarium. It also has media trays to do the job better.

The noise that this particular filter creates might be soft but we cannot claim that the system does not produce any sound at all.

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter

There are hardly few things in this world that are totally worth the money you have to spend on them. I might be bragging when I take the name of this particular Filter. EHEIM Classic External

Canister Filter is undoubtedly on of the best of its kind. This is totally worth your money. If you want to look after your favorite fishes with the utmost amount of care, This is the perfect filter that you should get for your aquarium. This filter is equipped with a lot of advanced technologies that plays a huge role in helping the aquarium do its job better. If we look into the key features of this equipment, we will know well how this functions.

Pros and Cons of the Product

The capacity of this filter is huge. It can filter almost 9gallons of water.

The filter is totally worth the money you pay for it.

The built is good and very strong. You might not have to worry about the parts not working well even after a prolonged period of time.

The filter follows a three-stage filtration process which clears all the dirt from the aquarium.

There is a strong leakage control system installed in the filter.

There are some difficulties faced by the users while ordering for some replacement parts.

The customer service of the product is not that great as informed by the users.

This product is not that bad if you would want a filter that will continue to do its work for a long time.

The system supports three-stage filtration.

The packaging comes with an instruction manual for the users to find it easy to use.

The filter is designed in such a way that the maintenance is pretty easy and you can clean it up whenever you want to.

The priming is extremely easy and hardly involves any time. This saves a lot of valuable time of the users and makes this particular filter their favorite.

The price of this filter is comparatively lower than the other which makes it affordable. You do not have to worry too much about the money while you are worrying about something you love.

The capacity of this particular thing also needs to be applauded. iT filters for almost 150 gallons of water.

This system is also accused of some leakage after a prolonged use. This might annoy some users and stop them from using it. However, if taken care this can actually be stopped with no problem at all.

This filter is perfect for the people who wants to buy a Canister filter for their aquarium for a lower price. However, this totally takes care of your needs and does its job well.

How to setup a Canister Filter

The first thing that you have to do to setup a canister filter for an aquarium is that you have to distinguish the input and output pipe respectively and set them up inside the canister filter where they are supposed to be there.

Now, Place the Canister filter in a certain place from where it will do all that is needful. The next crucial step is to measure the distance between the ports of the Canister Filter to the Pipes that are placed inside ( both input and output).

You will have to cut the pipe that is provided taking into consideration the distance that you had measured. Try and keep in mind that the length of the pipe has to slightly more than the distance you had measured. This important step will avoid any kind of obstacles in the flow of the water.

Now you will have to connect the pipes to the respective input and output ports. You will have to make it a point that the input pipe is connected to the input port of the fish tank canister filter and the output pipe is connected to the output port of the fish tank filter system.


Canister vacuums are also popular — especially in the UK. They are a bit more versatile than uprights, because you can lift the canister and take it wherever you want to go. Canister vacs still tout a full-sized engine, so you gain versatility without losing power. They are known for working well on stairs, because you can carry the canister and use the long wand extender to tackle each level with ease.


These little mini-vacs are great for smaller jobs. Some are cordless, so they work well for quick and easy cleaning or as a compact on-the-go option for RV owners. It’s also a great supplement if your main vacuum doesn’t offer many attachments or if you’d rather not pull out your whole vacuum every time you spot a mess.

Most versatile

If you have asthma or allergies or are just generally concerned with air quality, a vacuum with a HEPA filter might be worth your consideration. Many of them are removable and can be cleaned with water until they need to be replaced. This might all sound really good, but some non-HEPA models can do just as well as their High Efficiency Particulate Air counterparts. So do your research — emission reduction can vary a lot.

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One of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need for your aquarium is a filter. The two types are canister and hang-on filters – which one is best for your needs?

There are several different pieces of equipment you’ll need to cultivate a healthy and thriving freshwater aquarium, but your filtration system may be the most important. The type of filter you choose will determine how quickly solid waste particles such as uneaten fish food are removed from the water column, and it will impact the quality and chemistry of your water. Two of the most popular types of aquarium filter are the canister filter and the hang-on filter. Which one should you choose?

BISSELL Zing Rewind Bagless Canister Vacuum

Your average nerd will describe canister vacuums as units that are low to the ground with long hoses and a wand attached at the tip. The BISSELL Zing Rewind Bagless Canister Vacuum lives up to this description with a highly portable design that allows you to cart the canister behind as you vacuum. Offering all the benefits of an upright, full vacuum but virtually none of the weaknesses, the Zing Rewind will feel right at home cleaning hard to reach places.

Want to know more about the Zing Rewind Vacuum? Here’s a sneak peek at the top features.

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum

Hands up if you’ve never had a run in with a product from Dyson?

Don’t worry; there’s no shame in it. While Dyson excels in creating absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking vacuums, the brand is also renowned for prices that are off the chain. The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum certainly lives up to the name. This sleek, modern vacuum not only stands out in a crowd, but it’s also by far the most expensive bagless canister in our entire top list.

So, what makes the Big Ball so darn popular? Hopefully, the top features will tell us more.

Electrolux EL4335A Corded Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum 

Here’s another interesting product with all the typical features of a high-end cleaner. The Electrolux EL4335A Corded Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum is the newest kid on the block designed for excellent performance everywhere. The vacuum is designed with all the accessories you need to get every inch of your house looking spotless.

You’ve heard it all, but I’ll bet you haven’t seen these top features in action.

Bissell 116Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum

If you’ve been paying any attention to recent trends in the cleaning industry, you’ll notice that canisters have taken the world by storm. Aside from being far more lighter, agile and maneuverable than upright models, canister vacuums are ideal for cleaning under tables, chairs, and furniture. It may not be the cheapest product in the shop, but the Bissell 116Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum boasts of class and elegance.

Still looking for a reason to buy the 1161? Have a peek at the vacuum’s top features.

Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Canister

If you’re looking for the ultimate, versatile way to clean your home, then there just might be a brand ho ha got your back. The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Canister has been getting plenty of hype for all the right reasons. One of the most critical features that have put this unit on the map has to be the Lift-Away feature that allows for simple and versatile cleaning all around the home.

Let’s have a look at the top features of the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Canister.

How We Tested

Picking out even one canister vacuum is definitely not an easy job. I’m sure you’re wondering how on earth we managed to get of the best canisters on the planet; and all on one handy list!

Well, I can tell you for a fact that it involved a ton of sleepless nights followed by longer, dusty days. Our review team took time to research some of the most popular models on the markets as well as interview life-long canister vacuum users to make your decision as less confusing as possible.

We recognize that different people look for different qualities in vacuums; that’s why we ranked multiple features of top models, their prices and function too. We even took into consideration their performance on different surfaces such as carpets, curtains, upholstery, cars and hard surfaces.

It’s safe to say that our testing methods took a lot of models through a whole lot of abuse in search of the best canister vacuum on the planet. But in the end, it was all worth it to give everyone products that have been tried and tested through fire, water, and ice and found fit for everyday use.

Consider Your Home’s Layout

One of the most common mistakes that most people make is to hop according to budget and budget alone. Sure, it’s always nice to save u on a few coins, but then what use is a vacuum that can’t vacuum? If you have an open floor plan, then maneuverability is probably less of a concern. Therefore, you could buy a heavier and less mobile vacuum without an issue. However, homeowners with plenty of tight and tiny spaces, small rooms and linear hallways will have to look for a unit with as much portability as possible. Similarly, you should look for a vacuum that’s lighter and pretty well-balanced if you’ll need to haul the unit up and down the stairs often.

Long Hose

Ah yes; the age old question of to bag, or not to bag? On the one hand, you’ve got your bagless units where you’ll simply have to rinse out the canister. On the other hand, there are the bagged canister vacuums where you toss the bag in the trash when you’re done vacuuming.

The obvious advantage with bagless vacs is that there’s absolutely no need to buy new bags every time you run out. Not only does this make it much easier to keep your home squeaky clean, but you also save money while you’re at it too. Likewise, anyone who relishes seeing their own progress, will be more than glad to have a canister with a dirt chamber that fills up as you clean.

Of course, the flip-side is that you’ll always have to empty out the dirt chamber without the merits of a neat and tidy bag. Definitely not the most ideal circumstances for those with allergies and dust sensitivity.

The appeal of having a throw-away bag is plenty obvious to anyone who’s emptied an unwieldy vacuum after a major clean. You simply can’t deny the simplicity of tossing an enclosed bag without making a mess. Plus, choosing a bagged cleaner increases your chances of getting one with top rate filters. Many of the top line brands combine HEPA filters with additional filtration systems built into the bags for allergy sufferers.

Care and Maintenance

Unlike full standing vacuum cleaner, canister vacuums do not really require a lot of cleaning or maintenance; especially if you have a bagged unit. The only maintenance practice you have to carry out is removing and replacing the dust bag every once in a while when it gets full. And don’t forget to clean the hose and any attachments after a particularly heavy cleaning job.

However, it’ the bagless unit’s that require more cleaning and maintenance. For starters, emptying the collection area can be quite a hassle and can be often messy. If you have any allergies, make sure you are well covered since dust particles will fly all over the place. But if you have a really massive, bagless canister vacuum, then it could be weeks or months before you have to empty it.

Biological filtration

The most important and absolutely necessary function of an aquarium filter system is for biological filtration. To sum it up, biological filtration in an aquarium is the process of converting the toxic ammonia produced by fish to relatively harmless nitrate. Without biological filtration, no fish can survive in a closed system such as in a home aquarium for long. To understand it further, you must first understand Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle which is one of the most important knowledge every fish hobbyist must learn.

Chemical filtration

Contrary to the common belief, the primary function of an aquarium filter system is not for the traditional sense of “cleaning.” Although mechanical filtration is part of the functions of many types of aquarium filters, the main function of an aquarium filter is (not) to get rid of fish waste or other debris in the tank water. The reason is simple, even if the aquarium filter has removed the debris such as fish poop and leftover fish food, it really has only removed it from your sight. The fish waste and fish food inside the filter is still polluting the water of the tank since the water is cycling through it every second. Thus, it is pointless to depend on the aquarium filter to remove fish waste and other debris from your fish tank. On a side note: To truly remove the debris from your fish tank, you should use an aquarium vacuum.

That leaves only biological filtration as the main purpose of the aquarium filter system. Without it, fish will die due to ammonia poisoning. Once again, if you have not read the article of Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle, we highly recommend that you read it in order to get a full understanding on biological filtration in an aquarium.

Important Note: Since all fish produce ammonia on a constant basis, the aquarium filter system must be running at all times to keep ammonia at zero. Daily water change is no substitute for an aquarium filter system. You will still need a filter even if you do water change multiple times a day. Do not skip the filter system when you set up a fish tank, and never turn the filter off when you have fish (aside the little time you spend on fish tank maintenance). An aquarium filter is as important as the fish tank itself. Neither should be there without the other one.

Now you know the importance of an aquarium filter system for a fish tank. There are so many different types of aquarium filters out there. Which filter should you use? To choose a filter system, you must first understand the different types of filter systems.

Power Filters

These filters are often hanging on the back of the fish tank, and creating a waterfall as the water is filtered and thrown back into the tank. They are fairly cheap, and they are the most commonly used filters for this very reason. They also have down sides, which include the noises (waterfall, as well as the motor). The intake and outflow of most power filters are fairly close to each other, which makes the intake continue to take in a lot of water which was just filtered. Power filters also have limited filter media, which makes biological filtration a less strong point. While it might be a good choice for small- to medium-sized fish tanks, personally I would not recommend a power filter for anything more than a 30 gallon (or 110~120L) tank that is heavily stocked with a lot of fish. You may however use two or more power filters for a single large fish tank, but it defeats the strong point of being cheap. AquaClear power filter is one of the best power filters available.

Internal Filters

Internal filters are placed under the water in a fish tank, thus they are also called Underwater Filters. They take space inside the tank. While they do fine for both biological and physical filtration, they are usually made for small- to medium-sized fish tanks.

Canister Filters

This is the very high end of aquarium filter system. They appear to be in the form of a large canister. The whole filter is usually located below the fish tank, with only its intake and outflow tubes visible inside the tank. Canister filters are extremely quiet. For example, I have an EHEIM Classic 221Canister Filter, and I can’t even hear anything at all without putting my ear directly against it. Canister filters also hold large amount of filter media, which means they are the most efficient filters for biological filtration. By placing the intake and the outflow tubes on the opposite sides of the tank, it solved the issue of the weakness of a typical power filter.

Canister filters are highly efficient, but they are not cheap. There is no need to get one unless your tank is at least 30~40 gallon (110~150L). I might be biased. This is my favorite type of filter system because of its high efficiency and 0 noise level.

Sponge Filters

This type of aquarium filters is the simplest form of filters, and thus the cheapest. Unlike other filters which have their own little motor to pump the water through the filter media, you will need a water pump or air pump to power a sponge filter. Sponge filter itself is nothing more than a piece of sponge on the top of a few other parts including a tube and an air stone (although usually you have to get the air stone separately yourself).

Sponge filter can be used independently, and it can be used as pre-filter on the intake of power filter or canister filter to increase biological filtration as well as pre-filtering debris in order to decrease the maintenance requirement for other more complex filters. The sponge filter is perfect for low budget aquariums. Unlike other types of filters, a sponge filter will not suck anything into it, thus making it perfectly safe for small fish fry and shrimp. It is the ideal filter for a breeding or fish fry tank.

The negative aspects of a sponge filter are: it takes extra space inside your tank, and it might not be pretty “decoration” inside your tank.

While it is not as efficient as a canister filter, multiple large sponge filters powered by a single air pump with split valve should be good enough for even a large aquarium of any size. It is also a perfect solution for those hobbyists who run many fish tanks on a limited budget. You do not have to buy expensive filters for every one of your fish tanks. Just one cheap sponge filter per tank hooked up to one or a few air pumps will meet all your biological filtration needs.

My favorite sponge filter is Hydro Sponge Filter. Three out of four of my smaller fish tanks have them running for years without a problem. If you decide to go for sponge filters, make sure you also have an aquarium air pump, air tubing, and air stone to power it.

Which types of aquarium filter should you choose for your fish tank?

To choose an aquarium filter system, you should look at two things: The level of filtration your need for your aquarium and your available budget. Larger aquariums require better filtration. Lower budget can only afford cheaper filters. It is easy to understand.

In summary, I recommend Power Filters for aquariums no more than 30 gallons. You may also use internal filters for the same aquariums if you don’t mind the space they require in the tank. A canister filter is the best choice for anything more than 30 gallons, if you have the budget and you like its quietness and efficiency.

All aquarium filters have a set of specifications provided by the manufacturers. What you must pay attention to are two important things:

Recommended fish tank size

This is the tank size recommended by the manufacturer to use with their filters. Note that most of them say “up to 20 gallon” or “up to 30 gallon”. It is the maximal size of tank the manufacturers say you can use with their filter.

A heavily stocked tank with more or bigger fish definitely requires more filtration than a lightly stocked tank of the same size. This “up to” is most likely used in the case where the tank is lightly stocked. You should always go one step up on this rating unless your tank is indeed very lightly stocked.





How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the Canister Filters by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Canister Filters wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of Canister Filters



Questions? Leave a comment below!

Chatting about Canister Filters is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better!

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