The Best Aquarium Canister Filter 2018

To ensure health and comfort of fish in an aquarium, water should always be clean and free of impurities and particles. You can save on fancy marine castles and seaweeds, but the quality of water shouldn’t be neglected – cleanliness is the main condition for the survival of fish. With the best canister filter for aquarium, you can create an ideal environment for your silent pets. We have prepared overviews of seven top-rated filter models that are definitely worth being considered.

Table of Contents:

What is a canister filter for aquarium?
Comparison Table: Best Canister Filters
Interesting facts canister Filter
How We Selected And Tested Aquarium Canister Filters
Top-7 Aquarium Canister Filters
1. - Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter
2. - Fluval Aquarium Canister Filter
3. - Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums
4. - Pingkay 200 Gallon Filter Aquarium Tank Fish Canister
5. - EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media
6. - Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
7. - SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH
How to Use Aquarium Canister Filters?
Our Recommendations

What is a canister filter for aquarium?

This is a device that forces aquarium water through the siphon tube, filter media, and back to the tank via a pipe, which makes it perfect for removing small particles, old fish food, waste products, feces, and dirt. With a correctly chosen canister filter aquarium requires cleaning less often, and water stays transparent and fresh for longer. Since different filter media can be installed in a filter, it’s highly adaptable to different conditions and can be customized according to the capacity of the aquarium, kinds of fish, and so on.

What makes this type of filters pretty popular is the fact that they can be used for large aquariums (40 gallons and larger), and perform chemical, biological and mechanical cleaning. This kind of filters is good for saltwater, aquariums with live plants and cichlid. The only drawback of canister filters is that there’s no air contacting water during cleaning, so biological filtration and oxidation isn’t good enough for them.

Comparison Table: Best Canister Filters

 

Brand

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter 

Fluval Aquarium Canister Filter

Fluval Aquarium Canister Filter

Marineland Canister Filter

Marineland Canister Filter

Pingkay aquarium canister filter

Pingkay aquarium canister filter

EHEIM aquarium canister filter

EHEIM aquarium canister filter

Hydor aquarium canister filter

Hydor aquarium canister filter

SunSun aquarium canister filter

SunSun HW-302

Capacity of aquariums

Up to 100 gallons

 Up to 100 gallons

 Up to 100 gallons

 Up to 200 gallons

66 gallons

60-100 gallons

Up to 75 gallons

 

Speed of processing (gallons per hour)

 265 gph

383 gph

360 gph

 525 gph

250 gph

280 gph

264 gph

 Dimensions

 11.5 x 17 x 10 inches

14.5 x 7.6 x 17.8 inches

14 x 11 x 18 inches

11.5×11.5×19 inches

 6.3 x 8 x 13.98 inches

8 x 10 x 19 inches

13 x 10 x 15 inches

Types of filtration performed

Mechanical,biological, chemical

Mechanical,biological, chemical

Mechanical,biological, chemical+

Mechanical,biological, chemical+UVs

Mechanical,biological, chemical

Mechanical,biological+

Mechanical,biological, chemical

 Is filter media included?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Material

Sturdy blue plastic

Black plastic

Black plastic

 White plastic

Transparent and black plastic

Black plastic

White plastic

Container capacity

 Yes

 No

 Yes

 No

 No

 No

Yes

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Interesting facts

An aquarium without filtering

  1. Carbon media is effective in removing toxins along with small impurities and dirt particles.
  2. The golden rule of choosing an aquarium (and the filter accordingly) is “One fish per gallon for the tank”.
  3. The replaceable filter should be replaced once a month depending on the volume of the aquarium, a number of fish and media used.
  4. It takes about six weeks to set up an optimal environment in a new fish tank. As soon as it’s done, maintaining it gets easy.
  5. If you don’t maintain a normal level of nitrates, they can cause problems with algae that cannot be eliminated with filtering and cleaning.

How We Selected And Tested Aquarium Canister Filters

To figure out what the best canister aquarium filter is, we surfed the Net and compared ratings of various models. We read numerous aquarium canister filter reviews to underline benefits and disadvantages of various models and reveal their peculiarities. Seven worthy models we chose were tested: we measured the level of toxins (ammonia, nitrates) before and after forcing water through the filters, and evaluated its visual clarity.

Top-7 Aquarium Canister Filters

Here you can see basic characteristics of every model and find out about their advantages and drawbacks. Each aquarium canister filter review on the list comes with recommendations for use.

Penn Plax Cascade aquarium filter

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Cascade canister aquarium filter is designed for aquariums with a capacity of up to 100 gallons. It performs all three kinds of filtration (chemical, biological, mechanical) and is allowed to be used in marine and freshwater tanks. Media consists of several layers: the floss pad cleans fine particles, and the activated carbon absorbs toxins and dirt from water. The coarse sponge layer ensures sufficient biological filtration by boosting the growth of bacteria and removing waste, fish food and ammonia from water, as well as nitrates. The tubing connectors can be used to adjust the device’s flow speed. Besides, this canister filter for 100 gallon aquarium features 4 locking clamps and a motorhead with in-built O-ring ensure a tight fit.

Pros:

  • provides all three types of filtration;
  • easy to install;
  • suitable for large fish tanks;
  • allows for using any combination of media.

Cons:

  • it’s pretty loud;
  • breaks pretty quickly and often should be replaced under warranty.
Fluval Aquarium Canister Filter

Fluval Aquarium Canister Filter

If you’re searching for a very efficient solution, pay attention to the best aquarium canister filter from Fluval: it features a high flow rate (more than 350 gallons per hour) and has a special design that allows keeping up to 50% more water than models of the same size. The contact with the filtration media is maximized. Several filtration baskets are already equipped with all necessary media. Thanks to 1-motion lock clamps, installation is a one-minute affair. The kit also includes an intake strainer, 2-layer foam screen, lift-lock clamps, and the instant prime system.

Pros:

  • works with fresh and saltwater aquariums;
  • has three filtering stages;
  • a very high flow rate.

Cons:

  • leaks at the corners of lift-locks;
  • the O-ring has to be replaced often.
Marineland Canister Filter

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums

Marineland aquarium canister filter performs all stages of cleaning taking filtration to the next level. The model has a black diamond carbon filter that removes odors and water impurities, biological filter balls that ensure biological filtration, and the polishing filter that gets rid of the finest dirt particles. The self-priming function is present, as well. The filter works with both marine and freshwater aquariums.

Pros:

  • performs all three types of filtering;
  • a democratic price.

Cons:

  • the outlet tube is pretty weak;
  • doesn’t have UV light for killing bacteria;
  • metal hose clamps for fixation aren’t included;
  • starts leaking quickly.
Pingkay aquarium canister filter

Pingkay 200 Gallon Filter Aquarium Tank Fish Canister

Those who own big fish tanks should opt for LKF’s canister filter 200 gallon aquarium that comes with literally everything required for installation: input and output tubes, curvy bars, UV light bulbs, bio-balls, input covers, spray bars, and a lot of other stuff. The device performs 5 stages of filtration and may be used for aquariums with fish and turtles. UV light eliminates viruses and parasites, while the prefilter on the top removes coarse dirt to prolong the lifetime of all other filters. Water flow can be adjusted with an adapter lever.

Pros:

  • suitable for large fish tanks;
  • features UV light for killing bacteria;
  • pretty cheap;
  • the kit features all you need for installation.

Cons:

  • pretty loud;
  • requires changing the water once a week;
  • claimed water flow of 525 gph seems to be degrading over time.
EHEIM aquarium canister filter

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

This small canister filter aquarium is designed for low-capacity fish tanks with both salt and fresh water. There are two filtering systems: mechanical and biological, as well as automatic oxygen enrichment. The model is compacts and features tools and details for installation. Additional accessories include hose, inlet pipe, spray bar, etc. The silicone sealing ring on the pump prevents leaking and ensures a tight grip after cleaning. Filter media and sponges are included in the kit. According to multiple reviews,EHEIM aquarium canister filter is silent and easy to care about.

Pros:

  • compact and lightweight;
  • non-expensive;
  • silent;
  • the kit includes tools and spare parts for installation.

Cons:

  • priming is challenging, though it’s required only once;
  • clamps break very quickly.
Hydor aquarium canister filter

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

If you require the best canister aquarium filter system with all three types of filtration, pay attention to Hydor Professional Canister filter. The designers managed to create a perfect ecosystem for water filtering in this relatively small, but efficient device that can be equally useful for fish and turtle tanks with marine and fresh water.

Pros:

  • performs all stages of cleaning;
  • has a tight sealing, doesn’t leak.

Cons:

  • spare parts for replacement are quite expensive;
  • relatively expensive;
  • doesn’t have UV filtering.
SunSun aquarium canister filter

SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH

SunSun aquarium canister filter applies a high water pressure to clean water properly and get rid of the finest dirt particles. The pump forces water via an under-gravel filter for double filtration, and 3 media layers are complemented with an adjustable spray bar for adjusting the flow rate. The self-priming pump eliminates the necessity to fill the filter manually, and single valve disconnection makes cleaning and installation very simple. This is the best rated canister aquarium filter for silent filtration of both salt and fresh water.

Pros:

  • a compact mini canister filter aquarium;
  • features all stages of filtering;
  • has a self-priming function.

Cons:

  • 1-year warranty (many other manufacturers give a 3-year warranty);
  • starts leaking too soon.

How to Use Aquarium Canister Filters?

Before starting to use the device, you should figure out how to set up a canister filter for aquarium. As a rule, models come with all necessary spare parts for installation. Make sure that they’re all assembled before placing the filter on its position. Then connect the inflow and outflow pipes to the tank following the instructions. Place it on the spot where no one disturbs the filter.

How to Prime a Filter?

Although some aquarium filters have the self-priming feature, and others come with detailed directions and instructions, you can try one useful trick. When you have assembled the filter, submerge it in the aquarium and plug it in. Tilt the canister on its side to have the impeller submerges and start it up. Hold it like that for one minute and then tilt upwards to get rid of air. Now it should be primed.

How Often to Replace Filter Media?

It depends on a number of factors, including the size of aquarium, amount of fish, water, and the type of media used. To find out whether the filter should be replaced, check the water with a test kit that evaluates the level of ammonia and nitrates in the water. Make sure that these levels are normal: they should be close or equal to zero. If not, it’s time to change the filters. Don’t forget that the filter itself should be cleaned, as well. Ideally, you should do that at least once in 3 months.

In What Order the Filter Media Should be Placed?

First, make sure that you get the right type of media for the filter. As a rule, layering from back to front looks the following way:

  • ceramic rings;
  • coarse sponge;
  • bio media;
  • wool pad.

Where should the Purigen (chemical filtration layer that removes ammonia, nitrates, and so on) be placed? It’s better to put it where the water exists, so it can be placed before it goes to ceramic rings.

The filter leaks. Why?

It may mean that either the spare parts are damaged, or all joining parts aren’t properly sealed. Re-assemble the filter following all instructions strictly, and check all details for wholeness. All broken and damaged parts should be replaced. Make sure that the system is sealed normally; otherwise, air will get inside and form air bubbles.

Our Recommendations

To make sure that your fish and turtles are happy and healthy, you should create the ideal ecosystem in their tank, and the quality of water should be the primary concern. Keeping it free from dirt and rich in oxygen is vital for the inhabitants of aquariums, so you can’t ignore such an important thing as filtering. Canister filters are versatile and efficient because they’re designed for cleaning marine and freshwater and removing the vast majority of dirt and toxins. Each best aquarium canister filter review on our list will give you the idea of what this or that model is capable of, and whether it would be suitable for your aquarium. You just need to get a canister filter of appropriate flow rate and buy all necessary media – all the rest will be done by the device.

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