Designed mainly for those who own a large aquarium, canister filters, despite not really being the easiest to maintain, happen to be quite effective in how they work and what they do. Well, after all, at the end of the day, it all comes down to keeping the ecosystem of your fish as healthy as possible right?
Designed to work with either or a combination of mechanical, chemical or biological filtration media, canister filters can be depended upon for freshwater, saltwater, reef tanks or even the turtle tanks.
With this much convenience and compatibility, they are indeed the go-to choice in most cases. That being said, let’s outline what really defines the best canister filter and see the best options you can get your hands on this year.
Benefits of a Canister Filter
Canister filters have quite the advantage once set up. As such, let’s take a look at the benefits of these bad boys that you won’t get on just any filter out there.
Versatile Media Selection
One of the biggest advantages you get with a canister filter that you can’t just get on any other is the different options you have when it comes to media selection.
In addition to being able to choose different types of media, the media capacity is also quite high. With a larger surface area for the filtration media, beneficial bacteria will thrive better than if it were otherwise.
Still, on the media, it’s worth mentioning that they do boast a strong mechanical filtration which basically functions to remove unwanted debris from the water. With the filtration you get from this filter, you’ll hardly have to worry about the water being unfriendly for your fish.
High Water Flow Rate
Since they are designed to work with the large capacity aquariums, the flow rate on these is quite amazing and could go as much as 300GPH. The main advantage of this is that the filtration process takes a much shorter time which saves you plenty of time and energy.
Other than the high flow rate, they also do function to add water volume to your tank. If you choose correctly, you could get one that adds up to an extra gallon of water to your tank. The advantage you get from this is that it’s difficult for the toxins to accumulate and at the same time, it’s easier to maintain water parameters.
The last thing you do want is too much noise production, right? So, as it turns out, canister filters just so happen to be quite an amazing option for anyone looking to avoid noise and vibrations. The main reason behind this is that you can have your filter set up in a cabinet and go for one whose motor is sealed tight enough which makes it difficult to hear the impellers spin
Easy Cleanup and Maintenance
The best canister filter for aquarium is basically one that’s easy enough for you to clean up, don’t you agree? Well, with utmost adherence to the manufacturer’s manual and the correct tools, you can have your filter clean in no time. After all, the canister unit is situated outside the tank which makes it easy to clean and hook it back up without tampering with your tank
Top 9 Best Canister Filters Of 2020
Here’s what you’ve been looking forward too- let’s have a look at the top canister filter picks you could get in 2020.
Number #1: Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)
Fluvial is by far one of the best brands in the manufacture of aquarium filters. With the FX6 Filter, you get an amazing 400 gallons which makes it a good canister filter for a large aquarium plus plenty more. Here’s what you should look forward to
Cleaner results are guaranteed with the 563 GPH
The higher the flow rate is, the better the performance. With this much of a flow rate, you will undoubtedly get much cleaner results regardless of the type of tank you have.
It’s also worth mentioning that the filter material can easily be placed in removable stack media baskets that are designed to eliminate water bypass. The baskets can also be able to hold up to 5.9 liters of media and designed to be positioned in such a way that they work best with your aquarium.
Still, on the baskets, routine maintenance is made simple since they come with instant release T-handles that allow for this.
Optimal filter results are achieved with the smart pump
Something else you’ll highly appreciate on this filter is the presence of an electronic circuit board which monitors the pump round the clock. The circuit also functions to measure the speed and force of the impeller which then results in a powerful output and does have high energy efficiency as well
Has got a self-starting feature for efficiency
With the inclusion of this feature, you can count on this bad boy to have consistent performance even in the event of a power cutout
- Designed to eliminate trapped air for high efficiency
- Has got a self-starting feature for utmost convenience
- Multi-stage filtration process achieves better results
- it’s a little bit too heavy
Number #2: Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
With this canister filter being available in 5 different sizes, there’s no way you could go wrong with it. Let’s find out what makes it worthy of our best canister filter reviews, shall we?
Multiple filtration process for better results
As far as the filtration media is concerned, this one comes with the mechanical, chemical and biological media. With all of these working together, the filter will be able to get rid of the debris as well as other contaminants hence providing the perfect ecosystem for your fish.
Boasts an amazing 345GPH flow rate
The higher it is, the better, right? Well, with this variant, you get to have an amazing 345GPH and as such, be able to get rid of as many contaminants as possible. With the convenience of having this outside of your aquarium, there’s no way you could go wrong regardless of whichever size you choose.
Has got a simplistic design for easy maintenance
Boasting to have a simple design from the easy priming to the telescoping intake tubes, you’re bound to have it easy when it comes to maintenance. At the same time, it will be amazingly convenient
- Has got 3 different filtration media for reliability
- Boasts a high flow rate for better results
- Comes in an easy design for utmost convenience
- It’s a little bit noisy
Number #3: Penn-Plax Cascade 700 Canister Filters
One of the features you’ll highly appreciate on this canister filter is the ease of use but besides just this, it holds up quite well as far as the performance is concerned plus it comes in different variations for differently sized aquariums.
Easy to maintain with the cut off valve
First things first, a feature that you’ll not get in just any aquarium, it does have removable flow valves that can easily be removed as well for canister maintenance. It’s also worth mentioning that it does have an easy to use push button primer for quick and easy setup.
Designed to work perfectly well with large aquariums
Considering it does have as high a flow rate as 350GPH, it stands out as possibly the best canister filter for large fish tank. In addition to the large size, it does have the swimming pool style rotating valves for the flow control.
Customizable design to meet different needs
Yet another appreciated feature on this bad boy is the 5 large media baskets that can be set to meet the needs of all aquarists
- Removable flow valves for easy maintenance
- Has got an easy to use push button primer for an easy setup
- Includes large capacity stackable media trays for multi-stage filtration
- There’s a little too much bypass
Number #4: Fluval External Filter
Despite the simple design, it does come in, there’s a lot more to look forward to ranging from the sound dampening feature to the multi-stage filtration process. Here’s everything that makes it special
It’s got aqua stop valves built into it
So as to make it easy to maintain without having to remove the hoses, it does have aqua stop valves that make this easier. Simply stop the water flow, do all the maintenance you need, replace everything and you’ll be good to go.
Enjoy silent operation with the sound dampening impeller
Not only is it designed for efficiency, but it also is meant to give you a quiet operation owing to the fact that the impeller has got a sound dampener. To add on to the efficiency, there is also a clog-proof intake strainer and a dual layer foam screen that prevent water from dripping into the receptacle or plug.
Has a multiple filtration process for better results
Last but not least, there are 3 filtration media in this all of which ensure the ecosystem of the aquarium is healthier. What’s more interesting is the ability to customize the filtration with the inclusion of removable basket media and an adjustable flow rate
- Has got a 383GPH and 50% more water capacity
- Includes customizable and removable media baskets
- Comes in an easy to operate design has a quiet operation
- The hoses are a little too short
Number #5: Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter
Looking for something versatile? The 26000 Ext Canister Filter from Cobalt Aquatics ought to do the trick. It can be set up pretty much anywhere and the performance is guaranteed to be amazing nonetheless. Here’s all that makes it special
Has got different setup options
Starting off with one of the most unique features on this filter, you’ll appreciate the fact that there’ll be no priming needed on this one. This way, you can set it up with ease below, beside or above your tank and have an amazing performance nonetheless.
Enjoy continuous running with the innovative valve design
With the included innovative valve with 5/8” hose barbs, the pump will continue to run and have all the vital circulation on the display even with the canister disconnected during maintenance.
Designed to offer an easy assembly process
The clips included in this canister filter are easy to open and close and in addition to this, the removable media trays make it easy to maintain and clean up.
- Utmost flexibility on any aquarium, terrarium or vivarium setup
- The innovative valve ensures a continuous running
- Easy to open and close clips plus a removable media tray for easy maintenance
- There are no bags for the ceramic rings or charcoal
Number #6: Sunsun Hw304B 525GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit
Designed to work perfectly well with aquariums that have a capacity of up to 150 gallons, this bad boy is all around and stands out as one of the best as far as maintenance and efficiency are concerned. Here’s why you should check it out.
Has got a built-in UV sterilizer
Boasting to possibly be the best canister filter with UV sterilizer you’ll come across, algae and spore elimination are at its best hence resulting to clear water.
It also does have mechanical, chemical and biological filtration for water clarity, color, and odor. The present porous ceramic rings do enable the thriving of beneficial bacteria while the bio balls promote gas exchange
Utmost filtration is achieved with a high flow rate
In addition to the above water purification options, it also does have an amazing 525GPH flow rate that ensures the water purification process is at its best. Since the media trays are flexible, you can easily be able to add filtration media when need be.
Enjoy minimal maintenance with the self-priming pump
By eliminating the use of manual siphoning, maintenance is made much easier which means you’ll have less work to do while at the same time not have to worry about the filtration being compromised.
- Includes 3 different filter media for utmost clarity
- Its self-priming nature makes maintenance easy
- Filtration is made better with the high flow rate
- Leaving the UV on for too long may burn the trays
Number#7: EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media
You should be able to get this in either of 3 different options depending on your tank size but besides just this, you’ll enjoy what it has to offer as far as the efficiency is concerned. Take a look at every reason you should check it out.
Safe closing is guaranteed with a silicone sealing.
Since leaking could be a problem at times, this canister filter comes with a Permo-elastic silicon sealing. This is fixed on the pump head which makes it both easy and safe to close the filter once you clean it up.
It’s complete with all the essential filter media
Owing to the fact that it’s only about the filtration media when it comes to the best canister filter for aquarium, this one does have both the EHEIM Mech and Substrate pro. With both of these, the health of your fish will definitely be at its best. It also is equipped with filter sponges and/or loose filter media for efficiency.
Also included in the package are the valves to regulate the water flow and other accessories such as the spray bar.
The high flow rate ensures maximum filtration
Being as high as 164GPH for this 90-gallon filter adding on to the mechanical-biological filtration process, you’ll find this quite efficient as far as eliminating contaminants and keeping the water crystal clear is concerned
- It comes with complete filter media included
- Purification is achieved in a mechanical-biological filtration process
- Includes all the essential accessories for an easy setup
- The tubing is a little too stiff
Number#8: Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums
From the multiple filtration process to user-friendly operation, there’s no way you could go wrong on this one whatsoever. How about we take a look at what’s behind the simple design of this bad boy
Get efficiency at its best with the 3-stage filtration
The higher it is the better off you are, right? Well, by incorporating the mechanical, biological and chemical filtration media, this can be counted on in the removal of debris, growth of bio spires and the elimination of any discoloration or odors.
To make the process much better, it uses the stack and flows filter trays which force water through the media layers.
The self-priming design makes it friendlier to use
With the inclusion of the self-priming start up with the quick priming button, you won’t have to worry about doing any mechanical siphoning which gives you a lot less to worry about as far as the efficiency of the filter is concerned.
Regardless of whichever size you choose, it does have a spill free maintenance that is neater to work with and since there is a quick release valve included, water flow can be shut down for easy maintenance.
- Includes a multiple stage filtration process
- Has got a self-priming design for minimal maintenance
- Includes quick release valves to regulate the water flow
- The plastic outlet diffuser tube is a little too weak
Number#9: AquaTop CF Series Canister Filter
There’s no way you could go wrong with a flow rate that’s as high as 525GPH, right? Other than this, you can get it in a smaller flow rate depending on the kind of tank you have. it also holds up quite well in keeping the ecosystem healthy enough for the fish.
It’s ideal for fresh and saltwater aquariums
As far as versatility is concerned, there’s no way you could go wrong with this one. Not only can it be used it as a filter for salt and fresh water, but you’ll also appreciate the fact that it does have 3 large filtration compartments in which you can add the filtration media of your choice.
Features a 9-watt UV sterilizer
As far as getting the best aquarium filter with UV sterilizers concerned, the 9-Watt on this one should be quite efficient. It further enhances the water purification process by preventing the spread of bacteria, algae and spores hence ensuring the health of your fish is top notch.
The high flow rate ensures filtration is at its best
To add on to the above-mentioned features, the flow rate is an amazing 525 GPH that ensures the water turnover is at its best. Considering it does have a 3-stage filtration process, this bad boy definitely does stand out as one of the best in its class.
- Features a 3-stage filtration plus a UV sterilizer
- High water turnover for optimal purification
- Has got a quiet operation for versatile usage
- The extension tube for the water inlet is short
How to Choose the Ideal Canister Filter for Your Aquarium
Wondering how you could set apart the best from the rest? Here’s the 101 guide to choosing the best canister filter- no better way to get a bang for your buck.
The Tank Size and Flow Rate
A feature that you must consider when choosing a canister filter, the tank size you settle for should be arrived at depending on the size of your aquarium. Be sure to read the description of the tank so as to be sure of the compatibility.
As for the flow rate, it is measured in Gallons per Hour. In this case, I’d recommend that you go for one that has a turnover of at least 4x the size of your tank. So, if you have a 100-gallon tank, you’ll go for a canister filter with a GPH of 400
This is basically what pumps the water into the filter so that filtration can take place. It’s therefore quite straightforward as to why you would need to have an amazing motor on your canister filter.
The type of motor you will get in most canister filters is the Epoxy type which is mounted on the head with the impeller upside down. This is preferable since it prevents any damage to the impeller from dust, moisture or debris. This kind of motor is sealed and it’s therefore quiet and demanding of less maintenance.
Besides the Epoxy motor, you could also get a magnetic-driven motor. The magnetic coil on this one functions to power the impeller. The difference to the Epoxy variant, however, is that these ones are self-priming and as such, you don’t have to siphon the water manually. On the downside, they aren’t’ completely sealed which could compromise their longevity depends on how well you take care of them
Canister filters normally come with two valves one of which functions to control the input while the other controls the output.
Now whereas most canister filters will have a valve that controls the input and output, what you’ll want to look for is one whose valves can be closed completely. This makes it easy when it comes to maintenance since the water will stay in the hoses and you won’t have to re-prime the filter whatsoever.
For the impeller, look for one that has protection against debris. Since debris could result to the impeller hamming and damage the motor, in the long run, the best canister filter for you should be one with a seal, gasket or O-ring on the impeller which should then prevent it from damage.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to optimize on the filtration process and there’s no better way to do this other than by going for a canister with as much filtration media as possible.
As compared to one that has only one kind of filtration media, a canister filter with the mechanical, chemical and biological filtration media is guaranteed to give you much better results.
The stocking level and flow rate of a canister filter are dependent on each other in the sense that the flow rate you want depends on how heavily stocked the tank is.
With more fish, for instance, you’ll want to have a high flow rate since the amount of waste produced is more. If you’ll be using it on your turtle, you’ll also need a higher flow rate as compared to someone who is using it simply on fish.
Without doubt, it’s much simpler and definitely more convenient to have a canister filter regardless of the size of your tank. At the end of the day, it’s all about efficiency and longevity which and I’m positive that the buying guide and best canister filter reviews should conveniently give you both of these.
One more thing, it’s important to go through the user manual during installation, maintenance and usage of your canister filter for optimal performance.