Best Canister Filter: A List of the Top 10 Filters Available Today

Fish Tank - Best canister Filter

Owning an aquarium requires you to keep it as clean as possible by ensuring that you remove all harmful debris and dirt. However, the concern for most people is which filter can do the work appropriately.  Over the years, canister filters have become popular, with more people using them. However, the best canister filter should be superior mechanically, chemically, and biologically in terms of the filtration abilities.

Canister filters differ significantly in terms of the features, functionality, durability, and efficiency. It is advisable to be careful when choosing the best canister filter. Whether you are a beginner in fish keeping or an expert, you will need to have an effective filter, as it helps keep the aquarium clean. This article is a review of the best canister filter options in the market. We have carried out this research to help you make an informed decision as far as choosing the best canister filter is concerned.

Canister Filter Frequently Asked Questions

Just like any other pet product, buying an item that will offer you the best results is something that should be taken very seriously. The following is a list of frequently asked questions about the best canister filter options that we reviewed to help make your shopping experience less stressful.

1. What Is a Canister Filter?

This is an aquarium filter that removes water from a fish tank through a valve, filters it and then brings it back when clean.

2. What Does a Canister Filter Do?

Canister filters clean dirty water from the fish tank and return clean water with no bacteria or dirt particles into the fish tank.

3. How Does a Canister Filter Work?

Canister filters eject water from the fish tank through the valve and run it into filters through a motor which cleans the water. It is then pumped back into the fish tank.

4. Where Can You Buy a Canister Filter?

This product can be found in any online store such as Amazon.

5. Is a Canister Filter Safe for Fish?

Canister filters are safe for any type of fish and do not have any harmful effects on the fish.

How We Reviewed

Fluval Canister Filter for Aquariums - 406 - 100 Gallon

Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)

We understand how important it is for you to get the best, safest and most affordable filter for your pet fish. Therefore, we put in a lot of effort and energy into this research to put together a dependable list of the best canister filters. In our research, we reviewed the products based on their features, and pros and cons. We hope this review will help you find the best canister filter for your needs.

Overall Price Range of a Canister Filter

The best canister filters differ significantly as far as the price is concerned. The prices differ due to the durability, material used in making the product, the ease of use and maintain and a variety of other factors.

What We Reviewed

The following is a list of the top ten best canister filters that we reviewed.

  • Fluval Canister Filter
  • EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter
  • Fluval External Filter
  • Fluval Advanced Filtration System
  • Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
  • AquaTop Forza Canister Filters
  • API Filstar XP Aquarium Canister Filter
  • Aqueon Canister Filter
  • Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter
  • Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter
Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)
  • Multi-Stage Filter that produces healthy aquarium water, freshwater or marine aquariums
  • Features Smart Pump Technology for optimal filter performance, efficiency and management
  • Self-starting filter-just add water and plug in. Head height (maximum): 3.3 m (10.8 feet)
  • For aquariums up to 400 gallons

Features

This canister filter features a combination of locking nuts and rim connectors for the hoses which give you the assurance of a very tight system that cuts down on leaks significantly. It is made of black plastic and red highlights which gives it a classy look. The plastic material used to make the canister filter is very firm and durable making it very long-lasting.

The canister filter is suitable for both salt water and fresh water aquariums. This implies that it will not corrode easily even with extra salinity. The canister filter has a multi-stage filtration system that ensures any particle that is left floating in the water is cleared out without any problem. It also comes with a feature that makes it clog-free hence there is no chance of the canister filter ever clogging up.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Powerful
  • High capacity
  • Large storage
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Used in both salt and freshwater aquariums
  • Clog-proof

Cons

  • A bit bulky
  • Quite difficult to clean
  • Higher power use
EHEIM Classic Canister Filter 2213, Classic 250 - PetOverstock
  • Permo-elastic silicon sealing ring fixed on the pump head for easy and safe closing after cleaning
  • Equipped with filter sponges and/or loose filter media
  • Accessories included: spray bar, inlet pipe, hose and installation accessories
  • Comes complete with filter media (EHEIM Mech & Substrat Pro) and valves
  • Permo-elastic silicon sealing ring fixed on the pump head for easy and safe closing after cleaning

Features

This canister filter features clamps that are made of stainless steel. It is very durable, giving you great performance and ensuring it lasts for a long time. The clamps are very firm and this reduces leakage on the filter.

The motor on the filter produces low noise levels, hence giving you a silent operation. It is also made with an energy efficient filter. it consumes less power and still delivers a high flow rate

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Pros

  • The installation process is easy
  • Very effective in water filtration
  • Low energy consumption
  • Does not leak often
  • It is silent
  • Easy to clean
  • Has an impressive capacity

Cons

  • The ceramic impeller is prone to break
  • Getting replacement parts is hard
Fluval Canister Filter for Aquariums - 406 - 100 Gallon
  • Multi stage filtration for healthy fresh & saltwater aquariums
  • Suitable for aquariums up to 100 gallons. Flow Rate: 1450 LPH (383 US GPH)
  • Sound dampening impeller design for a quieter operation. The Fluval 406 Canister Filter has a unique square shaped canister design that holds 35 to 50 percent more water than round canister filters of similar size allowing better water flow through a complex cleansing path that maximizes contact with the filtration media
  • Equipped with a clog proof intake strainer and a dual layer foam screen. To prevent water from dripping onto the receptacle or plug,a “drip loop” should be arranged by the user in the cord connecting appliance to a receptacle
  • Built with a patented Aqua stop Valve, multiple filtration baskets, and rim connector assemblies; 3 year warranty.Media Capacity: 8.5 L

Features

This external filter has a unique square-shaped canister design that holds 35 to 50% of water, hence allowing better flow of water through a complex cleansing path that maximizes contact with the filtration media. It is equipped with clog-proof intake strainer and a dual layer foam screen which prevents water from dripping onto the plug. It also has a multi-stage filtration system for healthy fresh and saltwater aquariums, making it corrosion free.

Pros

  • It is quite silent
  • Easy water control
  • Effective priming technique
  • Built with high-quality materials
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Suitable for both salty and fresh water
  • Clog-proof

Cons

  • The impeller is not durable
  • Can start to leak after several months
Fluval G6 Advanced Filtration System
  • Powerful filtration system for use in both freshwater and marine environments
  • Easy to use; One button self-priming technology. Mechanical Area (foam)- 386 Sq.in (980 Sq.cm)
  • Easy access and ability to view water temperature, flow rate and conductivity
  • Equipped with silicon gasket providing superior sealing and long-term reliability
  • Suitable for aquariums up to 160 gallons; Filters 265 gallons per hour; Voltage - 110 V 60Hz

Features

This advanced filtration system features smart pump advanced microchip technology, which automatically pumps water every hour. It also has a smart water change port which helps eliminate lifting heavy buckets, making work easier. The motor on the filter produces very little noise, giving you a silent operation.

Pros

  • Silent operation
  • Smart water change port
  • Better hosing
  • Self-pumping
  • Easy to maintain
  • Excellent cleaning capacity
  • Enough space for biological media
  • Great outlet with a good flow

Cons

  • Filter media space is limited
  • Takes time to remove and replace the lid
Hydor Professional External Canister Filter – Aquarium External Filter – Telescopic Intake Tubes, Easy Priming – EcoSystem in a Box – Biological, Mechanical, Chemical Filtration – 350 to 280 gph
  • The hydro professional 350 Aquarium External 280GPH Filter is a complete eco-system in a box
  • All the biological, mechanical and chemical filtration that any requires for a healthy and long-lived Aquatic experience
  • From the easy priming feature to the telescopic intake tubes, everything had been made easy

Features

This Hydor Professional Canister Filter comes with four locking clamps that offer more support to the motor and prevents water leakage as well due to its tight seal. Its motor is designed to produce low noise levels, giving you quiet operation.

Pros

  • Strong suction power
  • Great water flow
  • Easy to disassemble for cleaning
  • Simple installment
  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Smooth running
  • Quiet operation
  • Has a safety lock system

Cons

  • Water leak issues
  • Carbon package does not include
  • It is pricey
AquaTop 550 GPH Forza FZ13 UV Canister Filter with 13W Sterilizer
  • Suitable for tanks ranging from 125-175 gal
  • 550 gals/hr
  • Multi-stage Filtration System w/ UV

Features

This canister filter comes with an impressive multi-stage filtration system that filters water, leaving your fish tank clean and fresh. It also has a powerful, well-built motor that pumps water very quickly without creating a lot of noise. It has a UV bulb which provides protection for the fish against bacteria and algae that float in the water.

Pros

  • A powerful flow rate
  • Easy  to use
  • It has an easy priming system
  • Comes with a safety lock system
  • It is affordable

Cons

  • Does not have many replacement parts
  • It leaks when valves are disconnected
API FILSTAR XP FILTER SIZE L Aquarium Canister Filter 1-Count Box
  • Contains one (1) API FILSTAR XP FILTER SIZE L Aquarium Canister Filter 1-Count Box
  • Provides very powerful filtration for crystal clear water and healthy environment.
  • Designed with self-priming & quick disconnect features to allow safe and easy stop & start of the filtration when maintenance is needed, anti-airlock system to prevent unexpected filtration stops, and anti-noise feature to prevent vibration against cabinet/floor.
  • Combines strong flow rates with large capacity for filtration media that removes compounds, colors and odors 3x more effectively than carbon alone.
  • Allows the use of various filtration media available in the API range, and meets your specific freshwater and saltwater requirements.

Features

The Filstar canister filter comes with three media trays that flush against the sides, therefore, preventing water from bypassing the filtration media. It also has an up-flow design that allows large particles to settle at the bottom of the filter implying that cleaning and maintenance of the filter becomes much easier.

Pros

  • Durable and well made
  • Large media trays
  • Easy and quick to disconnect valves
  • Has a quiet operation
  • Easy to prime
  • Great value for the money

Cons

  • Tubing is stiff
  • The tubing comes in multiple pieces that have to be connected
  • Does not include a spray bar
  • Not enough media included
Aqueon Canister Filter, 100-150 Gallons
  • Included is a unique hang on the back water polishing unit that makes maintenance quick and easy, simply replace the cartridge
  • Also included are more traditional water return options in a spray bar or water director
  • Three Media Baskets with Carbon, Coarse Foam, Bio Balls and Bio-Ceramic Rings already included
  • Quick disconnect valves, pump locking heads and all hoses included
  • 400 Gallons per Hours flow rate

Features

The Aqueon canister filter includes a convenient back-hanging water polishing unit which makes maintenance quick and easy. It is also easy to replace the carbon cartridge which saves you time and trouble when it comes to maintenance. It is designed for use with both fresh water and salt water tanks with no risk of corrosion.

Pros

  • It is cost efficient
  • It is very quiet
  • Has an easy prime

Cons

  • The manual has to be read carefully
Cascade CCF3UL Canister Filter For Large Aquariums and Fish Tanks – Up To 100 Gallons, Filters 265 GPH
  • CASCADE CANISTER FILTER FOR FRESHWATER OR MARINE ENVIRONMENTS: the Cascade 1000 (CCF3UL) has 3 media baskets, works at 265 GPH, and is recommended for Aquariums up to 100 gallons. It measures 11.5 x 17 x 10 inches.
  • STATE OF THE ART FEATURES OF THE CASCADE 1000: flow valves that rotate 360 degrees for easy maneuvering in even the tightest aquarium cabinets large capacity media baskets allow aquarists to customize to their media needs push button primer allows for a quick and easy prime of the filter includes a spray bar, tubing, directional spout for customization, and filter medium.
  • USE ANY COMBINATION OF MEDIA: floss pad for removing particulate matter and a course sponge that provides abundant surface for promoting bacterial growth (to remove ammonia and nitrites) included free with purchase
  • SEE BELOW FOR DIAGRAM, THE CASCADE 1000 INCLUDES: Flow rate control cut-off valves two independent directional 360 degree rotating valve taps swimming pool – style hose clamps quick, easy, push button self-primer extra-large capacity stackable filter medium containers with lift-up handles floss pad and coarse sponge included, free with each canister filter easy lift alignment clamps that release vacuum suction sturdy tip-proof base
  • FILTER MEDIA OPTIONS BY CASCADE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, SOLD SEPARATELY: see below for details, sold separately is media such as: bio-floss, bio-sponge, bio-rings, filt-a-pack pro-z, and filt-a-pack pro-carb-z.

Features

This product features a multi-stage filtration system, which means that it gets all the dirt out without leaving any particles. It comes with an easy push-down button which enables water to be siphoned into the filter for about 5 to 10 minutes. It has a spray bar that helps to make water and aeration circulation easier.

This canister filter features high-quality tubes and connectors that offer great performance for long periods. It also has a price tag that is very affordable hence giving many fish owners the ability to purchase one.

Pros

  • Has a self-priming feature
  • High-quality tubes and connectors
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Comes with a spray bar
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Priming can be a bit difficult
  • Consumes a lot of power
Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter
  • No priming; does not need gravity. Can sit below, beside or above your tank.
  • Ideal companion to the Cobalt Micro UV
  • 3 year warranty

Features

This canister filter comes with a lot of filter media, which provides plenty of water flow in and out of the canister. It also has a unique valve design that allows the pump to keep operating even after the canister is disconnected. It has four filtering layers that help in the elimination of toxins in the water column.

Pros

  • Has a very reasonable price point
  • The canister does not require priming
  • Has a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Does not work on larger tank
  • The intake pump takes a room in the aquarium

The Verdict

Fish depend on clean water to live healthy lives. Canister filters are a great help in keeping the fish tanks clean. The best canister filters can keep your aquarium clean for as long as it is powered without the stress of having to do a full clean each time. The safety of your fish is very important, and that is why you need to have the best canister filter.

Based on what we reviewed, the Fluval Advanced Filtration System is the best canister filter a fish keeper with an aquarium can purchase. This conclusion was reached due to its numerous features. This includes its silent operation, total ease of use, its great outlet that has a good flow, its smart water change port, its excellent cleaning capacity, and the way it creates enough space for biological media.

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