Having an aquarium is something great so that you can get to spice up the room and make it look even better.
With the aquarium having fish and other inhabitants is bound to get dirty at some point. This means that there is the need to get the best canister filter for aquarium to clean it. The filters can always vary from one model to another in performance and features.
You always have to get the best filter for freshwater tank, for reef tank or for saltwater tank if you want the cleaning done correctly. You might be lucky to get some that work for all types of aquariums. Let us get to learn more about the best filters for your aquarium.
Table of Contents
- How to Choose a Canister Filter
- Best Canister Filter for the Money
- Best Canister Filter Reviews
- Benefits of a Canister Filter
- Type of Canister Filter
- How Does a Canister Filter Work?
- Canister Filter FAQ
How to Choose a Canister Filter
The use of the canister
Before you can actually choose the model, you have to think of the purpose of getting the model in the first place. This is crucial so that you end up with a model that works for you. When it comes to the purpose, you have to think of the filter capabilities and the filtration needs that you might have. Take the time to go through various models checking to see if they can easily handle the filtration process that you might have in mind. If the model can handle the volume of your aquarium, offer better flow and many other features, then it would be great to have it for the filtration process.
The product durability and adaptability
The type of construction that you get on a model is important for choosing the best canister filter for aquarium. The construction will influence the durability and adaptability of the model. You need a model that can work great and deliver the performance you really want. Most of the canister filters would come made of plastic with a few metallic parts. As much as they would be made of plastic, it can be strong plastic meaning that it would deliver the best performance over a long time.
The adaptability of the canister filter simply shows the different aquariums where it can be used. Some models are made to be great in a way that they can be easily adjusted to fit on various aquarium sizes.
The motor is crucial for pumping the aquarium water into the canister filter for it to get filtered. For performance reasons, it is easy to see that you need a model with a strong motor. A great motor will always deliver the best water flow rate. It would help push more water into the filter in less time. Depending on the type of motor, some might need more maintenance than the others. The high maintenance filters would often need that you keep opening up the filter for the maintenance. You need a model that would stay working for longer before the next service.
The motor would also determine if the model would make a lot of noise or not. Some motors are quiet so that you get to enjoy a room without noise, even when the filter is turned on.
The tank size is quite another important feature to consider when choosing the best canister filter. Some of the filters would be great for nano tanks while others would be great for large tanks. The good thing about most manufacturers is that they often give the rating of their filters. You can now end up getting the best filter for 20 gallon tank, 30 gallon tank, 65 gallon tank or any other size of aquarium you might have. What is important is that you get to understand what the canister can deliver before choosing. No need to end up with a smaller capacity filter when the tank needs a lot more.
There is no doubt that the type of brand would influence if you get a great canister or not. Most good canister filter brands would always make different types of filters that standout as the best. The top brands for making the canister filters have been mentioned in the product review section. You simply have to opt for any of the model and end up with the right model. You would be looking to pick a great model based on the experience of the brand. Almost anyone would feel comfortable knowing that the filter is from a company that has been in existence for years.
Before you can decide to buy anything, most of the time you would be having a budget in mind. The budget is what guides to picking one model over the other. You can get cheap canister filters or even expensive ones.
The type of brand also often affects the price you get for the model. Choosing the best canister filter to buy should be based on the features you would be getting for the price. It is important that you get to choose one that can deliver performance in relation to the price you are getting. It is amazing how sometimes you might get more performance even with a cheap model.
Best Canister Filter for the Money
|Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter||Fresh & Saltwater Aquarium|
|Fluval External Filter||Fresh & Saltwater Aquariums|
|EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media||All of Aquariums|
|Marineland Magniflow Canister||Freshwater and Marine Aquarium|
|API FilStar XP-XL Canister Filter||For Aquariums up to 265 Gallons|
|Fluval FX Canister Filter||For Aquariums up to 400 Gallons|
|Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter||For both Aquatic and Turtle Aquariums up to 25 gallons|
Best Canister Filter Reviews
1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter
Penn Plax has been one of the most preferred aquarium filters for having the best filters you could possibly get on the market. The manufacturer has made some top models that can be used in a variety of aquariums. The design of the multi-stage filtration system is great that it works for both the freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
The use of the Cascade 1500 model will help you with filtering more water in less time. For this model, it will filter up to 200 gallons of water with an impressive flow rate of 350 gallons per hour. Since it is multi-stage, it will combine the different materials at each stage to keep the water coming out of the other end being fresh with no contaminants. Each time the water is filtered, you end up with crystal clear water that even the fish can enjoy living in.
The installation process of a filter is often an important consideration. For this model, all that is made to be easy. The model is sent to the buyer with all the important accessories for installation. When you follow the instructions as given by the manufacturer, you should be done with the installation in less than 30 minutes. You should notice some difference in the water appearance at the end of the day when you start the filtration process.
The primer process is made to be easier by simply pressing a button. This should make the start up of the filtration process to be quite easy. It is not the same as compared to those models where you could have used the mechanical way.
- It is an affordable model
- It comes with a powerful filtration mechanism
- It has a sturdy construction
- The installation process is easy
- Some feel it has a loud operating noise
2. Fluval External Filter
Ask anyone who has used a top brand aquarium filter and the answer would be always one from Fluval. This brand has managed to coin itself a fan base that understand all about quality and best performance when it comes to enjoying the uses of an aquarium filter.
This model is made to offer more versatility and premium performance. The model will provide superior filtration important for all different types of aquariums. It can be large-sized or small-sized. That is not all, as you get even get to use the same model for both the freshwater and saltwater aquariums. The superior filtration capabilities are due to using a large media capacity and an impressive flow rate.
The motor is an important aspect of the filtration system. For this model, it has been engineered to contain a powerful motor to provide the strong flow rate you need to keep circulating the water for filtration.
So, how about the noise level? For some people, the noise level might end up being a deal breaker. Well, you no longer have to worry about the noise levels as the model offers quiet operations. The impressively engineered bearing helps reduce the impeller vibrations that would normally cause the noise people dislike.
- It is made to offer multi-stage filtration
- It offers instant priming
- It is quiet
- It has a powerful motor
- It is an expensive model
3. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media
Many users would feel comfortable having an aquarium filter that delivers the best performance all the time and still looks sturdy. You get nothing short when you choose this model. The model is built to be solid and sturdy so that it works for longer as compared to other cheap models. Because of such strong construction, you would get this model being liked by many people. Parts such as the clamps are made of stainless steel to provide more clamping force and resist corrosion keeping the model strong.
The manufacturer made the installation of the filter to be as easy as possible. If you have installed a filter before, then you should find this model being quite easy to install. For those who are new to the model would have to take more time with the filter to get it working. The con is that the diagrams provided are not so clear to help you understand the installation.
For this model, the flow rate is something you will always admire about it. As compared to some close models, you will get more flow are as compared to the other close competitors. Even with the high flow rate, the model is still made to be energy efficient. You would not have to worry that it would take up more energy efficient so as to keep your energy bills low.
The capacity is great so that you get to filter different types of aquarium. With this model, you can always filter from aquariums with a capacity of 40 gallons to 300 gallons. You simply have to check the various variations of the model to pick the right one for your aquarium. You would not regret from the performance you get.
- You get silent operation
- It will not leak over time
- It is effective in water filtration
- It is energy efficient
- The ceramic impeller breaks easily
- The replacement parts are hard to get
4. Marineland Magniflow Canister
You always get to enjoy a lot more performance when you get to choose this model. It is made to come with a multi-filtration system that offers easier and faster filtration process you need. The powerful performance is thanks to the upgrades that the manufacturer has done to the model. What you would be getting is an upgraded model that can deliver on quick, and effective performance for filtering the aquarium water. You should be able to use the same model for both the freshwater and marine type of aquariums.
The canister lid is made to come with watertight seals. This should keep the water inside the filter at all times to avoid issues of water spills. As much as it has strong seals, it is still easy to lift the cover up from its position if you have to do some cleaning. The design makes it easy for filtration process. The design will force the water through the filtration media and not around it. This should make the filtration process faster and effective.
Self-priming feature makes the startup of the model faster. There is a quick prime button on the model to ensure you get to experience the best performance each time. You should have an easy time starting up the system and get it filtering in no time. There is the use of the valve block implemented in the model for quick shut down of water if the need arises. It will always separate the motor house from the water flow so that it is easy to do maintenance on the filter.
- The water will have increased clarity
- It has the self-priming feature
- The canister lid has watertight seals
- Quick filtration process
- It tends to produce a rattling noise
- The instructions are not clear for all
5. API FilStar XP-XL Canister Filter
The basic function of the aquarium filter is to make the aquarium water clean and free from the contaminants. This model goes further to keep it even clearer than before. The moment you get to use it for a few hours, you would definitely see the difference. The manufacturer uses an impressive technology to make it possible. The use of the Bio-chem zorb is what leads to the clean and clear water. The compound is a resin-carbon blend that does a lot more as compared to using just carbon alone to make the water clear.
For some models, you would have to do hand-pumping or siphon manually to get the filter started. All the hard work has been reduced to self-priming feature. The manufacturer recommends the use of a cup of water to get the model started. There are clear instructions in the manual on how to achieve this. You should easily have the model priming in just a few seconds and get it working. The patented air lock system is important to help eliminate the need to reprime again.
The maintenance of any filter for an aquarium is something important that most people always consider doing for themselves. The model is made to be easy to disconnect so that you can do the maintenance with so much ease. The self-locking mechanism will stop the flow of water to avoid the accidental water spills during the maintenance process.
One other thing that makes it great should be its quiet operation. You would not disturb the peace of the fish.
- It offers a superior design
- It is reliable
- It has a solid construction
- It offers a strong flow rate
- It lacks a spray bar
- The tubing is stiff for flexibility when installing
6. Fluval FX Canister Filter
This is one of the high capacity models you would get on the market right now when it comes to the best aquarium filters. The FX series is known for better strength and durability. You would get a lot more performance as compared to some other models in the industry. Even with the high capacity power, you still get a model that does not need a lot of maintenance. Such kind of impressive power will easily sweep the whole tank removing the debris and dirt thus leaving the tank clean in less time. With more debris removed, you do not have to keep filtering the aquarium more often.
The high water output can make the model usable for the different sizes of aquariums. The FX4 offers up to 5 filtration stages, while the FX6 can do up to 6 stages. With all the filtration media, cleaning your water is now made easier. The water path is made to be sequential so that cleaning is faster and better. The water would be made cleaner as it moves from one layer to another. This type of construction is seen to be more effective as compared to the models that would just force the water through the layers in one shot.
You still get a multifunctional utility valve important for draining the canister if you have to perform a seamless water change. You can now drain and easily refill the water directly from the filter without disturbing the fish. You should now spend less time and effort getting the exchange done without affecting the tank setup and inhabitants.
- It offers large volume
- More filtration media
- It is easy to do a water change
- It comes with autorun feature
- It is quite expensive
- It is noisy for some people
7. Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter
For those who own small aquariums, then this filter should just work fine for you. The model is made to work for the compact aquariums up to a capacity of 25 gallons. The model might be small, but it should still offer the best tight force filtration process. The effective nature of the model will easily clean and keep the aquarium clean as compared to some other small models. This means that you do not have to spend a lot more on the big models if you have a small aquarium.
For those who might have had problems with other filters working on their salt water aquariums, you can now switch to this model. What it does is to give you the best performance by cleaning the water and setting the correct level of salter in your water. It is the same thing with the fresh water aquarium. It is responsible for making sure it is fresh enough to make the inhabitants get a clean environment.
From its sizing and weight, the installation part should not be much of a problem. You would always get that it is easy to install the model and get the filtration process started. The filter hanger is important to keep the model working great in any aquarium by just hanging it in position.
The model still uses high quality ABS material for its construction. This should make the body strong and usable for a long time. It will not degrade easily on its performance and appearance even when used more often.
- Great for small tanks
- Made of strong material
- It is quiet
- Easily removable filtration media
- The flow rate is a bit weak
- It has short hoses
Benefits of a Canister Filter
- A canister filter would deliver more performance in terms of high flow rate as compared to the other types of canister filters. You can easily get models with impressive flow rates of even 320 GPH. You should now have the filtration process done faster and in less time. Less time means less energy used to run the filter.
- Another important benefit should be the multiple filtration media options available. You would get to choose the right type of filtration media that you feel work great for your case. Also keep in mind the maintenance needs of the filtration media before making up your mind.
- The setup process of the canister filter is easier compared to the other types of filters. For most scenarios, you would only have to adjust a few things and get the model in position. The manufacturers also offer clear instructions you could follow to get the aquarium filter into position with ease.
- Cleaning and maintenance of the canister filter is easy. You do not have to spend a lot of time cleaning the model as they often come with an easy way of cleaning. The same cannot be said for some other types of filters. The disassembling process is as easy as assembling so that you get to perform the maintenance with ease.
- The canister filter would not produce a lot of noise when working most of the time. The motors found on the canister filters are often quiet to ensure you have an easy time filtering the water without vibration and noise.
Type of Canister Filter
The canister filters would often come in different types of shapes and sizes, but they often fall into three categories. You can have canister filter for saltwater, freshwater or one that works for both.
Depending on the type of brand, you would get most working for both scenarios. The best type of canister filter is the one that works for both saltwater and freshwater as no need to get a model for each aquarium.
How Does a Canister Filter Work?
The filter media of the canister filter can vary as some models come with UV sterilizer while others would have the canister filter media. The two might have different ways of filtering the water, but in the end, you get to end up with clean water always.
The filter would have an inlet and outlet fitting clearly marked. The work of the inlet is to draw water from the aquarium into the filter to be filtered and then it would be let out through the outlet fitting back into the aquarium. With the use of a pump in the tank, you can have the water easily sucked into the canister filter for the filtration process. Some would come with motors to help with creating the force of getting the water into the filter. Once the water is in the filter, it will be passed through the filtration media to get rid of the debris and the microorganisms making the water clean and clear. With the filtration done, the water is then pumped back into the aquarium.
Canister Filter FAQ
1. What is the best canister filter for turtles?
If you are going to choose the best canister filter for turtles, make sure you check out the features the manufacturer has to offer on the model. Depending on the type, you can find one recommended for the turtles.
2. What is the best canister filter for saltwater aquariums?
Most if not all of the mentioned canister reviews in the review section above easily work for the saltwater aquarium. You simply have to make sure that they are cleaned more often to keep the filtration process better.
3. What is the best canister filter for freshwater aquariums?
All of the mentioned filters will work with your freshwater aquarium. Make sure to keep in mind the aquarium size before getting one for yourself. Check out the buying guide in this article to understand more about what you are to consider.
4. What kind of media for canister filter?
The kind of media should vary from one filter to another. Make sure that if you going to change, you get to choose the one recommended by the manufacturer.
5. How to set up a canister filter for aquarium?
The setup process is often easy based on the type of filter you have. If you get a good manual, you will even have diagrams showing how to get it done. Take the time to follow the steps to get the filter in place.
6. How often to clean canister filter?
You can always consider the recommended time by the manufacturer, but ideally you need to clean the model about every 3 months. This should make the working to be effective.
7. How to clean canister filter?
Disassemble the unit from the aquarium first. Proceed to take it apart as told from the manufacturer’s instructions. Follow the steps clearly to easily clean and put together the filter in the end.
8. How to remove air from canister filter?
The reason why you have air in the canister is because of the broken seals or poor joints. Make sure that there is proper sealing to avoid cases of air bubble into the filter in the future.
9. How to prime a canister filter?
The priming method varies from one model to another. Some would even come with a self-priming feature where you simply press a button to get started. Others might need to add a cup of water to the canister to get it started.
10. How often change canister filter media?
The filtration media will vary from one model to another, so you have to think of how to effectively make the changes you need based on the manufacturer instructions. You can change the media when you also notice that it seems to be clogged and does not filter as faster as before.
11. When to replace canister filter?
Replacing the canister filter should not be hard and can be done based on the manufacturer instructions. You simply have to remove the old one from its position and get a new one in.
There is no doubt that you now understand what a great canister filter for your aquarium should contain. We have given you the best choice canister filter reviews, yours is to now choose the right model that works for you. The Fluval External Filter could be a great choice if you are still not sure which to get for yourself. The model features a number of specifications that should work great for various options that you might have in mind. Its self-priming feature definitely gets it working great and better than when you would have to siphon manually to get the canister working.
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