When you own an aquarium, at some point you will need to filter the water as a way of cleaning it and removing some harmful dirt and debris.
The question that comes to mind when thinking about this:
Which filter would be the best for the aquarium?
The canister filters have grown in popularity based on the number of people that are now using them.
This is because the best canister filter to use would come with superior mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration capabilities. These filters can still be used for saltwater, freshwater tanks, for reef tanks, or even for turtle tanks – and they will just work fine. This impressive compatibility is what makes the canister filters highly appreciated by many people.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Using a Canister Filter
- Best Canister Filters for the Money
- Canister Filters Aquarium Reviews
- How to Choose a Canister Filter for Aquarium
- How does a Canister Filter Work?
- Canister Filter – FAQ
- Video Demo
Benefits of Using a Canister Filter
High flow rates
Whenever you compare the canister filters to other types of filters, it is easy to see that they come with better flow rates. Some can even go up to 320 gallons per hour. This means that the whole filtration process for your aquarium should take less time. Whenever it takes less time, you get to save time and energy too. If you are going to get one, just make sure that you check out various models to understand their flow rates before settling on one.
Flexible media selection
The canister filters often come with many types of filtration media you can select from; you simply need to know how such media works before making the purchase. You can read a number of reviews on the media to see if it has always served to meet the owners’ expectations. You can also check on the amount of maintenance needed for such media before buying into its operation. You do not want to end up taking it for maintenance every few cycles.
Easy setup processes
Setting up a canister is seen to be the easiest based on the process of setting up other types of filters. It is always important that you follow the instructions as given by the manufacturer, just to make sure you get it done right during the setup process.
Clean with a lot of ease
Cleaning the canister filters is easy when you have the right manual and all the right tools. Most of them come with parts that can be disassembled easily so that you can access the internal components for cleaning. The manufacturer manuals are often easy to read so that you can perform the maintenance without any issues. Once the filter is cleaned, you can now put back the components and mount it again, ready to do some filtering without missing any debris.
Any person would want a filter that does not produce a lot of noise when it is working. The best way to avoid the noise and vibrations is using a canister filter. The filters have been tested over by a range of uses and the customers always come back online to talk about their experience. Most would agree that they had a pleasant time having a nap in a room with a canister filter on.
Strong mechanical filtration
The whole idea of filtering your fish tank water is that you can remove some of the unwanted components in the water. This could include debris, among other things, introduced into the water over a couple of days or weeks. Running your canister filter should easily filter the debris and prevent them from going back into the fish tank. This means that your marine life will have a clean environment necessary for survival. You should often clean the filter to ensure all the debris do not get a chance to get back into the fish tank.
Best Canister Filters for the Money
|Fluval External Filter||- For Fresh & Saltwater Aquariums|
- Up to 100 Gallons
|Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter||- For Fresh & Saltwater Aquariums|
- Up to 200 Gallons
|EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media||- Up to 92 Gallons|
|Hydor Professional External Canister Filter||- Up to 150 Gallons|
|Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter||- For Freshwater or Marine Aquariums|
- Up to 400 Gallons
|Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter||- Up to 175 Gallons|
|Cobalt Aquatics EXT Canister Filter||- Up to 55 Gallons|
Canister Filters Aquarium Reviews
1. Fluval External Filter
This new model emerges among the canister filters for having amazing features people would love. This model comes with superior filtration techniques that make it suitable for all types of aquariums. You can still use it with freshwater and saltwater aquariums and it will work just fine. The advanced motor makes sure that there is a strong flow rate maintained in the aquarium even during the maintenance.
You might have experienced other filters making noise when doing the filtration process. This one is engineered to minimize the vibrations and the overall noise produced when in operation. This makes it suitable for saltwater, freshwater, reef, and discus fish tanks, which often do not like the vibrations. The multistage filtration process is important for this model, as it ensures minimum maintenance is needed and maximum versatility is supplied.
The stages include the mechanical stage, chemical stage, and biological stage. The manufacturer has equipped the model with aquastop valves that will stop the water from flowing without even disconnecting the hoses; this should eliminate the leaks and overall maintenance mess. Due to its design, you can use it for up to 100-gallon tank with ease.
2. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter
Penn Plax has the reputation of offering heavy duty canister filters and this one is not any different. With this model, you get a multi-stage filter, which means that all the dirt is removed in every possible way. In the end, your fish will now enjoy a cleaner environment thanks to the filtration capability of the model. It is made to be multipurpose as you can use it for either salt or freshwater aquariums. This means that it can be perfect for goldfish who would love a clean environment. When it comes to capacity, it boasts of handling more water as it is often used for 200-gallon tanks.
When it comes to installation, you should have an easy time doing it. The manufacturer provides you with all the necessary accessories so that you do not have to spend extra money installing the filter on your tank.
3. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media
The Eheim Classic canister filters are among the most-used external filters today on the market. They come with various features that often meet the needs of many people who are looking to use them.
For this model, it comes with a very solid build that assures of your durability. You will not have to buy a new filter after a few months. In the place of plastic clamps, Eheim uses small stainless steel clips that lock the motor head to the canister. Without a doubt, they should keep the motor in place for longer. When it comes to the setup process, you might have to struggle a bit with the diagrams in the manual, but the process itself is easy.
The manufacturer has made the model energy efficient so that you do not have to worry about the overall power consumption. With its impressive flow rate, the canister filter has been rated the best for goldfish tanks.
4. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
Hydor Professional Canister filter might be new in the industry of canister filters, but it sure knows how to make people talk about it. This starts with how it is built. The model comes with a strong and sturdy construction so that it can serve you for longer. You will not get even the slightest impression that it is made from a cheap plastic. The base has 4 rubber feet to give it the best stability you can get in a canister filter.
Setting it up should be a real breeze, even for those who might not have used a canister filter before. You should be done setting up the filter within just 30 minutes. Make sure to refer to the manual just in case you have issues connecting a few things.
The noise level of the filter is quite low so that the marine life is not disturbed. With such quietness in operation, it is great for aquatic turtles, reef tanks, and saltwater and freshwater tanks.
5. Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter
As expected, this is an amazing canister filter, as it comes from a reputable company. To start us off, it comes with the super capacity to handle more filtration and still maintain its compact size.
The model is also equipped with a number of technology features that make it efficient. One to mention is the self-priming start system that should be able to prepare the canister for the filtration process as soon as you hook it up.
The intake strainer is made to be clog-proof so that it can work longer. You will not have to worry about the debris getting past it, which would have impeded water flow in a planted aquarium. The aquastop valves available on this model make your maintenance a lot easier, even for tropical aquariums. The work of the valves is to separate the housing from the filter in a single step. This will eliminate the case of leaks and simply enhance maintenance for the user.
6. Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter (370 and 525 GPH with UV)
The CF series is among the popular canisters today on the market as they come with a different feature, which is a UV sterilizer. Most people would be skeptical whether the UV sterilizer works or if it is just a marketing gimmick to get people buying the product.
Starting with its construction, you get a solid filter, even though it has many plastic parts, which might not be attractive to many people. The work of the UV sterilizer is to eliminate the microorganisms such as algae, bacteria, and other parasites found in the water and sand substrate of your tank.
Setting it up for a fish tank might be easy if you have installed a canister filter before. For new users, you might have to work extra hard, as the manual is also not so clear. With a flow rate of about 370 GPH, you can be sure it is something that you would love to use more often. The capacity, on the other hand, is still within the respectable range. You can use it for tanks up to 175 gallons.
7. EXT Canister Filter
The manufacturer decided to take a different approach to making sure that people get to clean their aquariums. Its design makes it a great device to easily place inside the tank. This also keeps it separate from the main body of the canister. This model does not come with a pump that might have needed you to prime and disconnect first before you can actually start filtering the water. This now makes it even easier to use for those who are new to setting up the canister filters on their tanks.
You will also not have to turn off the water supply, as it comes with its inline water pump separately housed for simpler installation and operation. This model also comes loaded with four layers of filter media. The media includes a sponge filter, filter finishing pad, activated carbon, and ceramic biorings. This should keep the filter working correctly for a long time. This filter is quite great for 150-gallon tanks for it to work effectively.
How to Choose a Canister Filter for Aquarium
Purpose of the canister
The purpose is quite important to keep in mind when choosing a canister filter. This simply means you have to keep in mind the filter capabilities and your filtration needs. Ask yourself questions such as whether or not the canister will be able to handle the volume, flow, and versatility, among other needs. It would be beneficial to get a canister filter that has a better flow rate so that the filtration process does not take a long time to complete.
Adaptability and durability
It is important to keep in mind where the canister filter will be located. For those who have a stand for the aquarium, you can simply conceal it in one of the cabinets of the stand. For a tall filter, you might have to look at other ways to keep it hidden or to complement the fish tank. When it comes to durability, look for a filter that is well built so that it can guarantee good service. Most will be made of plastic, so just make sure it is a strong plastic for longer life.
The motors are important for helping with pumping the water into the filter for the filtration process to start. It is easy to see that you will need a great motor that can easily help in pumping the water. The motor also needs to be reliable in terms of efficiency and maintenance. Some motors might need more maintenance than others. The high maintenance filters might mean that you will tend to open them up more often. That is not always a good thing for a canister filter. The motor will also determine if it can operate quietly or it will be making a lot of noise when turned on.
Not all the canister filters will work best for the various tank sizes. The tank size is still an important factor to consider when going out to look for the best canister filter. You have to read the product description and understand the size of the tank it can easily filter. In most cases, they would be rated 10-gallon, 20-gallon, 29-gallon, 55-gallon and even more. If this information is missing, you might have to contact the customer support team to help out. This will give you an idea of which tanks will get filtered best with the canister filter.
Without a doubt, the type of brand often plays an important role when it comes to buying a canister filter for either a small tank or large tank. The brands reviewed in this buying guide are all good in what they do. You can always be sure that the products delivered will work as advertised. If you opt for other brands, make sure to do a little bit of research to see how their products work. Some manufacturers will claim to offer the best products only to end up with disappointments.
It is common that each person would have a budget that he is willing to spend on a canister filter. The best budget canister filter to buy should be based on a number of things and not just your ability to afford it. It would be important if you can take the time to check out different prices before settling for a budget. You can always be surprised by just how much you can get for the price if comparisons are made. The online stores are a great place to start if you are looking to check a variety of canister filters on the market available today.
How does a Canister Filter Work?
It is common to find a number of people asking about how a canister filter works. This is important so that they can know how best to utilize them, and also for maintenance too. You are likely to get various types of canisters, some with a UV sterilizer while others with canister filter media. Understanding how they both work should be beneficial to the user.
You might have noticed that the canister filters would be mounted on the exterior, with one inside the aquarium depending on how it works. It will have inlet and outlet fittings which will allow for the water to flow in and out of your filter. These tubes are adjustable so that they can be fitted easily to the filter and back to the tank.
The filters will have an in-tank pump, which is vital for forcing the water into the canister for filtration. Other models might have mounted motors and will rely on gravity to start the system. Once the canister filter is filled with water, the internal pump will then force it out of the filter back into the tank. This whole time, the water will pass through the various filtration layers inside the canister. The membranes will trap all the debris and other microorganisms, allowing only clean water to go back to the tank.
As you can see, there is the need to have regular maintenance of your canister filter. The maintenance process is often straightforward, as you simply need to disconnect the valves and open it. You can clean the internal components based on the directions given by the manufacturer. You should use the same manual to put back the components before mounting the canister filter back to its position.
Canister Filter – FAQ
1. What is the best canister filter for saltwater aquariums?
All the canister filters we have reviewed above come with impressive features which make them be used in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. You simply need to check them out based on which works best for your aquarium needs and then proceed to choose appropriately.
2. What is the best canister filter for freshwater aquariums?
As much as there are many that can be used in the freshwater aquariums, in this case, you can opt for the EHEIM classic canister filter or the Penn Plax models. They often come with enough capacity to handle the large tanks that you might need filtering in less time.
3. How to prime a canister filter?
You might find that most of the canister filters would come with the directions on how to do this, but still you can use one common trick from us. Once you have assembled it, submerged it in the tank, then plug it in. Tilt the canister on the side to submerge the impeller and start the suction. You can hold it in this position for a minute and tilt it upwards to expunge the air. It should be primed by now.
4. How to set up the canister filter for aquarium?
You need to make sure that all the parts are well assembled first before mounting the canister filter in its position. You can now connect the inflow and outflow pipes and connect it to your tank based on the canister instructions. Place it where it will permanently be running to ensure that no one disturbs it.
5. What’s the best canister filter for a fish tank?
Different models will come with all sorts of features, you simply need to make sure that these features can work for your best fish tank. That is how you get to choose.
6. How often to clean canister filter?
The maintenance of the canister filter might vary from one manufacturer to the other and also just how often it is used. Ideally, you should clean it every 3 months for effective working.
7. Where to put purigen in canister filter?
It is advisable to place the purigen where the water exits or you can still place it before it the water goes to the ceramic rings.
8. How much does it cost to run a canister filter?
It does not cost much as it is common for these filters come with small motors that do not take up a lot of energy.
9. How to get air out of a canister filter?
You should make sure that all the joining parts are properly sealed. The air is mostly because there is a leak and it is sucking in air. With proper sealing, you should prevent the air bubbles from happening in future.
10. How to layer media in canister filter?
You first have to make sure you have the right layer media for your canister. The general layering starts from back to front with ceramic rings starting, coarse sponge next, bio media follows and at the top you have the filter wool pad.
How to setting up an external canister filter for aquarium
Filter types (HOB vs. Canister)
By now, if you had no idea why your aquarium needed filters, then it is clear you have to get one today. With so many options available, you might be even confused which one to choose. The best choice canister filter review shows that the Fluval FX6 Canister filter would be the best option, as it comes with many desirable features.
You get a self-starting feature, it’s easy to mount, and it’s energy efficient, among many others. There is no problem if you decide to go for a different model, just make sure you keep in mind the considerations of picking the right model.
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