For someone who is new to owning an aquarium, you will be faced with the challenge of picking the best filter for the aquarium. With many types available, it is understandable if you end up being confused about the right model to choose for yourself. Some of the common types include canister filter and power filter. These two are common and would have various applications, thus the reason they are famous.
So, what is the difference between canister filter and power filter? The main difference is that the power filters will easily be hang onto the back of the tank and then get to filter the water by having it passed to it through a tube. The canister filters on the other hand would be complicated and involve more time and also energy so that they can filter the water. Each model comes with its own pros and cons. We get to look at the two extensively and which one you should choose for yourself.
Table of Contents
Canister Filter vs Power Filter
The Power Filters
1. Mode of operation
The power filters are designed to have an easy mode of operation. The filter would come with a carbon filter that is important for filtering the dirt from the aquarium water. With the filter connected to the aquarium and plugged in, you can simply turn it on and let it work for you. There is an internal pump in the filter that will be used for drawing water from the tank into the filter.
Once the water gets to the filter, the cartridge has chemicals that are important for cleaning and purifying the water. Although sometimes the components of the cartridge might differ, the operation is still same when it comes to purifying the water.
Once the water has been filtered and cleaned, it is then released back into the tank. You will get most power filters having an overflow for directing the water back into the aquarium. During the process of filtering, you get to lose some water in the process. This means that you might have to replace more water in the aquarium as compared to when using the canister filter.
2. The maintenance
The maintenance of the power filters will always be easier than doing the same in the canister filters. With the power filters, you might only have to remove the carbon filters to replace them if they are far too gone. You might also have to remove other types of media depending on the type of power filter you are using. Even during the maintenance, you do not really have to take the filter from the aquarium as the filters cartridges can easily be accessed.
Remember that you do not have to change the carbon filter each time you are performance maintenance. Check the condition of the filter first. Sometimes it might only need some rinsing and it will be all good. Once it is clean, you can place it back into the filter and keep using it.
The canister filters might be hard to clean as they come with many complex parts that have to be disassembled before cleaning can be done. Even with cleaning, you have to make sure not to disturb the natural bacterial setup in the filter. If you are not keen with the filter when cleaning, then you might just end up making it worse than before.
3. The price
The power filters would be quite affordable even with the different brands available. They are so cheap that sometimes you get the aquarium manufacturers sending you one as part of the aquarium set up. The parts also for the filters are cheap and easily available. You can always get the parts that you need for replacing any broken parts with ease. They also come with varying sizes. You can choose the one that would work great depending on the type of tank you own.
4. Filtering capabilities and effects
As much as the power filters will be cheap, easy to maintain, and easy to operate, they also have a number of cons. They are often seen to be inefficient for some aquarium types. One of the common issues is that it would be drawing more water from the aquarium than the one being delivered back to the aquarium. This can be quite dangerous to your fish.
The power filters would also lead to losing a lot of water during the process of cleaning and getting the water back to the aquarium. This is because the water would be exposed to the air and thus leading to evaporation. As much as you end up losing water, it is not entirely a bad thing. You could end up having more oxygen dissolving in the water as it is exposed to the air.
The Canister Filters
1. How it works
You will mostly get the canister filters being recommended for saltwater and planted aquarium filtration. This is because they are powerful and great at handling more demands of water filtration. You will find them situated outside the tanks and would use hoses that are connected to the tank for intake and outlet.
Once the water is delivered to the filter, it has to go through different types of the filter media as a way of cleaning the water. Depending on the type of filter brand, you can get the direction the water takes for filtering is different, but the filtering is relatively the same.
You still get the media important for the filtration purposes. Most of the time you will get a 3-stage type of filter media. For the 3-stage models, it would have the biological, mechanical, and chemical filter media. You can also meet models with more than 3 filter media depending on the brand and applications. As compared to the filter media found in the power filter, you can see that this one is better in all aspects.
2. Maintenance needs
At some point, you will have to perform some maintenance on this type of filter too. The ease of maintenance varies with these types of filters. The maintenance will often depending on the brand, model, and the type of media used. The canister filter would need that you take it apart before cleaning. You also have to consider the media for cleaning. When it is past cleaning, then the media has to be replaced. When it comes to replacing, there is also a procedure followed to arrange the filter media in the basket.
Depending on the media, some of the types used in the canister filters would need that you get to rinse them more often. The moment you notice that the filter is not working properly, then you have to take it out for some cleaning. Some media would need replacing as just washing them is not going to be enough to make them clean better.
Even when you are cleaning the media, make sure to also clean the tubes, as they are the ones that carry the water to and from the filter.
3. Filtering capabilities and effects
On overall, the canister filters would give you more options as compared to the power filters. This means that you get to use the same filter on different types of tanks effectively.
Some people would want to know how it compares when it comes to lose of water. There is a relative reduction in evaporation of water as it is designed to be nowhere close to the tank. The water is normally returned to the tank with a spray bar. This also minimizes the amount of water splashing out when the water is directed back into the tank.
4. The price
Well, these canister filters are not going to be as cheap as the power filters. It might explain why some people stick to using the power filters. They would often be expensive depending on the brand, model, number of filter media, and much more. If you want model to handle a larger aquarium, then you can expect to pay more too for the canister filter.
It is possible that now you understand the differences between the power filter vs canister filter. If you are a person who is looking for a model that would deliver performance on overall, then the canister filter is the way to go. The power filter can be used when you are still saving up for a canister filter. You can always choose the one you like depending on the needs that you have for the aquarium.