Best Aquarium Canister Filter To Purchase In 2022

When keeping your aquarium clean, there are several ways to do it. However, a canister filter is one of the best options you can choose. Like the name, canister filters are self-contained units usually in a box-like or cylindrical design capable of holding every filter media. Everything is generally contained in a single unit, making the filtration process simple.

Moreover, they are external systems, and they rely on a series of tubes or pipes to push water through the filter. Though it might sound complicated, the operations are usually simple. Water enters through the inlet, flows via the filtration media, and goes back into the tank via the outlet. 

Aquarium Canister Filter
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Some canisters have inbuilt pumps which drive the water through. But, large aquariums might need additional pumps or gravity-feed systems to create the proper pressure to push the water. Nevertheless, canisters are very efficient as they excellently regulate water parameters while making the environment healthy for your fish.

So, by getting any of the best canister filters for your aquarium, besides making your water clean and maintaining the environment, you will be assured of everything being done correctly. Unfortunately, however, there are many canisters out there that are unimpressive and underwhelming. 

To make your journey easier, below are 7 of the best aquarium canister filters you can purchase. 

Things To Consider When Choosing An Aquarium Canister Filter 

You must consider several factors when buying a suitable canister since every aquarium differs. To ensure your aquarium is clean and healthy, purchase a canister filter that matches your needs. So, read on to find vital things to consider while choosing a canister filter. 

1. The aquarium size

When choosing a filter, choose one that can effectively cycle your tank. Most filters have information concerning the right tank size they can serve. However, you shouldn’t rely on this information alone. Instead, pay attention to the gallons per hour (GPH) rating. This refers to the number of water the filter can process in an hour.  

You shouldn’t match your tank’s water volume to the GPH rating. A good option will be to purchase one that can process about four times the volume of your aquarium. So, if you own a 10-gallon tank, buy one that can process 80 GPH. But, again, it is better to get one that is overpowered than one that is underpowered. 

A higher GPH rating means your tank gets cycled multiple times per hour. So, the water issues are usually addressed quickly and efficiently. 

2. Noise

Though canister filters are usually quieter than other systems, they still make noise. And this noise level could affect the enjoyment of your aquarium, especially if it is in a quiet room or your bedroom. 

Most manufacturers usually give decibel ratings for their equipment. So, don’t ignore it. Though filter placement and tank cabinet design can affect noise levels, decibel ratings will show you what you can expect.

3. Filter media options

Before purchasing a canister filter, ensure it can hold as much filter as you need. Most filters usually have a minimum of two different trays, but getting one with at least three is recommended. One should be for mechanical filtration that removes debris and solid waste. 

The second is for handling biological filtration, which addresses nitrates and ammonia with healthy bacteria colonies. Finally, the last tray should hold chemical filtration, improving the water chemistry problem. You can choose several filter media, like ceramic balls, filter pads, activated carbon, etc. So, choose one that allows you to use what you need. 

4. Cleaning convenience

Cleaning convenience is essential when choosing your canister filter. How easy is the filter process? Is the process long and involved? So, when choosing one, search for a canister filter to open up, and shut off. 

Some have shutoff valves and other convenient features. Others might need you to adjust some components before gaining access to the filtration media. So choose one that is convenient for you.

5. Power consumption

You should also consider the amount of energy the filer uses. Canister filters run 24 hours a day and seven days a week and can use much energy. 

They are more powerful than other filtration systems and have a high flow rate. So give thought to the filter’s kilowatt/hour rating (Kwh), which shows the energy the filter uses per hour.

6. Motor adaptability and durability

The motor is an essential part of a canister filter. When it breaks early, you might be out of a filter. So, it is a vital factor to consider. 

You might get a faulty motor if you get a canister filter that does not have a multi-year warranty. But canisters like Fluval, Marineland, and Eheim are backed with about three years of warranty and some of the well-built canister filters you can find.

For adaptability, ensure you can adjust the flow with a ball valve for every canister filter you choose. Some units don’t have ball valves, which might limit their flow adjustment ability and quickly shut off the canister filter drain.

7. Reliability

Another factor is reliability. You shouldn’t invest in a filter that constantly goes out. Canister filters run around the clock. So ensure you get one with relativity for your fish. Usually, the motor has a significant impact on reliability. And to reduce problems, you can consider choosing an epoxy-sealed motor.

The impeller in epoxy-sealed motors is facedown, so it is protected from debris or dust. Additionally, the whole unit is sealed, thus preventing outside factors from affecting it.

Magnetic-driven motors are also a good choice. As a self-priming motor, they can protect the system when you forget to siphon water back after a maintenance check. But, higher, they aren’t sealed. So, you need to be cautious in keeping it debris-free and clean.

8. Ability to get replacement and media parts

Most new canister filters come with different kinds of media. Though manufacturers want you to start with their brand, there are also generic media. And it can include cutting down generic sponges and filter pads, filter floss, activated carbon, nitrate pads, and even zeolites to fit the canister shape.

On the other hand, replacement parts like gaskets, impellers, and tubing might be another take. So, it is worthwhile to find out how easy it would be to replace these essential parts. 

It would be better to get standard sizes which means you don’t need to rely only on those made by the manufacturer. When looking at the impeller, look at the history to see if the manufacturer used the same impeller for older models. If so, they might stay with what works.

Benefits of Using A Aquarium Canister Filter 

Canister filters offer a lot in terms of convenience, efficiency, and performance. Most aquarists choose them because of their several benefits and can’t get with other filtration systems. So, below are some of the essential advantages of canister filters. 

  • Powerful water treatment

A major benefit of a canister filter is its better overall performance. Combining several filtration stages with a high flow rate, you will get an effective filter that can remove most water issues. Besides removing debris and slow waste, they can handle biological loads to keep nitrates and ammonia low. An aquarium filter aims to ensure the water remains purified, and canister filters do this more than most alternatives.

  • Adaptable filtration

The filtration process in aquarium maintenance is usually done according to a procedure. And this involves three stages of filtration that the unit needs to perform. They include chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration. Performing these three stages is vital in maintaining the well-being and health of tour fish. 

However, not every filtration system can perform these three stages at once. For instance, some systems are good for biological filtration but can perform chemical filtration. To improve water quality, you might need to combine filtration systems. However, this is not so with canister filters. 

Most canister filters handle the above three stages at once. Some models even have additional stages to suit your fish. Canister filters are adaptable and let you achieve a perfect filtration level. And they are also compatible with a variety of filter media. Also, canister filters can be customized how you see fit, unlike hang-on-back systems that need proprietary filters. 

  • Flexible setup

One of the most versatile systems you can use is a canister filter. You can also make the setup simple or complex based on your needs. For simple and easy maintenance, a single canister unit might do. As it contains a built-in pump, there is no need for additional components to keep your aquarium clean. 

You can also easily customize the canister to work for you. For instance, you can add a filtration layer by attaching a UV filter to your canister filter. Or, by installing a stop valve, you can disconnect the water supply when you intend to perform maintenance. You can customize the outlet and inlet pipes to make a current inside the tank.

  • Higher flow rates

The flow rate in aquariums means the amount of water a filter can hold. And this is usually represented by gallons per hour or GPH. Canister filtration is one of the most efficient available, and excellent filters can process hundreds of gallons every hour. This is a big advantage that can positively impact your tank. 

When a filter can process more water in a short time, it can continually cycle the tank. And the quicker a filter takes care of nitrates, waste, and ammonia, the better it is for your fish. They also abandon the whole process in less time. And the result is less time spent on manual cleaning and fewer water issues.

Depending on the canister filter, some models have higher water flow rates than others. This makes such ones excellent for tanks that need more filtration flow. Others are equipped with outlet tubing or spray bars that you can run on the water’s surface, which removes aerate and surface scum in your tank. Again, this can remove the need for a noisy air pump.

  • Easy maintenance

Makanyaning a canister filter is easy for most parts. The process will go on without a hitch if you understand the system and have the right tool. 

You just need to remove the filter from the tank, then open it and replace or clean the medium. This is always not the case. Though there are complex setups, you can quickly adapt them to your needs.

  • Quiet operation

Another benefit is that most canisters are relatively quiet. A loud filter or pump can ruin the joy of watching your fish. Canister filters are much quieter since everything is built into one. They have fewer variations which ensure the area surrounding the aquarium is peaceful. 

Additionally, you can even arrange the filter to keep the noise insulated. Most aquarists place the external filters below the tank in a decorative cabinet. This makes the little sound they produce even more muffled.

  • Clean aquarium presentation

You might not want the filtration parts to stick out when you own an aquarium in a high-traffic area like restaurants, family rooms, or living rooms. Canister filters hide the filtration 

Peebles in your cabinet and work in an inline heater to heat your tank without placing a submersible heater in the tank. Additionally, you can choose not to run the air pump with The aeration provided by the canister filter.

7 Best Aquarium Canister Filter You Can Purchase From Amazon

  1. The Fluval 407 Performance Series Canister Filter for Aquariums
  2. Polar Aurora External Canister Sterilizer
  3. Fluval FX6 High-Performance Aquarium Filter
  4. SunSun HW304B Aquarium Canister Filters
  5. The Manifold Aquarium Canister From Marineland
  6. Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter
  7. The Eheim Classic External Canister Filter

Our choice

  1. BEST OVERALL: Fluval FX6 High-Performance Aquarium Filter
  2. RUNNER UP:  Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter
  3. THE BUDGET DEAL: The Manifold Aquarium Canister From Marineland
  4. BUDGET ALTERNATIVE: SunSun HW304B Aquarium Canister Filters

1. The Fluval 407 Performance Series Canister Filter for Aquariums

Fluval is a top company that produces some of the best canister filters. The new 407 performance canister from the 07 series is an excellent example of why these units are ideal. It is easy to maintain, surprisingly quiet, and lightweight. This particular unit is from Fluvals assets. It uses clever engineering to reduce vibrations and noise by up to 25 percent compared to the past versions. 

You can easily place it in a cabinet to muffle the sounds and even forget it’s turned on. When you take a look at its performance, the filter is excellent. It has a locking lid on top. The cover has every motor and electronics needed. The others are areas that are committed to holding the filtration media. There is enough space to store media. It is a three-stage media. 

The final stage consists of a large compartment that can hold any media you choose. So you have the option of customizing the system to suit your particular needs. Also, the motor is excellent. In total, it can process a huge 303 GPH! 

This large flow can effectively treat an aquarium capable of holding between 40 and 70 gallons. The best part is that it doesn’t hog energy. Its electrical usage is comparable to a lightbulb,

Product Details:

  • Material – ABS, and Plastic
  • Wattage – 23 W
  • Voltage – 230-240V/50Hz
  • LED Color – Black

2. Polar Aurora External Canister Sterilizer

The Polar Aurora external canister is a compact tool with several capabilities. The significant aspect of this equipment is its pump. Though small, it can increase to 525 GPH depending on the model you purchase. Even with this flow, it is still hushed. The impeller is well made to reduce noise and vibrations. 

Additionally, the canister lid has a lubricated rubber seal which helps to reduce the noise. A priming button can also help remove air and make the pump for usage. Below the pump, you will find a spacious canister with various trays for holding the filter media of your choice. 

The smallest model has three filters which help create a three-stage cycle. The biggest model is equipped with four trays, allowing you to add additional treatment to improve the water even more. Overall, this canister filter is sturdy. The valves swivel for easy positioning, and the lid has a fixed clamp cover which is an added protection against leaks.

Product Details:

  • Material – ABS, and Plastic
  • Wattage – 9 W
  • Voltage – 120/60HZ
  • LED Color – White

3. Fluval FX6 High-Performance Aquarium Filter

As a well-known producer of top-of-the-line aquarium filters, the Fluval FX6 shows the pinnacle of high power performance. It can hold a 150-gallon aquarium with ease, a 400-gallon maximum capacity and a high flow rate of 925 GPH pump, and a 563 GPH filter. The filter trays have enough space and allow for about 1.5 gallons of total media. This ensures a high level of water purification. 

With these statistics, one might wonder if it would consume a considerable amount of energy, but the FX6 consumption of power caps at only 43 watts which is 10 percent less than the predecessor, the FX5. Every filtration stage in the FX6 is made to cancel all water bypasses. It is also lined with mechanical foam for continuously straining particles from the water. 

Fluval’s vaunted Smart Pump Technology (SPT) is attached to the filter. This ensures the FX6 has superior performance and ease of use capabilities, such as the monthly reminders, which tell you when to change the water and clean the filter. This is very helpful for people who might sometimes forget when they cleaned the filter last, and it helps in being organized. 

This filter has a hefty price tag, but it can be said to be the king in terms of its overall features, versatility, power, and ability to handle most fish tanks. 

Product Details:

  • Material – ABS, and Plastic
  • Wattage –   41 W and 43 W 
  • Voltage – 120V/60Hz  and 230-240V/50Hz
  • LED Color – Black

4. SunSun HW304B Aquarium Canister Filters

The SunSun’s 3-stage external filter is a powerful canister glitter. It is rated for its tanks, which can take up to 1560 gallons. It usually shines more when used on 125-gallon aquariums or things smaller because it has a high flow rate of 535 GPH. It has a large filter that measures 11″ x 11″ x 17″. However, it is lightweight (14 pounds) and can handle pressure without significant issues. 

The HW304B  has three big media trays, suitable for adding bio-balls, ceramic rings, and activated carbon from other filtration media you want. But unfortunately, these do not come with the pack. You need to purchase them separately. However, the company did add some filter pads, but they aren’t the best you can find. Thus, you might need some of these also. 

Also, SunSun added some ease-of-use features to this filter, like the most impressive 9-watt UV sterilizer and the self-priming pump (which doesn’t always work). In addition, it can improve the unit power draw. However, it is a suitable method of controlling algae and removing several types of harmful bacteria. 

Product Details:

  • Material – ABS, and Plastic
  • Wattage –   30 W 
  • Voltage – 240V/60Hz
  • LED Color – White

5. The Manifold Aquarium Canister From Marineland

This is a popular canister used by many in the aquarist community. It is best suited for freshwater and saltwater setups. This canister has all it needs to make your fish’s home pristine. It has a three-stage filter with a versatile design. Like most canister filters on this list, the bottom area of the filter holds the media. So, you can stack as much media as possible to get optimal filtration. 

It comes with media when getting started and a base layer with a basic foam pad for mechanical filtration. There is also a layer of bio balls for biological filtration and activated carbon which holds chemical filtration. As an added feature, the filter comes with a thick foam up top to help remove fine debris.

Added are durable latches on the side to help keep the canister filter assembled. But, the top is pretty easy to remove when performing maintenance. After replacing or cleaning the media inside, getting the filter up and running is relatively easy. There is also a fast-prime button that helps fill the canister fast and also helps get the water moving.

Product Details:

  • Material – ABS, and Plastic
  • Wattage – 24W
  • Voltage – 110 – 120 V
  • LED Color – Black

6. Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter 

This is another top canister filter that you can easily customize. The cascade model from Penn Plax is quite different. Instead of having to stack the filtration media on top of one another, it comes with detachable baskets. These baskets are compatible with larger pads or loose media. This unit has five different sizes available. 

The 1000 model features three media baskets and has a 256 GPH flow. You can upgrade to the better 1500 model if you want a robust canister filter. It also features five baskets but runs at 350 GPH. On the top of the canister filter, you will also notice that it has a downturned impeller. This helps stop damage without sacrificing water performance. 

Also, the outlet and inlet valves offer placement flexibility. They can rotate 360 degrees and ensure you can position the filter anywhere you want without worrying about hoses or pipes limitations.

Product Details:

  • Material – ABS, and Plastic
  • Wattage – 25W
  • Voltage – 120V / 60 Hz
  • LED Color – Blue

7. The Eheim Classic External Canister Filter

The Eheim classic canister filter brings back the original canister designs. Though old, the design is proven, and the brand name backs it. Eheim canisters and pumps are a favorite of many aquarists. They have excellent quality engineering, durability, and design which are quite unmatched in the industry.

This unit is low priced but offers excellent quality based on the brand’s name. The canister filter pumps are incredibly quiet and energy-saving. In addition, you can run the model 600 off a UPS for some hours during a power outage. A pretty cool feature, one might say. The outflow, intake, and hoses are pretty easy to set up. 

This unit best suits 30 to 40 gallons tanks. The only drawback of this unit is its old design and tubing algae which takes the color green. Additionally, the unit only comes with biological and mechanical media. This means you need to buy the chemical filtration media separately.

  • Material – ABS, and Plastic
  • Wattage – 15W
  • Voltage – 230V / 50 Hz
  • LED Color – Green


So here you have it, our top 7 picks for the best aquarium canister filter on Amazon that you can consider if you need a canister filter. Above, we indicated the advantages of each thermometer and our verdicts to help you choose the one that suits your needs. Ensure you follow the factors mentioned above to get the best canister filters. 

We hope this article helps you with the information you need to purchase the aquarium canister filter of your choice. These listed canister filters represent the best available in the industry. 

They have their place in an aquarium based on your needs. Also, if you have questions or require help choosing a suitable thermometer, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Good luck!

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