Top 10 Best Canister Filter Of 2022 – Reviews & Buying Guide

best canister filter

Canister strainers are top on the list portable mechanical filters that come in convenient varieties that are suitable for every aquarium size. Sieves are normally characterized by their ability to block passage of residues of different sizes. This type of filters came to birth thanks to the vortex canister filters. These type of filters basically functioned by removing substances that affected water clarity. In simple terms, it means that only visible foreign matter was removed. With time, the filters upgraded from glass to plastic which is recommended for safety purposes. There was also the Kordon mod four make that had its hoses and body green in color. It was popular in the market for quite some time before it was by-passed. A series of other filters came into the market though their glory always lasted for short periods of time.

Benefits Of Canster Filters

These type of filters have been intentionally designed to serve large aquariums of up to 100 gallons of water, water is dispensed maximally and its functioning capability is amazingly versatile. Its counter parts the over flow strainers cannot produce such amounts when compared in terms of size.

Additional features– the additional parts and benefits that this has are unknown to a beginner aquarist who is less experienced.

Powerful motor– all the canister filters in the market use the principle of a powered  motor design and epoxy-sealed motors that are fitted with the impeller facing upside down just at the base of the head of the motor. The point here is that the motors are reliable with almost no repair costs and produce minimal or no noise at all. There are many models in the market with the imitated version of this make but one can tell their compromises by looking at their low prices.

Biological media– The canisters use the micron filtration, this type of filtration has quite a complex foam. But the good news is this media enable biological filtration compared to the chemical type. In a living state a micron has millions of locomotive microscopic cellular organisms and it is food for large whales. Its fossil has a porous membrane with several tiny hole that trap particles in water. With this, even the finest of particles are always trapped.

Valves– they control the flow of water in and out the filters and holding the siphon whenever the filter is dissembled. The advantage of the valves on the canister filters is that they have a quick disconnect feature that- allows them to be disconnected while holding siphon at the same time.

Adaptability and durability– The nature of these filters allows them to fit in any corner of the house.  If one has a stand for the aquarium, they can choose to put the filter in a cabinet away from public eyes.  Canister filters can be too tall to fit in some spaces but they are also designed to run on the side. The filter’s good construction has snugly parts that fit perfectly and the strong plastic enables it to last long.

Factors To Consider While Purchasing Canister Filters

What to consider when buying a filter has proven to be quite a challenge to most aquarium enthusiasts. Here are a few guideline that will simplify the task of deciding which aquarium you end up carrying home.

Size– This is determined by the amount of space available for the storage of the filter. As much as one might have more than enough space to store the equipment, it is important to consider minor details like the décor of your room. You do not want to have an item that seems to be the only visible thing around your house. Larger houses definitely have larger space, therefore a bigger filter can fit just perfectly.

Quality– A good quality aquarium has two very important features. Material and capacity. The quality of an item has to offer value for your money. This means that an item has to be expensive or cheap with a reason. A good quality filter lasts longer with low maintenance costs.

User friendly– It is a big shame to buy an equipment that you might end up not using because you were unable to operate. A user friendly machine is easy to set-up and is accompanied with a detailed manual that a beginner aquarium hobbyist can operate. User friendliness is also covered under the ability of a user to do simple repairs incase the machine breaks down.

The type of filter is determined by the type of aquarium– Every filter cannot be suitable for every other aquarium. Larger tanks definitely require large filters that have the ability to filter large volumes of water adequately.

Cost– when it comes to cost, the purchasing power of an individual determines whether an item is costly, affordable or cheap. In this case the term cost is relative. As much as a number of people might find the canister filters expensive, their quality is worth the value of every consumer’s money. Cheap is not always affordable because what has been compromised for the cheap price eventually catches up with the user.

Asking yourself how much time you have to put into maintaining your aquarium is important. For those with very little time should opt for a type of filter that does 98% of the work. This way, the aquarium won’t suffer negligence.

How To Choose The Best Canister Filter?

  1. Choosing the best canister filter depends on what an individual wants. Most canister filters are customized and are able to hold a considerable amount of media in varied combinations. With the number of filters available, one will be spoilt for choice depending on the amount of media needed by your aquarium.
  2. If your fish produce waste in large quantities, then your choice of filter has to been controlled by this factor. In this case you will need to incorporate a considerable quantity of mechanical purifiers. The media must have varied permeability to be able to trap all sizes of residues including the supper minute ones.
  3. If your aquarium species love to be treated to crystal clear water, a filter with a complex media is needed to be able to cleanse the water to the required levels. In most cases, carbons and resins are most recommended.
  4. Some fish produce big quantities of ammonia frequently and with this type of fish, the aquarium requires consistent checking. In this case biological media should be most dominant.
    With canister filters, media is basically interchangeable but it need to be wrapped in a bag so that it does not interfere with the filter’s impellers.
  5. Canister filters broadly vary in sizes and it is up to the consumer to pick a size that is most suitable.
    Does your aquarium contain fresh water or marine fish? Salty water fish produce a lot of ammonia as waste, therefore this has to be taken care of. On the other hand fresh water fish cannot flourish in a place with high alkaline levels, it is the reason the purity of the aquariums with fresh water fish need to be adequately taken care of.

Best Canister Filters Reviews 2022

The aquarium sizes are measured basing on the number of gallons of water it can hold. The smallest is the smallest holds between 30-50 gallons of water. The variety in size is what brings about the specifications needed for every filter :

Best Canister Filter For 30-75 Gallon Tank

1-Fluval 106 External filter

Fluval 106 External filterThe Fluval 106 External filter is one of the many types of filters made by Fluval.  This type of filter offers many practical benefits to the user; perfect filtration, requires less maintenance with an added advantage of a one year warranty- this way the consumer is guaranteed quality, it has a noise reduction mechanism. No doubt this one is one if the best Fluval filters.
This type of filter too delivers many practical benefits that are beyond the user’s expectations. Examples of these benefits are; uncomparable filtration power, little or no maintenance frequencies at all, quick setup and a noise free operation. It is designed to motivate and increase the number of fish keeping enthusiasts.
This one is suitable for a tank with 30 gallons.


  • Just like the rest it has an improved hydraulic motor performance that has the ability to reduce maintenance costs as well as increase the water flow rates and head pressure.
  • Increased water filtration ability in order to give health reliable and the cleanest water ever.
  • The biological filtration has been improved by the addition of bio-foam media.
  • The sound reduction impeller in this type of filter is designed to give 8-15% quite operations.
  • The priming system has been engineered to enhance easy starting.
  • The strong lift-lock clamps and hose lock nuts on the machine improve security and closure of the machine.


  • The hose shakes during the process and the user has to support it to keep it stable.

2-Fluval 206 External filter

Fluval 206 External filterThe Fluval 206 External filter is fitted with a straining system that is purposely created to sufficiently clean both fresh and salty water aquariums. This type of filter requires very little maintenance compared to what the rest of the market offers. This equipment makes the raring of fish very comfortable, and when an activity is comfortable, it becomes enjoyable. Unlike any other filtration equipment there is in the market today, this one has many advantages and disadvantages that can go unnoticed.
This filter is most suitable for an aquarium capacity of 30-70 gallons of water.


  • The sound reduction impeller has been fitted to carb any noise the equipment produces as it runs unlike other filters that are too noisy.
  • It has a multi-level filtration system that ensures maximum straining thus brilliant end results.
  • The intake strainer does not clog and this works to the advantage of the consumer as they won’t always have to dissemble the equipment to get rid of the clogging mass.
  • This equipment is durable at the same time it is easy to operate and maintain.
  • It has several filtration baskets that are removable.
  • Its nature allows excellent and smooth water flow around the system.


  • The output nozzle lacks a height deflector.
  • The output hose also shakes when water is moving and it has to be supported for stability.

3-Fluval 306 External filter

Fluval 306 External filterThe Fluval 306 External filter has pretty much the same functionality with the 106 External filter only that this one has more advanced features and it delivers more practical benefits that include; better filtration, reduced maintenance costs, quick and easy set up with a noise free operation. The motor hydraulic has improved performance that reduces maintenance frequency.


  • The water filtration process is maximized for production of cleaner and healthier water.
  • The biological filtration has been enhanced by adding bio-foam media.
  • It has a sound reduction impeller that is designed for an operation that is 8-15% quite.
  • The priming system has been re-engineered for easy setup band starting.
  • Secure closure that has been enhanced by the strongest lift lock clamps.
  • The addition of horse lick nuts also improve security.


  • Just all the canister filters, it is costly but requires less maintenance.

4-Penn Plax Cascade 700 GPH Canister Filter

Penn Plax Cascade 700 GPH Canister FilterPenn Plax Cascade 700 GPH Canister Filter is a heavy duty filtration machine that is normally fitted on the outside of the tank and it adequately helps to create and maintain a healthy environment in the aquarium. Every fish keeper deserves to watch the under life of their aquariums thrive. This type of filter makes it possible because it has so many advantages.


  • It is a powerful heavy duty machine that delivers powerful mechanical, chemical and biological filtration.
  • It has an extra-large capacity that can operate in large aquariums perfectly well.
  • Just like most canister filters, it can be used in both fresh water and marine water. It has a dual purpose.
  • It has a three year warranty so the user is assured of quality.
  • It is very easy to handle thanks to the push button fitted on it.


  • It is expensive
  • The manual is not easy to comprehend.

Best Canister Filter For 75-150 Gallon Tank

5-Fluval 406 External canister filter – Highly recommended

Fluval 406 External canister filterThe Fluval 406 External canister filter is an upgrade of the commonly known 405 filters. It locks firmly to increase its hydraulic performance to make the straining of water less hectic for both fresh and salty water. This type of filter has its advantages and disadvantages
It is suitable for an aquarium capacity of up to 100 gallons.


  • Its advances motor power increases its ability to purify massive quantities of water approximated at 250 gallons a minute.
  • It has no noise. The noise reduction mechanism it has been fitted with ensures that no noise is produced during the filtration process.
  • Its ability to use the whole canister volume makes the process faster.
  • The media in the filter has the ability to change very swiftly thus saving time in return.
  • It contains instant prime features.


  • The gushily flow of water causes the outlet nozzle to shake during operation.
  • The instruction on the manual seem so difficult when the assembling of the equipment is so much easier.
  • The instructions on the manual need to be simplified.
  • Even so, this is a great tank that can be used for both fresh band salty water. It is marvelous with the filtration process and it is an equipment one can count on for multiple levels of filtrations to get rid of biological impurities.

6-The Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Aquarium Filter

The Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Aquarium FilterThe Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Aquarium Filter is a type of filter that is very sophisticated. It has the ability to offer heavy duty and it is at the same time fairly affordable. If uses a floss pad and activated carbon to remove impurities. It can be used in both fresh water and salty water.
This type of filter is suitable for an aquarium capacity of between 80-100 gallons of water.


  • This type of filter is durable as it is made of high quality materials. Its durability cuts down on the maintenance costs.
  • It is very easy to assemble because it has less than 10 pipes.
  • It does not produce noise as it runs.
  • Since cost is a relative term, the equipment is very affordable for many users.


  • The main canister has been made in such a way that it cannot be opened. This causes a lot of straining and a considerable amount of time is consumed during the cleaning process.
  • The user needs to buy poaches to replace activated carbon. They can’t replace them personally.

7-Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Canister Aquarium FilterPenn Plax Cascade 1200 has a bio-sponge media that effectively keeps the aquarium water clean and clear. Its filter media works efficiently to get rid of unwanted bacteria and remove ammonia in the tanks.
It works in an aquarium that has a capacity of 100-150 gallons of water.


  • The sponge is conveniently replaceable.
  • It has a three year warranty so the user can always have it checked in the case that it becomes faulty within the three years.
  • It works efficiently to remove ammonia and nitrates from the aquarium.
  • It is user friendly.
  • Designed to function in both fresh water and salty water tanks.


  • It is costly but with less maintenance costs.
  • It is accompanied with a manual that many users find complicated.

8-EHEIM Classic 2215371 External Canister Filter

EHEIM Classic 2215371 External Canister FilterEHEIM Classic 2215371 External Canister Filter with Media for up to 92 US Gallons is another sophisticated filter in the family of canister filters. It works efficiently while fitted on the outside to sufficiently clean an aquarium more than to the user’s expectation. It has a wide range of advantages.
Suitable for tanks with a capacity of up to 100 gallons of water.


  • It has a multi-level filtration for best results
  • It is suitable for large aquariums of up to 100 gallons.
  • A sound reduction mechanism has been fitted to reduce the amount of noise produced by the machine.
  • It is designed to function in both fresh and salty water aquariums.


  • The machine is costly.
  • The manual is not easy to use.

Best Canister Filter For Over 200 Gallon Tank

9-Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)

Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal) is one of the most sophisticated of all the canister filters that has been designed decoratively to attractively fit as a display and functional machine in any part of your house. It has a calm blue outward finish that makes it so appealing to the eyes. It is a complete opposite of many people’s perception about filters. The good news about this high-tech machine is that it functions just as well as its appearance. It has an internal monitoring system that monitors the performance of the machine. This way, the user’s task is made easier as there is no room for speculations. Just like all the canister filters, it functions in both salty and fresh water. Its advantages are far much more compared to its disadvantages that are in fact barely noticeable.
It can service an aquarium capacity of up to 400 gallons.


  • It consists a three component drive system pump that adds up to the high-tech functionality of the pump.
  • A fiber glass has been fitted to enhance performance in the filtering chamber.
  • It consists of a high technological monitoring system that cannot at all be second guessed.
  • The system is very easy to clean because it has an aqua-stop maintenance system.
  • This machine is user friendly for both beginners and experts.


  • The unit is costly but with very low maintenance costs. At the end of the day one can say, it is worth the value of the cash.

10-Fluval Canister Filter, FX4 Filter (250 Gal)

Fluval Canister Filter, FX4 Filter (250 Gal)Fluval Canister Filter, FX4 Filter (250 Gal) is another sophistication of the canister filters. This machine has the same qualities as the Fluval FX6 but it is smaller in size. The lighting system that has been fitted at the back shows enable the user to monitor the amount of water being filtered. It has a whole lot of advantages with unnoticeable disadvantages.
It is suitable for an aquarium between 250 gallons of water.


  • It is fitted with a computerized monitoring system.
  • The drive system is inclusive of three components.
  • It is user friendly.
  • It has an attractive external finish that give it both the decorative and functional purpose.
  • Its disadvantage is that its filter media is a bit smaller compared to the one of the Fluval FX6. This means that the user is required to clean it a little more often compared to the FX6.


  • It is expensive

What Filter is Suitable For What Aquarium In Terms Of Size ?

Internal filters

This type of filters are completely meant to be under the water. Even though they are currently not use used often but a section of fish keepers use them. They are meant to be used in a smaller tank of not more than 20 gallons.

Wet/dry filters

This type of filters are beneficial in terms of bacteria growth. They are not used often because they have a lot of demand when it comes to cleaning. Even so, they still keep the tank clean just like any other averagely performing filter. They are fit for smaller aquariums of not more than 30-35 gallons of water.

Under gravel/internal filters

This types of tanks are very popular with the advance in the make of aquariums. With this type of filter, the user has to occasionally remove it to clean the trapped residue.

Power filters

This type of filters are easy to use and have an excellent media. The reason they widely used currently. They are made in such a way that they need to be hanged at the back of the aquarium. They are perfect for most aquarium sizes between 20-80 gallons capacity.

Canister filters

These ones have a superior media that works perfectly for larger aquariums. Canister filter differ in make and functionality. A user chooses what is most suitable for their aquarium. Even with the variety, these filters have common functions like; they can be used in both fresh and salty waters, are suitable for aquariums o up to a capacity of 100 gallons, their media is layered one on top of the other to improve the end results. They are the best for use.


There are so many filters out in the market but their properties distinguish one from the other. There are in fact brands that are so much similar that consumers have found it difficult to distinguish one from the other. There is one brand that stands out uniquely from these petty confusions that are as a result of cheap competition. Many beginners might find the canister strainers intimidating but they are the perfect option for a thriving aquarium. The outward look of the machine may be deceiving because there is much more to something apart from just the way it looks. Many people have pointed out that they are too big and not decorative enough to be put in the leaving room. However, it takes less than a keen eye to notice that its looks are deceiving. Whatever happened to ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder?’ You only need to own to discover its beauty that is not at all hidden nor camouflaged.

Leave A Comment

Leave a reply