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6 Best Canister Filters for Aquarium 2020 (Detailed Review)

If you are looking for the best canister filters for your aquarium tank, then you are at the right place.

In this article, I have reviewed the best canister filters for aquariums. I have covered their features and enlisted their pros and cons as well.

List of the Best Canister Filters for Aquarium

We recommend Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter 1000. It is a very reliable and effective filter. It is very convenient to use and clean. And it is very reasonably priced. Check its latest price and customer reviews at Amazon here

ImageNameTank SizePrice
Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter 30 gallons, 65 gallons, 100 gallons, 150 gallons, 200 gallons

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Fluval External Filter50 gallons, 65 gallons, 105 gallons, 155 gallons, 260 gallons

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EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter40 gallons, 66 gallons, 92 gallons

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Sunsun Hw304B 525GPH Pro Canister FilterUp to 150 gallons

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Fluval FX4 Canister Filter
Up to 250 gallons

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Hydor Professional External Canister Filter20 gallons, 40 gallons, 60 gallons, 75 gallons, 90 gallons, 150 gallons

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1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

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In canister filters for aquariums, Penn Plax is a well-known brand.

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter comes in ten variants suitable for aquariums from 30 gallons to 200 gallons.

So if your aquarium comes under this range, then there is a Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter available for your aquarium.

This canister filter comes with 360 degree rotating valves, which makes it convenient to fit it into a tight aquarium cabinet.

It also comes with large media baskets filled with media, and you can always customize it according to your needs.

This canister filter comes with a large prime button which makes priming convenient.

It also comes with a spray bar that helps to distribute the water flow along the surface of the water.

This feature is beneficial especially if you have delicate fish like betta as they require low water pressure.

This canister filter also has an airtight seal that ensures proper water flow and it also provides quiet operation.

Overall, users are very happy with the performance of this canister filter. Some users also complain that it is noisy.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • 360 Rotating flow valves
  • Flow controller
  • Large filter tray
  • Spray bar

Cons

  • Noisy

Price

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Conclusion

If you are looking for branded canister filter with all the essential features and additional functionalities like a spray bar them this filter is ideal for you.

2. Fluval External Filter

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Fluval is one of the well-known brands in aquarium filters.

They provide well-engineered canister filters, and the Fluval external filter is one of them.

You can use this canister filter for freshwater and saltwater aquarium.

The Fluval external canister filter is an upgraded canister filter, and it features a re-engineered priming system that helps for easy startup, redesigned impeller cover that provides added durability.

It also has improved motor performance that provides reduced maintenance frequency and increased water flow rate.

The upgraded Fluval external filter is also quieter than the older one.

The Fluval external canister filter has a unique square-shaped design that can hold more water than a round canister filter of a similar size.

This canister filter comes with a patented Aquastop valve that helps in easy hose disconnections.

It also comes with a flow controller.

This canister filter comes with separate removable media baskets with media for chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration.

This filter comes with a complex cleansing path that maximizes water contact with the media, resulting in better filtration.

Customers are happy with the performance of this canister filter. But some customers also found it noisy.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Easy routine cleaning
  • Instant prime
  • Flow controller

Cons

  • Noisy
  • No spray bar

Price

Check latest price and customer reviews at Amazon here

Conclusions

If you are looking for a quality canister filter from a well-known brand, then this filter is ideal for you.

This filter is a bit noisy and the water flow valves of this filter are not rotating which is a bit inconvenient if you want to fit it into a tight aquarium compartment.

3. EHEIM Classic Canister Filter

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This is a pretty old canister filter from EHEIM but it is still relevant.

This is a very simple canister filter and it is very easy to use.

This canister filter comes in three variants suitable for aquariums from 40 gallons to 92 gallons.

As this is a pretty old canister filter, it is time tested by many people. Many hobbyists still praise this filter for its performance and its ease of use.

As it is a very old canister filter, it lacks some new features like separate media basket, priming button, etc.

Though these new features are helpful, they are not must-haves.

As this canister filter does not come with media baskets so it does not have any water bypass.

So the water has to go through all the media, over the period the media may get saturated and it may cause reduced water flow.

But if you keep up with the maintenance of this filter, then this problem can be easily avoided.

This filter also comes with a spray bar that helps to distribute the water flow along the water surface.

It comes with a flow controller and spray bar as well.

This is quite a helpful feature if you have delicate fish in your aquarium.

This is also one of the quietest aquarium filters and it is energy efficient a well,

Customers are happy with the performance of this canister filter. 

This filter doesn’t come with an instruction manual to set it up. But I have provided a video below that tells you how to set up this aquarium step by step.

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Quiet
  • Energy efficient
  • Flow controller
  • Spray bar

Cons

  • No priming button
  • No filter media trays

Price

Check latest price and customer reviews at Amazon here

Conclusion

So if you are looking for a quiet aquarium filter with ease of use, then the EHIEM classic canister filter is ideal for you.

This is a pretty old canister filter, and it lacks some new features like priming button and separate media baskets which makes it inconvenient.

4. SunSun Hw304B Canister Filter

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This is one of the best canister filters with UV sterilizers.

You can use this canister filter for tanks up to 150 gallons and it provides 525 gallons per hour water filtration.

This is also a budget-friendly canister filter.

This canister filter comes with 4 media baskets filled with media and it has a 9 watts UV sterilizer bulb that kills algae, spores, and bacteria from the water.

This canister filter comes with a switch on the top to turn on/off the UV sterilizer.

If you keep the UV sterilizer on for a long period, then it gets hot and it may burn the internal plastic.

So some users don’t use its UV sterilizer at all. They keep it turned off all the time.

If you want to use its UV sterilizer, then what you can do is keep it running for some time and then switch it off.

This canister filter is also equipped with a self-priming pump that avoids a need for manual siphoning.

It also comes with rotating valves and comes with a spray bar that helps to distribute water flow along the surface. 

But this filter doesn’t come with a flow controller.

Overall, users are very happy with the filtration of this canister filter.

As you have to turn on and off the UV sterilizer or else, it can burn the internal plastic, customers found it inconvenient. Also, it doesn’t have a flow controller which is inconvenient as well.

Pros

  • UV sterilizer
  • Budget-friendly
  • Spray bar
  • Priming button
  • Rotating valves

Cons

  • No flow controller

Price

Check latest price and customer reviews at Amazon here

Conclusion

If you are looking for a canister filter with a UV sterilization option, then this canister filter is ideal for you.

Just make sure you don’t keep the UV sterilization on all the time. Keep it on for some time and then switch it off. Thankfully, it has a button on the top to switch on/off the UV sterilization.

5. Fluval FX4 High-performance Aquarium Canister Filter

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If you are looking for a high-performance canister filter for your large 250 gallon aquarium, then Fluval FX4 high performance aquarium canister filter is ideal for you.

This is a powerful canister filter, and it pumps 700 gallons of water per hour.

It is very compact as well, so it can easily fit under tight aquarium compartments.

You can use this canister filter for saltwater and freshwater aquariums as well.

This canister filter comes with a Smart Pump which is an advanced microchip technology that continuously monitors and optimizes the pump performance.

This canister filter is also equipped with Aquastop valves that make the routine easy. 

The Valves are rotating and positioned at 45-degree angle.

Fluval FX4 canister filter features an Anti-lock telescopic strainer that ensures continuous water flow.

It also comes with a flow controller.

At the bottom, it has rubberized feet that help to reduce its noise.

Customers are very happy with the performance of this canister filter. Some users also complained that the air bubbles are bursting out from the filter output.

Fluval has addressed this problem on their official website.

Pros

  • Rotating valves
  • Smart pump microchip
  • Priming button
  • Auto air evacuation
  • Easy water change
  • Flow controller

Cons

  • No spray bar
  • Air bubbles bursting problem

Price

Check latest price and customer reviews at Amazon here

Conclusion

If you have a large tank and looking for a high-performance canister filter then the Fluval fx4 canister filter is ideal for you.

6. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

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Hydor professional external canister filters are available for aquariums from 20 gallons to 150 gallons.

This filter comes with a nice set of instructions on the package itself, and it is very easy to set up. 

It is equipped with solid front and back clamps and horizontal locking side clamps, which makes unlocking the motor housing very easy.

It also comes with 360 degree rotating valves and the valves are placed at about 45 degree angle.

This filter comes with a ceramic shaft impeller that definitely increases its life. Also, it has rubber feet at the bottom that helps to keep it quiet.

This filter comes with three media baskets. 

The first basket is filled with a mechanical sponge that traps small particle debris. You can also use activated carbon sponge in this media basket.

The second and third media basket includes porous biological media.

And the fourth basket is stacked with a highly porous mechanical sponge that traps larger debris.

One thing you should note, while performing routine maintenance of this canister filter you should stack the baskets accordingly or else it may cause water bypass issue.

This canister filter is equipped with a flow control valve.

It also comes with a spray bar that helps to distribute the water flow along the surface of the water.

This feature is quite helpful if you have delicate fish like betta.

This is also one of the quiet filters.

This filter comes with a priming button as well.

Customers are very happy with the performance of this canister filter.

Some customers also found the replacement parts of this canister filter quite expensive.

Pros

  • 360 rotating valves
  • Ceramic impeller shaft
  • Quiet
  • Spray bar
  • Priming button
  • Flow controller

Cons

  • Expensive parts

Price

Check latest price and customer reviews at Amazon here

Conclusion

So if you are looking for a quiet filter with all the essential features then Hydor professional canister filter is ideal for you.

This is not a popular canister filter and the brand is not as popular as well so you may face difficulties in finding the replacement parts for it. 

Also, the replacement parts of this canister filter are expensive.

So these are the best canister filters available for aquarium tanks.

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