So, you want to hang with the big fish, right? You went out and bought this humongous tank to impress your friends and family and now you have no idea what you’re friggin doing!
The guy at the store said something about filters, media, and chemicals oh, my!
Well, fear not my very smart friend, because I have done step one for you. You must first purchase a filter. I would choose a canister filter for larger tanks 40 gallons and up.
A canister filter will be able to hold large amounts of filter media to assist in keeping your aquarium in pristine, harmful substance free condition.
When taking on the care of precious swimming friends many don’t realize the importance of water quality. The right canister filter will get you started on the satisfying path of building a beautiful and healthy aquarium.
Some canisters hold more than one type of media. Others are noisy and may disturb you if close to bedrooms, offices or nurseries. Canisters also have various tank capacities.
You don’t want to decide on a filter with too low a flow rate and only capable of servicing a 60-gallon tank when you have an additional 32 gallons to clean.
So, don’t get tripped up or ripped off. Here are the top 10 best canister filters in 2018 I choose for you my fish-loving friend.
Table of Contents
- 10. Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter
- 9. SunSun Modular Canister Filter
- 8. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter
- 7. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter
- 6. Cobalt Aquatics EXT Canister Filter
- 5. Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter
- 4. Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter
- 3. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
- 2. Fluval Advanced Filtration System
- 1. Fluval Canister Filter
- Which Canister Filter Should You Buy For Your Aquarium?
10. Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter
If you want a well-performing product for tanks under 25 gallons; I choose for you The Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter. The top mounted 95 gph sealed motor is packed with power.
You are sure to notice a cleaner and clearer tank. I like Finnex Px-360 because it also works great for both fresh and saltwater environments. It can even be used for your turtle setup.
Maintenance is easy, with removable filtration compartments to fill or empty your favorite media. The Finnex PX-360 also comes with a filter hanger, spray bar, and a durable water intake strainer.
- Strong Construction
- Outflow Control
- All parts inside of the tank are clear
- Very Quiet
- Massive filtration capacity for small tanks
- Filter media is changeable
- Sponge on the intake (optional)
- $50 to filter a small tank
- A little big to be compact
- Must be cleaned regularly; tends to clog if not consistently maintained
9. SunSun Modular Canister Filter
If you are looking to add to your existing canister filter to accommodate for more filtration; I choose a SunSun Modular Canister Filter. This model can be added as a chemical and mechanical filter; to reduce cleaning issues with your main filter and gives biological media a longer life.
Adding it can also gain higher biological filtration capacity. I also think it’s great that this modular canister filter can be used by itself if it is connected to a pump and hose. Have even larger filtration needs? Just hook it up to another like itself and you’re set.
- Comes with sponges of different pore sizes
- You can choose your own media.
- Lets you control the flow rate
- Water pump not included
- Hose not included
8. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter
This canister filter is easier to install than others. Set up can be done in less than half an hour and you will see visible results with 24 hours. Penn Plax Cascade canister has flow-rate control and hose clamps for easy adjustment and setup.
If you want a combination of media for your tank, this canister filter will suffice. You may use any combo of bio-floss, bio-sponges, activated carbon and more for all your filtration needs. I recommend Penn Plax Cascade Canister 700 for tanks up to 65 gallons with a flow rate of 185 gph.
- Push-button primer
- 360-degree rotating valve taps for easy placement
- Cool color for an Aquarium
- Filter replacements are costly
- Startup filter media, not the greatest
7. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter
I would recommend the EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter for you; if it is reliability and silence you desire. The Classic canister family has very high-quality components.
This basic canister is a little pricey, but well worth the cost. The Classic series has been around so long that it has more than earned its retail tags. I love how quiet this filter is and its reliable capacity to block harmful substances.
The EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter 2215 is able to support a 93-gallon aquarium. There are other models in the series that can accommodate smaller and larger sized tanks if needed.
- Durable and Reliable
- Low power consumption
- No media trays
- No self-priming
6. Cobalt Aquatics EXT Canister Filter
For a truly innovative canister filter, I would go with the Cobalt Aquatics EXT. The design of the inline pump is one of a kind, it allows you set-up options for an aquarium, terrarium or a vivarium.
With four media chambers; you are free to choose the best combinations for your aquatic display. Can be efficient for tanks up to 55 gallons.
- Pump keeps running while disconnected for maintenance to keep necessary circulation
- Pre-loaded media chambers
- No priming
- Strainer opening may be too large for smaller fish and shrimp
- Water may spill when taking off the top
5. Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter
Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter is high-level fish life. I like this filter for the enthusiast with up to 175 gallons of fresh or salt water to keep clean, clear and protected. The 9-watt UV Sterilizer is what aids in the health of your aquarium and its crystal-clear appearance.
The price is fantastic for the value you receive in return. Four filtration compartments give you multiple media options for the flexibility often needed in large tanks with a mixed population.
- Prime Pump demolishes the need for manual siphoning
- 9-watt UV sterilizer
- Use with fresh and saltwater tanks
- You must pay separately for AquaTops Premium Activated Carbon, Ceramic Rings, and Bio-Balls
- Instruction manual may be hard to follow
4. Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter
Another big fish is the Marineland C-Series Multi-Stage Canister Filter. If your desire is to create a large, heavily populated fresh or saltwater aquarium; I choose this one for you.
This filter can keep a tank up to 150 gallons with a large family of fish in constant show quality shape. All Marineland C-Series Multi-Stage Canister Filters are equipped with a simple 3-stage filtration system that combines biological, chemical and mechanical filtration for the best of all worlds.
Even the filthiest fish will live in healthy, beneficial-bacterial filled, toxin and nitrate free waters.
- Multi-Stage Filters
- BIO-Filter Balls that grow beneficial bacteria
- Replaceable media slots
- Activated Carbon and polishing pads must be changed frequently
- Makes noise
3. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter
If you’re looking for a complete eco-system in a box and have a couple hundred bucks to spare; go for the Hydor Professional External Canister Filter. Some aquariums require biological, chemical and mechanical filtration; the Hydor gives you all three.
I think this is a truly versatile, maximum performance canister filter. This filter is for marine, fresh, and tropical aquariums as well as Terr aquariums. The Hydor Professional 600 can be used for large tanks up to 150 gallons and it has a family of lower models for smaller tanks that need the same high-quality environment and performance.
- Easy priming feature
- Space Saver
- Chemical, Biological and Mechanical filtration
- Replacement parts can become costly if needed
2. Fluval Advanced Filtration System
I would point you towards the Fluval Advanced Filtration Systems if performance, ease, and convenience matter more to you than cost. This filtration system is for both salt and freshwater aquariums up to 80 gallons.
I am personally impressed by the Fluval series because of its brilliant monitoring system that communicates real-time tank conditions. It will even tell you what intervals to clean the filter and your waters’ temperature.
This model also comes equipped with top access to the pre-filtered chemical cartridges for quick and painless maintenance.
- Self-priming with one button
- For freshwater and saltwater
- Monitoring system
- Some noise
1. Fluval Canister Filter
Ok, so you are a true “Big Fish” enthusiast with a massive 400-gallon tank. Then the Fluval FX6 should become your new best friend.
You’ll need ease, convenience, power, durability, water flow flexibility and a Fiji crystal clear environment for your beloved water friends when your aquarium is this huge. Fluval FX6 delivers the modern, high-performance you are looking for.
This filter can be used for freshwater and saltwater environments. Its multimedia capability is phenomenal and it goes through a three-stage filtering process. I like that there is no need for manual siphoning; just plug the filter in and the canister will fill from your aquarium water.
- Holds a large amount of media
- No water by-passes
- Need water additives for clearest water
Which Canister Filter Should You Buy For Your Aquarium?
There are many filters on the market offering you a clean aquarium. However; your fish, your turtles, and your shrimps deserve the best! Remember the hard work is already done for you.
The best canister filters out there are already right here on this list. Whether you have a small or large; saltwater or freshwater; biological or chemical media environment; this list has what you are searching for.
When your appreciation for true value, craftsmanship, innovation, and durability goes above the concern of a price tag; get the Fluval Advanced Filtration System G3; it’s my personal favorite for home aquariums.
Fluval Advanced Filtration System is a high performing piece of equipment that offers convenience, power, ease, self-priming and can be used to service freshwater as well as saltwater environments.
I’ve been told that “The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see” – Alexandra K. Trenfor. So, click on the links above right now to you make the most informed decision for you and all of your aquarium needs.