4 Best Canister Filters For A Clean Aquarium

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could keep your aquarium water as clean as possible for as long as possible? There’s nothing better than a spotless fish tank where you can enjoy the full glory of your hard-grafted aquascape, and there’s nothing worse than having to keep it clean all the time.

Thankfully, this is the reasons why filters exist, and there’s no better or more effective variety than a canister filter. Not only are canister filters renowned for being quieter and more reliable than your standard filter, but they also manage to keep your tank cleaner for longer.

If this sounds like the kind of aquarium filter you’ve been looking for, then you’re in luck. Today, we’re going to be exploring the four best canister filters that have been specially designed for your aquarium and contain everything you need for the best filter experience; all for the best price.

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

If you’ve ever searched a phrase like ‘best canister filter’ online, the chances are that you’ve seen the EHEIM filter pop up as one of the best. As you can guess, this is for a good reason. This model has been made with a fantastic build quality that’s designed to last as long as possible.

This includes stainless steel clamps to hold it on the outside of your tank without rusting, and a powerful motor head that can deal with a vast majority of tanks. Once you receive your filter, you’ll be able to set it up with ease thanks to the included instructions. There’s nothing complicated here.

However, what’s easily the best part of this filter is the functionality it has as a filter. In fact, this filter is capable of producing one of the best flow rates available, especially when you consider the affordable price tag.

While typical filters tend to work in three unique stages, this one still has those stages, but it’s organized in a very different way. This is completed using EHIEM’s dedicated design and technology, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

This is coupled by the energy-efficient design and the high capacity that can effectively filter tanks ranging from the 40-gallon mark, all the way up to 300-gallon mark. This means that even if you upgrade to a bigger tank over the years, this is a filter that will see you all the way.

We also love that this filter operates on one of the quietest levels and is pretty near silent. In most instances, you probably won’t even notice it working while it’s on, and you can be sure it won’t cause a distraction in your home or workspace.

The only real area this filter is let down is how challenging it can be to clean, but you’ll simply need to follow the instructions on how to access every piece. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it won’t cause any more problems; making it easy to see why this is such a popular canister filter.

  • Operates silently
  • Offers a dedicated three-stage filtering process
  • Really easy to install and setup
  • An energy-efficient design
  • Can be challenging to clean the filter
  • Replacement parts are not widely available

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Polar Aurora 3-Stage External Aquarium Filter with Built-In Pump Kit Canister

Polar Aurora 3-Stage External Aquarium Filter with Built-In Pump Kit Canister

If you’re looking for a great pump that comes with a comprehensive range of features capable of rivaling many of the premium pumps, but comes at a fraction of the price tag, it doesn’t get much better than the
Polar Aurora Canister Filter.

The key point here is that this filter is capable of supporting and filtering any kind of tank up to the size of 75 gallons. It can ultimately process around 1,000 liters per hour and allows you to choose from three types of water filtration.

This means you can customize each filter ray depending on the kind of tank and water you have. There’s even a customize spray bar which is ideal if you’re looking to adjustable the final output flow of the filter back into your tank.

While this canister filter does come with media to get you started, if you already have your own filter media, you can purchase the one without, ensuring this filter’s place as being great for all kinds of fish tank keeper.

Replacement parts for this filter are readily available online, and commonly in most local pet stores. Once you receive your filter, you can easily follow the instructions to install and set it up around your tank, and this is something you’ll be able to do in a matter of minutes.

Once set up, this filter boasts a quiet operation that won’t disturb you, but it is worth noting you’ll need to prime this filter yourself. While this lack of technology does mean you get to save money in the long-term, this isn’t a difficult feature to overcome, and you only need to push down on a button to get it started.

All in all, this is a fantastic canister filter, especially for the price tag. There are plenty of reports out there that prove this filter is great at keeping the water of your tank clean, and that it lasts for years. What more could you want from your canister filter?

  • Comes with everything you need, including filter media
  • Available at a fantastically affordable price tag
  • Suitable for aquarium tanks up to 75 gallons
  • Can process and filter up to 1,000 liters per hour
  • Not a self-priming filter
  • Included floss pads don’t vary in density

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Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

When you have a professional tank, or a smaller tank, where you don’t want the canister filter to take up room in your aquascape, but you still need the benefits that a canister tank provides, an external filter is the only way to go.

This awesome little filter is available in five different sizes and capabilities ranging from 20-40-gallon tanks, all the way up to 90-150-gallon varieties. This means you can easily select which one is best for your tank and ultimately give yourself the best experience and results.

Inside the canister, you’ll find the typical three-stage filtration system that allows you to purify your tank water in a biological, mechanical and chemical way. This particular model will also require priming before operation, but this is as easy as pressing a button.

The rest of the process from installation on the side of your tank to filtering your water is just as simple. For example, all the tubes have been made in a telescopic fashion, meaning you can control and manipulate them easily to go exactly where you want them too.

We simply can’t stress enough just how good this canister filter is. While it’s a little more expensive than some of the other filters, you really do get what you pay for in terms of quality and performance.

The motor is quiet while it’s running, and your tank water is guaranteed to stay crystal clear. That’s everything a canister filter should be and more!

  • The powerful 3-stage filtration system
  • Easy to set up and get running
  • Telescopic intake and output tubes
  • Many tank size varieties to choose from
  • Requires easy priming before operation
  • Slightly more expensive than a typical filter

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Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

The final canister filter we’ve chosen for our list is this super-affordable filter that’s great for all budgets and aquariums and is a great way to keep your tank water clean and healthy for your animal and plant life.

The Penn Plax filter is a standalone external filter that you can simply sit next to your tank, or inside your stand, so it’s out of view. This is secured by the thick and sturdy base and will always prevent the filter from tipping over.

You can also position your filter wherever you want thanks to the 360° swivel valve caps. Priming is easy thanks to the simple one-touch button, and there are three large media baskets for filtering, so you can choose the exact type of filter media you want to use for your specific tank setup.

There are also many models available that can be used to perfectly suit your tank, depending on what size it is, but this mentioned model is suitable for all tanks up to the 40-gallon mark. We really like this canister filter, and if you’ve never used one before, this is a great introduction that gets the job done in the simplest way.

While this may be missing some of the more prominent features that an experienced aquarium keeper would like, this filter is quiet, reliable, powerful, easy to set up and exceptional value, which just goes to show why it’s one of the best.

  • Easy to set up and install
  • One-touch priming button
  • 360° swivel caps for ergonomic design
  • Quiet and reliable operation
  • No room for customizing the parts

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When it comes to choosing the canister filter that suits you and your aquarium, it’s safe to say there’s a lot of possibilities for you to choose from.

Any of the four canister filters we’ve chosen above make ideal choices and will provide the exact experience you’ve been looking for; so, get ready to enjoy crystal clear waters as you’ve never experienced them before!