[Latest] 10 Best Canister Filters for Aquariums – 2021 Reviews & Guide

When you own an aquarium, at some point you will have to filter the water as a way to clean it and remove harmful dirt and debris.

The question that comes to mind thinking about this:

Which filter would be the best for the aquarium?

Canister filters have grown in popularity and more people than ever use them.

This is because the best Canister filters are equipped with superior mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration capabilities.

These filters can be used for saltwater tanks, fresh water tanks, coral reef tanks, or even turtle tanks and will work well on everyone. This impressive compatibility is what makes box filters highly appreciated by many people.

Quality filtration is vital when it comes to maintaining a healthy aquarium. Having a good water filter is like a breath of fresh air for your aquatic friends, so you will want the best Canister filter for the job.

We love our aquatic pets and would like to keep their levels of comfort and health to the maximum.

Therefore, it is imperative to invest in an efficient Canister filter. This is why I am going to recommend the best canister filters to maintain a stable and healthy environment in your aquarium, take a look at them.

For amateurs who are serious about aquarium maintenance, high-quality filtration is critical to maintaining the best aquarium systems with plants and only fish. While rear power filters have their place in community configurations, there are heavier configurations such as tanks and predators that require a high-quality filtration solution. This is where the container filters come in.


1st Place



View Product

Best Value



View Product



View Product



View Product



View Product



View Product



View Product



View Product



View Product



View Product


Benefits of Using a Canister Filter

High flow rates

Whenever you compare Canister filters with other types of filters, it’s easy to see that they have better flow rates. Some may even go up to 320 gallons per hour. This means that the whole filtration process for your aquarium should take less time, saving time and energy.

If you have one, be sure to check out different models to understand their flow rates before choosing.

Flexible media selection

Canister filters often come with many types of filter media that you can select, but you need to know how these media work before making your purchase.

Read a series of reviews on each type of media to see if it has always served to meet the owners’ expectations. You can also check the amount of maintenance required for media before selecting them for your tanks. You don’t want to end up with a filter that you have to take for maintenance every few cycles.

Simple installation processes

Setting up a container is considered the simplest, compared to the installation process for other types of filters.

It is always important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer, only to make sure that the installation procedure has completed successfully.

Easy to clean

Cleaning the Canister filters is easy when you have the right manual and all the right tools.

Many of these are designed to be easily disassembled so that internal components can be accessed for cleaning. The manufacturer’s manuals are easy to read so you can clearly understand how to perform maintenance.

Once the filter has been cleaned, it is now possible to reassemble the components and reassemble it, ready to filter the glass in the tank again.

Silent operation

Everyone who owns an aquarium is looking for a filter that doesn’t make a lot of noise during operation. The best way to avoid noise and vibration is to use a Canister filter.

These filters have been tested by numerous users and customers always reconnect to discuss their experience. Many agree that they had a nap in a room with a Canister filter.

Strong mechanical filtration

The idea of ​​filtering the water in your aquarium is to remove unwanted components from the water.

This includes debris, among other things, introduced into the water for a few days or weeks. Running the container filter should easily trap debris and prevent it from returning to the tank. This means that your marine life will have the clean environment necessary to survive.

You need to clean the filter frequently to make sure it continues to work to separate debris from the water in the tank.


The Top 10 Best Canister Filters for the Money


Canister Filters Aquarium Reviews


1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002DJ9PW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?imprToken=Sqzrbjiyuadqkcyy9Y3C3w&slotNum=1&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=c81f524f7f096f56dc4ff33f9a6da02f&language=en_US” ]

Penn Plax has a reputation for offering heavy duty Canister filters and this is no different. With this model, you get a multi-stage filter, which means that all dirt is removed in every way possible.

In the end, your fish will enjoy a clean and bright environment thanks to the filtering capacity of this filter. It is made to be multipurpose, so you can use it for saltwater or freshwater aquariums. This means that it can be perfect for goldfish who would like a clean environment.

When it comes to capacity, it boasts of managing more water than many of its competitors and can even be used for 200-gallon tanks.

When it comes to installation, it should be a breeze. The manufacturer supplies all the necessary parts so that you don’t have to spend extra money to install the filter in the tank.

Flow control valves are important to prevent leaks during maintenance. The large filter trays used in this model will last a long time before you have to think about replacing them.

Media replacement should not be difficult, as it comes with an easy-to-lift clamp that provides access to filter media and other parts that require maintenance.


2. Fluval External 206 Canister Filter Series


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JH4JHTC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?imprToken=Sqzrbjiyuadqkcyy9Y3C3w&slotNum=3&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=99c79b04e3b86d8013055233fbc9c72d&language=en_US” ]

The Fluval 06 series is equipped with a rather surprising technology! Its powerful engine is durable and will maintain a strong flow between maintenance. Precisely designed bearings and protective cover minimize impeller noise. Protecting it from humidity and dirt, making it very resistant.

A great feature of these cans is that they use the entire volume to separate each stage of filtration. With consequent greater efficiency and minimal maintenance without complications. The filter works beautifully to absorb debris and prevent clogged media. Instant triggering is always an interesting feature.

You don’t have to experience the hassle of diverting water from your aquarium. The AquaStop valve is easy to install and allows you to completely turn the flow on and off or adjust it.

The Fluval 06 series is a strong and reliable filter for fresh and salt water aquariums. It is very quiet and efficient for removing impurities.


3. OASE Indoor Aquatics Biomaster Thermo – The Best Canister Filter


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/OASE-Indoor-Aquatics-Biomaster-Thermo/dp/B07M59ZGKX/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=5da31c796b95bef8f6372846295aa8b1&language=en_US” ]

OASE Indoor Aquatics is a Canister filter that silently buzzes among fans of planted tanks. It is a very high quality Canister filter made with German engineering. The same OASE has existed since 1949, but has not been in the United States for so long, debuting in 1994. This is a high-end Canister filter with a unique feature, as it can hold a heater inside the container.

I also like the pre-filter on this filter, as it can be easily removed and is foam-based, which makes it more durable for the user and saves long-term money on mechanical filter media. There is also a flow regulator on the unit so you can regulate the water flow. It is easy to prime and the filter in general is very well designed.

The filtration process is exactly what we are looking for in a Canister filter. It flows correctly in the first mechanical stage and then in the other parts of the filter. This is a feature that I see with all high-end basket filters and the Biomaster is no exception.

There is a standard BioMaster filter, but I think the Thermo model really stands out with its built-in heater. The heater adapts perfectly to the filter. This keeps the heater out of the viewing tank. This removes that ugly heater from the screen and maintains it with proven heating technology against a line that can be hit or missed. The heaters themselves are of the highest quality supported by 3-year warranties.

It has a high price, but it is higher than the Eheim and the high-end Fluvals of the world. The main disadvantage is that they are difficult to find in stores.


4. Marineland Magniflow Canister


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010PLGI5O/ref=as_li_ss_tl?imprToken=Sqzrbjiyuadqkcyy9Y3C3w&slotNum=5&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=7398cabdbcd3e70ff3d470e30c572bff&language=en_US” ]

This newly developed basket filter was created to provide quick support and quick, leak-free installation. Its excellent characteristics make the success of the marine and freshwater aquarium quick and easy. Multi-stage filtration ensures a healthy and clean aquatic condition through mechanical, biological and chemical filtration.

The Magniflow Canister filter is packed with unique and easy-to-use components to make your aquarium easier than ever. It comes with a lid that creates an airtight seal when compressed and lifted for easy expulsion.

The Stack n ‘Flow filter plate allows multiple layers of media for complete mechanical, biological and chemical filtration and is easy to remove for media replacement or cleaning.

A quick priming button fills the filter chamber with water for quick self-priming installation and a specially designed valve allows you to immediately stop the flow of water and detach the cover of the motor housing for easy and leak-free maintenance.

The advanced components of this newly created filter offer the tools you need to create a clean and healthy aquatic condition with significantly less effort.


5. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002AQXV8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?imprToken=Sqzrbjiyuadqkcyy9Y3C3w&slotNum=15&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=afe9fb1a0e546d3509b4a2aba6a62f5a&language=en_US” ]

Eheim is famous for its German engineering Canister filters. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of German engineering: efficiency. And that’s exactly what you get with the Eheim Classic external basket filter. Why is it a classic?

Because Eheim has been around for over 30 years! It lasted so long because it is simple and efficient. You don’t have the high-tech equipment that comes with modern filters, but there’s no reason to overlook it.

Available for 40, 66 and 90 gallon tanks, the kit comes complete with Eheim mounts and Substrat Pro mounts. What I like most about this filter is that it has no bypass. This means that all debris must pass through the media, resulting in super clear water.

This means that the flow is likely to saturate and slow down over time. But, if you’re good at keeping up with maintenance, it shouldn’t be a problem for you.

The permoelastic silicone sealing rings fixed on the pump head allow an easy and safe closing after cleaning. The silent motor and compact design allow you to put it wherever you want, without disturbing you. If you decide to use the Eheim filter, you will end up with a reliable, silent and trouble-free life.


6. Sunsun Pro Canister Filter – Cheap Canister Filter with Loaded Features


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MH37484/ref=as_li_ss_tl?imprToken=Sqzrbjiyuadqkcyy9Y3C3w&slotNum=13&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=42886dde40e57ec0f942ed92473ca693&language=en_US” ]

If you are looking for an inexpensive canister filter, SunSun Pro canister filters are just what you are looking for. This filter filter offers many generous features for the money. The main feature is the UV sterilizer included with the unit. This provides better water transparency, algae control and some pest and bacteria control for your aquarium. It has its standard 3-stage filtration and the gallon per hour rating on these filters is surprisingly high compared to the Canister filters on this list.

The main thing we don’t like is the build quality. The filter media included is quite inexpensive and almost suspect on a more demanding system. The container filter does not have a phase separation function, therefore it will have water flowing through the phases and some uses have reported problems with the motors. We also believe that UV rays are underpowered, but we believe that its purpose was really the clarity of the manufacturer’s water.


7. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CRIDEJM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?imprToken=Sqzrbjiyuadqkcyy9Y3C3w&slotNum=7&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=56323ee214eb0a8a6a4d0d9d14db06d8&language=en_US” ]

The Hydor Professional canister filter may be a new name in the canister filter industry, but you definitely know how to get people talking. This starts with how it is built.

This model is made with a strong and durable construction so that it can serve you longer. You will not have the slightest impression that it is made of cheap plastic. The base has four rubber feet to give you the best stability you can get in a Canister filter.

The setting should be a breeze, even for those who would never have used a Canister filter before. You should have finished setting up the filter in just thirty minutes. Make sure to check the manual for instructions on how all connections fit together, this will make it easier for you.

The capacity is simply incredible, as these models can handle a lot of water. There are a variety of models to choose from, and the largest you can get is for a 40 to 150 gallon tank. The filter works equally well on smaller tanks.

The noise level of the filter is low enough not to disturb marine life. With such silent operation, this model is ideal for aquatic turtles, reef tanks and salt and fresh water tanks.


8. Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BJQ50HC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?imprToken=Sqzrbjiyuadqkcyy9Y3C3w&slotNum=9&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=9f72972e6eddebb87f3c3f624952e1e9&language=en_US” ]

Not surprisingly, this is an extraordinary canister filter as it comes from a reputable company. For beginners, it comes with the high capacity needed to manage greater filtration and still maintain compact dimensions.

Compared to other models, this is often considered ideal for tanks ranging from 250 gallons to 400 gallons. Not many filters can boast of being able to handle these quantities.

This model is also equipped with a series of technological features that make it exceptionally efficient. It is worth mentioning the self-priming starting system that prepares the container for the filtration process as soon as you connect it.

The suction filter is designed to be clogged so that it can be effective longer. You won’t have to worry about debris running through it, which would prevent water flow into a planted aquarium.

The aquastop valves on this model make maintenance much easier, even for tropical aquariums. The task of the valves is to separate the filter housing in one step. This will eliminate leaks and simplify maintenance for the user.


9. Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filters – Featured Loaded with a Budget Friendly Price


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/Aqueon-QuietFlow-Aquarium-Filters-30-200GPH/dp/B000SP65OC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=5c608e42601eb1b315c189117845f51c&language=en_US” ]

Let’s start our list with Aqueon’s new QuietFlow Canister filters. This is a really solid unit that has a 3-stage filtration process with a lot of media space. The first stage uses a sponge instead of the filter wire or filter sheet, which will save you long-term money on mechanical filtration, since you can clean the sponge in a bucket instead of throwing it away. It comes with two biological filter media chambers with included holders that offer additional biological loading capacity.

Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Flow has adjustable quick disconnect valves for easy cleaning and flow regulation. It comes completely with multiple output options. You can use the spray bar, the flow manager or connect it to the included water polishing unit.

The water polishing unit is essentially an Aquaeon energy filter that hangs on the back of the tank. I would like to use mechanical filtration packages to clean the water. In fact, we believe this is unnecessary equipment, as mechanical filtration should come first and last. We really want this to have a diatomic filter option, but still a good accessory, especially if you want more general surface shaking. The Canister filter also comes with a 12 month warranty.


10. Cobalt Aquatics EXT External Canister Filter – Uniquely Designed with An External Pump


[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/Cobalt-Aquatics-26000-Canister-Filter/dp/B00E4GB8FM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=aquariumhunter02-20&linkId=e3013d7245e9e51a21723bea705ee0cf&language=en_US” ]

The Cobalt Aquatics EXT Canister Filter is the most uniquely designed canister filter on this list. There are several features that make me really love this unit.

First, the container is designed for a proper filtration process. The water flow will go to each of the 4 stages separately. With other Canister filters, water flows through the unit on one side and out on the other, which can lead to waste seepage at the other stages. The cobalt Canister filter pushes the water one stage at a time, resulting in cleaner chemical and biological media.

Second, the canister filter is equipped with an in-line pump. Most canister filter pumps are located inside the canister, making cleaning more difficult and more prone to clogging. This also gives you the amazing feature of being about to completely move the water while holding the container. This makes the unit very easy to open and maintain fast, and also easier to replace if the pump ever breaks. The flow in the unit is easily adjusted with a dial on the top of the unit.

Third, it is the amble media space. The total pot volume here is 1.85 gallons and Cobalt makes a service rating of just 55 gallons, which may be more, but they are a fairly honest company and offer an excellent 3 year warranty.

However, there are deficits that we see in this unit. We really don’t like that the final thread of the fourth stage is at the end of the container, it really should be in the second stage. The unit also only comes in one size, which means you will need multiple units for larger aquariums. It is also expensive given its rating.


How to choose a filter container for the aquarium?

Purpose of the boat

It is very important to keep this in mind when choosing a Canister filter. This simply means that filter capacities and filtration needs need to be considered.

Ask yourself questions as to whether the container will handle the volume, flow and versatility needed, among other needs. It would be better to get a Canister filter with a higher flow rate so that the filtration process does not take much time to complete.

Adaptability and durability

It is important to note where the filter will be placed in the container. For those who have a stand for their aquarium, you can simply hide it in one of the toilet compartments. For a high filter, you may need to find other ways to keep it hidden or complete it with the fish tank.

As for durability, look for a well-built filter to ensure good long-term service. Most will be made of plastic, so make sure it is resistant plastic for a longer life.

The engine

Engines are important to help pump water to the filter to start the filtration process. It is easy to understand that you will need a large motor that can easily help pump water.

The engine must also be reliable in terms of efficiency and maintenance. Some engines may require more maintenance than others. Having a high-maintenance filter can mean that you will need to open the unit more frequently. This isn’t always good for a Canister filter.

The engine will also determine whether the model can run silently or whether it makes a lot of noise when it is turned on.

Tank size

Not all filters can be ideal for different sized tanks. Tank size is still an important factor to consider when buying the best Canister filter.

You should read the product description and understand the size of the tank that you can easily filter. In most cases, they would have a rating of 10 gallons, 20 gallons, 29 gallons, 55 gallons and even more.

If this information is missing, you may need to contact the customer support team to assist you. This will provide the necessary information on which tanks will filter best with which Canister filter model.


Without a doubt, the brand often plays an important role when it comes to buying a Canister filter for a small tank or a large tank. The brands reviewed in this buying guide are good at what they do.

You can always be sure that the delivered products will work as advertised. If you are looking for other brands, be sure to do a little research to see how their products work. Some manufacturers claim to offer the best products just to disappoint their customers.

Your budget

It is common for each person to have a set budget that they are willing to spend on a Canister filter. The best budget Canister filter to buy should be based on a number of things and not just your ability to pay. It is important to take the time to review different prices and filters before deciding on a budget.

By comparing different options, you will be amazed at how much you can get for the price. Online stores are a great place to start if you want to quickly and easily review a variety of Canister filters available on the market.



Right now, if you had no idea why your aquarium needed filters, you should clearly get one today. With so many options available, you can also be confused as to which one to choose. The best container filter overhaul option shows that the Fluval FX6 container filter would be the best choice as it comes with many desirable features.

It has an auto start function, is easy to assemble and is energy efficient, among many others. There is no problem if you decide to choose a different model, be sure to keep in mind the considerations on choosing the right model.