Top products you should consider
Finding the best aquarium canister filter is always a tough chore regardless if you’re an experienced aquarist or just starting out. There are simply too many models on the market, and choosing one only according to price and looks is surely not the best way to go. Fortunately, we have diligently searched the internet and compared dozens of filter specifications so that you don’t have to go through the same trouble. After careful examination and debate, Dr. Fox recommends the Fluval 306 as the best all-around filter for the price, with the Hydor Professional 350 coming in close second, in case the first model becomes unavailable.
Dr. Fox Recommends – Comparison & Yearly Report
Fluval 306 External Filter A212 (B005QRDDWY)
If you’re planning to get an aquarium with a capacity of up to 70 gallons, then the Fluval 306 is the best choice. The advanced motor can pump up to 303 gallons per hour, and the best part is that you won’t hear a thing, thanks to the sound-dampening technology used on the impellers. These are engineered to have minimal vibration and reduced noise even at higher flow rates.
The Fluval 306 is not only powerful and quiet but also versatile. The multi-stage filtering system ensures that water is pumped straight through filter media and not around filters so that it comes in contact with as much media surface as possible. Not only does this provide maximum efficiency in terms of filtering, but it also requires slower flower rates than normal.
This filter also comes with lift-lock clamps as well as the latest AquaStop valves so that you get to clean or replace filters with minimum effort.
Hydor Professional 350 C02301 (B00D5WHC8S)
Dubbed a complete ecological system in a box, the Hydor Professional 350 is certainly rated high by customers when it comes to the best canister filter for aquariums. This filter is a great choice for medium to large-capacity aquariums from 60 to 100 gallons. With a 280 gph rating, this model is powerful enough to circulate the entire volume of a tank 3 or 4 times in the course of a single hour, ensuring proper filtration and sparkly-clean water for your fish.
This model is easy to use, and it comes with safety locks so that you can easily provide it with the maintenance it needs to perform well in the long term. The quiet motor benefits from ceramic shafts which not only improve its performance but also add years of service life.
With the integrated priming system, siphoning is done automatically at a push of a button, while the telescopic intake tubes provide you with more options when it comes to positioning the filter.
Marineland Magniflow 360 ML90751 (B010PLGI5O)
The Marineland Magniflow 360 can be a great addition to your aquarium, whether you’re hosting freshwater, marine or tropical species. This external canister filter can ensure proper recirculation of the entire water volume in the tank at least 3 times per hour thanks to its 360 gph capacity.
The multi-stage filtration system captures impurities and unwanted chemicals so that the aquatic environment stays as clean as possible. With a combination of Black Diamond activated carbon bags, foam pads and polishing pads, the Marineland Magniflow 360 can remove all fine and coarse debris, odors and discoloration from the water. Bio filters such as bio-balls and ceramic rings provided biological filtration by supporting the growth of ammonia-neutralizing bacterial species.
With its revolutionary Stack N’ Flo filter trays and Valve Block with Quick Release, this model also provides you with a versatile filtering system that you can change and customize to suit both volume- and species-specific requirements.
EHEIM Classic 66 2213371 (B0002AQXTA)
Another model that has received many positive canister filter reviews is the EHEIM Classic 66. Carrying on the tradition of Eheim filters, this new model comes with an improved motor which is perfectly capable of handling aquariums of up to 66 gallons. The 116 gph flow rating is more than enough to keep water clean and clear even for the maximum-volume supported aquariums.
This is a compact filter that you can easily install anywhere around the tank. The package comes with an inlet pipe, a spray bar, connecting hoses and other accessories to ensure you get started right away with your new aquarium. The spray bar will provide the tank with increased internal water motion as well as ensure that fish get more oxygen, thanks to improved aeration.
The EHEIM Classic 66 also comes with a complete filter media package which includes Eheim Mech and Substrat Pro so that your tank gets the best mechanical, biological and chemical filtration possible.
Zoo Med Nano 10 External 976599 (B005DGHRU2)
One of the smaller models on the market, the Zoo Med Nano is intended for aquariums of up to 10 gallons in volume. With a flow rate of 80 gallons per hour, this little device can recirculate water in the tank a minimum of 8 times its volume, which is an impressive feat indeed considering its small size.
With the button-activated self-priming feature, you won’t have to do the manual siphoning yourself. Cleaning is also a mess-free affair, as the filter head is easy to remove and so are the connected hoses so that you get to provide your filter with the maintenance it needs.
You can ensure proper water currents and aeration by installing the spray bar which comes with the Zoo Med Nano, and you can also use the adjustable flow control system to optimize internal water motion and filtering times. Combined with the versatile filtering media system, this external canister filter is one of the lower-priced models that are ideal for small-sized aquariums.
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
One of the most important things contributing to a good and balanced aquarium is a filter. An external canister filter is one of the better types of filters, but even here there are many sizes, capacities, filters and other features to consider that would make even an experienced aquarist gasp. Combined with the sheer amount of models that hit the market every year, finding a good canister filter for aquarium is no easy task.
Fortunately, you have us to help out. We’ve done all the hard work for you so that you get to learn all you need to pick the perfect aquarium filter without the headaches associated with extensive research and comparison. Here are a few basics you may wish to know before moving forward with our list of top models we have prepared just for you so that you get the very best filter for your needs and budget.
Choose the right filter for the aquarium size
Although this goes without saying, choosing the right filter for the size of your aquarium is vital to the health of the species you intend to keep. A filter that’s too powerful for the size of your aquarium can create strong currents that can disturb your fish, plants and even corals while also removing nutrients too fast from the water.
Getting a filter that has too low a capacity is also undesirable, as that could imply improper filtering and more maintenance in the long term, not to mention the mandatory replacement of large percentages of water every few weeks.
Customizing filter media is key
One of the most important aspects of filtering systems is their filter media. Some come with interchangeable trays, others with a limited amount of filters. While activated carbon, fine pads, and bio-foams have become the norm, not all filters are created equal.
Consider customizing the filter media to suit the specific needs of your fish. Some fish species produce large amounts of residue which require more ceramic rings and bio-balls to remove the associated ammonia and nitrates, while others unsettle the bottom gravel while feeding and may need finer filters to remove the increased amount of debris.
Have a budget in mind
The best thing you can do is to set a budget in mind when looking at filters for sale. That way you know the price ranges you’re looking at and can narrow down the selection to just a few filter models. Allocating a fixed sum of money also ensures that you don’t overspend while also allowing you to concentrate on balancing features and sizes so that you choose the ones that are most important to your fish and personal preferences.