Top products you should consider
If you’re in search of the best canister filter for a fish tank, then look no further. We’ve tried to look at as many models as we could find so that we could come up with a list of top filters according to their price, build quality, performance as well as customer feedback. After a careful selection, we have compiled a list of 5 products that offer the most features for their price. Out of these, Dr. Fox considers the Hydor 350 Professional to be the best. Should this product become unavailable, then the EHEIM 66 Classic is perhaps the second-best option.
Dr. Fox Recommends – Comparison & Yearly Report
Hydor 350 Professional C02301 (B00D5WHC8S)
The Hydor 350 Professional is a highly versatile filter that is worth every penny. Not only can it superbly handle any aquarium ranging from 60 to 100 gallons, but it also packs a powerful motor that is able to pump up to 280 gallons of water per hour. Equipped with ceramic shafts, this modern version is also longer-lasting than its predecessors as well as quieter, with improved vibration and noise reduction technologies to ensure maximum efficiency and tranquility for your fish.
No matter how many fish you have or which species they belong to, you can always count on the large filtering chamber that can host an entire array of filter media. These filter media can get stacked up on each other, ensuring a complete filter barrier against impurities, debris, and harmful chemicals while also harboring beneficial bacteria with an active role in neutralizing nitrates and ammonia. A bonus comes from its small size, as you won’t have trouble finding a good spot for it.
EHEIM 66 Classic 2213371 (B0002AQXTA)
The EHEIM 66 Classic is yet another good canister filter for a fish tank. Supporting any aquarium that’s not larger than 66 gallons, this robust and efficient filter can sport flow rates of up to 116 gph.
All components are made according to high manufacturing standards – a tradition within the Eheim line of products. Every component fits perfectly on top of each other, and the top case, which goes over the pump head, is fitted with a permo-elastic sealing ring that’s made of highly-resistant silicone – ensuring easy access to the interior chamber for cleaning while also making the device leak-proof.
By ordering an EHEIM 66 Classic, you get the whole kit and caboodle, from the obvious hose and pipes to installation accessories to a filter media and valves. The last thing you need to do is assemble all of these and then let the filter do its job, filtering out all debris and chemicals and providing your fish with a clean and healthy environment.
Penn Plax Cascade Black 1000 Elite (B01MRWPB99)
Able to handle 100-gallon aquariums, the Penn Plax Cascade Black 1000 Elite is one of those models that regularly receive positive canister filter reviews. The self-priming pump can reach a flow rate of 350 gallons per hour, given that filters are clean. You get to adjust the flow rate by using the control cut-off valve, which also comes in handy when you want to cut off water completely for maintenance and don’t want to remove the hose.
This model also comes with hose clamps similar to those you can find in swimming pool hoses, as well as two independent directional 360-degree rotating valves. You can use a regular or a spray bar, the latter being a better for increased surface agitation.
With the Penn Plax Cascade Black 1000 Elite, you also get to use the extra-large stackable filter trays which allow you to fully customize the configuration and ensure highly-efficient and versatile 3-stage filtration for your aquarium.
Aquaflow Technology 75 AEF-302 (B01HF6BWT4)
The Aquaflow Technology AEF-302 is a filter that’s ideal for aquariums of 75 gallons and lower. The silent motor ensures that the pump can filter up to 264 gallons per hour, or at least 3 times the volume of a 75-gallon tank in under an hour. This ensures good water circulation which not only removes all unwanted particles but also promotes better water oxygenation, contributing to a faster fish development and better health.
With the Aquaflow Technology 75 AEF-302, you get everything you need to start your new aquarium. The first step is to prime the pump, a thing achieved by pushing a small button on the pump head.
Thanks to the large media trays with large handles, you can easily remove and replace any filter media, adding new ceramic rings, activated carbon and bio-balls to ensure the best mechanical, chemical and biological filtration and protect your fish from unwanted elements in the water.
Zoo Med Nano 10 976599 (B005DGHRU2)
If you’re looking for a canister filter for a small tank, then the Zoo Med Nano 10 is a great choice. Despite its miniature size, this model is equipped with a powerful motor capable of filtering up to 80 gallons per hour in a 10-gallon tank.
What this means is that the ratio between flow rate and total volume of water is at least 8 to 1, ensuring that water circulates properly, carrying oxygen throughout the basin and removing debris, trace elements, fish toxic waste as well as ensure that the beneficial bacteria growing on bio-filters remove nitrates and ammonia at a fast rate.
Thanks to the easy priming feature, you don’t have to do the pump siphoning on your own, as pushing the button will take care of it. This filter also allows you to mount a spray bar, which is desired in a small tank since it creates more surface agitation.
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
If you plan on getting an aquarium and fill it with fish, you may want to make sure that you choose the best fish tank canister filter that’s appropriate for the specific species. Otherwise, you could expose your fish to pollution, diseases or other problems associated with extreme currents or the lack of any significant water circulation. But researching all the types of canister filters, their specifics as well as which ones are suited to which species of fish can be tedious and time-consuming.
The good news is that we have done the research in your place and have written a short intro into the world of canister filters. We’ve actually done more than that, as we’ve also created a top 5 list of products we think best suit an aquarium intended to host fish, as well as a few things you may want to know before making a purchase.
Why choose a canister filter?
While there are many types of aquarium filters out there, such as under-gravel filters, power filters, hang-on filters, etc, a canister filter is ideal if you plan on getting a large aquarium. This is because canister filters can handle large volumes of water, and they typically have high enough flow rates to remove debris from large tanks.
Another advantage of external canister filters is that they are easy to use, can benefit from a variety of filter media, and they’re never submerged, so you can put them somewhere underneath the tank and not worry about maintenance until it’s time to clean/replace a filter.
What’s a good flow rating?
When it comes to flow ratings, higher is usually better. The old conventional wisdom was that the flow rate needed to be 10 times the volume of the entire tank, per hour. This has changed, thanks to improvement in filter technologies as well as the fact that many aquarists have started to add devices to aid in water circulation, among the most important being powerheads and skimmers. So a good flow rate is anywhere from 3 times the volume of the tank up, e.g.: for a 50-gallon tank, a filter with at least 150 gph is ok.
A few budget considerations
Before you start spending all that hard-earned money on the shiniest canister filter, you might want to consider how much you really want to spend. Once you set up a budget, it’s easier to choose a model and give up features that aren’t essential for your aquarium. Doing so will prevent overspending and mission creep – or entering a shopping frenzy where you get all the accessories you don’t really need.
Make sure to check our recommendations regarding the latest canister filters up for sale and choose the model that guarantees appropriate filtering and a clean environment where your fish can thrive.