Best Canister Filter for Aquarium (2022)

Best Canister Filter

You have always wanted an aquarium, and now you discover that you need a filter.

After much research, you have decided that a canister filter is exactly what you need.

On the other hand, perhaps you have had a tragic accident, and your tried and trusted canister filter has given out on you, and you are in a race against time to purchase a canister filter before your aquarium faces a terrible fate.

Regardless of why you are here, we have come to your aid.

We have curated a selection of the best canister filters on the market so that you can peruse the cream of the crop at your own leisure.

On top of that, we have created a buyer’s guide and FAQ section, so we can lead you through some features that you might be wondering about as well as answering some of your most burning questions.

So, without further ado, let us begin looking at some canister filters.

MarineLand – Magnesium Polishing Internal Canister Filter

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter, For aquariums Up To 97 Gallons, 10.5 IN (ML90770)

The MarineLand magnesium polishing internal canister filter is a fantastic product that is well-designed and gets the job done.

This filter can be used in aquariums that are up to 97 gallons.

It has several cool built-in features like water polishing, biological filtration, mechanical filtration, and chemical filtration.

So, you can rest assured that your aquarium water will be perfectly filtered to a standard that you will certainly be impressed with.

We really enjoyed this product, it was super easy to set up and worked pretty well.

Really, there was not much to complain about when it came to this canister filter doing what it was supposed to.

Some owners reported that this particular filter was really noisy and sadly this was an issue that we ran into.

While it wired great, it was noisy while it worked.

But, other than that, this was an efficient and well-designed filtration system that we were certainly pleased with.


  • Efficient Polishing – The micron cartridge, which is included with the product, is highly efficient and works really well.
  • Two Refillable Chambers – There are two chambers in this device that can house carbon or customizable filter media.
  • Filter – The motor is submerged, which means that your startup will be quick and easy. Less time setting up for a fully functioning device is always a win.
  • High Filtering Capacity – This canister filter can filter through 290 gallons of water per hour. So you can rest assured that tanks up to 290 gallons will be well filtered.


  • Noise – Some owners found this product to be obnoxiously loud after a few weeks of use, despite being cleaned.
  • Frequent Cleaning – Some owners found that this product needed cleaning at least once a week so that it continued to work to a good standard.

If you would like to purchase this Canister Filter on an alternate site, you can check out the MarineLand Store and purchase this product there as well.

Penn-Plax Store – Cascade Canister Filter For Large Aquariums

Penn-Plax Cascade All-in-One Aquarium Canister Filter – for Tanks Up to 100 Gallons (265 GPH) – Cascade 1000

This cascading canister filter for large aquariums is a great buy and even has several options you can choose from if you need something more specific.

There are many features that make this filter stand out from the crowd.

The three large capacity trays for biological media, the easy button primer, and the aerating spray bar for water distribution, for example.

Overall, this is a fantastic product that is well-designed and state of the art, so you can rest assured that your aquarium will be filtered perfectly using modern technology.

We thought that this product was superb value for money.

The product itself worked really well and was easy to set up.

Some owners found that there were some leaking issues with this filter, but this was not something that we experienced.

The only thing that was mildly annoying was the noise that came from this filter.

But even then it was not quite so bad as some owners made it out to be.

Overall, an astounding canister filter that we certainly recommend to those of you that have a large tank and need a good and reliable filter.


  • Options – This product has several options you can pick from before you purchase this filter. The size of the product and the model are a few examples of these options.
  • Large Capacity for Media – This canister filter can hold a large amount of media in its trays. There are three large-capacity media baskets that can be used if needed.
  • Easy to Prime – This canister filter has a button primer that you can use to quickly and easily prime your filter.
  • Aerating Spray bar – This part of the canister filter is perfectly designed to help distribute and aerate filtered water in your aquarium.
  • Easy Setup – This canister filter is super easy to set up. So, you don’t have to spend hours trying to get this product working.


  • Potential Leaking – Some owners found that this filter leaked and one even reported flooding in their home. These incidents are in the minority and are not super common.
  • Customer Service – A few owners found that the manufacturers did not give good customer service.
  • Noise – Some owners found that this product was too noisy. Despite cleaning the filter and the filter being new, this product was still found to be noisy.

If you would like to purchase this Canister Filter on an alternate site, you can check out Walmart and purchase this product there as well.

MarineLand – Magniflow Aquarium Canister Filter

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter For aquariums, Easy Maintenance,Black

Similar to the other MarineLand aquarium filter, this product is well-designed and gets the job done.

It has many features that are sure to blow you away.

Water polishing, mechanical filtration, biological filtration, and chemical filtration are just a few things that this canister filter is designed to do.

On top of all the great filtering technology, this product has a quick release prime button built-in, filter trays that allow water to flow through them, and a valve block that quickly and efficiently shuts down water flow.

This canister filter has a three-stage filtration and is appropriate for use in freshwater aquariums as well as saltwater aquariums.

The final cherry on top of the cake is the selection of choices you have with this product.

You can pick how many gallons of water you need your canister filter to filtrate.

So, you can choose an option that works best for you.

We liked this product a lot, the design was sleek and everything worked as expected.

The multiple-layer filtration system is a major bonus and really helps with keeping the tank in good shape.

All the features included in the design of this product really work well together, creating a product that is destined for success.


  • Quick Release Valve Block – This feature immediately shuts down water flow, so you can clean your filter quickly with minimal spills.
  • Quick Prime – This filter has a quick release prime button that fills the filter chamber with water and allows it to self-prime, when the system starts up.
  • Options – This product has several options that you can pick from, so if you want a canister filter that works through 30 gallons an hour or 100 gallons an hour, you can pick whichever option suits your needs.
  • Easy Setup – This product is easy to set up and get going. So, you do not have to spend tons of time trying to get this canister filter working properly.


  • Leaks – A few owners found that this filter leaked on their floor and even flooded part of the house, despite everything being set up properly.
  • Noise – This canister filter was found to be a little too noisy by some owners.

If you would like to purchase this Canister Filter on an alternate site, you can check out the Marine Land Store and purchase this product there as well.

Finnex Store – Compact Canister Aquarium Filter PX-360

Finnex PX-360 All-in-one Compact Canister Filter

This fantastic little canister aquarium is a great device that is suitable for smaller tanks up to 25 gallons and can be used for fish tanks or turtle tanks.

It is small, compact, and versatile, so if you have the right aquarium this is a great option.

It comes with several accessories like a spray bar, intake strainer, and filter hanger.

Overall, for a little compact canister aquarium filter, this is a great product that is sure to hit the mark.

Despite some of the more negative comments, this filter was actually superb and lived up to all of our expectations.

It works better in smaller aquariums, but that much is obvious in the write-up.

Some owners thought that this product was noisy, but we did not find this to be the case. In fact, it was actually really quiet.

Overall, this is just a fantastic overall product and one that we heartily recommend for people that have smaller aquariums.


  • Easy to Fix – Some owners found that despite this product being noisy or having other faulty parts, it was reasonably easy to trace the issue and fix it.
  • Versatile – This canister filter is suitable for aquatic fish aquariums or turtle aquariums and can filter 25 gallons easily.
  • Accessories – There are several accessories that come with this product, spray bar, filter hanger, and an intake strainer.
  • Easily Removable Trays – The trays that hold the filtration media can be easily removed if you need to clean your filtration system.


  • Can be Faulty – Some owners found that this product stopped working after being used for a few months.
  • Noise – This filter can be quite noisy according to some customer reviews.
  • Small Tank – Some owners found that this product would be more ideal for smaller fish tanks, as it was too weak to work properly in bigger aquariums.

Aqueon Store – Quiet Flow Canister Filter

Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter 200 GPH, For Up to 55 Gallon Aquariums

The Aqueon quiet flow canister filter is a great product that is sure to impress you.

When you purchase this filter, you can choose between three sizes, so you will be able to buy a filter that is suitable for your aquarium.

It is designed to be used for either saltwater or freshwater and should be able to filter 55 gallons per hour.

This filter includes accessories such as a spray bar, water director, outputs, and connections.

The best thing about the Aqueon filter is the hang on the back water polishing unit that helps to maintain your tank and makes the water really easy to filter.

We thought that this product was actually excellent value for money.

The pros really outweigh the cons with this one.

The easy cleaning and setup are sure to save time and energy, which outweighs the mildly loud noise the filter makes.

While some owners thought that this canister filter did not filter properly, we did not experience this issue and found that the water was crystal clear once the filtration system got going.


  • Size Options – This product comes with several size options, so you can pick a canister filter that is the correct size for your home aquarium.
  • Water Polishing Unit – There is a unique hand in the back of the water polishing unit that makes filtrating your tank that much faster and easier.
  • Accessories – This canister filter comes with several accessories needed to run the product. Some of which include input and output water connections, pump locking heads, filter media, and several other things.
  • Easy to Clean – This canister filter is super easy to clean, and that is down to the great design of the product itself.
  • Easy Setup – This canister filter is really simple to set up, even with the multiple options, you will have an easy time getting everything going.


  • Noisy – Some owners thought that this product was much noisier than it was supposed to be.
  • Cloudy Water – A few owners found that this product did not filter or polish the water and as a result, the water was still cloudy even after use.

If you would like to purchase this canister filter on an alternate site, you can check out the Aqueon Store and purchase this product there as well.

CNZ – Canister Filter With Media Kits

CNZ HW-704B 525GPH Canister Filter with Meida Kits

This filter is a great choice if you have a 150 gallon aquarium tank.

It is designed to clean and filter your water and uses a UV light to help with this process.

This canister filter has three trays that are easy to remove so when the time comes to clean the filter you can easily access everything you need.

On top of that, this product comes with several accessories like hoses and connectors, so you can get your aquarium filter up and running quickly.

This filter works great, and we were impressed with how easy it was to set up.

When we tested this product, there were not that many comments to go on, and the issues that did arise were not problems that we experienced with our canister filter.

Overall, we were truly impressed with this filter.

It worked as expected and did not have any setbacks that we did not foresee in the manufacturer’s write-up.


  • Large Tanks – This product can successfully filter 150 gallons of water an hour and is ideal for tanks that are a maximum of 150 gallons.
  • Built-in UV Sterilizer – This canister filter has a built-in UV sterilization system that works alongside the filter itself to eliminate parasites, algae, and undesired bacteria.
  • Several Connections Included – This canister filter comes with several connections, so you can immediately set your filter up and get your aquarium working properly.


  • Potential Leaking – A few owners found that this product leaked even though the pipes were sealed properly.
  • Noisy – A few owners found that this product was a little too noisy for them and thought they were purchasing a canister filter that was quieter.

If you would like to purchase this Canister Filter on an alternate site, you can check out Walmart and purchase this product there as well.

SEAJOEWE – Canister Filter With 3 Media Trays

SEAJOEWE Aquarium Canister Filter with 3 Media Trays Spray Bar External Canister Filter for Fish Tank, 650F - 171GPH

This filter not only looks sleek and modern, but it also uses modern technology to improve the filtration system.

With this filter, you can pick what size you need, so you are assured of a product that will work with your aquarium regardless of the size.

The water purification is superb and with the 3D nanosphere, filter sponge, white breathing ring, and other filtering materials who can argue with that.

This canister filter is really a great product and works really well.

We loved the technology that was incorporated with this canister filter.

All the different components that work to purify the water actually work great once you set everything up.

We loved how quiet this filter was, all you hear is the sound of running water and the ticktock of the clock.

A delight to the ears!

Overall, a really great filter and one that we would recommend without a second thought.


  • Super Quiet – The manufacturer assures that this canister filter is ‘super quiet’ and you will only be able to hear the sound of running water and the clock ticking.
  • Fast Water Purification – This canister filter is designed to purify water quickly. The filter sponge, 3D nanosphere, white breathing ring, and filter material all work together to make this process quick and painless.
  • Size Options – Before you purchase this product, you can choose between several size options, so you can buy a canister filter that suits your needs perfectly.
  • Fast and Easy Setup – The setup for this canister filter is quick and easy, so you do not have to spend hours getting everything working.
  • Adjustable – Your filter can be adjusted to be able to fit and work in larger tanks.


  • Water Lines – Some owners found that the water lines that came with this product were not of good quality and needed to be replaced.
  • Cloudy Water – A minority of owners found that this canister filter did not reduce cloudy water or filter properly.

What To Look For In A Fish Tank Canister Filter

Now that we have looked at some of the best canister filters on the market, it is finally time to learn more about what you need to know about these products.

In this section, we are going to look at several things you need to know before you purchase your canister filter.


An aquarium filter will run constantly, every day, all day.

So, you require a filter that will not use up a load of electricity and of course one that will last you a long time.

The best way you can find a filter like this is by looking out for products that have a UL approval rating.

When it comes to the durability of motors, you will need to look out for a canister filter that has epoxy sealed motors.

This helps to prevent moisture, debris, or dust from damaging the impeller.

Another motor that you can look out for is a magnetic-driven motor.

This basically means that a magnetic coil is used to power the impeller.

On the plus side, these motors are self-priming, so you do not need to siphon water.

The negative side is that these magnetic motors are not sealed like the epoxy sealed ones, and so are less protected from moisture and debris.

Tank Size And GPH

One of the first things you need to consider with a canister filter is how big your aquarium is and compare that to your filter of choice’s GPH or gallons per hour.

This basically means, how much water per hour your filter will turn over.

So, with your own canister filter, you will need a product that can turn over at least 4x the volume of water in your tank every hour.

For example, if you have a tank that is 20 gallons, you will need a canister filter that has a GPH of 80.

It will be wise to look at a canister filter that has a higher filtration, as all filters will naturally lose some flow as soon as you load it with media.

Media Trays And The Filtration Process

The best canister filters out there will have media trays for all of the different filtration stages.

So, the mechanical, chemical, and biological stages will have separate trays in the filter.

If you have a product that has these three trays, you are likely to see better results from your canister filter.


A canister filter usually has two valves, one is used to control the intake and the other to control the output.

So, when you are considering the valves of your next canister filter, you need to be aware of ones that can be completely closed.

In essence, this means that the water may stay in the hoses, so you can disassemble the filter for maintenance without having to re-prime your filter.

Another thing you should keep your eye out for is the option to disconnect the intake and output hoses.

If you get a canister filter that allows you to do this, you can avoid the need to fill up buckets of water.

Size And Location

Sadly, canister filters can be quite large and unsightly.

So, you need to take care to check the dimensions of your filter.

This is so that you know that you have the space in your tank to put the filter.

Also, where you put your aquarium can have an impact on your day-to-day life.

For example, if it is in your bedroom, you may need to pay extra attention to whether or not your canister filter runs quietly, so your sleep is not disturbed.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we are going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding canister filters.

So, without further ado, let us begin.

Are Canister Filters Difficult To Maintain?

Canister filters are not really difficult to maintain, they are easy to set up and usually go into the aquarium itself, so you have easy access to them when you need to clean them.

How Long Can Canister Filters Be Off?

A canister filter should not be off for very long.

This is because the media inside the filter can die off if it does not get the oxygen it needs.

So, if your filter is off for more than one or two hours, it is a good idea to open the trays and rinse the medium before putting it back on.

If you do not do this, you might end up pumping poison into the aquarium and make things much worse.

How Often Should You Change a Canister Filter?

The canister filter itself does not get replaced unless the device becomes faulty.

But, the medium inside the filter should be replaced every few weeks and at this time you should at least give the filter housing a quick rinse.

If you see any debris or algae, you should make sure that you clean that out too.

Are Canister Filters Quiet?

This type of filter is one of the quietest out there.

The tubing and design of these filters are so perfect that they are able to operate almost silently and still perform as they should.

Final Thoughts

That is all for this article, we hope that you have learned everything that you need to know about canister filters.

There is a lot of information out there about these products, and it is not a purchase you make lightly.

The death of your fishy friends is not something to be taken lightly.

So, make sure to choose a canister filter with good ratings, an excellent reputation, and of course all the features that you need for your aquarium.

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