The Best Aquarium Canister Filters: Our Top Picks

Best of Canister Filters
Best of Canister Filters

Aquarium filtration has come a long way in the past few years. Canister filters still remain one of the top options to keep your tanks clean and clear. While they have been around a while, innovation and creativity has allowed canisters to continue to be a proven option in a hobbyist’s toolkit. All canister filters operate externally with tubing placed inside of the display that funnels the water down into the filter chamber and passes it along through multiple filtration stages. The water is then returned to the display fully filtered and polished. Whether you have a nano reef aquarium or a 300 gallon planted tank, there is a proven and reliable canister filter for you.

Are Canister Filters Good for Reef Tanks?

Within this article, we will take a look at some of the best canister filter options for a variety of unique aquariums. We will make our recommendations on a nano and planted tank. We will also discuss some good options for saltwater aquariums as well as those hobbyists who want a filter that can last a lifetime. Keep in mind that there will be a plethora of canister filter options that will not make this list but, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be a great fit for your own aquarium. If you are needing a particular recommendation or if you have any questions, please reach out to our customer care team and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Choice for a Nano Tank: Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter  
Zoo Med Nano 10 Canister Filter
Zoo Med Nano 10 Canister Filter

While canister filters are most commonly used on mid-sized aquariums, Zoo Med has produced the Nano 10 filter that is capable of operating on even some of the smallest aquariums. This European made filter operates at 80 gallons per hour and has three modes of filtration built into it. The first stage will remove particulates, the second stage will polish the water, and the third stage will hold beneficial bacteria to aid in biological filtration. This filter is best suited for aquariums between two and ten gallons. The included spray bar will increase both aeration and water movement within the display tank. Finally, this filter can operate effectively on saltwater and freshwater aquariums. Each of these features culminate in the best aquarium canister filter for a nano tank.  

READ  Reef-A-Palooza Roundup: A Water Testing Robot, Apex Control with Alexa, More Natural Rock Shapes, and Speaker Recaps
The Ideal Pick for a Planted Aquarium: Delta Canister Filter Line 
Delta 120 Canister Filter

Canister filters are one of the most popular filter options for planted aquariums due to their minimal appearance within the display and their ability to work hand in hand with carbon dioxide injection. With this in mind, the Delta canister filter line from Ultum Nature Systems is a great choice for a planted aquarium. One of the most interesting features of this filter is that it can operate in two different configurations. The filter can hang on the back of the tank as well as operate as a normal canister filter. This unit comes in two different sizes that allow it to work on aquariums up to 92 gallons. Each unit includes three stages of customizable filtration and the quick disconnects allow for easy maintenance. Another excellent feature on this filter is that all needed media will be included within the box of the unit. The Delta line also is known to be extremely quiet which can be difficult to find in a canister filter. With each of these details in mind, you can be confident that the Delta canister filter is the perfect choice for your own planted aquarium. 

The Best Option for Saltwater: Fluval External Canister Filter Line  
Fluval 306 External Canister Filter

Fluval has been producing canister filters for years and their external line has come a very long way. We now offer three unique models that can perform on aquariums up to 350 gallons. One of the reasons we consider these filters to be amongst the best choices for saltwater aquariums is the amount of media that can fit into each filter. In addition to the amount of media that can fit, these filters also have the water flow in a unique pattern to maximize it’s contact with the media. While they may hold a lot of media, it is still very easy to open and conduct maintenance which will need to happen more frequently when operating on a saltwater aquarium. Additionally, the pumps behind these filters have been greatly improved to be more reliable, durable, and powerful. For each of these reasons, the Fluval external line is one of the best aquarium canister filters for saltwater.  

READ  NUVO EXT: Innovative Marine Grants Our Wish And Builds Reef-Ready Tanks With External Overflows So We Can Finally Use A Sump
The Most Durable Filter: Eheim Classic Canister Filter Line 
Eheim Classic External Canister Filter

Eheim is one of the most proven and reliable aquarium product manufacturers on the market. Naturally, the Classic canister filters are some of their most popular and desired products. These filters have been around for decades and while the design has been improved every few years, the basic form of the filter has continued to stay similar to previous iterations. This is due to the fact that these skimmer have proven to be workhorses that can last for years and years. All needed media will be included with the purchase of a filter making the units ready for installation right out of the box. Also, each filter comes with a two year manufacturer warranty, that will keep your filter fully protected. These extremely well built filters make them the best aquarium canister filters for those seeking an option that is built to last.  

Eheim Classic Canister Filters: What You Need To Know
Final Thoughts: 


Filtration is and will continue to be an essential part of keeping a beautiful and successful aquarium. Canister filters will remain one of the top ways to ensure that your tank is properly filtered and positioned for sustained success. Each of these filter options come in a variety of sizes and selecting the proper model will be crucial in order to maximize the performance of the unit. We are confident that each of these recommendations provide the proper filtration, durability, and reliability hobbyists are looking for when searching for the perfect mode of filtration. If you are needing any assistance in selecting a filter or you have any questions, our customer care team will be happy to guide you towards success.  

Comments