Best Aquarium Canister Filters 2017

So you’ve learned about the purpose of an aquarium filter, the different types of filters available, and you’ve decided to use a canister filter for your tank. If you haven’t figured out which filter would work best for your needs or need a better understanding of the different types of filters available, refer to our freshwater aquarium filters page.

For those of you that have decided that a canister filter best fits your needs, congratulations. Scroll below for choices based on tank size. It is okay to use a filter that is rated for a larger tank as long as the stock in that tank will be okay with a stronger current.

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Why a canister filter?

Canister filters are the Lexus of aquarium filters you can purchase. You can make your own filter that would probably provide better value for money, but its going to cost your time and if you have shoddy craftsmanship probably end up costing you more money in the long run for an inferior product. When you purchase a canister filter from a reputable company, it will be easy to set up and easy to clean. Furthermore, my experience with canister filters is that they are quieter than most other filters.

The benefit I enjoy the most with canister filters is the amount of filter media most of them can hold and the flexibility with the filter media. If I require biological filtration because my mechanical filtration is taken care of by another filter, I can fill a canister filter with just biological media. The same can be said for chemical filtration, if I want more chemical filtration such as Seachem Purigen, I can use more space for purigen. (To find out more about purigen or to read reviews of purigen, click on the following link: Seachem Purigen) If you are going to have one decent size tank, I strongly recommend considering a canister as it’ll probably allow you to better enjoy your tank in the long run.


Best Aquarium Canister Filters 2017 by brand

Fluval 06 Series filters

Image of a Fluval 306 External Filter.
Image of a Fluval 306 External Filter.

Released in 2011, the Fluval 06 series is the latest series of their external filters. These filters come with some key features including:

  • Precise-engineered bearing to minimize noise
  • Large vertical foam pre-filters for great mechanical filtration
  • Multiple compartments for media
  • Large filter volume
  • 3 year warranty
  • Aquastop valves – These valves are found where the intake and outtake hoses meet the filter unit. By turning them off, they stop water flow and make it easier and less messy when it comes time to clean the filter

The Fluval 06 series comes in a variety of sizes that fit aquariums from 25 gallons all the way to 400 gallon tanks. They feature large compartments for media and are a breeze to maintain. One of the issues commonly raised about the line is the price. They are generally some of the more expensive filters on the market along with Eheim.  Please click here for more information on the Fluval 06 series external canister filters on Fluval’s website. To read more reviews on the Fluval 06 Series filters or to purchase a filter, check out the following links:

Please note, we do not recommend the Fluval G3 and G6. These units have received multiple poor reviews and there have been many owners that have issues with much lower filtration than normal on these units or in some cases broken units after a short time.

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Image of a Hydor Professional External Canister Filter 350
Image of a Hydor Professional External Canister Filter 350

The Hydor Professional external canister filter comes in a variety of sizes that service aquariums from 40 gallons all the way to 150 gallons. Hydor Professional provides great value for money. This line is usually cheaper when compared to the competitions’. Some of the key features of this line includes:

  • No water bypass – All water needs to run through the filter media
  • No noise (no vibration)
  • Large filter volume
  • Simple to use
  • Can be used for all types of tanks (freshwater, saltwater, terraquariums)

The Hydor Professional line is a great alternative to the Fluval 06 line of filters. If you are on a budget, these filters have great reviews and hold a large selection of media. One complaint is that the replacement parts may be expensive and it might not be as easy to find replacement parts. Please click here for more information on the Hydor Professional line directly at Hydor’s website. To read more reviews on the Hydor Professional line or to purchase a filter, check out the following links:

Eheim Classic External Canister Filter 

Image of Eheim Classic External Filter with media installed. (66 Gallon)
Image of Eheim Classic External Filter with media installed. (66 Gallon)

Eheim has a reputation of creating some of the best canister filters in the world. As of the last five years, I’ve noticed some cracks in this reputation, likely due to cheaper material being used. That being said, all the companies are going in this direction, so I would not blame Eheim for a reduction in quality. Their filters are still some of the best in the world. The Eheim Classic line comes in 3 different sizes from 40 gallons to 92 gallons. Lets discuss some of the key features with the Eheim Classic line of external canister filters:

  • Comes with filter media! (EHEIM Mech & Substrat Pro) (Represents fantastic value)
  • Includes a spray bar
  • No water bypass – All water needs to run through the filter media
  • Good value and price (Eheim has multiple more expensive lines, the Classic line seems like a good place to start)

Please note, pieces may break during shipping. If you are ordering the product online, be sure to examine the contents before assembling the filter to ensure nothing is broken. Other than some issues with faulty or weak parts, the Classic line is a good entry level external canister filter to try if you want to see what Eheim is about. To read more reviews on the Eheim Classic line of filters or to purchase a filter, check out the following links (We were unable to locate the gallons per hour (GPH) information for the Eheim filters):

Conclusion

I hope the above breakdown of the best aquarium filters in 2017 helps you with your choice. If you are on a budget, the Hydor is a great alternative to the Fluval. Just be aware that if you run into any issues with the Hydor Professional line the parts may be harder to locate and be expensive. At the end of the day, I personally use Fluval filters because my local pet shop carries them and I know I can order replacement parts for my filter through my local shop. I think if you go Fluval, you will be paying a premium, but in North America there is good support for the brand which provides peace of mind and is a real benefit. I personally have an FX6 that has been running for two years with sand substrate and the filter is as quiet today as the day I got it. (And there is sand in that filter)

 

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