The Best Canister Filter List 2021


Best canister filter is an essential device that everyone with a fish tank/aquarium must-have.

This is the device utilized in cleaning or filtering the fish water. There are different varieties of canister filters on the market for one to choose from based on their needs and usage. But all in all, the buyers have one common goal, and that is to purchase the best canister filter for the use. Note that some of the features that differentiate these filters are the type and style of flows that are determined by the brands and the models.
But to be able to buy the best canister filter here are a few elements that you should look out for.

How to choose the best canister filter.

  • The size and shape of the aquarium

The first thing to put into consideration when selecting the filter is the size of the tank. This is because you require a filter that will fit and work correctly for your tank and without detracting your fish. If your tank is for large fish, make sure to get a large filter that will work fast and efficiently in cleaning. Also, different canister filters require different fittings, and thus it is crucial that you find a filter that is easy to fix on your aquarium.

  • Compatibility.


The canister filters are crafted in different styles. Some are meant to be hanged on the exterior of the fish tank while others can be used on the interior side. On the other hand, not all fish tanks are strong enough to hold a canister filter when hanged on the exterior while others may be too small to fit it in the inside. Therefore, before buying the filter, know the best cleaner that is compatible with your fish tank.

  • Understand how the canister filter works.


The filter works in three different media which are biological, mechanical, and chemical. The natural process promotes the release of ammonia which neutralizes the growing bacteria and ensures to ensure there are less toxic compounds on the aquarium. The mechanical filtration helps to remove or filter the wastes from the aquarium before it decays. The chemical filtration helps to remove the residue from the aquarium. It is vital that you learn about these three filtration processes for the natural selection of the right filter.

  • The type of fish.


The fish you intend to keep in your aquarium also plays a significant role in your selection of a canister. Some fish tends to be messier than others, and in such a case, you need a filter that will keep up with the cleansing process. So ask for a referral from a vet on the right filter to buy for your fish.

Other considerations.

  • The price.


The canister filters retail at different prices which are influenced by the model, size, and also brand. So, research the available models and brands to find the best canister that will fit your budget and serves your purpose efficiently.


Top 10 Best Canister Filter in 2020.


1. Best Fluvial Canister Filter Fx6.

best canister filters


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Whether you have used a canister filter before or not, Fluval is a great device that is quite easy to use. The filter has a self-starting filter that makes your work easy. Meaning, all you will need is to add water to the tank and plug in the filter. It is easy to maintain filter for people with busy schedules or if you are prone to forgetting often.

This is because the canister has a built-in monthly reminder notification which makes your cleaning to be comfortable and on time. It is large as it can be fitted for an aquarium of up to 400 gallons. This feature also makes the filter essential for use in large fish tanks. Other benefits that make Fluval the best aquarium canister is the multi-stage filter setting which provides clean and healthy aquarium water, freshwater, and also a marine aquarium.


  • The filter moves water fast and efficiently.
  • Maintaining thanks to the reminder is easy.
  • Has an auto-start which makes it easy to use by all including beginners.
  • It is large and offers much capacity filtering.



  • It is quite powerful hence not ideal for small fish.
  • It is quite heavy thus not suitable for weak aquariums.


2. Fluval Advanced Filtration System.

 Fluval Advanced Filtration System

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This is another excellent filter model from Fluvial Company. It is quite easy to use as it is operated using one button only. The user can easily monitor the water in the aquarium due to the monitoring features available on the device. You can control the water temperatures, flow rate, and even heat conduction on this filter. What makes this Fluvial filter different from other brands is the easy to use mechanism. Hence I would recommend it for first time users. It is small and thus can only filter water on aquariums of up to 80 gallons.


  • The setup process is comfortable and clean.
  • It is easy to control the temperature conductivity and so on since they are easy to access on the filter.
  • The unit operates quietly which allows one to set it in any corner of the room.
  • It is durable as well.



  • The unit cannot be used for filtering large fish since it only filters 185 gallons per hour.
  • Some customers have complained about the filter’s price of this filter is too high for its function and size.

3. Professional Hydro Canister Filter External .

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

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Hydro is one of the best canister filters for turtles thanks to its powerful and efficient working features. I would recommend this filter for use in the turtle tank as it can perform all three filtration phases which are the chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration. Although it is a durable and high tech device, rest assured that it will not give you problems when working with it.

This is because it features easy priming and the telescopic intake tubes are quite easy to use as well. Other features that make the filter stand out are the ability to filter an aquarium of up to 600 gallons.


  • It is adjustable to use with small tanks of up to 80 gallons.
  • Keeps your fish in a good environment due to its filtration power.
  • It is fitted on the outside hence giving your fish more space to move freely on the inside.
  • Setting it up is pretty easy since it is packed with all the required accessories.



  • If you are cautious about power consumption in the house, then I would suggest you get another filter because hydro has high power consumption.
  • The flow of pressure from this filter is quite high hence it is not recommended for small fish.


4. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums.

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums

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Marine is a versatile canister filter that can be used on different aquariums. It comes with a regulatory part that allows you to use it in different sizes of aquariums. It gives the three filtration phases to ensure that the aquarium is clean and fish have fresh water. Note that this filter can only filter a tank that has 80 gallons of water. Therefore, if you were planning on purchasing it for a turtle tank, it would be ideal for you to get a bigger one with high filtration power. The connection process is easy, and all the attaching accessories are provided together with the filter.


  • It works magic in small tanks.
  • It is easy to carry around when fitting on the aquarium tank.
  • The filter operates in a quiet mode thus making it suitable for installation in different rooms.
  • Some customers recommend the use of this filter since it is easy to clean the primer.



  • It is only ideal for small fish since it filters less water.
  • Some customers have reported having the tank leak at some point.


5. Best Aqua Top CF Series Canister Filter.

 Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter

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If you are searching for the safest filter to use with your fish or turtle tank, then get Aqua top Cf filter. The filter comes with an inbuilt Uv sterilizer which is essential for eradicating algae spores or any other harmful bacteria that may be forming in the tank. It is ideal for large containers as it can filter a tank of up to 175 gallons.

It provides four plus one filtration phases which help to ensure the water is crystal clear and clean for the fish. It has less power consumption which makes it ideal for people who do not want to use too much electricity on the filter. It operates in a quiet mode, and it works quite fast since it can filter up to 525 gallons per hour.


  • The filer is sold at a very affordable price.
    It is an energy-efficient filter.
    It operates in a quiet form.
    It is suitable for all water including freshwater.



  • The filter can only be used with large fish.
  • There have been complaints from some customers where they experienced leakage after applying the filter for a while.


6. Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter.

Cobalt Aquatics 26000 Ext Canister Filter

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If you are worried if this filter will burden your tank, then there is no need to since it can be placed in different areas as there is no gravity needed to support it on the tank. It can be placed on any side or area of the tank and still function accordingly.

For a quality assurance to the customer, the Cobalt filter comes with a three-year warranty where you can return the device for an exchange or claim your money back. Other features that make the Cobalt Aquatics filter unique is the fact that the water stills runs in the tank even when you are cleaning the filter. This ensures that your fish are still getting water supply as you clean up the filter.


  • Fitting of the filter is convenient since it can be placed on any side of the tank. 
  • It takes less time to disconnect the valve hence enabling the flow of water to continue.
  • It takes little time to prime the device.
  • Works in a quiet sound mode.



  • The packed accessories are cheap hence you may need to purchase others for installation.
  • The use of the external pumps adds complexity to the setup and look of the filter.


7. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter.

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

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The filter has all safety features fixed to protect the tank and your fish. There is a promo-elastic silicon seal that is essential for safe opening and closing the filter when cleaning. Note that the silicon is usually fixed on the tank. Some of the accessories included in the kit are a spray bar, inlet pipe, hose pipe, and other installation accessories. This filter is quite convenient regarding saving you money as it comes with a filter media and all the valves needed for fixing it.


  • Comes with a filter media.
  • It is easy to set up since it is packed with all the required fitting accessories.
  • EHEIM filter is sold at a fair price affordable to many.
  • Works in a moderate sound.



  • It does not come with external fitting pieces hence making it difficult to fit.
  • It slows down a bit quickly.


8. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter.

 Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter

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This is another ideal filter for people who are purchasing it for the first time. It is quite easy to operate since you can comfortably start with one push button. It is crafted in a sturdy form for durability. The filter also features transparent material which allows one to see through what is going on inside the filter. The fixing of the filter parts is quite secure since all the necessary tools and parts are provided for this job. It is reliable in ensuring the fish are breathing fresh air under the water as it undergoes the three filtration processes in cleansing the water.


  • The fixing of the filter parts is quite secure using the user manual.
  • Operates in a quiet mode to avoid disturbance in the house.
  • It is sturdy and durable.
  • The filter features an ergonomic design.



  • Some customers have complained about the filter media not being too reliable.
  • The flow of water is not consistency sometimes you may experience leakage.


9. Marineland Polishing Filter Pads for Canister Filters.

MarineLand Polishing Filter Pads

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Marineland is a strong canister filter suitable for aquariums. It filters up to 360 gallons per hour. It is fitted with various elements to ensure that all dirt and debris are filtered off the fish water. One pack comes with two pieces to provide efficient filtering and cleaning. This also makes it ideal for fish that are messier. The pads are designed with high-quality materials that ensure they last for long and perform their tasks. Fitting of the pads is easy, and the pack comes with a manual for more instructions.


  • They filter all the dirt and debris from the water.
  • They work pretty fast and efficiently.
  • They are suitable for turtle and fish.
  • The filter rates at a fair price.



  • The pads require being changes probably once a month.


10. Best Canister Filter Sunshine Modular Filter.

SunSun Modular Canister Filter

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This canister filter is suitable for both large and small fish. It is equipped with a control valve which allows you to dictate the amount of flow needed for your fish. It works even better when used with the existing water filtration system or the water pumping the fish tank. Other reliable features found on this filter are the media essential for cleaning the fish water.


  • Controlling the pressure of water is easy.
  • Comes with a filtration media.
  • Setting up the kit is easy.
  • Maintaining it is easy.



  • Although this canister filter gets its work done, some customers have complained of having leakage on the valves.
  • It does not come with a water pump, and thus you have to buy it separately.


Best Canister Filter  Conclusion.

These are the top 10 best canister filters on the market. Their designs and uses differ to suit different customers’ needs and therefore, whether you plan to keep small fish or the large ones, rest assured that you will get the right filter for your fish. Utilize the above buying guide to help you choose the appropriate filter for your tank and fish.