Best Aquarium Canister Filter Reviews in 2021-Buying Guide

Quality filtration is vital to the success of any aquarium. If you do not know, the main work of canister filters is to remove water from your fish tank using the intake tube, valve, or sieve running through a media. This happens in a pressurized canister. The filtered aquarium water is then pumped back to the fish tank through the spillway or the spray bar. It is crucial that you filter the valve. The direction of flow varies depending on the models and canister filter brands. Knowing the best aquarium canister filters helps you protect your tank.   

Some canister filters work from top to bottom while others work from back to front, outside-in or center-out. The aquarium filter media provides biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration depending on the kind of filter media you are using in the canister filter.  

After the water passes through the filter media in your sealed canister, it flows back into the fish tank. Canister filters use water pumps for water movement as the system is sealed. Most canister filter models have built-in water pumps into the base. Some models require separate external water pumps. Therefore, be careful when choosing the most appropriate model of the canister filters to use. Choose a brand of the best canister filter for reef tank that is easy to maintain as the maintenance requirements of the canister filters vary.  

Our Recommendation

Top Pick

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

On the off chance that you feel this detailed comparison is somewhat time-consuming; Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium is the ultimate choice for you. It’s the top pick with literally no regrets at all. From our experience we did find this particular canister aquarium filter as our TOP pick because of some strong points – it has a capacity of holding up to 200 gallons, and surprisingly it does come with an easy push-button primer. Moreover, all of the accessories including ceramic rings, tubes & tubings, directional spout, and spray bar – all are there for enhancing the performance to its best.

Runner Up Pick
canister filter for saltwater reviews

Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister Filter

It would really be a hard time for you to get a canister filter of premium quality keeping your budget at an affordable point. Well, you can go for this cost-effective canister filter that isn’t just proficient, but very exclusive at the same time. With 4 flexible media trays and a capacity of holding up to 200 gallons, the Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister Filter becomes the “BUDGET-PICK” from our personal experience. Furthermore, the convenient self-priming pump, adjustable spray-bar, and ceramic rings make this canister filter just out of the BOX. In short, you pay LESS but get in FULL.

1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Key features

  • Cascade 1500 black elite kit
  • Hold upto 200 gallons capacity
  • Includes new black canister housing, tubing and all tubes
  • Comes with easy push button primer
  • Also includes a spray bar, directional spout and filter medium
best aquarium canister filter

Have you been looking for an aquarium filter that offers top marine and freshwater filtration with fail? If so, then this is the end of your search. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter is one tool that does not fail to deliver up to 200 gallons of water. If you wish to calculate its value as compared to other ordinary canister filters, you will realize that it exceeds $50. All accessories including tubes & tubings, ceramic rings, large magna sweep algae magnet and many others come with the package to enhance its performance. Furthermore, it comes with large capacity stackable media trays that play a significant role in enhancing multi-stage filtration. Yes, all its parts and their respective replacement media are OEM from Penn Plax factories which are of high quality.




If you’re looking for large capacity stackable media then these trays will play a bombastic role in allowing multi-stage filtration. It is quick and easy with the help of the push-button primer and the two independently rotating taps at 360 degrees.

2. Fluval 406 External Filter

Key features

  • Improved motor hydraulic performance
  • Enhanced water filtration 
  • Redesigned impeller cover
  • Equipped with a clog proof intake trainer 
  • Comes with a dual layer foam screen
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Flow rate of 1450lph suitable for 100 gallons aquariums
  • Installed with rim connectors and multiple filtration baskets
Fluval External Filter
  • Built with patented Aqua stop valve

For those of you who have been disappointed by the noise produced from the traditional aquarium filters; we would like to guarantee you that with this new Fluval 406 Canister Filter, you can have quieter operations with less maintenance but offering better filtration. Indeed, the new model adds the aspect of extra convenience thanks to the powerful motors that do not disappoint. It is user friendly making its set-up straightforward and easy.

The multiple filtration baskets play a significant role in facilitating mechanical, biological and chemical filtration. Furthermore, this canister aquarium filter comes in a unique square based design holding 35-50 per cent more water than round canister aquariums. This functionality has enabled better water flow through the cleansing path that maximizes contact with the media. Besides, it is equipped with a clog proof intake strainer plus a dual layer foam screen whose work is to prevent water from sipping and dripping onto the receptacle. In this case, a “drip loop” must be arranged in the cord joining appliances to a receptacle.




If set-up is your greatest worry then this design guarantees you of quick installation and the practical benefits remain unmatched buy the ordinary designs. Besides, the maintenance frequency is less and its operation is much quieter than the traditional make. Pick your favorite design and show off its performance in style. 

3. Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter

Key features

  • It is a Patented Re-filtration System
  • Comes equipped with AquaClear Foam
  • Two years warranty
  • Capacity of up to 110 gallons
  • Quick and easy installation
best canister filter for saltwater

If versatility is one factor that you stress about when shopping for aquarium filters then Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter is delivering the promise. This canister aquarium filter comes with hang-on filter systems that provides a complete selection of the rate of flow for many aquarium designs. If you wish to know further, this aquarium filter has the capacity to withstand six times more media volume with the longest water-media contact than most aquarium filters in the market. Its Aquaclear flow control in this design has reduced with about 50% without causing any harm to the filter motor/impeller. Even yet, you will need to ensure you do the maintenance like regular cleaning to enhance maximum filter operation & efficiency. This tool is easy to install, with a few set-ups involved. It is ideal for up to 110 gallons aquariums.

canister filter for reef tank




If you’re focusing more on the mechanical and chemical filtration, then this design will provide a multi-stage filtration propelled by the power filter. It comes with patented control feature that facilitate customization of the filter performance. You don’t have to spend much to maintain the operational state of the filer when you can achieve it at a reduced cost.

4. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Key features

  • It is hydor professional 600 aquarium
  • Comes with telescopic intake tubes
  • Use both mechanical, biological and chemical filtration systems
  • Collects up to 150 gallons of water
  • Completely eco-system filter
filter 20 gallon

Any environment needs to maintain a healthy and long-lived aquatic experience; but you cannot achieve this minus the best aquarium filters. For this ecosystem to exist, you need to ensure the mechanical, biological and chemical filtration are in order.  Yes, this tool is capable of extending its functionality, relaying up to 345gph in its external filter which altogether completes the eco-system in a box. If you did not like the performance of the previous primer, then Hydor Professional External Canister Filter has come with telescopic intake tube which has enhanced the priming feature. If you wish to know how much is its capacity, it has the ability of acting on 150 gallons of water per session.

aquarium canister filter reviews




It is not just the price of this product that has influenced its quality and popularity; pay attention to what it offers and you will know the real deal. This filter comes with easy priming features like the telescopic intake tubes which are responsible for simplifying its operations.

5. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

Key features

  • Best suited for tanks holding up to 95 gallons
  • Flow rate of up to 164 gph
  • Has an in-late of 12/16mm and an outlet 12/16mm 
  • Simple canister filter design
  • Includes accessories, hoses and media
  • Comes with permo-elastic sealing ring on the pump
  • Equipped with filter sponges 
  • Sold with loose filter media
filter for large tanks reviews

Having a permo-elastic silicone sealing ring fitted on the pump head in a canister aquarium filter, is the best gift that will enhance safety and easy closing each time you’re doing the cleaning service. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter comes equipped with filter sponges or you can term them as loosed filter media that facilitate filtration. It is simple and efficient filter design recommended for fish tanks up to 95 gallons with a flow rate of about 164 GPH. Furthermore,this design allows the greatest flexibility of the media with respect to biological, chemical and mechanical filtration. This improves water circulation plus oxygen enrichment thus resulting to optimum conditions that facilitate successful aquarium keeping.

aquarium filter reviews




For those of you who have been disappointed before by your previous choice of aquarium filters; this is an exceptional design that will never disappoint. Make it your habit, rolling with the best canister filter for saltwater. Make a decision now while it still counts.

6. Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister Filter

Key features

  • Food for 200 gallon fish tank
  • Built-in 9 watts UV sterilizer
  • Comes with four flexible media trays
  • Convenient self-priming pump
  • Ceramic rings included in the package
  • Adjustable spray bar present
canister filter reviews

If you’re looking for a filter which accompanies a large tank, well, then the Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister Filter might just be the perfect canister filter you’ve desperately been searching for. This particular canister filter comes with a 9 Watt UV sterilizer for keeping the algae aside, is totally easy-to-set-up, includes a filter capacity around 200 gallons, and is fairly economical. Besides, we found the self-priming pump very convenient when we performed a few numbers of tests. And, surprisingly the filter will handle all those dirty works of priming.

All you will require to do is pressing and a button and relax – the whole process will be carried out in hands-free way. Honestly speaking, if you’re a completely new aquarium owner and don’t have any previous experience, trust us – it’s going to be an exclusive feature for you. Furthermore, the Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister Filter includes everything with the box. You don’t require any of those special skills to do the setup. And, when it comes to PRICE, this handy canister filter is cheaper than all of those larger-capacity filters currently available in the online market.

canister filter for saltwater reviews




If you’re looking for the best canister aquarium filter, then this design is just one call away. It features four media trays that ensure handling the choice of filtration media is forgone. It is efficient for use with 200 gallon fish tanks.

7. Penn Plax Cascade 300 Hang-on Aquarium Filter

Key features

  • Four stage filtration
  • Easy to assemble
  • Self leveling case
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Intuitive features 
  • Light & whisper quiet operations

Penn-Plax has got its reputation for bringing high-quality products in the market. In case of Cascade 300 Hang-on Aquarium Filter from Penn Plax – it’s no EXCEPTION! In fact, this aquarium filter is one of the best-selling products in the world of the ONLINE market. And, YES, there are definite reasons for that. First of all, we have liked this Cascade 300 Hang-on Aquarium Filter because of the effective and noiseless task.

The BEST thing about this exclusive aquarium filter is the highly-effective QUAD-filtration functionality that is comprised of activated carbon, mechanical poly-filter pad, bio-filtration internal-sponge along with external bio-falls dry/wet biological booster. The especial poly-filter pad will perform the job of catching the floating matters. And, that activated carbon will help to eradicate stains, smells, poisons, hazardous chemicals, and different other contaminants.

At the same time, this particular aquarium filter comes with adjustable flow-knob that will help you adjust the filtration as per the requirement. And, surprisingly, it works perfectly for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. For Your Information, the flow knob is totally easy-to-install.

In short, this Cascade 300 Hang-on Aquarium Filter would be an ideal choice for YOU.

aquarium filter 20 gallon




The Cascade 300 is designed to deliver comprehensive filtration; biological, chemical and mechanical filtration mechanism. Regardless of the robust nature of the design, it can deliver up to 525 GPH which is adjustable based on what suits you.

8. SunSun HW304B Pro Canister Filter Kit

Key features

  • HW-304B Pro Filtration kit
  • Effectivity of up to 150 gallons aquariums
  • It has a flow-rate of 525 GPH
  • Measures 11” by 11 by 17
  • Comes with a canister filter inbuilt
  • It uses 1lb of premium filter carbon
best canister filter media

SunSun have never disappointed us in their designs; here, they ventured into the market with an amazing aquarium filter. It is built in UV sterilizer which is responsible for taking up to 150 gallons. Besides, if your wish to know its rate it could hande in an hour, nothing less than 525 gallons thanks to the flexible media trays which allow the addition of more trays to achieve excellent filtration. The UV light sterilizer also plays a significant role in eliminating algae spores and bacteria that may be present in the water. If you wish to get rid of manual siphoning, then it’s advisable for you to carry this design with you that comes with a convenient self-priming feature. 

Yes, it is one of the many roles that the filter media play to ensure water color, clarity and odor are improved. Porous ceramic rings ensure an ideal growing site for beneficial bacteria have been provisioned. The bio-balls on the other hand assist is gas exchange as well as the level of oxygen dissolving in the water for a healthy aquatic life.

SunSun filter with uv sterilizer




If your main focus is the flow rate, we guarantee you that this design will serve you. With up to 525 GPH, it is ideal for 150 gallons aquariums delivering healthy clean water for the best aquatic environment.

9. Fluval Underwater Filter

Key features

  • Sleek design
  • Adjustable flow control 
  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater setups 
  • 400liters per hour output
  • Powerful water flow rate
  • Multi-tray media
Fluval Underwater Filtercanister filter for 240 gallon tank

The filter gives you optimal biological filtration and ensures filtering all debris is achieved in the best way. It is simple to install and runs silently and efficiently. The filter can work as a standalone filter or ideal supplemental; it all depends on what you find to be ideal. You can install it where the external filtration system is not working properly. Equally important, the filtration system comes with 3-way flow control, which has an adjustable output. Besides, you get two foam pads, 90rams BioMax, two polycaborn cartridges, and it is ideal for 34-65 gallon environments.  

This design functions perfectly for both freshwater and saltwater applications. Yes, the Fluval underwater filter offers superior water purification. If you’re yet to know, it has superior aeration and movement capabilities making it an ideal submersible filter that will give you multi-stage cleaning and operates quietly. The filter is versatile and gives you the best water filtration that leaves your aquatic life healthy.  

Furthermore, this filter has a chamber that holds filter foams. The filter foams play a significant role in preventing accruing of bits of wastes around the gills on the chambers. The blank panel retains loose waste and keeps them there until you get the filter to a bucket. It is an efficient filtration system that has a long lifespan.   

The motor is easily accessible and is in the same shade as the internal filter chambers. This indicates that it can be removed when the motor is old or is no longer running efficiently. Even yet, the restricted power capable runs up the rear of this filter, and the newer design allows the cable to be pulled easily from the moorings to free everything up.  

Apart from the filters, the flow rate is ideal and serves you well. You can get your media through the flip-top lid and still change some things while the filter is still running. Technically, it is best to turn off the electrical equipment before you put your hands into that tank. 

luval U4 Underwater Filter Aquarium Filters




If you’re looking for an underwater filter with POWERFUL water-flow rate, then we recommend you to go for the Fluval Underwater Filter. TRUST US; this underwater filter will surely meet your needs & requirements. With the speed of 400 liters/hour output, the Fluval Underwater Filter works like a REAL PERFORMER.

10. Fluval FX6 Canister Filter

Key features

  • Self-starting mechanism incorporated
  • Smart pump technology used 
  • It is a Multi-stage filter 
  • 15.3 Gallon capacity accommodated per session
  • Comes with Utility valve hosting
  • Output nozzle and ribbe hosting
Fluval canister filter for 75 gallon aquarium
  • Has Filter lid Canister with 3-media baskets
  • Comes with a Strainerand rim connectors
  • Aquastop valves are also included

The canister is 22-inches tall and can fit inside the aquarium perfectly. If you still wish to know, its height is conducive so you can fit more media baskets. Remember, it comes with 3-media baskets which expand room for filtering the media you need. Each basket houses foam on the outside and acts as mechanical filtration which removes large debris before they reach chemical and biological media phase. The water runs through the foam before passing through the biological media and chemical media. Remember to keep the chemical media at the bottom as it lasts longer that way. 

The filter pumps at least 4-times the tank water per hour, which gives you good circulation in the tank. The filter pumps above 538GPH and can filter aquariums up to 400 gallons. The fast flow rate and the filter media make your aquarium water look crystal clear even on smaller tank sizes. The filter has an adjustable water flow which you can set depending on the aquatic life or fish you have. Some fish don’t thrive in strong water flows.  

The multi-flow nozzles make it possible to angle the water flow in various directions to reduce its speed. The nozzles have different output modes and change based on your aquatic needs. Adjust the water flow to suit your needs. Turn the water flow 90 degrees and purge the filter. The clog-proof intake improves your water-flow and has a strainer that catches a lot of debris before entering the filter.  

Mechanical filter media reduces the chances of clogging your tubing; something that you may live up for. Meanwhile the smart system uses an electrical circuit board that monitors the impeller, and ensures the filter is functioning optimally throughout. Yet, the smart system gives you maintenance reminders which alerts you when it is time to clean and gives a buzzing or beeping sound.

biological filter media saltwater




Although the Fluval FX6 Canister Filter falls in the category of the expensive filters, it’s really very hard to beat the immaculate design and features of this particular filtration system. If you don’t have a problem with the budget, then it would be a wise decision to go with the Fluval FX6 Canister Filter.

11. Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Filter

Key features

  • This is an external canister filter
  • Comes with calibrated anti-vibration bushings
  • An adjustable flow control system embedded
  • Space saving design
  • A removable hose connection device 
  • Comes with Spray bar system and mechanical filter sponge
Zoo Med Laboratories Turtle
  • Extra-large carbon chamber for absorbing ammonia

Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Filter is an external filter suitable for turtle tanks, vivariums, turtle tubs or box turtle pools up to 60 gallons when full to a water capacity of 30 gallons.  It comes complete with a spray bar system, biologically active ceramic media, mechanical filter sponge, and activated carbon. The extra-large carbon chamber provides maximum ammonia absorption capabilities that benefit the tanks and turtle life. 

The filter has a new double filtering system with an adjustable flow control system and internal biological recirculation. It is easy to open, and the filter head is calibrated and has anti-vibration bushings. The filter has a space-saving design and gives you a high-quality filter. The design makes it an ideal purchase. It comes with a one year warranty. It occupies less space and give efficient filtration. 




Zoo Med 511 Turtle Clean Filter has a user rating of over 4.0 stars and it is highly recommended for those with turtle tanks, and needs a conducive filtration system that can accommodate their needs. 

12. SunSun-China External Canister Filter

Key features

  • Flow rate 525GPH
  • Built-in UV sterilizer
  • 150 gallons Filter capacity 
  • Self-priming
  • Weighs 14lbs
  • Stackable media trays
Zoo Med Laboratories Turtle

The device has a filter flow-rate of 525 GPH, which is great at this low price point. It leaves your tank cleaner and well cycled throughout the day. The water remains crystal clear like it was first assembled. Uses five-stage filtration, which puts your mind at ease.  SunSun-China External Canister Filter has three filtration types which effectively purges the water and other harmful compounds and chemicals   

The chemical stage eliminates undissolved substances in the water like carbon, while the mechanical stage destroys harmful bacteria and algae. The biological stage converts wastes into nitrates. Your reef will not withers, and your fish will remain healthy because the filter is doing an excellent job.  

SunSun-China External Canister Filter comes with stackable media trays for extra filtration. The media is used for biological, chemical, or mechanical filtration. The media includes bio balls, activated carbons, and ceramic rings. The UV sterilizer is built to kill pathogens, which can cause harm to aquatic life in the tank.  

The UV sterilizer helps reduce chances of the reef and fish succumbing to diseases or nightmare. The feature makes the filter system unique as not many have UV sterilizers. The self-ump riming enables you to manually siphon water through the filter even without the SunSun-China External Canister Filter self-priming pump. The priming is vital as it ensures crystal clear water in the tank. It is a fully standalone model that comes with filtration media like ceramic rings, biochemical carbon. The media are perfectly acceptable and necessary. 

top fin cf 100 canister filter




As happy as you may be to get this amazing filter, it is vital that you read the direction of use carefully. The instructions give you everything you need to know about operating the filter and getting maximum output from this amazing filter. The canister filter is well made and has an excellent design. The four trays enable water to seep through as filtration happens. 

13. Polar Aurora 265GPH / 370GPH / 525GPH External Aquarium Filter

Key features

  • Maximum flow rate of 370GPH
  • Built-in pump power 35W
  • 3 media trays and adjustable spray bar
  • Self-priming mechanism
  • Built-in UV light technology
  • Flexible media trays 

Polar Aurora 265GPH / 370GPH / 525GPH External Aquarium Filter cleans organic compounds and dust particles in aquatic waters. It prevents unwanted water pollution, keeps nitrite and ammonia levels down, and prevents algae growth. It is an external filter made of decent quality materials, which makes it sturdy and reliable. It comes with filter media for efficiency and precision in filtration.  

The filter system is lightweight and compact machine. It uses multiple filtration stages with each process cleaning and sifting water differently to leave the water cleaner and more hygienic. The aquatic life enjoys fresher water, which is vital for them to flourish. It comes with four baskets and includes bio, ceramic rings, and filter cotton. You can buy additional filter media separately but the wide range of options enables you to select the most appropriate options.

The chamber has a foam or synthetic cotton that will do the mechanical filtration. Use the synthetic cotton layer to protect biological filter media from being clogged. The second layer has biological filtration, which uses bio ball, ceramic rings, and crashed Laval rocks to get great results. The last chamber is for chemical filtration or more biological. You shouldn’t use charcoal when doing fertilizer dosing for the aquatic plants. Carbon absorbs the nutritional elements in the water column.  

In a fish only aquatic tank, activated carbon removes odor and pigmentation, which makes it ideal. The filter helps you keep the water crystal clear. The UV sterilizers is an excellent feature that kills microorganisms in your water column. The UV sterilizer controls algae spore and bacterial manifestation for safer and fresher water.

top filter media setup



The filter system has the best auto-priming feature. The UV sterilizers are an excellent addition. With the pump power of 35 Watt and the maximum flow rate of 370 GPH, the Polar Aurora 265GPH / 370GPH / 525GPH External Aquarium Filter can undoubtedly beat any of its competitors currently available in the market. In order to get exclusive features at an AFFORDABLE price, you should purchase this particular aquarium filter without any second thought.

14. MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums

Key features

  • Quick prime button
  • Media baskets easily lift out
  • Built-in canister motorhead handle
  • Shut off valve with quick-release hose connections
  • Large locking clamp for securing canister and motor
planted tank best canister filter

MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums has a media capacity of 3.4 gallons but be careful not to overfill. Comes with a polishing filter-floss pad, filter foam, and carbon filter bag. The biofilter balls and ceramic rings are essential in the filtration process. It is very reliable and runs smoothly and efficiently. They have great design, and you can purchase a filter that pumps the water amount you need. The series is popular because of its sizing and low price.  

The features are designed to make the filter system mess-free and consumer-friendly. You put in less work and the product does most of the work. The canister lid is airtight to prevent it from coming off and spilling the contents on the floor. To create a tight seal, press the lid down. The canister is easy to remove, which is a plus. You won’t experience mini flood or pool under the aquarium as the filter works efficiently and does not create any mess.  

Poorly designed filter trays are a hassle as they leak, but MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums has the best design that prevents leaking. The filter has three-stage filtration for optimal performance. The filter trays fit perfectly and ensure the device is performing optimally.  

The filter has a quick priming button which fills the filter chamber with wastes for the self-priming system to start up. Your hands will remain clean, and there is no need to attempt manual siphon. The filtration system has a quick-release mechanism that shuts down flow and separates it from motor housing with no spills.  

The filter cleaning process is easy to perform and has no headache-inducing maintenance work. Doing maintenance is easy and quick. The three-stage filtration includes mechanical, biological and chemical stages. The chemical stage has carbon bags that remove impurities, odors, and discolorations from the water. Biological filtration has bio-balls, ceramic rings which promote the growth of ammonia neutralizing bacterial and bio-Spira. The mechanical filtration stage uses foam pads to capture debris in the tank.

MarineLand Magniflow Canister internal aquarium filter




The MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter, with its quick-release hose connections and large locking clamp, steps ahead than the competitors. From our point of view, you can surely select this MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter for your aquarium. You would be the ULTIMATE gainer – we bet!

15. Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter for Aquariums

Key features

  • 530GPH flow rate 
  • No bypass through filter media trays 
  • 3-stage filtration process
  • Filter pads  
best internal aquarium filter review

Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter for Aquariums is designed with a 3-stage filtration system that consists of biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration. The bio-filter balls grow the beneficial bacteria necessary for biological filtration. Unlike canister filters, this filter system has no bypass options. It can produce clean water. The replaceable media slots give chemical and mechanical filtration responsible for screening out debris and dirt while removing discolorations, impurities, and odors.  

The 3-stage filtration produces clean water that guarantees you a thriving aquatic environment. The filter system allows the water to receive full-contact filtration, which returns it to the aquarium as new water. The excellent 3-stage filtration gives you crystal clear and healthy aquatic environment for your fish to thrive.

The filter has water polishing benefits that make your tank to look clear always. It uses filter pads that do the water polishing by removing fine debris which the filter cannot remove. The feature is unique to Marineland Multi-Stage Canister Filter for Aquariums

and you don’t find it in many filters in the market.  

The filter system has four distinct filters that enable water cycling to give you crystal clear water. Also it runs quietly and will never disturb your peace with the sputtering and whirring. It comes with a 3-year warranty. The warranty covers defects due to human error. Therefore, read the instructions carefully to avoid voiding the warranty unnecessarily.

MarineLand Multi Stage Canister Filter for Aquariums




It is good to have an efficient filter that performs the filtration work optimally; however, this design is suitable for less than 1200 gallons tanks. The model accommodates smaller and large  aquatic tank sizes and is easy to maintain. It is user-friendly and has a user rating of 4.2 stars. Highly recommendable.   

Factors to Consider When Buying a Filter for Aquarium

Buying the best aquarium canister filters can be tricky, and needs careful consideration to ensure you don’t make a costly mistake. Factors include:

Tank size 

Aquariums come in various sizes and shapes. As much as there are many custom sizes, the majority are standard-sized. Knowing the shape, size, and weight of the tank helps you know how much work the canister filters will do when it is in place. With the best aquarium filter 20 gallons, you can meet your filtration needs. Standard tanks are easy to weigh once you fill it with water. You need the best aquarium filter for large tanks.

Filter size

The rule of thumb to use is ensuring all the water in the best canister filter for reef tank passes through the filter four times every hour at least. You can easily calculate it when it borderline as it always moves to a higher flow rate. For instance, if you have the best aquarium filter 20 gallon tank, the flow rate is at least 120gph. The filter choice can be 150gph or 100gph, go for the 150gph. Buying the best aquarium filter for large tanks helps you meet the tank needs. 


Choose the best canister filters for your aquarium or fish tank that are affordable to you and will do the filtration work well. Don’t compromise the safety of your fish by going for a filter that will break down sooner. Look at the materials and lifespan to prevent regular maintenance problems.  


Remember, canister filters will be working hourly and ensuring the water is optimal.  Therefore, choose a filter that you won’t have to replace from time to time because of breakdown. Choose the best aquarium canister filters model that gives you longevity. Of all the available options, consider the filter that has the best chance of protecting your fish. Most of the best aquarium filter for large tanks are durable. 


The canister filters come in different brands and models. It is up to you to pick the right brand that you are most comfortable with to protect your aquarium. Filtration is essential if you want to protect your fish from pollution. Materials used to make the filters is crucial and ensure they boost the longevity of the product and not compromising your budget. Most of the best aquarium filter for large tanks are readily available. 

Flow direction

Different filters have different flow directions. Choose the filter with a flow direction that favors your aquarium tank to avoid inconvenience. You can check the specification or description data on the label or from the site to know. It gives you an easy time installing the best aquarium filter for large tanks and running the aquarium. 

Flow directions can be outside-in, inside-out, from top to bottom or back to front. Ensure the flow direction fits your fish tank without giving you a headache. If you have a standard fish tank, taking note of the right flow direction will be easy. However, if you have a customized aquarium, you need a specialist to advise you accordingly. 

Best Canister Aquarium Filter Buying Guide

There are many canister filters you can choose from, which makes it difficult to figure out the right choice. 

Filter type 

When purchasing an aquarium filter, it best you choose the kind of standard fish tank you have and make the right choice. Small internal filters will not work well like canister filters.  

The set-up largely depends on the fish types and how many fish you want to keep. If you have saltwater fish or freshwater fish, it will affect the filter type. Saltwater requires aquarium filters that can do the filtration effectively without compromising the safety of the fish tank or breaking down. Buy the best canister filters for saltwater. 

Having more fish means you need the best aquarium filter 20 gallons at least. A single fish will need much less. The fish needs matters greatly when choosing the aquarium filter. When in doubt, consult a professional for clarification. The filter should be easy to assemble and clean. 

Maintenance is crucial if you want the filtration system to function optimally. The filtration system includes biological, mechanical, and physical. Your focus should be on getting the right mechanical filter. Most hobbyists use power filters. 

Aquarium size 

Strike a balance between the practical limitations imposed by the aquarium space and the fish you want to keep. Choose a budget-friendly option. Willingness to invest is vital as you will be putting in time while maintaining the tamp pump. Purchase the best canister filter for saltwater and freshwater aquariums that meets your tank size. 

Aquariums are designed to work within a certain power range. The strength determines the capacity of the system to filter and support the initial units. Choose an aquarium filter that is suitable for the small tank size like a 20 gallon. 

Water-flow rate

Some aquatic animals love rough water, and others love placid tanks. You need to ensure the water turns over at the right rate. It means that you should strike a balance between your tank needs and fish preference.  

Ease of installation

Hang on back filters or internal filters are easier to install. Some canister filters are labor-intensive. The canisters are installed first before filling the tank with water. Canister filters are mostly reserved for large tanks with over 20 gallons and are more complex to operate.  


Filters are propelled by motors, and there is no getting around it. Expect to produce some noise. Technology has advanced filter options that make the motor fairly quiet. 


Choose something simple with a reliable filter system. Buy a product that will last for years. Most people make the mistake of going for cheaper and ineffective solutions that breakdown easily. 

Tips and Tricks for Using an Aquarium Filter

Experienced aquarium hobbyists know that the tank filter is an essential piece of equipment for the tank. The type of filter you choose will be responsible for filtering dissolved waste products and solids. The filter will also cultivate beneficial bacteria to help with maintaining the nitrogen cycle.  

Unfortunately, many people fail to maintain and clean the filters. The maintenance and cleaning should be done regularly to avoid problems with water chemistry. 


Schedule regular cleaning and weekly water changes of aquarium filters. You can replace the canister filter media monthly. Lean the tank filter to keep it clean and running properly. So, include the aquarium filter in the routine cleaning schedule.  Don’t clean the filters and tank too thoroughly. 

Apart from the substrate, beneficial bacteria can accumulate in the filters. Cleaning the filters completely often ends up killing a significant number of the biological filtration system. There is no fast rule on the best way to clean the aquarium filter as they come in different types and requirements.  

The purpose of cleaning the filters is to remove rotten or accumulated organic material without killing too many beneficial bacteria. Avoid using hot water to clean the filter. Don use bleach or soap as they kill beneficial bacteria.

Setting up media

It is the first thing water hits before entering the filter intake. Otherwise, you will end up with a dirty filter that is changed frequently. Don’t let the debris reach other media.  

Follow the installation instructions on the label to ensure the media is correctly placed.  When cleaning the media, don’t use tap water to rinse it and avoid stuffing sponges or floss to the point that it reduces water flow as it weakens the filter.  

Suction cups

The cups are meant to hold airline tubes and keep the filter in place if it has heavy media like ceramic rings or gravel. Suction cuts ensure air stones remain at the bottom of the filter. 

Use T-vales or gang valves

Regulate airflow using gang vales to increase or decrease the air being pumped into the filter. You can find the gang valves in the aquarium store. The valves are unnecessary if your air pump has more outlets. Get a T-valve when dividing airlines or to increase airflow as one tube won’t work.  

Filter floss

Place the filter floss in-front of intake slits to allow water to enter the filter for biological filtration. If the sponge is worn out, replace it. Always replace the filter floss after two months. Squeeze the filter floss severally to get rid of debris and dirt once it loses the brown color. You can use the sponge in canister filters as they are useful biological and mechanical filtration tool. The sponge filters promote low flow-rate and currents, making it ideal for fish as they do not suck up any creatures.  

Water flow 

The narrow tunnel creates suction which pulls water through aquarium filter. Water flow travels through the filter catching any debris along the way. Biological filtration is invisible to the eye and involves beneficial bacteria growing on the media surface. Beneficial bacteria provide clean water chemically and visually. Every box filter needs a small tank of 20 gallons at least.


Before binding this review, we have Frequently asked questions that we need to discuss. This section literally addresses most customer concerns in regards to aquarium canister filter. Well, let’s see what we got for you this time. Note: You can add your main concerns if not addressed by the review in this section.

It uses the airlift principle. Air enters the filter via rigid and soft air-line tubing into the air stone. The column of air leaves the air stone drawing water through the filter., past the biological media before exiting.

It is a type of filter that utilizes media as the bio-film to permit air movement. In the process it gives the tank an abundant source of oxygen for the aerobic bacteria to finish the nitrogen cycle efficiently. The filters remove debris and other materials to keep the water clean and clear. 

Because it allows visual inspection and easy to maintain without disturbing your aquatic life besides, it has high water mechanical filtration due to high levels of water circulation.

It mainly depends on the condition of your aquarium. Factors such as fish type, feeding schedule, fish size, frequency of water changes, and the number of fish, play a part in deciding the cleaning schedule. So, it can be weekly or monthly.

Remove the canister filter from the tank then rinse every component. Use water to rinse the sponge and bio media. Repeat the process until it is clean, but don’t use tap water as chlorine in the water kills beneficial bacteria. Scrub the housing and end caps using a sponge. When finished, reassemble the filter.  

Filters come in different sizes, models, brands, and colors. Choose a color that is most convenient for you. 

No. It can lead to contamination of the water or getting debris into the water. Furthermore, you scare the aquatic life. 

It depends on whether the bio media is cycled. If yes, you can add your fish at that time.  If it is a brand new aquarium, hold off adding fish until the aquarium is fully cycled. Use test kits to help you determine if the aquarium is fully cycled. 

Final Verdict:

As you have seen, aquarium canister filters are vital if you want to keep the fish tank healthy for the fish and other aquatic animals. The choice of an appropriate filter depends on various situations. By now, you can figure out the best canister filter that will serve you well and meets your expectations. Keep the water in the aquarium clear and clean to prevent any contaminants. If you have multiple filtration systems in the fish tank, ensure you alternate the cleanings to ensure that you don’t end up cleaning all at the same week. Create a regular cleaning schedule and abide by the routine. 

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