Atlantis Aquatics | Next Gen Aquarium Products and Tips

Top Canister Filters (Our 5 Favorites)

Why Canister Filters?

If you’re looking to have crystal clear tank water, you’ll want to get one of the top canister filters and this guide is going to show you how to do it no matter what budget you’re on! A filter is an integral component for every aquarium tank. Without it, keeping the tank clean is close to impossible. The filter not only removes dirt and debris from the tank but also gets rid of toxic wastes. 

However, when setting up an aquarium tank, people are often overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the right filter. Canister filters are very popular in this regard. They are suitable for both freshwater and saltwater tanks. These filters are a lot quicker and have a better flow rate. At the same time, these filters are easy to install and clean too. They operate quietly and one does not have to tolerate the irritating filter noise. 

There are plenty of canister filters available in the market. But are all of these truly worth all the hype? Which canister filter is the best? Which filter is the most affordable and which one is the most expensive? What are the pros and cons of each of these canister filters? If these are some questions that pop in your mind, you’ve landed at the right place. 

This review will be comparing five of the top canister filters. So, let’s dive right in:

Our 5 Top Canister Filters…

1. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter ($89.00):

Eheim is not a new name when it comes to canister filters. The Eheim Classic External Canister Filter comes in three different sizes and is available for forty, sixty six and ninety gallon aquarium tanks. One of the most significant features of this filter is the lack of a bypass in this filter. The motor works flawlessly yet silently. And on top of everything, the filter is highly durable and affordable. It is surely a highly recommended filter for people who are looking for a budget friendly canister filter for your tank. 


  • Durable design that lasts for years. 
  • Easy operation. 
  • Lack of media tray ensures good water flow. 
  • Kit comes with the media. 
  • Compact design that does not take up a lot of space. 
  • Quiet and noiseless operation. r

2. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter ($174.94):

The Hydor Professional External Canister Filter comes in five different sizes which makes it great for tanks for all sizes. This filter is not only easy to install but is easy to use as well thanks to the self-priming feature. The filter comes with a comprehensive kit that includes everything one needs to put together and use this filter. The spray bar can also be adjusted to control the water flow according to the size and need of the aquarium tank. 


  • Powerful canister filter. 
  • Very simple setup and use. 
  • The shape enables the filter to hold a large quantity of media. 
  • Has the self-priming function. 
  • Comes with an adjustable spray bar. 


  • Finding replacement parts for the filter is hard. 
  • There is risk of water spillage when disassembling the filter for cleaning. 
  • The instructions in the manual are hard to comprehend and don’t help much when installing and setting up the filter. 
    Check Out Sizing and Deals

3. Fluval FX6 Canister Filter ($339.99):

The Fluval FX6 Canister Filter is the most expensive one in the list but it is surely worth the price. Available in four different sizes, the filter comes with latest technology that ensures that your tank remains spic and span. The filter comes with cover that not only covers the filter but also reduces the noise produced by it. The instant priming feature makes sure that the tank is cleaned efficiently and all the dirt and debris is removed from the tank. 


  • The motor comes with an advanced technology motor that ensures a strong flow of water. 
  • Quiet and noiseless operation. 
  • The entire canister volume is used for filtration. 
  • Media included in the kit.
  • The input and output heights are adjustable. 
  • The filter comes with a warranty period of three years. 


  • The output nozzle is not balanced. It feels a bit flimsy and the water may spill. 
  • The instructions for putting together and installing the filter are not very clear and comprehensive. 
  • The impeller is very fragile. It can easily be disbalanced and the parts may fall off.
    Check Out Sizing and Deals

4. Penn Plax Cascade Filter 1000 ($76.16):

If you are looking for a filter that will be light on your pocket yet heavy in terms of performance, Penn Plax Cascade 1000 is the best fit for you. With a flow rate of 265GPH, the filter ensures that your tank remains clean and free from waste and toxins. 

The overall design of the filter is sturdy. It is durable so you will not be experiencing malfunctioning or breakage with this filter. It is perfect for tanks with a capacity of up to 100 Gallons. The controls are self-explanatory and very easy to control making it a perfect choice for beginner level tank keepers. 


  • Very easy to set up and maintain. 
  • Easy controls. 
  • Three customizable media baskets. 
  • Highly recommended for beginners. 
  • Study construction. 
  • Reliable and durable. 


5. Marineland C-530 ($148.12):

Simplicity, this is the word that comes to mind when one hears about the Marineland C-530 filter. Setting up and maintaining this filter is as easy as it gets. Other than this, the filter has ample media space that comprises of four stackable trays. 

The filter does not include a written manual, rather comes with a DVD that explains everything in detail. The quick prime button can be used to operate the filter with ease and convenience. It is a bit bulky and heavy, but in terms of performance, there is no doubt about the fact that it is a good choice. 


  • Higher flow rate. 
  • Durable and high quality. 
  • 3 stage filtration process. 
  • Easy setup, installation and maintenance.  


Top Canister Filters Comparison Chart: 

Product Name






EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter

8.2 pounds

8 x 6.3 x 14 inches

40 US Gallons, 66 US Gallons, 

92 US Gallons


Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

12.6 pounds

10 x 8 x 18 inches

20-40 US Gallons, 

40-75 US Gallons, 

60-100 US Gallons, 

75-125 US Gallons, 

90-150 Gallons.


Fluval FX6 Canister Filter

21 pounds

15.1 x 15.6 x 20.7 inches

25 US Gallons, 

45 US Gallons, 

70 US Gallons.


Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Filter 

12.80 pounds

19 x 13.2 x 11.2 inches

Up to 100 gallons


Marineland C-530

31.7 pounds

22 x 21 x 13.9 inches

30 Gallons, 55-100 Gallons, 

100-150 Gallons


If you’re looking for some extra tips on keeping your water clean then check out this article on growing aquarium plants by creating prime water conditions.

Please click here for related products on Amazon!


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