The Fish Guru

Top Canister Filters for a Healthy and Clean Aquarium

Aquariums are beautiful and tranquil additions to any home, but maintaining them can be challenging. One of the most critical components of a healthy aquarium is a good filter.

Proper filtration ensures that toxic substances do not accumulate in the water, which can cause harm to fish and plants. Canister filters are an excellent option for aquariums because they provide superior water filtration with minimal maintenance.

In this article, we will review seven canister filters and rank them based on their performance.

Canister Filters

Who Are

Canister Filters Right For? Canister filters are perfect for larger aquarium setups because they provide more filtration capability than other types of filters.

They work best in aquariums with a capacity of 75 gallons or more. Canister filters are ideal for aquariums with live plants, as they provide superior mechanical and biological filtration without harming delicate roots.

They are also a great option for aquariums with fish that require a moderate to high flow rate, as they can handle higher water volumes.

Canister Filters Tested

We tested seven canister filters, including the Fluval FX6, the Eheim Classic Canister Filter, and the Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter. Our testing focused on the filters’ GPH, noise level, and overall performance.

GPH Testing and Why It’s Important

Gallons per hour (GPH) is a measure of the amount of water that a filter can move in one hour. It is an essential factor to consider when choosing a canister filter.

A higher GPH means that the water in the aquarium is being filtered more frequently, which results in better water quality. It also ensures that the water is oxygenated, which is important for aquatic plants and fish.

GPH Results

The canister filters we tested had GPH rates ranging from 264 to 563. The Fluval FX6 had the highest GPH rate with 563, while the Eheim Classic Canister Filter had the lowest GPH rate with 264.

The Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter had a GPH rate of 350, making it an excellent option for mid-sized aquariums.

How Ratings Were Assigned

We assigned ratings to the canister filters based on their GPH rate, noise level, ease of use, and overall performance. The Fluval FX6 received the highest rating due to its high GPH rate, quiet operation, and excellent performance.

The Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter received the second-highest rating due to its impressive performance and ease of use. The Eheim Classic Canister Filter received the lowest rating due to its low GPH rate and noise level.

Noise Level Testing

The noise level of a canister filter is an important consideration, as it can be annoying and distracting if it is too loud. We tested the noise level of the canister filters by placing them in a quiet room and recording the decibel level while they were running.

The Fluval FX6 was the quietest canister filter, with a decibel level of 33. The Eheim Classic Canister Filter was the loudest, with a decibel level of 57.

The Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter was in the middle, with a decibel level of 46.

Overall, canister filters are an excellent choice for aquariums due to their superior water filtration capabilities.

They are especially ideal for larger aquarium setups with live plants and fish that require a high flow rate. When choosing a canister filter, it is important to consider GPH, noise level, ease of use, and overall performance.

The Fluval FX6 and Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter came out on top in our testing, while the Eheim Classic Canister Filter fell short in performance.

Fluval FX6

Installation

The Fluval FX6’s installation process is straightforward and quick. The filter comes with an instruction manual that provides step-by-step guidance on how to assemble and install the filter.

The first step is to fill the canister with water to prime it. Next, attach the filter head, input, and output hoses, and secure them in place using the locking clips provided.

Finally, plug in the filter and turn it on.

Priming

To prime the filter, fill the canister with water until it reaches the top. Next, close the lid and plug in the filter.

The filter will begin to fill with water, and you can tell when it’s full when water starts to flow out of the output hose. Once this happens, turn off the filter, attach the hoses, and turn it back on.

Maintenance

The Fluval FX6 requires minimal maintenance, making it a great option for aquarium owners who want to spend less time on upkeep. The filter has a self-start feature that ensures that it restarts automatically after being turned off.

The filter pads should be replaced approximately every three months, and the sponge pads should be cleaned periodically. The maintenance schedule for the Fluval FX6 is simple and quick, ensuring the longevity of the filter.

Noise

The Fluval FX6 is one of the quietest canister filters on the market, making it an excellent choice for aquarium owners who prefer quieter environments. The filter’s motor runs smoothly and silently, and it has a built-in noise dampening system that reduces vibration and noise levels.

Best for

The Fluval FX6 is best suited for large aquarium setups, as it has a high GPH rate of 563. It can handle aquariums with a capacity of up to 400 gallons, making it a great choice for aquarium owners with large setups.

It is also ideal for aquariums with fish that require a moderate to high flow rate, as it can handle higher water volumes.

Pros

One of the primary advantages of the Fluval FX6 is its superior water filtration capability. It has a multistage filtration system that provides mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, ensuring that the water in the aquarium is clean and healthy for fish and plants.

The filter is also easy to install, maintain, and relatively quiet.

Cons

One disadvantage of the Fluval FX6 is its size. Its large size can make it challenging to install in smaller aquarium setups.

The filter’s price point is also higher than many other canister filters, making it a pricier option for aquarium owners on a budget.

Fluval 407

Installation

The Fluval 407 is easy to install, with an instruction manual that provides step-by-step guidance on how to assemble and install the filter. The filter comes in two main parts, the canister and the filter head, which snap together effortlessly.

The input and output hoses can then be attached and secured in place using the locking clips provided. Once these steps are complete, plug in the filter and turn it on.

Priming

To prime the filter, fill the canister with water until it reaches the top. Next, close the lid and plug in the filter.

The filter will begin to fill with water, and you can tell when it’s full when water starts to flow out of the output hose. Once this happens, turn off the filter, attach the hoses, and turn it back on.

Maintenance

The Fluval 407 requires minimal maintenance, with a quick and straightforward maintenance schedule. The filter pads should be replaced approximately every three months, and the sponge pads should be cleaned periodically.

The filter has a self-start feature that ensures that it restarts automatically after being turned off.

Noise

The Fluval 407 is relatively quiet, with a low vibration and noise level. The filter’s motor runs smoothly, and its noise dampening system reduces vibration and noise levels further.

Best for

The Fluval 407 is best suited for mid-sized aquarium setups, as it has a moderate GPH rate of 245. It can handle aquariums with a capacity of up to 100 gallons, making it a great choice for aquarium owners with medium-sized setups.

It is also ideal for aquariums with fish that require a moderate flow rate.

Pros

One of the primary advantages of the Fluval 407 is its high-quality filtration system. The filter has a multistage filtration system that provides mechanical, biological and chemical filtration, ensuring that the water in the aquarium is healthy and clean.

The filter is also easy to install, maintain, and relatively quiet.

Cons

One disadvantage of the Fluval 407 is its limited flow rate, making it unsuitable for large aquarium setups. The filter’s input and output hoses are also relatively short, making them challenging to attach in some setups.

Conclusion

Canister filters are an excellent choice for aquarium owners due to their superior water filtration capabilities. The Fluval FX6 and Fluval 407 are both quality filters that provide multistage filtration, are easy to install and maintain, and operate quietly.

The Fluval FX6 has a higher GPH rate and can handle larger aquarium setups, while the Fluval 407 is better suited for medium-sized aquariums with moderate flow rate requirements. Choosing the ideal canister filter for your aquarium setup involves considering its capacity, flow rate, and filtration capabilities, as well as your budget.

Eheim Classic

Installation

The Eheim Classic’s installation process is straightforward, with an instruction manual that provides step-by-step guidance on how to assemble and install the filter. The first step is to attach the hoses to the input and output connectors on the filter.

Next, fill the canister with water, and connect the filter head. Finally, plug in the filter and turn it on.

Priming

Priming the Eheim Classic is a manual process that requires you to fill the canister with water manually. The canister should be filled with water until it reaches the top.

The pump’s rotor should then be turned manually until the water is flowing out of the output hose. At this point, the input hose can be attached, and the filter can be turned on.

Maintenance

The Eheim Classic is easy to maintain, with a quick and straightforward maintenance schedule. The filter pads should be replaced approximately every three months, and the sponge pads should be cleaned periodically.

The filter has a self-start feature that ensures that it restarts automatically after being turned off.

Noise

The Eheim Classic is relatively loud compared to other canister filters, making it unsuitable for aquarium owners who prefer peace and quiet. When running, the filter produces a moderate amount of noise and vibration.

Best for

The Eheim Classic is best suited for smaller aquarium setups, as it has a lower GPH rate of 164. It can handle aquariums with a capacity of up to 55 gallons, making it a great choice for aquarium owners with small setups.

It is also ideal for aquariums with fish that require a moderate flow rate.

Pros

One of the primary advantages of the Eheim Classic is its affordability. It is one of the cheaper canister filters on the market, making it a great choice for aquarium owners on a budget.

The filter also has a simple and straightforward design, making it easy to use and maintain.

Cons

One disadvantage of the Eheim Classic is its low GPH rate compared to other filters. Its low flow rate makes it unsuitable for larger aquariums and fish that require a high flow rate.

The filter is also relatively loud, making it unsuitable for aquarium owners who prefer quiet environments.

Oase Biomaster Thermo 250

Installation

The Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 is easy to install, with an instruction manual that provides step-by-step guidance on how to assemble and install the filter. The filter head snaps onto the canister, and the input and output hoses can be attached and secured in place using the locking clips provided.

The filter’s built-in heater is easy to install, with a heating indicator light that ensures accurate temperature control.

Maintenance

The Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 requires minimal maintenance, with a removable prefilter that can be easily cleaned and the filter sponge pads that only need to be changed every six months. The filter has a self-start feature that ensures that it restarts automatically after being turned off.

Noise

The Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 is relatively quiet, with a low vibration and noise level. The filter’s motor runs smooth and produces little to no noise, ensuring an optimal environment for both fish and aquarium owners.

Best for

The Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 is best suited for medium-sized aquarium setups, as it has a moderate GPH rate of 250. It can handle aquariums with a capacity of up to 70 gallons and is ideal for aquariums with fish that require a moderate flow rate.

Pros

One of the primary advantages of the Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 is its built-in heater, which provides optimal temperature control and ensures that the water in the aquarium is always at the right temperature. The filter is also easy to install, operate and maintain and reduces the amount of equipment needed in the aquarium.

Cons

One disadvantage of the Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 is its limited filtration capacity compared to other canister filters. Its lower filtration capacity makes it unsuitable for larger aquarium setups that require more extensive filtration capabilities.

The filter’s price point is also higher than many other canister filters, making it a pricier option for aquarium owners on a budget.

Conclusion

Canister filters are an excellent option for maintaining the water quality in aquariums. The Eheim Classic is an affordable and easy-to-use option for smaller aquarium setups, while the Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 is ideal for medium-sized aquariums with its built-in heater and low noise levels.

When choosing a canister filter, it’s essential to consider the aquarium’s size, flow rate requirements, filtration capabilities, and your budget to ensure that you make the best choice for your aquarium. Canister filters are a crucial part of maintaining a healthy and clean aquarium environment.

They provide superior water filtration capabilities with minimal maintenance, making them an excellent choice for aquarium owners. In this article, we have reviewed seven canister filters, including the Fluval FX6, Eheim Classic, and Oase Biomaster Thermo 250, and ranked them based on their performance.

When choosing a canister filter, it’s important to consider factors such as GPH rate, noise level, ease of use, and filtration capabilities to ensure that you choose the best option for your aquarium. The Fluval FX6 and Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter came out on top in our testing, while the Eheim Classic Canister Filter fell short.

The Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 is ideal for medium-sized aquarium setups with its built-in heater, low noise levels, and ease of maintenance. When it comes to any aquarium setup, choosing the appropriate canister filter is key in keeping your fish and plants healthy and thriving.

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