Initially, these filters were costly, complicated, and too big for use at home, especially for beginners.
However, over the years, manufacturers have fine-tuned their filters keeping beginners in mind, therefore making them much more affordable, customizable, and very easy to set up and install.
Here are eight things you should consider if you are thinking of upgrading your HOB filter and getting a canister.
1. Purpose Of The Canister Filter
A Canister filter is used to increase the water volume of your tank for maximum filtration. They provide you with a higher flow rate, media capacity, and the ability to customize the filter media to suit your needs.
Canister Filters vs. HOB filters
When comparing canister filters to HOB filters, there are a few things that make canister filters the better option.
As an example;
- Larger media capacity
- Greater flow rate
- Add a higher water volume
- Ability to customize the filter media
There are also a few drawbacks when comparing a canister filter to a HOB filter. However, these drawbacks are unrelated to filtration.
As an example:
- They cost more
- Can be challenging to set up
- Need a large area to store/hide them
- Large spills if they leak
2. The Motor
When looking at the motor, look for one that is energy efficient. Your filter will be running 24-7 all year long, so you don’t want something that will raise your power bill.
To be sure, look at the power cord; most will have a label with a UL approval rating. It might look something that looks like this:
There are two main types of canister filter motors, they are:
- Epoxy-sealed motors
- Magnet-drive motors
Epoxy Sealed Motor
This motor is one of the more commonly used motors. It is mounted in the motorhead with the impeller upside-down, which prevents moisture, dust, or debris from getting at the impeller.
A magnetic coil surrounds the impeller and, when powered, causes the impeller to spin, which in turn creates the suction to pull the water through the filter.
Because these motors are sealed, they require very little maintenance and can be almost silent when running.
Magnet Drive Motor
This motor type also uses a magnetic coil to spin the impeller, but there are a few differences between this motor and the Epoxy-sealed motor.
Magnet Drive Motors are typically self-priming, so you don’t need to siphon manually, which can be a hassle.
However, because this motor is not completely sealed from moisture and debris, it can be exposed to water and will require more regular maintenance and oiling to keep things running smoothly.
Overall, this could impact how long this motor lasts.
3. The Impeller
Here you should look for an impeller that is protected from debris that could jam the impeller and damage the motor. The impeller cover should come with a seal, gasket, or O-ring to ensure a proper seal.
4. The Valves
Most will have two valves. One valve to control the “Input” and one valve to control the “Output.”
The valves allow you to adjust/control the flow rate in and out of your filter. They can also be closed completely, which should hold the siphon, so you can disassemble your filter during maintenance without having to re-prime the filter.
Some filters like the Fluval FX4 & FX6 provide a system to quickly disconnect the input or output hoses. You can then attach a gravel vacuum or adapter which uses the canister filter to siphon and assist with water changes. This eliminates the need to fill up large buckets of water, which is an impressive feature.
5. Tank Size
When selecting a filter to be sure that it is rated for your tank size. Every filter will have this information right on the box/packaging like this;
It will show you the recommended tank size in gallons or liters for that filter. But pay close attention to the GPH (Gallons Per Hour). It’s recommended that the entire water volume of your tank is passed through the filter at least four times each hour.
If your tank is 50 gallons (50 * 4 = 200), you would need to get a filter that moves 200 GPH at a minimum.
It’s never wrong to go for more filtration, and depending on the fish, like Goldfish, which are really dirty, you may want a slightly bigger filter.
When buying a new canister filter, be sure you have a place to store it. Most are pretty big and not very pretty. Be sure your stand/cabinet has enough room to fit your filter.
7. Best Canister Filter Brands
It’s always helpful to know which brands and manufacturers make the best products. Although there are many brands available and most work well, we have reviewed many of the most popular, and there are a few that rise to the top.
Below we have listed some of the best canister filter brands for your aquarium, just click the links below to read the full review of each filter.
Eheim Pro 4+ Review and Unboxing
API Filstar XP-L