What Is A Canister Filter?

A Canister Filter is a fully sealed external filter chamber or “canister” that uses a high powered pump to pull water from your tank through an intake tube and into a pressurized canister unit that pushes the water through dense filter media then back into the tank via a return pipe, output tube or spray bar.

Because the canister filter is kept outside of your aquarium it allows for few benefits such as:

  • The higher the volume of water.
  • The larger volume of media.
  • Doesn’t take up space inside your aquarium.
  • Maintenance can be completed without disturbing the tank.

Some disadvantages are:

  • Higher Cost
  • Leaks
  • Difficult to maintain/set up.

If you’re thinking of using a canister filter it’s important to know that typically canister filters are great for tanks larger than 40 gallons because they can effectively filter a larger volume of water keeping your tank clean as long as you maintain them properly.

When it comes to filtration and media, most canister filters will allow you to customize large volumes of filter media to your specific needs which is much better than being stuck with pre-made expensive cartridges that are typically offered with most power filters.

Because of this, a canister filter provides the best mechanical and biological filtration

Overall maintenance is also lower with a canister as they can go for longer periods of time between maintenance. that said when it’s time to clean them it can take a bit of time.

If you’re looking to buy a canister filter you can see the Best Canister Filters For Your Money in our updated 2019 review guide.