Canister Filter Benefits: Top Advantages of Using Canister Filter

The canister filter is one of the types of filtration systems for aquariums that is highly efficient. It is the most relied-on system for cleaning on a large scale. The Canister filter has many more benefits than other filters that we will discuss in this post.

All other filters have their necessities based on the amount of bioload produced in the tank. Still, the role of a canister filter is evergreen for freshwater as well as saltwater aquariums.

Features of Canister Filter

It won’t be wrong to say that the canister filter is the most prominent filter among all other comparable power filters with its extraordinary features.

Canister Filter Benefits
Canister Filter Benefits

Canister filter comes in various shapes and designs on which the direction of water flow through the media depends. It is simply a power filter that uses a water pump to carry out filtration. The pump’s placement depends on the design and model of the filter.

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In some canisters, the pump is an integrally built part, while some require a separate external pump.

In general, most canisters have a somewhat cylindrical body containing filter media and the pump. This is what we call the main canister body, and it sits outside of the tank. There are two hoses or tubes that connect the aquarium with the canister’s main body.

These hoses act as a siphon for the water to flow in between the filter and the tank. The pump functions as an enforcer that forces the water through the layers of filter media.

They come in different sizes and therefore have diverse usage for the aquariums of almost all sizes. The canister filter’s functioning is aided by the siphoning action where the water does not need any power support to reach up to the main body and back into the tank.

Hence this is a power-free system and requires a pump for a pressurized water passage to be filtered through media.

What are the benefits of a canister filter?

Canister filters are usually used in considerably large aquariums where there is an extensive need for the neutralization of bioload produced in them.

The main advantage of using a canister is that it lets your tank water pass through various types of filter media stacked on each other in the form of layers. A canister filter is the only place where you can get all three types of filtration effectively done. 

Along with its vital functional benefits, it is also a complete package deal for your tank display. The canister does not need to be visually facade and is highly suitable for the tanks which need to be placed in direct contact with the wall or something.

The expert aquarists have also observed that canisters are perfect for highly planted aquariums as they play a pivotal role in Carbon dioxide perseverance.

Is the canister filter better than the other filters?

Yes, the canister filter is better than most of the other filters available out there. But Each type of filtration unit is essential in its particular way. There is no comparison to which one has more advantages over the other or better than the other.


However, it all depends on the tank’s size and the amount of bioload produced in it. As we have discussed earlier, for heavily populated tanks, a canister filter is second to none in its ability to efficiently carry out multiple types of required filtrations all in one package.

You can use several cartridges of different filter media in one setup, and that setup is provided only in canister filters.

Moreover, the canister filter also provides you with an inline heating setup. This setup frees you from using a heater in the tank. Unlike other power filters, you can put the canister away from the tank or in a cabinet with just the inlet and outlet tubes connected with the tank.

All these beneficial attributes come with excellent maintenance as well. Maintaining the canister and the cartridges of filter media must be done on time to get the best result.

Effectiveness of canister filter

You can describe the canister filter’s effectiveness based on its versatility of being equally advantageous for each aquarium, including the non-fish aquariums. The effectiveness of the canister filter is one of the benefits that it gives you the best result.

The most common example of a non-fish aquarium is the turtle aquarium. The amount of bioload produced in a turtle’s tank is far more than that of any fish tank. Canisters are the center of all the reliabilities to cope up with such massive waste generation.

You might be wondering how exactly does the canister carries out all types of filtration. Well, the containment of the canister is designed to contain cartridges of different filter media.

The first set of the cartridge includes a two-layered medium responsible for carrying out mechanical filtration. The first layer captures the large particles, and the second captures the fine particles that pass through the first one.

Then, there is another cartridge next to it that is responsible for biological filtration. That may include various types. But the most commonly used cartridges for this type of filtration are ceramic rings and bio-balls.

This filter medium converts toxic ammonia into harmless nitrogen components. The next kind of filtration is chemical filtration, and it carries by using activated carbon.

This carbon neutralizes impurities such as chlorine, takes out all discolorations, and makes your tank water crystal clear.

Are canister filters quiet?

To be very precise, there are pretty much fewer complaints about canister filters making irritatable noise. They whisper, but the noise that irritates is not known to be made by these filters except for a few occasions.

A freshly adjusted canister just after its maintenance process can create noisy sounds. This is the trapped air, which produces a noisy effect upon the running of the filter.

But that can easily be taken care of. All you need to do is shaking the canister side to side, not so much vigorously.

No loss of water or fish

Unlike power filters, the loss of water in the canister filter is far less or close to zero, and also it is one of the major benefits of using it. The reason being, canister filter dumps the cleaned water back into the tank very close to the surface.

This is why the splashing is minimal, and the water doesn’t evaporate as much as it does with other power filters. So, the water loss with the canister filter is nowhere close to that of water loss with the power filter.

The same goes for losing fish. The tank top does not present any opening or gateway for the jumper fish to jump out. The canister filter does not require the top to remain open. Therefore there should be no concerns regarding losing the fish.

How does canister filter work?

It is an external filter connected to the inside of the main tank via an intake tube or a sieve that brings the water to the main canister.

The water passes through layers of various filter media in the canister’s main body and gets filtered chemically, mechanically, and biologically depending upon the layers of filter media that it passes through.

The filtered water is brought back into the tank via an outlet tube or the spillway.

Maintenance of canister filter

Maintenance of canister filter means cleaning it and its components or changing the replaceable parts after a particular period and replace them with new ones.

How To Clean Old Fish Tank, A complete Guide To Clean Your Fish Tank

If canisters are left unchecked for a long time, you may get hazardous levels of nitrates and other chemicals in your aquarium. Don’t let that happen, and it is essential to make a maintenance plan or schedule for this filter. The plan will help you clean the filter on time.

When we talk about the canister’s maintenance or cleaning, it usually means the maintenance of filter media present in the canister. But cleaning other filter parts is equally important as well.

The filter media for all three types of filtration will give you signs that they have reached the maximum limit beyond which they can not perform their function anymore. Read these signs below.

Aquarium water will become cloudy. It may give a bad odor, high levels of nitrates, the Worn-out appearance of the media cartridges, visible debris, and other solid particles floating around.


The general rule of thumb is if you feel like the media cartridges can still be reused, you can clean them and use them again. Otherwise, throw them away and replace them with new ones.

Clean filter parts such as casing, impeller, and hoses using a scrubbing pad or unused toothbrush. This will remove all the harmful algae growing along with these components.

It would be best if you used the solution of Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in correct proportions for this cleaning. Cleaning the hoses or tubes can be quite challenging.

But the best way to clean them is to submerge them in the solution and pump the solution through the tubes with pressure. Once done, you need to wash your stuff with clean tap water thoroughly. And now your filter is ready to get back to work again.

Is a canister filter better?

We can consider the canister filter as the best filter when it comes to performance and effectiveness. The canister filter is better than a power filter, which is less costly than it, but the results will be less impressive than a canister filter.

If you have a good budget and time to give your aquarium the best condition, it is one of the best options as a filter in your tank.

Final Thought

It is one of the most popular filters for the aquarium. The canister filter has many benefits more than a power filter, especially in terms of performance.

It gives the best result without any loss of water or fish. However, it requires a lot of effort to make it work properly, but it is worth it.

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