Top Benefits of Using a Canister Filter

Top Benefits of Using a Canister Filter

If you just bought yourself a nice new aquarium with various accessories, your purchase may have already included a very basic filter. Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that this particular filter won’t be very effective at all, and that’s because it’s not a canister filter. 

A canister filter is generally cylindrical in shape, which explains the name. it’s a self-contained system that uses a pump to siphon off the water from the fish tank. It then drives the water through the various filter media, which typically mechanical, biological, and chemical filter media to cover all the bases. Once the various contaminants have been filtered out, the pump drives out the clean water.

So why use a canister filter at all? Or if you’re aware you have to use a tank filter, go with the canister filter? Here are some excellent reasons why:

You’re Pretty Sure It Will Work for Your Tank

This type of filter is extremely versatile, and so it works for a wide range of aquariums. Yours can be a freshwater or saltwater tank, and the canister filter will be suitable. Even if you use this for a turtle tank where the turtles are generally a lot messier than fish, a canister filter will work. 

It Offers Very Effective Filtration

This is especially true when you have a powerful pump driving the water in and out of the filtration system. Many of these systems can have flow rates of several hundreds of gallons per hour, so that even when you have a large tank your filter can cleanse all the water in the tank several times an hour. 

The design of a good canister filter also tends to include media baskets, which direct the flow of the water into the right places. The water doesn’t go around the filter media, so the water is definitely filtered when the filtration system pumps it out back to the fish tank. 

These Can Remove Particles in the Water

These contaminants are dealt with by the various mechanical filters. In general, you usually have a filter for the larger particles first, and then later you have another filter layer for the finer particles. This 2-layer setup for mechanical filtration is a typical configuration for canister filters. 

It’s easy enough to recognize the need for mechanical filtration when you have fish in your tank. The fish will just excrete in the water, and you don’t really want those things floating around. It’s even worse with turtles. You can also have uneaten food that can make the water dirty. The mechanical filtration media traps those particles to keep your water clean. 

The Canister Filter’s Biological Filtration Media Can Take Out the Ammonia

Ammonia in the water is one of the more common killers of pet fish. It’s highly toxic to aquatic animals, and there’s really no such thing as a safe ammonia level for your aquarium (besides zero). In fact, even just 2 parts per million can be lethal for your fish. 

The ammonia comes from the breakdown of organic matter, and your mechanical filtration system may not have been able to filter out the fecal matter and uneaten food quickly enough to prevent the occurrence of ammonia. Once you have ammonia in the water, the mechanical filters can’t take it out. 

Fortunately, most canister filter systems also contain a biological filtration media. More specifically, the media contains bacteria that transforms the ammonia into nitrogen components that are a lot less harmful.

You Can Also Maintain Water Quality with Chemical Filtration

Admittedly, chemical filtration isn’t always used in various canister filter setups. But the point here is that you can if you want to, because you have that freedom to choose which filter media to include in your filter setup. 

Chemical filtration for canister filters usually comes in activated carbon form. The carbon can take out water impurities such as chlorine, when you get your tank water from your faucet. Basically, the activated carbon can take out discolorants so that you end up with crystal clear water. 

Canister Filters Are Easy to Set Up

How easy it is for you will certainly depend on the particular canister filter you get. But in general, there’s really very few canister filters that will be troublesome to install. They’re typically quite easy, especially when you compare the process to how you will have to install other types of aquarium filters. 

For the most part, the best canister filters are designed to be easy to disassemble so you can clean it easily. It’s also often easy to take out a filter media and to put in a replacement. Cleaning water filters is generally considered as part of normal aquarium duties, though it’s hardly an enjoyable process. But at least with the best canister filters, the cleaning won’t be all too difficult or time-consuming.

They’re Quiet

One of the main reasons why so many people find fish tanks appealing is because the sight of them can be truly soothing. When you’re back from work and you try to relax at home, just sitting down beside the aquarium can relieve your stress. 

But it’s a different matter when you have a noisy filtration system. The noise can be distracting and it can even become downright annoying. Instead of relaxing you, the unwanted noise can actually increase stress levels. 

This is an especially important factor when you have your aquarium right there in your bedroom. You may find it too noisy and your sleep can suffer. That can lead to a grumpy morning and to other health problems besides. 

But canister filters are generally quiet compared to other types of filtration systems. The very best canister filters can work in your bedroom with no trouble at all. 


All these reasons explain why canister filters are so popular among fish tank owners. They’re simply a terrific way for you to make sure your fish remains healthy, while they make your life easier. Add the fact that they’re not generally very expensive, and you’ve got yourself a great deal when you go with a terrific canister filter that’s suited for the size of your fish tank.

Leave a Comment