Best Aquarium Filters for all your Needs

Keeping your water clean is the most important factor for your fish keeping hobby. Here I’m gonna recommend canister filters in almost all cases. I will get into depth in a bit about why that is.

The main filter I would recommend in most cases is the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter (Amazon link). This powerful filter does a great job at keeping your tank’s water clean and healthy, and it does it very quietly. The nice thing is this filter is one of the cheapest ones on the market yet still works amazingly well.

For almost all of you this is going to work great. If you never had a canister filter before, it really is time to make the switch away from the hang on the back (HOB) type filters.

Why you should go with a canister filter

If you been in this hobby for any amount of time I’m sure you have plenty of experience with HOB filters. And there is nothing wrong with them really.

It’s just simply that a canister filter is superior in what it does. Vastly superior.

The amount of water flow and circulation is amazing.

You can usually put any type of filtering media you want in the canister filter, especially with the models I recommend. This allows you to get the best setup for your situation.

The water is going to come into contact with the filtering media one way or another at some point in the canister. With an HOB that might not be the case; you often get a lot of bypass where the water isn’t being filtered—simply being circulated.

Canister filters are external, allowing you to place the filter out of sight for a cleaner setup. And you have more freedom where to put the intake and output hoses in your aquarium.

Besides the superior cleaning and circulation power, these canister filters are really quiet. Most people end up placing their hands on the filter occasionally just to feel that it’s working cause they can’t hear any noise coming from it. That is pretty nice if you ask me.

Another advantage to using an external canister filter is you get the option to use an inline external heater to heat your aquarium. These types of heating systems have been known to be a lot safer.

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter

First off this is a beastly canister filter and it’s cheap! The Cascade 1000 is a comparable price to a high end HOB filter, which is a lot lower than most of the other canister filter brands. But the low price doesn’t mean it’s lower quality, at least not in this case. It is a quality product. Check the price on Amazon for the Cascade 1000 here.

The Cascade canister will come boxed with everything you need. It’s easy to setup, the instructions are clear and you will be going in no time.

The nice thing about this is you don’t have to manually prime it, so it really is easy to set it up and getting it going quick.

On Amazon or at retail stores you should have size options to match your aquarium, but the Cascade 1000 is the most common size. Just remember that having a filter that is a little more powerful than what you need isn’t a bad idea. More filtration is definitely better than less.

Other options

I recommend the Penn Plax Cascade simply because it’s cheaper and still works great, so a lot of people opt for that.

But you can’t really go wrong with the one of the most popular brands out there like Fluval. The Fluval 306 & 406 Series is widely used and will work great for you.

Personally I would opt for the Hydor Canister Filter (Amazon prices), it’s very high quality, and I know it’s going to be compatible with the Hydor external heater which is a big plus if you want to heat your tank externally.