Canister Filter vs Power Filter: Which Filter is Better?


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Comparison of Canister Filter vs Power Filter: Which Filter is Better and Why?

A filter is a very important equipment that aquarists keep in aquarium for cleaning of water. Poor water quality can cause death of fish so it is recommended to add a filter to your aquarium that can clean water by trapping fish water using mechanical filtration media. Also filters have bio media too that can help in converting harmful chemicals in water into less harmful components that can be removed with regular water changes. It must be noted that mechanical filter media can only trap visible solid waste particles while biological filtration can lower the poisonous of chemicals that release from fish waste & other impurities in aquarium. Biological filtration is the most important part of every filter & lack of effective biological filtration can cause the death of many fish. Modern filters have sections for mechanical, chemical & biological filtration. The part of filter that holds filter media is known as canister.


Comparison between Canister Filter vs Power Filter

There are a lot of filters available in the market. Aquarists want to have a filter that can help clean their tank effectively. Important filter type includes canister filter & power filter.

The major change between Canister Filter & Power Filter is that it is required to hang power filter on the back of the aquarium & filter water via a tube. Canister filters are complex & they need high maintenance & time in order to run it well. Both Canister filters & Power filters have their pros and cons, & it is up to you to choose which filter can help you so people who like very clear water must go for canister filter while those who want to save time & money can choose power filter instead.

Summary: Advantages and disadvantages of Canister Filter:
  • Canister filter can help clean water effectively.
  • It needs more energy & time for maintenance.
  • Canister filters are more expensive than power filters.
  • Fish can’t jump outside water & there is reduction in water evaporation as compared to power filters.

Summary: Advantages and disadvantages of Power Filter

  • Power filters are not that powerful compared to canister filters.
  • They do not need energy in installation & do not require high maintenance like canister filters.
  • Power filters are low cost.
  • Fish can jump outside water due to a large opening in the lid & there is high evaporation so you need to add water more frequently.

Power Filters:
Power filters are attached to the back of your aquarium & they are available in a number of sizes & shapes. Power filters when turn on draw water from aquarium, through lift tube, & water then passes through the filtration cartridge where it is cleaned & only clear water is allowed to flow back into the aquarium. Not all power filters have the same setup but the concept remains the same.

Pure water is allowed to enter back into the aquarium via a spill-way or overflow. Water hits air when it is going back to the tank, that causes a little evaporation, so you will need to add more water more often as compared to canister filter.

Canister Filters:
Canister filters require effort in cleaning because you will take out filter media, rinse it in water or replace it depending on the brand of canister filter you are using for your aquarium. Also make sure you do not stir up good bacteria colonies that build up inside filter. Ensure everything is done carefully.

Explanation: Advantages and disadvantages of Power Filter:
Power filter is a good choice due to low maintenance, quick & simple operation & it cost less than canister filter. However, a power filter can’t do as much cleaning as a canister filter. It is because the intake of power filter is directly under the spill-way. The water coming back to aquarium after cleaning is directly under the spill-way, which means that large quantity of water drawn into the power filter is clear water that is just cleaned by filter & returned to the aquarium.

Power Filter cons: Evaporation of water:
Amount of water is lost when power filter draws it from aquarium, clean it & return it back to the aquarium. In the course of coming back to aquarium, water is exposed to direct air, which causes evaporation of large amount of water, which causes loss of too much water. However, this is not dangerous for the fish. Power filters have increased surface area, so the dissolved gas levels with enhance. Hence oxygen in water for aquarium inhabitants is closer to the amount available in the air.

Power Filter Cons: Fish can jump outside water:


Power filter needs an opening in the tank lid

Power filters require a large opening in the aquarium for placement of the filter, this allows fish to jump outside aquarium if the level of water is high enough.

Power Filter Pros: Low Cost:
Power filters are low cost & can come up with your tank stuff. However, you can buy it from fish store too for around $10 to $50. Power filters that are available at low price are suitable for small aquariums for example 5 to 10 gallons of water. Power filters for bigger aquariums cost higher amount of money.

Explanation: Advantages and disadvantages of Canister Filter:
There are more choices available in canister filters as compared to power filters. There are many choices available for filtration media. However, power filters have their built-in filter media cartridges. It is possible to mix & match to make sure your fish & inhabitants have best filter running that can show more efficiency in cleaning as compared to power filters.


Canister Filter Pros: Reduction in water evaporation:

Canister filters are not located at the top of aquarium & water flows back to aquarium via a spray bar, hence it causes a decrease in evaporation of water & current.

Canister Filter Pros: Fish can’t jump outside water:
Also in canister filters there is no open path at the top of the aquarium, so fish can’t jump out of the aquarium. Canister filters do not need an open top which stops fish from escaping the aquarium.

Canister Filter cons: Expensive:
Canister filters are expensive & not every aquarist can afford it. Hence many aquarists stick to power filters as they are cheap & can clean water well. You might not usually get a canister filter when you buy a new aquarium. Price of canister filters start from $20 & filters are even available for up to $300.

Conclusion: Canister Filter vs Power Filter: Which filter is better?
Both Power filters & canister filters have their own advantages & disadvantages so it is the choice of aquarists to choose the type of filter they need. If you have energy, time & money then go for canister filter because they can offer far better cleaning than power filter. A number of power filters in the market can work with better efficiency, but none of them is better than a canister filter. Canister filter can also provide a number of choices for filtration media than their availability for power filter.
When I was setting up my aquarium for the first time, the seller said canister filters are great, therefore, I bought them. However, I had a hard time maintaining it because I was completely a novice. Therefore, I switched to a power filter.