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Canister Filters Vs Power Filters Comparing the options

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Towards basic optimum aquarium water conditions

Let’s just for one second assume you wanted to do everything to make your new hobby of keeping fish and aquatic pets succeed.

You would have to know or understand the parameters in which your fish can live and maintain good health.

Assuming you are planning on keeping freshwater fish in an outside pond. You will have to ensure that:

  • The water temperature is always between 72 and 86 Degrees Fahrenheit;
  • pH is maintained between 6.5 and 7.5
  • Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels are all maintained at 0;
  • Alkalinity is in the range of 4-8 KH
  • Hardness is between 4-12 Gh.

These are just the right parameters for fresh water.

It is just to avoid all the above insanity – yikes that you should consider installing a good power or canister filter.

While both are aquarium filters are used to maintain healthy in tank conditions for a wide range of aquatic creatures, they operate a little differently and are best suited for this precise task.

Power Filters Vs Canister Filters Filtering Equipment

Pricing is always an issue and when you are considering buying fish or installing a fish tank buy the correct equipment will be high on any to do list.

Power filters are very cheap and are often part of any aquarium kit. Owing to this some marketing people – salesmen would have thought they will be adequate. They are both right and wrong.

Optimal filtration requires changing 15-20% of the aquarium every Week. However, you could have more than on fish species or be using hard water that does not meet the rigid requirements at the start of this article.

Power filters use very simple mechanics. Water flows downward through a piping system, is purified and then flows back into the aquarium. The only maintenance you would require would be to remove and rinse the filter media periodically. They are cheap but can be very inefficient; they are prone to leakages, the fact that they use overflow water suggests you have to be very keen about the water level to ensure optimal parameters are present.canister-filter-with

Canister filters in this article are much like comparing the broom and the electric vacuum. As the name
suggests the canister filtration process involves a cylinder – there are square shaped models. All models will have this canister like component, inlet and outlet valves. Many have overhead sprayers to reintroduce water – makes it fun for the fish.

The cylinder also should biological, chemical and particulate filtering. Maintenance often involves removing or changing the cleaning media. The water temperature is also regulated automatically owing to conductive heat from the motor pumping water.

The most efficient canister filter models have an electronic hydro measuring component that can keep the fish tank in excellent shape even while you are away. If I was just about to spend $500 on a pet fish I would buy the canister filtration system and possibly leave the power filter attached as a back up during the maintenance – Personally the crystal clear water attained using a canister filter would be worth the money.

10 good canister filter for fish tank 

Three Power filters Reviews

In the above section you may have gotten the impression power filters are useless; they have their uses. In this section we will review three efficient power filters on the market today.

Based on price and performance three specific models come to mind:

#1.Marineland Emperor 400 Power Filter

The Emperor Power filters are built using the best in know-how on aquarium technology. And for buyers interested in trials or just a single aquatic pet the filtration efficiency is unmatched by all the filters in this class.

While these may not have the capacity to clean the entire fish tank water capacity 7X daily they can manage biological, chemical and particulate filtration just as well,.

One of the best things about power filters is the fact that they all will work with both fresh and sea water. The simple mechanics suggests you can get to accomplish all the filtration without requiring complex additional mechanism like water pumps. Nozzles are also no longer a challenge – The nozzle size alone on canister filters will determine how much filtration can be done before the water the enters the filtration system.

On completion the filter has a horizontal spray bar that introduces filtered water back into the fish tank. The technology ensures this affordable filtration system can offer filtration to standards that can compete with almost any filtration system in the market.

The Emperor 280 can manage 280 Gallons per Hour (GPH) and tanks of 50 Gallons; while the 400 model can manage purification of as high as 400 GPH with tanks as large as 80 Gallons.

Product parts

  • Bio Wheel
  • Bearings
  • Cover
  • Intake strainer
  • Intake tube
  • Intake tube extension
  • Spray bar
  • Media strainer


  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Quiet operation
  • High filtration capacity
  • 3 stage filtration


  • Prone to leakage
  • Difficult to get crystal clear water owing to relatively low water volume turnover
  • Lack of proper attaching components

Concluding remarks

While seeking an affordable option to install over canister filters, the Marineland Emperor is without a doubt one of the best solutions.

Like many of the hired price filters on the market it can deliver reasonable water turnover and three stage filtration. The only limitation is in relation to tank size.

#2.Aquaclear 70 Power Filter

In this quest to find power filters that can offer you abov
e optimal conditions for your aquarium this has to be one of the best competing models.

In operation the model can manage 300 GPH and is built for tanks up to 70 Gallons. This is the world’s best selling power filter and should serve you very well based on the reviews.


  • Filtration system 3X larger than competing filters
  • Reliable 3 stage filtration
  • Easy to set up
  • Affordable
  • Quiet operation
  • Efficient
  • Free step one and two installation manuals included in the package


  • Takes up considerable space within the aquarium


Concluding Remarks

For anyone seeking an affordable and efficient power filter even as a backup for maintenance periods or power blackouts, this is the filtration system for you.

It is cheap yet very efficient and will always ensure the fish in your aquarium are healthy and the water conditions are conducive. For more on installation and maintenance watch this video.

#3.Fluval C4 power filter

With over 30 years in the production of water filters, when you purchase any product from Hagen Fluval you can expect to receive a high quality power filter. This efficient aquarium filtration system can be purchased for water tanks that can carry up to 70 gallons. The C4 power filter is also very fast and can purify 264 GPH.

Based on online reviews you can see that this power filter is very easy to clean and maintain. Probably because each filtration section is separate. This is in addition to thorough 3 stage filtration within the package. Excellent bio filtration owing sponge encased within.

What really looks like a perfect feature is the mechanical filtration monitor that pops up whenever the sponge bio filter requires attention. This is one of the best features in the highest priced canister filtration models and simple power filters – another reason to buy from older manufacturers.

Product Dimensions / Components

  • 6 x 8.2 x 8.5 inches; weighs 3.2 pounds unpacked.


  • Affordable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Capable of maintaining crystal clear water in any Aquarium


  • You have to be present daily to keep an eye on the filtration and results.

Concluding Remarks

For anyone shopping for exceptional performance with an reasonable price tag – the Fluval C4 power filter has your name written on it.

It is easy to assemble and could be up and running in less than an hour. It’s easy to clean and has sensors to keep you on top the conditions in the water ecosystem supporting your pets.

Definitely the best buy here! For more on installation and maintenance watch this short video.

However glowing these reviews maybe they still require to provide options; other models include Aqueon Quietflow 10, and the Tera Whisper _ Power 40.

These are all power water filter – they use gravity and are often hanged from the back of the fish tank. Power filtration systems are rare owing to the broad range of filtration systems today and price.

That does not mean they cannot work and deliver specific aquatic conditions for years. They can and as such are the excellent choice for buyers seeking reliable back up for maintenance periods.



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