7 Best Canister Filter Under $100

Aquarists rely on filters to keep their aquariums clean and habitable for their pets. The filter choice depends on your setup, as different tanks will have varying needs.

Canister filters are quite popular because of their high efficiency. They are typically positioned outside the tank and are equipped with a series of filter media to purify the water.

Most canister filters will perform chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration.

You can select a canister filter based on factors like its purpose, price, brand, and durability. The filters will also come with different kinds of motors, some of which run quietly while others can get noisy.

A high-maintenance motor can also cause inconvenience if you do not have the time.

Best Canister Filter Under $100

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Best Canister Filter Under $100

Canister filters are also rated for different tank sizes, including 29-gallons and 55-gallons. Be keen to get the right fit for your setup.

Having reviewed several canister filters under $100 in the market, we have narrowed down on:

1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

This heavy-duty filter is among the best external filtration systems in the market. It will suit tanks up to 100 gallons, and those with both freshwater and marine water. It pumps 265 gallons per hour to leave your water clean and pure.

The package includes all the essentials you need to run an efficient system. In addition to the canister, you get preloaded media baskets, two hoses, four connectable pray bars, two nozzles, eight suction cups, intake and output covers, and output and intake tubes.

The setup will take 30 minutes, although you may have to use a bit of muscle to connect the tubes. The filter comes with state-of-the-art valves. for easy positioning.

They can easily rotate 360º to even fit in a tight aquarium cabinet. The filter also has a solid rubber-mounted base that is tip-proof to ensure it stays in place.

The filter is designed to provide mechanical, biological, and mechanical filtration. It is equipped with activated carbon to extract all impurities and toxins, while the floss pad addresses the fine particulate materials. The filter promotes bacterial growth to remove ammonia and nitrates.

This canister filter has been designed with large-capacity media trays. You can store the media of choice according to your aquarium’s needs. It allows for self-customization, where you can use any combination of media. The 1000 filter also allows for more filter media when compared to lower-capacity models.

The push-button primer promotes quick priming so that you can use the filter as soon as possible.

You can easily adjust the flow rate via control valves and a pool-style hose clamp. The air-tight seal promotes quiet operation.


2. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

This EHEIM external canister filter is rated for a 66-gallon tank. It is a sturdy model made of quality parts. The sealing ring fitted in the pump head is constructed with durable and flexible silicone, and it will allow for easy and safe closing after maintenance.

The clips that link to the motorhead are made from stainless steel instead of plastic to make them more durable. You can easily reshape them using pliers if they lose shape. The filter also has quick disconnect valves.

EHEIM has opted for a simple design with its classic external filter. The exhaust is fitted at the top with the intake at the bottom. It resembles a green bucket with two holes and is easy to clean, setup, and maintenance.

It is accompanied accessories like an inlet pipe, hose, and installation parts, and spray bar. You can select between loose filter media and filter pads.

EHEIM opted to forego media trays with this model, which can make cleaning more challenging because you need to keep the media apart.

The tank’s water will, however, always pass through the filter media, thanks to the simple design of the filter. The absence of media trays also leaves a lot of space to keep more media.

Aquarists also love the quiet operation that comes with this EHEIM model. There have been complaints with the priming of the filter, however, as it still demands manual siphoning. The process is not that difficult, and it will only take a little while.


3. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter

This canister filter from Marineland boasts innovative features to keep your aquarium safe for pets. It is suited for freshwater and saltwater, and tanks of up to 30 gallons.

Its design promotes a quick and spill-free setup. The canister seal has an on and off function for fast removal, and it ensures that the filter is tightly closed.

The tubes have been reinforced with specialized clamps and valves. Aquarists are commonly concerned with backflows and leaks, and Marineland has eliminated these problems with this sturdy model.

The filter is fitted with a Stack n’ Flow plate to accommodate various media layers, and to also prevent water from progressing into the other stages prematurely. Your water will be processed through mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. It is also easy to retract and lay the media.

Mechanical filtration is done by the foam, which filters out all the debris and dirt in your water. A polishing filter pad functions as a water polisher by removing fine debris.

The filter’s ceramic rings and bio-filter balls offer a large surface region for the growth of bio spires. It is also packaged with Black Diamond Carbon to remove odors, impurities, and discoloration.

There is a fast-prime button that you can activate to load the filter chamber. This quick self-priming setup makes the filter convenient to use.

When compared to the previous Magnum c50, this model is a more efficient filter for your aquarium. It is, however, quite bulky and can be difficult to store.


4. OASE Indoor Aquatics Filtosmart

This canister filter from OASE has a compact design with a large filter surface. Its secure and steady base will make it easy for storage, and it can even be fitted in an under-cabinet setup.

There is an integrated handle to move the filter easily. Its design boasts of the best in German engineering, and it has been expertly manufactured in Italy. It comes ready for installation and use with a connection kit as well as a self-venting function.

It will suit both freshwater and marine aquariums. The filter is conveniently integrated with a heater to offer a precise temperature for your setup. Since you do not have to install a heater in your tank, you will have better and unobstructed views of the setup.

This filter also promotes no-mess maintenance. There is an automated shutoff that prevents water from escaping in the course of cleaning. The locking features are also integrated into the outlet/inlet connection unit to ensure there are no leakages or spillages.

The filter accomodates mechanical and biological filtration to promote the health of your aquarium.

The included spray bar and diffuser encourage even surface movement and improved aeration. A self-priming function allows for a quick and simple startup.

There is also an easy-click opening feature, which makes it easy to open or close the filter during cleaning or maintenance. All the necessary fittings are packaged with this filter, and you can buy it ready for use.


5. Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filter

This filter provides a flow rate of 200 GPH for efficient cleaning. Also included is a hang-on-back water polishing unit that encourages quick and easy maintenance. It is rated for a 55-gallon, and will especially suit small tanks.

It is packaged with mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration media to get rid of all impurities from your water. The first process involves the use of a sponge instead of a filter sheet. Using a sponge for mechanical filtration is cost-effective because you can simply wash the sponge and use it again.

The filter consists of two biological cambers, and your aquarium will be clean thanks to the large bio-load capacity. Bio-ceramic and Bio Balls are also included in the filter for convenient use.

If you want to reduce the hassle of maintaining the model, replace the carbon cartridge with the more suitable Aqueon Replacement Filter Cartridge. This will save you from disassembling the canister housing to replace the accessories in the media basket.

The filter also includes the outputs and connections required to do a traditional water return method. Additionally, there are quick disconnect valves.


6. Polar Aurora 3-Stage Canister Filter

This model from Polar Aurora provides three stages of filtration. Its three media trays are suitably large to ensure your tank’s water interacts with more media during the first pass. It has a ¾-inch hose that will stretch up to 4.6 for easy installation.

The filter relies on high pressure from a powerful pump to channel water through the dense media. The pump can support double filtration in the form of an under-gravel filter supplemented by the canister filter. The sub current skims the water surface to remove organic film and to promote oxygenation.

It comes with an adjustable spray bar, which has 360-swivel components, to adjust output flow. The self-priming pump is more convenient than manual siphoning. There is also a single-valve disconnect for easy maintenance.

The filter has been fitted with an O-Ring on the filter cap to avoid dirt and debris from spilling.

The 9-watt UV sterilizer will promote water clarity at all times. It targets mold spores, algae, and other contaminants, especially in humid areas. This affordable model is quiet and efficient and is a solid buy.


7. Finnex PX-360 Compact Canister Aquarium Filter

This canister filter provides a vacuum-tight force filtration to make your water clearer and cleaner. Its easy maintenance and quiet operation make it a good fit for aquariums of up to 25 gallons. The canister body is made of high-quality ABS material for durability.

The filter’s media includes ceramic rings, sponge, and activated carbon floss pad. The filtration chambers are easy to remove so that you can change the media to your preferences. The easily removable trays also make cleaning very easy.

The filter’s accessories include a filter hanger, spray bar, and water intake strainer.


Why Choose a Canister Filter for Your Tank?

The benefits of canister filters include:

High-flow Rates

High-flow rates keep the water clean and free of contaminants at all times. The best canister filters will have rates of above 200 GPH. They will be perfect for tanks that require a lot of filtration flow.

If you are keeping species that produce a lot of waste or are very sensitive to water quality, you will be better off using canister filters.

Most canister filters are equipped with spray bars that you can direct to the water’s surface to get rid of scum.

Flexibility in Choice of Filter Media

Canister filters will allow you to customize the kind of filter media you use for your aquatic setup.

Different aquariums will demand different filtration systems. There is plenty of media for purchase, depending on the kind of pets you have kept. You can also re-order the media if you get new animals or get a bigger tank.

Clear Views of the Aquarium

Most people like to situate their aquariums in rooms like family areas and high-traffic setups like restaurants. A canister filter is suitable because the major part of the system will be concealed in the cabinet.

A model with an inbuilt heater will also erase the need for keeping a heater in the aquarium. Canister filters also provide sufficient aeration, thus eliminating the need for an air pump.

Quiet Operation

Canister filters have none of the vibrating noise associated with hang on back filters. You often have to check your canister filter to ensure it is still working. Canister filters are still powerful, even with the silence.

Suitable for Large Tanks

While sponge and hang on back filters will fit small-sized aquariums, you need a canister filter for a large setup.


Most canister filters will boast of German or Italian engineering. Companies opt for sturdy and reliable manufacturing with their canister filters, to ensure their models are long-lasting.


Aquarists favor canister filters for their efficient operation. They can be notoriously pricey, although brands like EHEIM, Penn Plax, Marineland, Aqueon, and OASE have affordable designs that will suit your budget.

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