What is a Canister filter? How to do its maintenance, and what are its pros and cons?

A clear aquarium will require filtration that can remove the toxic chemicals released from fish waste. Filter has the advantage of 2-way cleaning. First it removes solid waste particles present in water & then clean water flows through biological chamber where it decomposes the toxic chemicals that are not trapped in mechanical filtration chamber, & these toxic components are converted into less toxic components that can be removed with regular water changes. Biological filtration is the most important part of filtration & insufficient biological filtration can cause the death of many fish.

What is a Canister Filter?
What is a Canister Filter?

Canister filters are very important filters that can help in saving the life of the fish in aquarium. Canister filters are either located inside or outside aquarium. Compartment containing foam & biological media is called a canister. Such filters can offer better results than ordinary filters. Internal canister filters use sponges to filter water. The sponges inside canister filter can offer both mechanical & biological filtration. However, modern canister filter includes one more sponge for keeping more beneficial bacteria that can help in better filtration & you can replace 1 sponge at a time that can avoid losing all of your beneficial bacteria.


Canister Filter:

Canister filters are normally used in medium to large tanks. They can be located inside or outside aquarium. If your canister filter is placed outside tank, then it does not affect the beautiful of your beautiful tank. Water is forced through the media located inside canister filters. It helps in offering better performance in removing waste particles from aquarium. You can customize them by altering the type & volume of biological media which is a better choice for your fish tank.

Canister filter requires a pump that can push water through the filter & water thus moves through a few chambers before it is clean. Filtration media can be used for biological / chemical / mechanical filtration.

After water is pushed through a series of filtration media in various chambers, clean water flows back to the aquarium. Such filters need water pump for drawing water into the filter. Many models of the filter use in-built pump, but some of the canister models need an additional water pump that can be connected externally to the filter.

DIY Canister Filter
DIY Canister Filter

Maintenance of a Canister Filter:

Canister filters have its own requirements for maintenance which depends on the brand & model, & type of filtration media you are using in tank. A variety of filtration media are used in canister filters. Such filters may have cartridges, baskets, filtration media bags or even isolated chambers that can be used for keeping your filtration media & it helps in providing filtration. Overtime some types of filter media needs cleaning while others need replacement. It is better to check out the type of filter media you are using in canister filter & make sure you follow the right steps for maintenance of filter media.

Also it is important to clean the tubes & the pump that draws water into the filter.

Canister filters offer best efficiency if you follow guidelines & maintain it accordingly. A better canister filter offers you the benefit of choosing the type of filter media that is well suited for your aquarium by customizing the filtration media, instead of being stuck with the company’s media cartridges. In comparison with a power filter, canister filter needs lower maintenance, because water is forced through the filtration media which is different from other filters in which water flows over or around the filter media. Many canister filters use a spray bar to allow water to flow back to the aquarium, which lowers evaporation & current.

The main chamber of canister filter is a cylindrical container that consists of a filtration media & an operational pump. External Canister filter is placed outside the tank but is connected by 2 hoses, the intake hose & outlet hose, the former sucks water from aquarium while the latter allows water to flow back to the tank.

If you want to force water through the filter media for efficient cleaning, then you need a pump.

Monitor your filter regularly to make sure it is working well. A malfunctioning pump is risky for fish as well as for aquarists.

Do not use soapy stuff for cleaning your filter. A small ratio of soapy chemicals is risky for aquarium water & can even cause the death of your fish. Use just hot water & aquarium water conditioner if you need to clean stuff.


How to build a Canister Filter at Home?

Filters are expensive & it might not fit your tank exact requirements, especially in case of large tank. Aquarists like to make their own filters that can help in meeting tank requirements. If you are interested in making a canister filter at home, then check out our video below:

How to build Canister Filter at Home?

This canister filter is built using plastic food container, vinyl tubing & submersible pump. You can build it within a few hours, but if you use silicon for bonding then it might take more time to build your canister filter.


Pros and cons of a Canister Filter:

Have a look at pros and cons of a canister filter below:

  • Canister filters can help in efficient cleaning of the aquarium.
  • In Canister filters there is no loss of water or fish.
  • Canister filters are expensive than power filters.
  • They need more effort for installation & maintenance as compared to power filters.

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