AquaTop CF500UV Canister Filter

What is the AquaTop CF500UV canister filter?

AquaTop CF500UV is a canister filter designed for both fresh and saltwater aquariums. CF500UV shares general design features, like filter media baskets, with other canister aquariums.

The CF500UV sits outside the aquarium, giving you greater flexibility when it comes to the positioning of the filter. You could even tuck it away from view, under your aquarium cabinet.

CF500UV’s canister filter is designed to be easier to perform maintenance on. Because it is located outside the tank, you should not have to remove any parts from the inside of your aquarium.

That’s how CF500UV looks at first glance, but let's dive in a little deeper and really understand whether it’s good or not just yet. We need to go through the filter’s features.

AquaTop CF500UV Canister Filter Features

Aquatop CF500UV 5Stage Canister Filter with UV 9W 525 gph

Need a great canister filter with a built in UV light? Then the AquaTop CF500UV just might be the canister filter you have been looking for.


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Supports up to 175-Gallon Aquariums CF500UV is designed to support aquariums with up to 175 gallons of capacity. Combined with a flow rate of 525 gallons per hour, this aquarium filter should clean your tank rather quickly. And if your fish tank is smaller, shoot, you should see results even faster.

Multistage Filtration System CF500UV has a 4+1 filtration system. This filter includes 4 filter media baskets plus a UV sterilizer, which together make that 4+1 filtration mechanism. Thanks to the 4 filter media baskets, you could set up CF500UV any way you want.

Each of the baskets comes with top carrying handles, which allow for their easier removal from the filter during maintenance. The handles are somewhat delicate though and could also suffer from debris buildup during filtering.

Unfortunately, AquaTop CF500UV comes with only mechanical filter media from the manufacturer. That may not be sufficient to ensure the complete filtration of your aquarium water.

To be precise, AquaTop includes 4 foam filters for fine debris and 1 coarse sponge filter for larger debris. At this price point, it is typical though that canister filters come with minimal filter media.

So you if you need chemical or other biological filtration, you will need to buy that on your own.

UV Sterilizer Lamp Now we get to the reason this canister filter stands out! The switchable 9W sterilizer UV lamp is the main reason many people choose CF500UV.

It is designed to eliminate germs and algae from the aquarium water. With 525 gallons per hour being cycled and zapped with UV rays, bacteria and algae should be a thing of the past. Note that algae formation could be caused by a variety of reasons. So if algae is still a persistent problem, look for root causes of algae. A UV light can only do so much!

Automatic Priming Like the majority of modern aquarium filters, CF500UV comes with an auto priming feature. Instead of siphoning the filter manually, you do it by pushing the large button located at the top of the device.

While the button priming is certainly more convenient than manual siphoning, it also requires some effort, so keep that in mind.

Quiet Operation Many users praised CF500UV for its exceptionally quiet operation. Once you get it running, it should not produce any significant noise that would disturb you. If a quiet aquarium filter is a thing you are looking for, then CF500UV may be an ideal choice.

Adjustable In/Out Nozzles What adds to the degree of CF500UV’s versatility is the swiveling input and output nozzles on the valve assembly. It will allow you to angle the hosing a bit more conveniently without having to flex it too much.

Although swiveling nozzles can be very useful. If you will be putting the filter under the aquarium, it is nice to have some more setup flexibility.

Let's Look At The Downsides

Delicate In/Out Bars, Valve and Media Baskets According to user reviews, the CF500UV has flimsy plastic components, such as the output/input bars, the baskets, and the valve assembly.

The plastic parts of the valve assembly especially leave a lot to be desired in terms of sturdiness. They could be delicate, so one should be very careful when operating with them.

Only Mechanical Filter Media Included CF500UV only comes with mechanical filter media. You will have to do some research to find appropriate biological and chemical filter media. Then spend additional money on it, which always poses inconvenience.

Lower Flow Rate than Expected Some users complain that CF500UV delivers a much lower flow rate than the expected 525 gallons per hour.

The causes for the difference could vary. Keep in mind that manufacturers sometimes indicate the flow rate for the filter with empty media baskets. So check the manufacturers testing specifications.

When you put filter media in the canister filter, depending on what you use, the flow rate could be somewhat reduced. Especially if the filter hasn’t been cleaned for some time.

Poorly Written Manual The manual of CF500UV also appears to be poorly written, which could become a bigger problem for those who buy their first aquarium filter.

Fortunately, there are lots of resources online, like our tropical fish forum, where you can ask questions and get support. Still, we feel, the user should be able to assemble the filter without resorting to the help of other people.

What are CF500UV’s Owners Saying?

When it comes to the pros of CF500UV, users particularly praise how quietly it works. Aside from that, people like the level of performance CF500UV delivers. The affordable price of this filter is also an advantage of this filter.

When reading reviews, owners were satisfied with the UV sterilizer since it helped them remove algae from their aquariums.

Not all users have enjoyed this benefit though: as we already noted, the causes for algae buildup could vary greatly.

As for the complaints, some owners didn’t like the poor instruction manual and faced issues with the flow rate and less than sturdy plastic parts.

However, a prevailing percentage of the buyers were satisfied with the product.

Aquatop CF500UV 5Stage Canister Filter with UV 9W 525 gph Aquatop CF500UV 5Stage Canister Filter with UV 9W 525 gph


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AquaTop CF500UV Canister Filter Right for You?

AquaTop CF500UV definitely is a remarkable canister filter model. The UV light makes it stand out among its competition, while the rest of its features makes it a great pick for those who want performance.

Aside from the manufactures slim filter media offering. The fact that this canister filter comes with a built UV light and several media baskets, creates a great combination offering for your home aquarium.

Aquarium Fish Tank Heaters

New article just posted, talks about aquarium fish heaters...

Breaks down three different types of aquarium heaters based on your tank size needs.



#Fluval 406 Canister Filter

Big aquariums need big filters. You are probably looking for a filter for your 65+ gallon aquarium. If so, you are in the right place!

[amz type="ministack" asin="B005QRDCWA" text="If you have a large 65+ gallon aquarium, then you probably are looking for a powerful filter. The Fluval 406 canister filter just might be what you are looking for."]

We are going to examine Fluval 406, the largest aquarium filter within the newer 06 Series lineup. It continues the traditions of the older 05 series with some minor yet significant improvements. Fluval 406 is particularly suitable for large aquariums, but will it be suitable for you?

__Let’s find out!__

##Fluval 406 Features
__Canister design__
A canister aquarium filter – such as Fluval 406 – is a go-to if you have a large aquarium. Because canister filters are installed outside of the aquarium, they can be as big as necessary to ensure proper filtration. Besides, Fluval 406 can be easily put away from the view beneath the aquarium. Lastly, making adjustments with a filter that is outside of the aquarium will be much easier.

__Supports up to 100-gallon aquariums__
Fluval 406 aquarium filter supports aquariums with up to 100-gallon water capacity. That’s almost 400 liters! This further shows that this canister is a great choice if you have a big fish aquarium.

The flow rate of Fluval 406 is 1450 liters per hour/383 US gallons per hour, which means that it would take about 15 minutes to filter the whole water in a 100-gallon aquarium. And by the way, the motor hydraulic system has been improved since the times of the 05 Series as well to reduce maintenance frequency.

__Multi-stage filtration system__
Fluval equipped this aquarium filter with a multi-stage filter system consisting of several filter baskets. Ideally, you should fit the baskets with as many kinds of filter media as possible, but the good thing about this system is that you are free to do anything you wish.
Remarkably, the filtration system of the 406 allows it to work with both fresh and saltwater aquariums.

By default, Fluval 406 comes with twin vertical foam pre-filters, a mechanical stage with foam, a biological stage, as well as a chemical stage equipped with activated carbon. The mechanical stage catches the debris that comes from the aquarium’s animals and plants, the biological stage facilitates oxygen production in the water to ensure the well-being of the beneficial bacteria colonies living in the aquarium, whereas the chemical stage catches harmful chemicals and pollutants.

Pretty much, you are getting a ready-to-run aquarium filter out of the box. In the future, you could either get the same filter media or replace them with something else.
It should also be noted that the filter system is equipped with a clog-proof intake strainer designed to ensure that Fluval 406 performs the way it is designed to.

__Adjustable Water Flow__
The patented and, most importantly, secure AquaStop Valve system allows you to adjust the flow of the water going through the filter via an easy-to-use handle. And all that without disconnecting the hosing, by the way! You could cut off the water flow completely, set it to its fastest, and also select everything in between.

__Lift-lock Clamps__
The intake and output hoses are installed onto the aquarium via lift-lock clamps. They allow for flexibility during the setup of the intake and output hoses: you could set them as far apart as necessary to make sure that the just filtered water doesn’t get into the filter again.

The clamps also keep the hosing tightly in place so it doesn’t wiggle around under the water pressure. Though keep in mind that some users complained about the insufficient suction power of the clamps to hold the hosing tight in place, so you may need to order a couple of additional clamps to ensure its solid positioning.

__Self-priming System__
Canister aquarium filters require siphoning. That isn’t the easiest-in-the-world thing to do, but thankfully, Fluval 406 comes with a self-priming system activated with a push of a button.

__Quieter Operation__
Fluval 406 is equipped with a precisely engineered bearing. That combined with the sound dampening impeller design makes this aquarium filter 8 – 15% quieter. Aquarium filters can be rather noisy, so this feature certainly is a strong advantage in our book.

__Reimagined Design__
When compared to the Fluval 05 Series filters, the 06 series – including the 406 – has a number of advantages. Firstly, the impeller cover is redesigned to be less prone to breakage. The priming system is also re-engineered for easier startup.

Lastly, the clamp locks of the 06 series are stronger, though not spot-on, as we already discussed. Apart from that, there might be some issues with the more or less flimsy plastic parts in the 406, especially in the valve system.

Fluval 406 is backed up by a 3-year limited warranty, which covers manufacturer defects under normal aquarium use and maintenance.

__Fluval 406 Canister Filter__
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Fluval 406 certainly is a great aquarium filter. It isn’t flawless, unfortunately, but its benefits certainly make up for the downsides. The 406 delivers great performance, is easy-to-use, quiet, and efficient. Lastly, it is a great continuation to the 05 Series. We think that Fluval 406 is a perfect choice for those who are looking for a good aquarium filter for their large fish tank.

Best Aquarium Heaters by Tank Size

Need to keep your water from freezing? Then you need a reliable aquarium tank water heater…

Probably the single most important piece of equipment your tank needs, next to the aquarium filter, is your aquarium heater. But with so many to choose from now, which is the right one for you?

Let’s break this down to the top 3 heaters for your fish tank based on size.

What are the benefits of an Aquarium Heater?

A reliable aquarium water heater can help prevent several parasites from propagating in your tank. Your heater can also help prevent disease caused by fluctuating water temperatures. A drafty window or seasonal weather patterns can cause water in your tank to fluctuate unexpectedly. This can cause stress to your fish, leading to unwanted illness and even the death of your prize fish.

Keeping your tank at steady and constant temperature provides stability for your fish to thrive and even propagate. If you breed fish you know how a simple adjustment of the heater a few degrees down and back up can help fish get into the breeding mood. Also raising the temperature a few degrees can help sickly fish fight off sickness and parasites.

Your heater plays a critical part in the stability and health of your aquarium. So let’s jump into which heater we feel are currently the best on the market for your tank.

Top Aquarium Heaters by Tank Size

We thought it would be easiest to break down the top three aquarium heaters by tank size. This way you can purchase the correct heater for your water volume. No sense in buying an oversized heater for a small ten-gallon tank. Or vice versa, an undersized heater for a larger tank.

Eheim Jager Submersible Aquarium Heater

Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 100W

Great heater by Eheim Jager who has been around a long time. Perfect for small to mid-size aquariums. Precision mounted thermostat and available in several watt ranges.


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If you have a small to mid-size tank, you may want to look into Eheim Jager line of aquarium heaters. Made to mount just above the gravel line, below the flow of your filter outlet. Eheim Jager has several watt ranges available for just about every size of tank. If you have a smaller tank, this may be the perfect aquarium heater for you.

Finnex Aquarium Titanium Heater with Guard

Finnex HMA500S Electronic Controller Aquarium HeaterTitanium TubeHeater Guard

Finnex all titanium heater is virtually indestructible. A very nice external precision thermostat control keeps your arm out of the tank. Finnex also gives you a guard to protect you and your fish from burns.

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If you have a mid-size to larger tank, you may want to consider the Finnex titanium aquarium heater. It's made of titanium, so it's pretty tuff. All metal design makes this heater very durable. The one key feature is the included cover guard. When metal heaters first came out, I remember getting burns on my forearm while cleaning. Also, some of my larger fish would sometimes lean against the header and get burnt. Finnex has helped avoid burns by providing a nifty guard.

Lifegard AF-92 Heater Modules

Lifegard AF92 Heater ModulesSingle Capacity

Lifegard heater module enables you to tuck away your heater out of sight. Some assembly required but made to last. Recommended for larger aquariums.

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If you have a larger tank and using a canister filter, you might want to consider using a Lifegard heater module. Two great benefits of using the Lifegard heater module is efficiency and your heater is out of sight. The Lifegard heater module accepts 3/4" to 1" diameter heaters up to 12" long. The water is pushed into the module by your canister filter and gets heated as it swirls around in the module. Ultimately saving you space and keeping your water heater neatly tucked away.

Types of Aquarium Heaters

Aquarium heaters come in three overall categories, they are internal, hang-on and external or inline. The size of your tank and the needs your tank may require to play a huge role in deciding which is best for your aquarium.

Finnex HMA500S Electronic Controller Aquarium HeaterTitanium TubeHeater Guard Finnex HMA500S Electronic Controller Aquarium HeaterTitanium TubeHeater Guard

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Lifegard AF92 Heater ModulesSingle Capacity Lifegard AF92 Heater ModulesSingle Capacity

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Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 100W Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 100W


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Internal: By far the most common of the aquarium heaters, they are typically made of glass and have a thermostat dial on the top of the heater. Commonly mounted with suction cup clips and placed just above the gravel line under the filter to help circulate warm water. Glass models can break if water temperatures fluctuate or a sudden impact. Some internal heaters have external controls, so you don’t have to stick your hand in the tank every time you need to adjust the temperature.

Hang-On: Heaters that hang on typically have a bracket or clip that mounts on the very top of your fish tank. Although most of the heater is submerged, a portion does remain outside of the fish tank, allowing for external thermostat control. Usually made of glass, hang-heater can break if the water level drops to low either by water change or evaporation. Because the heater is mounted on a clip/bracket, bumping could cause the glass heater to knock against the inside tank wall causing it to break.

Inline/External: This is a bit tricky as an external or in-line heater really refers to a container that houses the heater with an inlet and outlet. Most accept both metal or glass heaters and they have external temperature controls. The inline/external heater requires an aquarium canister filter to push water through the heater module and back into the tank. A bit neater as both the heater module and canister filter can be tucked away in the aquarium cabinet.

How to Choose the Right Aquarium Heater

Let’s break down some points that will help choose the right heater for your fish tank. Several of them will seem like common sense but we hope that our list below covers some points that perhaps you hadn’t yet considered.

Thermostat Controls: Do you need to fine-tune and get the exact temperature for your fish tank? Or does reading a thermometer in your tank to get a general reading good enough? Some species tank may require more granular control over temperature. If that is the case, several heaters now have external dial controllers with LCD/LED read out to set exact temperatures. Smaller heaters, similar to older models, have a dial with a general range and you just have to trust that it’s right.

Brand: Trust in a brand goes a long way, certain companies have been around a long time. They have spent the dollars and cents to test and create a quality product. This is not to say new companies are not worth trying out. Only that when it comes to making the final decision, we feel that certain brands have set the bar consistently high.

Purpose: You may have a reef tank or a freshwater fish tank, every tank size variant and species needs to have a well thought out plan for equipment. For example, will you need to keep temperatures in the higher ranges? Or does the species of fish you are keeping need very specific temperatures? Will you need the heater mounted inside the tank or outside the tank?

It’s pretty obvious the heater needs to heat the water, when thinking of purpose, ask yourself how will this fit in to my overall tank plan.

Size of Tank: No doubt, a larger tank requires more wattage to keep water warm, especially in cooler climates. Picking the right heater for your tank size is critical to the stability and health of your tank. An undersized heater could cost you more in the long run as it will have to stay on longer and shut off fewer times.

An oversized heater runs the risk of potentially burning or killing your fish if the heater gets too hot fast. Although the temptation may be there to go with the overkill mentality, it is best to think of the tank size and pick a heater that will meet your needs.

Material: Newer models now are made of metal versus older models made of transparent or semi-transparent glass. There are positives and negatives to both. Heaters made of glass tended to break or shatter under certain conditions if the heater was exposed to temperature fluctuation. All metal designs tend to cause burns on fish when placed inside the tank.

Budget: In the end, it’s all about the money, for some there is no limit to spending on their fish tank, for others who watch their money a bit closer, maximizing every dollar is critical.

The best way to avoid overspending on an aquarium heater is to know ahead of time watts per gallon/liter required and know if you do need more granular control of temperature settings. These two considerations should help guide you in making a better choice for you aquarium heater.

How does an Aquarium Heater work?

Aquarium heaters work on the simple premise of heating a filament inside either a glass or metal container to a precise or semi-precise temperature range using a thermostat.

It’s really not that much different than what you see inside the glowing light bulb, with the exception of the filament, which is much larger inside the aquarium heater allowing for more heat to be generated.

Old fashioned aquarium heaters are made of transparent or semi-transparent glass that can be mounted with suction cup clips to the inside of your aquarium. The cord usually exits towards the top of the tank with the end being plugged into the wall.

Older glass aquarium heaters had a tendency to break if hit too hard by a tank decoration or other accidental bump. Also if the tank water evaporated leaving a portion of the heater exposed could cause the glass to crack or break.

Lately, new models of aquarium heaters are made of metal, completely sealed, the metal conducts the heat evenly and perhaps better than the old-fashioned glass heater.

Although solving the cracking or breaking of the glass problem, metal heaters do get very hot. Several of my discus fish have been burnt before I eventually moved to an external aquarium heater.

Once the aquarium heater is mounted in the tank with suction cup clips, assuming you have already filled your tank with water, you can now set your thermostat to the specific temperature your tank requires. Some heaters have a dial mounted directly on top of the heater itself. Others have a dial in-line outside of the tank where you can set the temperature.

It is always recommended that you have a thermometer or sensor to keep your aquarium heater honest. Protecting your fish from overheating caused by a faulty heater can be easily done with a quick visible temperature reading. You can purchase a simple sticker, glass thermometer or temperature sensor. In the end, they will all help you get the best use of your aquarium heater.

Aquarium Heater FAQ

What are the temperature ranges?

Generally, aquarium heaters can range from the low to mid 60 degrees all the way up around 90-ish degrees. Depending largely on the manufacturer, those are about the ranges you will find.

What can cause a glass heater to break?

Sudden temperature fluctuation, for example really cold water on a hot heater. Also for hang on models, it is important that tank water not evaporate too low or that can cause the heater to overheat and break.

Does the heater turn on and off on its own?

Yes, heaters sold for aquarium purpose should have auto on and off controlled by an internal sensor. Generally, it’s a set it and forget it type thing, always have a thermometer or other way to double check tank temperature. Not often, but sometimes heater can malfunction and overheat an aquarium.

How many watts do I need for my tank size?

A general rule would be 3 to 5 watts per gallon of water that needs to be heated.

Do I need to stick my hand in the water to change the temperature?

If you purchase an aquarium heater with the thermostat dial mounted on the top of the heater, then yes. If you do not want to be sticking your arm in your tank to adjust temperatures, consider purchasing a heater with external temperature controls.

Does it matter how I mount my heater inside my tank?

Yes, you may want to keep it mounted in the lower third of your tank, just above the gravel or substrate line. You may also place the heater close to the water return from your aquarium filter to allow the incoming water to be heated and circulated throughout the tank.

Should I get an external inline heater?

That all depends on your tank size and filter setup. Most external inline heaters work connecting to the outlet of your aquarium canister filter. In this way, the water is heated as it exits the filter and is pushed by the inline heater. The water is then recirculated warm and clean back into your tank.

Wrapping it all up…

Next, to your aquarium filter, your heater is the most critical piece of equipment in your tank. You are wise to evaluate your options and make sure you are getting the best for you budget and fish tank.

Not all aquariums have the same needs, take a look at both glass and metal options as well as internal and external heaters. Depending on the type of tank or species your keeping, you may have special needs to take into consideration.

Either way, your aquarium heater will play a very important role in the stability and health or your aquarium.

5 Best Aquarium Canister Filters 2018

Want to keep your tank cleaner? Then what you need is canister filter!

Canister filters for your aquarium use an intake tube or valve to remove water from your fish tank. Running water through various filter media located within the canister cleaning your water. Your canister filter usually sits out of sight inside your aquarium cabinet. Keeping your water clean and hoses out of sight!

The canister filter then pumps the clean water back into the fish tank through a spillway or spray bar. Possibly the best options for cleaning your tank and keeping your fish happy.

But how do you choose the best one? That’s exactly what we are going to cover in this guide.

Benefits of an Aquarium Canister Filter

There are major benefits to going with the canister filter over other types of filters. You get higher flow rates from the canister filter than you do with other types. Some canister filters can even pump up to 320 gallons per hour. Not only does this mean you can clean your fish tank faster, it also could save some money on energy bills.

Also, you have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to choosing the filter media. The canisters have separate layers of media, you can stack sponges, carbon, peat and ceramic rings. Giving you the ultimate flexibility to create the ideal filtration required by your fish and tank.

A canister filter is one of the easiest types to set up and they offer quiet filtration that is effective at removing small unwanted waste. Some filters are not able to remove the tiny debris that canister filters can because they are not powerful enough.

Top Five Best Canister Filters

Let's take a look at what we believe to be the top five canister filters currently on the market. Each of the canister filters is a little different. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, but they are all solid products and will do well for your fish tank. Let’s take a look at each of them in greater detail.

Fluval 406 External Filter

Fluval 406 External Filter

Fluval a trusted brand with many years of experience producing canister filters. Fluval 406 is perfect for mid to large size aquariums. Keep water polished and versatile with stackable filter media trays.

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The external filter from Fluval is terrific because it offers some of the best features among canister units available. The Fluval 406 canister filter is perfect for all sorts of aquariums. Both freshwater, and saltwater, it has an advanced motor to make sure that the flow rate is maintained at all times.

Fluval filters are engineered to be quieter and run almost silently in the background. It also features a multistage filtration process that makes sure that it maximizes debris removal from the water. Possible filter combinations include the mechanical, chemical, and biological. The possible combinations remove a huge amount of debris and contaminants keeping your water polished.

Eheim Classic External Canister Filter

Eheim Classic External Canister Filter 2215

Eheim is one of the original manufacturers of canister filters. A very trusted brand with a huge following of aquarium hobbyists. Versatile and a workhorse that will keep your tank clean.


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Eheim has been around a long time and they are a trusted and proven company. Eheim Classic External Canister Filter 2215 is a classic from Eheim and is possibly one of the top choices among aquarium owners today.

The Eheim 2215 could be one of the most solidly built models on the market, which means that it also could be the most durable. Listed as extremely energy efficient, the Eheim 2215 has an impressive flow rate. It has been rated as the best canister filtration system for aquarium fish tanks.

Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter with UV

Aquatop CF500UV 5Stage Canister Filter with UV 9W 525 gph

Aquatop is changing the canister filter game! This filter includes an internal UV light to kill off parasites, bacteria, and algae. Built in technology to keep your tank from turning green and parasite free.


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The Aquatop CF series canister filter is one of the more popular filters on the market right now. That’s because it comes with an extremely useful feature that no other filtration system offers: a UV sterilizer. The UV sterilizer adds extra protection to your fish tank water in addition to all the filtration that a canister unit offers on its own.

The Aquatop CF filter eliminates microorganisms like algae, bacteria, and parasites. The process of setting up the filter is stated to be so easy that you will have it done in minutes. The flow rate on this canister filter is around 370 gallons per hour and you can use it for tanks of up to 175 gallons.

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade Black 1200 Elite

Penn Plax offers a canister filter with stackable compartments sure to keep your tank gleaming. With a variety of filter medium available to meet just about any hobbiest needs.


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Penn Plax makes a multi-stage canister filter, perfect canister filter for large tank enthusiasts. Canister filters come in several different sizes, they are perfect for just about any size fish tank. There best used in larger fish tanks that are at least 75 gallons.

If you want to create a saltwater or reef fish community, then this could be the perfect filter for you. Because it is intended to be used in a tank that has a large number and variety of fish. With a mulit-stage system that includes biological, chemical and mechanical filtration.

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Hydor Professional 250 External Canister Filter 4075 gal 225 GPH

Hydor is relatively new to the canister filter market. Handles biological, mechanical and chemical filtration for a healthy fish tank.


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The professional external canister from Hydor is one of the more exciting new offerings on the market. People are talking about this filter because of how it offers about every advantage out there that an external canister filter can offer. Strong and sturdy, durable enough to last for a long time. Powerful filtration that eliminates almost every contaminant from your water. Can be set up and running in about 30 minutes.

The nice thing about this canister filter is that it comes in different sizes. Making a grab for the smaller tank market, which is not normal for canister filters. You can get sizes that fit a 40-gallon up to 150-gallon tank.

How to Choose the Right Canister Filter

Choosing the right canister filter is important, it's the heart of your tank. Your canister filter needs to fit your fish tank size and fish needs, and that means that you need to ask yourself some questions about how you are going to set up your tank and what kind of features your fish tank and fish need. Let’s look at each of the factors that you should be considering.

Purpose: It is important you understand the purpose of your canister filter. This means that you need to understand the capabilities and the restrictions of the canister filter. Will your canister filter be able to handle the volume and flow for your fish tank size? Does it have the versatility that you need? Are there special features you require?

Adaptability: Adaptability is important because every fish tank is different and you have to keep in mind things like where the canister filter will be installed, whether it is going to look out of place on your fish tank and whether it is able to reach the maximum potential of filtration.

Durability: Durability also something that you should consider. You want your canister filter to last for a long time, because canister filters are little more expensive than other filters, and making sure that is going to last you for many years to come is important.

The Motor: The motor is important because it is the heart and soul of the canister filter, it pumps the water into the filter so that the filtration process can happen. You want to make sure that you get a great motor from a trusted company that is going to last for a long time and is extremely efficient.

Size of the Tank: Size of your tank is an important consideration. Most of the canister filters out there are intended for larger tanks that are at least 75 gallons. There are a few that are suitable for smaller tanks, you want to make sure that you do your research and carefully consider the size of your tank in comparison with your canister filter.

Brands: The brand that you choose is fairly important as well. Going with a brand that has a great reputation is important because you want to be able to rely on your canister filter and the reputation of the brand is a good indicator of reliability.

Budget: Your budget is also a consideration. Canister filters are more expensive than other types of filter systems, but they also could save you money on energy and are able to clean your fish tank more quickly and efficiently. You should consider the price of a canister filter, but you should also be aware that they can save you money so it is worth paying a little more.

How do Canister Filters Work

So, how do canister filters actually work? This is a pretty common question among people who have never used a canister filter. Understanding how canister filters work is important if you’re going to buy one because it not only helps you make a decision on choosing the right one, but it also makes ensures that you know how to use your canister filter and what is involved in having one.

There are a few different types of canister filters, but they work basically the same way. Some of them come with extra features like a UV sterilizer, and others have canister filter media included with them. Most canister filters allow you to choose your own canister media for filtration.

Canister filters are typically placed on the outside of your tank, usually with one piece inside the aquarium, intake, and outlet. Canister filters have inlet and outlet fittings which allow for the water to flow in and out of the filter. Generally, you can adjust these tubes so that they fit your fish tank perfectly.

Canister filters have a motor which propels the water into the canister to be filtered. Some models have mounted motors that use gravity as well as the motor to start the filtration process. Once the canister filter is filled with water, the internal pump forces the water out of the filter and back into the fish tank.

When the water is forced through the filter it passes through the filtration media. This is usually a multistage process that may include chemical filtration, bio media, and mechanical filtration. The filtration layers trap the debris and microorganisms; pushing the clean water back into the tank.

Canister filters are extremely effective because they are very powerful and push water through the filtration medium quickly, eliminating almost all of the debris and contaminants in your fish tank. They are simply one of the most effective types of fish tank filters on the market.

FAQ about Canister Filters

What is the best canister filter for saltwater aquariums? Which is the best for freshwater?

The canister filters that are listed here are perfect for both saltwater aquariums and freshwater aquariums. You do not have to find a specific canister filter for either saltwater or freshwater, although sump filtration is generally used for saltwater tanks.

How do you prime a canister filter?

Before you have the canister filter assembled, fill the canister with tank water then place the filter inlet and outlet in the tank and then plug it in. Then simply tilt the canister to one side and as the motor begins to prime and pulls water through the inlet tube. Hold it there for a minute and then tilted upward to expunge the air.

What is the canister filter setup process like?

Canister filters can be just as easy to set up as most other filter types out there. You can follow the instructions listed on the manual, but the setup process is usually extremely simple.

How often do canister filters have to be cleaned?

You should clean your canister filter about every three to six months, although the manufacturer’s instructions may be different. Also, the filter media you choose may have different clean times.

How do you get air out of a canister filter?

Make sure that all the joining parts are sealed in this should prevent any intake of air. The air gets in there mostly because there is a leak. Sometimes if you have a nearby bubbler, air can build up in the canister filter. A quick tip or leaning of the canister filter should allow built-up air to exit, a.k.a. burping the filter.

How to layer media?

The layered media varies from one canister filter to another. Generally, layering starts from back to front with the ceramic rings at first, then the core sponge than the bio media and then you have the filter wool pad. In the end, you can reconfigure the layers as you wish and dependent on your fish tank needs.


The bottom line is that canister filters provide much better filtering for your fish tank. However, you want to make sure that you have a large enough tank that is at least 75 gallons. Canister filters are very powerful and are not intended for smaller fish tanks. If you have a larger fish tank, a canister filter is going to make a huge difference worth the investmant.

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What canister filter do you use? Do you recommend any other canister filters? Join our Tropical Fish Forum and get in on the discussions on the latest equipment and products.

New Article on how to acclimate discus with buckets!

Just posted a new article on how to acclimate discus using a bucket...

I know a lot of you will be for the "float the bag" method, but take a read and let me know if you have tried the bucket method and your experience...

Thanks! ;)

How To Acclimate New Discus

Acclimating new Discus to your tank is a very important step. Not taking the time to do it properly can cause irreparable damage to your Discus, even death.

This article covers some easy to follow techniques to get your new Discus started happily in their new home.

Float The Bag (Don’t Do This)

The most common way your local fish store will tell you to acclimate 99.9% of all your fish is to “Float The Bag” the fish came in. In short here is what this does:

  • Heat transfer so bag water and tank water matchup
  • Allows for a quick hello for tank mates
  • Gives your Discus time to lay on its side, note this is not a good thing

Floating The Bag has only one positive and that is the heat transfer between bag water and tank water. The chemistry of the water will still be a shock to your Discus when it is introduced into the tank. So how can we take care of this? Let's read on…

The Bucket Method

I LOVE BUCKETS! There, I said it, it had to be said. You can never have too many buckets, ever. This is why.

When you purchase a new Discus you can take your bucket with you. Fill the bucket one-quarter of the way full with water from the breeder or fish store. Enough to cover your Discus without the bucket weighing a ton. Place a lid on the bucket to keep the Discus from jumping out. Buckets are not transparent so the Discus gets a nice calm place to relax on its journey to your home. And finally, the best reason that buckets are great, acclimation!

Here is what you need:

  • A spare heater
  • A plastic cup to transfer water
  • Possibly a mop or towel, in case of spills
  • A timer
  • A fishnet

Here is how you do it:

  • Place the bucket containing the Discus near the tank that will become its new home
  • Place the spare heater in the bucket and set it to match the temperature in the tank
  • Using your cup, transfer a full cup of tank water into the bucket
  • Set the timer about ten minutes
  • When the timer goes off, add another full cup of tank water to your bucket
  • When the bucket is about half full, or still light enough to lift, stop!
  • You can now either pour in the contents of the bucket into your tank, removing water as needed to lift the bucket or using a net scoop the new Discus out and place it in the new tank

Acclimating Discus via buckets is much more beneficial than the “Float The Bag” method. It allows for the transitional acclimation of water and its variation in chemistry. In other words, it makes switching from the old water to the new water easier.

Questions For You?

Do you have a different way of acclimating your Discus?

Do you own a bucket for your Discus?

What is the strangest container you have used to transport your Discus?

Top 5 Discus Fish Myths

So many fake stories are told about keeping Discus, mostly from people who don’t have a clue or have never kept Discus.

We will put to rest 5 popular myths about keeping Discus that have been around for too long!

Ready? Here we go!

If you are new to Discus, hopefully, you are not listening to all those negative Nancy’s who are trying to convince you that Discus are the wrong fish for you. Discus is great and pretty easy to keep alive for a very long time.

Top 5 Myths in no specific order:

  • You must do daily water changes
  • Discus belong in a species tank
  • You need to be a water chemistry expert
  • Discus require super industrial equipment to filter water
  • You need to feed your Discus very special food
  • So let’s take out these Myth’s one by one.

Daily Water Changes

It’s true, Discus LOVE clean water, but it doesn’t have to be a museum in your tank for your Discus to be happy.

I know people who do 100% water changes twice daily! Now that is crazy!

Keep it simple, 20% to 25% water changes a few times a week is just fine. Even you miss one, it’s not the end of the world. The whole point is to not allow waste to build up in your tank. Obviously, someone with only a sponge filter will have to do more water changes than someone with two canister filters.

Discus Species Tank

You don’t NEED to keep Discus in a species tank unless that is what you really want. Choosing Discus tankmates is pretty easy, just follow this rule:

“As long as the tankmate does not try to eat all the food or the Discus, then you probably have a good tank mate.”

Here are a few:

  • Cardinal Tetra
  • Lamp Eye Tetra
  • Rummynose Tetra
  • Corydoras (Cory Cat)
  • Ghost Shrimp

Water Chemistry Expert

This myth bothers me more than others and here is why. Most local fish stores that I have gone to gladly test my water for FREE! That is right FREE! You know why? Because I spend so much MONEY in their store! If you are spending money weekly or monthly at your local fish store and they do not offer free water testing, find a new store that does. There is no reason why your local fish store cannot test your water for you.

Now, if you don’t have a local fish store near you and you are dependent on the internet, get some test strips. They are color coded and offer a huge spectrum of tests on one strip. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

Test strips are easy to buy on Amazon click here to check the latest prices on

If you want to actually learn about Ph, Kh, Gh, etc… there are endless resources online. Electronic meters to take super accurate results are also available but could be a bit costly. They are not necessary but are great for those who WANT to be super accurate and know exactly what their water parameters are.

Also, test your water BEFORE you buy Discus to see if your tap water is naturally within acceptable levels. If so, then you just saved yourself a ton of money on water treating equipment.

Super Filters

It does not take super filters, reverse osmosis filtration or chemicals to have perfect Discus water!

You just might have perfect Discus water coming out of your faucet! Have you ever tested your faucet water? Don’t worry, most people don’t, but you should. In fact, aside from the dechlorination and aeration that you should be doing on all water going into your tank, you may not have to do much at all to have great Discus water.

What’s that you say? Your faucet water is no good? Ok, did you know you could use the water from a Water Store? I use it all the time, especially when I have several breeding pairs going at the same time. The Water Store has already invested a ton of money into a massive water filtration system that would dwarf any dinky use at home R.O. filter system.

So why fight it? Go with it! Leverage someone else’s massive filter system to give you great Discus water. Not sure if your local water store has good water? Test it! You should, after all you might already be drinking it!

Special Food

This one is all up to you. Discus will eat just about anything they like but here is what you have to keep in mind.

Genetically, Discus are programmed to be big fish and that growth requires a good balance of carbs and protein. This is why you hear so much of beef heart, shrimp, and worm-based recipes.

You can easily spot Discus that haven’t receive a well-balanced diet. Typically they are stunted or runts, most of the time never growing to their full potential.

I'm not going to say that every Discus owner has to feed their Discus like it’s destined to be a prize-winning show fish. That’s up to you and not for me to say. What I will say is to keep in mind that, like other larger fish, your Discus requires a balanced meal with more protein to support growth and healthy overall appearance.

And you have a wide assortment of food to choose from:

  • Bloodworms
  • Blackworms
  • Beefheart
  • Shrimp
  • White Fish
  • Tetrabits
  • Krill
  • Earthworms

Know of other myths you want to share?

Would you suggest anything else on the myths above?

Red Spotted Green Breeding Pair

Quick picture of a Red Spotted Green breeding pair...

San Merah Discus Picture

One of my favorites, the San Merah discus...

Quick story, the San Merah was developed in the 90's by Mr. See Cheow San, crossing wild red brown ( ica ) that produced a rather reddish male...

Breeding through several generations to remove the bars and blue striations, the San Merah was born...

Dedication to the Discus hobby has produced some amazing variations...

The San Merah are awesome!


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