How a Cartridge or Canister Filter Works

A canister or cartridge filter has many advantages, it is considered one of the best types of aquarium filters on the market. But how do canister filters work their magic?

How does a cartridge or canister filter work?

Even if you are completely new to aquariums, you have probably seen a canister filter. They come in different shapes and sizes and are installed under your aquarium. They usually look like a mini-barrel, consisting of a water chamber and a filter, and are connected to your aquarium through a tube. The water is drawn through a tube, pushed through the filter media that traps dirt, and finally the clean water is pumped back into the tank.

A cartridge filter or canister filter can perform biological, mechanical and chemical filtration of water, if it is equipped with the appropriate filtration media.

Most cartridge filters come with a built-in water pump, which is necessary for. Some don’t, so you may have to get a separate pump. As for conservation, cartridge filters should be cleaned once every few weeks, ideally once a month.

What are the benefits of a cartridge or canister filter?

The amount of flow (liters of filtered water per hour) is usually much higher in canister filters than in any other type of filter. This is why they are suitable for larger tanks as they work best cleaning large amounts of water at a rapid rate. Despite this, the main benefit of the cartridge filter is not its flow power, but its size. They are much larger than hanging filters or gravel filters, allowing you to store more filter media in their body.

This not only means more beneficial bacteria within the nitrogen cycle, but also more layers of mechanical means that keep the water clean. Due to their design, they are very subtle and can be hidden, despite their size.

What are the disadvantages of a cartridge or canister filter?

The main disadvantage of a cartridge filter is its price. Compared to other filters, they are often more expensive, regardless of brand. They are also a bit more difficult to maintain; while an electric filter can be cleaned in minutes, monthly maintenance on a canister filter usually takes an hour or so. It must be disassembled and the media must be thoroughly cleaned or replaced. Although it is practical for the cartridge filter to save space due to its external installation, if leaks occur, the water will almost certainly end up on the ground.

When should I buy a canister filter?

Most canister filters are designed to clean large volumes of water at a rapid rate. It is suitable for all types of deposits, mainly large ones. If your tank holds less than 100 liters, a power filter will do the job just fine. But if your tank is larger and/or heavily stocked with fish, you should definitely get a cartridge filter. Its flow rates can drive full water circulation and cleaning several times per hour.

Best canister or cartridge filters

If you are thinking of buying a filter or need to renew the one you already have, we leave you a selection of the best filters for your aquarium or pond.