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When choosing a fish tank filter for your aquarium there are numerous varieties you can choose. Aquarium filters can be internal or external, sponge filters, wet-dry filters, canister filters, power filters and so on. But none of them will not work in a large 55 gallon aquarium, except canister filters. In this post, I will talk about  and recommend you some of best canister filter for 55-gallon aquarium you can find on market for such a large.
best canister filter for 55 gallon aquarium

But first, let’s see what is canister filter for the aquarium?

These are considered as best aquarium filters for freshwater which is ideal for larger tanks which tend to be heavy on fish size and quantity (especially the 55-gallon tank). These can be used in freshwater or saltwater aquariums and can utilize filtering capacity to its maximum by taking advantage of the big filter body. You should ensure that your aquarium has adequate filtration so that it remains healthy for your fish. The work of a fish aquarium filters is to not only ensure that water is flowing, but also get rid of toxins, and keep the oxygen inside the water at normal levels and get the best aquarium filtration system for your fish.

Some of the aquarium filter systems offer biological filtration, which means bacteria will get a place to grow. The canister filter will save on space inside the aquarium as you place it outside. Being outside is a huge advantage as it will be able to utilize more filter media.

The canister powered aquarium filter systems will offer you an efficient, and convenient method to keep your clean. There are different models in the market, and when buying look for one that will fit into your cabinet. Two main factors reduce a flow rate of water in a canister filter.

  • When you have filter materials or extra media inside the canister.
  • Most canisters are underneath the aquarium, where there is head pressure and the distance the water travels is quite long.

How does a canister filter work?:

Giving you Mechanical filtration:

You can use the mechanical filtration so as to remove floating waste which when drawn into the aquarium it is trapped into the substrate. By running, your canister filter continually it will improve the quality of water inside your aquarium. You can also use the canister filter to remove particulates, detritus, and unwanted waste before the water passes through your biological filter, by doing this these act as a pre-filter. You can also do this within a tank, which has reefs, Corals, and rocks in them. There are those that feel it is wrong to continually use mechanical filtration as it kills plankton life inside the water, which is food to many marine organisms.

Doing Chemical filtration:

If you want to improve on your water quality, you can put granular activated carbon [GAC] inside the chamber to eliminate odors, contaminants, and other medications inside the water. You can also use absorbing products that remove nitrates, silicates, phosphates, and other chemical elements that are harmful. Chemical filtration is useful in filtering fresh water from the tap. You do this before making sea salt mixes, or before you add it into an aquarium.

And lastly, Biological filtration:

Most if not all of the canister filters are for biological filtration. You should however use them together with other biological filters, like a wet/dry trickle filter or a live rock. By doing this you improve the chances of getting optimal filtration.

To see in general what is a canister filter for aquarium and how they function, you can play this video from Fluval Aquatics:

Now let us continue with our reviews. Below are some of the benefits:

  • It provides good flow of water through its filter media and this water returns inside the tank, thereby providing return flow of water.
  •  Another advantage is when you place above or under your aquarium, is that you can easily customize it. An ordinary filter has 2-4 compartments or media trays, which allows you to customize the filter to a media of your choice. By having the freedom of choice, you may use mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration in the same canister filter.
  • Will facilitate the growth of healthy bacteria inside your aquarium. It has high flow of water and the biological components are large enough to offer an enabling environment so that biological elements can thrive. Besides being the best wet-dry filter, they are also among the best in biological filtration.
  • They offer the simplest solution for you to control amphipods larva and heavy copepods, which crawl inside your aquarium and are white in color.
  • Offers the best service for medium and large tanks because they filter water in large volumes efficiently and effectively.
  • Will stay for long before you replace it. With other filters, the carbon saturates very quickly there by clogging it.
  • You have the advantage of selecting the filtration type you want. You can customize it to your own liking instead of being stuck with a pre-made filter.
  • Uses a spray bar to return water to get water back into the tank Thereby reducing the current and evaporation.

Finally, the best and easiest way to find out the kind of canister filter you want is to know what it should accomplish


These are top rated aquarium canister filters for 55 gallon tank:

1. Fluval 406 external canister filter

best canister filter for 55 gallon aquarium


With the superbly designed hydraulic system and lots of media included in a standard package, Fluval 406 external canister filter is one of best on today’s market. As with any of the Fluval filters they are easy to set-up and quiet, most aquarium hobbyists consider this to be one of best one on market! Usually recommended up to 100 gallons aquariums i personally would recommend this for max 55 gallon goldfish aquarium (we know how our goldfish get messy).

  • Multi-stage filtration for healthy fresh & saltwater aquariums
  • Suitable for aquariums up to 100 gallons
  • Sound dampening impeller design for a quieter operation
  • Equipped with a clog-proof intake strainer and a dual layer foam screen
  • Built with a patented Aquastop Valve, multiple filtration baskets, and rim connector assemblies; 3-year warranty


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Well designed hydraulic system for increasing flow rates
Bio foam media added to the filter for better biological cleaning
Impeller designed for quieter operation
Priming system well designed so that it can be easily started

Can create strong currents, and smaller fish can get stuck
The impeller can get damaged when cleaned

2. Eheim Classic 250 External Canister Filter

Best canister filters for 55 gallon aquarium


The Eheim classic 250  – tried and tested, is designed for its outstanding quality and economical pricing. Like all best canister filters, Eheim classic 250 is like all models that are tried and tested to extremely high standards. This filter is designed with first class standards and components with features to ensure you have a filter that excellent performance.Eheim classic 250 is a very quiet filter, and it is very strong and durable, it also uses low energy. There are 5 aquarium models, ranging from small and compact filters to filters that are extra-large. A small filter ranges from 50 liters with the extra-large filter will go up to 1500with different pieces of equipment.

  • Made from components that are a high standard.
  • Filter that comes with superb long service life and its robust and durable technology runs with low energy consumption
  • Can be operated with either coarse or fine filter pads. There are media sets for each model.


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Easy to set up, though sometimes instructions can be difficult
In a 2ft tank, Flow is perfect and it is very powerful
Affordable prices
Eheim classic 250 filter clears and moves water efficiently
Comes from a reputable and trusted brand

Hoses and accessories are a bit of an eyesore.
Basic version that doesn’t come with double connector caps.
Valves can go missing.
No automatic priming
The flow might be too strong for some tanks.
Comes with a European plug.


flexzion 302 canister filter


Flexzion HW-302 Canister Filters come with amazing filtration ideal, especially for larger or even heavily stocked aquariums. They are suitable for use with saltwater or freshwater aquariums. These filters maximize the filtering volume by taking the advantage of their very large filter bodies. Basically used by many fish enthusiasts who require the best biological, mechanical, and the chemical filtration in
very large aquariums that are used for housing their fish.

  • It has a flexible spray bar
  • It has 3 trays of media. This helps you to choose your favorable media filtration.
  • It has a self-priming pump
  • The dimensions include 9” L x 9” W x 15.5” H.
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Extremely quiet operation
Very cheap and affordable
Flexible spray bar

Does not come with filtration media
At first hoses can be very stiff
Some of instructions are hard to read

4. penn plax cascade 700 canister filter

penn plax cascade 700


The Penn Plax Cascade canister filter is a water filtration canister manufactured by the brand Cascade. These canisters are used in marine or freshwater aquatic environments and their sole purpose is to filtrate the water so that it is crystal clear as well as safe and germ-free. It is used for aquariums up to 65 gallons in size and comes with 2 media baskets and produces a rate of 185 gallons per hour. Cascade aquarium canister filter is considered to be one of best ones.

  • Comes equipped with revolutionary, 360-degree flow valves that allow easy maneuvering in the tightest spots
  • Allows quick and simple/easy set up due to its push button primer
  • Fitted with two media baskets that allow for customization to meet the demands and needs of all aquarists


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Flow valves can be removed easily for quick and painless maintenance
Includes spray bar, tubing, directional sprout and filter medium

It can only be used for aquariums up to 65 gallons in size
The media baskets offer great size, but are of a cheaper quality material
Handle is known to be somewhat flimsy, can result in uncomfortable handling

5. marineland magniflow 220 canister filter

marineland magniflow 220


The Marineland Magniflow 200 Canister Filter is one of the best canister filters on the market. You can go with a cheap filter, that requires weekly cleaning and doesn’t properly filter your tank or opt for the Magniflow 200, which will keep your water clean and clear. It may seem a little pricey but it’s definitely worth it! That being said, these filters run under two hundred dollars, so it’s not really that expensive. Plus, the Marineland Magniflow 200 will eventually pay for itself, as it is low maintenance and durable. It is also backed by a 3 year warranty. This one we recommend as best filter for 55 gallon aquarium.

  • . More on expensive side, but well worth the money
  • . High filtration capacity(up to 360GPH) and large enough for tanks up to 100 gallons.


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Easy set up and Quick Prime button will allow you to start filtering immediately
Locking clamps secure the motor and canister, which help prevent leaks and damage
Specially designed ‘Flow Dish” properly filters 100% of your tank’s water.

Not a whisper filter; it’s a bit on the noisy side.
Thin rubber gaskets, located in the media tray, can be torn easily or misplaced
The unit is rather large and may not fit under some aquarium cabinets.



And this is it, by now you have a pretty good idea what is canister filter is and how it functions. With so many options which one you would choose for your aquarium, we recommend Marineland Magniflow 220 as best canister filter for 55 gallon aquarium (especially if you keep goldfish) as it comes with desirable features and excellent quality. If however, you decide to choose another one that is okay as all five models are top-notch on today’s market (with Flexzion HW-302 being a little on lower quality but still an excellent price for what it gives).

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