Nano tanks may be really small, but they definitely need filtration or else the fish will die, probably sooner rather than later. That is why we are here today, to help you keep your nano tank alive. We are here specifically to talk about canister filters, which in our opinion is probably the best type of filter to choose for a nano aquarium.
The Reason for this is because they are external filters that don’t take up space in the interior of the tank. This is important because nano aquariums don’t have much space to spare.
These Are Our Favorite 3 Nano Filter Picks
At any rate, finding the right canister filter for your nano tank can be kind of hard, but that is why we are here right now, to help you find the best nano canister filter (this one is our top pick) for your nano aquarium.
Top 5 Best Nano Canister Filters
Below are what we personally think are the top 5 small canister filters for you to choose from, so let’s take a closer look at each of them right now.
1. KollerCraft Mini Canister Filter
In our opinion, the KollerCraft Mini Canister Filter is one of the best options with for any aquarium that is 20 gallons in size or less (you can see more info and pricing here). This particular canister filter has the ability to service aquariums up to 20 gallons in size and it can process roughly 80 gallons of water per hour.
This makes this filter ideal for pretty heavily planted and populated tanks as it can process the entire volume of a 20 gallon tank 4 times over per hour.
The KollerCraft Canister Filter is a 3 stage filter that includes mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. In other words, it will remove virtually any kind of debris and contamination from your nano tank with ease.
It already comes with several different kinds of filter media included, which is always nice when you are spending a bunch of money on a filter like this. What is also worth mentioning is that this filter is very quiet, which is always a big bonus.
Compact & Hang On Back
What is also pretty cool is that the KollerCraft Filter simply hangs on the back of your nano tank. It does not take up any space outside of the tank, yet the fact that it hangs on an exterior wall of the tank means that you don’t need any extra shelf space for it. It is a fairly small filter with lots of power. It is definitely a space saver.
In our opinion, one of the best features of the KollerCraft is that it primes itself. Some canister filters take a lot of work to prime so they can actually do their job, but all you have to do with this filter is turn it on, without any need for priming.
On a side note, we do also like that it comes with an integrated spray bar which helps disperse the filtered water, plus it helps oxygenate the water as well.
- Small and compact.
- Space saver.
- Very powerful.
- All major types of filtration.
- Comes with a spray bar.
- No priming needed.
- Not the most durable in the world.
2. Finnex Canister Aquarium Filter
Yet another good nano filter to go with, this particular one has enough juice to handle a 25 gallon tank with ease. It can be used for a tank between 10 and 25 gallons in size. In terms of processing power, it can handle up to 95 gallons of water every single hour.
This means that it can effectively filter a 25 gallon tank close to 4 times over every hour, which is quite impressive for such a small canister filter. Surprisingly enough, the Finnex Filter is actually fairly quiet.
The Finnex Canister Aquarium Filter is a nice little 3 stage filter. It includes all major types of filtration needed to keep water clear. In terms of the chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration media, it all comes included with the filter, which once again is always nice.
The media trays are very easy to open and can be opened separately to make media changing and washing as easy as can be. This thing will definitely provide you with some really clean aquarium water.
Size & Mounting
Another reason why we like the Finnex Filter so much is because it is small and compact, plus it hangs on the back of your aquarium.
This is convenient because you don’t need any extra shelf space outside of the aquarium, plus it does not take up valuable real estate inside of the aquarium either.
Now, while these may not be features per day, the Finnex Filter does come with some nifty little accessories. First, it comes with really durable intake and outtake tubes, something we always like to see.
This thing also comes with a spray bar. This helps to disperse the water after it has been filtered, plus it helps oxygenate and aerate the water too. On a side note, the Finnex Canister Aquarium Filter is built with fairly durable materials, especially the housing.
- Comes with all necessary accessories.
- Fairly durable housing.
- Quiet operation.
- High capacity.
- Energy efficient.
- Can process a lot of water every hour.
- Comes with filter media – 3 major types.
- Requires priming.
- Impeller is not the best in the world.
3. Tech'n'Toy Canister Filter
When it comes to filtration capacity, the Tech'n'Toy Canister Filter is one of the better options out there right now. This particular filter is built for aquariums up to 25 gallons in size. It can easily process up to 106 gallons of water per hour.
In other words, it can handle the entire water volume of a 25 gallon tank over 4 times every single hour. This thing definitely has a lot of processing power, which is always nice to see. It is ideal for heavily planted and populated tanks.
In terms of filtration, just like the other options we have looked at, this filter engages in all 3 major types of filtration. This is a mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration unit that can easily clarify and clean a tank of up to 25 gallons.
It does come with filter pads so you can get started, but you will probably need to buy some more and some better media on the side. Also, the media compartments are not all that easy to access with the Tech'n'Toy Filter.
Something that we like about this particular filter is that it is built to be durable. It may not be very fancy or nice looking, but the outer shell, as well as the motor and impeller, plus all of the other parts, are made to be very durable, which is always a big bonus no doubt. Having a filter that breaks down after just a couple of weeks is not very useful.
We do like how this canister filter is fairly small and compact. This helps save space. Also, this is an external filtration unit, so it won’t take up space inside of the tank or bother your fish. However, unlike the previous 2 models we looked at, this one needs shelf space.
It is not a hang on the back variety, which some people do not like. That being said, just hook it up, place it on a shelf, and it’s good to go. Other than that, there is not much to be said about this particular filter.
- High capacity.
- Efficient 3 stage filtration.
- Small and compact.
- Does not take up much space.
- Fairly easy to use.
- Easy to set up.
- Efficient filtration.
- A little loud.
- Does not look nice.
- May require additional filter media.
4. Zoo Med Nano 10 Canister Filter
If you need a good aquarium filter for a nano tank, or just a small filter, this is a really good way to go. The Zoo Med Nano Canister Filter is designed to handle aquariums up to 10 gallons in size. Actually it is built for tanks between 2 and 10 gallons.
Now, the really impressive part here is that the Zoo Med Nano Filter can process 80 gallons of water per hour. In other words, it can process a 10 gallon tank a full 8 times per hour, which is better than any other option we have looked at today.
Just like all of the other filters we have looked at here today, the Zoo Med Filter is a very efficient 3 stage filter. It engages in all 3 major types of filtration including mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration.
Even better than that is that media for all 3 types of filtration is included here. What is also convenient is that the Zoo Med Nano Filter provides for easy media access for quick and simple media maintenance.
Something that we definitely appreciate about this filter is that it is self-priming. Simply turn it on, press the primer button, and the filter is good to go. Many other filters need to be primed manually, which is nothing but a huge pain in the butt.
The fact that this is such a small and compact filter is something that we like. It is impressive that the Zoo Med Nano 10 Filter is so small, yet it still manages to be so powerful. While it is not a hang on back filter, it still does not take up much shelf space at all.
We would also like to mention that this canister filter is built to be extremely durable and long lasting, yet another bonus no doubt.
- Extreme efficiency.
- Tons of filtration capacity
- All filter media included
- Easy access to media
- Spray bar included
- Very small and space saving
- Easy prime feature
- Quite loud
- Impeller could be better
5. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter
The EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter is perfect for any tank up to 10 gallons in size. It might not be that big, but it definitely gets the job done. It has a maximum flow rate of 40 gallons per hour. So, the EHEIM Canister Filter has the ability to filter a 10 gallon tank a total of 4 times per hour.
This is very important if hour have a heavily populated or planted fish tank. It might not be the biggest filter, but it does the trick without question.
Just like the 4 other nano canister filters we have covered here today, the EHEIM Filter engages in all 3 major types of filtration including mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration.
Moreover, the EHEIM Canister Filter comes with filter media for all 3 types of filtration already included. We definitely like it when we don’t have to buy extra media on the side. The media included here is of a very high quality, so there is nothing to worry about there.
Another thing that stands out about this filter is that it is very easy to maintain and to get into. The filter media is easily accessible, and the well-sealed top keeps everything where it is supposed to be when you aren’t performing maintenance.
All in all, this filter is very durable and easy to use, both features we can all appreciate.
The next thing that we like about the EHEIM Canister Filter is that it comes with a lot of nifty accessories. It comes with a spray bar for water dispersion, aeration, and oxygenation.
It also comes with a filter basket, intake and outtake tubes, and all mounting accessories too. You literally don’t have to buy anything on the side when you get the EHEIM Filter.
The other thing that we want to mention about the EHEIM Canister Filter is that it is fairly small and compact. It is not a hang on back canister filter like some of the others that we have looked at, but its small size does not require much shelf space.
This is an external canister filter, so at least it does not take up any space inside of the aquarium.
- Very efficient.
- High capacity.
- 3 types of filtration – media included.
- Easy access and maintenance.
- Comes with necessary accessories.
- Space saver.
- Motor is not the most durable out there.
- A little loud.
What Makes A Good Canister Filter?
There are several different things that you should look out for before buying a canister filter. If you want to make sure that you have one of the best nano canister filters around, there are a few things that you definitely want to look for.
Capacity & Flow Rate
Perhaps one of the most important things to look out for when selecting a canister filter is what its capacity and flow rate is like. For instance, if you have a 10 gallon tank, you need to make sure to get a filter rated for 10 gallon tanks.
Ideally, if you have a 10 gallon tank, to give yourself some room to breathe, you might want a filter that is rated for 15 or 20 gallons.
Also, the flow rate or processing power of the canister filter in question is important to keep in mind as well. For instance, a canister filter that is rated for 20 gallon tanks should be able to process around 80 or even 100 gallons of water per hour.
At the very least, the filter you get should be able to process 4 times the total water volume in the tank per hour. You might want to look for one with an adjustable flow rate, but for nano tanks this is not so crucial.
Filtration Types & Media Baskets
The next thing that you want to pay attention to is the type of filtration that your canister filter performs. Ideally, the filter you get should be able to perform mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, as all 3 of those are necessary for a clean and clear aquarium. Ideally, the canister filter you get should come with all necessary media included.
You also might want to do some research to make sure that the included media is of a high quality. At the same time, you also need to look for a canister filter that has a lot of room for various kinds of media.
You might wake up one day and find that you would prefer or that you need different media. The media baskets should be fairly roomy and able to accommodate various media types with ease. (more on finding the right media here).
Access & Maintenance
Simply put, you should be able to get into the canister filter without too many problems. Some kind of easy off lid is good, but just be sure that it is one that also seals right. At any rate, everything should be able to connect and disconnect easily for maintenance and access to the interior of the canister filter.
Size & Mounting
Yet another thing to look out for is the size of the filter. Now, the processing power and capacity of the filter will dictate how large it is, but just be sure that you can actually fit it where you plan on putting it.
Also, some canister filters require you to put them on a shelf somewhere around the tank, while others can hang right on the back of the tank. For nano tanks we would recommend a hang on back model as they tend to be the easiest to use.
Some filters need to be primed manually, which involved a lot of fidgeting and maneuvering to get the filter to actually start. Without priming properly, the filter’s motor could overheat and burn up.
A filtration unit that comes with an easy prime or self-priming feature is the best. Simply put, you don’t have to prime these things by hand, which is really convenient.
This can be kind of hard to gauge just from looking, but the filter you get should have a durable outer shell, a durable motor, and a good impeller. All of these components are equally important, so do your research in terms of the durability of the filtration unit in question. A filter that breaks down after just a couple of weeks or month is a waste of money.
Finally, now it is not like this is a crucial aspect or anything, but loud filtration units are annoying for both people and fish. If at all possible, try and get one that is built to operate with minimal noise.
The best nano filter is the one that has enough juice and filtration power to handle your aquarium (the KollerCraft Mini is our top pick). Make sure to pay attention to the purchasing points we mentioned above before buying any nano canister filter. That being said, we would definitely recommend looking at one of the 5 options we have reviewed above, as they are in our opinion the very best around.