Canister Filter Vs Hang On Back Filter: Which Filter Wins?

Using canister filters and hang on back filters for my large capacity tank is a routine matter since I understood their purpose and proper use. Talking particularly about canister filter vs hang on back (HOB), I must say both are highly efficient filters for fish tanks when it comes to water purification in your aquarium. Also, both hang-on tank canister filters are effective in harboring the beneficial bacteria to positively impact the inside biota aquarium.

However, if you are searching for further details on canister filter vs HOB, you need a proper guide outlining all the details. As a regular user of the aquarium hang on filters and another sort of hang on canister filters, I have compiled this blog for you based on my twenty-two years’ experience to understand the significant differences between both filters. Also, this blog is based on the analysis of hundreds of reviews by other regular users.

Canister Filter Vs Hang On Back

Canister Filter Vs Hang On Back | How to Decide Between Both?

To understand the differences and subsequent utilization of canister filter vs hang on back, you need to comprehend their primary use. Whether you are using a hang on canister filter, hang on back filter for saltwater, or in case you intend to use hang on back filter for reef tank, you will be getting best results only if you adopt the proper way of installing, using, and maintaining them. To read the essential details associated with these filters for your aquarium, please scroll down and read in detail!

Canister Filter

If you are an advanced-level hobbyist possessing a larger aquarium, canisters filters are the best. However, possessing a large-sized aquarium is not a condition to use canister filters because they are also compatible with the averaged sized aquariums with a 20-gallon capacity. Another best thing associated with the canister filters is that you can use diverse media to load them. Therefore, canister filters are the best in terms of ease in feeding media types while discussing canister aquarium filters.

Another best feature associated with the canister filters is their durable construction and long lifespan. Therefore, if you see the expensive price tag associated with these canister filters, just relax because they will be justifying the money you invest in them. Therefore, while cleaning these filters, you will see them not showing any signs of wear. This factor explains the premium quality construction of the canister filters.

Like all other filters, canister filters do possess some positive as well as negative aspects. Therefore, we must not forget to share some of the excellent characteristics associated with these filters so that you can easily decide why to opt for them while you are considering a canister vs hang on the filter for final purchase. Here they are:

Advantages of Using a Canister Filter

Easier accessibility: You will not face any worries in maintaining your canister filter. We suggest you keep them in a separate compartment beneath the aquarium. Therefore, it will be easier for you do any changes or cleaning when required.

Beneficial bacterial consortia: We must admire canister filters for their unique feature of offering suitable conditions for the growth of beneficial bacteria. So, you will be satisfied with the eco-friendly bacteria without needing you to culture them through arduous processes.

Convenient and silent functioning: Another best feature of these canister filters is their quiet functioning that won’t bother you. All you have to do is to place them in the proper cabinet. Also, you can do insulation of the storage cabinet for further quiet functioning.

Facile inline heating: While discussing canister filters with the aquarium hang on filters, we must suggest you go for canister filters because their inline heating is easier in terms of installation in case you are not thinking to use a heater inside your aquarium.

The Disadvantage of Using Canister Filter

Regarding the disadvantages of the canister filters, we are glad to inform you that they don’t have many negative features. You must be very careful with the flow rates while using them. In the case of uncontrolled flow rates, these filters might not work efficiently. You may opt for the recent ones that are compatible with the irregular flow rates. In the case of the older models, you need to check out this issue.

Hang on Back

Hang on back fish tank filters are premium quality filters that have gained popularity because beginners and expert mainstream aquarists admire them. The reason behind its profound likeliness among its regular users is that it can carry out all types of filtrations, including physicochemical and biological.

While comparing hang on back aquarium filters and canister filters, we should not forget to highlight that HOB filters come with a user-friendly design. Therefore, you will see more votes for HOBs while checking users’ reviews on the canister filter vs hang on back.

Also, another exciting piece of news about HOB filters, including Fluval hang on back filters, is economical price. At the same time, canister filters are expensive to go for. If you are curious about the maintenance aspects of the HOB filters, you will be glad to learn that you can easily pullout a specialty cartridge and do its maintenance. If you possess an aquarium of 75 gallons capacity, we strongly suggest you go for HOB filters. Let us now discuss some advantages and disadvantages associated with them:

Advantages of Using a HOB Filter

Longer lifespan: The admirable feature associated with these filters is their longer lifespan. I am glad to mention that my HOB filter accompanied my aquarium for more than thirteen years. Therefore the durability of these filters is not doubtful.

Economical prices: You will be able to enjoy the excellent range of features associated with the HOB filters just at a fair price. Yet we must say, they are the best ones to purchase in case if you have a tight budget.

Minimalist hanging: Also, if you want to go for the space-saving aquarium filter models, then HOB is the best one to opt for because it can easily adjust at the back of the tank if you hang it. It will be quickly sticking in the inlet tube of your tank.

The Disadvantage of Using a HOB filter

We strongly recommend you install the HOB filters inside the inlet tube with great care because, in case of improper installation, you may end up cracking and breaking the inlet tubes. Therefore, to avoid the damage, you must do the entire installation procedure with great care.


What is the best option while considering a canister filter vs hang on back to prefer purchasing for my fish tank?

Both of the HOB filters and canister filters are effective and beneficial in their way. However, you must be clear about your requirement, size of the tank, and budget before making the final purchase. For example, if you want a filter as small as to adjust in the inlet tube, then HOB will be best to go for. However, canister filters will be best if you have a beneficial bacteria consortia in your tank.

Among canister filters and Fluval hang on back filters, which one is the most economical?

If you have a tight budget and want to grab a filter for your fish tank that is efficient enough to carry out excellent filtration, you must go for the Fluval hang on back filters. These filters will carry out three types of filtration at a very nominal price, including physical, chemical, and biological.

Is there any drawback associated with the canister filters?

Yes, there are some drawbacks associated with the canister filters. However, the most prominent among them is their requirement for storage inside a cabinet. So, if you are storing your aquarium in a place without a storage cabinet, you will be facing issues.

Wrapping Up

After reading about the basic details, pros, and cons of both types, you will be in a better position to choose the filter for your aquarium that best suits your needs. However, from the analysis of the responses of the regular users, frequent experimentation, and our experience, we suggest you check the filter specifications before placing your order.

In this regard, you must be clear about the size of your fish tank, the price range you are targeting, storage space, ease of installment, durability, lifespan, filtration level, and maintenance methods. These pre-purchase considerations will help you in purchasing the best filter for your tank.

In conclusion, I would strongly recommend you hang on back filters because they are comparatively space-saving. That is why you can install them inside the inlet. Also, they come at fair prices. Despite the lower prices, there is no compromise on their quality and lifespan. If you opt for them, they will be accompanying you for a minimum of fifteen years, which is admirable.

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