HOB vs Canister Filter

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Ursinos, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Ursinos

    UrsinosValued MemberMember

    I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out what the real benefit of a canister filter is over a HOB. in all my limited aquarium experience, I've only ever used HOB, or those cheapo filters that came with kids aquarium kids 20 years ago (you know the ones, the clear plastic cube with the charcoal and filter floss that was driven via air pump).

    Can anyone explain to me the pros/cons of one over the other?
  2. clk89

    clk89Fishlore VIPMember

    I personally have never used a hob. I use sponge filters for my smaller tanks (ten gallon and under), and will be using canister for 40 gallon breeder.

    From what I have read with a canister you can really customize it with different filter media and it holds more filter media. It also can be very quiet if you get a quality canister.

    Some cons is probably the price. Brand new canisters can get pricey, though all depends on your budget. It may take some time getting use to cleaning a canister, and take more time then a hob.
  3. jpm995Well Known MemberMember

    Canisters usually can hold a lot more media than hob's. In general they cost more and are more difficult to clean. If a hose falls off it can be a disaster. Hob's are cheaper, and easier to service and almost never leak. They usually use less power [smaller pump, as water doesn't have to be pushed up 2 feet or so]. Generally smaller tanks use hob's while bigger tanks [55 and up use canisters]. I would use both on a large tank to avoid problems if a filter dies. Perceived quality determines cost, Eheim is the gold standard for canisters [i had them [2215, 2217] for years and can attest to their quality. Both lasted over 10 years, and were very quiet]. Very expensive but worth it imo. I always liked Hagen Aquaclear hob filters, reasonably priced and easy to service and last a long time. Many choices for you, the good thing is you can make them all work.

    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
  4. OP

    UrsinosValued MemberMember

    so for tanks between 20-40 gallons, a canister filter doesn't really have all that much advantage over a HOB then? With my wife planning her first aquarium, she's been obsessed over the DIY canister filters she's been seeing on youtube lol. just trying to figure out if it's worth it
  5. Grimund

    GrimundWell Known MemberMember

    Canisters are also more efficient per gallon cycled and have a much lower GPH recommendation of 5x the volume versus the 10x volume of an HOB.

    Cans have a more customizable media and lots of space for it. HOB's have less space for extras and stuck with stock options.

    Cans have spray bars that can be adjusted for in tank flow. HOB has to be baffled if the currents are too strong, though this is rarely an issue in tanks larger than 10 gallons.

    Cans aren't inside the tank and less of an eyesore, but that's a personal choice. Noise is a factor too, some don't lot the trickling noises

    And again, price is a factor as well. You can purchase multiple HOB for the same price as a single can.
  6. clk89

    clk89Fishlore VIPMember

    I know you didn't ask me the question, but from everything I have researched on it you can have a canister on a 40 gallon just fine. A lot of it is personal opinion too.
  7. jpm995Well Known MemberMember

    Tough call. With more media you can go longer between cleaning, but it's more of a pain when you do. A diy will probably cost very little, even less than hob i would guess. First build will leak unless your pretty skilled so test it outdoors if possible.
  8. OP

    UrsinosValued MemberMember

    thanks for the warning
  9. Reece50New MemberMember

    I personally opt for a canister filter. Not only can you customise the way and what media you put in it, it also adds to the water volume which is always good, they tend to be very quiet and maintenance is easy. Plus you can add so much to the hoses, for example I run a Fluval 405 and on the return hose I have a small reactor with some filter floss to polish the water, a UV steriliser and an inline heater and the system has worked fantastic for years. I keep cichlids and they are messy bugger but the Fluval does a fantastic job of keeping the water and tank crystal clear

    HOB's are okay for small tanks, with minimal stock, really easy for maintenance and low power consumption, just requires more maintenance I.e more regular water changes. Also if your tank has a built on lid these are awkward to position so best to go with an open top.

    A different option worth mentioning is an internal filter, the fluval U series are great little filters and do much better job than many HOB's do.

    Hope this helps.
  10. Flare4123New MemberMember

    I would suggest if your wife is interested in a diy canister filter, instead go for a trickle or wet/dry filter. They can hold much more media and also promote bacteria growth since the bb gets aerated.
    Its also very easy to do maintenance since you can just open a drawer to get to the media haha.

    It would also be a fraction of the cost of a canister filter while offering more bio filtration. (I built one for around 30 or so dollars total) I also would like to think they are much easier to build but I don't know anything about diy canisters so just making an assumption xP

    Only downside is that its not all that quiet (though if you adjust some things you can make it almost silent), and some people think it looks ugly (I personally like to show off mine since I think its pretty cool that you can see how the whole thing works)
  11. OP

    UrsinosValued MemberMember

    the noise issue would be a sticking point for her. she doesn't want it to be noisy

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