Hydor Professional External Canister Filter Review

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In the care and maintenance of aquariums, we come across all sorts of equipment and supplies. Separating the good from the bad can be time-consuming, especially if you are new to aquariums, which is why we create these reviews.

Today we are bringing to you our Hydor Professional External Canister Filter review.

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It’s an all-around good machine that can handle a range of animals, is super quiet, and is designed to be easy as pie to use and clean.

Is it the best canister filter around? Well…sort of.

A short warranty, the odd hiccup with priming, and questionable packaging for shipping are most of the very little issues with this model.

Here we’ll break down all the good and the bad, so you can decide if it’s perfect for you.

Since the Hydor comes in five sizes, named 150, 250, 350, 450, and 600 models, we’ll list their specific dimensions, weights, capacities, and flow rates individually below!

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter: The Details


  • Weight: 9, 11, 13.5, 16, and 18 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 17 inches (150), 10 x 8 x 18 inches (250), 10 x 8 x 19 (350), 10.5 x 8.5 x 22 (450), and 11 x 9 x 24 inches (600)
  • Filter Capacity: 20-40, 40-75, 60-100, 75-125, and 90-150 gallons
  • Flow Rate: 190, 225, 280, 320, and 345 gph
  • Media Stages: 4
  • Self-Priming or Standard: Self-Priming
  • Warranty: 30 days


Priming at a Press

This filter features priming at a button.

While it might take more than one try to actually kick-start the system, this is an important feature to take note of – especially if you are new to canister filters.

Compact Design

External filters can typically be large, bulky, and just a little but unsightly.

The bigger your tank is, the bigger and more powerful filter you need to keep your fishy friends (or turtles) healthy.

The Hydor has a compact design. Considering the amount of media you can fit in there and the water output, each of these models are surprisingly quite small.

It’s also a little more stylish than most canister filters so you won’t have to be shy to show it off. That being said, it’s small enough to be put into compact spaces to be kept out of sight.

The smaller design of the Hydor Canister Filter means it will be more portable for relocating or moving as well.

hydor filter review



With four media baskets, you can mix and match any sort of media you want. Biological, chemical, or mechanical, it is up to you.

Included in the price of the filter are multiple medias as well – which we will go into with more depth below.

Like most features on this filter, the trays are easy to remove and replace. They come equipped with adjustable straps for easy moving, and all fit cleanly back into place.

No Water Bypass

Internally, the media baskets have been carefully designed to not allow any water bypass, and they really mean no bypass.

This is good for high population tanks and for those with animals, like turtles or larger fish, that produce a lot of waste.

Telescopic Intake

The Hydor’s filtration tubes are made small to be easily adjustable.

This takes out the guess work of how many pipes need to be connected, and stays on par with the easy functionality of the design.

Ceramic Shaft

Another example of a small feature going a long way.

The Hydor uses a ceramic shaft motor in its design to help with overall noise and vibrations.

The ceramic shaft also protects against heat build up which will aid in prolonging the life of your filter.

Safety Locks

Anyone with kids or pets knows they like to poke around where they shouldn’t.

If you can’t seal the filter away in a locked cabinet, the chances are increased of it getting knocked over or the lid popped off and water getting splashed everywhere. Thus, the inclusion of safety locks is a very good feature.

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter Review

The Positives

Long Spray Bar

If you don’t want to use the waterfall head, you can swap in a spray bar for your output instead. This spray bar is also adjustable in length, so you can tailor it to the size of your tank.

The spray bar breaks down into four pieces so you can easily decide just how far or long you want your bar to spread.

A good spray bar keeps an oily film and waste from building on the surface, where the intake tube can’t suck it up, so this is definitely a great point in the Hydor’s favour.


A quiet filter is a good filter.

This canister filter has been designed to create as little noise and vibration as possible, meaning that the Hydor operates quietly.

Depending on where your aquarium is kept in the house, this might be a key factor when looking for a new filter.

Less noise also means less vibrations from the humming that is common with filters.

It’s not uncommon for these vibrations to disturb your pets so you’re definitely better off without them.


Don’t let the size of this little guy fool you.

While the external canister filter is small, it’s also powerful enough to quickly get your tanks crystal clear.

Once set up and running, you can have a thoroughly clean tank in a matter of hours.

Easy Set-Up and Maintenance

Few things are quite as irritating as having to set aside three hours for what could be a 30 minute job.

Going back to how this filter is great for beginners… the set-up and maintenance of the Hydor is easy and breezy.

The Hydor Canister comes with a manual to get you going, but if you decide to skip the reading, everything should still slot into place quickly, cleanly and with little effort (Hydor even has a set-up video on their website).

As for taking it apart for maintenance – it’s as simple as pie.

The Hydor Canister is built to last, using higher quality and sturdier materials in exchange for the common, flimsy plastic other filters use.

Here’s a video showing a cleaning of the Hydor Canister Filter.

Powerful Flow

Despite the ease, quietness, and lengthy spray bar of the Hydor Canister, it still provides a great, strong flow.

As soon as you plug in and prime your new canister, it provides a powerful stream right at the start.

The Hydor’s long hoses are wide enough to allow more water to pass through effortlessly and it’s also super easy to adjust just how much flow you’re getting if the pressure is too much.

Simply reduce or increase the flow by adjusting the valves and voila! These valves are also used for shut-off.

Great for Beginners

Not all filters come with more than the generic mechanical sponge filter.

Considering the fact that you’ll be paying a decent sum in order to get started, it’s nice to avoid additional costs which may turn a nice hobby into a financially strenuous venture.

The fact that the Hydor comes with a small variety of media as standard is a huge mark in the positives column.

You’ll also be getting top quality as the Hydor is designed with sturdy materials that are made to last.

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Despite the Hydor being a professional range of canister filters, they aren’t hugely expensive.

No matter what size you choose, you’ll be paying a very reasonable price for this equipment – and remember, the filter comes with ceramic rings and mechanical sponges at no extra cost.

A good starting kit if you’re a beginner or need a replacement filter in a pinch.

Customer Service

No matter how quality a brand is, customer service can be the thing that either makes or breaks your opinion on the manufacturer.

Generally, Hydor have been quick to respond to customers, provided good service, and exchanged faulty or damaged parts/filters without fuss.

While this mark in the positive column isn’t on the product itself, knowing that a manufacturer is reliable and trustworthy is always noteworthy.

The Negatives


A super short warranty can be a warning bell for a lot of products.

With only 30 days for a problem to arise in time to get an exchange without losing money, this is a mark in the negatives column.

Lemons always crop up; getting stuck with one is bad news.


When it comes time for filter maintenance, there is no way to easily purge the water from the hoses.

This means that when you disconnect the hoses, a cup or so of water will come spilling out, and if you aren’t prepared for this, you will have quite the mess on your hands.

Shipping and Packaging

Considering how rough shipping can be on packages, the fact that Hydor doesn’t package their filters with foam or protective padding is concerning. Even a small crack in the canister can cause a huge problem.

At least you can take comfort in the knowledge that this damage will still be covered under warranty, but it will mean extra time spent on shipping.

When you’re trying to get started quickly, this can be a drawback.

Tricky Restart Priming

For the most part, you have to press the priming button a few times to start the water flow, but there are times when it takes a little (or a lot) more oomph to get things going.

This is more nit-picky than the other issues with the Hydor, but it is a point none-the-less.

hydor external canister filter

Overall Verdict

The Hydor is a strong piece of equipment suitable for a variety of aquariums.

While a very short warranty window on top of less-than-stellar protective packaging makes buying a little risky, the good outweighs the bad.

Quiet, compact, and powerful, the Hydor is a robust filter.

The fact that Hydor itself provides good customer service and that media is included with the filter are two very nice bonuses.

Overall, the Hydor Professional External Canister Filter is a good buy.

Where to buy the hydor professional external canister filter

The Hydor Professional External Canister Filter is a popular option and can be found in local stores or online. For starters, the Hydor Canister Filter is available at the following online retailers:


And of course, it’s available on Amazon.

hydor external canister filter review

That’s it for our review on the Hydor Professional External Canister Filter. Tempted to give it a go?

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter Rated
  • Quality of Filtration
  • Build Quality
  • Accessories
  • Ease of Use
  • Value for Money

FCG Verdict

The compact, sturdy and quiet build of the Hydor Professional External Canister Filter makes this a great buy for both beginners and professionals.

While the warranty is limited, and packaging could be better, this canister filter still performs outstandingly with a powerful flow at a great value.

>>> Check today’s price on Amazon.

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