Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter Review

We independently research our recommended products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our links.

If you’re in the market for equipment to help your aquarium remain pristine, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the options. Canister filters are one of the leading choices, because they are quieter, handle larger capacities, boost your water flow, and are typically easy to clean. But even among this line-up, there are countless brands and models to consider. Which is right for you?

To help you decide, today, we’re evaluating the Sunsun HW-3000 5-stage External Canister Filter. It has a capacity of up to 100 gallons, is easy to set up, and very efficient.

For downsides, it appears to require more maintenance than usual, and may be louder than expected. Is that enough to sway our good opinion? Let’s take a more in-depth look at the Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter and find out.

Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter: The Details


  • Weight: 16 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 18 x 13 x 16 inches.
  • Filter Capacity: 100 gallons.
  • Flow Rate: 793 gph.
  • Media Stages: Five media stages.
  • Self-Priming or Standard: Self-priming.
  • Warranty: 30 days.


Five Stage Media

The Sunsun HW-3000 External Canister Filter is equipped to handle five different stages of media. This will ensure that the water is free of debris, remains clear, and resists clingy odors. It has four media baskets to hold any kind of media you choose, and since the media isn’t included, you can select whatever you prefer.

Ceramic rings provide a site for good bacteria to grow, while bio-balls help with gas exchange and increased oxygen levels. You can also put activated carbon in one of the baskets, and the fifth stage of media is the UV sterilizer.

Flow Rate

The flow rate on this Sunsun canister filter is 793 gallons per hour. As such, if you use this filter on a 100-gallon tank, it will run through and clean the water almost eight separate times. So long as your filter is running properly, you should never have a problem with dirty or discolored water.

Even owners of turtle tanks have had success with keeping the water clear in their tanks using the Sunsun filter, which can be tricky with animals like turtles.

Sunsun HW-3000 review


The UV sterilizer on this filter exposes the water that runs through it to fatal doses of UV light. This kills any micro-organisms that would be harmful to your fish or their environment. The water is pumped past the UV light, which is protected by a quartz glass sleeve, so the water doesn’t come into contact with the electricity and short it out, harming the filter.

The UV light also has a timer feature, letting you choose how long you want it to run. Being able to automate individual small parts of the filter system make it even easier to maintain your tanks, even the larger tanks.

Water Types

While many filters are restricted to either salt- or freshwater, this Sunsun HW-3000 filter handles both. Freshwater won’t affect it and saltwater won’t corrode any of the parts. With that in mind, if you start with a freshwater tank and change to salty conditions, you can easily transfer the filter between set-ups.

LCD Display

This filter also has an LCD display on the top. From this display, you can adjust the flow rate of the pump and how long the UV sterilization light will be active. Simply press the buttons on the side of the LCD screen to choose the different settings. Once it’s all programmed, you don’t need to change it again, unless the situation in your tank changes or if you switch aquariums.

External canister filter

The LCD screen responds best to firm pressure when selecting choices, so you may have more responsiveness when using more pressure for your selections.

Quality Tested

Every single filter is put through a water pressurization test before packaging to make sure that there are no leaks or other issues. This ensures you receive a filter that is going to work properly!

The company cautions that the filters may not be completely dried by the time they are packaged, and therefore may arrive at your residence with some water condensation still trapped inside the filter itself.

This condensation doesn’t meant that you’ve received a secondhand filter – it only means that you’ve received a filter that has been tested and didn’t have time to dry completely before shipping.

Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter

Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter Review

The Positives

Easy to Set Up

The Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter is very easy to set up. When the filter arrives, unbuckle all the tabs on the lid and remove it from the body. Remove the UV lamp and quartz sleeve attached to the media basket. Attach the quartz to the UV slot.

Next, add your media into the media baskets and fill the body with water. Take out the input and output adapter from the accessory box and attach it to the canister. Lock the adapter into place and ensure both levers are in the “Water Off” position.

Attach the adapter to the green hosing. Next, attach the inlet kit to the same hose, in the “IN” adapter, while the outlet kit goes on the “OUT” adapter. Remove the blue knob and add water into the green hoses, ensuring they’re free of air. Finally, plug in the power cord and address the control panel for its set-up process.

To adjust the pump’s power, hold the “fan” button for three seconds. The control panel will unlock. Press and hold it again for three seconds. Now you can use the “up” and “down” arrows to adjust the power. To set the UV light’s timer, press and hold the “light” button for three seconds, and then do it again. After that, press the “up” and “down” arrows to adjust the hours.

It’s that simple!


With a flow rate of 793 gallons per hour, it’s clear that this filter has ample power. Its maximum capacity is 100 gallons of water, so it can cycle through a full tank almost eight times in 60 minutes. That’s very efficient. It would take an impressive amount of fish to overwhelm this cleaning ability, ensuring you can sit back and view a pristine aquarium with little to no manual input.


This Sunsun canister filter is also quite versatile. With the four different media baskets, the UV light, and compatibility with both fresh- and saltwater, this filter can clean up most issues in your tank without struggle.

While it doesn’t include media, it does accommodate five different media types and allows you to choose your favorite brands, instead of restricting you. You can jump between freshwater and saltwater set-ups, and personalize the cleaning focus with the LCD screen’s pump control. You certainly aren’t limited with this filter.

Best canister filter

Large Capacity

As mentioned, this filter handles a large amount of water. The maximum tank size is 100 gallons, which is much larger than the average aquarium. If you own a set-up that demands a great deal of space, and requires a considerable degree of cleaning, then the HW-3000 filter is the one for you.

The Negatives

Vague Instructions

Sadly, the instruction manual is rather vague. You may have to struggle through the guide or resort to the internet for help, as it appears the included manual wasn’t developed by a native English speaker. Nonetheless, the set-up process is straightforward once you understand how.

There are a few YouTube videos that are helpful with setting up the Sunsun HW-3000 filter, and you can also check out other people’s filtration setups (and cool aquarium setups!) by watching these videos. Rest assured that despite a lack of included instructions, the internet is always there for backup.

Maintenance issues

While the Sunsun canister filter does handle a great deal of water, the media does need replacing rather often.

It’s possible that its design has a flaw, which gathers waste improperly, causing a build-up against the media and preventing it from cleaning more efficiently. If you’re concerned, you can always leverage your 30-day warranty for a new model. Otherwise, the trade-off for a very efficient filter is a less efficient maintenance routine.

Some of the filters have had issues with air entering the system and creating bubbles or “spitting.” It will help to double-check that all the baskets are seated properly and none of the tubes are loose or crooked, and that solved some of the air issues. Otherwise, that 30-day warranty is there for you and you can swap out the defective model for a new one, no problem.

If the tubes are extremely stiff and not connecting smoothly (and therefore sucking in air, leaking water, or causing other problems), you can heat them a little bit to soften them up. Of course, you’ll want to use caution not to melt or warp the tubing, which would cause irreparable damage to that section of tube.

The internal sections of tubing can be extremely stiff on arrival, and applying a bit of heat will soften up the plastic and allow you to bend them as you need to, which may ease any connection problems or leaking/air intake problems.


With this level of power and a flow rate of 793 gph, it does need a large pump to do the job. Unfortunately, that can be loud. It’s not overwhelming and may be acceptable for buyers who want that large capacity. However, if you’re purchasing a canister filter because of its low noise levels, it may be wise to seek quieter models.

Any filtration or motor sound can be muted by enclosing the Sunsun filter within a cabinet or another piece of furniture. Just make sure you have it all hooked up properly with no leaks before enclosing it, especially if you’re putting it inside a wooden cabinet or box.

Overall Verdict

After looking through all the positives and the negatives, we cautiously recommend the Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter. It’s easy to set up, efficient, powerful, and great for larger aquariums.

However, you could be put-off by its louder design and the need for more routine maintenance. If this concerns you, it may be wise to continue shopping. If these seem like acceptable trade-offs for great performance, then the Sunsun HW-3000 is definitely worth a try.

Where to Buy the Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter

The Sunsun HW-3000 Canister Filter is most easily found on Amazon.

Sunsun HW3000 Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter Review

So that’s our Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter review. Are you going to add it to your tank?

  • Quality of Filtration
  • Build Quality
  • Accessories
  • Ease of Use
  • Value for Money

Fish Care Guide Verdict

We do recommend the Sunsun HW-3000 5-Stage External Canister Filter for it’s powerful filtration and efficiency for larger aquariums.

Check current price on Amazon

Leave a Comment