A Look At The Top Eheim Canister Filters On The Market

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EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

This filter is part of Eheim’s classic canister filter series, which also includes the Eheim 2215, and Eheim 2217. The models differ somewhat in terms of their capacity and some of their specific perks but have quite a significant similarity as well.

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It would be difficult for me to overstate the importance of finding a good filter for your aquarium. As someone who is really into decking out their tank with the best accessories available, I also know the desire to do your research before committing to a particular filter, so when I heard about Eheim’s product lines, I thought it might be a good idea to do some Eheim canister filter reviews.

Review Summary

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Durable
  • Low power consumption
  • Slightly underpowered
  • Lacks coherent instructions
  • Rather difficult to clean

The 2213 can be considered the baby brother of the bunch. It has the lowest capacity, at 66 gallons, compared to the 93 and 159 gallon capacity of the Eheim 2215 and 2217. The trade-off here is that the 2213 is considerably smaller and lighter than other canister filters, at 5.5lbs.

This is helpful if you’re not into dragging a heavier filter over to the sink for cleaning, or you need to balance the power of your filter with something that’s going to fit in the limited space you have. This filter comes equipped with German-made Eheim Mech and Substrat Pro filtration media, as well as all necessary filter baskets, spray bars, inlet pipes, hoses, valves, etc.

If you need a super-powerful filter, this may not be your first choice, but if you are just getting into the canister filter game or require something smaller, this might be what you need.

What You Need To Remember About Canister Filters

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We all know about at least some of the canister filter basics. Canister filters are for big tanks, so you’ll need to make sure that the one you get is powerful enough for your particular aquarium. Large volume filters with high GPH filtration rates are the direction most tank owners lean toward.

If you’re a novice, you’ll want to get a filter that is easy to set up, easy to operate, and easy to clean. If you’re more advanced, you can get a filter that has a few more bells and whistles but may require more front-end investment and higher maintenance over time.

Filtration media are going to be a large factor in your purchasing decision. If you have heavy filtration needs, you’ll need a filter that provides some chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration. You’ll need a filter that has multiple trays to hold a lot of filtration material, and you may even want to consider a filter that has a UV light to keep the water extra clear.

If your tank is big enough to require a canister filter, but still on the smaller end of the size scale, you can get something a little less powerful to save on initial costs. Those with certifiably large tanks are likely going to need to spend some extra money to get themselves a more powerful filter. Those with legitimately small tanks can forego the canister filter altogether in most cases.

Look & Build Quality

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter all parts

I’ve got to hand it to Eheim; this filter certainly does look very sturdy. It has a dark green body and a very streamlined appearance. The plastic is definitely not the flimsy or cheap stuff and holds up well to the touch. It almost feels as if you could drop it from a considerable height without worry of much damage. The idea of streamlining is further evidenced by the fact that the filter has a simple, one-chamber design for the filter media. It’s not a bad idea, as it allows for one to easily mix and match the filtration media that they need for a custom tank clean.

The pump head is very compact and has an excellent locking mechanism that keeps it attached to the body of the filter. It’s plain to see where all of the hoses hook into the unit. Speaking of which, the hoses themselves seem well constructed, and I wasn’t worried about them leaking or breaking.

This filter is a bit on the smaller side, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When compactness is one of your concerns, this is going to be a definite positive, as the Eheim 2213 weighs only 5.5 lbs. You can easily tuck this filter behind something, and no one would know it was there unless they went looking for it. If you want to see the filter once it’s been unpacked, you can check here.


Like many canister filters, the instructions that come with the Eheim 2213 are unhelpful at best. You might be able to wing it if this isn’t your first time assembling a canister filter.

If you’re a raw recruit, however, you’d be best of consulting some YouTube canister filter setup tutorials, which will take you through the basics of unpacking and putting together this particular pump. The setup should take less than 20 minutes if you’re savvy.

Unlike some other filters, the hoses that come with the Eheim 2213 don’t feel so stiff coming out the box. You can work with them, and cut off whatever you need with ease.

The quick disconnect valves, which come with the filter, are easy to get working as well. Priming for this filter is a simple process, and very effective. Once primed correctly it’s a pretty safe bet that your 2213 will start the first time, every time.


This filter is just as quiet as it’s billed as being. You might be able just barely to tell it’s on by listening, but not by much. The simple design ensures no water bypass, and even with the media installed, the filter can handle a fair amount of water. The 2213 is listed at having a 102 GPH filtration rate, which, while not the fastest, is not bad considering the size of the unit. It operates quite steadily, and I didn’t notice any times where it seemed to be struggling during use.

This model comes with Eheim brand media to get your tank water clean, along with Eheim filter pads that allow you to separate the filtration media into different layers in the central filtration tank. The Ehfisubstrat provides a surface for beneficial bacteria to grow on, allowing for the unit’s biological filtration properties. The Ehfimech is another mechanical filter, which features a ceramic that creates small eddies within the water to trap debris as it moves between layers. The media are long lasting and need to be cleaned/changed out every 3-6 months for optimal operation of the tank.


Speaking of cleaning, this part of the process is standard fare as far as filter cleaning goes. Not particularly challenging or especially easy. You can disassemble the unit into its components and then clean the parts individually. Just take care not to ruin your good bacteria in the process! You can find a detailed cleaning video below.

Once your filter is back together, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue getting it operational again. You may have to prime it to get it up and running, but as discussed, that isn’t too much hassle and is almost a surefire way to make sure your filter will start.

Alternative Filters

Marineland C-530

The Marineland C-530 might be on your radar if you need more in the way of power. It has a 150 gallon capacity at 530 GPH, along with a three-stage filtration process and virtually no bypass through the filter media trays. The setup and maintenance of this model are simple, and cleaning is a breeze. Still, if you’re a beginner or enthusiast looking to step up their game, this should certainly be one of your choices.

Multi-Stage Canister Filter C-530 packaging box
Marineland C-530EHEIM 2213
  • More powerful
  • More features
  • Easier setup
  • Lighter weight
  • Better price
  • Simple, one chamber design
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Hydor Pro 150

The Marineland C-530 might be on your radar if you need more in the way of power. It has a 150 gallon capacity at 530 GPH, along with a three-stage filtration process and virtually no bypass through the filter media trays. The setup and maintenance of this model are simple, and cleaning is a breeze. If you’re a beginner or enthusiast looking to step up their game, this should certainly be one of your choices.

Hydor-Pro-150 isolated in white background
Hydor Pro 150
EHEIM 2213
  • Better price
  • Telescopic tubing
  • Magnetic motor
  • More powerful
  • Energy efficient
  • Simple, one chamber design
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Rapids Mini Canister Filter

The Rapids Mini Canister Filter may be your choice if you need something even more compact than the Eheim 2213. It’s tiny, and only for use with tanks up to 20 gallons, but still offers 3-stage filtration and is an excellent choice for anyone that wants a “hang on the tank” option for purifying water and extracting fish waste and unwanted debris.

The Mini Canister filter also comes with a self priming motor that can manage a max flow rate of 80 GPH. The spray bar helps with even distribution of water, and it’s exceptionally lightweight, at only 2.8lbs. Price wise you’re also getting quite the bargain here. If you have a smaller tank, or can stand to take an extreme cut on power in exchange for convenience, this might be the filter for you.

Rapids Mini Canister Filter
EHEIM 2213
  • Smaller
  • Lighter
  • Easier
  • More powerful
  • Better filtration
  • Contains more media
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All-in-all, the Eheim 2213 is a reliable filter that is good for first timers that are gradually increasing their tank capacity, or long time enthusiasts with a tank that’s a bit on the smaller side. This filter does a great job of simplifying the media management process, provides a no bypass solution to water filtration, and does it in a package that is compact and lightweight, while still maintaining a decent amount of power for tanks in the 50-60 gallon range.

The inclusion of necessary media adds to this filter’s appeal, and its durability means that it should last you for a good number of years to come.

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