eheim canister filter review

at 10:33 pm

The Eheim Classic canister filters are the original “Canister” filters and little has changed over the decades since their first release. Some may see this as applying outdated technology. I see it as “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, as these are perhaps the most dependable and efficient filters on the market. Sure, other filters have cooler stuff (bells and whistles) and convenience features, but these added features introduce added cost and complexities into the equation while not really adding much (if anything) to what we actually need a filter to do, which filters the water. That is what these filters do as well, if not better, than any filter on the market. Their beauty is in the simplicity of the design.

Manufacturer StatsEheim Plus 2213-37Eheim Plus 2215-37Eheim Plus 2217-37
Tank Size66 gallons/250 liters93 gallons/350 liters159 gallons/600 liters
Pump Output116 gph163 gph263 gph
Filter Circulation102 gph134 gph208 gph
Filter Volume3/4 gallon1 gallon1-1/2 gallons
Power Consumption8 Watts15 Watts20 Watts
Filter Dimensions160 x 355 mm185 x 370 mm205 x 400 mm


  • Perhaps the most dependable filter on the market. There are examples of this filter being in constant use for over 20 years.
  • Filter is designed to provide the most efficient filtration possible. The filter volume, hose sizes, and flow rates are engineering specifically for this purpose
  • This filter has been in manufacture for decades, spare parts are readily available.
  • Each model of filter comes complete with all necessary media. Eheim media is of the highest quality. There is no need to incure the added expense of improving upon it.
  • Zero Bypass – Dirty water enters from the bottom and exits from the top. A very simple design concept which ensures there is no bypass.
  • All Classic filters now come with quick disconnects to simplify maintenance.


  • Flow rates are lower than other comparable filters within this price range. While this really has no bearing on biological filtration, it does limit mechanical filtration.
  • Bright green tubing can be considered an eyesore.
  • This filter does not have filter trays for easy removal and maintenance. While some find this an inconvenience, I do not. Use of large filter bags to house the biomedia will make removal of media for cleaning as easy, if not easier, than with standard filters. In addition, trays take up filter volume which can otherwise be used by added media. Filter trays also introduce bypass issues.
  • No priming button. I’ve never found this to be an issue as you only have to prime it once, during initial setup. From that point forward, if following the proper procedure during maintenance (discussed later), the filter will self prime.
  • In line quick disconnects can be a little more difficult to work with than are valve blocks found on more modern and complex filters, but it should be noted that it is those “valve blocks” that are responsible for most leaks on the more modern designs.

Other information:

  • To simplify maintenance Purchase a 12″x15″ media bag to hold the biomedia.
  • Use the default media, stacked as specified, with only the biomedia in a media bag.
  • The stock “Carbon Pad” can be used without concern but there is no need to replace it. I use mine as the final layer of the filter to ensure stands of floss material from the “polishing pad” do not get pulled into the impeller.
  • To conserve cost, plain ole’ polyester filter floss can be used instead of the Eheim Fine Media pads, but you will want either a layer of blue bonded padding (cut to fit) or the carbon pad (I’ve been using the same ones for years) as the top layer to prevent the floss from getting wrapped around the impeller.
  • I believe Eheim overstates the filter capacity of their filters, at least when it comes to housing large cichlids such as Oscars. I would not feel comfortable with a single 2217 or 2215 on anything larger than a 55 gallon tank, a 2213 on anything larger than a 30 gallon tank.
  • To prevent air from being in the filter when you prime, do not connect the outflow tube. Leave it disconnected (from the other section of the tube). Open the disconnect valves on both the inflow (which should be connected) and the outflow (which should not be) and hold the outflow over a bucket. Allow the canister to fill and then allow water to exit the outflow (which is being held over a bucket) until the water runs smooth (no gurgles, bubbles, etc…). Then engage the disconnect shutoff (on the outflow being held over the bucket) and screw it back onto the other half of the return tube. Make sure all valves are open, and plug the filter back up.

Recommended Maintenance Procedure:

  • Fill two buckets with tank water
  • Engage shutoffs on both the outflow and inflow tubes
  • Unscrew both quick disconnects and carry the canister to a sink.
  • With the canister sitting on the cabinet, place the inflow tube (the bottom one) into or over the sink and open both quick disconnect valves. This will cause the filter to backflush, draining into the sink.
  • Once the canister is drained, unhook and remove the motor head.
  • Remove the top layer media (should be polishing pad and carbon pad or appropriate substitutes) and place in the sink.
  • Remove biomedia bag and place into one bucket of water (this is your “dirty water” bucket).
  • Either dump the biomedia into the bucket or open up the bag (depends on how dirty the media is).
  • Using your hand, swirl the biomedia around in the bucket to rinse off gunk that has built up on the media.
  • Once the media is clean, place it back into the media bag (if it was removed) and move the media bag into the second bucket of water.
  • Remove the course blue sponge from the canister and place it into the bucket of “dirty water”, squeezing and rubbing it clean, then move it into the second bucket of water.
  • Dump the Eheim Ehfimech from the canister into the bucket of “dirty water”. Using your hand (or something to stir with) mix up the media, causing the gunk to dislodge.
  • Place the canister in the sink and rinse it clean.
  • On the motor head, carefully remove the impeller cover, then carefully remove the impeller
  • Rinse the impeller clean, scrubbing it with a toothbrush
  • Using a rag, filter brush, or q-tip, clean the impeller housing.
  • Carefully, place the impeller back into the motor head and replace the cover
  • In the sink, rinse the top layer carbon pad (or appropriate substitute) clean.
  • Retrieve the Ehfimech from the bucket of dirty water, placing it back into the canister
  • Retrieve the Sponge from the second bucket and place it back into the canister
  • Retrieve the biomedia bag from the second bucket and place it back into the canister
  • Replace the polishing pad (or appropriate substitute), placing the new pad into the canister
  • Retrieve the carbon pad (or appropriate substitute) from the sink placing it back into the canister
  • Place the motor head back onto the filter and clamp it down, ensuring you engaged all clamps.
  • Carry the filter back to the tank.
  • Screw the inflow quick disconnect back up to the inflow tubing remaining on the tank.
  • Hold the outflow tube over a bucket
  • Open the quick disconnect valve on the inflow
  • The filter will start to refill. Continue holding the outflow tube (that you have not yet reconnected) over a
  • bucket of water until it runs smooth (no gurgles, burbs, or bubbles).
  • Close the quick disconnect valve on the outflow (that you are holding over the bucket) then screw it back up to
  • it’s counterpart that is still on the tank.
  • Open the disconnect valves on the outflow.
  • Plug the filter back up and it will crank right up.

Related Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *