Keeping a large aquarium is undoubtedly rewarding. Watching those colorful and vibrant pets swimming in the tank soothes nerves and raises one’s mood. However, maintaining an aquarium is totally another story. Perhaps the most tiresome process is cleaning the tank. In case you own a big aquarium, you can’t rely on an ordinary hang-on filter. Instead, it’s wiser to opt for a canister. SunSun HW-302 Three-Stage External Canister Filter can be a perfect choice. The model is popular among fish keepers, and we have found out why. Take a couple of minutes to go through our detailed review of this equipment.

Table of Contents:

What SunSun Canister Filter Is. How It Works
Comparison Table
Unpacking SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH
1. SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH Review
How to Set Up the SunSun Canister Filter
How to Prime the SunSun Canister Filter

What SunSun Canister Filter Is. How It Works

With a reliable construction, cleaner look and a much more affordable price than many other models offered in the market, SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH is the best canister aquarium filter for plenty of aquarium enthusiasts. This model can compete with those manufactured by more popular brands such as Eheim, Marineland, Fluval, etc. in many points.

Despite being constructed merely from plastic, the canister has a dependable construction. All the parts are well put together and won’t break off soon. The equipment has a sleek design and looks great by the side of a fish tank. Besides, it filters larger amounts of water than ordinary hang-on-back models. Another significant advantage of the tool is the impressively quiet operating. In fact, you can’t tell if it’s working unless you put your hand on it to feel the vibration even if it’s running at the maximum capacity.

The canister uses high water pressure to force it through the dense filter media. Using a pump, it draws water to run from an under-gravel filter into the canister thus providing a double filtration.

Overall, this model is an amazing choice especially if you have a tight budget.

Comparison Table

Product Dimensions

Gallons per Hour

Recommended Aquarium Size

Mechanical Filtration

Chemical Filtration

Biological Filtration

Accessories Included

SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPHSunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPHBUY NOW AMAZON10 x 13 x 15 Inches264 GPHUp to 75 gal.YesYesYesBarrel Head, Main Canister Body, 5 Feet Lengths of Flexible Tubing, Draining Trays, Input and Output Curvy Bars, Connected Bars
Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium FilterPenn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium FilterBUY NOW AMAZON17 x 11.5 x 10 Inches 265 GPHUp to 100 gal. YesYesYesFilter Trays, Start-Up Filter Media & Input/Output Tubing
Fluval External FilterFluval External FilterBUY NOW AMAZON7.6 x 14.5 x 17.8 Inches383 GPHUp to 100 gal.YesYesYesAquastop Valve, Multiple Filtration Baskets, and Rim Connector Assemblies
Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for AquariumsMarineland Magniflow Canister Filter for AquariumsBUY NOW AMAZON14 x 11 x 18 Inches360 GPHUp to 100 gal.YesYesYesAll the Media, Carbon Bags, Sponges, and Pad
200 Gallon Filter Aquarium Tank Fish Canister 9 W Sterilizer 525 GPH200 Gallon Filter Aquarium Tank Fish Canister 9 W Sterilizer 525 GPHBUY NOW AMAZON11.5 x 11.5 x 19 Inches525 GPHUp to 200 gal.Yes YesYesAll the Media, Carbon Bags, Sponges, and Pad
EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media BUY NOW AMAZON 8 x 6.3 x 14 Inches 116 GPH Up to 66 gals.YesYes  YesSpray Bar, Inlet Pipe, Hose, and Installation Accessories

Hydor Professional External Canister

  BUY NOW AMAZON10 x 8 x 19 Inches 280 GPH Up to 100 gals Yes  Yes Yes Coarse Foam Filter, Fine Filter, 2 Baskets, Spray Bar, Intake Tube (telescoping), Inlet and Outlet Tubes, Shutoff Valves

Unpacking SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH

Unpacking the canister filter by SunSun is an exciting process as you know soon your dear little fish will enjoy fresh and clean water. The box includes the unit, the intake tube, all hose connections, the outlet bar, and the instructions manual. From the first sight, you will notice that the product is a sturdy one and not a Chinese knockoff. The box does not include the filtration media. That should be purchased separately for each of the three media trays.

SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH

SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH Review


The product by SunSun brand is a wonderful alternative to expensive models. It efficiently filters saltwater and freshwater aquariums. The flow rate is quite high (264 GPH) and the pump power is 18W. The equipment is designed for fish tanks with up to 75-gallon capacity. SunSun canister comes with a self-priming pump and provides three-stage filtration.

What we think

Due to the quiet operating, this canister is a great option for bedrooms, offices and living rooms. Setup and maintenance are really easy. Overall, the model is perfect for those aquarium enthusiasts who have a fish tank with up to 75 gallons’ size, yet can’t afford a canister filter by a more expensive brand. Surely, there are a couple of downsides, but those are minor to note.


  • Quiet operating
  • Three-stage filtration
  • Adjustable spray bar included
  • Self-priming pump
  • Affordable price
  • Easy installation and maintenance
  • Reliable construction


  • Terrible instructions
  • Some plastic parts have to be reattached periodically
  • The LED bulb loses power over time

How to Set Up the SunSun Canister Filter

The setup instructions provided with the product are very bad. In fact, one can’t assemble the filter only based on the manual. Instead, there are videos on YouTube to help you make out of the process easily.
Overall, there’s nothing difficult or time-consuming with the assembly especially if you have worked with such a product before. The model is compact and comes pre-assembled. Just put the intake and outlet tubes in the right places so that they don’t disturb the fish and live plants in the aquarium. Mind that the hoses are a bit stiff at first, but soaking them in hot water for a while will make them much more flexible.

The filtration media must be changed several times every year.

How to Prime the SunSun Canister Filter

The canister filter comes with a self-priming pump. The latter works quite well. However, once you find it needs some manual priming, a couple of pumps on the priming button will be totally enough. And before you do that, you’d better fill it with some water.


The SunSun HW-302 canister filter is an ideal variant for an aquarium owner who searches a quiet and durable model, which does the job well but costs inexpensive. This product can compete with other high-capacity filters at a fraction of the cost. It needs little maintenance, serves well and won’t break down for years to come.

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