Eheim 2215 vs 2217: Which Canister Filter Is Better for You?

Posted by on 4/14/2023

Eheim has earned a reputation for making some of the highest-quality canister filters around. Two of their most popular are the Eheim 2217 and 2215, and although they look similar in appearance, their filtration capabilities differ, and they're also sold at different price points.

In this post, we'll compare these two canister filters, and provide recommendations for hobbyists and planted tank aquascapers.

Eheim Canister Filters

Based out of Germany, Eheim has made quite a name for itself since its inception in 1949. While the company has expanded into a wide variety of products, the quality of its canister filters remains the same.

Two of their most popular are known as the Eheim 2217 and 2215, and they're fantastic choices for hobbyists looking to get their hands on a long-lasting piece of aquarium equipment.

While they look very similar, there are some differences that hobbyists should be aware of before purchasing.

Eheim 2217

The Eheim 2217 is the largest canister filter from what Eheim defines as their "classic" line. The filter features a large, green-colored chamber that is topped by an encased propeller. Water flows into the bottom of the filter, and exits through the top, all filtration is powered by the current generated by the propeller.

The filter is rated for up to 160 gallons.

The 2217 is unique in that it has 2 separately-sized inflow and outflow tubing sizes. 

Its intake tubing is 16mm/22mm, and the outflow tubing is 12mm/16mm.

Hobbyists should be aware of these measurements, as they'll need to match the sizes of their inflow and outflow pipes to the canister filter's tubing connections.

Image of an Eheim 2217
An Eheim 2217, which is rated for up to 160 gallons

Eheim 2215

Although it's a bit smaller, the Eheim 2215 is another highly efficient canister filter offering from Eheim. It shares an identical design. Water flows into the bottom of the canister filter, and out through the top via an encased propeller.

The Eheim 2215 is rated for up to 46 gallons.

Unlike the Eheim 2217, the Eheim 2215 tubing connection for both the inflow and outflow is 12/16mm.

Image of an Eheim 2215
An Eheim 2215, rated for up to 46 gallons

Best for Hobbyists on a Budget

Hobbyists looking to be as cost-effective as possible should go with the Eheim 2215. The filter is more than capable of turning over enough tank volume for aquariums up to 50 gallons.

If more water movement or filtration is needed, a powerhead, surface skimmer, or external HOB (hang-on-back) filter be added as the aquarium begins to mature. 

Hobbyists will also benefit from only having to purchase 1/2" vinyl tubing since the filter connections for the 2215 are the same sizes.

Best for Hobbyists using Lily Pipes

Glass or metal lily pipes are common in minimalist planted aquariums. These inflow and outflow pipes maintain a low profile and don't look nearly as bulky as the pipes that are included with the Eheim canister filter.

Hobbyists should choose whatever filter matches the sizes of their lily pipes. 

Glass Lily Pipes can be quite expensive (sometimes costing more than the canister filter), and hobbyists will want to ensure their sizes are compatible with whatever Eheim canister filter they choose.

Image of an Eheim 2215
Water flows into the bottom of this Eheim 2215, and exits through the top of the canister filter

Best for Planted Tanks

If you have a tank larger than 50 gallons and can afford a larger canister filter, go with the Eheim 2217. It's built to last and will turn over more water than the Eheim 2215.

If you have a high volume of plants and are injecting CO2, keep in mind that both filters will likely not provide enough flow to prevent a black beard algae outbreak from occurring.

You'll likely need to supplement your water flow and surface agitation with a powerhead or surface skimmer so that enough O2 can enter your ecosystem. While both of these filters can pull oxygen from the surface, it will typically only happen when the filter is freshly cleaned, and won't be strong enough after a few weeks of use.

Our Recommendation

We recommend the Eheim 2215 for any aquarium less than 150 gallons.

We've hooked up an Eheim 2217 to a 20-gallon aquarium and saw little difference in filtration efficiency when compared to the Eheim 2215. 

Plus, the Eheim 2215 is much more affordable, and you can always add a surface skimmer or powerhead if you're looking for more flow. 

However, if your tank is larger than 150 gallons, the Eheim 2217 would be the better option.


Now that we've broken down some of the key differences between these canister filters, do you plan on purchasing one? They're excellent filters, and we think the difference is relatively negligible between the two. These filters are made to last, and when well cared for, can easily operate without failure for over 10 years.

Let us know what you decide on in the comments below, and be sure to visit our marketplace, (sometimes these filters will even go up for sale on our filters and current section) and be sure to visit our community forum where you can discuss freshwater aquariums and planted tanks with other hobbyists.

Image of Miles Harrison

Miles Harrison

With over a decade of aquarium experience, Miles can be found writing about saltwater and freshwater aquariums. When he’s not writing about fish, you can find him going for a run or building websites, such as this one!