X-ray medical imaging is increasingly becoming three-dimensional (3-D). The dose to the population and its management are of special concern in computed tomography (CT). Task-based methods with model observers to assess the dose-image quality trade-off are promising tools, but they still need to be validated for real volumetric images. The purpose of the present work is to evaluate anthropomorphic model observers in 3-D detection tasks for low-contrast CT images. We scanned a low-contrast phantom containing four types of signals at three dose levels and used two reconstruction algorithms. We implemented a multislice model observer based on the channelized Hotelling observer (msCHO) with anthropomorphic channels and investigated different internal noise methods. We found a good correlation for all tested model observers. These results suggest that the msCHO can be used as a relevant task-based method to evaluate low-contrast detection for CT and optimize scan protocols to lower dose in an efficient way.