The 10 Best Aquarium Filter

Best aquarium filter

Hey! Let’s make a small breathing exercise. Breath in and out, and one more time – breath in and out. Do you feel it? The air… it’s all around us, in every inch. Have you ever thought that the ordinary human being breathes around 23 thousand times per day! Air is the first vital human need. But why am I talking about humanity again… Oh, that`s so typical for people, so self-centered species! This article isn’t about people at all, by the way, It is dedicated to those who can`t glide in the air, though feel themselves in water like… fish to water. Today, I have a pun-mood, sorry.

So, my dear readers, probably you’ve decided to bring some “mellowing out on the sofa” atmosphere into your house and bought a fish. That’s the right approach. But the thing is that fish are not only about your relaxation. As well as they are absolutely speechless and let’s be honest extremely pokerfaced they still need our care which begins from settling their home – the aquarium. The important part of it is a filter. It makes the water safe for your pets and reduces the tiniest litter. So, dive into and I will tell you everything you need to know about aquarium filters. And, believe me, after reading this article you will know how to choose the best one!

Why the Aquarium filter is Necessary?

Before choosing and making sufficient research on the rating of aquarium filters, to my mind, it would be quite useful to figure out why we on the Earth need them!

The small aquarium for one goldfish with one green straw of seaweed could work perfectly, right? Well, hypothetically you can do so, but what if you have more than one fish, and what if you will be kind enough to add some decorations and more seaweed… There will be instantly more particles, which you definitely won’t be able to clean up with the help of a scoop net.

  1. The fish waste
    As the aquarium is an artificial reservoir there are no streams that would cleanse the environment. Everything that fish produce is meant to rest in the piece here. And surely the excrete one day starts to rot producing the toxins. And because of the high concentration level and the high contamination level is fast to grow and it will lead to ammonia poisoning that can become fatal for your poor fish.
  2. The food leftovers
    This kind of rubbish is especially hard to clean with the help of the scoop net. So, the water is becoming cloudy after cleaning promptly.

How to Select Aquarium Filter?

Aquarium filters like any other products have their special criteria. However, there are no best filters of all. But according to some peculiarities you can choose the most suiting one for you. So, here are the main characteristics you need to get acquainted with.

  • Size
    The size of the filter correlates with the size of the aquarium itself. Remember that all the water should be purified with the help of the filter at least 4 times per hour. For example, if your aquarium contains 40-gallon of water, the flow rate should equal 160 gph (gallons per hour). And of course, if you are to choose between 120 and 150 gph, choose 150 gph without hesitation. The more often it will be cleaned, the cleaner your aquarium will be and the healthier your fish will live.
  • Fish amount
    This point is also very important and depends on the previous one. The amount of fish in the aquarium is dictated not only by the fish classes but also by the ability of the filter to maintain their environment fresh. That is why it is better to choose the filter with a bigger flow rate.
  • Volume
    Though the fish have absolutely different ear comparable to the humans, the loud noises aren`t welcomed by them as well as by people. More than that, noisy aquariums definitely won’t bring peace to you. The noisier out of all will be the wet dry filter. Under gravel and sponge filters are quitter. But my personal recommendation would be an aquarium canister filters. They believed to be the most silent-working from all.
  • Cost
    Expensive doesn`t always mean perfect. The filters are not the exception. My favorite filter by the noise criteria would cost a pretty penny for those who will buy it. And the cheapest would be a sponge filter. The wet dry filter is definitely the best according to all of the factors, but it will worth you a bomb or even two. So, remember that not to be wasteful doesn’t mean to be stingy.

The Work of the Aquarium Filter

The aquarium filter work is quite simple. As the water flows through the filter it becomes free from water debris, ammonia and various harmful particles such as nitrates. Also, the filter tank aerates it so the fish could breathe. While this process the water runs through three stages of filtration.

  • Mechanical filtration
    That’s the most visible and tangible filtration. It serves to remove the solid particles from the water and waste that you could probably notice with your bare eye. It aerates the water and what is essential to remember that the filter material that makes the mechanical filtration should be changed every three weeks or even frequently.
  • Biological filtration
    The biological filtration is curtailed filtration mode. It prevents the decay of the water and reduces the toxins from it. The helpful bacteria break the ammonia down and transform it into nitrate which is not toxic. In order to waste the beneficial bacteria in the filter, your due is to organize a supportive environment. It is better to furnish the aquarium with sand and stones. That will serve as the habitat for bacteria.
  • Chemical filtration
    This type of filtration also removes toxins. More than that it refines the fresh odor and reduces the toxins out of it. It is believed not to be necessary, but I personally highly recommend not to neglect this kind of filtration. It is achieved by employing chemical additives. The most popular element for that type of filtration is charcoal.


The 10 Best Aquarium Filters in 2020 – Reviews

Fluval Canister Filter

Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (400 Gal)

Photo: Amazon

This Canister filter could be without hesitations called the universal soldier as it has everything the fish owner could dream about. The filter has three stages filtration (biological, mechanical and chemical) and the Smart Pump technology makes you completely forget that you have a filter at all. It does all the work automatically and manages all the pump performances independently. Truly it is the best freshwater aquarium filter. Moreover, the medium size makes it suitable for most aquariums (21’’ tall). Moreover, as the feet of the filter were rubberized the operation is quite. It is suitable for aquariums with not more than 400 gallons volume and pumped out 925 gallons of water per one hour.

+ Silent work; Some customers claim that the setup wasn’t that easy;
+ The high-quality filtration even with the low flow; High price;
+ Suitable for salt and freshwater; Several complaints on the non-tight top.
+ Turtle tanks are not the exception for that filter.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

Photo: Amazon

Along with the sophisticated design, this brand of water filters could present you with a wide range of items’ sizes. This one, in particular, was manufactured for the aquariums up to 100 gallons. It could pump out the volume of the water equals 265 gph. The capacity media baskets that are big, by the way, allow the buyer to personalize the filler to the needs. This filter is extremely simple to set up and the push-button primer is clear even for a child!

+ Fully equipped; The pressure reduction due to the air bubbles.
+ No noise produced;
+ Hard plastic container;
+ Low flow rate;
+ Simple interface.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]

MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter

MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter

Photo: Amazon

This item won the hearts of the customers with 70 gallons of aquariums and lower. It supports all three stages of filtration and is perfectly suitable for both salt- and freshwater. More than that it is assembled and you do not need to set up anything, just put it where it belongs. It is extremely popular among regular pet owners with small and medium aquariums. There are 4 sizes available:

  • Penguin 100 (100 gph) – aquarium up to 20 gallons;
  • Penguin 150 (150 gph) – aquarium up to 30 gallons;
  • Penguin 200 (200 gph) – aquarium up to 50 gallons;
  • Penguin 350 (350 gph) – aquarium up to 70 gallons.

The carbon filter in this model makes the water fresh and free from harmful chemicals, as well as unpleasant green water odor.

+ The parts of the filters could be changed; Noisy;
+ The oxygen generator; Expensive spare parts.
+ Long-lasting;

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter – Aquarium External Filter – Telescopic Intake Tubes, Easy Priming – EcoSystem in a Box

Photo: Amazon

This filter is believed to be professional, since, according to the producers, there is an accomplished eco-system inside it. It provides all three stages of filtration as the previous one, though you can find bigger sizes if you need them. This filter would be effective for aquariums up to 150 gallons (600 gph).

+ Convenient shape; Complicated setup;
+ The oxygen generator; Requires regular cleaning.
+ No debris left;
+ Long-lasting

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]

Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter

Aqua Clear - Fish Tank Filter

Photo: Amazon

The Aqua Clear is just what the doctor ordered for the open aquariums up to 50 gallons. The water would be filtrated through the three layers of media. The bottom layer helps to get rid of all the debris and produce the foam. The middle layer consists of 100% natural grade carbon that provides the perfect contaminations absorption of puberties of any kind. And on the top, the ceramic rings allow bacteria to thrive.

+ The convenient shape fits for most aquariums types; Could be clogged with small rubbish (common flaw for filters of that kind);
+ No noise; Not a self-prime motor.
+ Easy to clear;
+ Saltwater and freshwater clearing.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]

Hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter

Hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter, Comes with 2 Spare Sponges, 1 Bag of Bio Ceramic Media Balls, Quiet Submersible Foam Filter for Fresh Water

Photo: Amazon

According to the manufacturer, this filter is a healthy and happy fish life producer. This simple and affordable bio sponge filter will grow only health-giving bacteria inside the tank. It breaks the ammonia and nitrates. Also, there are 2 suction containers in its fitment that allow the owner to put any media he likes inside.

+ The convenient shape fits for most aquariums types; Regular cleaning is required;
+ Medium noise; Not a self-prime motor.
+ Saltwater and freshwater are friendly.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]



Polar Aurora Aquarium Filter with Builtin Pump Kit Canister

Polar Aurora 265GPH : 266GPH : 370GPH : 525GPH External Aquarium Filter with Builtin Pump Kit Canister (266:370 : 525 GPH with UV)

Photo: Amazon

Adequate price, self-priming air pump, and the possibility to add media to the filter make this item my personal favorite. It is also equipped with the UV light extra filtration which controls the algae sports grow. It is produced in 2 sizes: 100 gallons (370 gph) and 200 gallons (525 gph) aquarium filter for large tanks.


+ Noise-free; Customers complain about the top of the filter. Sometimes it is not tightly closed.
+ Saltwater and freshwater friendly;
+ Fluent work and powerful filtration;
+ UV filter;
+ Good price;
+ Easy cleaning.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]

Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber for aquariums

Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber for aquariums

Photo: Amazon

The Bio-bag cartridges inside give the water inside your tank a wonderful cleaning. It has 3 stages of filtration and works quietly as the motor placed under the water. It earned be named as one of the best whisper filter. This internal aquarium filter has 5 available sizes and can maintain the aquariums up to 40 gallons being very cheap.


+ Cheap; Noisy;
+ Easy cleaning; Not long-lasting;
+ Adjusted flow rate to fish type.20% of customers report that their fish were injured and died because of this filter.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]

EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

Photo: Amazon

The quick and safe sponge filter of the new generation. It is absolutely secure for fish as the top is tightly closed. There are 3 sizes available: 40 gallons, 66 gallons, and 92 gallons.

+ Cheap; Challenging install;
+ Easy cleaning; Regular cleaning is required.
+ Quick work;
+ Long-lasting.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]



Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters

Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters

Photo: Amazon

This item is the worthy representative of power filters. It provides three stages of filtration and available in 5 sizes. More than that it is self-priming and the LED indicator gives you to know when the filter is clogged. So, order it from amazon now!


+ Easy cleaning; Delivery problems were noticed by some customers;
+ Quick work;
+ Long-lasting;
+ LED indicator;
+ Self-priming.

[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”” text=”Buy on Amazon” ]

Types of Aquarium Filters

You already know that there are a lot of types of aquarium filters. Let’s take a closer look. The mass-market distinguishes seven types of the filter tanks:

  1. Sponge filters

The sponge tank filters are commonly bought for tiny and fry fish. They are quite fish tank filters. The main reason is that filter creates not that big current comparing to the other types. The fish could not swim through it and consequently could not be injured. The mechanical filtration needs are perfectly produced as well as biological filtration. It also generates tiny oxygen bubbles.

However, it is clogged very quickly and one cleaning per week should be made obligatory. Biochemical sponge filters also could be used as additives for the other tank filters. Take to the consideration that they are cheaper than others, but the sizes of these filters are limited (from 10 to 35 gallons per hour).

  1. Wet dry filters

This tank filter brings the oxygen bubbles employing various fillings including floss, strands and plastic balls. The fish aquarium owners often enhance the biological and mechanical filtration systems with this filter as an additional one. Together with the sponge filters such aquarium filtration systems could be also easily clogged, therefore it is better to buy the strong pump. However, it would be pricey.

This type of filter is recommended for tanks with saltwater and aquatic ecosystems. Do not forget about the fact that this aquarium filter is believed to be the noisiest of all filter types. There are various size options available.

  1. Canister filters

The canister filter would serve well for medium and large tanks. To my mind it is the best type of aquarium filter. The turtle and the reef tanks, saltwater and freshwater aquariums could be well maintained by this type of filter. The water goes through the biological filtration inside the filter’s reservoir. Some fish owners to make the filtration more proper as the bio-wheel. This class of filters is much harder to maintain than the power ones. More than that, they are very high-priced. Nonetheless, the fact that this filter is the least noisy of all makes it my personal favorite as I said earlier.

Plus, you need to remember, that it is an external filter and the size options vary up to the 400 gallons and it is a nod that complicated in installation.

  1. Power (external) filters

Along with the sponge filters, this type of aquarium filter is popular among pet owners. A large amount of sizes gives this model type some additional points. Moreover, the water in your aquarium will go through all three types of filtration. So, it’s operational and trouble-free in installation. On the other hand, for my point of view, it’s a little bit knotty in maintenance. The thing is that the different types of filtration are produced with the help of three different filters inside this tank filter that should be replaced from time to time. In order to help you, that is my noble goal, as you know, I would give you some instructions.

  • The foam filter should be replaced not less than once in two months.
  • The carbon filter supplement would be better to change monthly.
  • The inset of the bio max filter should be switched every season.

Concerning the filter itself, the opinions diverge. And some resources advice to clean every month, another claim that weakly cleaning is necessary. To my mind, it would be enough to rinse all the parts of the filter, of the aquarium, of course, twice a month.

  1. Diatomic filters

The UV filter or in other words the diatomic filter is the know-how in the tank filter’s world. It reduces the cloudy water and the tiniest particles of algae. It’s extremely simple in installation and perfect for small aquariums. The max size is 50 gph.

  1. Fluidized bed filters

This type of filter is homemade because everything you need is just to buy a pump and think about the appropriate filler. The perfect filler would be sand, but you could choose any material you like. The other important advantage is that this aquarium filter is suitable absolutely for all aquarium sizes. Well, such characteristics are given by the producer, though my personal recommendation would be to use such filters on the medium or small reef aquariums.

  1. Under gravel filters

This is a plate-type filter. The plate will give mostly biological filtration. However, according to experts, this tank filter has high biological effectiveness it is useless in the chemical and mechanical filtrations. On the other hand, it is one of the obviously easiest filters to install. It doesn’t produce any noise and there is nothing to look after in it. Also, let me tell you that with this type of filter you won’t be able to plant anything in the aquarium. Well, to my mind the classical sponge filter would be better in a hundred times.


How to set up a canister filter?

To set up the canister filter you need to follow several simple steps. First of all, unpack your filter and make sure that there all the parts of the filter. Then you need to prepare your fish tank – choose the place where the filter would be installed. After that, install one filtration system after another. The following order is preferable: mechanical media, biological media, and chemical media. Thenceforward, you need to get the intake and output ready. And, the filter is ready.

How does a canister filter work?

The canister filter sucks the water inside and after that, the water passes through a series of filters and later comes out of it purified.

How often to clean a fish tank filter?

That depends on the type of filter.

  • Sponge filter – once per week;
  • Dry wet filter – once per month;
  • Power filter – every two weeks;
  • Diatomic filter – every month;
  • Fluidized filter – twice per month;
  • Under gravel filter – every week.

How to change aquarium filter without losing bacteria?

You can change the aquarium without losing bacteria with the help of the following methods:

  1. Leave both the new and the old filter media together for a month.
  2. Replace the media from the old filter to the new one.
  3. Put the media of the old filter near the new filter in the fish tank.

How long does carbon last in aquarium filter?

The carbon media according to various sources could last from 2 to 5 weeks. I think that it would be better to change it every month.

What is a wet dry aquarium filter?

This is a filter mainly used for big fish tanks. It produces the 3 stages filtration, though it is believed to be very noisy. Also, it costs a lot.

Where to place the filter in aquarium?

And again, it depends on the type of filter and there is no universal instruction. However, you should remember that the stages of filtration are strictly prescribed. For that reason put the mechanical media before the biological and chemical ones.

Final Word

My dear readers, I hope that this article has illuminated your path through the pet store in search of an aquarium filter. And I believe that you will make the decision that will help your fish to live a long and happy life in the neat aquarium based on my reviews and guide!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

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