Best Aquarium Filter For 2023 Top Reviews & Picks

Below we decided to take a closer look at some of the best aquarium filters available to find the best models.

Of the many models we’ve seen; 

These Are The Best Aquarium Filters To Buy:

  1. Best Aquarium Filter Overall: Fluval FX4
  2. Best Value Aquarium Filter: Aquaclear Power Filter
  3. Best Aquarium Filter For Large Tanks: Fluval FX6
  4. Best Internal Aquarium Filter: Aqueon Quietflow

By the way, any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks in advance for your support!

If you want an excellent filter for your aquarium, then pay attention!

Because I’m going to help you find a filter that works for your aquarium and your specific needs.

However, there is one aquarium filter that I always return to every time I set up a new aquarium.

It’s customizable, has excellent flow, is easy to use, is strong, and won’t break the bank.

I use it to set up all my aquariums.

CLICK HERE To Read My Review Of The Aquaclear HOB Filter


For a quick overview of what to look for when picking a filter for your aquarium, watch our video below;

Watch This Video, Overview On Selecting A Filter

How To Choose The Best Aquarium Filter That Works For YOU!!!

Our Top 3 Aquarium Filter Picks

Only some people like meticulously researching and cross-referencing features between different filters.

If you’re more interested in simply getting your tank up and running, take a look at these three filters–they’re three of the most popular aquarium filters on the market today and have many features included:

Top Pick #1: Fluval FX6 Canister Filter – Best Aquarium Filter For Large Tanks

Easily the best aquarium filter (spoiler alert: this is still my opinion) is the Fluval FX6. Of course, the Fluval FX6 won’t make sense for a ten-gallon tank.

But if you have a serious Fish tank setup and want an excellent canister filter, the Fluval FX6 will give you the clean water you’ve always wanted, making your life much more manageable than other filters.

In addition, this is a durable and well-built powerhouse for beneficial bacteria growth and biological filtration because of the amount of media this can house. Priming is a breeze, and giant media baskets with media are included.

Lastly, let’s not forget that it can filter tanks up to 400 gallons of water — one of the best Fish tank filters around and suitable for large tanks.

In addition, the Fluval FX filter series is available in two models that are more than ideal for removing any impurities in your freshwater or marine aquarium.

Check out seven reasons why the Fluval FX6 and FX4 Canister Filters are beasts.

Of course, we live in a free-market society!

We, the people, need options! And like with filter brands, there are many excellent filters available…

Top Pick #2: Marineland Emporer Penguin Power Filter

One thing I don’t like about this HOB is that you need to buy Marineland filter cartridges to see it run at its best.

Suppose you’re looking for an efficient, high water flow that is easily the best in biological filtration available.

In that case, you should look at the Marineland Emperor 400 Pro Series Bio-Wheel Power Filter. They have models that are suitable for most marine and freshwater tanks.

Top Pick #3: Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Filter – Best Internal Aquarium Filter

Based on its low price, ability to filter 66 gallons per hour, quiet operation, and great reviews from all users, the Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Filter would be a suitable choice for any 10-15 gallon tank setup.

A small Fish tank filter has much room for biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration. The filter cartridges that you insert are filled with activated carbon media.

One of the best Fish tank filters around.

If you want to look at all the options before making the best choice for your filter, you’ll want to keep reading.

We break it all down for you while we compare the best filters on the market–and we recommend our top picks in each category!

Our Reviews For Each Type Of Filter

It’s now time for the main event–Buckle up for our look at the 29 best aquarium filters and stick with us as we recommend the best fish tank filter from each of the following types of Fish tank filters:

  1. Canister Filters
  2. Hang On Back (HOB) Filters
  3. Internal Filters
  4. Small Tank Filters
  5. Sponge Filters
  6. Undergravel Filters

When we considered all the product features that would make up the best aquarium filter, we tested for the following things;

  • High quality
  • Performance
  • Easy setup
  • Well designed
  • Powerful filtration
  • Healthy clean water
  • Maintenance & Cleaning
  • Media Capacity

Depending on the type of filters you want to choose, keep in mind that some are best suited for different kinds of uses.

For example, some are great for saltwater tanks, while others are great for larger-size aquariums over 100 gallons.

At the end of the day, whether you set up an internal Fish tank filter or a canister, you want to know that the pump provides enough air and water flow through the filter media to encourage beneficial nitrifying bacteria growth, all while removing harmful waste and debris from your tank.

You’ll continue to see helpful links to all our reviews for the filters shown in each category. When you see a filter you like, click the link to get the full scoop!

You’ll also learn the different functions and the pros and cons of each type of filter. And you’ll get our expert recommendation for the top filter in each category!

Let’s dive in!

Our Pick For The Best Canister Filter Fluval FX6 Canister Filter

External canister filters pack some serious punch in the filtration department. So we went the whole hog and reviewed the ten best canister filters for you.

If you read the Most Popular Fish Tank Filters section earlier in the guide, you already know how we feel about the Fluval FX6.

So it should be no surprise that the Fluval FX6 is our number one pick.

In case you missed it, there are seven reasons why the Fluval FX6 is easily the best on the market (their nifty self-start feature is just the tip of the iceberg).

Get the full scoop with our Fluval FX6 review.

If the Fluval FX6 isn’t doing it for you, you can click the links below to see total reviews of some of the best canister filters also on the market:

About Canister Filters

The Canister filter is the most popular option for larger aquariums (40 gallons or larger.) Although, you can find them for smaller aquariums as well.

This filter type does not enter the water and is typically kept below the aquarium in the tank stand.

Canister Filter Pros:

Canister filters provide the best mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. They also offer superior filtration as most canister filters are pressurized, forcing water through a delicate material that traps smaller particles. This helps improve overall water quality and the health of your Fish.

These filter types often allow for the adjustment and addition of accessories like UV sterilizers, gravel filters, or a spray bar.

Canister filters are suitable and best for larger aquariums with larger/dirty Fish like Cichlids, Koi, planted, or saltwater aquariums. If you’ve got 200 gallons of water to filter, consider getting one of these.

Canister Filter Cons:

They are much more extensive than other filters, so you need a lot of space; they typically come with a heftier price tag, and cleaning them can be a bit of work.

Our Pick For The Best HOB Filter Marineland Emperor 400 Power Filter

We reviewed 5 of the best HOB power filters available because that’s what we do around here.

Our top choice is (cue drum roll) the Marineland Emperor Power Filter.

If you’re in the market for an excellent hang-on back aquarium filter, the Marineland Emperor Power Filter is a great choice.

Why do we love it?

It quickly has the best biological filtration on the market. The quiet operation, durability, and affordability make it an easy pick.

But that’s just the beginning–Read our full Marineland Emperor HOB filter review to learn everything you need to know about this HOB filter powerhouse.

There’s more to HOB power filters than the Marineland Emperor Power Filter. Here’s the rest of the lineup:

  • AquaClear 70 Power Filter
    • Quiet, efficient, affordable, and reliable. It hits all the marks, and it’s worth a look.
  • Fluval C4 Power Filter
    • Easy to install, easy to maintain, and has a powerhouse filtration system–your water will be clean and clear.
  • Tetra Whisper Power Filter
    • This is an excellent buy if you want an affordable HOB filter to keep your tank clean and your Fish happy.

About HOB Filters

The Hang on Back Power Filter is the most common filter you will find because it’s easy to set up and it’s easy to use and maintain. Plus, it does a great job filtering your aquarium.

How HOB Filters Work:

The filter itself never enters the water. As the name suggests, HOB filters hang on the back of your aquarium and suck tank water up a long tube.

The water then goes through the filtration media. There are typically three chambers in HOB filters where nitrate and other toxins are removed from the water.

The filter then sends the water back into the tank, clean and clear of toxins.

HOB Filter Pros:

It provides excellent three-stage filtration of aquarium water. It’s simple to assemble and relatively easy to maintain.

Plus, the HOB filter hanging outside your tank takes up less space, so there’s no bulky filter to incorporate into your tank’s internal aesthetic and no bulky filter to hide in a cabinet underneath your tank.

Most power filters will have an adjustable flow rate so that you can set it specifically for your aquarium. Some power filters can be used on both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

HOB Filter Cons:

You remove the good bacteria colony every time you replace the filter cartridges. So it will always grow back, but it takes time.

Also, HOB filters have multiple cleaning steps, so they take a bit more maintenance than other filters (like sponge filters, for example).

And one of the most common complaints about HOB filters is the noise (They have gotten much quieter over the years, but there’s still hope!).

While I love the benefits of a hang-on-the-back filter, if you have 150 gallons or even 200 gallons of water, you should add multiple power filters or upgrade to a canister filter.

If you missed our HOB filters review link earlier, you’d want to check it out now.

  • The Best HOB Aquarium Filters–This article will show you the following:
    • Five of the best HOB filters on the market today
    • The best way to clean your HOB filter is to ensure your tank stays clean and clear (and your Fish remain happy and healthy)
    • The most reliable brands for hang-on-back filters

Our Pick For The Best Internal Filter is Aqueon QuietFlow

Internal filters are great if you have a small tank, want your tank flush against a wall, or need extra filtration in a larger tank.

Instead of hanging off the back of your tank or hiding in a cabinet, internal filters go inside your tank and are installed just below the water’s surface.

Who could have seen that one coming?

We like to make it easier for you, so we reviewed 8 of the best internal Fish tank filters, and our number one pick is. The Aqueon!

Internal filters are quiet, inexpensive, and great for a smaller beginner’s tank. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, check out our other links to get a complete look at the best internal tank filters.

  • Eight best internal Fish tank filters.–If You didn’t click this link earlier, you’d want to read it now. You’ll learn the following:
    • How to be sure you’re getting the suitable filtration media for your filter
    • The best place to put the internal filter in your tank
    • How to stop buying those filter cartridges
    • Why the Aqueon Quietflow is the best filter for your 10-15 gallon tank setup
  • Selecting The Best Betta Mini Internal Fish Tank Filter–Read this and learn:
    • The three things you need to consider when you’re looking for a mini tank filter
    • Which five filters could give the Rio a run for its money
  • Rio 90 Mini Internal Fish Tank Filter Review–In this review, you’ll learn:
    • The standout feature that makes the Rio an excellent internal filter option, especially at its current price
    • Seven reasons why the Rio 90 Mini internal filter comes so highly recommended
    • A few of the things you should be aware of before you invest in the Rio

About Internal Filters

An internal filter is typically used in aquariums holding 20 gallons or less.

The filter is mounted inside the aquarium with suction cups that keep the filter in place (as we mentioned–this is great if you want your aquarium to be flat against the wall).

Internal filters typically sit at the bottom of the aquarium and intake the impurities and help prevent debris from building up or settling on the bottom of the tank.

If you have a larger tank and there’s a spot your current filter doesn’t quite reach (known as a “dead spot”), an internal filter is a great way to bring water circulation to that area.

Internal Filter Pros:

You can find great internal filters for a great price if you do your research. They are ideal for smaller aquariums with small numbers of Fish.

Some internal filters use air pumps and airlines, which help produce oxygenated bubbles (a good thing!).

Internal Filter Cons:

Internal filters are only recommended for smaller aquariums (unless you have a dead spot).

So if you have many Fish in a large aquarium, you’ll have to spring for a more oversized filter. If you have a huge aquarium, look at these excellent canister filters.

Our Pick For The Best Small Fish Tank Filter Aqueon QuietFlow 10 Power Filter

When it comes to “small” tanks, we’re referring to any tank under 20 gallons. The smaller the tank, the faster the toxins build up–which means having a good tank filter is essential.

We reviewed 5 of the best small Fish tank filters, and (spoiler alert) the Aqueon was our number one pick.

If you want to see the other small Fish tank filters we reviewed, check out the articles below.

  • Top 5 best small Fish tank filters. — This is worth a look if your tank is 20 gallons or less and you want to learn:
    • Which tank filters are best for different small tank sizes
    • My one tip for picking a filter that can handle your tank’s needs
    • The ideal filtration rate for your small tank
  • Best Filter For Betta Fish –Read this article if your tank is in the 3-10 gallon range and you’re curious about:
    • One of the biggest pitfalls most new Betta owners experience–and the surprising cause
    • The unfortunate tradeoffs of not using a filter in your small Betta Fish tank
    • The five best filters for small Betta fish tanks

Our Pick For The Best Sponge Fish Tank Filter Hydro 3 Sponge Filter

About Sponge Filters

The Sponge filter is the most simple to use and the most straightforward to understand. Its most common use is for small sensitive Fish like the Betta.

Its gentle performance is also perfect for newborn fry after breeding. It can come in handy when your Fish is sick and you set up a hospital tank.

A sponge filter is used with an air pump, which pulls water through the sponge capturing debris.

Sponge Filter Pros:

The sponge filter is relatively cheap and very easy to set up. In addition, the design of the sponge filter allows good bacteria to live on the sponge.

This means that, in addition to the mechanical filtration, your tank is getting biological filtration, too.

Sponge Filter Cons:

Sponge filters can look large and bulky in your tank. Some air pumps are noisy, too. In addition, most sponge filters are rated for tanks up to 10 gallons in size, which limits options for larger tanks.

But there are solutions–multiple sponge filters in a single tank could provide adequate filtration rates. And some sponge filters pair well with certain HOB filters.

We reviewed the best sponge filters, and the Hydro III Sponge Pro Filter was our number one pick.

If you want to see the other sponge fish tank filters we reviewed, you’ll want to check out our Best Sponge Filters guide.

  • Best sponge filters –In it, you’ll learn:
    • Why your Betta fish is safest with a sponge filter
    • How other filters could spell disaster for a baby Betta
    • Which style and size of tank work best with a sponge filter
    • The best sponge filter options to consider when starting your search

Or, if you’re handy around the house and want to build your own, check out our DIY sponge filter article:

  • DIY Sponge Filter – In it, we cover:
    • The 6 (surprisingly simple) things you need to build your sponge pump
    • The nine easy-to-set-up steps to building and installing your very own sponge filter

Best Under gravel Fish Tank Filter Penn-Plax Premium Undergravel Filter

About Under gravel Filters

Under gravel, filters sit below the gravel (yet another filter name that leaves nothing to the imagination) and suck water and debris through the gravel.

The idea is that the waste will get trapped in the gravel. Then the debris-free water passes up through the tubes.

Finally, an airstone and air pump are attached to the top of the tube to create the suction.

Under Gravel Filter Cons (getting right to the point):

Under gravel filters, the most beneficial forms of filtration don’t even occur.

It’s a complex filter to clean and typically results in debris build-up at the bottom of your tank.

That can lead to high levels of hydrogen sulfide, which you don’t want. Another con is that you’ll add to the noise levels with an air pump.

Finally, you don’t even get the specific benefits of the three filtration stages: mechanical, biological, and chemical.

Typically we don’t recommend this type of filtration for large community tanks or tanks with live plants.

More Filter Options

If my top recommended filter was different from what you were looking for?

Then check out some of my other aquarium filter reviews and buyer guides below.

All my guides are explicitly made for beginners and easy to understand to ensure your journey into the hobby of fish care is pleasant.

Find a filter today!

Canister Filters

Hang On Back Filters

Internal Filters

Small Filters

Now let’s get into the details of what makes a great filter and how to select the one you need.

The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Aquarium Filter!

The filter is one of the most important (and sometimes most expensive) pieces of essential aquarium equipment you’ll buy for your aquarium.

If this is your first tank, you might feel overwhelmed or intimidated by all the options and unsure which aquarium filter you should get.

Beginners have no fear–you’ve come to the right place.

With all the different aquarium filters, brands, flow rates, media types, and gallon ratings, it’s easy to get turned around and confused.

We’re here to help.

What Makes A Good Aquarium Filter?

Most people consider clear water the number one indicator of a good filter.

And while water clarity is the most obvious indicator of the filter doing its job, there are many other factors you should consider when deciding which filter is the best for your Fish tank.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what we recommend you look for during your Fish tank filter search (in no particular order):

  • The price of the filter
  • The type of filter (i.e., HOB, internal, canister, sponge, undergravel…There are others, but these are the most popular)
  • The types of filter media used (i.e., mechanical, biological, chemical, or a combination of these)
  • The ease of installation
  • How quiet or loud the filter is
  • The ease of maintenance (How complicated is the cleaning/maintenance process, and how often do you need to do that process?
  • The flow rate, input, output, and media parameters for the filter
  • The filter’s flexibility and customization options for flow rate and media
  • The recommended application of the filter (some filters perform better in specific environments/tanks and with certain Fish)
  • “Quality of life” features make the filter stand out from others in the market.

A quiet filter is better than a loud filter.

But what about the more complicated questions you might not know the answers to;

  • What about differences in flow rate?
  • Which media types are best?
  • How do you know which filter is best for your specific tank?

Those questions (and more) are answered throughout this guide. By the end, you’ll know the following:

  • If you should use a sponge or HOB filter, or spring for a canister filter
  • Which media filter combination is best
  • Which filters have worked for us and come highly recommended
  • And more–the answers are in this Fish tank filter guide

Fish use the oxygen in the water to breathe; therefore, ensuring the quality of the water in the tank is of paramount importance.

Use a fish pump filter to ensure that the water contains enough oxygen for your Fish. You may need to test the water for ammonia, nitrites, and ph levels.

The Filtration Process

Before you go ahead and select your ideal filter system, there are two things you should know.

  1. Why you need a good aquarium filtration system?
  2. What does it do?

Let’s start with number 1 -Why do you need a good filter system?

A good Filtration system is one of your most significant investments and can be the difference between an enjoyable hobby and a nightmare.

But selecting the right system can be challenging since many options exist.

For example;

Here are 9 Of the Most Common Aquarium Filter System Types:

  • Box or corner filters
  • Canister filters – Are used for large aquarium filter systems.
  • Internal Filters
  • Diatomic Filters
  • Fluidized Bed Filters
  • Power, HOB, or Hang on Back Filters
  • Sponge Filters
  • Trickle (Wet/Dry) Filters – are a filtration system under your tank.
  • Under Gravel Filters

We’ll go into each one in more detail below, but as you can see, if you need to know the difference between a canister filter and a power filter, the decision can be a scary one.

Now let’s talk about the second thing you should know.

What Do They Do? How Do Fish Tank Filter Systems Work:

There is something about pictures that make things easy to understand.

Below you will see a diagram of a basic filtration system and how your aquarium water travels from the tank into your filter, through the media, and back into the tank.

Note: The system or type of filter shown in this diagram is a HOB or Hang on Back Power filter.

However, some of us learn better by reading…

Aquarium filters help keep your tank clean and clear by eliminating harmful waste from your tank as the water passes through the filter media.

Here’s how:

  1. Solid Waste: The sponge or filter floss you place in your filter help trap any Dirt & debris that is floating around in the water. This is your mechanical filtration.
  2. Organic waste: When you place activated carbon in your filter system, you hope it takes care of anything dissolved in your water that could be causing odor or discoloration. This is called chemical filtration.
  3. Biological Waste: Lastly, the most harmful toxins result from the nitrogen cycle. Such as ammonia and nitrate are eliminated by your biological filtration, something like Seachem Biomax.

How to Set Up the Best Freshwater Aquarium Filtration System:

There are many ways to set up a perfect filtration system, but there are also a lot of tips and tricks that pro fish keepers use.

Lucky for you, one of the best in the aquarium industry has compiled a video showing exactly how he sets up his Fish tank filtration system.

The video is rather long.

However, I suggest you watch the whole thing before you decide on a filter for your tank to ensure you get the best system for your needs.

Here’s the video from Aquarium Co-Op and his take on setting up an aquarium filter system.

Now that you know a bit more about your aquariums filtration process. Before buying a new one, you should also know about a few of your filter’s other main functions.

The 3 Main Functions Of Your Fish Tank Filter System

Let’s start with the first.

1. Biological Function

The waste produced by your Fish, uneaten food, and decaying plants will create ammonia. To sustain life in your aquarium, you must remove ammonia, and your filter’s biological filtration provides a place for beneficial bacteria to grow, turning your ammonia into nitrite and then nitrate as part of the nitrogen cycle.

2. Mechanical Function

Your filter floss or sponge removes large particles and debris from your water. This helps to keep the water clean and clear.

3. Chemical Function

The water you get from your tap, which most of us use for our aquariums, will contain minerals, chemicals, and hard metals that can be bad for Fish. Your chemical filtration, like carbon, will help remove some contaminants. Carbon can also help remove discoloration and odor from your tank.

What Are The Best Aquarium Filter Types?

We get it–not everyone wants to read these days. But if videos are your thing, this video from Howcast will scratch you where you itch.

It briefly describes what you can expect from certain filter types and has some handy, actionable tips for picking a filter you’ll be happy with.

It’s a quick watch (just two and a half minutes–even a goldfish could watch it), and it’ll prepare you for what’s to come in the rest of this guide!

Which Aquarium Filter Is Best For My Tank?

So how do you choose the correct Aquarium Filter?

First, you want to do your research upfront to save time and money with multiple filters. We’ve done that part for you!

Every filter has its pros and cons.

Canister filters typically cost the most but are the most effective at all three types of filtration and are best suited for larger tanks. An under-gravel filter may be the cheapest, but it requires the most maintenance and only provides biological filtration.

The money vs. maintenance tradeoff is just the beginning–the world of fish tank filters is full of tradeoffs and sacrifices (depending on how dramatic you are).

This simple table can give you a quick idea of what you can expect from each aquarium filter. But this isn’t an exhaustive list–don’t assume all HOB filters or all canister filters are equal.

Additionally, there are two more considerations you should think about before you get a new filter for your aquarium.

Recommended Aquarium Tank Size & Water-Flow Rate For The Filter.

All filter types are not made equal. Some are made for large tanks, and some for small tanks. When looking at the box for your filter, you will see that the manufacturer has indicated a recommended tank size.

Another thing shown on the filter box will be the GPH or Gallons Per Hour. This means how many gallons of water will pass through your filter every hour.

Depending on the type of Fish and how many you intend to keep, I always recommend you filter the entire volume of your tank at least four times each hour.

For example;

A 20-gallon tank would need at least a filter rated for 80 gallons per hour. (4×20=80). However, I typically always go a little bigger just to be safe.

Best Aquarium Filter Brands

Time to be candid–In my opinion, a fantastic aquarium filter brand is Fluval. That’s 20 years of fishkeeping talking.….

But, ultimately, it’s still just a personal preference. What works best for my tank setup and my Fish might not work for yours. There are many excellent aquarium filter brands out there. This guide takes a look at a selection of the best options.

Here are the most popular aquarium filter brands;

Aquarium Filter Statistics

There was an exciting and enlightening survey from, and I decided to include it (just for the halibut).

What good is an opinion if it’s not coming from an expert?

The survey asked for responses from 100 customers on which Fish tank filter they prefer, which Fish tank filter brand they like, and their top 3 recommendations.

On average, over 50% of those surveyed had 5-10 years of experience.

This is awesome because we know we are getting some solid advice from experienced aquarists–when you’re looking for a great aquarium filter, go with the guidance of people who’ve set up their tanks!

More than 60% had a freshwater tank size of 35-100 gallons with a medium bio-load.

This means that the preferred filters were strong enough for large tanks with the ability to handle dirty aquariums (that’s what we like to see).

75% of those surveyed preferred either a HOB Power Filter(35%) or a Canister Filter (40%).

Here are the results from the survey;

The Top 5 Preferred Filter Brands Were;

  • Marineland (Almost 50%)
  • Fluval
  • Eheim
  • Eshopps
  • API

Best Fish Tank Filters – The Top 3 Picks;

  1. Marineland C-360 Canister Filter
  2. Marineland Power Filter
  3. Fluval 306 Canister Filter

More Filters For Aquariums?

Internal Filter Ideas

If you know, you want an internal tank filter, these reviews can help you make the right decision (the first time!):

Canister Filter Ideas

If you’re putting a giant fish tank together (40 gallons and up), you know you need a canister filter; get the skinny on the market’s most popular canisters here:

HOB Power Filter Ideas

If you know a hang-on-back filter is an answer to your dirty tank problems, use these reviews to pick the best HOB Filter for your needs:

Choosing the Perfect Aquarium Filter: A Comprehensive Guide

Aquarium enthusiasts understand the importance of a good filter in maintaining a thriving aquatic ecosystem. Filters are the unsung heroes of aquariums, silently working to keep our aquatic friends healthy and happy. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the crucial role filters play in aquarium maintenance while exploring various aspects of filter selection and operation. Along the way, we’ll introduce and discuss the different types of filters available on the market to help you make an informed decision.

Types of Aquarium Filters

A. External Filters

For small aquariums, such as a cozy 20-gallon aquariumexternal filters prove to be an ideal choice. They offer a 3-stage filtration process, efficiently handling mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. External filters also come with a nifty feature – they are capable of handling power outages without compromising filtration.

B. Biological Filters

In the world of aquatic biology, surface area is paramount. Biological filters provide a high surface area for beneficial bacteria to thrive, which is essential for maintaining water parameters and ensuring a healthy environment for your aquatic plants and animals.

C. Chemical Filters

When it comes to addressing water chemistrychemical filters come into play. These filters utilize specialized chemical media to fine-tune your aquarium’s water composition, ensuring crystal clear water and ideal conditions for aquatic life.

D. Noise Levels and Filter Choice

For those who value a peaceful atmosphere for their aquatic friends, it’s essential to consider the noise level of your chosen filter. Reducing noise is crucial for creating a tranquil environment that is conducive to the well-being of your fish and plants.

E. Mechanical Filters

Mechanical filters, on the other hand, focus on removing larger particles from the water. They employ filter material and filter pads to trap debris and prevent it from circulating in the aquarium, contributing to a cleaner and healthier aquatic ecosystem.

Choosing the Right Filter for Your Aquarium

A. Assessing Aquarium Size

Before selecting a filter, take into account the size of your aquarium. For smaller aquariums, like the popular 20-gallon ones, external filters are an ideal choice due to their compact nature. However, for larger tanks, different sizes and types may be more suitable.

B. Regular Maintenance and Longevity

To ensure your aquarium remains a vibrant and healthy ecosystem, it’s crucial to consider filter longevity and regular maintenance. Choosing a filter that can go a long time without frequent replacement or maintenance is a smart decision for a hassle-free experience.

C. Compatibility with Aquatic Life

Consider the specific needs of your aquatic plants and animals. Filters play a pivotal role in maintaining the health of your fish and the thriving condition of your aquatic plants. If you have a lot of fish, a filter’s capacity becomes even more critical.

D. Dealing with Power Outages

Power outages can be disastrous for an aquarium. To ensure that filtration remains operational during such events, select a filter that can provide continuous filtration during power outages.

The 3-Stage Filtration Process

A. Stage 1: Mechanical Filtration

The importance of filter material in the mechanical filtration stage cannot be overstated. It efficiently traps larger particles, preventing them from clogging up the system and maintaining optimal water quality.

B. Stage 2: Biological Filtration

Beneficial bacteria are the unsung heroes of aquariums. They thrive in high surface areas provided by biological filters, helping to break down harmful compounds and ensure water parameters stay within the desired range. Using old tank water can even aid in establishing this vital bacterial colony.

C. Stage 3: Chemical Filtration

For those seeking crystal clear water, chemical filtration becomes essential. By utilizing chemical media, this stage removes impurities and fine-tunes water chemistry, providing an aesthetically pleasing and healthy aquatic environment.

Popular Filter Choices

A. Fluval C Series

The Fluval C Series is an excellent choice for many aquarium enthusiasts. In this section, we’ll provide a detailed review of its features and discuss the availability of different sizes to suit various tank dimensions.

B. Aquaclear Fish Tank Filter

Find out why the Aquaclear Fish Tank Filter is a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. We’ll explore the benefits it offers for your aquatic animals and how it contributes to a thriving ecosystem.

C. Other Options to Consider

While the Fluval C Series and Aquaclear Fish Tank Filter are popular choices, there are various filter types for different aquariums available on the market. It’s essential to explore these options to find the perfect filter for your particular aquarium.

D. Making the Perfect Choice

Evaluating the available options and considering the factors mentioned earlier will guide you in making the perfect choice when it comes to your aquarium filter. Remember that there are good choices and better choices depending on your specific needs and preferences.


A. The Importance of a Perfect Filter

In conclusion, selecting the right aquarium filter is an important decision for the health and well-being of your aquatic friends. A perfect filter ensures that your aquarium maintains optimal water quality and creates an environment where healthy fish can thrive.

B. Achieving Healthy Fish and Maintaining Water Quality

By understanding the different types of filters, the 3-stage filtration process, and considering factors like aquarium size and compatibility with aquatic life, you can achieve healthy fish and maintain water quality effectively.

C. Final Considerations in Your Decision-making Process

Before making your final decision, carefully weigh all the factors discussed in this comprehensive guide. Your choice of filter will significantly impact the success of your aquarium, making it a joyful and rewarding hobby for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Features To Look For In A Good Filter

When looking at offers for a filter, be sure that the filter you get is equipped with a few of the following features or at least has some options and add-on devices that might be included with higher-end models.

The Motor:

When looking at the filter motor, look for one that is energy efficient. Your filter will run 24-7 all year long, so you want something other than what will raise your power bill.

To be sure, look at the power cord; most will have a label with a UL approval rating. It might look something that looks like this:

Intake and Outtake Tubes:

When looking at the intake pipe, you want one that is adjustable to suit your specific needs. Nothing is worse than installing a filter with an intake pipe that isn’t long enough to reach the bottom of your aquarium or is too short.

Another thing to look for is that some intake tubes can suck the oils and debris from the water’s surface, which helps ensure that your aquarium gets the full benefits of oxygen exchange.

The Impeller:

Here it would help if you looked for an impeller protected from debris that could jam the impeller and damage the motor. The cover should have a seal, gasket, or O-ring to ensure a proper seal.

  • Media Baskets Included
  • Chemical Mechanical Biological Media Included
  • Priming
  • Multi-Stage Filtration
  • Filter Cartridge Included
  • The filter is built well and is durable
  • Easily Maintained and Setup
  • Capacity
  • Accessories like surface skimmers
  • How much space does the filter need
  • Can it be used on a marine or freshwater tank

This is a partial list of what you would require, but if you’re at your local pet store, make sure that the filter you select includes many of the features listed above.

The biggest thing for me is how well the filter is at removing the impurities from the water column keeping the water fresh, clean, and suitable for the inhabitants of your aquarium.

Whether it’s an Aquaclear or a Tetra filter, the brand doesn’t matter. Most filter models will have at least a few features and will not keep the conditions in your tank filtered and clean.

What size filter should I get for my tank?

The simple way is to look at the manufacturer’s tank size, which is typically shown on the box. However, this is a general guideline, and depending on your Fish, you may need more or less. For example, I always start with a filter that can turn over my tank water volume at least 10x per hour. So for a 10-gallon tank, I would want something rated with at least 100 gallons per hour.

Is a bigger aquarium filter better?

You can never over-filter an aquarium, and the more filtration you can provide is always good. Just be aware that the larger the filter, the more effective the flow rate will be, which can cause a powerful current that may be stressful for your Fish. Therefore, the most important thing to consider when looking for a filter is how much biological filtration and beneficial bacteria can be housed. Additionally, mechanical filtration should also be considered — lastly, chemical filtration may arguably not be required at all.

Should aquarium filters always be on?

Yes, if you have a filter, it should be running. As water moves through the filter, it is exposed to beneficial bacteria, which removes toxins, which helps keep your water healthy for your Fish. The filter also provides a current in your tank to keep dead spots from forming in your aquarium, which could be deadly to your Fish.

Can a filter be too strong for a Fish tank?

Yes, depending on the size of the filter, the size of your tank, and the types of Fish you keep. If your filter is too large, it could create too much current and flow, causing your Fish to look for hiding places to rest. Some filters include adjustable flow options, making the models suitable for a broader range of aquariums.

  1. Best Aquarium Filter Overall: Fluval FX4
  2. Best Value Aquarium Filter: Aquaclear Power Filter
  3. Best Aquarium Filter For Large Tanks: Fluval FX 6
  4. Best Internal Aquarium Filter: Aqueon Quietflow E
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