Best hob Filter For Your Aquarium – Reviews (Top Picks) & Guide (1)

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Best HOB Filter For Your Aquarium

Finding the best HOB filter can be tough especially for some beginners that may not understand what HOB stands for.

HOB simply means Hang on Back aquarium filter.

Acronyms can be funny but they can also be confusing!

Below we hope to clear up some of the confusion with HOB filters and provide you with the right information so you can get the best HOB filter for your aquarium.

First, let’s start with our list of the best:

Aquarium Power Filter Models – Top 6

  1. Seachem Laboratories Tidal Power Filter

  2. Marineland Emperor 400 Pro Series Bio-wheel HOB Filter

  3. Fluval C4 HOB Filter

  4. AquaClear HOB Filter

  5. Tetra Whisper Power Filter

  6. Aqueon QuietFlow Aquarium Power Filter

You can also compare all the filters listed above using our FREE comparison tool.

Best HOB Filter Comparison Chart

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Reviews Of The 4 Best HOB Filter Models

We reviewed The Best HOB Filter Brands including:

  • Marineland
  • Fluval
  • Aqueon
  • AquaClear
  • Tetra

Then ranked them based on the benefits noted above. You can click the links below to see the full reviews for all HOB Filter Models and types;

Fluval C4 Power Filter

Fluval C4 Power FilterGet the Fluval HOB Filter on Amazon

The Fluval C4 combines the greater volume for media capacity and higher flow rate of a canister filter with the lower price and easier cleaning of a HOB aquarium filter to give you the best of both worlds.

Instead of the standard 3-stage filtration (Mechanical, Biological, chemical), The C-4 provides 5-stages for optimal filtration to remove any unwanted debris, waste, ammonia and everything else.

It’s also super easy to use and easy to clean.

The C-series is available in a size for every tank and a step up from the excellent AquaClear line of filters by Hagen, which Fluval also owns.

While both are great filters, if you have a couple extra dollars to spend, the C4 is a better choice than the AquaClear for most people.

If you’re in the market for a filter for your 40-70 gallon tank, the Fluval C4 Power Filter should be at the top of your list.

Learn more about The C4 Hang on Back Aquarium Filter

AquaClear 70 Power Filter

Aqua Clear - Fish Tank Filter - 40 to 70 Gallons - 110vGet the AquaClear HOB Filter on Amazon

If you’re looking for a great aquarium filter for your tank, the AquaClear 70 is a no-brainer.

Its design has a great reputation that is backed up by its efficiency, durability and overall quality. The clear water you’ll have in your tank after installing this filter will speak for itself.

If you have a few more dollars to spend, you could also consider the Fluval C-Series, Hagen’s other line of high-quality hang-on-back filters.

The C-Series offers maximum filtration and some additional features and upgrades over the AquaClear filters. But, at the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with the AquaClear 70 Power Filter.

Learn more about The AquaClear HOB Power Filter

Marineland Emperor Pro Series Bio-Wheel Power Filter

Marineland Penguin Power Filter, 50 to 70-Gallon, 350 GPHGet the Marineland HOB Filter on Amazon

Crystal clear water and healthy fish are a hallmark of this Marineland Power Filter. The strong flow rate (gph), efficient filtration, and dual Bio-wheels combine to make this one of the best filters on the market.

If you’re looking for efficiency, high water flow, and the best in biological filtration available, then you should be looking at the Marineland Emperor 400 Pro Series Bio-Wheel Power Filter.

Learn more about The Marineland Penguin HOB Filter

Tetra Whisper Power Filter

Whisper Power Filter 60, Supports up to a 60-Gallon Aquarium:New Free Shipping by WW shop

Get the Tetra Whisper HOB Filter on Amazon

If you’re on a budget, need a solid backup filter, or are just getting into the fishkeeping hobby, the Tetra Whisper HOB Filter is a great choice and one of the quietest filters.

It may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive filters out there, like adjustable output and control, but it’s solid, it works, and it’s easy to clean and maintain.

Because of its solid performance and low price, the Whisper power filter may just be the best HOB filter for those needing a quality filter that doesn’t cost a whole lot.

Learn more about The Tetra Whisper Power Filter

HOB Filters – What Are They?

As we mentioned above the hang on back (HOB) aquarium filter is simply a filter that is hung off the back side of your aquarium.

So why would anyone want to have a large bulky filter in plain sight hanging off the back of your tank?

Well, for a few reasons;

  • They are easily accessible.
  • The filter media can quickly be removed/replaced.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • They are inexpensive.
  • They provide great filtration.

Plus, over the years the technology has improved a great deal and many hob filters are very quiet when compared to earlier versions.

Which is great if you have your tank set up in your bedroom!

However, it’s important to note one downfall of the hang on back filter. Which is that the good bacteria colony is removed every time the cartridge is replaced.

Regardless of this one disadvantage HOB filters are still a powerful choice for a great filtration system.

If you’re looking for a new hob filter, or this is your first, We hope to give you peace of mind.

HOB Filter Set Up Instructions

Here is a great video from Big Al’s that shows exactly how to set up the Marineland Emperor 400 HOB Filter which happens to be our top rated hob aquarium filter.

Best HOB Filter - How_To_Set_Up_A_Hang_On_Back_Filter_Video

HOB Cleaning Instructions

Cleaning your hob filter is simple and listed the general steps below. However, this great forum post over at Aquaria Central really goes into detail and provides some awesome tips for beginners.

Here are the steps;

Step 1. Unplug the filter and remove it from the back of your aquarium.

Step 2. Remove lid and take out the filter basket or cartridges that contain your filter media. This will typically be a sponge, carbon bag (charcoal), and some form of biological media (beads).

Step 3. Clean your beads and sponge in some of your old aquarium water placed in a bucket. If you do this during a water change it simplifies things.

Do not use tap water to clean the sponge/beads as it will kill off any beneficial bacteria that have built up in your media.

Step 4. Replace your carbon bag every 3 weeks.

Step 5. Then remove the filter intake stem, clean the inside with a cleaning brush to remove algae. Do the same to the intake tube. This will keep your tubes clear to maximize water flow which is key to your filtration.

Step 6. Then remove the motor and clean the impeller with a brush, replace it and add lubricant to reseal the gasket of the motor.

Step 7. Then reassemble the filter and hang it back on the back of your aquarium and fill the cartridge up with your aquarium water using a cup, then plug it in.

If you do this at least once a month when you do your monthly water change it will ensure your tank will be healthy and clean for years to come.

How does a HOB Filter Work?

HOB filters suck water up the intake tube which releases water into the box/canister. Then the water is moved through the filter media.

Once the water has passed through the media it spills over the overflow and back into the aquarium.

How To Make a HOB Filter Quieter?

Most HOB filters are pretty quiet and the noise is typically caused by water splashing back into the tank.

The easiest way to prevent this is to keep the water level high enough so the water doesn’t splash. Or, add some filter floss to slow the water flow as it enters your aquarium.

If your filter sounds like it’s having trouble siphoning water into the canister ensure all your tubes are tight and again ensure the water level is high enough.

Lastly, if it sounds like your motor/impeller is making noise ensure the chamber is free and clear of debris.

How To Modify Your HOB Filter?

One of the best modifications you can make to your HOB filter is to add a small sponge to the intake tube.

This will not only act as a great place for beneficial bacteria to grow both the prefilter will stop any large debris from entering your filter.

This will lessen the load on your filter media as well as lengthen the time between filter cleanings.


Sometimes a lot of the clean water flows out goes straight back into the intake tube…So basically, the HOB will continually refilter the same small amount of water while leaving the rest of the tank water uncirculated and dirty.

Here’s the solution:

How To Start a HOB Filter?

Most HOB filters are very easy to start and only require you to plug them in.

That said, you should always ensure that the water level in your tank is high enough and that you prefill the box/canister with water, which will help prime the pump.

How Often To Clean a HOB Filter?

In most cases changing your filter should be done monthly. However, this all depends on how stocked the tank is and how small/big your tank is.

For example:

A heavily stocked goldfish tank with only one filter may need to be cleaned every two weeks. Compared to a 5 gallon Betta tank that may only need to be cleaned monthly.

Best HOB Filter Top Recommendation

Based on its low price, its ability to filter 400 gallons per hour and an overall rating of 4.2/5.

Best HOB Filter Goes To Marineland

We are confident the Marineland Emperor 400 HOB Filter would be a great choice for anyone looking for a solid hang on back aquarium filter.

The biggest selling point for these filters is the fact that they have bio-wheels exposed to oxygen, which are fibrous wheels that rotate and skim on the surface of the water as the last stage of filtration before the water returns to the aquarium. – Land of Fish.

If you don’t think a hob filter will suit your needs?

Click here to see all the different filter options available for your aquarium.

Seachem Tidal Filters
Fluval C4 Power Filters
Aquarium Filter Accessories
Marineland Penguin Power Filters
Tetra Whisper Power Filters
29 Of The Best Fish Tank Filters

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