Whether you are an aquariology or just want to buy a filter for your aquarium, buying a high-quality and functional filter is always necessary. In fact, you are now bombarded with multiple advertisements from different brand names, which may confuse you.
Photo credit: Foter.com
If you haven’t got any filter that may fulfill your need, read the review of top 10 best fish tank filters. Perhaps you may come across a suitable one.
1. Fluval External Fish Tank Filter
I guess most of you know filter by Fluval- the famous brand for fish tank filter. The Fluval External Fish Tank Filter has experienced considerable improvements such as flexible filtration line and more powerful motor. Especially, it could filter fish tanks of up to 100 gallons.
- The most outstanding feature of the filter is the capability of cleaning water. Your tank is sure to get crystal clean.
- The auto prime feature is great. When the inflow and outflow are set up correctly in the tank, it is easy to prime the pump
- An improved feature that should be mentioned is the adjustment valve of the filter to control flow rate
- The filter is completely silent when it works; hence, your animals are certainly happier with a quieter tank.
- The canister seems not to seal properly. Therefore, you may have to struggle with leaking water
- The instruction is hard to follow, making installation somehow tricky. Then, you may get burned up
- Another problem with the filter is restarting it. After cleaning, it is a bit hard to restart the machine.
2. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade 1500
If you have to handle an aquarium up to 200 gallons, the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade 1500 is exactly what you need. The filter could provide up 10 350 350 gph of flow.
Especially, the filter allows the combination of several types of media, therefore, offering you mechanical, chemical and biological filtration to make your water crystal clean in both fresh and marine environment.
- The instructions is easy to follow, and installation seem as easy as a piece of cake
- Another feature that differentiates the filter from the Fluval External Fish Tank Filter is that it doesn’t leak any water.
- It can keep water crystal clean and get rid of all fish odor
- The filter is also famous for quiet operation, so it doesn’t make any rattling noise while running.
- The popular cobalt blue color can match your aquarium perfectly
- The price is quite reasonable for such a high quality fish tank filter.
Photo credit: Foter.com
- The clamps of the filter are made of cheap plastic, which makes it vulnerable to damage, and therefore, you have to replace them regularly
- The filter is designed with too much bypass, so water flows through all the compartments at will instead of flowing through the most bottom compartments.
3. Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter
This filter is designed for aquariums up to 100 gallons. In fact, the super capacity yet compact canister filter offers the pump output of 925 gallons of water and the filter circulation of 563 GHP to make water cleaner and healthier. Especially, since the assembly is extremely handy, you absolutely could do it on your own with ease.
- Thanks to the super and high-capacity yet compact canister, the filter could work so well with the large fish tank.
- An improvement of the filter in comparison with the 2 ones mentioned above is that the filter is designed with a monthly maintenance reminder to help you know what time to maintain your filter.
- Another noticeable feature of the filter is how to study it is. In fact, the filter still keep the stable and powerful flow despite the length of operation
- The filter also does a good job in keeping the water parameter in line
- The fish tank filter usually gets positive review thanks to its smooth and dead silent operation, leaving your fish a peaceful environment.
- The space of the media filter seems quite limited due to the compact design
- Though removing and replacing the lid is not a task of challenge, it still takes you quite a long time and much effort
- The hose clamps provided mainly work well with tanks with thin edges, so if your tank has thick edges, you need to check before buying the filter
4. EHEIM Classic External Canister Fish Tank Filter Media
Though the filter of 94 US gallons is designed to work best for aquariums of small or medium size, it still operates with a high level of efficiency for larger systems. Also, the constant circulation and simultaneous oxygen enrichment enable you the get the mechanical-biological purification in a single process
- The filter has become a favorite equipment for a large number of people since it could keep water clean with 2 to 4-month water changes
- The feature, which differentiates the filter from the others, is the ability to create constant movement and great water flow. Therefore, your animals become more active staying in the aquariums. In case you want to adjust the water flow and movement, you just need to use the lever on the valve
- Another great feature of the filter is its The filter could run strong after a year of use, and it is advisable for you to do maintenance every 3 months to ensure the best performance of the filter.
- The feature I love the most is the reasonable price. Believe me; you will not get disappointed spending your money on such a good product.
- The lid of the removable bucket could get broken easily, so you have to be careful while assembling and need to check the lid regularly.
- The greatest shortcoming of the filter is the instruction which is quite difficult for users to follow. Many users even said that the instruction is useless. Instead, you may look for some clips on YouTube for clearer instructions.
5. Fluval Aquarium Canister Pro Kit
The Fluval Aquarium Canister Pro Kit Filter has improved designed and technology to be more user-friendly and work more efficiently. For example, the increased motor hydraulic performance help to reduce the frequency of maintenance while increase water flow and head pressure.
Photo credit: Foter.com
- The filter has handy installation and diverse capacity for different kinds of filter media, which makes it a user-friendly and popular filter.
- Because of the ability to keep water crystal clean for long, you don’t need to change water weekly like other filters. Hence, you don’t have to be a slave for a water
- Thanks to Improved motor hydraulic performance, the filter could break water tension without outputting water above the surface. Also, the improvement helps to maximize maintenance period
- Not only does the filter keep your tank clean, but it also gets rid of any fish odor
- The filter is considered pricey despite the high quality. So, if you don’t want to spend much money on a filter, the Fluval Aquarium Canister Pro Kit should not be put on the top priority
- Another shortcoming of the filter is the accessories. Many customers criticize that the carbon bag doesn’t fit the filter while the ceramic rings are so vulnerable. Especially, the bio balls are useless for the filter operation.
6. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade® 1000
The Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade® 1000 as a heavy-duty external filtration system could work for tanks up to 100 gallons and pumps 265(GPH). Strikingly, the activated carbon media gets rid of toxic, dirt, and odor from water, leaving you a cleaner and heather habitat for your aquatic species.
- The most noticeable feature making the filter a must-have item for your aquariums is the capability of cleaning your tank within a short period of time( about 15 minutes)
- Also, it is easy for you to assemble or take apart the equipment if you want to clean it.
- The three trays are designed with filter floss pads and one small bag of charcoal media to prevent contamination, providing your animals a fresh environment.
- The medium size of the filter allow you to put in under your tank in an enclosed stand so that you could save more space for your room
- Because the clamps are made of cheap plastic, they are so fragile and easy to get broken.
- The filter run quietly at first, but it tends to make gurgling noises after several months of use, so you need to do maintenance regularly to avoid the problems.
7. Eheim Classic 2215371 External Canister Filter
If you are seeking for a low-cost year reliable filter, the Eheim Eheim Classic 2215371 External Canister Filter can be taken into account. With the low power consumption, the filter helps to save energy while ensuring smooth and effective operation.
- The smooth and effective operation could be considered the most outstanding feature of the filter. In fact, it could clean your water within 12 hours and keep your water clear for at least 1
- The improvement that helps to upgrade the performance is the safety check valves for both input and output to prevent water leak.
- The filter can work with aquariums of up to 92 gallons, but in fact, it work best for the ones of about 40 gallons
- The media fits so well and tight, and water flows from the bottom to the top, which provides optimum filtration to ensure water quality.
- As I have mentioned before, the filter only works best for tanks of about 40 gallons or small size tanks.
- Since the instructions are somehow vague and hard to follow, you’d better seek for instruction video on the internet instead of reading the instruction provided.
8. Fluval C4 Power Filter
Fluval C Power Filter is another low –cost filter that you could consider. The filter provides 5 stage of filtration for an aquarium of 40 to70 gallons. Also, it is equipped with a cleaning indicator to show you when the polyfoam needs to be cleaned.
- A good feature of the filter is the precise and easy-to-adjust flow regulator. Therefore, you can put flow rate under control to make your animals comfortable in the tank.
- Cleaning and maintenance are extremely easy, and you absolutely could do it on your own, which helps you save a great deal of money.
- The cleaning indicator pops up when the filter pads are have got clogged with dirt; then you are always reminded when to have water changes.
- The smart design is also a star for the filter. There are separate chamber for mechanical media, chemical media and bio-media
- The filter is quite vulnerable to damage, which means that you are required to do maintenance weekly instead of monthly to ensure its sturdiness.
- The biggest problem with the filter is the noise. Most customers agree that the motor/ impeller makes rattling noise while running, which seems to be a pain in the neck for users.
9. Marineland C-Series Multi-Stage Canister Filter
The filter could offer the flow rate of 530 GPH. Therefore, it could work perfectly for aquariums of up to 150 gallons. Besides, unlike the filters mentioned above which need a 5 stage filtration process, the Marineland C-Series Multi-Stage Canister Filter allow a 3 stage filtration process so that you could save more time.
- The most outstanding feature of the filter is excellent filtration, which helps to keep your water crystal clean and smell-free as well as minimize water change. You only need to change the water in your tank once a month.
- The filter is completely quite while running even after a long period of use, so you are certainly not bothered by the rattling sounds of the motor/ impeller.
- It is also easy to clean and do maintenance.
- The price is so reasonable for such a high-quality filter.
- If you don’t assemble the filter precisely, you may have to struggle with a water
- The design of the filter makes it difficult to install and service. For example, the plastic plumbing is not well-designed and placed on a flimsy side, which doesn’t provide flexibility for installation. Likewise, the siphon and return elbow on the top allow little ease to adjust while requires much space.
10. Lee’s 40/55 Premium Undergravel Filter – Cheap Fish Tank Filter
Another low-cost yet high-quality filter I want to introduce is Lee’s 40/55 Premium Undergravel Filter. Since the filter comes with bigger plate sizes, it requires fewer plates. Especially, the plate is made of special high-quality plastic, which helps it to get a high level of sturdiness and the ability to resist splitting or cracking
- What it like the most is the smart design and the clear instruction of the product, which make it so handy to set up and efficient. For example, the ridges of the filter allow awesome water flow while prevent channeling. Also, most of the under gravel filters are flat, giving more space between the tank and the under gravel
- Since the filter is made of high-quality material, it allows a high level of sturdiness.
- Of course, the filter can keep your water crystal clear and smell-free.
- Though you can change the water once a month if you don’t have much time, it is advisable for you to have weekly water change to ensure the cleanest and healthiest habitat for your aquarium.
- The holes of the filter tube are somehow too big, which reduce the effectiveness of filtration.
What is aquarium filter and why do you need it?
The aquarium filter has become quite popular to most of us, but in fact, not many people understand what it is, how it works and why we need the filter.
The aquarium filter is defined as a machine that removes toxic, chemicals as well as debris in aquariums to create a clean and healthy habitat for aquatic species. It functions with 3 methods: mechanical, chemical and biological filtration.
Mechanical filtration: the method involves trapping and removing waste participles. Unfortunately, the mechanical can’t get rid of all of the waste particles which are then suspended. The suspended particles contain harmful bacteria that may pose a detrimental threat to your animals in the aquarium.
Chemical filtration: Basically, you use some substance like carbon or zeolite to get rid of impurity in water with the mechanical filtration. However, it brings short-term benefits and works well for an emergency while it is not budget friendly.
Biological filtration: the filtration is involved in breaking down nitrites and ammonia by nitrifying bacteria. The most important thing for the method is that you have to keep your water not too clogged so that the nitrifying bacteria may constantly expose to oxygenated water.
Because of the strengths and weaknesses of each method, most of the aquarium filters now are designed with 3 methods to ensure the best result.
The filter is essential for the life of species in an aquarium that is a small and closed environment. When contamination grows, water becomes clogged with toxins, harmful chemicals and bacteria, which means that aquatic species face more heath risk or even death. Hence, filtering the water is of great importance to remain a healthy aquatic life.
Types of fish tank filters
There are 7 types of commercial aquariums filters that we need to know.
It could be considered the most popular filter among hobbyists. The filter provides the excellent combination of chemical, mechanical and biological filtration.
Functionally, water runs into the canister through an intake pipe, and then after processed, the water is brought back to tanks through a return pipe. Also, it works best for planted and saltwater aquarium.
Like the canister filter, the power filter also allows the excellent combination of chemical, mechanical and biological filtration, making it a popular filter. The filter is usually hung over the back or side of aquariums and process water through the siphon tube.
The filter is mostly famous for the capability of making water crystal clean. However, it normally makes noise while operating. Moreover, since, it is placed outside the tank, it is somehow inconvenient if you don’t have much space in your room.
Sponge/ air driven Filter
Unlike the canister and power filters, the sponge filter mainly provides biological and mechanical filtration since the sponge is the habitat for helpful bacteria. The air pump forces water to flow through the sponge at which the water is sucked. The sponge/ air filter is suitable for the hospital as well as nursery tanks and aquariums with invertebrates and small fish.
Under gravel filter
The name of gravel filter comes from that fact that the filter is set under the gravel. An air pump and air stone are placed onto the uplift of the tubes to pump water through the tubes and to the top of the tanks.
Unfortunately, the machine only provides mechanical filtration and limited biological filtration but not chemical filtration. Therefore, it is usually cheaper than other types of filter.
The internal filter could stick to the side of your tank, but most people prefer to place it at the bottom of the tank to save space. It is designed ideally for Nano and small aquariums.
Wet/dry or trickle filter
The wet/dry or trickle filter is the most suitable for saltwater aquariums. Though it could produce chemical, mechanical and biological filtration, the most outstanding feature of the filter is the biological filtration. This could be explained by the fact that the media is exposed to both air and water, which creates favorable, conditions for beneficial bacteria to grow.
For the type of filter, water is pumped into the filter, which is hung on the back of the aquarium. Then, the water flows through filter granules such as silica chips or sands to get clean.
Since the suspended particles allow bacteria to grow, the filter may produce awesome biological filtration but moderate mechanical filtration and limited chemical filtration.
Photo credit: Foter.com
What to look for when choosing the best fish tank filter?
Though fish tank filters are available, there some things you need to consider before buying a new one.
What types of filters
Obviously knowing what type of filter you need should be put on the top priority when purchasing one for your fish tank since each type of filter system is designed specifically for particular aquarium and species and provides different filtration
For example, while canister and power filter many produce 3 filtrations, trickle filters only provides biological filtration and limited chemical filtration. Likewise, while power filters seem to be suitable for the almost aquarium, internal filters are mainly used for small one.
The capacity of the machine
Getting the right capacity of the filter could help you to gain the bets filtration.
As usual, the capacity of your filter needs to be compatible with the size of your tank. Therefore, you just need to measure the size of your tank then consult buyers what capacity you need; they could help you to choose the most appropriate one.
What kind of fish or species you are about to raise
Not many people pay attention to the factor, but in fact, knowing what fish you want to keep may help you in many ways.
For example, goldfish are a bit messy, so it prefers strong water movement while barbs like a peaceful habitat. Or saltwater fish requires good biological filtration since they are highly sensitive to the quality of water.
Cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning and maintenance don’t influence your animals considerably, but they certainly affect you. If you are up to your ears or somehow lazy, don’t buy a filter that requires frequent cleaning and maintenance because the job takes you a great deal of time and efforts. Not to mention, it also costs you a great deal of money.
Likewise, choose the filtration system that you may clean and do maintenance easily. If you buy one that is not user-friendly, you will have to hire a professional to help you.
Brand and Price
Let be smart consumers. Don’t save money on things you need to pay for. Try to buy filters of the famous and reliable consumer. It may cost you a lot at first, but you will get long-term benefits from sturdiness, higher quality, and better post-sale service.
How to set up a fish tank filter
Though assembling a fish tank filter depends on what type of filter you have, there is still a common process that you could consult.
Step 1: Clean rock, ornaments and aquarium gravel with warm water before adding them to your tank. Never use any soap to rinse the items since the suspended chemicals from the soap may become toxic for your fish
Step 2: Pour water (of room temperature) into the tank which should be one-third full.
Step 3: Connect the air line from the air pumps into the air outlets like air decorations or stones in your tank.
Step 4: Decorate the tank with the plastic or alive plant. You should arrange the plants so that they could buy equipment inside could be hidden. Make sure the water is warm enough if you place live plants. Then add water into the tank. You have to leave room between water and the cover
Step 5: Set up your filtration system
If you use the external filter, extend the tube to the bottom of the tank yet not in the gravel. You can adjust the length of the tubes if it has been placed precisely. Open the lid; fill the machine with water to fill the pump.
In case you have the internal filter, fill the filter with granules and material before placing it into the tank. Place it as the instructions and make sure it is filled with water.
Step 6: Set up the submersible heater near water flow and place the thermometer as far away from the heater as possible. Then switch the air pump, power the filter and heater.
Step 7: Check the work of the filter and temperature after a couple of hours to ensure smooth operation.
If you read from the beginning to the part, you definitely can pick up down- to-earth knowledge about an aquarium filtration system and how to get a good one for your aquariums.
The most important thing to choose a good fish tank filtration system is you have to understand what types of filter are available, how they work, your types of fish and size of tanks.
If you find the article helpful, don’t hesitate to share it with your friends who are aquarium hobbyists or those who want to buy a fish tanks. The article will certainly help them in many ways.
Related Buyer’s Guides:
1. Best Led Aquarium Lighting