Many pet enthusiasts are now keeping fish in their homes using small tanks that can fit in small spaces around the house. As part of making sure the fish can survive, you will have to keep on feeding it and cleaning up the mess left behind. Messes might include dirt getting into the fish tank and excess food, among other things. In order to clean and purify the fish tank properly, you will need the best fish tank filter available on the market today.
Choosing the right type of fish tank filter is considered hard when there are so many options available. But not all of them can do the job perfectly. Before you can choose a filter system, it is important to understand how it works and its capabilities. Luckily, here you will learn more about the different functions of the fish tank filter, the types, benefits, and top models available.
Table of Contents
- Functions of Fish Tank Filter System
- Types of Fish Tank Filters
- Best Fish Tank Filter Reviews
- Best Aquarium Filters Reviews Update
- Fish Tank Filter Buying Guide
Functions of Fish Tank Filter System
Before you can learn more about what fish tank filter to buy, it is always better to start from the basics, where we get to learn about the different functions of a fish tank filter. The functions are categorized into three major classifications to help you choose the right one.
The fish will produce ammonia from their gills as they breathe and also as part of the wastes released from their bodies. The ammonia needs to be removed from the tank more often, as it is quite toxic to the fish. The use of a filtration system will help in the elimination of the fish bodily wastes from the tank. Sometimes you might find the fish dying from the ammonia waste, but this is something that can easily be avoided.
It is common to have debris in a fish tank, due to excess food fed to the fish and other dust particles from the room. The mechanical process of a fish tank filter is meant to help with removing the debris and any additional visible wastes from the tank. Once the water is purified, you will end with clear water in the tank. Having a cleaner tank will help promote good health for the fish and keep the water aerated at all times.
There are different sources of water that we rely on for drinking and cooking. Some sources might have hard metals, among other materials, that might be harmful to the fish. This causes the need to have a filter that can remove such materials from the water. Some filters will have different methods for cleaning up the chemicals. Once the harmful chemicals are removed, the fish will be exposed to clean water in which they will easily be able to survive.
Types of Fish Tank Filters
Here are the different types of fish tank filters you can expect to find on the market.
Air-driven internal fish tank filter
These filters are small, making them great for hospital aquariums or home aquariums. Their size makes them suitable for easy integration with different fish tanks. Even though they are small, they can still provide the best construction. It will help to keep your small aquarium inhabitants free from any harm in the water.
These filters are placed underneath a layer of aquarium gravel in the fish tank. These filters will move the water through the gravel to create conditions for biological filtration to occur. These conditions will make the environment suitable for the beneficial bacteria to break down the wastes in the fish tank. Although the filters are primarily for biological filtration, some models can still have replaceable cartridges. These cartridges can have activated carbon to help with chemical filtration.
The power filters are widely used for many aquariums. They are relatively easy to set up, and last for a long time. Many people love them, as they provide the best performance in biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration. They can easily hang off the back of the aquarium for convenience. They can be used for many different types of fish tanks that clients might have. The replaceable filter cartridges make the maintenance part much easier, as compared to other types.
The canister filters offer all the functions of a fish tank filter. You can expect them to deliver on mechanical, chemical, and biological functions. The body, which is often called the canister, is significantly larger for these filters, as compared to other types of filters. Each canister will have locations to hold the different types of filter media. With the large canisters, you can expect them to have more filter media. The canister filter media will require more effort when maintaining or be setting it up.
These are known to be the best in biological filtration. They are designed to be a great fit for the saltwater aquariums that demand to have an effective biological filtration. These filters get the name “wet/dry” because the filter media can be exposed to both air and water. The design, in general, will help with improving the beneficial bacteria that leads to effective processing of waste materials.
Best Fish Tank Filter Reviews
|Device||Aquariums Up To||Links|
|Fluval External Fish Tank Filter||100 gallons|
|Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade 700||150 gallons|
|Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter||400 gallons|
|EHEIM Classic External Canister Fish Tank Filter Media||92 gallons|
|Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade® 1000||100 gallons|
Of course, you can expect to see many fish tank filter models on the market today. These filters are all from different manufacturers, which makes it hard to make up your mind on the best filter to choose. Starting today, however, that should no longer be a problem, as the products included below are the best options of all of the filters on the market. At the end, you should be able to pick the right filter to handle your aquarium needs.
Fluval External Fish Tank Filter
You get superior filtering capability with this filter model. This filter is ideal for all sizes of aquariums from different manufacturers, and will work for freshwater or saltwater aquariums. The powerful motor technology helps with the faster filtration process. These varying functionalities make this product far better than its competitors. You simply need to follow the straightforward setup instructions to get the product working as required. For those who are worried about the noise, this product works quietly, with fewer vibrations. The filtration process is multi-stage and promises to offer better filtration efficiency for the product cost.
- The product has an instant start-up option, without needing any manual siphoning to get it started
- The product has clamps that can easily lock it in place for better operation and strength while working
- The quiet mode of operation makes it appealing to many people looking for filter systems with little sound
- There is an inclusion of independent modules that allow for easy and mess free dirt removal from the filter
- The product is quite expensive as compared to other products in its category
Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade 700
Whether you have a freshwater or saltwater fish tank, this filter is applicable. Such a large range of application is what makes the product loved by many people. This canister filter can handle different types of aquariums, up to those sized 150 gallons. The product can provide an impressive 315-gph water flow when in use. Just make sure you keep it well maintained, so as to keep it working effectively. The product starts up easily, by the press of a button, and it has a 360-degree rotation for better filtration of the tank. Having a large filter tank means that you can use the system for a long time before having to use the replacements.
- The product comes with an impressively large tank, which means longer use before the filter needs to be replaced
- The filter system is built with strong materials that will keep your aquarium looking great for a long time
- It is easy to set up the system so that it can start working on the filtration process
- The product can be combined with other media, such as bio-sponges, bio-floss, and activated carbon for a wide range of filtration needs
The filter makes a lot of chattering and grinding sounds when in use. This is something that the manufacturer should improve upon
Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter
The filtration system is made to start automatically once the canister fills with water. No siphoning of the water is necessary before the product can start working. This model has a purge valve drain at its base. The valve has a clear function of helping to empty the canister for the purpose of maintenance. The spout attached to the system can be adjusted to send multiple streams of filtered water to different corners of the aquarium. The intake of the canister is wide and round-mouthed, and such a feature helps with faster action to siphon more water into the canister more quickly.
- The intake valve to the canister is covered with a fine screen to help prevent debris from getting in
- The product is designed to offer quiet operation when in use
- The multidirectional nozzle will spray cleaner and purified water to all parts of the tank
- The system works at high efficiency, as it is made to be clog-proof
The system has giant sponges attached that do not offer better removal of bacteria in the fish tank
EHEIM Classic External Canister Fish Tank Filter Media
The product has a permo-elastic silicon sealing ring that makes it easy to keep the product sealed while working in the aquarium. You no longer have to worry much about the different cases of leakage that have been reported for other models of fish tank filters. This filter is equipped with filter sponges and other types of loose filter media that make it easy to increase the working capability of the product. There are several accessories included with the device, such as a spray bar, hose, inlet hose, and many others. These additional accessories should help with putting the product together before using it.
- The permo-elastic silicon sealing will keep the pump head in position once the product is cleaned
- Additional loose filter media can be attached to it for greater efficiency
- It comes complete with the filter media that you need for your aquarium
There are some parts of the filter that should be checked for durability
Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade® 1000
This fish tank filter is heavy-duty to ensure that the client gets a product worth the money spent on it. The product is mostly used for 100-gallon aquariums. The product can pump 265 gallons per hour. It is designed to deliver powerful performance, even if it is used continuously for a long time. You can expect that the product will deliver crystal-clear water for both marine and fresh aquariums. The product comes with a coarse sponge that will effectively remove the waste and excess food in the fish tank.
- The manufacturer includes a free filter media with each canister bought
- The whole filter system is built with a strong construction to help keep the product working for a long time
- The filter will remove many contaminants, such as excess food, ammonia, and many others from the water in the aquarium
The product does consume a lot of power when operating, as compared to its closest competitors
Best Aquarium Filters Reviews Update
Fluval Aquarium Canister Pro Kit
This is another product from Fluval that will help you in keeping the aquarium clean for your fish to thrive. The product promises to deliver less time for setting it up, a quiet operation, improved filtration, and less frequency of maintenance. As you can see, all these features are desirable and will help keep the aquarium clean at all times. Most people would not be for the idea of changing the filters every few months, well, this model takes that away from you. You will simply have to watch the filtration operation to ensure that it is working properly before you can schedule a maintenance.
The priming stage sometimes might scare people into getting a model they love. Do not worry about it anymore when you buy this model. The starting of the filter is much easier and can be done easily and you are good to go. With the aqua stop valves, you would not end up with water leaks when performing your next maintenance.
- Improved filtration efficiency
- Less maintenance needed
- Quieter operation
- Aqua-stop valves make it easy for maintenance
- It is an expensive model
- Not the best-looking terms of design
Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter Pro Packages
Anyone owning an aquarium would want a filter with more filtration capacity and water flow. This means that the filtration process would not take forever and it can still be done safely. For this model, you would be experiencing impressive water flow capacities of up to 350 GPH. The same model can be used on various aquariums up to those with a capacity of 200 gallons. For them to be effective, they are able to combine several types of media such as mechanical, biological and chemical to ensure that, you get clear aquarium water in the end.
The filtration process can start as soon as you have the filter installed. The best part is that it only takes a few minutes to install it. The manufacturer provides the user with all the necessary mounting accessories. Instead of the manual priming of the filter before using it, the model comes with a start button for the self-priming stage. The startups are now made easy for you to clean the aquarium.
- Impressive filtration capacity
- Uses powerful media for filtration
- It is easy to install with all the necessary hardware available
- Operates at a very low noise level
- There is an issue with the intake suction
- It has issues with the bypass
Ehm Fltr 2217 Classic Wm 264g
The product comes from a company that has a track record of making the best aquarium filters. To start us off, it is the pump unit, which is seen to be a highly reliable module that works great with minimum service. If you cannot keep on servicing it, then there is nothing to worry about the reliability of the model. The model has also proven to have better technology, improved performance, and also delivers high efficiency. These are the things many people would want to hear coming from an aquarium filter.
The use of one chamber design makes it easy for the user to install the different types of filters with ease. You simply have to swap them out for newer filters if they have to be changed. For optimum operation, the manufacturer recommends you give your filter a maintenance overhaul after 3 to 6 months.
- Minimum service is needed for the pump unit
- It is easy to set up with the one chamber design
- Easy to perform maintenance
- It loses its spraying capability after a while
Marineland C-Series Multi-Stage Canister Filter
Not many canister filters could beat the amount of flow rate you get when using this model. With a flow rate of 530 GPH, then it should be perfect for filtering your aquarium water within a short time. With this capacity, it can now be used on all aquariums up to a capacity of 150 gallons.
The three-stage filtration process ensures that you get to eliminate most of the dirt from the aquarium water. The use of biofilter balls ensures that the aquarium gets a continuous supply of the beneficial bacteria each time the water is filtered. With the replaceable filter media slots, it should be easy to perform maintenance on the different parts of the aquarium. You simply have to swap the filter media and get back to filtering your water. To help you with the correct maintenance of the canister filter, the manufacturer supplies the product with the instructional DVD on how to handle the whole process.
- They come as large capacity filters
- BIO-Filter balls deliver beneficial bacteria always
- It is easy to set-up
- Comes with an instructional DVD for maintenance
- The plastic covers tend to break easily
- Not the best for reef tanks
Eheim Classic External Canister Filter 2215
There is no way you could go wrong when buying a canister filter from the Eheim Company. The company has over the years produced some of the best filters that we used today in our aquariums. For this model, it will deliver the best functionality and smooth operation many people would desire in a filter for their aquarium. The model is also known to be highly reliable, as it does not need regular checking and servicing just to make sure it is working properly.
The model is still affordable, meaning that you have no reason to leave your aquarium dirty all the time. You will spend less money, but for a better product in the end. Also, with the lower power consumption rate, the model has gained favoritism from many aquarium users, they know that they do not have to worry about spending more to keep the filter running.
- Made of high-quality components
- High filtration reliability
- Smooth and quiet operation
- Low power consumption model
- Same old design. It has not been changed over the years
Fish Tank Filter Buying Guide
With the following considerations, you should be able to make the right decision and buy the correct quiet fish tank filter for your aquarium.
Recommended Aquarium Tank Size
Not all filter systems will work with all the tanks. Some have the capability to handle more than one tank size, but others will be fixed. The manufacturer will always indicate the recommended tank size in the description. Once you have the right fish tank size in mind, it should be easy to make a decision on the filter system to buy.
The Filtration Technology
The filtration technology will differ from one brand or model to another. Each company always wants to be rated as the best, depending on the filtration technology. This will prompt some companies to come up with a number of “best features” they could use for filtering the water, and some methods might not be suitable for all types of fish tanks. Take the time to learn about the different filtration systems and see what works for your current fish tank.
Water-Flow Rate for The Filter
The water flow rate is measured in gallons per hour. You want a filter that will fill your fish tank faster. Research to find this rating before making the purchase. It is better if you can compare different brands to see which offers the best water flow rate. Some brands will have a higher flow rate than others do, so always choose wisely among competitive brands.
Fish Tank Filters Brand
Brands matter a lot when choosing the right fish tank filter for your aquarium. Some brands, like the ones mentioned above, are known to offer more sustainability than the others. Using products from a brand should be a sure way of knowing that other products of the same brand will work effectively. Such top brands include companies such as Fluval, Penn Pax, and many others. Sometimes it is easy to find the top-rated brands by sorting the products by rating. This will give you the best products that are seen to deliver according to user needs.
The Filter Reviews
Any filter review will help to identify a good fish tank filter that you need for your aquarium. Some filter manufacturers might exaggerate the filter features that do not end up meeting the user needs. From the reviews, you can know more about the filter and decide whether it works for you or not. Some of the users of such filters will offer the useful information of helping other users to identify the best filters in the market. Make sure that you read the reviews from top rated stores and review sites as a way of finding honest reviews about the products.
As you can see, several things actually affect how the filter will work. There are new models coming to the market each other day, so make sure that you can choose the right type that works for your pet care model. The design is quite important, as it will determine if the product can fit in your aquarium or it can be adjusted for a perfect fit.
Set up and installation process is sometimes a deciding factor. Sometimes it is hard for the new users to operate the filters even with manuals supplied by manufacturers. If the product is designed to easily fit on the fish tanks, it should be easy to setup and install. Now that you know more about the best fish tank filter systems, you can choose the correct one easily.