Best Aquarium Filters in 2018 – TOP 10 Reviews (READ THIS BEFORE PURCHASING)

Being a fish owner, you want to provide the best aquarium environment for all of your fishes and aquatic animals. When it comes to building a top notch fish tank, using the best aquarium filter is a must. If you end up using a low grade fish tank filter you may find that your fishes water is not clear and may cause bacteria to build up. This puts your fish and aquatic animals at risk. In order to help you find the perfect fish filter for your tank, we’ve compiled a list of top rated filters that could be found and bought online.

An aquarium filtration system is key to having healthy and lively aquatic animals. Not all fish owners realize that filters are one of the most important aspects of a tank. There is constantly going to be debris, faecal, ammonia building up, and excess food floating in the tank, and if not taken care of it can end up making the water toxic. By buying an aquarium water filter you can consistently have your tank water cleared and cleaned. Leading you to have less work and your fish to have a better living environment.

So, now you’re probably wondering how you’re going to choose the best fish filter for your tank. You’re going to need to consider what type of tank you have, how big is the fish you have, and how powerful you will need your filter to be. Take into consideration the tank size, as you will need a bigger filter for bigger tanks. You need also to consider what type of fish you are putting in your tank, as smaller fish can be put at risk by some fish water filters. You don’t want your fish to be accidentally sucked up into it, and if you’re trying to raise shrimp or other small species you could be putting their eggs at risk for getting sucked up into the filter. Lastly, it also depends on how many fish you are going to have in the tank. If you’re only going to be housing a few fish, you won’t need as powerful filter as if you were housing a whole fish family.

This may be a lot of information to take, so to help you we have compiled a list of the best aquarium filter systems you can buy on the market. Each of these was researched fully by using aquarium filters reviews and are the best aquarium filters for sale. We hope that the information we provide will help you choose a filter that is the perfect fit for your tank.

TOP 10 Best Aquarium Filters Comparison Table

To help you choose the best water filter for aquariums, we’ve put together a comparison and contrast chart of the key features each of the top ten aquarium filters has to offer. This chart will help you get a better idea of which type of filter will be good for you and your fish:

Product Adjustable Flow Control Tank Compatibility Flow Rate Power Consumption Weight Rating
Marina S10 Power Filter
Marina S10 Power Filter
Yes 20 Gallons 92 GPH N/A 1.4 Lbs
4.4 of 5
Marineland Emperor Bio-wheel Power Filter
Marineland Emperor Bio-wheel Power Filter
No 80 Gallons 400 GPH N/A 5.5 Lbs
4.3 of 5
AquaClear Power Filter
AquaClear Power Filter
No 70 Gallons N/A 110V
4.2 of 5
Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber
Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber
No 40 Gallons N/A N/A 1.5 Lbs Lbs
4.1 of 5
Fluval C Power Filter
Fluval C Power Filter
No 70 Gallons 264 GPH 110V 3.3 Lbs
4 of 5
Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter
Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter
Yes 40 Gallons N/A 110V 1.15 Lbs
4 of 5
Aquaflow Technology External Filter
Aquaflow Technology External Filter
No 75 Gallons 264 GPH 110V N/A
4 of 5
Marineland Penguin Power Filter
Marineland Penguin Power Filter
Yes 30 Gallons 150 GPH N/A 1.86 Lbs
3.9 of 5
Tetra Whisper Power Filter
Tetra Whisper Power Filter
No 60 Gallons 330 GPH 110V 3 Lbs
3.9 of 5
Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter
Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter
No 90 Gallons 400 GPH 110V 3.8 Lbs
3.9 of 5

Top Rated Aquarium Filters Reviews

Choosing the best aquarium filter for your fish tank can take a lot of research and time because you want to choose one that fits your tank size, works for the type of fish you have, and that functions correctly. You want to make sure that the filter will be beneficial to your fish and does not put their health at risk in any form or way. Each tank requires a different type of filter, as not all filters work for all fish tanks. Fish aquarium filters have basically all the same features, so you’ll only have to know the size and the flow rate you’ll want. Consider researching what type of flow rate you will need depending on what type of fish you will be keeping in the tank.

There is such a wide variety of different filter types, and sometimes it can become confusing to find one that can perfectly fit your tank. We’ve listed the best aquarium filter brands to help you narrow down your choices, we’ve found ten different top rated fish tanks online. Here are our top 10 picks for the best top filters for aquariums:

Best Aquarium Filter: Marina S10 Power Filter

Marina S10 Power Filter

The Marina S10 Power Filter is a compact and quiet aquarium filter with a quick startup. The system is self-priming, which means that you don’t have to worry about the hassle of setting up the filter to function in your tank. This filter is one of the best small aquarium filters you will find on the market today and is the best aquarium filter suggestion in our review.

The Marina S10 Power Filter comes with a few standout features:

  • Power Filter For Aquariums up to 15 Gallons: This filter is an aquarium power filter that works perfectly for fish tanks up to 15 Gallons. This is better for individuals who find that they are using a smaller tank and need a super strong filtration system.
  • Self Priming: This system is also self-priming, meaning that it will automatically setup the correct filtration settings once placed into your tank. No need to worry about manually setting up the desired settings and risk putting it on a wrong setting for your tank.
  • East Maintenance: You will have to clean the filter every week or whenever the filter becomes dirty enough. Simply open the tank, remove the filter and replace it with a brand new one. Pop the lid back on and you’re good to go.
  • Adjustable Flow Control: If you feel the need to adjust the settings, you can manually do so with the control system. You can set the fish tank to any flow rate you like. This is great for owners who want to be able to control the strength of the filter.
  • Three sizing options: There are three different sizes you can purchase for the Marina Power Filter. It is available in both 1, 15 and 20 gallon sizes and all offer the same amount of options.

Cons:

  • Short Lifespan: While the Marina S10 is a very powerful filter, it isn’t made to last a lifetime. The price for this filter is fairly cheap, but it stops working within a few months. This could likely be due to the fact that they have it set to higher settings, which causes the system to die quicker.

Second-Best: Marineland Emperor Bio-wheel Power Filter Review

Marineland Emperor Bio-wheel Power Filter

The Marineland Emperor Bio-wheel Power Filter offers a powerful and revolutionary two-pump design that is unmatched by any other filters. It’s great for individuals who are looking to buy a filtration system for a huge tank. This best aquarium filter from Marineland is powerful and durable and can hold twice the amount of filters than other systems.

The Marineland Emperor Bio-wheel Power Filter comes with a few standout features:

  • Certified Flow Rate 400 GPH: Unlike other systems, the Marineland Filtration systems can run up to 400 GPH. This is one of the fastest and powerful systems you can buy on the market for a fair price.
  • Two Pump Design: This system includes two pumps. The two pumps help filter water faster in the tank, ensuring that your fish and aquatic animals are kept in clean, bacteria free water.
  • Two Filters: To help the two pump system there is a capacity of two filters. This will help ensure that the filter won’t get backed up and clogged. Simply take out the filters and replace them when needed.
  • Up to 80 Gallons: This system can hold up to 80 gallons of water. This is great for anyone who needs a filter for an extra large tank.
  • Bar Driven BIO Wheel wet/dry Filtration: The Marineland system is bar driven and includes a Wheeling system that cleans both the air and the water. This is very useful for aquatic animals such as turtles.

Cons:

  • Noisy: This system does make a lot of noise when in use. The reason why the system produces a lot of noise is because of the powerful engine filtration system. The pumps seem to produce noise as they are working at a one setting speed. If you do not mind the noise and are in need of a powerful filter for an extra large thank, we still would highly recommend this one.

Best Energy-Saving: AquaClear Power Filter Review

AquaClear Power Filter Review

The AquaClear’s best aquarium filter offers superior contact time with filter media which can help lower the pumps operation costs. This is great for people looking for an energy saving filter that still has the strength and power as normal filtration systems.

The AquaClear Power Filter comes with a a few standout features:

  • Energy Saving: This system offers its customers the ability to save money. The pump uses an energy saving filtration pump, which helps lower the operation costs.
  • Quick Installation: The installation is quick and easy to do. Unlike other filtration systems that may take time to install, this one can easily be installed within a few minutes.
  • Bigger Filtration Volume: The AquaClear can filter up to 7x the volume of other larger filters.
  • Multi-Stage Filtration System: This system offers the maximum amount of mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. The filter will only take away “bad” bacteria, and leaves the “good” bacteria in the water.
  • 5 Sizes: The system is offered in five different sizes. The options are 20, 30, 50, 70 and 110 gallon options.

Cons:

  • Crackling Noise: After a few months of use on the system it starts to produce a crackling or popping noise. The noise can become very irritating for people who don’t want a system that produces any sound. If this happens you can buy the warranty for the system and have it replaced ASAP.

Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber Review

Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber

The best aquarium filter offered by Tetra Whisper, the in-tank Filter with BioScrubber is a quiet filtration system that is designed for up to 40 gallon tanks. It uses large bio-bag filtration cartridges and can easily be cleaned when it gets dirty. It’s perfect for customers expecting to use a large tank and need a large filter for all of the extra debris and waste.

The Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber comes with a a few standout features:

  • Whisper Technology: This system uses whisper technology to help the filtration system operate quietly. It’s great for individuals who are looking for a system to be used in a workspace or bedroom, as it won’t make any annoying sounds.
  • Large Bio-Bag Filter: The Bio-bag filtration cartilages are bio friendly and are easy to install and use.
  • Suction Cup Installation: Depending on where you want the filtration system installed. You can easily suction cup the system onto the inside of the tank before filling it with water.
  • Removable Bottom for Cleaning: This system can be easily cleaned. Simple remove the bottom of the filter and then take out the filter cartage and replace.
  • 3 Sizes: There are three different sizes available. The sizing is as followed, 10, 20 and 40 gallon options.

Cons:

  • Short Lifespan: The filtration system is built to be small and effective, however, that means that it will wear down over the next few months. You will notice this happening when the water does not pump as fastly through the system.

Fluval C Power Filter Review

Fluval C Power Filter Review

The best aquarium filter from Fluval C, their power filter is a 5 stage filtration system that can clean up to 70-gallon tanks. It has one of the fastest filtration rates and can easily filter up to 264 GPH. You’ll find that this filter comes in handy when you’re dealing with a large amount of fish. Bigger schools of fish often leave more debris and waste in the tank. The 5 stage system really comes in handy.

The Fluval Filter comes with a few standout features:

  • Fast Filtration: This system is built to be extremely powerful as well as filtering the tank at a fast rate. The flow rate of this tank is 264 GPH and can filter up to 70 gallons.
  • Clip on Filter: No hassle installation with this filtration system. Easily clip the filter onto the edge of the tank and watch it go to work.
  • Cleaning Indicator: Unlike other systems, this one has a built in cleaning indicator to help you know when to replace the filter. This comes in handy if you don’t want to always be checking the filter and disturbing your fish.
  • 3 Sizes: There are three different sizes available for this system. The sizes are as followed, 30/50/70 gallon options.

Cons:

  • Motor Overheats: This is a very powerful system, and because of the high GPH the system may burn out over time. While the system usually functions well and has no issues, the motor sometimes will overheat. It’s recommended that if this happens you shut the system off for awhile and let it cool down.

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter Review

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter Review

The best aquarium filter offered by Aqueon is the best internal aquarium filter for aquarium and terrarium use. It is equipped with a three stage filtration system and is a fully submersible aquarium filter. It is a small aquarium filter and fits perfectly in smaller tanks. There is a lifetime warranty also offered with the purchase of the filter.

The Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter comes with a few standout features:

  • 3 Stage Filtration System: There are three different filtration stages to this system. The first is mechanical, followed by chemical, and lastly, biological. Giving you and your fishes the best filtration possible.
  • Internal System: This aquarium internal filter is the best submersible aquarium filter and can be fully submerged into the tank. It’s one of the best underwater filters for aquariums. You can install it either vertically or horizontally, making it easy to fit into a tank. This also helps because it won’t block the top of the cage if you would like to have a lid on it.
  • Adjustable: If you’d like to control the filtration system you have the option to. You can adjust the direction and the height of the water return.
  • Silent: The Aqueon Quietflow is a silent aquarium filter and does not produce any sounds while in use.
  • 4 Sizes: There are four different sizing options. The options are as followed, 10, 15, 30 and 40 gallon options.

Cons:

  • Must Be Submersed: The system is really small, and when placed outside of the tank it makes a lot of noise. It’s recommended to be placed inside of the tank and fully submerged underneath the water to avoid hearing the motor going.

Aquaflow Technology External Filter Review

Aquaflow Technology External Filter Review

The best aquarium filter Aquaflow Technology has to offer is an external aquarium filter that is super powerful and can filter up to 264 GPH. It’s designed to be placed outside of the tank for easy cleaning. This is perfect for people who don’t want to have to transfer their fish or aquatic animals outside of the cage.

The external water filter for aquariums comes with a few standout features:

  • Big Capacity: The Aquaflow is designed to be used with bigger tanks. It’s extremely powerful and is designed as a 75 gallon aquarium filter.
  • High Flow Rate: The flow rate for this system is 264 GPH, which is around 1,000L per hour.
  • 3 Media Trays: You’ll find that with many takes you’ll have the option to choose which types of filters you want to place into your filtration system. There are three separate filtration trays in which you can choose which type of filter to install.
  • External Use: This small external aquarium filter will be located outside of the tank. This is great for people who find that it’s hard to place a filtration system into the tank because of a lack of space. It’s also perfect for fish owners who do not or can not remove their pet outside of the tank to clean.

Cons:

  • Bad Installation Instructions: This product has atrocious installation. The instructions are unclear and/or listed in another language. In order to install the system correctly you will have to google or go watch a instructional video.

Marineland Penguin Power Filter Review

Marineland Penguin Power Filter Review

The Marineland Penguin Power Filter is perfect for almost any aquarium of up to 70 gallons. It works as a saltwater aquarium filter as well as a freshwater filter. It’s perfect for customers looking for a filter that can be used with any type of tank or fish.

The Marineland Penguin Power Filter comes with a few standout features:

  • Three Stage Filtration System: This powerful filtration system is an excellent pick as it has three stages of mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration stages. This quickly cleans out the tank while in use and will consistently filter out any bad bacteria that can be harmful to your fish.
  • Adjustable: If you’d like to control the flow rate, you can easily change the settings to be more powerful. The system can go up to 350 GPH depending on which size you buy.
  • Noise-Reduction: This filter is extremely quiet and does not produce any noise. It hangs off the side of the tank and the motor can work at higher rates without producing a noise from the motor.
  • Leak Proof: Other filtration systems that hang on the side of the tank sometimes leak water onto the floor. This system is designed to be leak-proof, therefore you will never have to clean around the cage.
  • 4 Sizes: There are four different sizing options. The options are as followed, 20, 30, 50, 70 gallon options.

Cons:

  • Short Lifespan: This system doesn’t have a very long lifespan. It functions properly about a half of a year, and then it must be replaced

Tetra Whisper Power Filter Review

Tetra Whisper Power Filter

The best aquarium filter from Tetra Whisper is a quiet filtration system that can filter up to 60 gallon tanks. It’s designed to work for smaller aquariums as well, thus being a great pick for any smaller sizes. It includes three filters, meaning your fish will constantly be clean and healthier.

The Tetra Whisper Power Filter comes with a a few standout features:

  • Whisper Technology: The Tetra Whisper Power Filtration System is designed to operate quietly. This means that it’s perfect for bedrooms and office spaces.
  • 4 Sizes: There are four different sizes available. The options are as followed, 20/30/40/60 gallon tanks.
  • Large Bio Bag Carriages: These carriages are designed to be extra large. This ensures that you won’t have to constantly replace filters and clean them out.
  • 3 Stage Filtration System: This powerful filtration system is an excellent pick as it has three stages of mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration stages. This quickly cleans out the tank while in use and will consistently filter out any bad bacteria that can be harmful for your fish.
  • Flow Control: If you wish to change the rate at which the filtration system cleans, you can easily do that through the settings.

Cons:

  • Produces Noise: While many customers find this a great filtration system, others are having trouble with the system producing a noise. The company has acknowledged that this is a problem and is trying to address this issue. For people who find that their system is producing noise, there is a fix. Please refer to a guide by the company and other reviews on how you can fix the noise.

Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters Review

Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters Review

The Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter is a powerful LED filtration system with an internal pump design.

The Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter comes with a few standout features:

  • 3 Stage Filtration System: This powerful filtration system is an excellent pick as it has three stages of mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration stages. This quickly cleans out the tank while in use and will consistently filter out any bad bacteria that can be harmful to your fish.
  • Self Priming: Provides hassle free setup through self priming technology. This system has certified flow rates that assure that the water circulation is perfect for keeping your fish at their best health.
  • LED Indicator: Located on top of the system is a LED light which will signal when it’s time to replace a cartridge. The LED light will either go on when the filter is dirty, clogged, or the water levels are starting to drop.
  • Noise Reduction: The system includes internal pumps which help reduce the amount of noise and eliminate the chances of any leaks or spills when in use.
  • 5 Sizes: There are five different sizes available. The sizing options are as followed, 10/20/30/50/75 gallon tanks. Each of these offers a different maximum GPH.

Cons:

  • Short Lifespan: While many customers have been happy with the product, some have complained that the system has a short lifespan. A few customers have stated that their system has only worked for around a few months and that after that the system will start to die. It’s highly recommended to buy the warranty if offered.

How to Find the Best Aquarium Filter? Fish Tank Filters Buying Guide

Choosing the best aquarium filter for your tank can become very frustrating. There are so many different models on the market, and not all of them are crafted from the high-quality materials. Some end up noisy and bothersome, while others will get clogged and need constant replacement and cleaning. You don’t want to end up investing in an aquarium filter system that doesn’t work, especially when you’re forking out your hard earned cash. You also don’t want to put your fish’s health in jeopardy.

Price

Before you go and choose the best aquarium filter, you should come up with a budget or price range you want to stay in. You’ll find that many filters on the market vary in price range depending on the features available. You need to remember that just because a filter is priced at a higher rate, it does not mean that it will work any better than a different filter. Cheap fish filters can also easily break. Make sure you do your research before making a purchase.

Types of Filter

There are various types of filters available today. You will usually see; HOB, Internal, Canister, Sponge, Undergravel, and many more. A HOB system stands for “hang on back” filter. This filter is placed on the top of the tank and hangs over the edge. The internal system is placed submerged inside the tank and water. Beware that internal aquarium filter reviews have stated that this type of filter can accidentally suck up smaller fish. A canister is designed for heavily stocked aquariums and is placed outside the tank. The sponge system is used for biological filtration which provides your fish with good bacteria. It’s placed inside the tank and grows bacterial colonies on it. And lastly, an undergravel system is placed underneath rocks inside the tank.

Filter Media

In rare cases you’ll find systems in which you can choose which type of filters to install in your filtration system. There are three main types of filters designed to be placed into your system; mechanical, chemical, and biological. Mechanical filtration focuses on removing particles, waste, and other debris. Chemical filtration uses activated carbon to remove organic pollutants in the water. Lastly, biological uses bacteria to break down ammonia into nitrites. These nitrites will then be further broken down the more they go through the filter.

Installation

Many modern filtration systems require that you set them up yourself. If you’re new to installing fish tank filtration systems, this may be challenging. It depends on what type of filter you got in the first place, but you will have to mount the system onto your tank, put in the cartage filters, and then make sure the whole system is at the right setting for your tank. Some systems will include what is called a “self-priming” configuration. These will automatically adjust the flow rate of your tank based off of how much is in your tank.

Noise Level

A majority of filtration systems are not quiet. Many companies have monopolized the realization that fish owners would choose as the best aquarium filter the filtration system that does not make any noise. Because of this fact, companies have begun developing quiet fish filters that stay quiet while in use. Many of these systems are not as strong as others, as the motor on filters usually cause them to make more noise the stronger they are. If you’d like a quiet filter then look for the keywords; quiet, noise reduction, and internal.

Maintenance

Depending on which system you choose, you will have to change the filtration element every once in awhile. Most systems will require you to replace the filters every 5-8 weeks. Some systems will also require that you clean out the entire system since there can be a build up of debris outside of the filter. If you don’t want to have to check the filter every few weeks, you can opt to buy a system which tells you when you need to replace the filters.

Flow Rate

Flow rate refers to how many gallons of water the filter can clean per hour. This term is usually displayed as “GPH” on websites or the product. The higher the GPH, the faster your filtration system will clean the water in the tank. This is great for individuals who find that they own many fish or fish who create a lot of waste. If you have only a few fish in a tank you can easily set or buy your filter at a lower GPH. You should remember that the smaller the tank, the less GPH your best aquarium filter needs. Sometimes if you buy one with a high GPH with a small tank, you’ll risk the water flow scooping up your fish and catching them in the filter system. Please be aware that you do not need a high GPH unless you’re cleaning a bigger tank.

Customization & Adjustable Settings

The number one setting you will want to look for is customization and adjustable settings on your system. The reason for this is because you can change the GPH and water flow direction to your liking. Meaning that if you buy a system that has a high GPH, you can turn it down if you’re using a smaller tank.

Filter Application

Some filtration systems are designed to be used for certain tanks and environments. Some are built to be saltwater aquarium filters while others are built to be freshwater fish filters. Be sure that when you’re selecting a marine aquarium filter, you find one that works for the type of fish and tank you are going to use. If you don’t, you may risk injuring or killing your fish. The smallest filter you will find is a 10-gallon aquarium filter, and the biggest being a 75-gallon aquarium filter. Large aquarium filters can be trickier to find, however, it is still possible.

Lifespan

Lastly, you’ll need to consider how long you want the filter to last. Many of these filtration systems will not last long. This is because many of them were created to function at a very high speed. This wears out the system, especially if they are made of plastic. Be aware of what materials the filter is made out of because you’ll want to find one that is made of high-quality materials. Please do research before you buy aquarium filters.

Conclusion

Buying a fish tank water purifier for your fish tank can make a huge difference for your fishes and aquatic animals life. By buying the best aquarium filter, you will be providing your fish with healthy bacteria and reducing the bad bacteria that can form in your tank. You never want to put your fish’s life at risk just because of a faulty filter. High-quality filters can help reduce the amount of debris, bacteria, waste, and food particles in the water and will never damage or injure your animal. Please be careful when selecting a filter, because faulty filters can actually kill your fish. It’s always best to pick a filter that will produce both the water quality and your fish. So do not try and buy any old filter you find.

When choosing a filtration system for your fish tank, consider that the main purpose of a tank filters aquariums. Don’t focus too much on any extra features these companies try to offer. A good guideline is to find a system that has adjustable settings along with high-quality materials. Do not buy plastic filters with a high GPH, as they will usually start to crack in a matter of a few months. You will constantly have to replace or send them in. The best filtration system will be made from a durable material, and run at a moderate GPH appropriate for the tank size.

All things considered, our top pick for the best fish tank filter is the Marina S10 Power Filter. This filter is the highest rated and in our opinion is the best filter you can get for a decent price. The filtration system includes the ability to manually control the settings, supports up to 20 gallons, and is long lasting. If you need a filtration system that will support larger tank sizes, then we highly recommend you take a look at our comparison chart. Needless to say, it can become very frustrating when shopping for the top rated aquarium filters, as so many of them are cheaply built and break in a few months. Hopefully, the top ten aquarium filters list has helped you pick the best fish aquarium filter for your tank. All of the information stated in this article was deeply researched and is based on verified customer feedbacks.



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