One of the most basic yet considered very exhaustive filters when it comes to keeping an aquarium is none other than the best aquarium power filter. If you are new in aquarium keeping, this article can help you explore how this device can help you keep a safe and healthy environment for your finned friends and aquatic plants.
First and foremost, keeping various fish species in an aquarium is unquestionably a delightful experience and those engrossed in the hobby generally starts out with a basic tank and a reliable power filter. Once you got the right power filter for your tank, this could help incorporate the primary phases of the nitrogen cycle and shall keep your aquarium pets safe and sound.
As you might already know, in a basic aquarium setup, the power filter is perceived as the focal point of your system. This is the reason why it makes sense to carefully pick the one that is dependable, capable of catering to the needs of your tank and, of course, a device that won’t put a big hole in your pocket.
To make an informed decision, you shouldn’t overlook the vital aspects of a high-quality power filter for aquarium tanks. Before we dive into the reviews, here’s a little overview of some determining factors to get you started:
- Capacity: It’s crucial to ensure the capacities of any of the top-tier aquarium filter mesh with your tank. If they don’t, the filter could be too powerful or not powerful enough. Both these situations would create a dangerous environment for your fish.
- Ease of Installation: Never waste money on a water filter for aquarium tanks with a complicated installation process. Instead, do extensive research into each product’s instructions to ensure your comfort with them.
- Brand: Choose a reputable brand to buy a power filter for freshwater aquariums or saltwater tanks. It’s a simple way to avoid hassles with defective products or other performance issues.
- Budget: Power filters are inexpensive compared to different types, like self-priming aquarium filters or canister models. But there’s still enough variation where buyers must make a few decisions regarding their budget.
Continue exploring the 9 power filter reviews below, and also check out some vital information and buying guides to help you ease your shopping experience.
Table of Contents
Top 9 Aquarium Power Filter Reviews 2023
1. Marineland Penguin Power Filter
This power filter is the most suitable if you’re looking for an uncomplicated three-stage filtration. It can execute biological, chemical and mechanical filtration for your tank. In the same way, the cartridges equipped in this device are especially designed to help get rid of foul smell, debris and discoloration inside the aquarium. This can be done through mechanical and chemical filtration.
It is worth noting that each filter is furnished with rapidly performing carbon. This conveys that it is quite helpful in terms of beefing up efficiency. Meanwhile, when it comes to biological filtration, take note that this device works excellently at eradicating higher levels of ammonia and nitrite.
Also, the filters are created with two-piece noise-reducing vented covers. It is also built with mid-level intake strainers that can be easily adjusted. Evidently, these stunning features are what this device a great package that you can get for your aquarium. This is unparalleled when it comes to convenience and efficiency.
Howbeit, please be guided that this power filter does not come with an adjustable flow. In line with this, there is a possibility for the impeller to produce a slightly noisy sound after a while. These are the minus points for this brand.
- Comes with BIO-wheel design that aids in nitrifying bacteria to stimulate growth
- Ideal option for anyone keeping a tank that contains 50 by up to 70 gallons of water
- Filter installation is a breeze
- Enables users to utilize 4 cartridges simultaneously
- Capable of delivering easy biological, chemical and mechanical fish tank filtration
- Does not come with adjustable flow
- Tendency for the impeller to get noisy after a while
2. Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter
This power filter from Aqua Clear is specifically equipped with activated carbon, AquaClear foam, cycle guard and BioMax that enables unceasing biological filtration and superb water quality. Its re-filtration system allows it to provide maximum contact period with filter media and its energy-reducing pump is quite functional and reliable to utilize.
Once you purchase this item, it is backed up by a two-year warranty and it is actually highly recommended for anyone keeping an aquarium that could contain up to 110 gallons of water. Moreover, it comes in varied sizes that could suit specific tank sizes. Keep in mind that this pump is well-fitted to be utilized in water temperatures by up to 35 degree Celsius.
Basically, since this filter does not utilize a cartridge system where it is lifted off when cleaning the filter media, the fish tank is kept clean and free of any harm. The reason behind this is that the healthy bacteria colonies are not eliminated. Also, this shall assure that a suitable amount of good bacteria still remains in the aquarium; only one of the 3 filter components is lifted off during maintenance.
However, a few of the weak points that you need to unveil regarding this best aquarium power filter brand are it’s not as compact as other power filter brands sold on the market these days. And, some minor issues are to be expected if you decide to get the smaller version.
- Good option for those who are on a budget
- Smooth sailing to set up
- Does not necessitate roomy space
- Helps reduce operational costs since it’s quite energy-efficient
- Capable of executing all the requirements of filtration
- Users may encounter flow issues with smaller versions
- Not as compact as compared to other power filter brands
3. Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter
This power filter uses tiny filter cartridges that users can easily adjust to low or high water levels. And it is built with a 26 gallon per hour pump that can cycle a tank containing 4 gallons of water over six times per hour. Since it is made with a space-saving design and the internal filter is made to be possibly clipped on the tank, you can easily hide it inside the aquarium.
More than that, this is designed to have two filters in one. The ultra-activated carbon is responsible for eliminating tank water discoloration and foul smell, while the cartridge floss is the one that traps fish droppings and other sorts of residues. This is an economical option in that it already includes the required accessories that enable the device to operate on its full potentials such as the internal filter, hinged lid, filter cartridge, and tank clip.
Still and all, bear in mind that if you’re utilizing this filter for turtle tanks or other messy creatures, it necessitates frequent cleaning. And, tiny fishes tend to get suctioned by this filter. Hence, this is not recommended to use if you have tiny finned friends dwelling in your tank.
- Highly practical to use for aquariums that contain 4 gallons of water
- Equipped with 25 Gallon per Hour pump
- Made has space-saving design that makes it ideal for smaller tanks
- All necessary accessories are already contained in the box
- Built having two filters in one
- Calls for regular cleaning
- Tiny aquarium creatures tend to get suctioned
4. Aqua-Tech Power Aquarium Filter
Aqua-Tech Power Aquarium Filter is equipped with 3 filter cartridges that are quite easy to replace. This does a sterling job of improving tank water movement, filtration and circulation. Aside from these, the components of the filter are sturdy and top quality. As for the filters, these are a piece of cake to replace. They are adept at trapping wastes, various sorts of toxins, and foul odors. And, they could also cover more ground than activated carbon.
If compared with other similar products, this operates silently. The intake tube plus other inserts are absolutely no trouble to place. In other words, installation and maintenance is not something to be exhausted about and at the same time, you can relax and enjoy its wonderful job.
It is interesting that this filter is designed with a fountain-like functionality that is definitely very relaxing and awesome to behold. And, if you are currently keeping aquatic creatures that are quite messy to take care of, then this Hang-on-Back filter can considerably assist you in keeping the tank water pristine and clear on a regular mode without much struggle for you to be upset about.
This power filter unquestionably comes with several stunning features that can amaze every buyer. But, when it comes to its reliability record, this is not ideal in that aspect. Also, it is only perfectly fitted for smaller tanks.
- Built with advanced and gilt-edge three-step filtration
- Highly recommended for anyone keeping an aquarium that contains 30 by up to 60 gallons of water
- Does a great job at wiping out impurities and wastes inside the tank
- Supported by a two-year warranty
- Offers supreme water to carbon contact
- Works best only for smaller tanks that come with a maximum capacity of 15 gallons
- Unimpressive reliability record
5. Fluval C Power Filter
This Fluval C Power Filter is built with a ceramic heater core that is intended to provide effectively as well as balanced heat dispersion inside the tank. Many smart aquarists prefer this brand because it is designed with every exclusive filtration technology that can provide maximum results. It is a child’s play to set up and maintaining it is not burdensome. It is perceived as one great solution to keep your tank water clean and safe for your aquarium pets and plants.
If you want to shop for a hang-on-back filter that is highly recommended for heavily stocked tanks, then you do not need to prolong your search. This device is especially engineered with remarkable processing power and it already includes three primary kinds of filtration. As a matter of fact, this is a very cost-effective option in that it is made with 5-stage filtration system to ensure pristine clear water for the tank.
On the other hand, this power filter’s current selling price is above average so it may not be a practical option for those with limited budgets. Besides, it requires replacing media regularly, which can also be a pricey cost for you to deal with when you purchase this product.
- Does an awesome job at ensuring a stress-free hub for your aquatic pets and plants
- Constructed with clip on filter, easy and quick to maintain
- Capable of filtering by up to a total of 119 gallons per hour
- Designed with cleaning indicator that notifies the time when polyfoam has to be washed off
- Reliable at sustaining clear and safe tank water
- Selling cost is a little above average
- Requires replacing media regularly which can be costly
6. Aqueon Quietflow Power Filter
Shopping for the most appropriate internal power filters for aquariums can be a nightmare especially if you know for yourself that you aren’t that expert when it comes to picking one. Luckily, with this brand, you won’t feel disappointed in the end.
What makes this an ideal pick is that it is capable of getting rid of nitrites, ammonia, residues and other chemicals, discoloration and foul odors inside the tank. As of its size, it is very small so it won’t consume more space, but the filtration unit is used internally, which implies that if you are currently keeping a smaller tank, you may need to consider this occurrence.
This power filter is known for being fairly straightforward to set up and operate. You can just plug it in and you’re all set. It works with barely any irking sound so this would be a good buddy for your aquarium pets too. And, it is equipped with suction cups that are intended to keep the filter in place; you need to be aware though that it is impossible to position it horizontally.
For all that, you need to know that this power filter may consume more space inside the tank when used internally. And, its durability is not that superb as compared to other similar brands.
- Designed with an auto-start pump that does not need priming and reboots automatically when power is interrupted
- Built with top-quality processing power that works exceptionally
- Carbon cartridge aids in alleviating tank water discoloration and bad smell
- Can guarantee significant amount of filtration capacity for smaller tanks
- Capable of filtering and clearing the tank water in no time
- May take up some space inside the aquarium
- Durability isn’t up to far
7. Marina Power Filter
Undeniably, it could be physically and mentally draining to search for the most suitable power filters for aquariums, given there are limitless options that are sold on the market at present. This version for Marina is a great choice for you to consider.
Surely, there are several reasons to love this product. This will be the top-rated bang for the money because it is an A1 product primarily designed to keep the tank water clean and safe for your fish. It has a compact and slim design that works superbly for tight gaps. And, it is built with Ceramitek that can superiorly execute biological filtration.
Apart from all these, you can be guaranteed of adjustable flow rate and this is user-friendly, too, because it is made with an automatic start-up feature that makes it even more practical and convenient to utilize. You won’t need to undergo struggling times when setting it up and maintaining it because these can be done quickly. This won’t irritate your ears as well because it operates silently.
Notwithstanding, it may cost a little if you buy cartridges. Also, the filtration capacity of this power filter is small and may not be that versatile for utilizing several filter media types.
- Designed with easy-to-adjust flow control features
- Plain sailing to maintain
- Easy to customize
- Specifically made for aquariums containing by up to ten gallons of water
- Avant-garde filter with modification
- Less versatile and small filtration capacity
- Purchasing cartridges can be costly
8. Aqueon QuietFlow Aquarium Filters
This power filter for the fish tank is self-priming. This implies that it is not cumbersome to install. It is actually created to have the capability to shield against leaks. It is also meant to supply a higher flow rate for a greater content of oxygen that your finned buddies will definitely love.
It is worth mentioning that this filter is made with the auto-start-up feature, which is specifically practical for anyone residing in an area susceptible to power interruptions more often. As you know, there is no need to start the filter manually every time the electricity comes back on.
Also, what makes it a nice device to get for your aquarium is that it is engineered with five-stage filtration that works to sustain clean, fresh and safe water for your fish tank dwellers. In like manner, it is designed with LED light indicator that tells users when the cartridge is already congested and requires to be replaced. It does not produce any annoying sound while operating so it won’t disturb you and your aquarium pets.
This power filter is an amazing device that’s worth considering; however, you also need to be careful of two not-so-good factors; first, it has the tendency to get damaged instantly and the second one is that changing the filters at the required time can distract healthy bacteria colonies.
- Built with LED indicator light that alerts users to replace the congested cartridges
- Can guarantee flow rates that help in properly circulating the water
- Offers biological, chemical and mechanical filtration and is also equipped with Aqueon specialty pads
- Automatically starts up after power interruptions or after cleaning
- Made with internal pump that aids in alleviating leaks and noise
- Replacing the filters can distract beneficial bacteria colonies
- Has the potential to break easily
9. Tetra Whisper Power Filter
This aquarium filter is one-of-a-kind. You can’t say anything negative about its intuitive filtration system that alerts users regarding the current condition of the cartridge without exerting much effort to do so. By the same token, this includes a Timestrip so there is no need to spend additional money. It is perceived as a flexible product that you can just easily plug in and it will start working at its best.
And, there are a total of 4 distinct sizes and capabilities which convey that you can immediately find the one that can meet your standards. Fundamentally, once your selected power filter reaches your place, all the things you will require to set it up are already contained in the box. You can also rely on the installation instructions that help make the setting up process a breeze to manage.
Be that as it may, this power filter comes with a few pitfalls for you to watch out for. While it is surprising that its name indicates “whisper” which may connote that it’s not loud when working, it seems otherwise. Also, it could be too powerful that may the possibility to distract your fish inside the tank.
- Utilizes two huge-sized carbon filters
- Equipped with an intuitive filtration system
- Specifically built for tanks that contain by up to 70 gallons of water
- Works adeptly at straining out waste and filth from the tank water
- Can be used readily once unboxed
- Intense and disturbing noise while operating
- Can be too strong that can scare away tiny aquarium creatures
What To Look For When Buying An Aquarium Power Filter
When shopping, there are some buying guides that you need to look into first so that you can be assured that you can get the most suitable possible option that can satisfy all your requirements and expectations. The same goes when looking for an aquarium power filter that can suit your tank needs and preference.
Here are some of the purchasing considerations that can help you find the right choice for a reliable and top-quality aquarium power filter:
Budget – Not to mention, this is usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of shopping. This could help you easily decide which option to buy since this indicates the amount of money you currently have to invest in a power filter.
Kinds of filtration – There are different types of filtration, namely biological, chemical and mechanical filtration.
- Biological filtration focuses and strains microlife that are present in the aquarium such as hazardous byproducts from fish and other kinds of waste inside the tank.
- Chemical filtration targets undesired, poisonous and dangerous chemicals in the water that generally have significant effects in the quality of tank water.
- Mechanical filtration helps get rid of water particulates and aid in sustaining clear and safe tank water.
Capacity – Aquarium power filters are precisely built to work within a specific power range. It is essential to understand that the “strength” is commonly penned in actual units of power like volt or as the capacity the device could support.
Thus, it matters to select a filter capable enough to support the size of your tank or larger than it. It is not advised to utilize an aquarium filter meant for small aquarium sizes.
Kinds of aquarium filters – Aquarium filters can be purchased in different forms hinging on its purpose of use. Indeed, the most typical forms of aquarium filters comprise of hang-on-back filters, under gravel filters, canister filters, internal filters, and wet or dry filters.
To come up with the right decision, it is crucial to know what you intend to utilize the power filter for.
Is it a breeze to install and operate? – Admit it or not, not all aquarium keepers are adept at handling various aquarium-related chores. So, if you’re still a newbie, hang-on-back and internal filters are great options to look through because these are the easiest to set up.
In fact, canister filters and wet or dry filters are generally reserved for tanks that are bigger and could hold a total of 100 gallons of water. And, these are more intricate to set up too.
Meanwhile, under gravel filters are slightly more tedious to handle and they especially require to be set up prior to filling the aquarium.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is an aquarium power filter? How does it work?
Power filters are also referred to as overflow or hanging filters that are generally sold in reasonably priced fish tank kits. What’s more, such a device is usually straggled on the back of the aquarium and works by drawing water in with the aid of a lift tube and then moving it back in a spillway. This comes with a water pump that is meant to maneuver the water in the tank.
An overflow filter operates with the help of a lift tube that lies in the water, which the pump employs in order to pull the water up and out of the aquarium. After that, the water goes through a filter chamber wherein different kinds of filter media push it. Please take note that the phases of filtration differ by model. Some versions provide as many as five filtration phases. In general, biological, chemical and mechanical filtrations are always included.
What are the different types of power filters?
The Different Kinds of Aquarium Filters are:
These can be installed and use in a snap. It is exceptional in cleaning the tank even though it does not get into the water. This operates by suctioning the water up a tube and maneuvers it by three filtration chambers where waste, as well as dangerous chemicals, are eliminated and then transmitted it back to the aquarium. But, a healthy bacteria colony is commonly alleviated when the cartridge is changed.
These are intended for smaller tanks containing a total of 20 gallons. They are mounted inside the aquarium and are equipped with suction cups to help them remain in place. These filters usually lie at the bottom section of the tank and inhibit residues from accumulating. These are the less costly options.
Under Gravel Filters
They sit below the gravel substrate and operate by siphoning water by slots on the top. Such a device could utilize an air tube that brings water and debris into the filter or employ a low flow suction tube. They are intended for mechanical filtration. These are ideal only for smaller aquariums and are high maintenance.
These are set up outside the tank and are capable of forming a pressurized flow of water. They pump water in a siphon and run it by separate filtering sections that commonly take care of three kinds of filtration. They do not require gravity or air in order to maneuver water. These are good for chemical and mechanical filtration but not for biofiltration. They have different sizes for aquarium capacity and fish loads.
Wet or Dry Filters
These come with external and internal components. Water is drawn into the internal section and transmitted through the tube out to the external part. They don’t supply greater mechanical or chemical filtration levels; nonetheless, their excellent oxygen access makes them superb for biofiltration.
Why do you need a power filter for aquarium? (Benefits)
As already previously discussed, aquarium power filters are necessary to invest in when you’re keeping an aquarium because they execute the very valuable job in keeping a clean, safe and healthy hub for various fish species and aquatic plants dwelling inside the tank. And, some more of the perks that you can obtain if you invest in a high-quality filter includes the following:
- Ease of installation, cleaning and maintenance
- Do not come in very expensive price tags
- Can be instantly hanged on the back of the tank
- Can help in boosting water surface agitation
- Safe for aquarium pets and plants
- Reliable to use and user-friendly for newbies
Frequently Asked Questions
How powerful should my fish tank filter be?
Filters for aquarium filtration are categorized by their flow rate. In other words, their power output is demonstrated by their provided GPH (gallons per hour) measurement. A suitable filter for an aquarium will have a GPH rating of at least four times its tank’s capacity.
For instance, a person with a 100-litre aquarium (about 26 gallons) should choose a filter with 104 GPH or higher. Since you won’t find an exact 102 GPH filter, a 105 GPH or 110 GPH would be perfectly fine.
Can you have too powerful a filter on a fish tank?
Filters can be too powerful and cause severe problems for the fish inside your tank. For instance, they can give aquatic creatures trouble swimming through the strong current.
Therefore, buyers must avoid using filters designed for large tanks as small aquarium filter devices. Instead, you should stick with the recommendations in each filter’s product description. Or follow the rule that a filter’s GPH flow rate must equal four times your tank’s capacity.
Are canister filters better than power filters?
Both canister and power filters have situations where they’d be a better choice. For instance, a canister model offers more effective filtration, but it also comes at a higher price.
It’s why people usually only use canisters for larger tanks with a lot of fish. They are an excellent choice for working as a 55-gallon freshwater aquarium filter.
But a power filter aquarium device, also known as a hang-on-the-back filter, will be affordable while being a bit more convenient with its installation and setup. It makes them an ideal choice for a small tank or anyone new to being an aquarium enthusiast.
How long do fish tank power filters last?
A power filter can last a couple of years without needing a replacement. But it’ll require a thorough cleaning more frequently than other types. This issue stems from it being an internal fish tank filter, which picks up worse wear and tear. So buyers must clean the filter every week or two weeks to promote its longevity and performance.
What are the most trusted aquarium power filter brands?
You are probably well-aware that there are so many power filter brands available today. And, to help you ease the confusion of which one to get for your tank, the top-tier and most trusted brands are the following:
How to install and use?
Installation generally differs hinging on the brand and model you purchased. Hence, it is sensible to carefully read the manual for more specific and exhaustive installation directions.
Meanwhile, here are the general or basic instructions when setting up a power filter for your tank:
- Once unboxed, inspect the filter carefully. Check if there are damages or defects.
- If the device is in good condition, wash it off thoroughly. Keep in mind that this is particularly essential for any carbon filters since it maneuvers the carbon around, tidies any loose bits and guarantees efficient contact with the water after setting it up.
- Set up the intake tube. Note that this must lie toward the underneath section of the tank. This should be roughly an inch or so above the gravel. Generally, you could consider cutting the tubing to enable it to lie at a suitable height.
- Carefully fill the filter box with water. When all things are appropriately prepared and set, plug in the filter. Then, wait for a few seconds for the device to obtain maximum flow.
How to care & clean?
In substance, no matter what type of filter media you are utilizing, this will require to be cleaned by thoroughly washing it off to eliminate any residue that has accumulated. Sooner or later, there will be a need to change each filter media.
If your device comes with a sponge, then ensure to wash it off in tank water as required. Please be guided that only when it begins to reveal signs of wearing away or damage do they require to be changed.
And, carbon media must be changed often in order to keep the tank water clear of any dangerous toxins. In case you need to add any water treatment to medicate your fish, bear in mind that it is important to lift the carbon filter off first. Otherwise, it will filter out the treatment, which implies that the tank won’t get medicated and the filter will require changing much sooner.
Besides, it is required to tidy the pump as well as tubing on an occasional basis since they could halt functioning appropriately if too many residues or wastes accumulate.
What is the warranty?
The warranties for power filters always depend on the manufacturer’s offer. This implies that various brands do not offer the same warranties. Due to this, prior to making the final purchase, you may check the warranty details first so you can have an idea regarding the coverage or support that you can get or avail of in case there are certain concerns that need to be addressed and resolved regarding your purchase.
In the event the product you’re buying is not supported by any warranty, then it is advised to consider looking for other options that can offer you a warranty.
Where to buy?
Fortunately, there are available power filters on the market that are quite reliable and durable these days. Perhaps, the only problem that you may encounter when shopping for one is picking the suitable device for you, considering there are a plenty of options that you can select from.
Power filters can be bought in local fish or pet stores neighboring your place. Visiting one of these shops can offer you a few brands to pick from. However, suppose you want to search for them on the web. In that case, you can start shopping from trusted online shopping sites such as Amazon, Walmart, Lowes, eBay, Petsmart, Petco and many other sites trusted by millions of consumers worldwide.
The best aquarium power filters are popularly sold as compared to other forms of filters. Their low price, ease of installation as well as maintenance, plus, of course, their numerous optional features; all these are just a few of the reasons why both newbies and pros in the aquarium hobby can’t go without this device to help take better care of their aquarium pets.
As clearly discussed in this article, looking for the right, functional and reliable power filter can greatly assist in keeping the tank water pristine and clear and a healthy hub for various fish and aquatic plants to thrive in. Indeed, such a device will provide the necessary biological, chemical and mechanical filtration for your finned friends and aquarium plants to stay safer, healthier and livelier.
With the product reviews and buying guides detailed in this post, you can certainly ease the burden of searching for the right option. Happy shopping!