A large tank requires a good filter in order to maintain the pristine quality of water at all times. This allows the fish and plants to thrive and, at the same time, keep undesirable elements out of the water. Also, a good filter invites a healthy supply of oxygen through aeration – a feature that is achieved through a spray bar. If you have a good tank filter, your favorite fish will certainly live inside the aquarium for a very long time.
Many factors will play a role in determining a suitable 55-gallon aquarium filter. But it’s vital to identify the essential ones to make this process more productive. So here’s a good starting point:
- Size: Aquarium lovers will want a filter that fits perfectly into their 55-gallon tank while remaining powerful enough to handle its filtration needs. Most people choose a high-quality power filter because it’ll be the most suitable chance to find that balance.
- Maintenance: Maintaining a proper maintenance routine is necessary for using a filter properly. Therefore, check any care instructions before making a final decision to ensure there’s a comfort level with them. It also would be good to look at the installation process for the same reason.
- Type of Filter Media: A high-quality filtration system will still need support for compatible filter media. So aquarium owners must decide whether chemical, biological, mechanical or a combination suits their tank setup.
So, if you are still looking for the best filter for 55 gallon aquarium, here are some of the most trusted products in 2023 that you can positively include on your shopping list.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Filter for 55 Gallon Aquarium Reviews 2023
1. Marineland Penguin Power Filter
Are you looking for an affordable yet powerful filter that can take care of your aquarium? The Marineland Penguin Power Filter w/ Multi-Stage Filtration is the most ideal product for you!
Despite its price, I am still pleased with this filter’s performance. This filter has a flow rate of 350 GPH, which is absolutely ideal for 55 gallon aquariums. I’m glad that it can work with no issues up to 70 gallon tanks as well. The adjustable flow rate is very advantageous, particularly when I’m feeding the fish. I can lower it when I’m spreading fish food and I can increase it to bring more oxygen.
In terms of convenience, I’m glad that this filter doesn’t need to be unplugged if I need to replace the cartridges. This feature is something that other filters don’t have. After I’m done changing the filter media, I can swiftly go back to other chores inside my house.
In terms of flexibility, I am very satisfied with this 50 gallon tank filter. It works perfectly well with saltwater fish aside from freshwater fish. With this, you won’t need to worry if you’ll be using it for your clownfish or even talbot’s damsels.
What I don’t like about this product is how it suddenly produces a loud vibrating sound, especially at night. I tried to clean it and adjust the covers but it would only be silent for three to four hours. It would make the same sound after. Good thing I didn’t place the aquarium where this filter is installed because I would be waking up in the middle of the night.
- Has an adjustable flow rate of 350 GPH
- Has an amazing three-stage filtration system
- Works well with freshwater and saltwater fish and plants
- No need to unplug the unit to replace the cartridges
- It makes a vibrating sound
2. Aqua Clear Filter – 60 to 110 Gallons
One of the positive things that I enjoy about this product is its compact size. Despite being small, it is really powerful enough to maintain a 60-gallon aquarium. Furthermore, it is very quick and easy to install; just set it up beside the tank, plug it in, and it’s ready to do its job. It has clear and understandable instructions telling how to set the filter up. However, for those who have extensive experience setting up filters (like me), they won’t even need to look at the instructions anymore.
I also like the fact that it doesn’t occupy too much space. The filter media is elongated, thus the need to decrease the canister’s horizontal space and increase its vertical space instead. The view inside the aquarium is totally unrestricted by the image of the filter. Most hobbyists will surely have a great time looking at their tanks.
The flow rate is completely adjustable up to 50 percent. This way, I can protect the motors and electronics from soaking them due to leaks. With this, I can personally see to it that the fish is getting enough supply of oxygen by increasing the flow rate. Also, a slower flow rate means longer contact with filter media, which translates to better filtration.
What I don’t appreciate about this product is the occasional noise and vibration it produces, especially during night times when the house is typically quiet. I used this filter on the aquarium in my room, but I was startled when the filter suddenly vibrated wildly. I turned it off and replaced the filter media. It seemed to silence the whole unit, and it’s not doing it again.
- Doesn’t take up too much space
- Quick and easy to install
- Has an adjustable flow rate
- Has an amazing three-stage filtration system
- Energy efficient
- Has an annoying buzzing noise
3. Tetra Whisper Power Filter
There are only a few tank filters in the market that are easy to use and offer a powerful performance at the same time. If you are looking for a dependable 55 gallon fish tank filter system, then it’s time to put the Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums to test.
One of the things that I truly like about this product is its ease of use. I was able to use the whole unit straight out of the box without changing any of the settings. After priming and hanging it, the product filters without any fuss.
Another thing that keeps me satisfied with this particular filter is the two patented large filters. These filters allow the water to be filtered properly. In addition, I was amazed at the bacteria plates that come with the product. I learned that it helps improve the health of the fish and plants inside the aquarium.
To my surprise, I was delighted to see how compact this filter is. Considering its size, I didn’t think that it could actually perform very well on my 55 gallon aquarium. I am happy to report that its three-stage filtration system works very well. Also, the time strips are a huge help when I am very busy. When the strips turn red, it usually indicates that it’s time to replace the filters. With just one push of a button, I can reset the time strips.
- Easy to use
- Comes with two patented filters
- Can be used with aquariums up to 70 gallons
- Operates quietly
- Has a sudden wild vibration every now and then
4. Penn Plax Cascade Canister
Keeping the water clean in a 55 gallon aquarium is hard, especially if you don’t have the right filter to do the job. If you want a reliable canister filter for 55 gallon tank to keep the water in top condition, the top-rated product to use is Penn Plax Cascade Canister.
When it comes to durability, this filter is definitely unparalleled. The outer shell is made of hard plastic, which protects the motor and wiring connection. This also protects the motor from leakages from the outside. The tubes included in the package are of high quality. With these tubes, I am confident that I won’t need to replace them anytime soon.
I also find the size of this canister filter appealing. I like how this filter doesn’t take up too much space. It is very compact yet delivers a powerful performance. In addition, it has three large filter trays, which can accommodate three different filter cartridges to ensure maximum filtration.
Speaking of filtration, I find this product’s three-stage filtration system very impressive. No amount of debris, harmful chemicals, and unwanted organisms are left in the water once I have turned the canister filter on. On the other hand, the spray bar is absolutely helpful in aeration. This ensures a healthy supply of oxygen for my fish and plants. On the other hand, I find the self-priming function quite interesting; just one simple push of the button and the canister filter will do its own priming. Finally, the cobalt blue color is refreshing to the eyes. It has a nice effect on the sight, especially when its color blends beautifully against the tank’s lighting.
What I don’t appreciate about this filter is how this filter is not energy efficient. With 27 watts, this can certainly increase my electricity bill.
- Has a flow rate of 312 GPH
- Has a spray bar
- Has an excellent three-stage filtration system
- Easy to clean
- Easy priming
- Not energy efficient
5. Aqua-Tech Power Aquarium Filter
If you are still searching for an affordable but totally efficient filter for your 55 gallon aquarium, the perfect product that you should be buying is the Aqua-Tech Power Aquarium Filter w/ 3-Step Filtration.
It has everything that you need in a tank filter. It operates quietly and consistently. The three-stage filtration system, on the other hand, works perfectly fine. It can filter out unnecessary particles and keep harmful chemicals out that could either stain or bring a nasty smells to the water. It can also keep unwanted organisms out, such as bad bacteria or fungi.
Upon closer inspection, I can say that this Aqua-Tech model is a huge improvement compared to previous models. I also like the fact that this product comes with a two-year warranty. This is what similar products lack because not all of them are infallible. If a filter breaks down when it’s not supposed to, a warranty is a nice way to get your money back or get the product replaced.
What I don’t like about this product is how it is so prone to leaks. The tubes are very brittle. I accidentally broke it during maintenance because I had to twist it so hard. After five minutes, I discovered a small lake at the bottom of the aquarium. I had to turn the filter off once again just to see where the leak is. Fortunately, I found one in the middle of the tube. I was able to resolve the issue by patching it.
- An improvement compared to previous models
- Has a two-year warranty
- Has an excellent three-stage filtration system
- Operates quietly
- Comes with an AQUA-Tech EZ-Change #3 Cartridge
- Prone to leaks
6. Fluval C Power Filter
If you think that the three-level filtration system is the most useful way to clean your aquarium water, think again. The Fluval C Power Filter presents not just three but five levels of filtration that your fish and water plants deserve.
For me, the flow rate of 264 GPH is perfect for the filter’s size. It doesn’t spill too much water, yet it doesn’t easily let all the unwanted elements, such as debris, bad chemicals, and organisms to float around and stain the water.
What surprised me the most is the five-stage filtration process. Other products typically only have three-stage filtration. This one, however, provides more than I could ever imagine. Mechanical filtration has two stages – the first one traps porous particles while the second one captures finer particles. The chemical filtration uses research-grade activated carbon which prevents undesirable coloration and odor. Finally, biological filtration also employs two levels of cleaning. This allows the good organisms that are beneficial to fish and plants to thrive.
I also like the cleaning indicator. It helps me to regularly clean the filter chambers to prolong its service. I am a very busy person and this works well for me. The clip-on filter, on the other hand, is another positive feature of this product. I just clip the filter media, and the whole unit is ready to go.
One thing I don’t like about this wonderful filter is how it rattles from time to time. It’s so frustrating, especially if the said issue happens at night. I tried to investigate the source of this weird noise and discovered that it came from the impeller. So the following morning, I cleaned the unit – replaced the filter media, and checked if there was a missing screw or rogue particle. The rattling stopped for only a week. I tried cleaning it again but the rattling sound is still there.
- Has a five-stage filtration system
- Has a flow rate of 264 GPH
- Has a cleaning indicator that warns if the polyfoam needs to be rinsed
- Has a clip-on filter for easy maintenance
- The impeller rattles from time to time
7. Polar Aurora External Aquarium Filter
If you are searching for a compact but powerful filter for your 55 gallon aquarium, the Polar Aurora Free Media External Aquarium Filter is definitely one of the top-tier products that you can find in the market today.
One of the things that I truly enjoy about this product is its quiet operation. It has worked completely silently since the first time I plugged it in. Because of this, I have moved the aquarium where this filter was installed into my bedroom. It’s been a total bliss because of the awesome performance of this filter.
Although this particular filter runs smoothly as advertised, I feel that there’s something that can be improved. What I don’t like about this product is the rigid pipe. I feel that it might break if I decide to adjust or remove it during maintenance. I wish there were a way to fortify the pipes so that they won’t break accidentally when I’m cleaning it.
Its adjustable flow rate of 264 GPH is very ideal for bringing more oxygen into the water. I adjust it whenever I’m feeding the fish to make sure that the fish food doesn’t get sucked into the filter.
What I don’t like with this filter are the rigid pipes. Although the pipes fit perfectly, I feel like I would break one of them if I tried to remove or adjust them during maintenance schedules. I hope the manufacturing company considers using more flexible pipes in the future to prevent accidental breaking during installation or maintenance.
- Operates quietly
- Parts are easily available
- Has three flexible media trays
- Not flexible pipes
8. MarineLand Internal Canister Filter
If you are looking for a flexible, reliable, and incredibly durable 55 gallon aquarium filter, you’ll be delighted to know that you can trust the MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter.
What I like about this particular filter are the dual filtration chambers. Through this, I can experiment a little to see which filter media can really maintain the cleanliness of the water all the time. It has an excellent three-stage filtration system which maintains the quality of water at all times. In terms of flexibility, I can say that this product is one of the most suitable. I was surprised to see that this filter can be used up to 97 gallon aquarium. I don’t have to worry about the other aquariums because I can easily use this filter on them with no worries.
Another remarkable feature of this filter is its durability. I’ve seen other filters accidentally fall to the ground and have their gears dislodged, but not this one. Once I redecorated my 55 gallon aquarium and this filter slipped out of my hands. After hitting solid ground, it still works perfectly. No part of the plastic shell got chipped or broken, as well the circuitry that runs the impeller. After testing it for leaks, I am confident to report to have found none.
Furthermore, while it is an in-tank filter, it doesn’t take up too much space at all. I can still enjoy the view of the fish and plants inside the aquarium without being obstructed by the filter, especially if strategically placed with plants and other decorations. Finally, with a flow rate of 290 GPH, I know that the fish inside my tank gets enough oxygen supply without spilling or leaking any water.
What I don’t appreciate about this product is how it can be noisy from time to time. I feel a bit anxious whenever I sit beside the aquarium where I installed this filter. Although this cleans the water remarkably well, the noise remains a major issue whenever I weigh in the pros and cons of this product.
- Flow rate up to 290 GPH
- Has an excellent three-stage filtration system
- Can be used for up to 97 gallon aquariums
- No priming required
- Dual-chamber media allows for customization
- Black Diamond filter included
- Can be a bit noisy sometimes
9. Aqueon Aquarium Power Filter
A tank filter that uses sophisticated technology is hard to encounter these days. Fortunately, the Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter employs the same technology without compromising its level of performance. If you are shopping for a good tank filter, this product should definitely appear on your list.
One of the features of this particular filter that brings a smile to my face is its automatic restart function. Just like the other models of Aqueon, this one automatically restarts after a sudden power interruption. This can literally save me effort on personally restarting the filter, especially if I’m so far away from the aquarium at that specific point in time.
Another surprising but equally impressive feature of this filter is the LED display. It tells me if the filter cartridge is clogged or not. I know that this feature is not available in any similar products in the market. This is very helpful, especially for those who are quite forgetful (like me) and not used to this kind of advanced filter.
Maintaining this filter involves little to no effort at all. The unit is self-priming, so I don’t need to worry about clearing it myself. Finally, the adjustable flow rate is also remarkable. I can adjust the GPH lower whenever I’m feeding the fish or increase it after the fact.
One thing that really caught me off guard is how frail the impeller bushings are. I thought I had permanently busted my Aqueon when it stopped working. After careful inspection, I found out that the rubber bushing got busted. Fortunately, there were spare parts lying around my toolbox, and I was able to repair them and put them back into action.
- Has an adjustable flow rate of 400 GPH
- Automatically restarts after a sudden power interruption
- Has an impressive filtration system
- Has an LED indicator for obstructed cartridges
- Has an indicator that informs you if it’s time to replace the filter cartridges
- The internal design helps eliminate leaks and noise
- Has a frail impeller bushing
10. SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter
One may say that there are no perfect tank filter products. However, the SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter will beg to differ. This marvelous product delivers a top-notch performance that any seasoned hobbyist will love.
Although this is not a widely popular product, there are so many things to like about it. First is the ventilation slots. These slots actually promote aeration that brings more oxygen for the fish and plants. The large filter basket, on the other hand, is very ideal for customization. It is designed to accommodate any filter I want to put inside.
Another positive feature of this product is the surface skimmer. It easily captures rogue debris or particles that the filter media cannot reach. To be honest, I feel that this is an added bonus that results in very clear and clean water for my fish and plants. For busy hobbyists like me, the self-cleaning impeller is truly beneficial. Instead of devoting time to maintaining the filter motor, I can devote it to other matters. Finally, it has an amazing three-stage filtration system that keeps all of the nasty particles, chemicals, and organisms out of the water.
What I don’t appreciate about this filter is how it doesn’t seem to fit on the edge of the aquarium. The hook is not wide enough to hang on the back of the tank. I had to find a more suitable tank in my basement just to accommodate this filter.
- Has ventilation slots for maximum aeration
- Has a surface skimmer
- Has a large filter basket
- Has an adjustable flow rate
- Has a self-cleaning impeller
- Has an excellent three-stage filtration system
- Operates quietly
- Easy to maintain
- Can be used with freshwater or saltwater
- Doesn’t fit well with large-lipped tanks
What To Look For When Buying A Filter For A 55 Gallon Aquarium
The 55 gallon tank is world-renowned among the seasoned veterans in the fish collecting community. And this is unsurprising; after all, its noticeable size alone is enough to inspire potential. Jumping more than just a few notches from the starter 15 gallon aquariums, most people wanting to transition to collecting bigger tanks are having a hard time to do so because of the adjustment. As a longtime enthusiast myself, I can say that there are quite a few things that others should adjust to when getting into the 55 gallon tank, especially in the filter area.
Getting a 55 gallon aquarium is no joke. Best be warned. The cleaning part especially, because now that you have a bigger space that houses more fish (and plants too, if you fancy), you would have more responsibilities to maintain the water quality. Here are some of the factors to look at when choosing your very own 55 gallon aquarium filter.
First off, size matters. Especially when it comes to aquarium filters. The size of the filter dictates how much space it will occupy from the inside of the tank. If you are not inclined to give up a huge chunk of swimming space for your little friends, there are a number of powerful filters that are available in pet stores for you. With a 55 gallon tank, having a power filter would be a huge advantage for you. Built specifically to work stronger than other filters, the bigger-sized power filter will definitely help you more than other filter varieties out there while catering to the tank’s needs in biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration. That is why it is the go-to option for hobbyists like myself. Although it takes a good size of space inside the tank, it definitely works for its keep.
Aside from the power filters, a number of collectors also vouch for the canister-type filters to help maintain the tank’s pristine conditions. Canister filters are for those who do not want to create a distraction in the tank’s appearance. Canister filters are usually hanging at the back of the aquarium or entirely hidden in a small cabinet or compartment. With the help of an impeller, the water journeys from the tank, through the tubes, and into the canister filter itself. In here, mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration takes place. As a reliable filter for bigger tanks, canister filters are mostly sought after by both saltwater and freshwater fish collectors.
The maintenance conditions are things that owners strictly abide by, or else the filter would not do the work that we expect of it. Maintenance starts at priming. Priming is basically testing out the filter and making sure that it works properly by having water flow through the tubes completely, avoiding any chance for air pockets and bubbles that would cause the filter to overheat. If you are not too keen on doing it yourself at home, then you can ask your local store for self-priming filters. Some stores even have non-priming filters, which can be a great help for some folks!
Maintenance can also be about the filter’s installation. A number of collectors have suffered in miscalculating the challenge of installation and the results can be pretty disappointing. When looking for a filter, keep in mind to choose one that with the type of installation that you can execute properly. This is both for you and your pets!
Figuring out your filter’s maintenance needs is essential to every collector out there. After all, they are the ones who would have to adhere to the schedule that they set for cleaning their tanks. As is with anything that has a motor, once in a while, your filter would need to be checked on. I myself am easily confused with the various little parts that some filters have, and I have had (on more than one occasion) found myself unable to take apart and clean my own filters easily. Since then, I have looked for filters with parts that are easy-to-change or easy-to-replace cartridges, and my problem was solved!
Filter maintenance is mostly just keeping tabs on the parts of your filter that might need cleaning or replacing for better performance. Keeping its durability means keeping your water quality as clean as possible, making a good home for your little friends.
- Filter Media
As you look for the perfect 55 gallon tank filter for you, consider looking for a filter that can support the type of filtration you are prioritizing. There are three different types of filtration: biological filtration, mechanical filtration, and chemical filtration.
In chemical filtration, the removal of unwanted toxins in the tank’s water happens through two ways, the chemical resin and the chemical media. By placing a chemical resin in your tank, chemicals are able to affect the overall quality of water by breaking down the excess nutrients in the water or eliminating unwanted chemicals entirely through treatment. This can also be done by using a filter media in your tank filter, as the water passing through it are thoroughly improved.
Mechanical filtration if the removal of the wastes that are floating around the tank through the filter media. These wastes can be anything from fish excrement, live plant debris, leftover food or just your garden-variety dead fish parts. With mechanical filtration, these floaters are sucked by the filter and are then trapped in the filter media. The rule of thumb of mechanical filter media: the bigger your filter media, the bigger floaters they trap. And while this might be good at times, overall, it leaves the smaller debris free-floating around the tank. This is why I opt for the smaller, finer media. They might need a little more cleaning from time to time, but they are able to filter every debris out there.
Biological filtration occurs from inside the tanks with the help of our little helpers, the beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria and microorganisms are responsible for helping avoid toxic build-up and in helping in the tank’s nitrogen cycle. By giving them proper space to make a colony, we are able to provide our tank with a natural partner in converting harmful toxins to harmless compounds. Improving both the water’s quality chemically and physically, opting for a filter that is able to support the tank’s biological filtration is a great move for those who are in need of a trusty sidekick in keeping their tanks clean.
These are some of the factors to consider and things to look for when searching for the perfect filter for your 55 gallon tank. If you care about the environment you create for your little fish friends, then make sure to keep all these in mind as you stroll to the pet store nearest to you!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size Filter For 55-gallon Tank?
Determining what size filters are usable in a 55-gallon will require looking at the GPH (gallons per hour) flow rate. Most experts agree that the GPH rate should be 4 times as high as the tank’s gallon capacity.
So a filter for a 55-gallon fish tank would need a flow rate of at least 220 GPH. I recommend going a little past the benchmark—about 250 GPH—for a little wiggle room.
Sadly, some manufacturers like to fib about their product’s filtration prowess. This makes it necessary to research before choosing a filter for a 55-gallon goldfish tank or any other setup. If not, this whole process could catch a buyer off guard. They may obtain a 55-gallon aquarium filter pump that doesn’t fit their needs.
My recommendation for a research starting point would be customer reviews or r/fishtank on Reddit. There’s no better resource than other aquarium lovers. After all, they will not hold back when a power filter fish tank or sponge filter for 55-gallon tank doesn’t meet their expectations.
How Often Do I Change My 55-gallon Aquarium Filter?
I’d suggest changing a 55-gallon fish tank filter every two to four weeks. Of course, I don’t mean replacing the entire thing but changing out the filter media. It’ll help improve the filter’s overall performance and keep the tank clean.
But this process doesn’t stop with just changing out the filter media. You’ll also need to clean out the interior structure within this fish filter for 55-gallon tank. As you can imagine, this area gets quite dirty after two to four weeks.
The cleaning process will be manageable, too. It’ll only require water from your tank and a toothbrush or similar tool. Once you get those items, scrub away until all the waste is removed from your aquarium filter 55-gallon device.
Can I use a smaller capacity filter for my 55-gallon fish tank?
There’s never a justifiable reason to use a smaller capacity filter than required. In short, it’s crucial to purchase a filter that meets the tank’s requirements. Using a device with a lower capacity won’t get the job. In fact, it will make a fish’s habitat much less comfortable and downright gross.
If anything, get filters with a larger capacity to make sure those needs are met. But never use a smaller one, such as an aquarium filter for 50-gallon tank, in a 55-gallon ton. It’s just not a good move for anyone, especially the fish.
How long can a 55-gallon tank go without a filter?
Most fish can survive a short time in a 55-gallon tank without a fish tank filter 55-gallon-rated. In most cases, experts would agree that it’s anywhere between 3 and 7 for a majority of known fish species. But this situation isn’t one the owners will want to test.
The lack of solid filtration, whether it’s from a 55-gallon aquarium canister filter or a hob filter for 55-gallon aquarium tanks, can have serious health ramifications. It’s just not a safe environment to help a fish thrive.
As a result, it’s top-tier to replace a broken filter when it happens immediately. An excellent choice would be MarineLand’s Magnum Polishing Canister Internal Filter for 55-gallon Tank. This replacement can then return the habitat to being clean and safe.
In conclusion, the products mentioned above are just some of the best filter for 55 gallon aquariums in the market today. They all perform admirably and are certainly worth every penny. If you are a seasoned hobbyist, you will find that some of the features on these filters are tailored to your specific needs. However, before operating the said filters, you have to read the instructions thoroughly in order to prevent accidents that may compromise the quality of the filter’s performance. If there are some things that are unclear to you, always feel free to contact the manufacturers. This way, they can provide you with the exact detail on how to go about some issues with your 55 gallon aquarium filter without experiencing a hassle.