Best Fish Tank Filter Reviews 2023

Choosing a fish tank filter can be a hard task given the stiff competition in the market where every manufacturer fronts their merchandise as the best. To help you maneuver through this murky situation, we’ve completed some thorough research on the best fish tank filter brands in the market and prepared a list of 5 aquarium filters that we think will be of interest to you. We also highlighted the salient features that make these filters stand out among all of the available options.
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Tank Size
Flow Rate
Our Top Choice
Eheim Classic 600 Filter
With a history dating back to 1949, the Eheim brand is renowned for inventing the first aquarium filter, and continues making cutting-edge products like the Classic 600.
Energy efficient. Durable. Easy to install and operate.
Some users have raised concerns about the durability of some parts of the filter. Costly spare parts.
Canister Filter
160 Gallons
264 Gallons Per Hour
3-stage Filtration
15.8 x 11.1 x 8.3”; 14.5 Pounds
Best Value
Marineland Emperor Power Filter
The Spectrum Brands Inc. owned brand, Marineland, is a globally renowned for highly innovative aquatic products like the Marineland PF0400BD aquarium filter.
Has two bio-wheels for maximum oxygenation of water. Efficient. Easy to use and set up.
Not self-priming, requiring you to fill it with water at startup.
HOB Power Filter
80 Gallons
400 Gallons Per Hour
Two-pump Design
17 x 7 x 10.5 Inches; 4.6 Pounds
Fluval FX6 High Performance Canister Filter
With over 35 years of experience in building aquatics, Fluval has continued to wow clients with extremely efficient and robust products like the FX6 Fish Tank Filter.
Sturdy. Highly durable. 3-year limited warranty.
May tend to start and stop a lot
Canister Filter
400 Gallon
563 Gallons Per Hour
Smart Pump
15 x 15 x 20 Inches; 19.9 Pounds
AquaClear 110 Power Filter
Since 1955, the Hagen Company has been consistently making durable and highly-trusted pet products like the AquaClear 110 Power Filter, and continues to innovate new designs today.
Easy to set up. 2-year warranty.
Not self-priming.
Power Filter
110 Gallon
500 Gallons Per Hour
Patented Re-filtration System
7.1 x 13.9 x 9.1”; 4.5 Pounds
Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Internal Filter
Established in 1959, the Penn-Plax Company is best known for creating quality and cost efficient pet products while listening to customers’ needs to find places to improve.
Cheap. Easy to set up. Reliable. Versatile.
Some users complained that the cord was shorter than expected.
Power Filter
50 Gallon
175 Gallons Per Hour
3-Stage filtration
12 x 5 x 3 Inches; 2.2 Pounds

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Watch Our Fish tank filter Review

What is the Best Fish Tank Filter?

Since you now know what to look for when shopping for a fish tank filter, let’s examine the highlights of the selected aquarium filters from leading brands. The selected products have special features that make them unique in terms of performance. We hope that you’ll find them relevant to your specific needs. Remember, your desired fish tank filter must meet your needs and budget.
Our Top Choice
Built to serve you for long, the sturdy EHEIM Classic 600 is ideal for both freshwater and seawater aquariums. If you have a smaller fish tank, consider acquiring the EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media.

Eheim Classic Wm Fish Tank Filter - 264g

The amalgamation of the EHEIM, JÄGER and mp brands into one brand – EHEIM - in the year 2012, brought together the combination of the best practices of these companies to the benefit of customers. Today, the Eheim Company offers a broad spectrum of products in the aquatic industry across Europe.

Made in Germany, the Eheim Classic 600 is a highly versatile aquarium filter that gives you value for money. Retailing at only $169.99, this filter is built for unparalleled performance.

Here are the features that make this filter so attractive to buyers:
  • Designed to be used with either filter pads or any loose filter material.
  • Has been tried and used by millions of clients with high success rates.
  • Comes in five models to suit your needs depending on the size of you fish tank.
  • Noise free operation.
As this brand specializes in aquatics, be sure to check out the name Eheim next time you are shopping for aquariums or feeds for your pet fish.
Best Value
The versatile Marineland Emperor Power filters come with a 400GPH flow rate, making it ideal for fish tanks up to an 80-gallon capacity. If you’re interested in nano aquarium filters, consider the Marineland Penguin Power Filter. Designed for use in aquariums with 20-gallon capacity and below, this filter works via a 3-step filtration cycle.

Marineland Emperor 400 Pro Bio-wheel Fish Tank Filter

Through a smart acquisition strategy, the Spectrum Brands Company has grown to become a global consumer products giant. With operations in 50 countries, this company has developed brands that specialize in various niches to suit all kinds of domestic pets. The Marineland brand, for instance, specializes in fish food, aquariums and their accessories.

With only $45.99, you can upgrade your fish tank with the Marineland Emperor Power filter. This filter comes with a two-pump groundbreaking design for unparalleled performance.

In addition, the Emperor Power Filter:
  • Is deigned to utilize a duo filter cartridge system for better performance.
  • Comes with an enhanced chemical filtration capability.
  • Is suitable for use on both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks.
  • Has a bio-wheel that’s spray bar-driven.
  • Is easy to clean.
Fitted with specially designed output nozzles, the Fluval A219 FX6 fish tank filter gives you the flexibility to create water flows towards your desired directions. If you don’t need a larger tank, and want to save money, check out the Fluval External Filter.

Fluval Aquarium Canister Filter - FX6 Filter (400 Gal)

Besides building aquarium filters, the Fluval brand is known for designing highly stylish fish tanks. They also have a global influence in producing aquarium fittings like heating, lighting and aeration systems.

Renowned for its high performance, Fluval’s FX6 fish tank filter come with media baskets that exclude the need for water bypass. Costing only $319.85, this filter has rubber bases for maximum absorption of vibration, hence the quiet operation.

Moreover, the FX6 filter:
  • Comes with a built-in reminder for scheduled monthly maintenance routines.
  • Is suitable for fish tanks up to a 400-gallon capacity.
  • Is fitted with Smart Pump™ technology.
  • Is fitted with a self-starting mechanism.
  • Comes with built-in power-efficient motor.
  • Is fitted with an anti-clog mechanism for uninterrupted water flow.
If you’re running a restaurant, or just want a high-capacity tank in your home, this product is a great addition to have on hand.
The AquaClear 110 Power Filter is fitted with BioMax and activated Carbon for efficient filtration. If you need a smaller version of this product, consider the AquaClear 70 Power Filter. Designed for use in a 40-70 gallon fish tank, this filter comes with a controllable flow rate while preserving the integrity of the filtration system.

AquaClear Power Filter – 110V, Available in Multiple Sizes

Driven by the sheer desire to see pets being taken care of, the Hagen Company has made it its business to provide innovative products to pet owners. With a history dating back as far as 60 years ago, this family business has grown in leaps and bounds, successfully forming a global network to reach as many consumers as possible. Besides meeting the needs of aquatic hobbyists, this company manufactures products to cater for all manner of pets you can imagine.

The AquaClear 110 Power Filter is designed for quick deployment and long service. With only $71.99 you can give your aquatic pets a clean, pollutant free environment.

Here are some of the more popular features:
  • Comes with a waterfall design that ensures a gentle flow to the benefit of sensitive fish species.
  • Designed to offer a seven-fold filtration volume compared to filters in its class.
  • Built with media baskets to make the filtration process more efficient.
  • Designed to offer conducive environment for development of beneficial bacteria on filtration media.
The Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Filter is designed for maximum filtration of unwanted particles, chemicals and biological agents from your fish tank. If you need an external filtration system, consider the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter. This heavy-duty filter comes with an adjustable flow rate feature, and is designed to last.

Penn Plax Cascade 600 Submersible Aquarium Filter - Cleans Up to 50 Gallon Fish Tank

The success of the Penn-Plax Company lies in its unique ability to research on the needs of pet owners and provide quality solutions. They address a wide range of pet needs from aquariums to dog toys.

Their Penn-Plax Cascade 600 internal fish tank filter is fully submersible. Retailing at only $20.99, this filter is designed to offer you a smooth and quiet operation while taking care of the water for your fish.

Here are a few more features that help set this product apart:
  • Besides filtration, it also helps in water circulation.
  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.
  • Fitted with a spray-bar for even distribution of water.

How Do I Choose the Best Fish Tank Filter?

If you’ve ever watched Bolt, the animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, you’d appreciate the strong bond that exists between pets and their owners. The movie stars Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) a puppy that gets adopted by Penny( Miley Cyrus). Penny get’s a contract to star in a movie with Bolt playing the role of a super dog in Hollywood. As the story moves along, Bolt and Penny get separated by accident and he’s shipped to New York.

In an effort to get reunited with Penny, Bolt meets Mittens (Susie Essman), a stray cat that’s declawed and abandoned by its owner and Rhino (Mark Walton) the hamster. To cut the long story short, the trio embarks on a treacherous journey to Hollywood in search of Penny. While many may argue that this is just a cartoon movie for kids, it’s laden with infallible lessons of how pets feel when they’re neglected by their owners. It doesn’t matter whether you keep a cat, dog, fish or a bird, pet care is one of the most important aspects for a pet owner.

For those who love ornamental fishes, it’s wise to invest in quality equipment such as a sturdy fish tank, aquarium air pump and a fish tank filter that’ll help you create a conducive environment for your pets. Just as cats need clean cat shelters, fishes need clean and toxin free water for them to survive. For you to achieve this, you’ll need a quality aquarium filter.

Fish tank filters come in different types. They include internal filters that are small and air-driven, under gravel biological filters, hang-off power filters, wet/dry filters and canister filters. The small internal filters are suitable for nano aquariums. On the other hand, power filters and canister filters offer mechanical, chemical and biological filtration while wet/dry filters offer biological filtration for saltwater aquariums.

Aquarium filters from the best brands keep your fish tank clean by filtering particulate dirt and toxic chemicals such as ammonia. They also come with a water pumping mechanism that ensures constant water circulation and the consequent oxygenation. They also reduce your aquarium cleaning tasks to periodic maintenance of the filters thus saving you time to do other important tasks.

Let’s take a look at the key features and price considerations to look for in a fish tank filter.
Aquarium filters come in varied designs, functions, and sizes. These factors affect the cost of fish tank filters in the market. For example, large aquarium filters that eliminate both biological and chemical toxins will cost more than nano aquarium filters for small fish tanks. This notwithstanding, there are still cheap aquarium filters on the market that offer limited functions and can be less reliable. The good news is that we haven’t featured such in our review and thus you can go through the selected products with confidence. Currently, the prices of quality fish tank filters range between $30 and $330. With this budget, you’re sure to get an aquarium filter that’ll meet your needs.
If you’re a pet fish enthusiast, you’ll know how sensitive ornamental fishes are. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the fancy Gold Fish or the peaceful Black Molly, if their environment gets contaminated they’ll surely get affected. So, have your fish in mind as you consider the features that’ll make your aquarium conducive to them.

Here are the key features to look for when buying a fish tank filter:
  • Type of filter
  • Aquarium size
  • Filter construction materials
  • Size of the filter
  • Filter flow rate
  • Filtration technology
  • Filter maintenance frequency
  • Whether it’s freshwater or saltwater compatible
Now let’s see how the features affect the performance of a fish tank filter. You can figure out how each one of them relates to your aquarium needs.
Construction and Design
Some of the best aquarium filter designs are made of strong and lightweight plastic. They also use a special pad or loose materials such as foam and earth particles for mechanical filtration. On the other hand, chemical filters use adsorbents such as carbon and resins to remove toxic compounds while biological filter media use beneficial bacteria to eliminate ammonia from aquariums. The composition of both chemical and biological filters depends on whether it’s designed for use in freshwater or saltwater.

In addition to the filtration media, some fish tank filters incorporate motors in their design to enhance water flow. Advanced designs use smart technology and have self-starting, anti-clog and power saving mechanisms. However, it’s important to note that the size of an aquarium filter can limit or increase the number of built-in functionalities. For instance, nano aquariums may not have many features owing to their small sizes. So, confirm the size of your fish tank before buying an aquarium filter.
Performance and Ease of Use
When buying a tank filter, go for a design that’s easy and fast to install. Also, go for models that are durable and easy to change the filtration pads. But make sure that the pads are compatible with the salinity of your aquarium water. It’s also important to note that some aquarium filter designs need the addition of filtration media to improve their performance. Whichever the design, get an aquarium filter that doesn’t require frequent maintenance.

Consider buying a self-starting fish tank filter as it’s easy to operate and requires little attention. However, confirm whether its flow rate is the right one for your fish type. For instance, if you have sensitive fishes in your aquarium, make sure that you choose a fish tank filter that has a gentle flow. This ensures that the water is relatively calm for a comfortable environment. Also, check the noise level of a fish tank filter before you buy it. Filters with noise free operation offer a very peaceful atmosphere compared to noisy ones.

Get the Best Fish Tank Filter of 2023!

Having gone through our review on the best fish tank filters in the market today, it’s our wish that you’ve found one that works for you. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to complete your purchase on Amazon. Otherwise, feel free to follow the links on this review page for more fish tank filter options from these trusted brands.

Our Top Choice
Eheim Classic 600 Filter
Best Value
Marineland Emperor Power Filter
Fluval FX6 High Performance Canister Filter
AquaClear 110 Power Filter
Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Internal Filter