Guide How To Choose The Best Fish Tank Filter On The Market


Nowadays, more and more people are using rather small fish tanks that can fit in their homes.

Best fish tank filter

If you want to take care of your pets, you will need to feed them, and clean after them. Fishes tend to leave quite a mess, and the life in the aquarium creates some filth itself.

If you want to maintain a clean aquarium, you will need to find the best fish tank filter you can find.

Like with everything else, choosing the best fish tank filter is difficult. The variety can overwhelm everyone, especially if you are a newbie when it comes to keeping fish. Bear in mind that different filters work in different cases, and the information to find the right for yourself is necessary. This article should provide you with the most relevant things of best aquarium filters.

fish tank filter

Whenever you want to buy something, you want to figure what it does, correct? There are three main things to know about fish tank filters.

Biological function

Biological filtration

Whenever a fish breathes, ammonia comes from their gills. This stuff is rather toxic, and you will want to get rid of it as often as you can. With the help of a filtration system, you will no longer find your fish floating on the surface.

Mechanical function

The mechanical function comes into play when you have to get rid of all the unwanted debris in the water. Stuff like dust or excess food can accumulate quickly, and leave the fish tank dirty. Thanks to the filter, the water remains clean, and your fish are in no danger.

Chemical function

Water is H2O. The source of life. However, there is a difference if you use water from a tap or a well. You never know whether there is something that can be harmful to the fish. A filter purifies the water and gets rid of the unwanted chemical properties in your aquarium. The thriving environment can only be possible if water is good enough for your fish.

Best External Fish Tank Filter For Your Aquarium And Pocket

If you are looking for an external fish tank filter, you will want something that is both cheap and useful. For those who are not familiar with the technology, I highly recommend following the guidelines below to get the best possible deal. All the fish tank filters below are the best on the market has to offer and picking one that best suits your needs is the way to go.

1. Fluval External Fish Tank Filter

Fluval External Fish Tank Filter

The first on the list is ideal for tanks of all sizes. Excellent for both fresh and salt aquariums, this filter maintains clean water with the help of a powerful motor. All you have to do is follow instructions that are provided with the purchase. Installing the device is simple. It’s one of the best fish tank filter!


  • It starts immediately due to the instant start-up option.
  • Clamps let you lock it in and operates without any problems.
  • If you prefer silence, there is a “quiet mode” to make sure you are not disturbed while the filter is doing the work.


  • You will have to pay more than you would with other models

2. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade 1500

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade 1500

It can be used with both saltwater and freshwater fish tanks. The item is popular among people due to its broad range of application and is one of the best fish tank filter on the market. If you have an aquarium as big as 200 gallons, worry not. It can handle even sizes like that. All it need is some maintenance, and you are ready to go.


  • A big tank allows for a less frequent replacing.
  • Durable material provides longevity for the filter.
  • Setting everything is a straightforward process which should not take too much time.


  • It makes quite a bit of noise. This is one area that the filter is lacking in. However, if you are not bothered by the noise, there shouldn’t be any issue.

3. Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter

Fluval Fx6 Aquarium Canister Filter

As soon as the canister has enough water, the system starts working. There is also a purge valve brain which can be found at the base. The valve empties the canister to make sure the process is smooth and works without any problems. Fluval company is one of the best in making best freshwater fish tank filters!


  • Intake valve has a fine screen which prevents any debris that might get in the water.
  • It works with almost no sound.
  • Clean and purified water is sprayed all over the aquarium thanks to the nozzle.


  • Giant sponges do not help when it comes to getting rid of unwanted bacteria in the aquarium.

4. EHEIM Classic External Canister Fish Tank Filter Media

EHEIM classic fish tank filter

You will find a permo-elastic sealing ring. This ring keeps filter intact when it works. There is no chance that a leakage will occur. So there is one thing to cross off the list of potential problems. Filter sponges and other stuff makes this tank filter a great item. You will also get additional accessories that help you maintain a clean fish tank.


  • More filter equipment can be added to improve the overall performance.
  • Comes with an all-inclusive deal.


  • Some parts might not have that great of a durability.

5. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter Cascade 1000

Penn Plax Cascade 1000 Fish Tank filter

You will be getting a great deal for the money you spend. With the capacity to process about two-hundred and sixty-five gallons per hour, the filter is powerful. Expect to get the water of purest quality no matter what type of aquarium you have.


  • Whenever you buy a new canister, there will be free filter media from the manufacturer.
  • The whole system is durable, and you can be sure of longevity.
  • The filter cleans pretty much everything you don’t want to find in your fish tank.


  • Can be tedious.

6. Fluval 306 Fish Tank Filter

Fluval Canister Pro Kit Fish Tank Filter

Another item by Fluval. These guys know how to make the best fish tank filters, and it’s no surprise so many are on the list. Overall better performance is what this kit does. If you don’t want to change your filter regularly, one of these will be of great use. All you have to do is keep an eye for any malfunction and do the maintenance when it is necessary.


  • Filtration is much more efficient.
  • Not so much maintenance is needed.
  • It operates without making too much noise.


  • It costs quite a lot of money.
  • The design might not look too good for some people.

7. Penn Plax Cascade Tank Filter

Penn Plax Cascade Canister Elite Fish Tank Filter

With the capacity to filter about three-hundred and fifty gallons of water per hour, this device is something that a lot of fish owners want. You can combine it with other filtering media for even more efficiency.

It will not take more than a couple of minutes to set everything up. All the necessary equipment comes with the package. Keeping your fish tank clean would be easier than you imagine if you went with this model.


  • A high capacity of filtration.
  • Takes very little time to install the system.
  • Works with making next to no noise.


  • Intake suction could use some improvements.
  • You could have some problems with the bypass.

8. EHEIM Fish Tank Filter 2217

EHEIM 2217 Classic fish tank filter

The filter comes from a company that is known throughout the world as one of the best manufacturers of this type of device. If you something that requires little maintenance, this is the one for you.

You will find everything you need in your fish filter. The model has all the improvements and has an excellent overall performance.


  • Easy to maintain.
  • Easy to set everything up.


  • The spraying might decrease regarding capability after some time.

9. Marineland C-Series Multi-Stage Canister Fish Tank Filter

Marineland C-Series Multi-Stage Canister Filter

There are hardly any filters that can beat this one concerning sheer power. This model can filter as much as five hundred and thirty gallons of water per hour. Those who want to get the job done as soon as possible should buy this fish tank filter.

The design of the device ensures that every single speck of dust leaves the fish tank. If you are not familiar with how things work, there is a DVD which helps you understand the whole process of setting everything up and maintaining it.


  • High capacity filter.
  • Very easy to install everything.
  • DVD provides the necessary instructions.


  • A cover is made of plastic so expect it to break.
  • If you own a nano reef tank, you should probably look for an alternative.

10. Eheim Classic External Canister Filter 2215

Eheim Classic External Canister Filter 2215

Eheim is at the top of their game. You will not be disappointed if you go with them as your filter provider. Great overall performance and excellent design make it one of the best fish tank filter on the market. Reliability are something you want, correct? Well, rest assured that this filter has it. When it comes to a price, it costs little for everything it provides.


  • High-quality material ensures longevity and reliability.
  • Operates with little to no sound.
  • Very little power consumption while working.


  • The design is the same as it was years ago.

Types of Fish Tank Filters

Below is a list of all the fish tank filter types you can find on the Internet or your local store.

Fish tank filter types

Air-driven (Airlift) internal fish tank filter

Airlift fish tank filter

Small is the key word when it comes to these filters. Ideal for people with less space if they want to have a fish tank. Despite the size, the quality is still there. Keeping your fish happy is important, even though the aquarium is small.

Undergravel Fish Tank Filter

Undergravel fish tank filter

This is the best fish tank filter for large aquariums to get a better biological filtration. You put these at the bottom of a fish tank. Water is moved through the gravel, and it creates a process of filtration. Even though the focus of these filters is biological filtration, you can focus on chemical filtration if you install different cartridges.

Power (Hang-on) Filters

Power aquarium filter

The most common type of models. They last for a long time and are easy to install. Overall the best fish tank filter regarding versatility.

Canister Fish Tank Filters

Fluval External Fish Tank Filter

These filters have all the functions one expects to find. Whether it is mechanical, biological, or chemical filtration, everything will be taken care of. In our opinion this is the best fish tank filter type.

Wet/Dry Fish Tank Filters

wet/dry fisht tank filter

They are the best fish tank filter when it comes to biological filtration. Ideal for saltwater, this filter generates more beneficial bacteria which gets rid of unwanted material in your aquarium.

Fish Tank Filter Buying Guide

With all the information, you should be able to buy the best fish tank filter.

Recommended Aquarium Tank Size

When you buy a filter, make sure that it fits your aquarium. Not every filter can be installed in a fish tank. Consult the manufacturer to determine the correct model.

The Filtration Technology

The technology is different with various models. Look for the features you find the most relevant and consider whether the filter has what you need.

Water-Flow rate for the Filter

This is the gallons per hour a filter can process. Another factor that you should research to determine the correct device for your aquarium.

Fish Tank Filters Brand

Some brands are better than others. If you decide to go with a name, it might not be the worst decision. A well-known and respected company will likely have a filter that is both reliable and functions without any problems.

The Fish Tank Reviews

Like with every other purchase, reading reviews about the item you consider buying is important. Since a lot of companies tend to exaggerate their product, honest opinions of other people will help with the final decision.


There are quite a lot of things to consider when purchasing a best fish tank filter. The market regularly gets new devices that excel, and it might be hard to get the best possible model. While some people think that setting everything up is difficult, they shouldn’t worry. Most manufacturers provide instructions. And if they don’t, there shouldn’t be any problems finding a tutorial on YouTube.