Best Fish Tank Water Filter

           If you have pet fish, you want to care for them as well as possible. Also, the environment in their aquarium must be taken care of for your beloved fish to have a long and healthy life. For this to happen, you should install a fish tank water filter that will keep the water in the aquarium clean, providing a safe environment for the fish and plants. As you have already noticed, in the comparison table above we have ranked the best 5 products of this kind on the market. Also, in the rest of the article, we will talk more about them and what they have to offer so that you may form a better idea on the importance of these items.

Top 5 Fish Tank Water Filters Comparison

1. Fluval Canister Filter Fx6 2. Marineland Emperor 400 3. Penn Plax Cascade Canister 1000 4. Eheim Ehm Fltr 2217 5. AquaClear Power Filter 110
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General Information

Brand Fluval MarineLand Canister Eheim AquaClear
Model Fx6 Emperor 400 Cascade 1000 Classic 600 AquaClear 110
Dimensions 15.75 x 15.75 x 20.8 in 7 x 17 x 10.5 in 17 x 10 x 11.5 in 15.8 x 11.1 x 8.3 in 7.1 x 13.9 x 9.1 in
Weight 19.9 lbs 4.6 lbs 12 lbs 14.5 lbs 4.5 lbs

Product Specifications

Type External Canister Hang on Back Power External Canister External Canister Hang on Back Power
Water Freshwater and Saltwater Freshwater and Saltwater Freshwater and Saltwater Freshwater and Saltwater Freshwater and Saltwater
Maximum Tank Size 400 gal. 80 gal. 100 gal. 159 gal. 110 gal.
Flow Rate 563 GPH 400 GPH 265 GPH 264 GPH 500 GPH
Media Capacity 11.5L N/A 6L 6.60L N/A
Filtration Multistage Filtration Multistage Filtration Multistage Filtration Multistage Filtration Multistage Filtration
Power Cord Length N/A 6 ft. 6 ft. 6 ft. 6 ft.
Power Consumption 43W 19W 28.5W 20W 14W
UL Listed


Self-starting Filter Extra Large Spray Bar-Driven BIO-Wheels Quick, easy push-button self-primer No Media Trays Refiltration System
Monthly maintenance reminder Indicator Windows and Two-Way Hinged Cover Flow Rate Cut-off Valves Quiet and efficient operation Large filter media volume
Constantly measured Impeller Speed and Force Two-pump Design Two independent directional 360° rotating valve clamps Long-lasting Flexible Silicon Sealing Ring in Pumphead Cycle Guard
Smart Pump Technology Dual Impellers Sturdy tip-proof Base Low Energy Consumption Quite Operation
Quite Operation Additional Media Slots Quick-disconnect Tubing Connectors One Chamber Design Industry Leading Pump Technology
Multi-Directional Output Nozzles Total Water Circulation Four Locking Clamps with a Motorhead Equipped with an Integrated O-ring 3-6 month Maintenance Intervals Natural Waterfall Design


Warranty 3-year warranty 1-year warranty 3-year warranty 2-year warranty 2-year warranty
User Manual
Customer Support

2018 Fish Tank Water Filters Reviews

1. Fluval Canister Filter Fx6

           Our first choice, the Fluval Canister Filter Fx6, is a high-capacity canister that won’t let you down. It may be more expensive than the other models, but you can be sure that this product is one of the best options available. This external canister model is recommended for fresh and saltwater aquariums up to 400 gallons. The flow rate of this fish tank water filter is 563 GPH and it has a media capacity of 11.5 liters. Regarding the filtration, the Fluval Canister Fx6 is able to keep the water in the aquarium clean and clear at all times due to the mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. As you can see, with this filter, your fish will live in a healthy environment at all times. Additionally, in order to make it even more powerful, the manufacturer has added some very interesting features that are meant to increase its value. Therefore, the Smart Pump technology is able to pause the pump every 12 hours for a constant performance and efficiency, and the impeller speed and force are constantly measured for a very powerful output as well as energy efficiency. All the parts used in the manufacturing process are strong and durable and it runs smoothly, so you won’t hear it while it’s on. Furthermore, the model automatically starts after you plug it in and it also has a built-in monthly maintenance reminder. The only disadvantage of the Fluval Canister Fx6 is the fact that its size requires a larger storage place, but considering the filtration capacity, it’s not actually a drawback.

2. Marineland Emperor 400

           Our second choice is the Marineland Emperor 400, which is a hang-on-back aquarium filter that delivers great results right from the beginning. The power filter is suitable for both fresh and saltwater aquariums with a maximum capacity of 80 gallons. The flow rate of 400 gallons per hour is more than enough for a healthy environment for a longer period of time. The three-stage filtration system provides mechanical, chemical and biological filtration for a deep cleaning of your aquarium. Moreover, the aquarium filtration system features two BIO-wheels that increase its efficiency, delivering excellent biological filtration for any system. As a tip, you should never try to clean the BIO-wheels because you may do more harm than good. Also, the fish tank water filter comes with indicator windows and a two-way hinged cover that provide easy access and service convenience, as well as two pumps for increased flow and filtration. The dual impellers give extra power, while the additional media slots are a perfect addition in case you want to increase the filtration of the system. We believe that the Marineland Emperor 400 is one of the best power filters that can be achieved at a very reasonable price. Although it only comes with a 1-year warranty, the Marineland Emperor 400 is a durable aquarium filtration system that won’t let you down, so if you want to make a sure investment then look no further.

3. Penn Plax Cascade Canister 1000

           This external canister model is a heavy duty filter that will deliver great performance, being able to keep your fish in a healthy and clean water with no inconveniences. Just as the other two models, it is recommended for both fresh and saltwater aquariums that don’t exceed the size of 100 gallons. The flow rate is 265 GPH and you can easily control the water flow with the help of the quick-disconnect tubing connectors. The multistage filtration system, namely manual, chemical, and biological filtration can be set up as you want by choosing the desired filtration media. Another important aspect to mention is the fact that the Cascade 1000 runs very quietly, so you won’t be bothered by the noise, even if the aquarium is placed in the room where you usually sleep. The four plastic looking clamps, as well as the motorhead with the integrated O-ring, are specially designed to deliver a tight seal, and the sturdy tip-proof base will make it very steady due to the permanently mounted rubber feet. Furthermore, it features a large push button for convenient priming and two independent directional 360° rotating valve clamps. Additionally, the filter is very easy to clean and it’s a perfect choice for those who want a reliable filter for their fish tank.

4. Eheim Ehm Fltr 2217

           The next product in our top is the Eheim Ehm Fltr 2217 external canister filter, which is definitely a solid choice for fish lovers. The device is suitable for tanks with a maximum 159 gallons of fresh or salt water and it features a simple design that will fit in any decor. The flow rate is 264 gallons per hours, being able to constantly clean and sanitize the water for your fish. It offers excellent filtration possibilities, including mechanical, chemical, biological, and adsorptive filtration because it doesn’t have special baskets. This also means that a greater water flow will pass through the filtration media. The long-lasting flexible silicon sealing ring placed in the pump head and the resistant chrome plated snaps allow an easy and safe replacement after cleaning. At the same time, the quiet and efficient operation make the Eheim Ehm Fltr 2217 very convenient in case you hate being bothered by annoying noises. Also, the device is energy efficient and it doesn’t require as much maintenance as the other models do, so you won’t have to worry too much about this aspect. In conclusion, if you want a simple, yet durable and efficient external aquarium filtration system, then the Eheim Ehm Fltr 2217 is surely worth considering.

5. AquaClear Power Filter 110

           The AquaClear Power 110 is a hang on back power filter that won’t disappoint you. This model is designed for fresh and saltwater tanks and most people consider it to be among the most reliable units on the market. Therefore, in case you have a tank size of maximum 110 gallons, then this power filter may be the right one for you. Furthermore, the amazing flow rate of 500 GPH will keep your aquarium clean and fresh, providing a safe habitat for the fish. The mechanical, chemical and biological filtration is another plus, enabling you to properly sanitize the water without any additional filters. The industry leading pump technology features a unique pump that uses a single moving part named the “Free Floating” impeller. This impeller has the ability to center itself with a magnetic field, so the friction, heat, and wear will be significantly reduced. Also, the refiltration system and the natural waterfall design are great features, making it a reliable choice for those who want to keep their fish tank clean with minimum effort. The continuous biological filtration and superior water quality provided by the Cycle Guard as well as the quiet operation will surely convince you of the fact that this aquarium filtration system is perfect for remarkable results.

6. Fluval 405

           Undoubtebly, the Fluval company makes some of the best fish tank water filters on the market. The Fluval 405 is another example of how great the quality of these water filters is, this model exceeding expectations and being worth every penny spent on it. By installing it in your aquarium of fish tank, you will dramatically improve the water’s quality, thus ensuring a safe living space for your beloved fish. What makes this particular water filter such a popular choice among fish tank owners is the fact that it features a high-end pump that provides an amazing output of 340 gallons of water per hour. The advanced filtration system that it features offers maximum veratility in use, the product being designed and recommended for tanks or aquariums of up to 100 gallons. The high output motor that it features is tightly sealed in epoxy, thus ensuring that it will resist to high temperatures without a problem. For your convenience, it doesn’t require any manual siphoning, and the startup is quite simple and fast. The AquaStop valve that it comes with allows the hosing to be disconnected without the vacuum being affected by this action. Additionally, it is accompanied by a 3-year warranty that guarantees the manufacturer will handle replacing and repairing it free of charge during this period of time.

Everything you Should Know About These Filters

           This article will present you the best fish tank water filters available on the market and its main purpose is to help you choose a reliable water filter that is capable of providing a high water quality for your fish by constantly maintaining a healthy environment. Since the aquariums are closed systems, it is up to you to grow them safe and the best way to do this is to choose a product that can successfully take care of your fish. Here are some important things you need to know about aquarium filtration systems:

  • With the help of a great fish tank water filter, your fish and plants can live a longer life because its main job is to do the cleaning that you can’t normally do.
  • These devices can be found in different types and shapes, but one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing one is to pay attention to the correct size.
  • The most popular types of aquarium filtration systems are external canister and hang on back power filters. Both of them are cost-efficient and easy to use, and while the canister models are recommended for larger tanks, the power models are a great choice for small and medium aquariums.
  • In order to make sure that it renders great results, you have to follow a regular schedule and change the filters periodically. Usually, they should be changed once a month or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • A great way to find out if they should be replaced is to use a test kit that checks the ammonia and the nitrate levels. The result of the test should be close to zero, otherwise, it’s best to change the filters as soon as possible.

4 Benefits of Using a Filter

           Now let’s see what are the benefits of using a water filter for the fish tank and why having one will ease your life. After reading this section of the article, you will surely have a better opinion on these items and you will be more aware of their importance.

  • Easy to Use

  •            A fish tank water filter is easy to use and once you set it up you will see that buying one was one of your best ideas. Once you know the basic steps to operate the device, it will be very easy for you to maintain the water from the aquarium clean. The innovative technology used in manufacturing the latest models is meant to make simple, yet efficient products that can be easily operated by all fish-hobbyist.

  • Easy to Maintain

  •            Another great advantage of using a filter is the fact that it’s easy to maintain. Regularly cleaning or changing the filters doesn’t require too much work from your part, so we can say that the maintenance of an aquarium filtration system is very easy. Therefore, all you have to do is to avoid having a clogged filter in the fish tank because this will lead to more work from your part, so it’s always better to prevent than it is to repair.

  • Convenient Method of Filtration

  •            A tank filter is also a convenient method of filtration for your fish aquarium because it helps you a lot in keeping the water clean and healthy. In comparison with other options, choosing an external canister or a hang on back power unit will surely be the right choice due to the fact that both of them are very efficient.

  • Affordable

  •            Last, but not least, most fish tank water filters come at a very reasonable price considering the many advantages included. For this reason, we can say that it is a great deal because once you’ll start using it, your little ecosystem will be totally safe for your fish.

How to Clean Them

           Now that you know how big of a role these items play when it comes to the safety and well-being of your fish, it’s time to talk about their maintenance. After all, you can’t expect these products to work properly if you don’t take te time to care for them. Therefore, if you want to learn how to clean the fish tank filter that you own in order to ensure that it will perform at its peak, read this section of our article. Also, keep in mind that the procedures we are going to talk about in the following lines must be done once every 1-2 weeks.

  • Mechanical Filters

  •            In order to clean a mechanical model, you have to use the tank water to benefit the fish that live in it. First, you must make sure that the filter is unplugged to make the entire process safe and avoid getting electrocuted and take it out of the tank. Next, clean the sponge or the pad located in the bowl by scraping the gunk off of it with your hands. Now, move on to cleaning the filter. In case there are hard to reach spots, use a cleaning brush for the task. When you’re done, simply put it back where it belongs.

  • Chemical Filters

  •            If you’re dealing with a chemical model, then you have to clean it by swapping the carbon on a regular basis. The procedure that you must follow to clean it is shown in the instruction manual that it comes with. If you’re not sure when you should clean, know that you must do this either once per week or when the water starts to get cloudy.

  • Biological Filters

  • What’s great about biological filters is the fact that they don’t need to be cleaned very often. Also, they are not as hard to clean either. All that you have to do is to give it a quick rinse in the water from the tank and put it back in.

Important Considerations when Looking for These Types of Filter

           This chapter will present you some important considerations you have to take into account when looking for a high-quality model. Read them and see what exactly you have to do in order to buy the best filtration system for your fish.

  • Consider the Tank Size

  •            This aspect is very important and it’s basically the first step you have to take when you decide to buy a tank filter. Therefore, once you determine the size of your aquarium it will be much easier for you to choose the appropriate type of aquarium filtration system. As a rule, the bigger the tank, the bigger the filter you need in order to maintain a proper environment for your fish and plants. Usually, small aquariums are considered to be those up to 20 gallons, medium aquariums between 20 and 60 gallons and big aquariums over 60 gallons.

  • Select a Type of Filter

  •            After you determine the size of your tank, you have to also decide what type of aquarium filtration systems would be the best option for your aquarium. The power filters are ideal for medium and medium to big tanks, while the canister ones are usually recommended for big aquariums. The first type can be hung on the back of the tank and they are less expensive than the canister ones. On the other hand, the latter may be inconvenient because they are larger, but they are considered to be the most efficient, being at the same time very quiet.

  • Choose a Reliable Brand

  •            By choosing a reliable brand, you will be more certain about the quality and efficiency. There are many filters available on the market and this is why choosing a solid brand will be a guaranty that your product won’t let you down. At this moment, among the most popular brands are Fluval, Canister, MarineLand, and some others, so pick one brand you like and look for a model that meets your needs.

  • Warranty

  •            Always make sure that you check the warranty before buying a particular water filter because in this way you can rest assured about the fact that if there are any possible defects they will be taken care of. Usually, the fish tank water filters have at least one year warranty, but some of them may come with a more generous warranty.

Best Fish Tank Filter Brands on the Market

           All our products are manufactured and sold by the best fish tank filter brands, so if you want to know more about each of them, read our brief description in the lines below.

  • Fluval

  •            The Fluval brand is known for producing durable and convenient aquatic products for over 35 years. The main purpose of the company is to provide reliable products for all fish-hobbyists and it seems that their goal has been successfully achieved. The innovative technology and design of the products manufactured and sold by Fluval have been a true inspiration for the aquatic industry and the result is that now you have access to a wide range of practical aquatic solutions.

  • MarineLand

  •            Another brand that has gained its popularity in the aquatic products industry is the MarineLand brand. Ever since its foundation, the company has struggled to develop durable and reliable products that would help the customers enjoy a satisfying experience, encouraging the passion of many fish enthusiasts. Now, the brand’s many products are sold all over the world and this is more than a proof that they are made by using the latest technology in this field.

  • Cascade

  •            For many decades the Cascade has been present in the aquatic world with the innovative aquarium filtration systems. The Pen Plex company is committed to producing reliable pet products that are sold in many countries. Little by little, the company has succeeded in gaining the trust of many customers, and it seems that its intentions are to maintain its position in the future.

  • Eheim

  •            The Eheim brand has to offer to its customers a wide variety of products, including aquariums, air pumps, filters and so on. The company was founded in 1949 and since then, it has been continuously dedicated to manufacturing innovative products for fish-hobbyist. In 1960 the company has invented the world’s first aquarium suction filter and in 2004 the EHEIM, mp and JÄGER brands were incorporated into the EHEIM Aquatics Group, and now, all their products are sold under the Eheim brand.

  • AquaClear

  •            Just as the other brands, the AquaClear brand is already a well-known name in the aquatic products industry. Ever since 1978 the company has been selling aquarium filtration systems and its good reputation has immediately spread around the world. All the products sold under the AquaClear brand are synonym with longevity and quality and this is why we can surely say the brand is placed among the best ones in this industry.

How We Rated the Top Fish Tanks Filters

           Choosing the best products is not an easy task, so for making things much simpler for you, we rated our aquarium filtration system considering some important aspects. All of them are important criteria and they are crucial in making the best decision, so here’s how we rated our products.

  • Type

  •            The most popular types of filters are the canister and the hang on back filters and most people prefer them because they are more efficient that the others. Besides these units, there are also internal, under gravel, sponge, and some others aquarium filtration systems, but they are not among the first options of the customers. The canister aquarium filtration systems are excellent for large tanks, but they also work great with smaller aquariums. This type of filter doesn’t enter the water and it’s usually larger than the other types, meaning that it occupies much free space. A great advantage of external canister filters is the fact that it provides superior filtration. The other type, the hang on back filters, are easy to use and they are placed on the back of the tank, being hidden from view. They draw the water through a long tube and they are capable of providing great filtration, but whenever you change the cartridges there is the inconvenience of removing the good bacteria colony.

  • Maximum Tank Size

  •            The maximum tank size is an important information, but it isn’t a defining characteristic that can make a product to be the best. The main purpose of this information is to simply guide you in choosing the right model for your aquarium and this is why all our products feature different maximum tank sizes. However, if you are interested in a certain brand, you can check and see if there are any available sizes because some filters come in various sizes.

  • Filtration

  •            Usually, there are three types of filtration, namely mechanical, chemical and biological. The first one is able to catch the particles from the water, the second one interferes when there are toxic chemicals in the aquarium, eliminating the excessive chemicals or nutrients, and the third one is able to disintegrate the bacteria. Another filtration type is the adsorptive filtration which takes up onto the surface all sorts of novice substances or residues and it’s recommended to be used after treating the water with different medications.

  • Features

  •            The features of a certain product are very important and each of our products has different innovative characteristics that are meant to distinguish it from the other models. Therefore, when we ranked the filters we also considered this aspect and this is why, for better understanding the particularities of every one of them, we have detailed their features.

  • Warranty

  •            In general, a good fish tank filter has at least 1-year warranty, but there are some products that may be covered by a more generous warranty. Therefore, we consider that a reliable manufacturer will always stand behind its product and take the necessary steps whenever there are any possible defects of the unit.

           When it comes to fish water tank filters, the winner is Fluval Canister Filter Fx6 because it works for large tanks and comes with a generous warranty. Also, it has some unique features that make it more convenient and easy to use. We also liked the Marineland Emperor 400 power filter because it does a great job for small and medium tanks. The unit comes with many advanced features and it’s worth considering if you are looking for a budget-friendly filter. Of course, you can opt for any of the selected models as each of them was carefully selected to make sure you will enjoy the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

?How to Efficiently Get Rid of the White Build-Up on the Filter?
The white build-up on the filter is absolutely normal and it is quite easy to remove it if you follow some simple steps. This build-up is made by calcium and mineral deposits that are usually present in water. A very efficient solution is to use vinegar. Simply put vinegar on a cloth and apply it firmly on the affected area. Rub it until the build-up is completely removed.Then simply rinse the filter with water and you are all set.

?Why Do I Need a Filter?
The main reason of a filter is to help you keep ammonia under control. Ammonia is toxic for your fish, even if there are only small amounts of it. But what exactly produces ammonia? Well, ammonia is released by fish waste and food and for this reason, water has to be filtrated. Of course, you can opt to simply change the water but you will need to do this operation very often, so there’s too much hassle. On the other hand, a water filter can basically do all the job for you while keeping your fish safe at all times.

?How Expensive Is a Filter?
The price of a filter depends on many aspects, but in general the most expensive models can filter more water. The most expensive model in our comparison chart costs around $300 while the cheapest one is under $100.

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