Best Aquarium Filter Brand

Which filter brand do you consider best and why?

  • Aqua Clear - power filter (Hagen)

    Votes: 39 26.4%
  • Fluval - canister filter (Hagen)

    Votes: 15 10.1%
  • Penguin - power filter with Bio Wheel (Marineland)

    Votes: 24 16.2%
  • Emperor - power filter with Bio Wheel (Marineland)

    Votes: 12 8.1%
  • Whisper Tetra power filter

    Votes: 16 10.8%
  • Eheim canister filter

    Votes: 23 15.5%
  • Rena FilStar canister filter

    Votes: 19 12.8%

  • Total voters


The filters I am referring to are for larger, non-fry, tanks (that's why you don't see sponge filters on the list). If you like a filter that is not on the above list, please list it and tell us more about it.


I have heard good things about the Eheims. Magnum 350 by marineland are suposed to be good too


My tanks are the smaller size, not power filter models. The Eclipse Bio-Wheel filters are good. I like the Duetto filters by Marineland somehow better anymore. These are for 15 gallons and below so they may not qualify here, but they are GREAT filters for smaller tanks.



Eheims all the way!


I only have experience with AquaClear power filter (in my 30G tank) and with a WhisperTetra power filter (in my 10G tank). AquaClear is definitely better because of the way it's designed: you never have to change all media at once in it (such as you have to do in a WhisperTetra filter) and thereby you keep the beneficial bacteria without any mini-cycles with one medium change (since there are 3 medium parts). I am willing to experiment with other filter types. Perhaps I will get a different filter for my next tank. I am thinking about a canister since my next tank will be 75G. Or is a canister a bit too much for a 75G and a power filter is better? I never had a canister but I hear it's very powerful? Can you adjust water flow in a canister? I can't have a terribly powerful filter, even in a 75G, because angelfish will be in there.

P.S. J-Man, I did some quick reading on Eheim Ecco Canister Filter (one of the many canister filter models that Eheim has). Sounds like it is excellent technology and not that much work with it at all. Here is the article I found about it:
It costs about $100-120 and it looks like this is a cheap one for a 75G tank, compared to the prices of many other models of Eheim canister filters. But in itself I think it's very expensive, compared for example to $50-70 AquaClear power filter for a 75G tank. J-Man, which model of Eheim do you think would be best for a 75G tank, and why?


I recently got a Rena Filstar XP2 and absolutely love it. I think my fish do too.


Wow, Eheim's Wet/Dry filter for a tank around 75 gallons is $250-300!


Wow, Eheim's Wet/Dry filter for a tank around 75 gallons is $250-300!
yep ehI'm is pricey


But if it's this expensive, it also must be "this good", right? Otherwise, why would it be so expensive? Well, unless ... Eheim uses a marketing strategy which uses "high price" as an indicator of best quality. In fact there are companies whose products are not very different or better from their standard counterparts but because they sell their products at high prices, people tend to think that they're better ("because they're more expensive"). I hope Eheim isn't doing that!


Eheim does have higher price because you know when you buy it, it will work... there's never any doubt with eheim. I would argue to choose a filter from any of these brands that will best suit the type of aquarium and fish you want. Some can almost make your tank spin like a whirlpool if set up that way.... good for river fish I guess, but a betta is going to have a hard time, as would an angel.


So you wouldn't recommend an Eheim canister filter, or any canister filter for that matter, in a 75G tank with some angelfish? I've never had a canister filter and don't know how powerful they are. Is it possible to adjust the water flow on them?


75g ..... Go the eheim if you have the $$ for sure. put more holes into the output tube to distribute the outflow more... should be ok.


Isabella -

I do not know exactly what the model of EHEIM filter you are looking for but they are now available at in canister models for less than the amount of money you are talking about for the 75 gallon size.

There are also models that cost more than you mentioned, but I thought you may not be aware of the ones above.



Whatever you pick I would definitely pick one that is powerful to handle the junk the angels make since they are big crappers. Personally I would go with a canister or bio-wheel. I like the bio-wheel's myself since I make my own filter cartridges for it and it costs pratically nothing and I can change as much as I want when I want and it keeps my tank very clean and I have a penguin bio-wheel200 on my tank and my angels are fine, they mate regularly too. Whatever you decide I would just get a one that can accomadate your fish's needs. Have you considered making a sump?


I have never used an Eheim, but they have been around a long time and that's part of the selling point for their filters. Some hobbyists have used the same filter for 30 years! I do have 2 of the Rena Filstar canister filters and think they are excellent. Of course I can't tell you if they will still be working in 30 years, but so far, I'd say the performance I've had with them (2 years) would be very comparable to the Eheim performance at a much smaller price tag.


The prices in America are very very cheap compared to hear even when I change American $ to Australian $. I spent $250 on my Ehiem Professional which is suited to my size tank, but for a 75 gallon you'd be looking at probably Professional II/classic /ecco. Ecco are kinda the cheaper version of an ehiem, they're good and efficient, a tiny bit of noise compared to the zero noise of others, but a little less on quality. the classics are supposed to be good as they're been around for ages and are still one of the best around, but the professionals have newer technology etc. You could get a thermofilter if you want but that's big bucks

The Ecco 2236 around 80g - $95-$110 (ok you might need more output- 160gph)
The Classic 2217 around 160g - $120-140 (better more output - 264gph)
The Professional II 2026 92g - $200-220 (better quality 251gph)
The Professional II 2028 158g - $270 (more power again 277gph)
The Pro III 2028 - $350-400 (mental 450gph)

For you I'd say go classic, cheap price, reliability, fair amount of power. Unless you got more money.


Thanks Gunnie for the suggestion

And thanks J-Man for the comprehensive list and suggestions

See? How can I not love this website?


Let us know when u get the tank!


Most definitely J-Man! And not only that; I'll post pictures too as the process unfolds Right now I am just in a planning stage. Doing lots of research, et cetera. I don't want any problems, so I want to do my homework beforehand. Anyway, I'll get the tank probably in July or August. And like I said, it won't be anything fancy, just a simple average-looking tank. I am getting it because my fishies deserve better than a 30G; and now a 30G seems like a tiny tank to me. Not to mention my 10G! LOL! And most likely in the future, when I've had the 75G for a while, it will seem too small too, lol, and I'll be opting for a 125G (which I want already! just can't have it now).


That 30G is huge compared to my 5G! its like 6x bigger


Have been thinking a lot, and decided to get a canister for my 75G. Thank you all for the input. I love ya all

Of course, but ... WHICH canister !? LOL Well ... I think when buying a filter, one has to take into consideration what will be in the tank, even the substrate kind. I will have this tank at least moderately planted (probably more). The substrate will be 2-3" of Seachem's Fluorite and/or CaribSea's Eco-Complete. These 2 factors (plants and substrate) should be especially taken into consideration since if plants are doing well, they also help purify the water and the substrate is not just a plain inert gravel, but a nutrient-rich one designed for plants so it may influence the water chemistry I suppose. The lighting will be 1.7 wpg (if the plants won't do well under this lighting, I will upgrade to a higher light later on). Oh, and the plants will be: swords, vals, anubias, java fern, java moss, and dwarf saggitaria. Perhaps I'll experiment with apongetons and some crypts too (see if they wouldn't die).

Taking all of the above into account, which model of Eheim would be best? Or perhaps XP?


Nice plant selection, I find it hard to find any crypts and apponogeton and saggitaria species. And also ground covering and surface plants. Amazingly Ive only ever one seen Java fern


If I don't find a good aquatic plant store J-Man, I'll have to order online. So far, from the plants that I want, I saw only swords and java ferns at my LFS. And I saw them very rarely there. Plus, they were all rotting there and being charged $2-4 a piece! Haha ... they think people will buy that!?


I had good luck with aquarium plants

Keep in mind, though, they ship the plants in wet newspaper instead of in water to cut the shipping (drastically). As long as you get 1st or 2nd day air, though, they're perfectly fine.


Thanks for the advice Marc I checked the website out and they seem like a decent plant website. They also seem very accountable. Not all plants are cheap there, and one would have to pay quite a sum for a heavily planted 75G tank when buying all plants from them, but if they have excellent plants then I suppose they're worth it. Maybe I'll order plants from them once I have bought the tank, the stand, the substrate, and all the technical equipment, and when everything is set up and ready, just waiting for the plants. I'll definitely place an overnight order if I order plants online - I don't want to risk them dying en route. The only problem would be that they'd charge me a lot for shipping to NY from where they are. It'd cost me $50-90 for shipping alone, and I estimate approximately $150-250 worth of plants for a 75G tank. But ... we'll see. I still have time and I am not rushing anything. Research is power, lol.

One more question about canister filters: where are their intake and outflow tubes located? One tube at each end of the tank? Or two tubes next to each other? If they're next to each other, filtration does not make sense this way to me in a large tank.


With the XP's, intake and outflow are pretty close to each other. I have 2 xp's running, one on each sie of the tank.


Gunnie, is it possible to position each tube on opposite ends of the tank? Could I get more and longer pipes and do that, somehow?

P.S. Gunnie, in another of your posts, you wrote that for HOB filters, those that pump 10 times the volume of the tank are best. And that for canister filters, those that pump 5 times the volume of your tank are best. Which XP or Eheim filter would do the job for a 75 gallon tank?

Here is also a copy of my post from PlantGeek on various canister filters. Please help me decide which would be best for me:
"I have a few more questions about canister filters. I will either get Rena Filstar or Eheim. But I have a few concerns about which kind of Rena Filstar or Eheim to get. My tank will be 75 gallons (48x18x20) and planted (low-tech).

I have looked at Rena Filstar filters, and they have XP2 and XP3 that would be good for my tank. The XP2 is for up to 75 gallon tanks (pumps 300 gph). The XP3 is for up to 175 gallon tanks (pumps 350gph). I have been advised to get an XP3 for my tank. Why do I need an XP3 for a 157 gallon tank, when an XP2 is for a 75 gallon tank?

As for the Eheims, they have Ecco, Classic, and Professional 2026 and 2028 that I have looked at and considered. Ecco is for up to 80 gallon tanks and pumps 159 gph. Classic is for up to 92 gallon tanks and pumps 164 gph. Professional 2026 is for up to 92 gallon tanks and pumps 251 gph. Lastly, Professional 2028 is for up to 158 gallon tanks and pumps 227 gph.

It was suggested that Eheim 2026 or 2028 would be best for my tank. So my question is why do I need a filter for 92 or 158 gallon tanks (2026 or 2028) when my tank will be 75 gallons? Or, why would I need 2028 over 2026?

Wouldn't filters too big as for a 75G tank create too much disturbance in the tank? The tank will also be very planted, so wouldn't such powerful filters remove the nutrients from the water which plants need?"


I want but don't have a canister but from the one's I'v seen the intake will be on one side and people will buy a spray bar and stick it on the opposite end of the tank.


The intake and the out take are connected so you couldn't put one at each end. The reason folks are telling you to get filters rated for larger tanks is because once you fill them with media, they won't be pumping as many gph as they claim on the box. I would get an XP3 if you decide on a filstar. For the $10.00 difference (or close to it), I'd get the bigger filter. I don't think you will notice a big difference on the flow from the spray bar with the bigger filter.


Thank you Gunnie. Yes, it makes a lot of sense that filters may be slower with all the filter media inside. I think XP3 would be the best. So many people say they're good filters. But just out of curiosity, which Eheim do you think approximates the performance of XP3, or perhaps outperforms it? If I get an XP3, or an Eheim equivalent to XP3's performance, will I need another filter in the tank to help with filtration (such as, say, an additional power filter)? Or will that XP3 be enough? Or perhaps an XP3 plus a powerhead to help with water circulation? (Sorry again for so many questions.)

Update from PlantGeek:

I've been told to have approx. 750gph total (10 x the volume of the 75G tank per hour). But isn't the rule for canister filters to pump 5 x the tank's volume, and for power filters to pump 10 x the tank's volume? If this rule for canisters is valid, I should be OK with just one XP3 (it pumps 350 gph, which is approx. 5 x the volume of the 75G tank (less 25 gallons)). Though I've been recommended on PlantGeek to get one XP3 or Eheim 2028 + one AquaClear 110. I could do that but I really don't want so much stuff hanging around my tank walls.

What do you think about all of this Gunnie?


If you bought the ProII 2028 I think it could handle a 75 gallon easy without the need for an extra Aquaclear. I think the XP3 would also handle the job pretty easily, without the need to go bigger. My Pro II is rated for aquariums the smae size as mine at it does it no sweat, and you don't have the rinse the filter media for about 3 months, although I usually do it sooner as so I can get the max flow out of the filter at all times.

I think the new Pro III which is rated for massive tanks as two intake pipes to be set a different ends, but all the others just have one and can be placed anywhere, mines just in the back corner, with the spray bar sbove it running along the back.

Also there are many other brands out there, cheapy ones that say their output is around 265gph but really when their running they're pumping out the same amount as one running at half that. But if you go for the Eheim or XP3 you shouldnt have this problem,these are just some observations ive made at work.


Thanks J-Man Sounds like you've gotten so much experience at your workplace. Good for you! I really appreciate the info

I've been recommended to get Rena Filstar XP3 or Eheim 2028 (or 2026). But I wonder nevertheless why get XP3 that is for up to 175 gallon tanks, when an XP2 is for up to 75 gallon tanks. I mean, I WILL get the bigger filter, but won't such a filter (like the XP3 that is for 175G tanks) disturb the water too much? There is a HUGE difference between a tank that is 75 gallons and the one that is 175 gallons in size! How come the same filter is recommended for 2 such differently sized tanks? I know that the filter media slow the flow rate a lot and that's why I am being recommended with an XP3 instead of XP2. But still, isn't the difference between 75 and 175 gallons rather big?

Another issue: As I was reading Rena Filstar XP website, particularly about the setup of an XP filter, this is what it says:

"Make sure the filter will sit a minimum of 24” (61 cm) and a maximum of 55” (140 cm) BELOW the water level of the aquarium. The filter will need to sit on a level surface. Take a look at your aquarium and decide where you want to place the inlet and outlet pipes and the Filstar Canister Power Filter."

I am not clear on all of that. Does it mean I won't be able to hide my canister filter inside my tank cabinet (aquarium stand)? If I won't be able to do that, what use will my stand have except to look nice? I don't want the filter to be placed outside the stand! Can someone help me here? Gunnie? J-Man? Anybody?


I think you'll be fine having it inside your cabinet, it must just have something to do with how long their intake/outake tubes are and maybe the way the water flows in/out. The filter sitting inside your cabinet will probably be within these measured levels because that is a fair distance. Otherwise it'd be pretty stupid.


Unfair.. I can't even cast my vote cos we don't have any of those here, even went to my pet store to check it out... oh well


Your local fish store doesn't even have Whisper Tetra power filters? How about any sponge filters? They have to have some filters!


I'm fluval all the way!! lol they r gr8 wee filters!! there so quiet, easy 2 adjust, change and use get a fluval in ur tank !! lol



I think your XP3 will be fine under the tank in the cabinet. That is the way I have had mine for 2 years and they work great! I also never cut the hosing from the filter to the tank, and it doesn't seem to be a problem.


I use (for the first time ever) a Fluval 205 cannister. I used to use the HOB types when I had fish years ago. I love this one..easy to maintain, very quiet. Now I'm no expert by any means...but I'm happy with this one.
Jackie ;D


I have the Fluval 405 in my 100gal tank. It says it is made for a 100gal tank, but it only pumps 225gph. From what I understand I need at least 500gph of flow in my tank. What Should I do to help the flow? Should I put in a power head? Or it ok they way it is now?


In large tanks, powerheads usually help the flow, yes. A powerhead should be placed at the opposite end of the tank (that is, the opposite end to the one where the filter is placed). What you want is a uniform water flow/circulation, without any dead and stagnant spots.

From what I understand, in your case it would be best to have a filter (or 2 filters) that pump 500 gallons per hour in total (if yours is a canister filter). If you have an external power filter, it should pump 1000 gallons per hour total. The general guide for canister filters is to pump at least 5 times the volume of a tank, and for power filters to pump 10 times the volume of a tank.

If I were you, I'd get another Fluval 405 canister filter (that pumps 225 gph) for the tank, instead of the powerhead. And I'd place it in the other end of the tank. I assume the filter is a canister type. Is it?


Yes it is a canister style filter. I put a aqua clear power head in that I had as well as some airstones as well.


If you cannot buy another filter, I suppose the powerhead and airstones will have to do. They should be OK with respect to water circulation. All this, especially if your tank is lightly stocked. BUT if your tank is fully stocked, or overstocked, it would be best if you could buy another filter for the other end of the tank. Not only would it provide good circulation, but it would also provide enough of biological filtration for the entire tank. Two times 225gph (450gph total) of a canister filter filtration would be excellent for a 100 gallon tank. If you bought the additional canister filter, you wouldn't have to use the airstones and powerhead, unless you'd want to use them.


I really like Aquaclear's...but I haven't had any of the other types listed.
My 10 g has an aqua-tech 5-15 and I HATE it,,,cant wait to get a new one.
I have a little Hagen Elite Stingray 5 too....its submersible. I think its an ok filter for a tiny tank.


We're buying the Penquin Biowheels now & really like them.


My tank has been up and running for about 2 months. I went w/ an XP2 and I couldn't be happier.

The intake and output can be put anywhere you like, what I really like about the Rena system is that you can get their heater that goes on the intake, so it heats the water as it's getting pulled into the filter and you only have 1 thing stuck to the back of the tank.

My output is horizontal on the opposite side and pointing straight down, then I have a powerhead next to the intake for extra circulation.

The XP is easy to prime (only required the first time) and is super easy to clean and take care of... the hose is long enough to reach under your cabinet so the filter can be hidden away, and you certainly won't hear it.

One thing it took me a few times to figure out is that after you clean the filter out and you connect the hoses back, if the filter doesn't fill up automatically, check the output hose to make sure all of it is above the filter, otherwise it will create a trap and not let the air out, so the water won't come in...

I would get the XP3 if I were you, and get the heater to go on the intake too!



I love my Eheim Ecco for my 55 gallon overstocked Mbuna tank, I also have a penguin biowheel on it overrated for a 55 (its rated for a 75g)...
for my other tanks they all have penguins.
My 36g I am getting a Eheim Ecco for it soon.


I have an Eheim ecco 2234 cannister for my 36g and love it! You cannot even tell it is running, it is so quiet. Also, it was very easy to set up and install.


I found eheim very good I have 2217 and a 2215 very quite and very easy to get parts for if I ever do need them.


I'm actually using both aqua-clear and penquin350. I put a small aquaclear on my wifes 10gal tank so I could adjust the flow all the way down for her Betta's. Not a bad filter except its noisy and I shoulnt have to disassemble to make it quiet. That being said I bought the penquin350 for our 55gal tank and found it to be almost silent, so I went and got a 2nd penguin350 and that one had a water trickle noise that bothered me. I figured out which biowheel was causing the nosie and flipped it over and no more noise. I am more than happy with the penguin filters and would buy them over the other's. Now I'm running both the 350's on my 55gal tank and have room to upgrade size without buying all new equipemnt just the tank. Also atleast at my local petsmart the penguin's are cheaper than the aquaclears.

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