Editor's Choice - Our Favorite External Aquarium Filters

1. Fluval External Filter

User Ratings: 74 9

Fluval A217 First Impressions

"My fault not theirs."

There is a sound from the water shooting into the tank! I put it together, reading instructions of course. It was perfectly quiet without any extra effort on my part. Of course the sound all depends on how much water is in the aquarium. I can hear it 3 rooms away grinding away. Also price was very reasonable and shipping was fast. I plan to cycle this new AC 50 on a separate tank and then xfer it to the 20 gallon.

  • Fluval External Filter
  • Multi stage filtration for healthy fresh & saltwater aquariums
  • Suitable for aquariums up to 100 gallons. Flow Rate: 1450 LPH (383 US GPH)
  • Sound dampening impeller design for a quieter operation. The Fluval 406 Canister Filter has a unique square shaped canister design that holds 35 to 50 percent more water than round canister filters of similar size allowing better water flow through a complex cleansing path that maximizes contact with the filtration media
  • Equipped with a clog proof intake strainer and a dual layer foam screen. To prevent water from dripping onto the receptacle or plug,a “drip loop” should be arranged by the user in the cord connecting appliance to a receptacle
  • Built with a patented Aqua stop Valve, multiple filtration baskets, and rim connector assemblies; 3 year warranty.Media Capacity: 8.5 L
  • Manufacture: Fluval
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 14.5 x 17.8 inches; 10 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Fluval A217
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Fluval A217 Final Thoughts

"SAME THING!"

In the afternoon the noises started again. A canister or in tank filter is ten times more work and messy. I was worried about some of the negative reviews. I've looked at so many filters and reviews. The Marineland penguin 350 is a great filter. SO I decided to order this for my 29 gallon tank. I attempted to clean and lube the impeller, but to no avail.

Overall Score
4.4


(2951 Points)

Peoples Choice - Other Highly Rated External Aquarium Filters

2. Sunsun HW-304B 525 GPH 5-Stage External Canister Filter with 9-watt UV Sterilizer

User Ratings: 67 11

SUN 07102 First Impressions

"Like brand new."

My tank is nice and clear and my fish are much happier. I had to cut the hood to make it work. I will never buy any other HOB no matter what deal they might be offering. So, easy is good, both for us and our fish. I plan to cycle this new AC 50 on a separate tank and then xfer it to the 20 gallon. It started out silent for about 30 mins and then it got super loud. My baby turtle even loves it so much he won't let go.

  • Sunsun HW-304B 525 GPH 5-Stage External Canister Filter with 9-watt UV Sterilizer
  • Good for up to 150 gallon fish tanks
  • Dimension: 11" L X 11" W X 17" H
  • Flow rate: 525 GPH (2000L/hr.)
  • Built in 9 Watt UV sterilizer for controlling algae spores/bacteria and promoting clear water
  • Manufacture: Monster Pets
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 17 inches; 14 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The SUN 07102
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

SUN 07102 Final Thoughts

"A THUMBS UP."

A canister or in tank filter is ten times more work and messy. LOW and BEHOLD, LMAO, I missed where you had to put water in the back of the filter. I will never buy any other HOB no matter what deal they might be offering. However, lately I've purchased the Aqua Clear 70 and 50. I ordered 4 of these, for different tanks of course. This one is working perfectly good FOR RIGHT NOW. However, lately I've purchased the Aqua Clear 70 and 50.

Overall Score
4.2


(890 Points)

3. Aquarium Turtle Filter Waterfall Flow Water Clean Pump Bio-Filtration for Reptiles Tank Low Level Wa...

User Ratings: 55 13

JackSuper First Impressions

"MINE IS VERY QUIET."

I want to answer some of the complaints I've read. In the afternoon the noises started again. I bought a top fin 55 gallon aquarium on sale. I've think I've had had six of them. You do have to unplug it for those two jobs. The Marineland penguin 350 is a great filter. I have contacted customer service to see if I can get a replacement unit.

  • Aquarium Turtle Filter Waterfall Flow Water Clean Pump Bio-Filtration for Reptiles Tank Low Level Waterfall Filter for Small Fish Tank Turtle Tank Shrimp Tank Amphibian Frog Crab
  • We have the 90 days replacement and the refund service. All the emails will be replied within 24 hours. We have lifetime technique support, please feel free to contact us for any quality problem. We will do our best to help you.
  • Perfect Aquarium filter for aquatic turtle tanks, Reptiles, Amphibians, Frog, Cichlids, Newt or Fish tank in any aquarium up to 40 gallons
  • Easy to install,Water filter pump can be hung on the aquarium or fixed with sucker. Low water level capability(Lowest water level 1.6inch/4cm)
  • Water circulation and cleaning:this turtle filter helps water cycling,the Activated carbon cartridges and bio ball help clean water,absorbs odors and discoloration,provide a healthy water for your aquarium
  • High performance, the motor set under the water,more quiet than external filter,you can creat a waterfall with rock inside the fish tank
  • Filter waste and stop the waste go into power head
  • Protect your filter power head and prevent small fish or animal suck in the filter.
  • absorbs odors and discoloration
  • Manufacture: JackSupermall
  • Product Dimensions: 8.27 x 3.66 x 2.76 inches; 14.39 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The JackSuper
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

JackSuper Final Thoughts

"This is the one."

I had a lot of particles in the water. They are easily found from mom-n-pop pet stores to large chain stores. Get it and take heed to what I wrote. Overall, I like the 350's slim back design, and be able to add up to 4 cartridges. Firstly, I'd recommend taking the motor apart and putting it back together. I AM IMPRESSED THAT IT WORKS AS IT ACTUALLY SHOULD! It's easy to clean and we all know about easy.

Overall Score
3.9


(763 Points)

4. Polar Aurora 265GPH / 266GPH / 370GPH / 525GPH External Aquarium Filter with Builtin Pump Kit Canist...

User Ratings: 69 7

Polar Aurora First Impressions

"Works great."

I also like the fact that it is relatively low profile and discreet looking. This is not my first experience with a marineland filter. This lives up to the praise that people give it. The current is strong but you can adjust it with the midsection lever. DO NOT CLEAN OR WASH the paper wheel itself. I AM IMPRESSED THAT IT WORKS AS IT ACTUALLY SHOULD! I eyedball everything and put it together with a look back at instructions.

  • Polar Aurora 265GPH / 266GPH / 370GPH / 525GPH External Aquarium Filter with Builtin Pump Kit Canister (266/370 / 525 GPH with Light)
  • Good for up to 75 gallon fish tanks SunSun parts can be applied Flow rate: 264 GPH (1000L/hr) Pump Power: 18W Hose size: 3/4" Max-H: 4.6 feet
  • 3 media trays capable of handling your choice of filtration media; Comes with an adjustable spray bar. This is a helpful feature if you want to adjust the output flow from the filter. No Light!!!
  • Convenient self-priming pump that eliminates the need for manual siphoning; Single valve disconnect & priming pump ease routine maintenance
  • Canister filters for aquariums use high water pressure, from a properly powered pump, to force water through the dense filter media. A pump can draw water from an under-gravel filter, and run it into a canister for double filtration
  • The three flexible media trays allow you to add other filtration media such as SunSun's activated carbons, ceramic rings or bio-balls to achieve excellent mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.
  • 3 stages of filtration
  • 110-120V 50-60Hz
  • Max height: 4.6 feet
  • Manufacture: Polar Aurora
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 16 inches; 11.75 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Polar Aurora
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Polar Aurora Final Thoughts

"This thing is super loud!"

They were great to deal with and the new filter is working great! One thing I think is worth mentioning is the need to prime the filter. I have had no issues with it being to loud. The instructions are a bit to much for me. I used a small pair of pliers and carefully got the pebbles out. Your fish and you will be much happier and stun everyone else. What I don't like is how much smaller it is than the Aqueon.

Overall Score
4.4


(679 Points)

Honorable Mentions - More Top Selling External Aquarium Filters

5. Polar Aurora Free Media 4-Stage External Canister Filter with 9-watt Light, 525 GPH with Free Media

User Ratings: 73 7

Polar Aurora First Impressions

"Came on time."

I used to work as a marine biologist for a major state aquarium. That water got so dirty we had to keep changing it every 2 or 3 days. I can take apart a car engine and put it back together. I had to lower the surface by 3 inches to get sufficient agitation. The first night I had the pump going it started making a screeching sound. My tank was a mess when I got this pump. I have contacted customer service to see if I can get a replacement unit.

  • Polar Aurora Free Media 4-Stage External Canister Filter with 9-watt Light, 525 GPH with Free Media
  • Good for up to 200 gallon fish tanks. Maximum flow rate of 525GPH from built in pump
  • 4 media trays capable of handling your choice of filtration media; Comes with an adjustable spray bar. This is a helpful feature if you want to adjust the output flow from the filter
  • Convenient self-priming pump that eliminates the need for manual siphoning; Single valve disconnect & priming pump ease routine maintenance
  • Built in 9 Watt Light for promoting clear water. With free media.
  • The four flexible media trays allow you to add other filtration media such as SunSun's activated carbons, ceramic rings or bio-balls to achieve excellent mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.
  • 4 stages of filtration
  • 9w UV powered
  • 110-120V 50-60Hz
  • Manufacture: Polar Aurora
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 19 inches; 19.6 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Polar Aurora
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Polar Aurora Final Thoughts

"All around great product."

The current is strong but you can adjust it with the midsection lever. I use Marinelands refillable cartridge for extra carbon on the extra slots. MAKE SURE YOU PUT WATER IN THE BACK OF THE FILTER! The first night I had the pump going it started making a screeching sound. I also don't like how short the intake tube is. Once it loses its charge, you'll need to replace it. I thought that U had put it together wrong so I took it all apart and started over.

Overall Score
4.4


(676 Points)

6. Polar Aurora Free Media 265GPH / 370GPH / 525GPH External Aquarium Filter with Builtin Pump Kit Cani...

User Ratings: 69 5

Polar Aurora First Impressions

"A very obvious waterfall."

The filter stopped working all of a sudden. Early on it seems to be working as advertised. Following morning it was running quietly. Replace activated carbon every 6-8 months ish. I checked and cleaned it and still just as loud. I had to lower the surface by 3 inches to get sufficient agitation. There must be a huge batch of these units at Amazon right now that are bad.

  • Polar Aurora Free Media 265GPH / 370GPH / 525GPH External Aquarium Filter with Builtin Pump Kit Canister
  • Good for up to 200 gallon fish tanks.Maximum flow rate of 525GPH from built in pump
  • 4 media trays capable of handling your choice of filtration media; Comes with an adjustable spray bar. This is a helpful feature if you want to adjust the output flow from the filter
  • Convenient self-priming pump that eliminates the need for manual siphoning; Single valve disconnect & priming pump ease routine maintenance
  • Built in 9 Watt Light for controlling algae spores/bacteria and promoting clear water
  • The four flexible media trays allow you to add other filtration media such as SunSun's activated carbons, ceramic rings or bio-balls to achieve excellent mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.
  • 4 stages of filtration
  • 9w powered
  • 110-120V 50-60Hz
  • Manufacture: Polar Aurora
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Polar Aurora
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Polar Aurora Final Thoughts

"This is not."

Months later, this filter is still working great on my 29 gal set up. I had to lower the surface by 3 inches to get sufficient agitation. My baby turtle even loves it so much he won't let go. This new AQ50 filter has loose bio-media, i. My tank was a mess when I got this pump. I bought a top fin 55 gallon aquarium on sale. It's easy to clean and we all know about easy.

Overall Score
4.4


(671 Points)

7. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter – Aquarium External Filter – Telescopic Intake Tubes...

User Ratings: 63 13

Hydor C02401 First Impressions

"All around great product."

I attempted to clean and lube the impeller, but to no avail. This is a well designed unit and a lot of bang for the buck. It's only rated at 25 gph less, but holds considerably less media. However, lately I've purchased the Aqua Clear 70 and 50. It's only rated at 25 gph less, but holds considerably less media. Really happy with the money I was able to save. I liked the clean lined look and the pull out basket.

  • Hydor Professional External Canister Filter – Aquarium External Filter – Telescopic Intake Tubes, Easy Priming – EcoSystem in a Box – Biological, Mechanical, Chemical Filtration – 450 to 320 gph
  • COMPLETE ECOSYSTEM IN A BOX: This external filter for generation aquariums offers maximum performance and high filtration standards, not to mention an entire eco-system in a box
  • PREMIUM VERSATILITY: This professional external canister filter for aquariums features a priming pump that offers the versatility you need. The unit is ideal for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums
  • SIMPLE TO USE: The long-life ceramic shaft, large filter volume and safety locks make this professional external canister filter easy to use as a beginner or a long-term hobbyist. The space-saving unit is perfect for small and large aquariums
  • FILTER OPTIONS: Choose from professional external canister filters that operate with gallon ranges from 20 to 150. The filter circulation stems from 160 to 290 gallons, depending upon the model you choose
  • SPECIALIZED SERVICE: With more than 30 years of experience offering high-quality products for the passionate marine aquarist, Hydor is dedicated to manufacturing unique and innovative items in the field of aquarium technology
  • External filter for the modern aquarium.
  • An intelligent design conceived to make the most of the space beneath the aquarium, the filter offers maximum performance and extraordinary versatility.
  • Easy to use thanks to the priming pump, the Hydor Professional filter is useful for all aquariology enthusiasts.
  • Manufacture: Hydor
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.5 x 22 inches; 16 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Hydor C02401
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Hydor C02401 Final Thoughts

"It's priced awesome!"

This is a good choice if you're tired of cleaning your turtle tank all the time. They are easily found from mom-n-pop pet stores to large chain stores. I have had no issues with it being to loud. I will pick 3-4 of these at one time over a single system any day. Clean the foam insert apparently it pulled a lot of dirt and needs cleaned. Fill it up with water before you plug it in. It's only rated at 25 gph less, but holds considerably less media.

Overall Score
4.1


(520 Points)

8. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media

User Ratings: 65 8

Eheim 2213371 First Impressions

"Thanks, AquaTech."

I'm currently in the process of receiving another replacement on that model. I used to work as a marine biologist for a major state aquarium. That water got so dirty we had to keep changing it every 2 or 3 days. Months later, this filter is still working great on my 29 gal set up. Never ever ever use it past a year. One thing I think is worth mentioning is the need to prime the filter. That water got so dirty we had to keep changing it every 2 or 3 days.

  • EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media
  • Permo-elastic silicon sealing ring fixed on the pump head for easy and safe closing after cleaning
  • Equipped with filter sponges and/or loose filter media
  • Accessories included: spray bar, inlet pipe, hose and installation accessories
  • Comes complete with filter media (EHEIM Mech & Substrat Pro) and valves
  • Permo-elastic silicon sealing ring fixed on the pump head for easy and safe closing after cleaning
  • Equipped with filter sponges and/or loose filter media
  • Accessories included: spray bar, inlet pipe, hose and installation accessories
  • Manufacture: Eheim
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.3 x 13.98 inches; 4.49 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Eheim 2213371
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Eheim 2213371 Final Thoughts

"This thing is super loud!"

It's easy to clean and we all know about easy. I used to work as a marine biologist for a major state aquarium. SO I decided to order this for my 29 gallon tank. The Aqua Clear is on the left and the Aqueon is on the right. Early on it seems to be working as advertised. You do have to unplug it for those two jobs. Overall, I like the 350's slim back design, and be able to add up to 4 cartridges.

Overall Score
4.2


(511 Points)

9. SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH

User Ratings: 66 10

Flexzion HW-302 First Impressions

"This thing is super loud!"

They were great to deal with and the new filter is working great! Also price was very reasonable and shipping was fast. You do have to unplug it for those two jobs. I decided to go with this filter since I had a positive experience previously. I can hear it 3 rooms away grinding away. Of course the sound all depends on how much water is in the aquarium. I ordered 4 of these, for different tanks of course.

  • SunSun HW-302 3-Stage External Canister Aquarium Filter 264GPH
  • Canister filters for aquariums use high water pressure, from a properly powered pump, to force water through the dense filter media. A pump can draw water from an under-gravel filter, and run it into a canister for double filtration
  • 3 media trays capable of handling your choice of filtration media; Comes with an adjustable spray bar. This is a helpful feature if you want to adjust the output flow from the filter
  • Convenient self-priming pump that eliminates the need for manual siphoning; Single valve disconnect & priming pump ease routine maintenance
  • Provides quiet, efficient filtration for fresh and saltwater aquariums is great for living rooms, offices or bedrooms
  • Manufacture: Ming Trading LLC
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 13 x 15 inches; 9.8 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Flexzion HW-302
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Flexzion HW-302 Final Thoughts

"A THUMBS UP."

Marineland bio pumps have been around forever. Your fish and you will be much happier and stun everyone else. So, easy is good, both for us and our fish. MAKE SURE YOU PUT WATER IN THE BACK OF THE FILTER! I've looked at so many filters and reviews. You can't really tell though, and the filter is working great. This filter comes with a sponge, activated carbon, and bio material in a mesh bag.

Overall Score
4.2


(504 Points)

10. Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter for Betta Fry Aquarium Fish Tank Up to 60 Gal, 3-Pack (L)

User Ratings: 83 2

Aquapapa FBA_XY-380-3PC -#4 First Impressions

"All around great product."

I also like the fact that it is relatively low profile and discreet looking. You'll want to pull that water from the bottom. Following morning it was running quietly. My baby turtle even loves it so much he won't let go. It's easy to clean and we all know about easy. If that does not work, look into silicone grease so you can lube the impeller. The current is strong but you can adjust it with the midsection lever.

  • Aquapapa Bio Sponge Filter for Betta Fry Aquarium Fish Tank Up to 60 Gal, 3-Pack (L)
  • Provide both mechanical and biological filtration.
  • Simply install an airline into the unit and provide both aeration and filtration for your fish. Aerobic bacteria colonize the sponge providing a bacterial substance to facilitate the nitrogen cycle.
  • The sponge traps larger waste particles mechanically cleaning the water without trapping baby fish.
  • Product dimensions: 4.5”D x 8.0”H. They are useful for as breeding filter or as secondary filter. Or they can be used as pre-filtration unit by fitting to an external or a top filter.
  • Package includes: 3 pcs of Sponge filters
  • Manufacture: Aquanemo Global
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Aquapapa FBA_XY-380-3PC -#4
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Aquapapa FBA_XY-380-3PC -#4 Final Thoughts

"A little goes a long way."

I also like the fact that it is relatively low profile and discreet looking. My old pump was not working very well so I had to make a major clean up. Unlike my old HOB filter, it doesn't sound like a leaky toilet. Months later, this filter is still working great on my 29 gal set up. SO, I sat down and read EVERY little thing in rhe instructions. Months later, this filter is still working great on my 29 gal set up. This is a well designed unit and a lot of bang for the buck.

Overall Score
4.7


(478 Points)

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