How to choose a filter for an aquarium

The key to the longevity of the inhabitants of any aquarium is a properly built system of aeration and water filtration. For this purpose, modern aquarium filters are used to solve many different problems. Cleaning the aquarium from impurities, debris and waste products of living beings, aeration and oxygenation of the water are just a few of the tasks that a properly selected filter can solve.

choosing a filter for an aquarium

Top aquarium filter manufacturers

When choosing a device of this class, it is better to give preference to brands that are widely known in the circles of aquarists:

  1. Tetra;

  2. Eheim;

  3. Jebo;

  4. Aquael;

Reviews of the products of the above-described brands can be studied on the Internet, in all kinds of thematic forums dedicated to aquaristics, as well as in social networks.

Types of filters for aquarium

External filters

external filter for aquarium

Devices that are installed from the outside and do not take up the usable space inside the aquarium. The productivity can reach 300-400 liters per hour. Designed for use in compact tanks, the volume of which does not exceed 80-100 liters. Allows the installation of replaceable filters, different in principle of operation – mechanical, biological or chemical.


  • Outdoor installation does not hide the place;

  • Unpretentious in maintenance and cleaning;

  • Suitable for use with aquariums up to 100 liters;

  • High filtration performance;

  • Three types of different filters;


  • Expensive;

Bottom filters

Bottom filters

Compact devices installed on the bottom of the aquarium and having the aesthetic appearance of a stone or other typical underwater object. Suitable for aquariums up to 60-80 liters. It has a quiet operation and does not cause disturbance to underwater inhabitants. Fits perfectly into the design of the aquarium and does not look alien at the bottom.


  • Miniature;

  • Oxygenates;

  • Filters water from debris and waste;

  • Silent work;


  • Not suitable for large aquariums;

  • Requires regular maintenance and cleaning of the filter element;

Internal filters

Internal filters

They are a special container designed for installation directly into the aquarium. They are characterized by excellent aeration and excellent water filtration. They are used with aquariums, the volume of which can reach 100-120 liters. Unpretentious in maintenance and cleaning.


  • Productive;

  • Provide for the connection of an additional hose for air intake;

  • Equipped with rotating nozzles to change the direction of water flows;

  • Easy to clean and maintain;

  • Inexpensive;


  • Steal space in the aquarium;

  • Filtering is slightly worse compared to external models;

The main criteria for choosing aquarium filters

aquarium selection criteria

After the buyer has decided on the specific type of filter for the aquarium and the place of its installation, it is necessary to study the technical characteristics of the model and compare them with the operating conditions.

Maximum aquarium volume

Regardless of the design, a particular type of filter for an aquarium is designed to purify a specific volume of water. Using the device in a tank larger than the manufacturer's recommended capacity will result in insufficient cleaning and the death of pets as a result. This parameter should be chosen with a margin of 5-10 liters for efficient operation.

Device performance

Displays the amount of water passed through the filter element in one hour of continuous operation. The higher the productivity, the more efficient the process of water purification from pollution. The best models show productivity at the level of 400-600 liters per hour, which when installed in a small, about 60-80 liters, aquarium, allows the device to drive out all the water in the aquarium 3-4 times per hour of operation.

Filtration type

There are 3 types of filters, depending on the type of pollution to be neutralized.

  1. Mechanical. Filters debris, sand, silt, suspension;

  2. Biological. Designed for cleaning from waste products of organisms;

  3. Chemical. It is used to purify water from all kinds of chemical compounds (calcium, chlorine, iron);

Filler type

Depending on what type of filler is used as a filter element, the performance properties of a particular device can vary significantly.

  1. A sponge is the simplest filler that performs both mechanical and biological purification of water from suspended matter and waste products. Easy to operate and undemanding to maintain. It is reusable – all that is required is to remove the filter element and rinse it;

  2. Zeolite. A special material based on zeolite clay. Designed to filter all kinds of chemical compounds, chlorine, iron and ammonia. Each such filter is disposable and requires replacement after 3-4 months of use;

  3. Activated carbon is the most common filter material. Differs in a high degree of filtration and cleans water from both mechanical and biological waste. Among the shortcomings, one can single out the tendency to absorb not only harmful, but also useful substances, as well as the need for frequent replacement – about 1 time per month;

  4. Sintepon. The most finely porous material, providing fine water purification from suspended matter. For maximum efficiency and long life, it is recommended to use with a sponge or zeolite filter;

  5. Bio-filler. A special material, which is a special environment for the active reproduction of beneficial bacteria. They are the ones who filter water from biological and chemical waste. It is recommended to be used in tandem with a sponge or other filter that retains suspension and mechanical particles;

Energy consumption

Filters for an aquarium are devices that operate on a 220 Volt network, and therefore you also need to pay attention to energy consumption. Most models are equipped with an electrical circuit that can require 5-7 watts of electricity per hour of operation, which is practically not displayed on the electricity bill.

The need to clean and replace filter elements

A replaceable element, which acts as a filter, becomes clogged with debris over time and ceases to perform its functions. It is more convenient when the filter element is cleaned as rarely as possible without affecting the functioning of the device. In this case, changing the filter can be combined with cleaning the aquarium and changing the water;

Water flow direction and the possibility of changing it

The stream of water coming out of the filter should be evenly distributed throughout the aquarium and not frighten the inhabitants with its appearance. It is best when the direction change is done in a fan-like fashion and adjusts automatically.

Features of choosing an external filter for an aquarium

The external filter is very often chosen deliberately due to its ease of use, cleaning and maintenance. The parameters of a good device of this class are as follows:

  1. Productivity at the level of 300-400 liters per hour;

  2. Allowable volume up to 100-120 liters;

  3. Fan spray of water flow;

  4. The ability to quickly replace the filter element, if necessary;

  5. Diversified types of filtration systems, changeable if necessary;

  6. Minimum operating noise;

  7. Power consumption is not more than 10 watts per hour;

In the following articles, our experts will tell you how to choose a telescope and the secrets of choosing a microscope.

Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.

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