What's The Best Aquarium Filter For My Fish Tank?

One of the most frequent enquiries our aquatic team receives here at AllPetSolutions is about aquariums filters.

We get it; there are so many to choose from, with different fittings, sizes, capacities - if you have a new aquarium, want to upgrade your aquarium's filter or are new to fishkeeping it can feel like a minefield!

Never fear, here is our rundown of which filters for aquariums are right for your tank - and why.

What is the Difference Between Aquarium External Filters and Internal Aquarium Filters?

While it seems evident that internal filters fit inside your tank and external ones sit outside, it isn't quite so simple knowing which one is right for your aquarium or your fish.

Internal aquarium filters come in two primary categories:

  • Air-powered filters, or a sponge aquarium filter, is the simplest and most cost-effective option, using air to pump water through a sponge. The filters are small, gentle and provide effective biofiltration.
  • Undergravel filters sit underneath the substrate at the bottom of your tank and are relatively budget-friendly and easy to look after. These filters for aquariums use mechanical filtration through the gravel, encouraging healthy bacteria growth for biofiltration.

Aquarium external filters come in three main types:

  • Hang on back filters, or power filters are very popular for dedicated fish keepers, and hang on the back of the tank pulling water up to provide a chemical, bio and mechanical filtration. This is a low cost and low maintenance option.
  • Canister filters are more powerful and use pressured filters suited to larger tanks and higher water capacity aquariums.
  • Wet/Dry or trickle filters are a higher cost premium filter, and provide outstanding filtration through double exposure to both water and air.

Which Filter Do I Need for my Aquarium?

  • Larger tanks with 30 gallons plus are best suited to external canister filters or wet/dry filters.
  • Smaller tanks under 30 gallons with a smaller number of fish are best with internal filters or hang on back filters.
  • Breeding tanks are best with a sponge or air-powered filtered for gentler filtration.

We hope this helps you choose the best aquarium filter for your tank - and if you're still unsure, feel free to contact the AllPetSolutions team for more advice!