Filter For Aquarium How To Choose

Device and principle of operation

The internal filter is simple, but at the same time gives a good result. Its body with rounded edges has small slots in the lower part, which are needed to draw water. Inside, besides the motor, there is also a small pump that starts the process of water tightening.

The filter elements are located inside the part having slots. They can be single or consist of several elements. Most often the filtering material is a sponge from polyurethane foam.

See how you can assemble the filter with your own hands.

Water, when it passes through a sponge, is cleaned of mechanical impurities, which are deposited on the filter element. In the cells of the sponge colonies of beneficial microorganisms quickly grow, which complement the biological biological cleaning.

Externally, the device for aquariums most of all resembles a glass with a spout for removing purified water back into the tank.

Internal water purifiers have a fairly simple device. Each of them is a cylindrical housing with slots for drawing in water, to which a small pump is attached.

Inside the case is one or more filter materials. In the simplest form, this material is foam rubber (flexible polyurethane foam).

Water, passing under pressure through the foam cells, gets rid of mechanical impurities and goes back to the aquarium. Colonies of saprophytes (microorganisms that accumulate in the cells of foam rubber) produce biological purification of aqua, turning decomposed organic residues into inorganic substances.

In appearance, the device looks like a glass. That is what the owners of ornamental fish often call it.

The best

It is worth noting again that for each aquarium the best filter should be selected depending on the parameters of the aquarium or the preferences of the aquarist, but we tried to choose the most popular models.

  1. Powerful filter EHEIM Classic. The German company EHEIM produces powerful and silent models. They are reliable and durable to use. Suitable for freshwater and marine aquariums with a large volume. Among the minuses stands out the high price.
  2. Tetra tetratec. The German company Tetra, in addition to food, produces water purification filters. They are distinguished by an acceptable price and good quality. Devices of this brand are the best filters for aquarium on the market. The company produces the tetra tetratec model, which is suitable for any tank up to 500 liters.
  3. Aquael minikani. The Aquael campaign produces good filters that are suitable for small tanks. The aquael minikani model is distinguished by its reliability and ease of use. It is equipped with large volume filtration material. Models of this campaign occupy leading positions in the ranking of water purifiers.

Internal Fish Tank Filters are quite simple. They are a plastic cylindrical body with holes for suction of water.

Inside this glass there are sections for filter elements, which in most cases are filtration biological sponges, fillers based on activated carbon, ceramic and ultraviolet modules.

Under the action of a compact pump, water from the aquarium is drawn into the filter and passes through all the cleaning steps provided by the manufacturer. Already purified from mechanical impurities and organic residue, water returns to the aquarium.

More expensive models of filters can have additional options – a heating element and thermal switches to maintain the set temperature in the aquarium, adjusting the pump power and air supply, etc.

When choosing an internal filter for a certain volume of an aquarium, all factors should be taken into account: the number of fish and other inhabitants, the frequency of feeding, the presence of living and artificial plants, their number.

Attention should be paid to the performance of the model – ideally, it should be at least 5-7 volumes. So, for an aquarium of 100 liters, you need to select filters that pump at least 500-700 liters of water per hour.

You should not choose too compact devices, because the small size adversely affects the amount of filter material.

Advantages of internal filters:

  • Availability. Internal location filters are 2-3 times cheaper than external devices of similar performance;
  • Reliability. In such a filter, only the pump can break, but usually they work flawlessly for the entire period stated by the manufacturer;
  • Security. The possibility of leakage is excluded because the filter is located inside the aquarium;
  • Convenience of service. It is necessary to clean the filter material regularly, but this procedure takes several minutes – it is enough to remove the sponge and rinse it in clean water;
  • High throughput. Depending on the model, the performance of the filters can reach 2000 and more liters per hour, which ensures good circulation of water in the aquarium;
  • Noiselessness Unlike bulky external filters, interior devices work without hum and vibrations. Next to this aquarium, it is comfortable to sleep;
  • Low power consumption. The best internal Fish Tank Filters on the market are highly energy efficient.
Read more:  How To Install The Internal Filter In The Aquarium

Disadvantages of internal Fish Tank Filters:

  • Limited performance. On sale there are models for aquariums of more than 200 liters. However, experienced aquarists recommend choosing filters with a double performance margin;
  • Satisfactory biological water purification. Due to the compactness of the device, it contains a small amount of filter material in which beneficial bacteria reside. With an increase in flow rate, valuable “helpers” are simply washed away with water into the water column, where they work less efficiently;
  • Aesthetic component. The filter not only takes place in the aquarium, but also violates the internal harmony with its austere appearance.

Professional advice: If there are a large number of demanding inhabitants in an aquarium, experienced aquarists strongly advise buying external multi-stage cleaning filters.

We have prepared for you a rating of the most practical models of internal filters from well-known manufacturers!

Aquariums come in fresh and salt water. Each of these types requires its own kinds of filter elements. The choice of its type or filtering variant depends on the size of the aquarium, the species of fish and its other inhabitants.

Every experienced aquarist knows for which fish and aquarium plants, what kind of filtration is needed. A novice fish lover should choose a universal combined filter and consider all possible options. Airlift filter module with zeolite is useful for removing ammonia from the aquarium.


The most common are mechanical filtering devices, based on drawing in water and passing it through several filters. The JBL company (Germany) offers angular filters with silent start up on 90-160 l:

  • model name: JBL Cristal Profi i80;
  • cost: 3465 rubles;
  • characteristics: ready for use, 8 W, powerful sucker, modular design, 8.5 x 8.5 x 29.5 cm, adjustable capacity 300-720 l / h;
  • pluses: high-quality suckers;
  • cons: not noted.

Internal mechanical filtering devices are designed to clean and saturate water with air. The Polish company Aquael offers a version with a mechanical filtration, supplemented with a sterilization module with ultraviolet rays:

  • model name: Aquael Unifilter UV Power 750;
  • cost: 2080 p .;
  • characteristics: adjustment of air supply, adjustment of flow direction, double sponge, UNIUV POWER UV module eliminates the causes of most diseases, destroys algae and parasites, for volumes from 200 to 300 liters, capacity 750 l / h, filler, suction cups;
  • Pros: high quality UV LEDs;
  • cons: not seen.


Filtering devices that combine mechanical and chemical water purification are classified as combined. The presented version of TM Aquael has the ability to expand up to 8 modules for cartridges with chemical fillers:

  • Model Name: Aquael Multi Kani;
  • price: 2 794 p .;
  • characteristics: it has a container with a chemical filler, two hoses, a set of transfer tubes, an external pump, suction cups, a deflector, a perforated nozzle, an adapter, capacity 800 l / h, power 8 W, for a volume of 30-320 l, dimensions 138 x 182 mm, weight 4 kg;
  • Pluses: high-quality cleaning;
  • Cons: filler must be purchased separately.

For large aquariums, filtering devices with high performance are required. The Russian manufacturer TM Tetra is a variant with several types of filtration and 5 fillers:

  • model name: Tetratec EX 800 PLUS;
  • cost: 6,541 p .;
  • characteristics: pre-cleaning, valves, 5 substrates-fillers – Tetra CR ceramic rings, Tetra BF bio-sponge, Tetra BB biological cleaning, Tetra CF activated carbon, Tetra FF fine cleaning, improved hose adapter, 800 l / h, for volume of 100-300 liters;
  • Pros: high performance;
  • cons: expensive.


More compact and cheaper are the filtering devices of internal placement. Such equipment TM Ferplast (Italy) is cheaper with a capacity of 900 liters per hour:

  • name: Ferplast BLUMODULAR 1;
  • price: 2 645 p .;
  • characteristics: internal modular filter, adjustable flow, water volume 150-300 l, dimensions 8 x 8 x 21.5 cm, weight 500 g;
  • Pros: high performance;
  • cons: not marked.

In addition to water purification, the filter module can heat it to a predetermined temperature. Italian brand Hydor has a protection system that will turn off the heating element in case of overheating:

  • Model Name: Hydor EKIP 250 Heat Filter;
  • price: 2 326 p .;
  • characteristics: thermocomp with filter compartment, creation of complex filtration systems, precise temperature control, for a volume of 20-60 l, weight 1 kg;
  • pluses: new heating technology;
  • cons: not seen.
Read more:  How Should The Filter Work In The Aquarium


Many aquarists do not like the design with external placement due to the need to clean the hoses. In such a device, a block with a filter tank is located outside the aquarium, and the supply and return of water occurs through the inlet and outlet tubes, as suggested by Aquael:

  • Model name: Aquael Midi Kani 800;
  • price: 4,878 p .;
  • characteristics: productivity 650 l / h, power 8 W, for an aquarium 120-250 l, dimensions 209 x 209 x 332 mm, weight 4000 g;
  • Pros: a quality option;
  • cons: not marked.

One of the most optimal in terms of price and quality are the devices of the company Eheim (Germany). We present a version of the external canister filter of this company with a high flow rate and low noise level:

  • model name: Eheim CLASSIC 2211010;
  • price: 4,665 p .;
  • characteristics: capacity 300 l / h, power 5 W, volume up to 150 l, dimensions 290 x 110 mm, weight 1474 g;
  • Pluses: high quality filtration;
  • cons: not seen.


A good option is to combine with the bottom filter element, which is located under the ground at the bottom of the aquarium and cleans it from bottom sediments and debris. We present a variant of the bottom filter of the Chinese company HAILEA:

  • model name: HAILEA UF -20P;
  • price: 830 p .;
  • characteristics: the size of the bottom filter element 70×30 cm;
  • Pros: low cost;
  • cons: not noted.

HAILEA proposed a modular scheme for creating bottom filter elements of any area. The bottom filter element shown below can be created to the size of the bottom of your tank:

  • model name: HAILEA UF-24P;
  • price: 955 p .;
  • characteristics: size 85×30 cm, size of one module – 14×7 cm;
  • pluses: connects to any external filters;
  • cons: not seen.

Why do I need cleaning

In the wild, rivers are cleaned naturally with the help of the current. For household tanks, artificial filtration of water in the aquarium is acceptable. The life of pets and algae depends on this element.

Some species of fish do not tolerate dirty water, therefore, in addition to the natural purification of the liquid, snails and plants must be equipped with an additional filtration system. It will also help bring a large amount of oxygen to the tank.

For water purification apparatus of various capacities and dimensions are used. Depends on the volume of the tank. With small dimensions, the action is carried out with the participation of filter bacteria. They carry out the process of nitrification – decomposition of ammonia into non-toxic particles.

Devices can be divided by filtering capabilities. The simplest glasses carry out only mechanical cleaning of water and partially biological. Accordingly, they are the cheapest.

In some models, the number of sections for the installation of filter material is increased, which also allows for chemical treatment of water using activated carbon or zeolite.

Internal filters also differ in their performance, that is, in the volume of water that is pumped through the system per unit of time. Immediately it should be noted that the 300-liter capacity is the principal limit for the technical devices under consideration.

As a rule, the pump on the internal cleaner is mounted on top of the glass, but there are models where it is located below.

There are modern devices that have additional options, for example:

  • built-in water heater to maintain the temperature in the aquarium;
  • an injector for supplying air with water;
  • regulator and pump power indicator;
  • flow direction switch and others.
Filter For Aquarium How To Choose

Of course, accessories and options affect the price of the device.

Since useful nitrifying bacteria live in the filter elements, cleaning the filter should be approached without fanaticism. In no case can not wash the filter and its filter elements with detergents.

In a well-established aquarium, bacteria will quickly settle after cleaning the filter; you shouldn’t worry about them. How often to clean the Fish Tank Filter depends on the number of fish and other sources of pollution.

Since I have an external filter, I determine the need for periodic cleaning by the pressure of water from the outlet tube. As markedly reduced, I produce cleaning. This is about once every 3 months. If the water in the aquarium is clean enough, the suspension does not float in the water, the water pressure is acceptable, then you should not climb into it.

Read more:  Aquarium Water Filtration

To clean the internal filter, unplug it from the power supply and gently (!) Remove it from the aquarium so that all the dirt from it does not spread around the aquarium. Remove the filter element, wash it, as well as the impeller and the nozzle of the filter itself. Then assemble and install everything in reverse order.

To clean the external filter, disconnect it from the power supply. Then turn off the taps on the water supply and intake hoses. They are either on the hoses themselves, as in the case of the EHEIM Classic, or on the filter head, as in the case of the Tetra filter, and disconnect the hoses from the filter.

After that, you need to disconnect the clips that hold the filter head to the body, and carefully remove the filter head. Then pull out the containers with fillers (in the case of the EHEIM Classic there are no containers, so just take out the filter fillers) and rinse.

Periodically there is a need to wash the hoses. Some people ignore the cleaning of the hoses, and then complain that their filter is bad and the performance of the purchase has dropped 2-3 times. But in fact, the reason is most likely in dirty hoses.

To clean the hoses, you can drag a thick line or thin wire through it, attach a piece of sponge at the end (for washing dishes it is fine), and drag it through the hose. It is desirable that both the hose inside and the sponge are wet.

How to choose

To choose a filter for fish you need to pay attention to 2 basic properties.


Performance indicate on the packaging – this is the amount of water that the device passes through for 1 hour. The dimensions of aquariums with which the device handles are also described there. For example, a device that surpasses 1 thousand liters per hour is suitable for a 100 l aquarium.

The highest price from Chinese manufacturers. They are durable and smooth in operation. Average for the price – German manufacturers.

The initial information for choosing a filtering device is the volume of water and the required capacity. For a small rectangular or round aquarium and large fish fit mechanical internal filter.

For a large size and number of aquarium fish – a combined device with tanks for biofiltration fillers is required. It will not be superfluous to install a bottom filtration element (false-bottom) – this will make clean not only the water in your tank, but also the bottom soil coating.

Which filter is better?

Perhaps no one aquarist can give a clear answer to this question. There are quite a few models on the market that have been successfully operated for a long period.

If we consider the problem from the point of view of the price for the device, then among the domestic cleaners of economy class it is possible to distinguish products of the German company Sera.

Cheap devices of this brand L30, L60, L120, L150 and even L300 are easy to use and reliable. The numbers indicate the volume of the aquarium for which they are intended.


Italian devices of the Fluval brand are long-lived in the market of aquarium accessories. The best-selling device in the Italian model range is the Fluval4 Plus. He has a strong pump, power flow indicator and a modern, memorable design.

However, this model has relatively large dimensions, and its filter elements quickly become clogged. According to the declared design features, the filter cartridge can be changed without stopping the operation of the device and without removing it from the water.

But in fact, in the course of this operation, some of the garbage goes back into the water anyway. It is better to turn off the device for a while and quietly change the cartridge.

AquaEl FAN

Domestic AquaEl FAN Polish aquarium cleaners have become very popular. And completely justified. Having low power consumption with a relatively powerful pump, Polish devices are reliable, simple, effective.

They compare favorably with their Chinese and some European counterparts with an original filtering material (a phenol-free sponge) on which bacteria actively settle, providing high-quality processing of organic residues and nitrogen compounds.

The internal filtering devices of the Eheim brand can be called the elite of this type of devices. Designers of the German company Eheim GmbH