How to pick the best Freshwater Aquarium Filters
Whether you’re new to having an aquarium or you’ve had pet fish for decades; finding the best freshwater aquarium filters on the market never seems easy. New companies are appearing left and right. There are also new filtration technologies being developed all of the time. How do you know which is best and which to avoid? Here are five of the best filters that you can find on the market today.
1. Emperor 400 Pro Series.
This is one of the best freshwater aquarium filters for those who don’t have much experience yet. Newcomers will find that this filter is very simple and easy to set-up. Nonetheless, it is very capable of keeping the water perfectly clean. It won’t work with aquariums any larger than 80 gallons, but not many newcomers are starting with tanks larger than that anyway.
The Emperor 400 uses the familiar 3-stage filtration system that you see in a lot of fish tank filters these days. The stages are:
It’s capable of pushing water through these stages at a rate of 400 gallons per hour. That’s definitely an impressive flow rate. As a matter of fact, that’s more than some high-end models designed for larger tanks can handle.
Unlike some of the more modern competition, this filter still relies on the impeller design to move water through the filters. Most would agree that there’s nothing wrong with that. Yes, it makes it slightly bulkier than a discreet motor would, but it does the job just fine.
This model actually uses two impellers. One moves the water into the filters and the second is used to pressurize the water after filtration. The use of two impellers does cause it to stand out from those that use the single impeller design. It’s more efficient than a single impeller filter. Combine that with its impressive ability to handle 400 gallons an hour and you’ve got yourself one of the best fish filters on the market today.
2. AquaClear 110.
If you spend any amount of time shopping for aquarium filters, then you’re going to run into a lot of AquaClear products. They are one of the top manufacturers of aquarium filters and for good reason. Their products are known to be reliable, powerful, and quiet. They develop filters for a variety of tank settings and sizes and using various filtration methods.
The 110 Power Filter from AquaClear is a compact filter, yet it can handle 500 gallons of water an hour in tanks of up to 110 gallons. It’s definitely not what you would expect when you first glance at the rather small and unimpressive looking filter. Don’t let the appearance fool you: this is one of the best aquarium filters you’ll ever consider buying.
What happens when a filter can process 500 gallons of water an hour, but it only needs to handle 100? Most filters simply lose efficiency. The AquaClear is capable of detecting the decrease in flow rate. When the flow rate drops below 250 gallons per hour it maintains its efficiency by processing the water twice. You’re always getting what you paid for, even if your tank holds significantly less than 110 gallons.
3. Aqueon QueitFlow 10.
What if your tank isn’t even close to 110 gallons? Many fish enthusiasts have tanks between 10 and 20 gallons. If you’re one of those people, then you could benefit from the Aqueon QueitFlow. It is rated for up to 20 gallons and can process a total of 100 gallons of water in an hour.
This is the perfect filter for any aquarium that is between 10 and 20 gallons. It’s extremely affordable, which makes it a more economical choice than a filter that can handle 100 gallons. And just because it’s designed for smaller tanks doesn’t make it any less capable of properly filtering the water. It utilizes a fairly standard multi-stage filtration method to ensure that the water is cleared of physical, chemical, and biological matter before re-entering the tank environment.
Customers have praised this model for being easy to install, easy to use, and easy to maintain. The filter cartridges are easily removed and replaced in only a few minutes. There’s no need to prime the pump either. The set-up is extremely simple with no complex assembly required.
4. Penn Plax Cascade Canister
Canister filters are steadily growing in popularity. They introduce an extra layer of safety and security to the mix. No longer will you have to worry about the filter tank leaking back into the water. External filters don’t have that problem, but they can be rather unsightly. The canister utilizes a heavy-duty seal to keep everything contained without any risk of leaking.
Penn Plax offers several different variations of their Cascade Canister model. For the most part, these variations correlate to different sized tanks. Their largest model can handle tanks of 150 gallons while their smaller model is designed for 10 to 20-gallon tanks.
5. Jardin Fish Tank 6-Layer Sponge.
Finally, this is a surprisingly simple, yet extremely effective filtration system designed for small tanks. In particular, it is preferred for use in beta fish tanks. It uses a 6-layer sponge filtration system to remove a variety of particulates from the water. An airline is added to the filtration system to increase aeration in the tank.
Knowing What You Need.
As long as you know the needs of your tank, finding a filter is easy thanks to the list above. Very small tanks might prefer the Jardin or Aqueon QuieitFlow. Large tanks will benefit from the AquaClean. Finally, any size tank could benefit from one of the many Cascade Canister filters available.