Stephen is an owner of several aquarium supplies shops in New York. Like no one else, he knows how to pick the perfect fish tank or any aquarium accessory from pump to artificial decorative plants.
Last updated: July 04, 2022
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Large aquariums are beasts to maintain. They require numerous large-sized resources, including filters. The good news is that there are aquarium filters specifically designed for different size tanks! We have tested and reviewed the 6 best aquarium filters for large tanks on the market today, conducted in-depth research on their specifications, and discussed user experiences with each model to help you pick an ideal product.
The best aquarium filters for large tanks are capable of cleaning many gallons. They also should reduce the need to clean or change water frequently, be energy efficient and minimize noise. In addition, they should have a good design that encourages good bacteria growth. If you have a 65-gallon tank or bigger, any one of the filters we reviewed below will do a great job.
More features: for use in freshwater and saltwater aquariums, quiet, self-priming, energy efficient, leak-free, fast assembly, anti-clog telescopic strainer, multi-directional for customized water currents
The Fluval FX6 canister filter is our top recommendation for large aquariums. The components of the model are of high quality and it has an excellent filtering system that reduces maintenance workload. It can clean up to 400 gallons of water. It also has a clean design that enables more bacteria growth, which minimizes the amount of harmful chemicals in the tank’s water. This advanced filtration system uses three distinct layers: mechanical, chemical and biological. The first level pulls out solid waste and debris, the second one de-toxifies chemicals like ammonia and nitrite, while the bio-layer adds good bacteria to break down those harmful toxins into less toxic substances. The advanced basket-in-basket media design provides plenty of space to house compatible biological and chemical filter media. This means you don’t need to go out and buy any additional filter media. Another great thing about the Fluval FX6 is that it is self-priming soit can automatically restart after power outages. It also comes with a multi-directional design that you can customize based on your fish tank’s needs.
Fluval has launched three versions of the FX series so far, with the FX4, FX5, and FX6. If you want a high-performing filter for large fish tanks, you’ll have to choose between the FX4 and FX6 now that the FX5 is no longer available. The FX4 is ideal for aquariums with a capacity of up to 100 gallons, while the FX6 has more filtration and faster water flow. We do not recommend using either filter in anything smaller than a 55-gallon tank that is four feet wide.
More features: available in four sizes up to 200 gallons, built-in 9W light, four flexible media trays, self-priming pump, integrated UV kill switch
Various sellers market SunSun Canister Filters under various business or brand names such as Polar Aurora or Flexzion. They’re easy to identify because they’re white and look almost identical. This SunSun 4-Stage External Canister Filter sold by Polar Aurora has many unique and useful features that make it a great choice for large aquariums. It is one of the largest canister filters on the market, so it will easily handle the filtration needs of any tank over 100 gallons. Not only does it have a very high water flow rate for its size, but it also comes with an integrated 9W UV lamp, which will clear up your tank in no time. The self-priming pump ensures that the filter is always ready to go when you are, and it has a built-in automatic shutoff valve which makes maintenance much easier. This filter is available in four different sizes, so you can get one that is just the right size for your tank. It really doesn’t get much better than this filter when it comes to large aquariums.
SunSun canister filters are not as well-known as Fluval or Eheim, although we saw for ourselves that their container filters provide excellent performance. This SunSun filter provides comparable filtration to some of the top canister filters on the market, but for a really affordable price.
What do we love it for?
It’s freshwater and saltwater safe
Features an ultra low noise
Comes at an affordable price
Has a very effective priming mechanism
Features an adjustable sprayer bar
Has four media trays for customization
What were we disappointed with?
Filter media is not included
It is quite bulky
The filter should be placed below the level of the tank
Overtightening the pipes can break the hose connectors
More features: made in Germany, has a Range Xtender Function, available with an integrated heater as thermo filter
Another contender on our list is the Eheim Pro 4+ 250. This is a canister filter with a 66-gallon tank capacity. It has 252 gallons per hour flow rate and 3 filtration stages for clean and clear water. This filter comes in at 14 inches tall, so it should fit well on most large aquarium stands. It requires about 12 watts of power input and is made in Germany to the highest standards of quality. Due to the incorporated Xtender function, the intervals between cleaning the filter can be extended. The 250 model is also available as with an integrated heater thermofilter, which is great for large tanks where space is at a premium and finding an ideal location for a heater can be difficult. The Eheim Pro 4+ 250 comes with a three-year warranty, which means that if something goes wrong with your filter or malfunctions within those three years you can get it replaced for free. The filter boasts a very quiet operation, you can’t even tell it’s on most of the time.
Pro4+ filter replaces the EHEIM Pro 3 range. The only difference is that the Pro4+ has a range extender function for an integrated heater as thermo filter. Pro4+ external canister filter systems are suitable for tanks >120 l (31 US gal). They come with 3 different sized adaptors, which will fit to most tanks. All components are made of high-quality plastic and metal components. The Pro4+ Series external filters guarantee a fast and easy priming, extremely low noise levels and a long lifetime due to highest quality standards.
Why are we impressed?
This is an easy-to-use filter
Features a very quiet operation
Has an Xtender function
Works well for freshwater and saltwater tanks
The filter comes with filter pads, media and all necessary installation equipment
What negatives must you be aware of?
It looks a bit bulky in the tanks
The pull handles on the top section of the filter are quite fragile
More features: self-priming, converts from 3-stage filtration to water polishing, dual filter media chambers
The MarineLand Magnum ML90770-00 Internal Canister Filter provides a thorough filtration system for up to 97 gals of saltwater aquariums. Fish tank owners will appreciate how this internal canister filter efficiently does the job with ease. The pump of the MarineLand Magnum ML90770-00 provides 290 GPH, which makes it a great choice for larger fish tanks. This filter includes an activated charcoal cartridge along with a floss sleeve that can remove particles as small as 5 microns. The activated charcoal cartridge will remove harmful toxins from the water to prevent pollution, while the floss sleeve can remove large solid waste that settles on gravel or other equipment in the aquarium. The MarineLand Magnum ML90770-00 is made from heavy-duty materials and comes with self-priming capability. The MarineLand Magnum ML90770-00 Internal Canister Filter also comes with adjustable flow controls and includes a 3 years limited warranty from the manufacturer.
Marineland has totally reinvented their Magnum filter transforming it from external into the internal filter. You don’t have to worry about priming, setting up the tubes, occasional leakages and other problems that you may experience with the old external canister version or a hang-on model. With this internal canister filter, you can have a water polishing canister to clear up your water or you can add carbon, phosphate media, any kind of absorption chemical media and then turn it into a chemical media reactor. The redesigned filter can now fill multiple roles than its predecessors, making it extremely versatile and a key maintenance tool.
What makes it stand out?
Filtration is pretty powerful
There is no back flush
It provides efficient water polishing with the micron cartridge
It includes activated charcoal filter media and a filter floss sleeve
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The filtration and water polishing functions don’t run together
More features: clog-proof intake strainer, a dual-layer foam screen, a patented Aquastop Valve, multiple filtration baskets, made in Italy
The Fluval 306 External Filter is a great filter for 45- to 70-gallon tanks. This canister model cleans up to 303 gallons an hour while minimizing maintenance because of the patented Aquastop Valve. This valve automatically stops the flow of water when the filter gets clogged to prevent damage to your fish tank’s pump or during maintenance work. We found that this model also comes with locking hose nuts which help prevent leaking or the possibility of the hoses becoming accidentally disconnected while the filter is in use. It does not require any priming or backflushing, and it has multi-stage filtration plus other useful features like adjustable flow valves and an intake tube that works even under gravel beds. Additionally, this filter has a unique design to dampen the production of sound. The Fluval 306 canister filter is made in Italy and comes with a 3-year warranty. It has a 16″ height and 9.15 pounds weight, so it is also large enough for bigger aquariums.
There are 5 models of Fluval external canister filters: Fluval 106, Fluval 206, Fluval 306, Fluval 406, and the Fluval G6. They all feature different flow rates and work best for different capacity fish tanks. The 306 is the most popular choice for many users because has a convenient medium size.
What do we love it for?
It has a durable build
Operates very quietly
Self-priming function works well
It features very effective sponge filter media
The filter is lightweight enough
What were we disappointed with?
The lid is a bit difficult to close
Water may bypass filtration media if there is too much resistance
More features: adjustable intake strainers, filter cartridges with Black Diamond Activated Carbon, patented Bio-Wheel technology
The Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter is a perfect match for large aquariums. It comes with an adjustable intake strainer that guarantees gentle water flow, which means it can work both on tanks with hard corals and those housing invertebrates. What makes this filter unique is its patented Bio-Wheel technology which is designed to boost beneficial bacteria growth. It is ideal for both fresh and saltwater tanks, can clean up to 350 gallons an hour, and filter through three filtration stages. Marineland Penguin 350 Bio-Wheel Power Filter is one of the most popular power filters available in the market today. It is easy to set up and maintain, and is also very reasonably priced.
This power filter is directly competing with the EHEIM Classic External Filter, Fluval 305 Canister Filter and Penn Plax Cascade Hang On Aquarium Power Filter. Marineland Penguin 350 Bio-Wheel Power Filter is priced at about $40, which is lower than that of its competitors. It also comes with a three-year warranty and includes patented Bio-Wheel technology for healthier and cleaner tanks.
What stands out?
Comes at a low price
Has adjustable intake strainers
The filter features noise-reducing vented covers
It is freshwater and saltwater safe
It features a built-in extra filter media space
What cons did we manage to find?
If the filter is not adequately primed, the motor will burn out.
The bio-wheel and filter cartridges must be changed on a regular basis.
The right aquarium filter can make a huge difference in the health of your fish, as well as the enjoyment you get from your tank. Here we’ll discuss what to look for when choosing a filter for a large tank.
How to Choose the Best Aquarium Filter for a Large Tank
There are a few things that should be kept in mind while purchasing a filter for your large tank. They are:
Water Type and Tank Size
Most filters aren’t sized for large tanks- they’re intended for small 10 gallon tanks. If you have a 60-gallon tank size or larger, you’ll need to find an aquarium filter that’s capable of working in your tank.
The type of water in your tank also largely determine which filter you should get. If you own a saltwater fish tank, it’s best if you opt for a canister filter or HOB (hang on back) power filters since they allow water to flow freely and create less stress on delicate corals and invertebrates.
If you have a large tank, you’ll want to make sure that your filter can handle the amount of water turnover necessary for your tank. The more fish or corals in the aquarium, the higher this will be. Look for filters with GPH rates on their specs. For example, you’ll need at least 200 GPH for every 50 gallons of tank size. If your tank is over 100 gallons, look for a filter with the capacity to turn over at least 500 GPH
Multiple Filtration Stages
Ideally, you’ll want to find an aquarium filter with multiple filtration stages
Trusted SourceEverything You Need To Know About FiltrationFish release waste into the same environment they eat, breathe and live in, making an efficient filtration system critical to their long-term health and well-being.
. Some of the most common types of filtration include:
Mechanical – removes solid waste before it has time to decompose in the tank
Chemical – uses activated carbon to remove dissolved chemicals and proteins that would degrade the water quality
Biological – uses beneficial bacteria to break down ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates into more tolerable forms of nitrogen.
Type of Filter
These are the four main types of aquarium filters
There are a variety of aquarium filters
Trusted SourceAquarium filter - WikipediaAquarium filters are critical components of both freshwater and marine aquaria. Aquarium filters remove physical and soluble chemical waste products from aquaria, simplifying maintenance. Furthermore, aquarium filters are necessary to support life as aquaria are relatively small, closed volumes of water compared to the natural environment of most fish.
to choose from, each featuring their own pros and cons. No single filter is capable of providing everything you need in one package- it’s important to understand the different filtration styles available in order to pick an appropriate type for your tank.
Here are some of the most common types of aquarium filters available:
Canister filter is a large external filter that’s mounted on the back of the tank. They’re capable of providing strong water circulation, as well as filtration for all three stages. The best canister filters are capable of handling a large amount of fish, but they require more maintenance than other types because you have to take them out of the tank to clean, replace media.
If you have a large enough tank, internal filters are another option for your filter. They can be built into the back wall of your aquarium, and will provide much better water circulation than an external filter might. However, they often don’t include filtration stages, and they’re harder to maintain than an external filter. You can find more information about this type of filter in our article on the best internal aquarium filters on the market today.
If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to consider a power filter that’s designed for small aquariums. These filters are capable of providing mechanical filtration (removing solid waste) but they won’t work as well in large tanks with high bioloads.
Hang On The Back Filter
These are the most basic types of filters out there, and they’re also the least expensive. The best HOB filters are great for small aquariums, but they aren’t capable of providing adequate filtration for large tanks.
Filter Media Capacity
Go for the filters with multiple media cartridges of large capacity
Ideally, you want a filter with as large a media capacity as possible, since you’ll need to change the media less often. Some filters come with multiple cartridges that can be easily changed out – this is important to look for if you’re going on an extended vacation and don’t have time to change your filter’s media before you leave.
Ease of Maintenance
It’s important to consider the ease of maintenance when picking out an aquarium filter. Do you have time to regularly clean, replace, and scrub each stage of your filter? If not, a multi-stage filter that requires less work might be a better option.
Size and Weight
It’s important to consider the size of an aquarium filter before picking one out. Most filters are designed for small tanks, but there are some large filters that can accommodate larger aquariums. Make sure to take the dimensions of your aquarium into account before buying- if you have a particularly deep tank, then you might need a filter that’s specially designed for deep tanks.
Make sure the size of your aquarium filter corresponds with the dimensions of your tank, especially if you are purchasing an internal filter
It’s important to buy a filter that will last you for years instead of months. You should look at the warranty on the aquarium filter, as well as how long other owners have had success with it.
Aquarium filters can be expensive, but they’re often worth it. A good filter will provide your fish with clean water that’s free of waste and harmful toxins. You don’t need to purchase the most expensive option on the market- just make sure you buy a filter that’s appropriate for your tank size instead of saving money by buying a small one.
There are a number of other things that you might want to look for when buying an aquarium filter. Some filters come with extra cartridges, while others have adjustable flow rates or other unique features. Make sure your aquarium filter will suit the needs of your tank before buying it.
It depends on what you want to use it for. An internal filter has the advantage of being hidden inside your tank so it doesn’t take up too much space or look ugly in a big aquarium. However, they often don’t include filtration stages and they’re harder to maintain than an external filter.
HOB filters are designed for small aquariums, but they aren’t capable of providing adequate filtration for large tanks. If you have a smaller budget, you might want to consider buying one instead of buying something that’s not powerful enough to suit your needs.
This usually depends on the type of filter you have, but in general it would be recommended that you clean out your filter once every week or two. If the media is overgrown with algae then you should scrub or replace it after several months.
No, a filter can’t be too big for a tank. However, depending on the type of aquarium filter it might need to be changed more often than you’re used to. If you buy a filter that’s designed for an aquarium that’s few times larger than your own, then it will probably need to be cleaned or replaced more frequently than usual.
If you have a large tank, then you should consider buying the filter that’s specifically made for larger aquariums to make sure it can accommodate your fish without causing too much maintenance.
Having reviewed the six best aquarium filters for large tanks in this guide, we can recommend the Fluval FX6 as the best aquarium filter for large tanks on the market today thanks to its great capacity, flow rate, multi-directional water flow control, and a full basket-in-basket design.
Our runner-up, the SunSun canister filter appears to have everything you would want in a high-capacity, easy-to-use media filter. With its four distinct medium stages, enormous capacity and flow rate, it has a low price, as well as being simple to set up.
The Eheim Pro 4+ 250 is an impressive filter that delivers top-tier performance. It’s incredibly efficient, powerful and runs more quietly than other filters on the market.
Everything You Need To Know About Filtration
Fish release waste into the same environment they eat, breathe and live in, making an efficient filtration system critical to their long-term health and well-being.
Aquarium filters are critical components of both freshwater and marine aquaria. Aquarium filters remove physical and soluble chemical waste products from aquaria, simplifying maintenance. Furthermore, aquarium filters are necessary to support life as aquaria are relatively small, closed volumes of water compared to the natural environment of most fish.