One of the most important aspects of setting up an aquarium is finding the right filtering system. As you might already know, a filtering system is a must for aquariums. Fish, like all animals, carry germs and these germs can make you sick – though, it is rare. The germs can also contaminate the water your fish lives in, which can make your fish sick.
The best HOB filter is simply a filter that Hang On the Back of your aquarium. This type of filter is one of the most used systems because it is easy to maintain simply because it is easier to reach.
Table of Contents
- Comparison of 10 Best HOB Filters in 2020
- Top 10 Best HOB Filter Reviews in 2020
- 1. Aqua Clear-Fish Tank Filter
- 2. Fluval C Power best HOB Filter for saltwater aquariums
- 3. Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters
- 4. Tetra Whisper Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums
- 5. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter
- 6. Seachem Aquarium Fish Tank Filter
- 7. Seachem Tidal Power Filters
- 8. GRECH UV Sterilizer Hang-On Back Filter
- 9. EHEIM Liberty Filter
- 10. MarineLand Penguin Power Filter
- Types of Filtration
- How to Set Up Your Freshwater Aquarium
- How to Setup a Saltwater Aquarium
- Final Thoughts
- Relevant Resources
Comparison of 10 Best HOB Filters in 2020
|Aqua Clear-Fish Tank Filter||Check Price|
|Fluval C Power HOB Filter||Check Price|
|Aqueon QuietFlow Filters||Check Price|
|Tetra Aquariums Power Filter||Check Price|
|Penn Plax Aquarium Filter||Check Price|
|Seachem Aquarium Filter||Check Price|
|Seachem Tidal Power Filters||Check Price|
|GRECH UV Sterilizer Filter||Check Price|
|EHEIM Liberty Filter||Check Price|
|MarineLand Penguin Filter||Check Price|
Top 10 Best HOB Filter Reviews in 2020
1. Aqua Clear-Fish Tank Filter
The Aqua Clear Power Filter is one of the best HOB filter for 20-gallon tanks. It has a three-step filtering system that works as the water moves through the filtering system – step 1 is mechanical filtration; step 2 is chemical filtration; step 3 is biological filtration. The biological filtration step provides a place for beneficial bacteria to grow.
These beneficial bacteria help to remove toxic materials such as nitrite and ammonia. A division of the Hagen Company, Aqua Clear has been providing quality HOB filtration systems since 1978. This company was founded in 1955 by Rolf C.
Hagen and the company is dedicated to providing innovative and practical products that will boost the welfare and health of your pets. Additionally, the company strives to provide pet owners with products that are safe, convenient, dependable, practical, provide value, and are durable.
- Allows you to control the flow rate for delicate fish and plants that may need a gentle water flow
- Customizable so you can create the best filtration system for your aquarium
- Volume of filtration is 7 times greater than other comparable filtering systems
- The biological filtration system is designed to keep the beneficial bacteria at optimal levels
- Does not require a lot of space
- The filter can be noisy when you have the top on your aquarium
2. Fluval C Power best HOB Filter for saltwater aquariums
Saltwater aquariums are great for people who love the exotic. Some of the rarest, and most beautiful, fish in the world thrive in a saltwater environment. However, setting up a saltwater aquarium is quite an undertaking because it is imperative to create and maintain the perfect balance of salt.
However, since many species that thrive in a saltwater environment are expensive, taking the time to setup the aquarium properly will save you money in the long run. The Fluval C Power Filtration System is one of the best HOB filters for saltwater aquariums.
The C Power Provides a 5-Stage Filtration System
#1 – Mechanical
#2 – Poly/Foam Pad
#3 – Chemical
#4 – Biological Bio-Screen
#5 – Biological C-Nodes
- Refiltration system processes water multiple time before releasing it back into the tank, thus filtering out more impurities
- Self-primes for faster setup
- 5-stage filtration feature 2 mechanical, 1 chemical, and 2 biological stages
- Mechanical filtration stage traps fine and large debris
- Designed to allow you to customize your filtration system
- The most common complaint is that this filtration system is noisy
3. Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters
One of the main differences between saltwater aquariums and freshwater aquariums is the cost. On the other hand, setup and maintenance of the tank is another consideration. In this regard, freshwater tanks are usually easier to take care of than saltwater.
The fish in a freshwater aquarium are less expensive and less delicate. Also, there are a wide variety of colorful options for your freshwater tank. Though freshwater aquariums are easier to maintain, they do require a good filtration system to keep the water clean and healthy for your fish.
One of the best HOB filters for freshwater aquariums is the Aqueon QuietFlow LED Pro Aquarium Power Filters. This filtration system provides all three stages of filtration – mechanical, chemical, and biological.
- Self-priming for a quick and easy startup
- LED indicator light that flashes when cartridges need changed
- An internal pump eliminates leaks and creates less noise
- Diffuser grid adds an additional stage of filtration
- 250 GPH (gallons per hour) flow rate
- Water flow may be too strong for smaller fish
4. Tetra Whisper Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums
One of the most common types of fish for small aquariums is goldfish – often a child’s first experience with a pet fish. Goldfish can live without a filter – IF you don’t mind changing the water almost daily. Like all other types of fish, goldfish produce toxins via respiration and waste.
If these toxins are allowed to buildup in the tank, it can cause many problems, including smelly water and an unhealthy goldfish. In this regard, the Tetra Whisper EX Multi-Stage Power Filter is one of the best HOB for goldfish.
The Whisper is ready-to-use right out of the box and requires minimal setup. As the name indicates, the Whisper runs quietly and is ideal for your goldfish. Lastly, this multi-stage filtration combines mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration at a rate of 110 gallons per hour.
- Time strip technology tells you when the filter needs to be changed
- Easy access door makes changing the filter a breeze
- Easy setup for beginners
- Out flow is powerful enough to oxygenate the water
- Internal motor minimized noise
- Water flow cannot be adjusted
5. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter
For the avid aquarium lover, a 100-gallon aquarium offers you many choices of fish and décor. Not only do larger tanks provide space for a larger fish population, they are also easier to clean. You can have more fish, larger fish, and can create an entire reef system for your fish to thrive in.
Taking this into consideration, one of the best HOB filter for a 100-gallon aquarium is the Penn Plax Cascade Filtration System. This filtration system has three stages (mechanical, chemical, and biological) to keep your fish aquarium crystal clear and healthy for your favorite fish.
- Features two biological filters (inside the system and outside the system) to provide maximum beneficial bacteria.
- Adjustable intake rate and flow rate
- Flow rate is 300 gallons per hour
- Suitable for freshwater or saltwater
- Trolling Motor is designed for a quieter environment
- Replacement filters can be a little expensive
6. Seachem Aquarium Fish Tank Filter
This 55-gallon aquarium is one of the most popular choices for the home. Understandably, such a large aquarium will give you many options for a lively community environment. There are a variety of choices for each zone of your 55-gallon aquarium. Especially bottom dwellers – some fish who spend all their time at the bottom of the tank.
Bottom dwellers help keep your tank clean and include such species as Cory Catfish, Clown Loach, Cherry Shrimp, and Ghost Shrimp. Another choice is mid-tank dwellers – these are fish that spend most of their time swimming around the middle of the aquarium, through and around the décor and vegetation.
These species can include Angelfish, Tetra fish (such as neons), Gourami, and cherry barbs. Lastly, we have top of the tank dwellers – these fish stay near the surface of the aquarium and can include guppies, mollies, zebra danios, and swordtails. Also, you probably can guess that larger fish tanks require more maintenance and cleaning.
The Seachem Tidal Filter by Sicce is one of the best HOB filter for 55-gallon tanks. The Seachem Tidal filter can be used for both freshwater aquariums and saltwater aquariums, which provides you with even more choices for your 55-gallon aquarium.
- Equipped with a monitor that alerts you when the filter needs to be cleaned
- Intake flow is adjustable
- Self-priming pump
- Self-cleaning impeller
- Ventilation slots and aeration grooves ensure water is fully oxygenated before returning to tank
- Filter basket gets clogged easily
7. Seachem Tidal Power Filters
This versatile filter doesn’t look that impressive. But it is one of the best hob fish tank filters. It represents a valuable design for those who’re not into maintenance and who need a bit of help. For example, it has an automatic system that alerts the user when the filter needs to be changed.
I liked this a lot, especially since it may be used in commercial spaces where employees might not know themselves when to change the filter in a tank. As one of the best hob filter for freshwater or saltwater releases, it is also smartly designed.
It has additional ventilation slots for maximum gas exchange. This is the reason it does so well on larger tanks. I’d say you can certainly use it on tanks of up to 75 gallons. If you still like the filter and its design but you have a larger tank, your only other options are its bigger brother with its 110 gallons cleaning capacity.
The efficiency of the filter is impressive as well. It works with debris and it filters out oils and algae quickly. But what I like the most is the basket design which folds the filter in place. It makes the replacement process much easier than expected.
- Filters out biological debris
- Suitable for tanks of up to 75 gallons
- Includes a flow regulator
- Slower than other filters
8. GRECH UV Sterilizer Hang-On Back Filter
This hob filter for saltwater and freshwater is suitable for long-term use. With its practical design, it’s not complicated to install even if you haven’t tried such a product before. What I like the most about it is that it also comes with a UV sterilizer.
This sterilizer is one of the simplest solutions to deal with bacteria inside the water. Additionally, the filter itself is valuable in getting rid of algae. It works with both biological and mechanical filtration. This is based on active carbon.
I like the fact that this active carbon doesn’t negatively impact my fishes. I’d say they’re even happier than before. Among other strengths, it also comes with UV sterilizer controls. As one of the best Hob filters, it manages to offer a solid performance on bacteria control.
You don’t need to use the features if you don’t want to. Now, when it comes to capacity, it is mainly suitable for small tanks. Anything between 10 and 30 gallons is fine. If your tank is bigger, you’ll need to go for its 50 gallons version. In terms of speed, the filter is also reliable. It filters 132 gallons per hour.
With an included surface skimmer, it is a filter that is worth its money. If you’re looking for a UV filter, you’ll know it’s nearly impossible to find something similar at such a low rate. With the addition of adjustable flow rates, it offers more features than I could ask for.
- Made with a UV sterilizer
- Supports adjustable flow rates
- Uses universal filters
- Small filter basket
9. EHEIM Liberty Filter
Ready to filter the water out of the tank, the EHEIM Liberty 200 is easy to install. You simply place it on the edge of the tank. It is often considered the best hob aquarium filter. So you need to look at its filter to understand why it’s a nominee.
Its sponge filter is a bit larger than the average alternative and this can be the reason for its high praise. In terms of tank size for optimum performance, the manufacturer states you can use it on designs of up to 50 gallons. In terms of pure performance, I’d say this sits at a maximum level of 40 gallons.
You want it to run at an optimum level so you should ensure it doesn’t need to filter out a larger tank. When it comes to where you can install it, you should probably avoid the bedroom. This is due to its humming sound.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s a loud Hob filter. But it does have a slight humming sound. In fact, it can quickly become an issue if you like to sleep without any disturbance. I know this is so in my case. Another good tip I can give you is not to force it on large tanks as it won’t fit on thick tank edges.
- Efficient biological filter
- Made with a larger sponge filter
- Installs in seconds
- The humming noise
10. MarineLand Penguin Power Filter
The MarineLand Penguin Power Filter is one of the best HOB filter for your 10-gallon tank. This filtering system filters water at a rate of 100 gallons per hour and performs all three types of filtration – mechanical, chemical, and biological.
10-gallon aquariums are great for beginners. Because the small size allows you to learn how to set up and maintain an aquarium without becoming overwhelmed. 10-gallon tanks also work well as specie specific tanks, such as ghost shrimp and red cherry shrimp.
*Note – 10-gallon tanks are not the best aquariums for goldfish because goldfish will cause the water quality to decrease rapidly in smaller settings.
- Noise-reducing 2-piece vented covers
- Adjustable Mid-level intake strainers
- Needs only 3.75 inches of space between the tank and the wall
- Includes Bio Wheel and 1 filter cartridge
- The filter cartridge is not reusable
Types of Filtration
- Biological – Fish tanks MUST have biological filtering. This type of filtering rids the tank of toxic ammonia that is in the waste products of fishing.
- Chemical – Chemical filters include chemicals such as zeolite and activated carbon. This type of HOB filter can remove substances such as dissolved organics and ammonia but are recommended for dealing with short-term problems rather than use as a long-term stand-alone solution.
- Mechanical – This type of filter traps small particles so they can be removed from the tank before they decompose, which causes the ammonia in the tank. Mechanical filters remove uneaten food and small plant leaves to keep the water in your aquarium clean.
Some filtering systems are a combination of all three stages of filtering. The first step is mechanical filtration, then chemical, and the last step is biological. Other filtering systems combine mechanical and biological. Also, chemical filtration is not necessary for healthy tanks and are most often used only for temporary problems.
How to Set Up Your Freshwater Aquarium
What You Will Need
- Aquarium Stand
- Filtering System
- Decorations – ornaments; live or artificial plants
- Water Conditioner
#1 – Wash gravel, rocks, and artificial ornaments in warm water (no detergents or soaps). Use a colander to rinse gravel until the water coming from the gravel is thoroughly clean.
#2 – Clean aquarium inside and out with a clean, damp cloth (no detergents or soaps).
#3 – Place aquarium on aquarium stand (do not try to move aquarium once you begin filling with water).
#4 – Place gravel in bottom of aquarium. (1.5-2 pounds of gravel per gallon of water)
#5 – Place a clean plate on top of gravel. This will be used to pour water into the tank without disturbing the gravel bed.
#6 – Fill tank to 1/3 full.
#7 – Add water conditioner – this step is important because fish do not do well in chlorinated water.
#8 – Set up air pump.
#9 – Place decorations in tank.
#10 – Fill tank.
#11 – Set up filtering system.
#12 – Set up lighting and heating system.
#13 – Add fish one at a time using a clean net.
#14 – Enjoy your aquarium.
How to Setup a Saltwater Aquarium
What You Will Need
- Aquarium Stand
- Aquarium Heater
- Decorations and live rocks
#1 – Pour sand into aquarium
#2 – Fill aquarium with prepared saltwater
#3 – Rinse live rock in a separate bucket of prepared saltwater
#4 – Arrange live rock in aquarium
#5 – Install aquarium equipment. (Do not run the lighting system during this stage)
#6 – For 4 weeks, change half the water each week to cure the live rock
#7 – During week 4, add your first live animals (snails and crabs) per acclimation guide. Wait 2 weeks.
#8 – During week 6, add your first corals per acclimation guide. Do a 25% water change. Wait 2 weeks.
#9 – Add next set of corals per acclimation guide. Wait 2 weeks.
#10 – Do a 25% water change and add fish per acclimation guide.
*Note: An acclimation guide simply guides you through acclimating (getting your fish accustomed to) the water in the tank. Once your freshwater or saltwater aquarium is set up, it is vital that you perform the required maintenance to keep the water fresh and clean for a beautiful, healthy setting for your fish. So, set the best HOB filter and enjoy the beauty you have brought into your home.
Fish are some of the easiest pets to care for. Whether your child wins a goldfish at a carnival or you pay big bucks for rare, tropical fish, the one thing that all aquariums need is a good filtration system. The best HOB aquarium filtration system will be a combination of the three common types of filtration – mechanical, chemical, and biological.
A filtration system that combines these three will keep the water in your tank clear and healthy for your fish. Therefore, if you choose to set up a freshwater aquarium, follow the instructions at the beginning of the article. Remember, setting up a saltwater aquarium requires a few more steps and a little more time.