9 Best Aquarium Filter For Large Tanks (Top Picks in 2021)

Do you own a large fish tank? Are you looking for the right filter for your tank? Well, you will need the best aquarium filter for larger tanks. Large tanks are ideal for stocking several fish species and other aquatic lives. To keep your aquatic pets healthy and safe, you will have to ensure that the tank is clean at all times.

An aquarium filter specially made for larger tanks with a large water turnover capacity should do the job well. Remember that not all of them are capable of doing the job effectively and that is why am going to provide you with the right information to help ease your search.

Best Aquarium Filter for Large Tanks Comparison Chart

NameWeightSizeFlow RatePrice
Polar Aurora Free Media 4-Stage External Canister Filter19.6 pounds200 gallons525 GPH
Fluval Advanced Filtration System22.4 pounds160 gallons265 GPH
Fluval Canister Filter19.9 pounds400 gallons563 GPH
Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter15.98 pounds200 gallons350 GPH
Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter5 ounces100 gallons300 GPH
Hydor Professional External Canister Filter18 pounds90-150 gallons354 GPH
Fluval External Filter10 pounds100 gallons340 GPH
EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media6.07 pounds95 gallons164 GPH
Aqua Clear - Fish Tank Filter4.52 pounds110 gallons500 GPH

Polar aurora 4-stage external filter is what you need if you are looking to improve your large tank filtration. It comes with a maximum flow rate of up to 525 gallons per hour. The filter is rated for use in tanks with 200 gallons and below. The package comes with several of accessories to help you save on extra costs and begin using the filter immediately after purchase. Furthermore, it is easy to use and you can easily remove it when you want to clean it.

What I like

I like the 4 baskets which have filter cotton to ensure proper water filtration. Its adjustable spray bar will allow you to adjust the overall output flow that comes from the filter. Also, you can get to add more filtration media such as ceramic rings, activated carbon and bio-balls. To top it all, it comes as a complete kit so you don’t have to spend more money buying extra accessories.

What I don’t like

The self priming system can be hard at first for some beginners. You may find that the kit will come with some missing pieces meaning you will have to wait for sometime before they send them to you. Also the instructions on this unit can be hard to interpret especially for beginners.

  • Adjustable spray bar
  • 9w UV light bulb
  • 4-stage filtration
  • It is easy to clean and maintain
  • Removes all the impurities in the water
  • First time priming can be hard
  • Complicated instructions

This Fluval filter model has got an advanced filtration system which is rated for both saltwater and freshwater tanks. It comes with a maximum flow rate of up to 160 gallons per hour. It comes with an elegant cubic design which is equipped with great monitoring abilities and high performing features. Its hydro technology will store and transmit the filter’s performance, its cleaning intervals as well as the water conditions. It will show you the filter’s flow rate, water temperature as well as the conductivity.

What I like

It has a screen where you can view flow rate, water temperature, water conditions and conductivity. It can be used in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. With its silicon gaskets, you will have long term reliability as well as the best sealing without a possibility of leaks. If you have a tank of 160 gallons, then this filter will work well for you.

What I don’t like

It is only rated for tanks of 160 gallons. It will not work well with tanks that are above that that gallon range. I also noticed that the overall maintenance process tends to take a while.

  • Comes with an elegant cubic design
  • Quiet operations
  • Has a self priming system
  • Advanced filtration technology
  • Display screen
  • Rated for only 160 gallon tanks
  • Maintenance will take a while

If you are looking for a canister filter that will offer you high performance and wonderful beneficial features, then you need to try the fluval fx6 canister filter. It was designed for large aquariums of up to 400 gallons. It is among Fluval’s best sellers thanks to its capacity, power, reliability and high performance. It has multi stage filtration which comes included with all of the filter media. It is ideal for use in freshwater and saltwater aquariums. The pump output for this filter is 925 gallons with a filter circulation of up to 563 GPH.

What I like

I like the smart pump technology on this unit which offers efficiency, management as well as optimal performance. Once you add water, you only push a button for it to begin operations. It will filter the water to create a healthy and safe environment for your fish thanks to its multi stage filtration process. You can also get to use it in marine and freshwater aquariums of up to 400 gallons.

What I don’t like

One of the things I didn’t like is its suction power. It is too powerful that it may end up sucking the small fish accidently.

  • It is easy to use
  • Ideal for large tanks
  • Comes equipped with an in-built monthly maintenance reminder
  • Quiet operations
  • It is reliable and durable
  • Has powerful suction power which can suck up small fish

It is rated for use in freshwater and saltwater aquariums with a capacity of 200 gallons. It has an impressive flow rate of up to 350 gallons per hour. Maintenance is quite easy and quick with this unit and if you do it as per the recommendation you will get continuous efficient and effective performance. It has a simple priming button which you push so that you can get it to start easily. The filter is also easy to install as it comes with all the necessary accessories needed to connect the filter to begin filtering your tank’s water.

What I like

You can use it for fresh and saltwater aquariums which can hold up to 200 gallons of water. I also like it’s impressive flow rate of 350 gallons per hour. It comes as a complete kit to make installations easy and to allow you connect the filter immediately it arrives. It will offer you a combination of mechanical, chemical and biological filtration.

What I don’t like

This filter tends to make some grinding and chattering noise which can be annoying at times.

  • Offers all the important filtration stages
  • Ideal for 200 gallon tanks
  • Comes as a complete kit
  • It is easy to install and use
  • Filters water leaving it crystal clear and clean
  • Tends to make some noise during operations

If you are looking for a hang-on back aquarium filter for a larger tank, then you might need this model from Penn plax. It is suitable for tanks of up to 100 gallons. It also has an effective water flow rate of up to 300 gallons per hour. It is designed to offer up to 3 stages of filtration which include mechanical, chemical and biological filtration. These will guarantee that your water is left clear and clean to provide a healthy environment for the aquatic life in your tank.

What I like

I liked the adjustable flow knob that lets you control the water flow to whichever is needed especially when you are feeding the fish. Also, the bio fall quad filtration system will offer you the best filtration that will remove ammonia and nitrites from the water. On top of that it has an impressive flow rate of up to 300 GPH and it is suitable for tanks of 55 to 100 gallons.

What I don’t like

The only downside I saw on this model is that it will burn out faster than other small filters when used for longer periods of time without letting it rest.

  • It is lightweight and it will not produce any noises during operations
  • The filter cartridges are easy to replace
  • It will filter your water very quickly leaving it clear and clean
  • Offers 3-stage filtration
  • Ideal for tanks of 55-100 gallons
  • It will burn out quickly

The hydor professional canister filter is what you will need if you are in need of a complete kit that you can connect and start using immediately on arrival. It will come with everything you will need to have it installed including mechanical, chemical and biological filtration media. These will ensure that you get the best filtration that will leave your aquatic pets with a clean and healthy environment at all times. It is the biggest among 5 sizes and it is specially made to work with 90-150 gallon tanks.

What I like

I like that everything on this unit is made easy so that it can be used by anyone including beginners who are not so familiar with filters. It offers mechanical, biological and chemical filtration that will provide your aquatic life with a healthy environment they need to thrive. I also love its flow rate of 345GPH which is ideal for larger tanks.

What I don’t like

Setting it up may require you to refer to its instructional manual because it may be complicated if you are not so familiar with filters. When you open to clean it, it tends to spill water which can cause a mess.

  • Has a solid and durable construction
  • It will filter water in the fastest time possible
  • Ideal for 90-150 gallon tanks
  • Impressive flow rate of 345 GPH
  • Spills water when cleaning
  • Setup tends to be complicated

This fluval external filter comes with a maximum flow rate of up to 340 gallons per hour. It is special made for tanks with a capacity of 100 gallons. This unit is equipped with 3 media baskets as well as a coarse sponge which will offer you the best filtration leaving crystal clear water that is healthy for your fish. Its user friendly design is ideal for beginners as well professionals.

What I like

I like that it is reliable, high performing and it will not produce noise while operating. Also, it has got an aqua stop valve that will eliminate chances of leaking during maintenance. On top of that,it is easy to use and maintenance will be reduced as the filtration rate is increased.

What I don’t like

This filter comes with everything except a spray bar. You will also have to look out for impeller issues.

  • It comes with a 3 year warranty
  • It is among the most silent filters
  • Comes with a user friendly design
  • Has got an effective priming system
  • 340 flow rate
  • Doesn’t include a spray bar
  • The impeller tends to have issues after sometime

Read full review of Fluval External Filter

The EHEIM classic filter is what you need if you have a 95 gallon tank. It comes with a simple but efficient design which will effectively perform to filter your aquarium water with ease. It has got a flow rate of up to 164 gallons per hour which will provide with the right balance needed to water circulation, filtration and also oxygen enrichment. You will not have to buy extra accessories needed to install and connect the filter because it comes included with everything you will need.

What I like

It comes with a spray bar for directional water flow, inlet pipe, a hose as well as other installation accessories needed for immediate setup. On top of that, it has got filter sponges to offer you the best filtration. It will also suck up debris, dust, waste and any other particles that may be in the water.

What I don’t like

The mechanical filter media that comes included on this unit tends to clog very easily. You will have to replace them with different ones to avoid this problem.

  • Less demanding on maintenance
  • It will clear the water very quickly
  • It is easy to use
  • Comes as a complete kit
  • Comes with a durable construction
  • The mechanical filter media clogs very easily

Wouldn’t like a versatile hang-on filter from a top selling brand? Well, aqua clear fish tank filter fits that description. It is ideal for 110 gallon tanks and it has got an impressive flow rate of 500 gallons per hour.  It offers quick and easy installations and it comes with activated carbon, bio-max, aqua clear foam and cycle guard to offer you continuous biological filtration as well as the best water quality at all times.

What I like

I like that it has everything needed to get the filter working. I also like that it will not require much maintenance. It will decrease on the operating costs thanks to the energy efficient motor. You will also get continuous biological filtration and the best water quality when you use this unit. On top of that, you will not have to worry about quality issues thanks to the 2 year manufacturer’s warranty.

What I don’t like

If you have small grain sand substrate then you will have to keep away from this filter because that type of substrate tends to clog the filter. Also, the motor doesn’t always self prime meaning you have to siphon it manually from time to time.

  • Ideal for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums
  • Produces little noise
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Offers 3 stage filtration
  • Comes with a 2 year warranty plus a lifetime guarantee on non replaceable parts
  • It will need manual siphoning from time to time
  • Small grain sand substrate will clog it

Buying Guide

Before you settle for a particular filter for your tank, you need to ensure that it is the right one for you. So how do you do that? Well, you will have to put a few things into consideration before you purchase it. These factors will help you weigh your options according to what your tank requires and in the long run, you will be able to select a unit that will work for you accordingly. Below I will discuss some of those important factors.

Tank size

When selecting an aquarium filter, the very first thing you need to keep in mind is the size of your tank. This is the most important thing because not all aquarium filters are rated for the same tank size. Some filters are capable of handling larger tanks while others can only filter water in small size tanks. You may find that some are able to work in different tank sizes and other will only be fixed to just one tank size.

Find an aquarium filter that is rated to work on the size of tank that you have. Remember to check the manufacturer’s recommendation on the tank size that the filter can handle. That way you will be able to compare with your tank size and if they match then you will have got yourself the right unit. Never choose a filter that is not rated for your particular tank size because it may not be powerful enough or it may be too powerful for your tank.

Water flow rate

Each filter comes with a different flow rate and this is measured in gallons per hour (GPH). The higher the flow rate the faster the filter will be able to filter the water leaving it clear and clean. This will also depend on the size of your tank. If you have a larger tank with the right filter which has a lower flow rate, it will take some time to clear the water of impurities. It is best you look for the right filter size which also has an impressive flow rate so that the water can be turned over and filter in the shortest time possible. You can also compare the different brands and see which one has the best flow rate as long as it is the right one for your tank.

Filtration technology and stages

As I mentioned before, there are different brands out there on the market. Some have advanced filtration technology while others will have standard filtration technology. As some brands want to be rated as the best, they will ensure that they create filters with advanced filtration technology so that they stand out from the others. The filters will have extra features to improve on the filtration process and offer you superior water quality. 

However, not all of them will be ideal for certain tanks so you have to do your research well. You also have to look out for a filter that will provide you with all the filtration stages and more. Some will come with only 2 filtration stages while others will offer all the major ones. If you are looking to have superior water quality then you have to consider a filter with all the major filtration stages and more.

Price and warranty

When you think of buying a filter, you need to set your budget first so that you don’t end up buying something that is too expensive and useless. By now you know that aquarium filters come with different capabilities and this also means different price range. Once you set aside a budget, look for a filter that will not stretch the budget you set but rather one that will work for you within or a little over your budget.

You should also look out for the warranty offered by the manufacturer. An aquarium filter with a longer warranty period will guarantee its quality. You will also not be worried about quality issues because if any arises then you can get it sorted free of charge.

Benefits of a Filter in an Aquarium

Using a filter in an aquarium can be very beneficial to you and your aquarium pets. A filter is one of those necessities that an aquarium can’t do without. Below I will show you some of the benefits that a filter has to offer in an aquarium.

Fish friendly

So how is this possible? Let me break it down for you. If you don’t have a filter for your tank then you will have to carry out regular maintenance and I literally mean daily. Whenever you are doing so, you will have to scope out the fish so that you clean the water. This will end up stressing fish and in most cases some delicate ones may get sick and eventually die. However, with a filter the fish don’t have to go through that hence it being friendlier to them.

Removes excess food

One of the most common mistakes that new aquarium owners do is to over feed their new fish pets. When you put too much food into the aquarium, the fish will just eat it regardless of whether they have just eaten or not. Excessive feeding can result to the fish getting some health complications like digestive disorders. When you install a filter, it will prevent this problem as it will remove the excess food from the water saving the fish once again.

Provides a healthier environment

Filters offer different stages of filtration which ensure that all the impurities in the water are dealt with. These can include regulating ammonia and nitrate levels plus other toxins which can be dangerous to the fish. Increased ammonia levels in an aquarium tend to stress the fish so much and end up forming ammonia poison which can be fatal to the fish.

Reduces maintenance 

Like I said before, a filter will help clean your aquarium water. Without one, you will have to clean the tank daily. Although a filter will also need maintenance, it will not be much work as what you will do without one. Therefore, if you have a filter you will be able to relax for a few weeks before you get to clean the filter.

Great view

A filter will ensure that your water is left clean and crystal clear at all times. This will give your aquarium an attractive view at all times. You will not only have a clearer view but also not have to deal with odors that come from standing water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does filters last?

A: Filters are designed for a very long time. In most cases they are meant to last for years depending on the material used and most importantly the brand. Reputable brands are known for their durable models which will last you for many years along with a manufacturer’s warranty to increase on their life span by dealing with any quality issues that may arise.

Q: How often should I clean my filter?

A: You can do this at least after every 3 weeks although this will depend on the brand you buy. Some brands create filters that will require regular cleaning will others you can get to do so in 3 weeks or after a month. Also, if you have a heavily stocked aquarium this means that your filter will perform a lot and it will need to be cleaned at least every week.


With a great number of filters on the market today, I hope I have made your search easy with this review and guide. Owning a larger tank requires you to get the right accessories that will manage the size of your tank. A filter is one of them and am sure you now know why your aquarium pets can’t thrive without one.

All the filters I have reviewed above can serve those large aquariums all you have to do is to decide on what you want the filter to do for you. I also suggest you follow the buying guide to get the right one for your needs. Now that you know the best aquarium filter for larger tanks, am sure you are now ready to make your purchase today.

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