7 Best HOB (Hang-On-Back) Filters for Saltwater in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks

Best Hang On Back Filter for Saltwater

If you have a saltwater aquarium, choosing the right filter is crucial to maintaining a clean and healthy environment for your fish. With a wide range of options available on the market, it can be challenging to find the best hang on back filter for saltwater specifically designed for saltwater setups. To simplify your search, we have compiled a list of top-performing filters that deliver exceptional performance.

Our recommended filters are sourced from reputable brands known for their quality and effectiveness in maintaining aquarium cleanliness. These filters have been carefully selected based on their positive reviews and customer feedback. We encourage you to explore each filter in detail to find the one that best suits your specific needs and requirements.

Remember that choosing the right filter is essential for the well-being of your saltwater fish and the overall health of your aquarium. Take the time to review and select the best hang-on-back filter for saltwater that will provide optimal filtration and create a clean and thriving environment for your aquatic pets.

Best Hang On Back Filters for Saltwater Comparison Chart:

Image Product Features Price
Our Pick1
Fluval C power filter
Fluval C4 Power Filter

5-stage clip-on power filter for 40-70 gallon aquariums.
Dual mechanical stages trap debris efficiently.
Activated carbon removes toxins effectively.
Bio-Screen pad enhances biological activity.
Trickle Chamber accelerates nitrification process.

Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter
Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter

Patented Bio-Wheel technology for superior filtration.
Multi-stage filtration for a clean aquarium.
Compatible with Marineland Rite-Size Filter Cartridges.
Available in five sizes for various needs.
Suitable for all life stages of aquatic creatures.

Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter
Penn-Plax Cascade 1500 Aquarium Canister Filter

Effortless Operation, Crystal Clear Results
Powerful Filtration for Large Tanks
Convenience and Customization at Your Fingertips
Complete Filtration Solution
Everything You Need in One Package
Precise Measurements and Reliable Performance

Aqua Clear - Fish Tank Filter
Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter

Superior Filtration with Energy Efficiency
Quick and Easy Installation Process
Optimal Mechanical, Chemical, and Biological Filtration
Complete Filtration Package
Large Filtration Volume

Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Power Aquarium Filter
Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Power Aquarium Filter

Quiet and Efficient Filtration
Adjustable Flow for Your Needs
Extremely Beneficial Filtration
Revolutionary Bio-Sponge Cartridge
Compact and Convenient

Skilter 250 Power Filter
Skilter 250 Power Filter

Warranty for Peace of Mind
Compact and Efficient Design

Tetra Whisper Power Filters
Tetra Whisper Power Filter for Aquariums

Quiet and Reliable Filtration
Odor Absorption
Debris Capture
Innovative Cleaning Power
Convenient Cartridge Refills

Best Hang On Back Filter for Saltwater Reviews

The market is full of many hang on back filters. Selecting a suitable model for your aquarium can be tough if you don’t have the right information. After research and testing, the following are recommended models on the market that offer exemplary performance.

1. Fluval C4 Power Filter:

Fluval C power filter

When it comes to purchasing hang on the back screen, Fluval should be your priority. Fluval is among the best and high-quality products you should never doubt on its status. For premium results, it features up to 5 stages. The five different steps can fit aquariums ranging from 40 to 70 gallons, which is not the case with similar brands.

When it comes to its ingenuity in the filter, we can’t afford to compare it with any other brand. For efficient and effective filtering, Fluval C power features a large surface area. In addition to that, Fluval is capable of filtering up to 2364 gallons per hour.

Fluval features a cleaning indicator for when the brand requires cleaning or rinsing when it comes to Maintenace, it’s straightforward to maintain. In addition to that, it features a clip on the filter. The Fluval hang-on back filter provides a stress-free condition.

What do I like?

The ability of the Fluval to hang on the back filter to fit most of the aquarium makes the brand a choice for many. Fluval C power is a high-quality hang on the rear screen that is easy to handle. Its large capacity gives the HOB filter an additional advantage.  Fluval can hold up to 70 gallons.

What I don’t like?

Despite that the Fluval HOB filter is cheap and easy to maintain, it is too large. On top of that, it requires a lot of care while handling. The worse thing it’s that the foam pad requires a replacement after a short period.

On top of that, the carbon filter doesn’t need to be changed like other brands. Also, the filters are easy and cheap to replace; thus, no more stress for replacing.


  • Fluval provides a steady water flow as compared to other brands.
  • It’s cheaper as compared to its services.
  • Bio media presence in the product is easy to clean and maintain.
  • It provides clean and clear water.
  • Features up to 5 unique filtration stages.


  • The crevices available in the model are a bit challenging to clean.
  • Costly to keep on replacing the foam pads.

2. Marine Land Penguin

Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter

Are you are beginner or professional in betta fish or another aquatic animal rearing? If yes, then marine land penguin is the right choice. Marine land penguin is easy to operate, thus suitable for beginners. Marine HOB filter is available in 4 different sizes; therefore, you can choose your ideal format.

All the size features the same specification thanks to the bioload manufacturer. The filter cartridge ensures that the leftovers from the fish disappear in a minute. By doing so, you create an eco-friendly environment for your fish.

Unlike other brands, marine land penguin comes with an easy three-step filtration process. The three stages are chemical, mechanical, and biological, thus suitable for freshwater and saltwater. You have to worry about the operation as the instruction booklet indicated all the processes.

What do I like?

The best thing about this brand is its powerful performance. On top of that, the models feature a bio-wheel that provides beneficial bacteria. The bacteria are ideal for complete filtration to ensure that the final result is free from toxicity.

What I don’t like?

Even if the bio-wheel is so high in the filtration process, it requires a lot of cleaning. It’s not just about cleaning, but a lot of maintenance is essential for perfect results.

The sturdy and high-quality construction material gives the brand a long life span. Marine HOB filter features a flow rate of about 350GPH, thus perfect for all aquariums with 70 gallons.


  • Designed with high-quality and durable material
  • Presence of bio-filtration ensures non-toxic water
  • Marine HOB filter provides a long life span
  • It large enough to accommodate up to 70gallons


  • The bio-wheel can fragile so quickly
  • A lot of maintenance and cleaning is essential for the filter

3. Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter

Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter

Penn Plax is among the best high-quality and durable HOB filters in the market.  Penn HOB filter is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater. It has a total of 3 media baskets that can work at a rate of 265GPH. This Penn Plax is ideal for an aquarium of 100 gallons for effective functioning. A flow valve is also available that can rotate up to 360 degrees, thus encouraging easy maneuvering. Besides that, the push button allows for easy and quick filtration.

Penn HOB filter comes in one pack. It comes up with tubing, a directional spout, a spray bar, as well as a filter medium. Unlike other brands, the Penn Plax model comes with all accessories needed to install the filter. For maximum stability, the Penn Plax HOB filter features a rubber base.

What do I like?

The lift alignment clamps are so essential in releasing vacuum suction, which is not a common feature among most models. In addition to that, the sturdy rubber bottom provides adequate stability. Not just that, an active tip-proof base is also available in the Penn Plax HOB filter.

What I don’t like?

Despite that the machine is suitable for all aquariums, it’s too large to handle. The large size may be a challenge to store and transport. Also, the upper part of the model features a plastic construction that may break in case it falls.

To ensure the maximum result, you can use any combination of the media. The floss pad is essential for removing sediments and other particles. Course sponge is also present to provide an abundant surface for encouraging bacterial growth.


  • It features a flow valve capable of rotating up to 360 degrees.
  • Includes high-quality push-button primer.
  • Comes with all accessories required for filter installation.
  • It is intellect for the marine and freshwater environment.


  • The filters need frequent cleaning and check-up.
  • Too spacious to handle as well as storing.

4. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter

Aqua Clear - Fish Tank Filter

Are you looking for the best HOB filter? If yes, Aqua clear filter should be your priority.  Aqua features a prime filtration system for superior and classic contact time. This brand is time and energy-efficient as compared to similar brands in the market. When it comes to installation, it’s elementary and quick as it comes with all accessories needed.

The filtration capacity is seven times larger than its competitors. Aqua clear fish tank filter is intellect for aquarium of 50 gallons.

What do I like?

The installation process is straightforward and quick, as all the accessories required are provided. Reduced flow pressure is also available to reduce the chances of harm to the impeller and motor. On top of that, the filter features a re-filtration system that offers quality and superior results.

What I don’t like?

Due to its powerful re-filtration system, the brand it’s a bit noisy. The size of the aqua filter is too small despite that it’s ideal for secure handling. Fifty gallons are too tiny to users with big aquarium sites.

This fantastic and premium HOB filter comes with activated carbon as well as bio max. The aqua bright foam and cycle guard is useful for biological filtration, thus providing quality water.  The re-circulation grid is available for ensuring that the water is filtered twice for superior quality water. Aqua filter features a biological filtration for optimum filtration.


  • Features a powerful filtration system
  • It’s easy and quick to install
  • Aqua is energy and time-efficient
  • Designed with cycle guard for superior quality water
  • High filtration volume of about seven times than its competitor models


  • It produces a grinding sound when it operates for an extended period
  • Due to its design, it might be challenging to clean. Thus you may end up breaking it.

5. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Power Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Power Aquarium Filter

Everyone requires quality filtration for their fish. For that reason, the Penn HOB filter is the best choice that you can make. Penn hangs on the back screen and delivers up to 300 gallons within one hour. This fantastic brand is ideal for marine and freshwater aquariums. It’s suitable for 55 to 100 gallons of the aquarium.

Bio-fall quad filtration is available for ensuring efficient filtration using anaerobic bacteria. Using the anaerobic bacteria, you are guaranteed free nitrate and ammonia water.  On top of that, anaerobic bacteria are excellent for ensuring maximum oxygen to the fish.

This brand features up to 4 stage filtration, thus providing crystal-free water. Penn HOB filter provides chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration.

What do I like?

Unlike other models, Penn Plax features an adjustable flow knob. The knob allows the user to minimize filtration and especially during the time of feeding. This machine is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater aquarium. The ability to install the brand using regular accessories gives the Penn Hob filter an additional advantage.

What I don’t like?

This filter works well but it gets dead after a few months of use. The filter also feels cheaply made and lacks stability.

Penn Plax HOB filter features an activated carbon cartridge for reducing harmful substances, and toxins. Besides that, it’s also great for removing odor, discoloration, chemicals, and other contaminants. The internal sponge is included to promote the colonization of the bacteria.


  • They are whispering and lightweight HOB filters.
  • Penn PAlax is so powerful compared to other models.
  • It features up to three filtration stages that provide crystal-free and fully filtered water.
  • It has bio-fall quad filtration for effective filtration.
  • Includes activated carbon cartridges to reduce harmful substances and chemicals.


  • It does not provide excellent stability as it lacks rubberized bottom.
  • Penn HOB filter requires regular cleaning.

6. Skilter 250 Power Filter

Skilter 250 Power Filter

When it comes to HOB filters, Danner is the best manufacturer in the world. Danner is a world-class company and is well known for making high-quality products. When purchasing this filter, you are guaranteed to get a product worth your money. It features several filtration stages that ensure that you get crystal-free water.

The machine is ideal for both saltwater and freshwater, unlike its competitor.  For exceptional results, try this skilter machine, and you will never regret it.  Its features are the significant features that help to remove harmful chemicals and other contaminants from the water.

When it comes to its design, we can’t afford to negotiate on that as it has an eye-catching model. Also, it has a re-filtration system that ensures that you get prime water for your aquatic animals.

What do I like?

The skilter hang on the back filter is transparent, making it easy to monitor the filtration.  On top of that, it has a long electric cable, thus safe for use. Skilter is a time and energy saver machine when compared to similar models in the market.

What I don’t like?

Despite that the machine is easy to clean and handle, its material is not so durable. The body features a weak construction and a transparent material. Also, the bottom lacks rubber pads that may help to increase its stability.

Unlike its competitors, skilter is extremely easy to clean and install. It comes with all the required accessories; thus, no skills are necessary for assembling.


  • It provides a large volume as compared to other models.
  • It’s easy to assemble as no special tools are require.
  • Skelter HOB filter provides free toxic and harmful chemical water.
  • Its intellect for fresh and saltwater.
  • It’s a time and energy saver filter machine.


  • It’s a bit noisy after along operation.
  • It’s not so durable as compared to other brands in the market.

7. Tetra Whisper Power Filter for Aquariums

Tetra Whisper Power Filter

When it comes to purchasing hang on the back screen, consider getting the best brand. For that reason, tetra whisper is among the best choices that you can make. One of the ideal features of this model is that it’s lightweight and noise-free. Unlike other models, tetra whisper can function for a long time without any noise. Besides, it’s easy to assemble as compared to most of the brands in the market.

Tetra HOB filters use large bio-bag cartridge to ensure that your fish gets the best water. It provides clean and prime water free from harmful chemicals and other contaminants. This HOB filter is suitable for aquarium of about 60 gallons, making it great for a small aquarium.

What do I like?

The large whisper bio-bag cartridge gives the filter an extra advantage as most models lack this crucial feature. Also, its simplicity makes the hang on the back filter the choice for most beginners.

What I don’t like?

Despite that its size is convenient, it’s not suitable for a large aquarium. Therefore becomes a challenge to those you have a large aquarium. Also, the fact that the impeller requires a lot of care it’s a challenge to most people.

For premium results, it has three screens in one; therefore, your fish gets clean and healthy water. On top of that, it features reduced flow pressure to ensure no harm to your impeller or the motor. Unlike other filters, tetra has a bio-media that is easy to clean and maintain.


  • Features 3 filters designed as one filter.
  • It uses extreme large whisper bio-bag cartridge.
  • Its more affordable and durable.
  • Easy to use and store due to its simplicity


  • It requires skills to troubleshoot the machine
  • Impeller involves a lot of care while in the tube for proper functioning

Things to Consider Before Buying Hang on Back Filter for Saltwater:

You need to keep the fish tank clean to have healthy and happy fish. When picking the right hang on filter for saltwater, here are important tips that will help you pick the right model.

1. Filtration media:

The filtration media is one of the crucial features of any HOB filter machine. It’s mostly used for removing chemicals, impurities and other contaminants present in the water. The type of filtration used determines how effective the tool will. The number of filtration media may not directly matter as compared to the kind. Even if the filter machine features a lot of filtration media, consider getting the quality one. Lastly, for a conducive environment to your fish, get the right filtration media.

2. Level of technology:

Day to day life involves different levels of technology. Also, different manufacturers use new technologies every day to impress their customers. Therefore its ideal gets a machine that is according to the level of technology. Modern technology is intellect as it enhances the efficiency of the filter. Once you get a high technological device, then your fish will be free from harmful chemicals and other contaminants. Therefore take plenty of time while choosing the type of device you intend to use.

3. Flow rate:

The flow rate is the other deciding factor that determines how quality a model is. The flow rate of HOB filters will vary from one machine to another. Therefore it’s good to be keen while selecting a particular brand. But the flow rate can be determined by the size of the aquarium.  If you have a small aquarium site, no need to purchase a brand with a high flow rate. Also, keep in mind that the higher the flow rates, the costly the filter. Lastly, it’s great to buy a machine that will provide a high flow rate. A high flow rate ensures a high filtration capability of the hang on back filter.

4. The model:

Nowadays, we have a lot of brands in the current market. Not every model kin the market is worthy of delivering the right filtration. The level of filtration is the critical factor that determines the quality of a model. Some brands are significant in terms of high filtration than others. Some of the great brands are AquaClear, skileter, Fluval, Aqueon, and so on. But for more information about brands, you can refer to the ones discussed above.

5. Maintenance and replacement cost:

The cost of maintaining and replacing the filter is another significant factor. No need to purchase a cheap product that will require a lot of maintenance. Maintenance and cleaning the filter are inevitable with any model. But note that each model/brand has its way of cleaning and replacing the screen. Always ensure that you choose a model that is effortless in terms of cleaning and maintaining.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why is a hang-on-back filter recommended for saltwater aquariums?

A: A hang-on-back filter is recommended for saltwater aquariums because it provides efficient mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration while being easy to install and maintain. It offers a convenient and effective filtration solution for maintaining water quality in saltwater environments.

Q: How often should I clean the hang-on-back filter in my saltwater aquarium?

A: The frequency of cleaning your hang-on-back filter will depend on various factors, including the size of your aquarium, the bio-load of your fish, and the type of filter media used. As a general guideline, it is recommended to clean the filter every 2-4 weeks to ensure optimal performance and water quality. However, regular monitoring of the filter’s efficiency is essential, and you may need to adjust the cleaning schedule accordingly.

Q: Can I use a hang-on-back filter for a reef tank with corals and invertebrates?

A: Yes, hang-on-back filters can be used in reef tanks with corals and invertebrates. However, it is important to choose a filter model that offers appropriate flow control and customizable media options to meet the specific needs of a reef environment. Additionally, regular monitoring of water parameters and the overall health of the tank inhabitants is crucial to ensure a suitable environment for corals and invertebrates.

Q: How do I choose the right hang-on-back filter size for my saltwater aquarium?

A: When selecting a hang-on-back filter size for your saltwater aquarium, consider the volume of your tank and the bio-load of your fish. It is generally recommended to choose a filter that is capable of processing the total volume of your aquarium at least four times per hour. For example, if you have a 50-gallon aquarium, a filter with a flow rate of 200 gallons per hour would be suitable. However, it’s always best to refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific filter model you are considering.

Q: Which is the best HOB filter?

A: We have many filters that work perfectly and are easy to operate. But the Aqua clear power filter seems to be the best model in the market. It can be used in salt water and fresh water. Also, it involves a series of filtration stages as compared to similar competitors.

Q: Can every HOB filter work in saltwater?

A: NO. We have some hang on back filter explicitly designed for freshwater aquarium. Therefore be keen while selecting a particular model. However, we have several models that work well in both fresh and saltwater aquariums.

Q: Is it ideal for closing the tank when using hang on a back filter?

A: Yes. It’s always advisable to close it to prevent any substance from entering the tank. Also, its open container can be a way for bacteria to enter. However, you can decide to leave the tank while open.

Final Verdict:

No need to leave your fish to die, yet we have a solution for that. You need to provide an eco-friendly environment to your fish for healthy lives. The above discussed hang on the back filter is excellent for delivering the recommended filtration. They will ensure that your aquarium water remains clean and free from toxic chemicals. However, while selecting the screen, choose the one that will suit your aquarium size for effective filtration. For you to come up with the best model, make a comparison among different brands.

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