8 Best Hang on Back Filters (2021 Reviews & Guide)

Searching for the best hang on back filter? Then here comes the best top 8 hang on back filters. A hang on back filter is essential in any aquarium because it works well to filter the water. This provides your fish with a health place to live. These filters utilize various methods of filtration like mechanical, biological and chemical which removes all the toxins in the water.

Hang on back filters also work well with different types of aquariums. If you don’t know which hang on back filter to select, we have some top options for you that you can consider. Check them out before you buy so that you can end up with the right filter for your aquarium.

When it comes to the HOB filter, EHEIM Liberty has not a competitor.  EHEIM Liberty is a modern and stylish affordable hang on back filter. The screen is intellect for an aquarium of up to 50 gallons.  Unlike other models, EHEIM is extremely easy to install by just hanging over the container or tank edge. On top of that, it comes fully packed with all the necessary filter media.  

It features a phenol cellular free foam cartridge that is ideal for the removal of harmful chemicals and other pollutants.  The round ensures that your fish are free from dangerous substances. EHEIM liberty hangs on the back is excellent for creating an eco-friendly environment.  The cellular foam cartridge placed in the intake sector makes the machine perfect for nursery tanks.

What I like

EHEIM Liberty filter uses an uncomplicated technology, thus suitable for beginners as well as professionals.  The lightweight and stylish design make the machine easy to handle and transport. The best thing with this tool is that its filters are easy to remove this easy to clean. Besides, it features a robust and sturdy motor that is more secure and less likely to leak. On top of that, the two sponge filters provide a large surface area for effective filtration.

What I don’t like

Due to the powerful motor, it’s not as whisper quiet as compared to the EHEIM canister. It produces a medium but noticeable hum in the tank or the room. The other negativity of this machine is the narrow opening. The opening may not entirely suit the edge of some tanks and especially the big ones. Lastly, the water flows directly over the top of the carbon insert, therefore, becoming a challenge in handling that.

EHEIM hang on bang filter features a large sponge filter ideal for high biological. The new filter sponge is effective and with a long lifespan as compared to its similar products. The filter is complete, compact, and powerful; therefore, it’s suitable for both small and large aquarium sites. It involves active and efficient water purification processes like biological, mechanical, and adsorptive methods. The adjustable pump output gives the machine an additional advantage.

  • It features up to 2 Sponge filter for maximum surface area
  • EHEIM liberty is more durable as compared to its competitors
  • The motor is more secure and powerful
  • The filters are so straightforward to remove and clean
  • It’s very cheap but of high quality
  • The EHEIM liberty is noisy as compared to its similar models
  • The water just flows directly over the carbon inserts

Fluval C is among the intellect and durable, powerful filters that you can get in the current market. It uses modern technology that its uncomplicated to ensure it suits all users. The machine is capable of filtering up to 264 gallons per hour. The high filtration rate makes it delight for both large and small aquariums. On top of that, the power features 5 stages of filtration. 

The filter is ideal for an aquarium of a range of 40 to 70 gallons. The large and sturdy surface area provided by the foam/ poly pad is essential for trapping large and small particles.   The activated carbon filter is ideal for the adsorption of unnecessary impurities and other chemicals. It’s also responsible for removing discoloration, odor, and dirt for clear aquarium.

What I like

The overall design and layout of the machine are incredibly significant due to the superior construction material. The clip-on the filter is easy to clean as well as maintain as compared to the traditional filters. The equipped cleaning indicator it’s very crucial, especially when the poly/foam requires to be rinsed.

What I don’t like

The powerful motor works effectively with the first years. However, after a short period, it produces a lot of noise that may alter the eco-environment of the fish. Besides, the filter requires a lot of care and cleaning for effective performance.

The hang on back filter features a C node made of pore system that provided adequate space for beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria are ideal for enhancing the reduction of nitrate and ammonia from the aquarium. The star shape of the filter also provides a high filtration and more biological filtration. Note, when cleaning unplugs, the Fluval C power filter and thoroughly clean the motor.

  • Features a cleaning indicator when foam needs to be cleaned
  • Equipped with a powerful and sturdy motor
  • It can filter up to 264 gallons per hours
  • It involves up to 5 filtration stages for aquarium of 40 to 70 gallons
  • Provides a stress-free and eco- friendly environment
  • After years, the motors begin to rattle
  • The magnetic drive shaft is anchored on one side

Are you in the look of the best HOB filter? You haven’t to worry anymore as tetra whisper is now available. The machine is easy to install and maintain, as no special tools are necessary for assembling. For effective filtration, it features three filters designed as one. 

The unique filter ensures the aquarium is free from toxic substances. Also, the tetra filter features a large bio bag cartridge for maximum purification.  Unlike its competitors, the tetra HOB filter is very cheap as compared to its services. Although it’s designed for small aquarium use of about 60 gallons, it’s powerful.

What I like

Tetra HOB filters work great in most aquarium tank’s edges.  Also, filter replacement is easy and cheap than other brands. The mechanical filtration is capable of removing uneaten foods, plants, and fish waste. The overall filtration helps to create an eco-friendly environment in the aquarium tank.

What I don’t like

Although the carbon insert filters are easy to replace with sponge filters, they need a lot of care. The filters require to be exchanged after a short period, which could be a bit costly. Unlike traditional models, tetra brands are a bit difficult to troubleshoot. The impeller requires being thoroughly secured in the tube for the machine to function correctly.

Tetra filter is capable of removing odor and discoloration using the activated carbon insert. For biological filtration, Bio-foam/poly is present. Therefore no harmful chemical or impurities can enter the aquarium due to the professional filtration stages. The carbon filters’ presence in the machine can be replaced with a sponge filter for maximum filtration.

  • Tetra whisper is less cheap than its competitors
  • It's easy and affordable to replace the carbon filters with sponge ones.
  • Equipped with large whisper bio bag cartridge
  • Designed with three filters in one for healthier fish and clean aquarium
  • Can remove all compounds that result in discoloration and odor
  • It’s not suitable for too large aquarium sites
  • After years, the motors begin to rattle

Aqua clear is the first priority that you should make if you need high quality and durable fish tank filters. The machine is easy to install and use as no complicated accessories are present. Also, the filtration capacity is almost 7 times larger than the regular filter.  The large filtration volume makes the screen suitable for both large and small aquarium site. 

Aqua bright is Equipped with a re-filtration system that provides a superior contact time for maximum purification.  Aqua HOB filter features an energy-efficient pump that lowers the electricity bills. It’s ideal for an aquarium of about 50 gallons with a powerful motor.

What I like

The biological filtration is essential in promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. The porous structure of the foam ensures plenty of surface area for beneficial bacteria. These helpful bacterial performances an excellent task in the removal of toxic substances. They ensure the aquarium water is ammonia and nitrate-free for the healthy growth of the fish. The aqua clear poly insert is ideal for the removal of debris and providing superior water distribution patterns.

What I don’t like

Regular and thorough cleaning of the filter is necessary for maximum filtration efficiency. The cleaning needs to be done after two weeks making. Despite that the construction material is sturdy, it may easily break in case it falls.

The bright aqua hangs on the back filter is among the most versatile filters in the market. They are 5 models available that are capable of providing an optimum flow rate for all aquarium sizes. The re-filtration system gives you the responsibility to control the flow rate. The system helps to ensure that the fish get non-toxic water that has no side effects on their health. Once the flow rate is minimized to half of the total water, the procession is done multiple times.  Also, it provides optimal chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration.

Read full review of  Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter

  • It’s easy to install and maintain the filter
  • The re-filtration system provides superior contact time
  • Aqua clear HOB filter its energy saver
  • Equipped with clear aqua foam and activated carbon
  • Its intellect for aquarium of 50 gallons
  • It requires a lot of cleaning for maximum filtration
  • Aqua clear is a bit expensive as compared to the traditional models.

Marine and penguin is a certified HOB filter that is now available in the market. It has an accredited flow rate of 350GPH, thus perfect for most of the aquariums. Marine HOB filter is ideal for aquarium of 70 gallons.  For maximum filtration, it features two rite-size filter cartridges that work efficiently. Marine filter delivers three methods of filtration. The chemical, biological, and mechanical aquarium filtration are the methods. All the techniques are great in ensuring quality aquarium water for healthier fish. Besides, it involves up to 3 technical stages of filtration to ensure the purification of the water fully. Marine and penguin filters are suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquarium.

What I like

The ability of the machine to remove all the toxic substances gives the filter an additional advantage. It is fully proven to be able to remove harmful nitrate and ammonia. The noise-reducing vented covers make the screen the best choice for most people.

What I don’t like

Although the marine and penguin filter is easy to install, it requires some skills for operation. But the best thing is that the product comes with a user manual booklet for smooth operation and maintenance.

For over 40 years, marine-land has been in the first line in ensuring the fish-keeping is a successful activity. Marine-land has applied biological science and a high level of technology to ensure quality fish keeping. The marine rite-size filter cartridge is essential for the removal of waste, odor, and discoloration. The revolutionary, as well as the bio-wheal, are responsible for biological filtration.

  • It has a certified flow rate of 350GPH
  • Ideal for all aquarium up to 70 gallons
  • Equipped with two rite-size c filter cartridge
  • Capable of removing odor and discoloration
  • It's suitable for freshwater and headwater
  • Marine after prolonged use it's a bit noisy
  • Requires a lot of care while installing to reduces cases of break

This been a product of Penn Plax, you are guaranteed of its quality. Penn Plax cascade is the first HOB filter that you should be aiming to get for your aquarium. It’s a powerful machine that quietly provides 300 gallons with a period of one hour. The filter is light to use in marine water and fresh water to deliver crystal clear water.  

It’s ideal for aquarium up to 100 gallons in size.  A revolutionary bio quad is present to allow efficient filtration with additional anaerobic bacteria. An anaerobic bacterium is excellent when it comes to the removal of toxic ammonia and nitrate. Penn Plax allows maximum oxygen to the water tank for healthy fish growth.

What I like

When it comes to its performance, we can’t afford to fail to mention it great work. The adjustable flow knob makes it easy to control the filtration level during feeding time. Also, the four unique filtration stages are intellect for providing crystal clear and pure water.

What I don’t like

Although the Penn Plax is ideal for aquarium ranging between 50 to 100 gallons, it’s too huge. The large design makes it difficult to hang on the edges of the aquarium tank. Despite the sturdy construction, the body may quickly depreciate if not well taken care of.

The presence of activated carbon cartridge helps in the removal of harmful toxins, chemicals, discoloration, and other pollutants. The internal sponge allows the colonization of the tremendous anaerobic bacteria. The machine is adequately ventilated to allow plenty of air circulation.

  • Suitable for both freshwater and marine-water
  • It’s ideal for aquarium of 50 to 100 gallons
  • Equipped with a high-quality revolutionary bio quad system
  • Essential for removing toxic chemicals and odor
  • The Penn Plax design it challenging to handle
  • The lower part of the machine can easily break

If you are looking for the best durable HOB filter, Seachem is the best choice. It’s suitable for both beginners and professionals as it easy to install and operate. Besides, it’s great for both salt and freshwater. Seachem features a clip that you can add a heater to the machine to provide the recommended environment. 

The adjustable knob allows the user to control the flow rate of the water. On top of that, it features an adjustable telescoping intake pipe, intake regulator. The intake regulator helps to draw the aquarium water from different levels of the tank.

What I like

It’s awe-inspiring due to the presence of the skimmer that traps debris. The skimmer can capture all the floating material like algae, fish waste, fish oil, and other pollutants. The automatic mechanism of the filter makes the device great as it updates your time for maintenance.

What I don’t like

Despite that, the overall design of the machine is awe, the basket block up quickly.  Its compact design makes the device only suitable for medium size aquarium. At the same time, most of the device’s part is immersed in the water

The type of filter you place into your aquarium tank matters a lot. The seachem tidal filter is the best HOB filter you can get in the market. It features an eye-catching design and color that will not make your tank look so shaggy. Black color will automatically fit any tank’s color, thus creating an attractive site.

  • It’s so quiet during operation creating an eco-friendly environment
  • It looks so attractive due to the fantastic color
  • It's more durable and reliable as compared to other models
  • The device is easy to install and use
  • Equipped with a skimmer that works effectively
  • The rate of water flow it's not constant as it's in most machines
  • It is slower in term of purification and filtration than its competitors

Do you have a small aquarium site? If yes, then marine power filter it’s here for you. It is intellect for aquarium of about 10 gallons. Unlike other cleaners in the market, marine features two distinct filter cartridges. The bio-clear and bio card with ceramitek that are highly porous ceramic. 

The adjustable flow rate allows you to control the water flow from the water tank. Marine filter s 10 has a unique slim and compact design. The stylish and elegant design makes the machine easy to handle and store. It is capable of providing aesthetic and practical benefits to the fish. Marine filter consumes less space as compared to the standard models.

What I like

Its compact and sophisticated design makes this machine the ideal for most people. The attribute that it takes small space in your home it’s an additional advantage.  At the same time, its motor can’t be compared with the regular models as it’s mighty.

What I don’t like

The disappointing fact about the machine is that the motor produces a lot of noise. It’s so annoying to have such kind of an item in the aquarium site. Also, its small capacity can be a limitation at some time.

The highly porous ceramic is present to enhance biological filtration. Also, it features zeolites that are great in the removal of toxic ammonia and nitrate. While the carbon insert is ideal for the reduction of discoloration and odor to create an eco-friendly environment. Using marine HOB filters, you are sure the water is safe for your aquatics.

  • Features an elegant and slim design
  • Equipped with an adjustable flow rate knob
  • It is easy to maintain and retain the device
  • Marine starts up automatically thus suitable for beginners
  • Made of sturdy and quality materials for durability
  • Marine power filter features a small filtration ability
  • The motor it’s so noisy
  • The cartridges are so expensive as compared to the standard ones.

Things to Consider

Selecting the best HOB can be a bit challenging due to the overcrowded models. However, we have some aspects that can assist you in choosing the perfect HOB filter. 

Filtration stages

The primary purpose of a HOB filter is to ensure a high level of hygiene to the water.  The number of filtration stages of the screen determines the quality of the aquarium water. An ideal machine should have a minimum of 3 steps. Most of the devices feature filter media or a single cartridge located at the top chamber. 

Others can have the sponge filter that has activated carbon insert. The activated carbon it’s so crucial at it helps in the removal of harmful chemicals and other pollutants. The primary filtration methods are: mechanical, biological, and chemical. Each of them has its function, and all are important for effective filtration. 

Flow rate

This is the crucial factor that determines how quality a HOB filter is. Most of the filter features an adjustable flow rate knob. Thus it’s a great feature as it allows the user to control the flow of water from the tank. Filters with a high water flow rate are mostly said to be effective in terms of filtration capacity. 

Also, you need to consider the size of the aquarium site you have. The high water flow rate may not be so suitable for small aquariums, delicate, and sensitive fish. Higher water flow suits well with large and notorious aquatics. 

Motor quietness

The majority of people dislike a lot of noise and especially night times. Note that the size of the motor does not determine the amount of noise it can produce. It’s so discouraging to purchase an expensive HOB filter that provides a lot of noise. Yet we have cheap and quiet machines in the market. Also, the water flow hurts the level of sound produced. Despite that, the water flows itself, its noisy consider getting the less noisy one.  However, keep in mind that you can’t come across a zero noisy machine in the world. Lastly, the HOB that has its motor fully immersed in the water is less noisy. 


The current market is full of fake and poor quality HOB filter. What does this mean; you need to be keen to ensure that you get the right filter. Even though most of the filter requires less maintenance, we have those that require a lot of reviews. The reason being that most of them are useful in freshwater.  On top of that, you need to maintain the filter to enhance its filtration efficiency. 

Different models of filter have different methods of replacing and maintaining the filter. The best thing is that each model comes with an instruction booklet on how to manage. So, you need to comprehend the brand of filter you need. The majority of the filter nowadays are easy to maintain and are less costly to replace the filter.  The fact is; consider getting a filter that is easy to clean as it will reduce the cost of maintenance.  

Saltwater or freshwater

Most of the filter does well in freshwater as compared to the saltwater. We have a specific HOB filter that is designed to work on saltwater and freshwater. The one that works on saltwater definitely requires a lot of maintenance. Be keen on the type of aquarium you have to ensure that you get the filter that will suit the condition of the water. However, HOBs are not so ideal on saltwater as compared to freshwater.

Pros of Hang Back Filter

  1. Easy to maintain- although the saltwater filters are a bit difficult, the freshwater is easy to maintain.  Also, the HOB filter is easy to clean, making it easy to maintain. 
  2. Most of them are quiet- even if no machine is 100% soft, the majority of HOBs are less noisy.
  3. The high number of filtration stages- they feature several stages of filtration which makes them ideal for aquarium
  4. Less expensive- HOB is so cheap when we compare it with other substitutes in the market.
  5. The filtration system can be customized- unlike their substitute, the HOB filter can be easily customized for effective purification.
  6. They are durable and sturdy- the fact that some of the machines are immersed in the water, the material is usually reliable and water-resistant.


  1. The flow rate may not be constant- especially the saltwater models, the flow rate sometimes may not be so reliable.
  2. Operates slower- although most of them are doing convincing after some time, their operation capability reduces.
  3. Requires often cleaning- due to the presence of impurities and toxic chemicals, they need thorough cleaning.

Can You Place Plants In Hang On Back Filters?

YES, it’s possible to place plants in the aquarium tank or HOB filter.  Some of the Viney plants you can use are ivy, philodendrons, spider, pothos, and so on. Any of the plants will exceedingly do well. Also, ensure that you remove all the potting mixture available for sufficient growth. The presence of the potting mix may cause the plant to die. 

The most crucial thing ensures that the plant you intend to place is not poisonous. Ensure that they are plenty of air entering the HOB filter.  Besides that, ensure that you trim the roots to avoid overcrowding of the roots in the HOB filter. You can decide to put them in front of the cartridge to ensure it has no impact on the system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do HOB filters do well on saltwater?

Yes, although not all HOB filters can suit marine water. Besides, the majority of the filters are not so powerful to work on salty water. Most of the HOB filters work on freshwater.

Q. Which is the best filter media to use in HOB?

Different filter media models are present in the current market. Some HOB filters require two or more filter media for effective filtration. The standard filter media is the BIO-Wheel filter media.

Q. How long should a filter take before being cleaned?

A. The duration is determined by the aquarium state, size, and the model of the filter. Large aquariums with plenty of fish require regular cleaning. The average time for filter cleaning is two weeks.

Q. Which is suitable to place HOB filters?

A: Most of the filters are lightweight. Therefore sitting them, it’s not a big problem. The ideal place for HOB placement is at the edge of the tank.

Final Verdict

Fish are some of the nutritious animals that we can rear in our home. The process is only accessible and less costly as compared to other aquatics. But the critical factor on how to go on ensures you have a HOB filter. HOB filter is ideal for the rearing of aquatic animals, not just only fish. They help in the removal of toxic substances and chemicals from the water. The discussed filters are as cheap as compared to their competitors. Besides, they are so powerful and less noisy, thus creating an eco-friendly environment.

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