8 Best Undergravel Filter (Updated 2021)

There are different types of filters that you can get for your aquarium. If you are looking for the best undergravel filter, then you are in the right place. Just like the name suggests, the filter sits under gravel and pulls the water through a mechanical system of filtration. It offers a vast and large area where bacterial can thrive that enhances the growth of fish in the aquarium.

Additionally, it works as the best option for a non-demanding aquarium. However, they are not popular but offers quality biological filtration if you use it well. We have comprehensive reviews and guide that will help you pick a quality undergavel filter for your aquarium.

Best Undergravel Filter Comparison Chart

Product NameBrandWeightDimensionPrice
Aquarium Equip ISTA Undergravel FilterAquarium Equip7.2 ounces11 x 5.9 inches
Lee's 40/55 Premium Undergravel FilterLee’s3.4 pounds22.2 x 3x 11.4 inches
XMHF Aquarium Fish Tank Undergravel Plastic FilterXMHF540g140 X 70 X12 inches
Undergravel Filteration Bottom Circular Bar 45.3"x 9.6" Under Gravel FilterAquarium Equip1.7 pounds14.3 x 9.6 inches
Imagitarium Undergravel FilterImagitarium8.8 ounces-
Lee's 115/125/150 Original Undergravel FilterLee’s4.06 pounds11.5 x 4.8 x 14.2 inches
Penn Plax Premium Under Gravel Filter SystemPenn Plax12.2 ounces9.5 x 1.2 x 10.2 inches
Lee's 70/90 Premium Undrgravel FilterLee’s2 pounds22.9x 3x16.2 inches

To help you get a reliable undergravel filter, we have narrowed down your options by providing you with quality products that work well. Go through the following reviews and buying guide to ensure that you get the right one.

The device does an excellent job when it comes to circulating water in the under gravel layer. It in returns helps to minimize the corruption of the gravel. It is a high-quality filter that is reliable for filtration.

However, you will find out that activated carbon cartridge does not come from this filter, thus not ideal as a primary filter in cases where mechanical filtration is needed.

What I like

It is a perfect option for a small 5-gallon aquarium tank that is easy to install and operate. Besides, it is ideal for use in fresh and salty water tanks. Additionally, it consists of material that does not break easily and won’t damage the fish in the aquarium.

What I don’t like

The filter is too small for larger tanks and comes with no filtration. It is because it does not consist of any other filtration media, and thus the gravel bed works as the only filtration option.

  • It is affordable
  • The filter is easy to use
  • It operates well with air stones, canister filter among others
  • It perfectly circulates water
  • The filter offers a large surface area for nitrobacteria
  • It has no chemical filtration

It is a sturdy design with a stable filtration system for a large aquarium. If you are looking for a backup that can be suitable in the combination of a power filter, then this filter is a great choice.

Moreover, another great feature of this filter is the zigzag design that enhances the growth of the bacteria which beings about bacterial filtration on a large surface.

What I like

It has a multi-plate design that is resistant thus can easily support the weight of the substrate and the water column. It also comes with two bottom plates and riser tubes that you can use with multiple options for filtration.

What I don’t like

Its carbon cartridges are hard to attach to the filter tube; thus, it needs some little force to get a perfect attachment. It might tend to scatter them out of place. Besides the holes of the filter tubes tends to be too big.

  • It has various tube ports
  • The filter has material is durable and non-resistant to cracks
  • It comes with activated carbon cartridges
  • With four extra tubes, it correctly prevents sucking of the substances
  • Its filter tubes tend to be small

It is one of the important types of filter in the market. If you own a large aquarium and you in need of a filtration system, then you can consider XMHF. Besides, with its unique and unusual features, the filter works to filter the water in your aquarium excellently. It ensures that the animals stay safe from harmful substances.

What I like

It is so easy to set and thus works effectively in your aquarium. Besides, with the 28 pieces of plates, the filter is quite perfect for large aquariums and therefore easy to operate.

What I don’t like

The filter does not come with a carbon filter, so if your tank requires some chemical filtration, then this filter won’t be ideal. However, you might consider it as a primary filtration unit.

  • The filter correctly first the cylinder filter inlets
  • It comprises of air stones for effective use
  • It is easy to assemble
  • It has a double filtration which makes the water clearer
  • It is easy to clean
  • It has no chemical filtration

It is the best option when it comes to discreet under gravel filtration system. It consists of circulation bars that are worth to consider in making filtration efficient. The product size and design are perfect to fit in a 55-gallon tank.

What I like

It is a filter that is perfect for a big custom made aquarium. Although it is hard to install, it is worth the hustle when it comes to functionality.

What I don’t like

It is a type of filter that might give you some challenges when it comes to installation. Moreover, since it won’t be compatible when it comes to the attachment on standard air pump tubing, you should be ready for some workaround during installation.

  • It is ideal for use in both fresh and salty waters
  • The filter can easily be attached to a canister filter
  • It is suitable for a 55-gallon tank
  • The filter is perfect for custom applications
  • It is a discreet filter
  • It tends to be challenging to install
  • It might not be compatible with air pumps

It is one of the best ways of cleaning the water in your aquarium. It best suitable for a 10-gallon tank and it features two cartridges to maximize its functionality. Besides, it keeps the aquarium pleasing due to its aesthetics.

In addition, the air pump creates air bubbles which draw water and dirt through the gravel then back to the tube. Therefore, trapping dirt and allows the bacterial to break down all the pollutants.

What I like

It is a two-plate filtration system that is well constructed for efficient filtration. Additionally, its design is best to be hidden behind the tank’s substrate. Moreover, it is durable and lasts long, just like any other best filter in the market.

What I don’t like

The filtration system uses a pump to enhance its performance in which you will have to purchase the pump separately.

  • It is a reliable method of cleaning fish water in the tank
  • The filter naturally cleans the water
  • It is easy to install and operate
  • It comes at a low price
  • It is easy to control the ineffectiveness of the filter
  • It needs an air pump to perform
  • It might allow the fish to get down its intake tubes

If you have a non-demanding fish tank and you need of biological and mechanical filtration, then you should consider this type of filtration. Besides, the filter comprises of a sturdy material that makes it durable and withstands harsh working conditions. It has active carbon cartridges that get rid of chemical wastes that might be harmful to your aquarium animals and plants.

Besides, the filter is best for use in both the salty and freshwater. It gives both the biological, chemical and mechanical filtration setups.

What I like

It has four riser tubes at its bottom which effectively functions with a powerhead, canister filter or an aerator to conduct filtration correctly. Additionally, I like how the plate design looks like since it can perfectly fit in a 55-60 gallon tank.

What I don’t like

It is a perfect filtration system, but you might encounter some challenges when it comes to installation and assembly.

  • It features a high-quality material
  • The filter comes with multiple tube ports
  • It does not crack easily
  • It comes with activated carbon cartridges that enhance filtration
  • Its filter tubes tend to be small

With its four filter plates and one-inch adjustable rise tube, the filter is capable of filtering a 40-50 gallon tank of your aquarium. Besides, it has several sections, and each section comes with clips that hold it into place.

Besides, it comes with a simple, easy to follow the installation process. It is one of the best filtration systems in the market that you can put into consideration. It needs a reliable and quality under gravel filter with practical uses.

What I like

The filter is easy to assemble, mighty and comes in various sizes that can fit several different tanks. Besides, it is safe to use in both fresh and salty water. Moreover, it offers a perfect balance between the ease of maintenance, durability and performance.

What I don’t like

I disliked the durability of the material as it might tend to break easily this inconvenience the filtration system.

  • It comes with a chemical filtration
  • It is easy to assembly and operates
  • The filter is suitable for 40-50 gallons
  • Its tube pieces are fragile and thin

If you are looking for an under gravel filter with a multi-level design, then you should consider this filter. It comes with plates that perfectly fits up to 48 inches long and can be ideal for use in a tank that is about 70-90 gallons.

Additionally, the filter can be replaced with your power filters. It also gives enough space for the growth of bacteria on a large surface. In return, it will help get rid of algae naturally. Additionally, it has large plates which fit most of the aquariums.

What I like

The filter is safe for use in fresh and salty water to enhance its effectiveness. It also features a mechanical and biological filtration which becomes useful when in use with the four active carbon cartridges.

What I don’t like

The filter tends to need some adjustments to the flow of water to work effectively.

  • It comes with carbon cartridges
  • It comprises of a material that is durable and long-lasting
  • The filter has multiple tube ports
  • It is easy to operate and install
  • Its filter tubes are too small
  • The filter is expensive

Buying Guide

When it comes to purchasing the best under gravel filter, then you need to do a careful search. Besides, since there are various types of under gravel filters in the market, you might encounter challenges in selecting the right and perfect filter for your aquarium. Therefore, here are some of the tips you need to consider when buying an under gravel filter:

Type of filtration

It is a significant determinant when it comes to buying the best filter for your aquarium. You will find that all the models in the market are different and come with various features. Besides, at times you might think that all the models in the market have all the necessary function and features, you will notice that some models come with carbon cartridges that will enhance the adequate performance of the filter. Additionally, such kind of options is best for aquariums and most effective in aquariums that have a light fish load. 

Ease of installation and use

When it comes to use and setup, then you should buy a product that you can easily use or install. Furthermore, it will help you save much more time and energy during installation. In most cases, the filters come with a detailed installation manual that will enhance the ease of use. Additionally, some models come with large plates that are so easy to place at the bottom of the gravel. You need to note that some of the models come with shapes that make it hard to put at the bottom of the gravel hence bring about inconvenience. Besides, if you are starting, then you should consider a model that will inconvenience you.

The level of suitability

It is another excellent factor that you should put into consideration. It is good to make sure that you choose the perfect filter for your aquarium, and thus you have to rely on its suitability. Besides, make sure that you buy a filter that is suitable in all kinds of water that is fresh and the salty. Additionally, to make sure that you are on the safe side, ensure you buy one that suits your needs but is safe and suitable in both glasses of water. 

The mechanism of the filter

How effective is the working mechanism? Well, it is a question you should put in mind anytime you walk into a shop to purchase an under gravel filter. Besides, there are different types of models when it comes to its working mechanism. You should probably consider doing a great review of the best under gravel filters in the market and study available working mechanisms. With significant devices, you will be able to choose the right one and one that suits your needs. Additionally, ensure that your filtration system that does not consume a lot of energy.

The size of the filter

It is recommended you buy a filter according to the size of your tank. Besides, different filters come in different sizes so ensure that you have the correct size of your container so that you purchase a filter that will be effective and offer a perfect fit.

Benefits of Under Gravel Fish Tank Filter

Every product has its advantages when it is in use. Besides, the under gravel fish tank filter has a variety of benefits. The article works to give you insights on the importance and benefits of using this kind of filter. Check out the exciting and amazing benefits you will get when you this filter in your aquarium. Moreover, if you are looking for the best under gravel filters in the market, here are some of the benefits you will get: 


Price is an essential factor that you might consider when you want to purchase a new filter. Besides, most of the models in the market come at different prices that you should be sure of their affordability. The filters are generally affordable, and you will have to invest in a budget that you can manage. Moreover, as compared to other filters in the market, you will find out that under gravel filters are generally inexpensive.

Easy installation

Most of these filters are easy to set up and assemble. Therefore, you won’t spend a lot of time and energy trying to set up the filter in your tank. Besides, the manufacturer provides a detailed manual that will give you easy to follow guidelines when setting up the filter.

Quiet operation

Just like human beings need a quiet resting environment, so do the aquarium animals? Well, you need to ensure that the filter does not bring about noise pollution. It quietly filters the water without producing sound. It is good since it won’t interfere with the fish in the aquarium.

It saves space

With the size of the filter, it correctly will save space and give the fish enough space to move around. The filter sits excellently on the substrate, thus saving up a lot of space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it right to use a canister filter with under gravel filter?

A: A canister filter comes in so handy when connected to the under gravel filter. Therefore I would say that it is good to use a canister filter together with the under gravel filter and make sure that the canister comes in as a primary filter. Additionally, it is good to apply to a multi-filter as it gives various options of media and effective chemical filtration.

Q: Do I need to clean the under gravel filter regularly?

A: If you want to keep your under gravel running effectively, then there is a need to clean the device regularly. Besides, it is essential to keep in mind that will you do not clean the filter; it will accumulate dirt that will tend to reduce the flow of water. Besides, when the filter harbours dirt, it makes the bacterial receive less oxygen which will bring the poor performance of the filter.

Q: Which is the best under gravel filter?

A: There are several types of under gravel water filters in the market and choosing the best might be a challenging task. Therefore, you need to do significant research and establish the features and tips on what will help shape your decision making. It is crucial to know what to consider before you purchase on that suits your needs. Besides, choose a filter that suits your needs and preferences.

Q: Do the under gravel filters come in different sizes?

A: Yes, under gravel filters come in various sizes that can fit different type’s tank. Therefore, it is essential to have an idea of the size of your fish tank before you buy any under gravel filter. Ensure that the quantity you intend to choose can perfectly fit the container to avoid inconveniences. Besides, consider the different sizes before you settle on an end product.


Although under gravel filters might not be outstanding in the market, it is one of the filters worth your investment. Besides, its mode of operation is straightforward and easy to use. It takes effortless energy to set up the filter in any fish tank. Additionally, it is easy to maintain, and its mode of operation is quiet.

Moreover, in the end, you will have to choose the best under gravel filter that will suit your preferences. It is the best way to ensure that you get rid of most equipment in your tank. I hope this article will help you choose the right under gravel filter.

Leave a Comment