The quietest aquarium filter will keep your aquarium water healthy for your pet fish quietly without causing unwanted noises.
According to a 2011 research published on the University of Vienna website, pet fish such as goldfish are heavily masked under artificial conditions and cannot fully exploit their excellent hearing capabilities in noisy environments. Aerators and other sound sources such as aqua filters not only affect fish physiology but also affects its growth.
Another research article published in the Journal of Experimental Biology suggests that goldfishes are highly susceptible to hearing loss and noise-induced stress.
From the two references above, it’s evident that exposing aquarium fish to noises not only interferes with our quiet living but also has detrimental effects on the fish as well.
Buying a quiet aquarium filter will not only improve the quality of your life but will also improve the health and quality of life for the fish as well. Below is a guide on some of the quietest aquarium filters.
Quietest Aquarium Filter On the Market?
The best quietest aquarium filter is MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter. It comes with a rotating patented bio-wheel technology that gives an excellent wet or dry biological filtration.
The filter provides chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration to give a clean aquatic environment.
The filter is compatible and can be used with the MarineLand Rite-Size filter.
The product is available in 5 different sizes that are; 75 GPH, 00 GPH, 150 GPH, 200GPH, and 350 GPH, and it is ideal for use in all life stages.
The MarineLand penguin Rite size filter cartridges come ready for use with each filter ready for removing waste, odors, and fixes discoloration.
Each cartridge has a faster-acting Black Diamond Premium activated carbon to ensure efficiency.
Bio-filtration is enabled by the revolutionary and patented BIO-wheel that has been proven to remove ammonia and nitrite.
Bio wheel filters have adjustable mid-level intake strainers and noise reducing two-piece vented covers.
The filter work effectively in 3 stage aquarium filtration without straining air pumps, valves, and air stones or tubing.
The filter requires no virtual set-up making it ideal for anyone to install with the aid of the manual. Ensure you prime the filter with the aquarium water before plugging it in.
After setting-up, you can now adjust water flow with the mid-level strainer.
Filter maintenance is easy; you just simply remove and replace the filter cartridge after around a month and clean as per the requirements.
Make sure you have maintained enough water levels in the tank so that the filters run quietly.
While MarineLand Penguin 350 above may sound like the real deal, there are other options you can choose from. Below is a detailed guide of some of the other quietest aquarium filter (s) you can find on the market today.
Types of Quiet Aquarium Filters
These external aquarium filters are often the quietest and take up no space within the tank.
In most situations, a canister filter is placed beside the aquarium, although it may also be placed underneath the tank (if there’s enough space for it). Each canister filter has a set of hoses to clean the tank’s water.
These hoses will remove aquarium water and transport it to the filtration itself. When water enters the apparatus, it will be forced through a succession of filter media under pressure. It is important to note that a canister filter may perform mechanical, biological, and chemical filtering simultaneously, provided the right medium is used.
Once the device has effectively filtered the water, the freshwater is returned to the aquarium via a second hose. The soil is contained in a specific container within the container.
Hang On Back (HOB) Filters
For a good reason, the Hang on Back filter is the most preferred choice among aquarists. It is simple to install and maintain and has almost no disadvantages.
Hang-on-back aquarium filters might be among the quietest filters available. Because they are water-driven, HOB filter motors are among the quietest while operating.
However, similar to any other filtration system, this one must be cleaned and maintained regularly. Even with the smallest tasks, many things can go wrong; therefore, it is essential to perform maintenance correctly.
Cleaning the tank filter is a particularly contentious task that many inexperienced aquarium owners tend to exacerbate.
Unlike canister filters, which may last four months without being cleaned, HOB filters must be cleaned more frequently. A HOB filter should be cleaned every two to three weeks or more frequently if necessary.
As their name implies, these filters are put beneath an aquarium’s gravel layer. These filters circulate water through gravel to facilitate biological filtration. Once helpful bacteria populate the gravel, they begin to decompose waste effectively. To work, undergravel filters require either a powerhead or an air pump to function.
Primarily, undergravel filters are biological filters. Many types, however, have a replacement cartridge put at the end of the rigid tube to give further chemical or mechanical filtering. They are available for small and big aquariums; however, they work best in aquariums with a low fish load.
Air Driven/ Sponge Filter
This basic type of filter needs at least three parts: a sponge filter (which resides within the tank), an air pump, and air tubing to link the two. The air pump forces air through the tube and into the sponge filter’s hollow chamber.
The rising air bubbles suck water through the walls of the sponge, so mechanically removing detritus from the water and providing a habitat for good microorganisms.
Pros: They are inexpensive, simple to clean, and difficult to damage because it contains few mechanical parts. It delivers good water flow and surface agitation without suckling fish fry, shrimp, or other organisms.
Additionally, during blackouts, the good bacteria on the sponge remain in the oxygenated tank water (giving it a greater chance of survival), and you may even purchase rechargeable air pumps as a precaution.
Cons: The sponge filter consumes physical area in the fish tank; thus, it may be necessary to conceal it under a rock or other aquarium decorations. Additionally, there is no option for you to add chemical filtration if necessary. I wouldn’t say I like the bubbling sound of a sponge filter, but this is readily addressed with an air stone.
What to Consider When Looking for the Quietest Fish Tank Filters
There are several factors to consider before buying an aquarium filter. Below are some of the most important factors to put into consideration to ensure you get an aquarium filter that meets your specific requirement.
Aquarium size and Type of filter
you need to buy a quiet aquarium filter that will support the size of your aquarium. Don’t buy a filter that is too small for your tank since the Water will still look dirty.
There are many filters available in the market, so make sure you choose that which suits your needs.
Each filter will have its pros and cons; for instance, canister filters are quiet and require less maintenance, but they are costly while the power filters are cheap and big but will produce some annoying sounds.
Check also the other accessories and how to maintain the unit.
Filtering process and Water flow control
There are different filtering processes, and each has a different task. Chemical filtration is suitable for water discoloration and removal of bad odors.
Mechanical filtration removes debris from the aquarium while the biological one keeps the fish and tank environment clean.
If you have all the above issues, go for a filter that has multiple trays.
Water flow control Self -priming
It allows you to control the speed that the water is flowing from the filter. It enables you to deal with different aquariums in certain gallon range.
Different kinds of fish require different rates of water flow; that’s why you have to be keen when buying the filter.
Self-priming is an essential feature in a filtration system. It allows air not to jam in the tubes or stop Water when flowing out.
Advanced models have two switches to enable the motor to suck the air out during power failure, and you may not notice a drop in its performance.
1. Marina Power Filter
Marina power filter has a unique slim and compact design that has aesthetic advantages and practical. Its slim design makes the filter occupy little space behind the aquarium.
It takes less space compared to a standard size filter and gives a touch of style to your aquarium.
The filter has two cartridges; 1 Bio-clear and 1 Bio-carb both with Ceramitek and a highly porous ceramic filter medium that is designed to optimize biological filtration to give you a healthy aquarium.
Marina filter comes with an adjustable flow so that you will be able to control the water level in your tank.
Its motor operates quietly once submerged in the water, and you will have less to worry about noise from the aquarium.
Installation and start-ups are easy and simple since priming is not needed. What you have to do is plug the marina power filter in and watch.
Its maintenance is simple, quick, and convenient since you only require some minutes, and you will be done.
The marina power filter is ideal for aquariums up to 20 gallons of Water, and you can control the flow rate up to 92GPH.
This means that you can customize the water flow to house different species of fish.
The spout should hang down about 1.5 inches below the tank. This will give a better airflow and increase oxygen supply to your fish.
Ensure you can keep the water level higher so that you will not hear the waterfall sounds, thus keeping your filter quiet.
2. AquaClear – Fish Tank Filter
Aquaclear filter is one of the most versatile hang-on filters systems in the market.
It boasts a re-filtration system that allows water to pass through filter media multiple times, even when there is a slow flow rate.
The re-filtration also provides a contact time with filter media and energy efficient pump that reduces its operating costs.
The filter comes with a cycle guard system, which includes; Aquaclear foam, Biomax, and activated carbon that continuously allow filtration and ensure all filtration requirements are met.
The cycle system ensures a continuous biological filtration since one insert is replaced at a time as the remaining filter media enable the re-establishment of essential bacteria.
The Aquaclear filter media system includes innovative, patented circulation grid and multi-filter media stacking
Additionally, the manufacturer gives 2 -year warranty, and it can be used in an aquarium of a capacity of up to 112 gallons.
It is ideal for an aquarium with delicate fish that need a gentle water flow.
The filter can be used in a water temperature of up to 35 degrees. Its installation is easy; you only take some minutes to get everything done.
3. Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter
Aqueon power filter features a replaceable carbon cartridge for chemical filtration that removes discoloration and odors from the water.
This aquarium filter boasts an auto-pump that automatically restarts when power is interrupted or restored.
Installation is quick and easy since they are self -priming and has suction cups for the frameless aquariums and hanging clips for use in framed aquariums.
It is efficient when it comes to cleaning and filtering water.
If the filter is noisy, check its impeller since it may have moved and adjusted it. The Quietflow power filter includes biological and mechanical filtration.
Place it at least 2inches above the Water for its efficiency. Make sure the water does not go above the spout.
Quiet E power filter can be used in an aquarium with a capacity of up to 40 gallons of water. The range this filter offers is incredible, as you can still use in 3 gallons of water.
Replacement filters are easy to find either online or at your local store. On the downside is that it has only one level of circulation compared to other filters.
4. Polar Aurora Free Media 4-Stage External Canister Filter
Polar Aurora canister filter has a large capacity, 3 stage canisters to enhance aquarium filtration.
The filter can allow a water flow of 525 GPH at its maximum speed using its inbuilt pump. It can be used in aquariums of up to 200gallons capacity.
The revolutionary canisters have a higher storing capacity allowing the aquarium water to be in contact with more filter media during initial flow.
It is also can handle any filtration media. Due to its high performance and improved features, guarantee you high water quality giving you easy maintenance.
Using up to 4 trays with each canister, you can get different media in the three canisters.
The media allow you to add other filtration media like the ceramic ring, bio-balls, or SunSun’s activated carbons to give excellent filtration.
It also comes with a spray bar that can be adjusted that you use when adjusting the output flow from the filter.
It also boasts a convenient self -priming pump; hence you will not require manual siphoning. The single valves disconnect, and the priming pump only requires easy routine maintenance.
The filter is built in9 watt UV sterilizer that controls algae spores, bacteria, or any other debris to keep the water clean.
Note that the water will not be clear immediately if you are using the filter for the first time, you have to wait for 1 or 2 days for the dirty and debris to be filtered.
The filters parts are available at affordable prices and ensure you are keen to buy the correct size. On the downside is that there is no on or off switch; it only has a plug.
5. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter
Penn Plax Cascade filter is ideal for use in both freshwater and marine water aquariums.
The filter has 5 media baskets that work at 350 GPH and is recommended for aquariums of a capacity of up to 200 gallons.
It measures 11.5x 20.5 x12 inches. The cascade filter possesses flow valves that rotate at 360 degrees to maneuver in small aquarium cabinets easily.
Aquarists use the large capacity media baskets for customizing to meet their media preferences.
The filter features a push-button primer that gives an easy and quick prime. It also possesses a spray bar, directional tubing spout for customizing, and filter medium.
The floss pad gets rids of the particulate matter, and the course sponge offers enough space for bacteria to grow as well as removing nitrites and ammonia.
The product boasts its large capacity with stackable filter medium containers featuring lift-up handles.
Each pump has large filter trays, input and output tubing, and a start-up filter media. The large filter trays allow you to use more media and take a longer duration before replacement.
The airtight seal ensures a reasonable flow rate as well as maintaining a quiet aquarium environment.
Directional returns assist in suspending waste before it is taken by the filter to leave the Water clear.
It also features easy lift alignment clamps that are purposely for vacuum suction. The cascaded filter has a sturdy tip-proof base to keep the unit in place and provide support.
The flow valves can be removed for maintenance of the canister as the hoses; Intake and output remain inside the aquarium.
6. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media
EHEIM classic filter has a permo silicon sealing ring that is fixed on the pump head to allow easy and safe closing after cleaning.
It features some accessories like spray bar, hose, inlet pipe, and other installation accessories.
The filter is equipped with valves, sponges, and loose filter media that is EHEIM Mech and subtract pro.
This classic filter has tried and tested technology that operates on high efficiency even when used in large systems.
It achieves the mechanical-biological purification in a single process with constant water circulation and oxygen enrichment.
The model is compact and comes with a stand for support.
Eheim comes with a charcoal media pad that is cut to fit inside the filter, so you don’t need activated charcoal when cleaning or replacing the used charcoal.
The activated charcoal will wear out after a month and start leaching whatever it had collected into the aquarium water column.
Choosing the best quietest aquarium filter can be a daunting task. Fortunately, I’ve done the legwork for you to make it easier to select the right filter that meets your specific requirements.
If you’re still not sure the option to go with, then I’d recommend MarineLand Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter. You can also read the buyer guide to know the specific feature to take into consideration.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.