AquaClear Power Filter featThere are dozens, if not hundreds, of aquarium filters on the market! It can be so overwhelming and confusing standing in the store staring at the long aisle of nothing but filters. Obviously, everyone wants to make sure they’re spending money on a highly effective product that’s going to last a long time.

Aquarium filters keep everything in your aquarium clean and healthy for your fish and other tank inhabitants. That means it’s extra important to find the right aquarium filter for your tank.

Here are reviews of the 10 best aquarium filters for large tanks to help make things easier and less confusing for you. That way you can spend more time enjoying your aquarium!

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Filter Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Filter
  • Filters up to 390 gph
  • 3-stage filtration option
  • Self-priming
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin Aquarium Power Filter Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin Aquarium Power Filter
  • 3-stage filtration
  • Available in four sizes
  • Includes filter cartridge and Bio-Wheel
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Fluval Aquarium Power Filter Fluval Aquarium Power Filter
  • 5-stage filtration
  • Includes filter media
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter
  • Available in four sizes
  • 3-stage filtration
  • Includes startup filter media
  • Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter
  • Runs at 125gph/400gph
  • 5-stage filtration
  • LED indicator light
  • The 10 Best Aquarium Filters for Large Tanks – Reviews 2021

    1. Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Filter– Best OverallMarineland Magnum Polishing Internal Filter

    The best overall aquarium filter for large tanks is the Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Filter for its functional, high-quality design. This filter can filter up to 390 gph, filtering enough water for a tank up to 97 gallons.

    This internal aquarium filter allows you to pick between 3-stage filtration and high-efficiency micron water polishing. It includes two media chambers that you can customize with your media of preference. This filter comes with Marineland’s Black Diamond Activated Carbon and a Rite-Size JH Floss Sleeve for effective water polishing. This filter is self-priming, so it’s easy to set up and get started. As long as the tank is at least 12 inches deep, this filter will work. This filtration system can be used in freshwater and saltwater tank setups and is powerful enough even for turtle tanks.

    Pros
    • Filters up to 390 gph
    • Can filter enough for up to a 97-gallon tank
    • 3-stage filtration option
    • Water polishing option
    • Dual filter media chambers
    • Includes activated charcoal filter media and filter floss sleeve
    • Self-priming
    • Freshwater and saltwater safe
    • Powerful filtration even for messy tank inhabitants
    Cons
    • Filtration and water polishing do not run together

    2. Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin Aquarium Power Filter– Best ValueMarineland Bio-Wheel Penguin Aquarium Power Filter

    The best aquarium filter for large tanks for the money is the Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin Aquarium Power Filter. It’s cost effective and functions efficiently as an aquarium filter as well. This hang on back filter is available in four sizes for tanks 20-75 gallons.

    This product features 3-stage filtration and includes adjustable intake strainers, filter cartridges with Black Diamond Activated Carbon, and a patented Bio-Wheel. The Bio-Wheel has high surface area to allow for the colonization of beneficial bacteria, which will consume toxins like ammonia and nitrates. This filtration system also includes noise-reducing vented covers to help keep the filter running silently and has an adjustable flow. This filter will work for freshwater and saltwater tank setups.

    This filter will require you to add water to the filter box before starting it. This will help prime the filter and keep the motor from burning out. It’s recommended to replace the filter cartridges in this system every 2-4 weeks. The Bio-Wheel will also require replacement from time to time.

    Pros
    • Best value
    • Available in four sizes
    • 3-stage filtration
    • Adjustable intake strainers and noise-reducing vented covers
    • Includes filter cartridge and Bio-Wheel
    • Freshwater and saltwater safe
    • Bio-Wheel has high surface area for beneficial bacteria colonization
    • Has built-in extra filter media space for preferred filter media
    Cons
    • Motor will burn out if filter not primed properly
    • Bio-Wheel and filter cartridges require routine replacement

    3. Fluval Aquarium Power Filter– Premium ChoiceFluval Aquarium Power Filter

    For a premium pick filter for your large aquarium, the Fluval Aquarium Power Filter is the best option. This HOB filter is available in 30-gallon, 50-gallon, and 70-gallon options.

    This filtration system offers 5-stage filtration with two mechanical, one chemical, and two biological filtration chambers. This filter is made to catch large and fine particles in the water as well as provide a large surface area for colonizing beneficial bacteria. This filter has an adjustable flow rate, which helps protect delicate plants and fish as well as providing high flow for fish that prefer it. This filter will work for freshwater and saltwater tanks.

    This system does require replacements of various filter media every 4 weeks to every 6 months, depending on the media and the usage in the tank. You will need to fill the filter compartment before starting this filter to help prevent motor burnout.

    Pros
    • Available in 3 sizes up to 70 gallons
    • 5-stage filtration
    • Two mechanical and two biological filtration chambers
    • Includes filter media
    • Large surface area for beneficial bacteria colonization
    • Adjustable flow rate
    • Safe for freshwater and saltwater tanks
    Cons
    • Premium price
    • Filter media will require replacements every 4 weeks to 6 months
    • Motor will burn out if filter not primed properly

    4. Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister FilterPenn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter

    The Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter is available in 30-gallon, 65-gallon, 150-gallon, and 200-gallon options. This is a canister filter, so it requires less maintenance and cleaning than HOB and internal filters.

    This 3-stage filtration system has large filter trays, allowing you to customize the filter media to your preferences. It includes startup filter media to help get you started, though. This system is complete with input and output tubing, rotational valve taps, hose clamps, flow-rate control valves, and push-button priming. It’s made to run quietly and features a tip-proof rubber base that won’t scuff up your hardwoods. This filter can be used in freshwater and saltwater tanks.

    Canister filters require more space than other types of filters and need to sit below the level of the tank. Canister filters also can be more complicated to set up than other types of filters, which can be frustrating the first time you set one up.

    Pros
    • Available in four sizes up to 200 gallons
    • Less maintenance and cleaning than other types of filters
    • 3-stage filtration with large filter trays
    • Customizable filter media
    • Includes startup filter media
    • Complete system including flow control
    • Push-button priming
    • Tip-proof rubber base
    Cons
    • Needs more space than other types of filters
    • Needs to sit below the level of the tank
    • May be confusing on initial setup

    5. Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power FilterAqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter

    The Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter is a HOB filter available in two sizes. The smaller filter runs 125gph and can filter a 20-gallon tank. The larger available size runs 400gph and can filter a 75-gallon tank.

    This filtration system offers 5-stage filtration to remove waste, toxins, and odors while improving overall water quality. This pump features a LED indicator light to let you know when it’s time to change the filter cartridges. It includes the first filter cartridge and a special filter block that fits into the filter’s special wet/dry filtration stage that helps remove lingering toxins in the water. This filter has a patented Bio-Holster that reduces splashing. This pump has a self-priming feature, which means it will automatically restart after power outages without burning out the motor.

    This is a high-flow filtration system, making it a poor choice for fish and plants that require low water flow. This filter is made to run quietly but the motor has a consistent hum.

    Pros
    • Available in 20-gallon and 75-gallon options
    • Runs at 125gph/400gph
    • 5-stage filtration
    • LED indicator light
    • Special filter block for wet/dry filtration
    • Bio-Holster reduces splashing
    • Self-priming
    Cons
    • High-flow filtration is too strong for some fish and plants
    • Flow is not adjustable
    • Motor has consistent hum
    • Filter cartridges will require replacement every few weeks

    6. XpertMatic DB-368F Aquarium FilterXpertMatic DB-368F 3 Stages 475 GPH Aquarium Filter

    The XpertMatic DB-368F Aquarium Filter is an internal filtration system. This filter runs 475gph and can filter a tank or pond up to 180 gallons.

    This 3-stage filtration system has detachable filter cartridges that can be removed or rearranged to your filtration preferences. The filter cartridges are transparent, allowing you to easily see when the filter media needs to be replaced. Carbon filter media is included in the system as well as airline tubing. This filter is fully submersible and can be held in place with included suction cups. It has a direction-adjustable filter outlet nozzle and can produce lift up to 4.9 feet.

    The airline tubing has to be removed prior to use as a submersible water pump. If this filter is not fully submerged while it is running, the motor will burn out. This pump is relatively loud since it is intended for large tanks and ponds. The filter cartridges are not customizable and the only ones that will fit this system are the ones specific to this system.

    Pros
    • Runs 475gph
    • Filters tanks and ponds up to 180 gallons
    • Can be used outdoors
    • 3-stage filtration with detachable canisters
    • Fully submersible
    • Direction-adjustable filter outlet
    • Can be used as water pump with lift up to 4.9 feet
    Cons
    • Airline tubing has to be removed to use as a pump
    • Must be fully submerged or motor will burn out
    • Pump runs loudly
    • Filter media is not customizable
    • Filter cartridges are specific to this system

    7. Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power FilterTetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter

    The Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter is available in four sizes from 10-70 gallons. This HOB is ready to go out of the box and requires no priming.

    This system features 4-stage filtration with bio-scrubbers to eliminate toxins like ammonia before returning filtered water to the tank. The carbon filter cartridges are replaceable as needed and are enclosed behind a carbon cartridge door that provides easy access for changes. It also includes a carbon filter cartridge carrier that allows for mess-free cartridge changes and prevents you from having to handle the dirty cartridge. The intake strainer includes extension attachments to ensure the filter reaches the appropriate depth in your tank.

    The filter does run with a higher level than many other filters, but it does effectively filter. The filter cartridges that fit inside the carbon cartridge carrier are specific to this system.

    Pros
    • Available in four sizes up to 70 gallons
    • No priming required
    • Ready to go out of the box
    • 4-stage filtration
    • Carbon cartridge door and carrier to prevent mess
    • Intake strainer includes extension attachments
    Cons
    • Pump runs loudly
    • Filter media is not customizable
    • Filter cartridges are specific to this system
    • Flow is not adjustable
    • High-flow filtration is too strong for many fish and plants

    8. Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister FilterPolar Aurora 265GPH

    The Polar Aurora 4-Stage External Canister Filter is available in four sizes up to 200 gallons. The smallest size filters 265gph, enough for a 75-gallon aquarium, while the largest size filters 525gph, enough for a 200-gallon aquarium.

    This canister filter has four media trays that have space for full customization of your filter media. This filter includes an adjustable sprayer bar that helps improve oxygenation in the water. This system includes a UV light that helps kill bacteria, parasites, and algae free-floating in the tank water. Included with the filter is all the parts needed for the filter to function, including tubing, output and input bars, spray bars, and spray bar. This filter has a self-priming feature and can be used in freshwater and saltwater.

    Filter media is not included in this system, so you will have to choose your preferred media forms and purchase them separately. Since this is a canister filter, it does take up more space than other filters and may be difficult to set up.

    Pros
    • Available in four sizes up to 200 gallons
    • Filters up to 525gph
    • Four media trays allow for customization
    • Adjustable sprayer bar and UV light included
    • Self-priming
    • Freshwater and saltwater safe
    Cons
    • Takes up more space than other types of filters
    • May be confusing to set up
    • Does not include filter media
    • Needs to sit below the level of the tank
    • Premium price

    9. AquaClear Fish Tank FilterAquaClear Power Filter

    The AquaClear Fish Tank Filter is available in five sizes from 5-110 gallons. It is a cost-effective HOB aquarium filter option.

    This filter is made of translucent grey plastic, which allows for easy viewing to identify when filter media needs cleaning or replacement. This is a 3-stage filtration system that includes filter media for each stage of filtration. There is a removable filter tray that makes removing filter media easy. This filter has an adjustable flow and a small intake that is safe for some small fish.

    The intake on this filter is not extendable. The filter media tray in this system will float upward over time, lifting the lid on the filter. This causes the lid to create a buzzing sound.

    Pros
    • Cost-effective
    • Available in five sizes
    • Easy viewing to see when cleaning or replacement of media needs to be done
    • 3-stage filtration
    • Includes filter media
    • Adjustable flow
    Cons
    • Non-extendable filter intake
    • Media tray will float up and raise the lid
    • Lifted lid will create a buzzing sound
    • Filter body must be filled with water prior to startup
    • Filter media needs regular replacement every 4 weeks to 6 months
    • Manufacturer recommends cleaning this filter every 2 weeks
    • Water may leak around the intake depending on the flow

    10. NO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal FilterNO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter

    The NO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter is a high-powered internal filter that can be used in aquariums or ponds. It can filter 400gph and is rated for tanks up to 200 gallons.

    This filtration system includes four nozzles for you to choose your flow rate. It uses 2-stage filtration with biological and mechanical filtration but does not include any type of chemical filtration. This means it does not have activated carbon, which can help reduce odors. The filter cartridges are detachable and can be rearranged in different orders. You can use as few or as many as you deem necessary. Since this filter is made for larger bodies of water, it is powerful enough to handle waste from koi, goldfish, and turtles. It offers around 3 feet of lift if used as a water pump.

    This filter can be difficult to disassemble to rearrange or replace the filter media cartridges. It also may be too powerful for smaller tanks, which can lead to leaks and overflow. These filter cartridges are prone to clogging quickly with large amounts of waste. This system may be complicated to set up and does not include very clear instructions.

    Pros
    • Runs 400gph
    • Filters enough for up to 200 gallons
    • Can be used outdoors
    • Cartridges are detachable and can be rearranged or can be used in different quantities
    • Powerful enough for heavy waste
    • 3 feet of lift as a water pump
    • Adjustable flow
    Cons
    • May be difficult to disassemble for cartridge changes
    • Too powerful for smaller tanks
    • Cartridges are prone to clogging quickly
    • Complicated setup and unclear instructions
    • 2-stage filtration
    • Lacks activated carbon which reduces odors
    • Filter cartridges are specific to this system
    • Filter media is not customizable

    Buyer’s Guide

    How to Pick the Right Aquarium Filter for Your Large Tank:
    • Tank Size: The size of your tank will determine which filter you need. A 50-gallon tank will have different filtration and flow needs than a 200-gallon tank.
    • Fish and Plants: The plants and animals you keep in your tank should help guide you in your decision. Some fish are happiest in high water flow environments while others prefer low flow environments. If you keep delicate plants or corals, they will require a very low flow, so finding a filtration system that has an adjustable flow will serve your tank the best.
    • Tank or Pond: Not all filtration systems will be safe for use in ponds. Filtering a pond will require filtering a higher bioload than an aquarium and a pond filter needs to be safe to use in the outdoors. This makes internal filters a great pond option because they are made to be fully submersed.
    Types of Filters for Large Tanks:
    • Hang on Back (HOB): These filtration systems have an intake that extends down into the tank and pulls water up, filtering it through filter media within the body of the filtration system and then returning the filtered water back into the tank. These are a good option for low bioload tanks and with proper cleaning and maintenance, they work well in high bioload tanks as well. These are not appropriate for pond use.
    • Canister: Canister filters are external filters that usually sit below the level of the tank and use siphon action to pull water down from the tank into the canister. The water is then processed through multiple levels of filter media before being returned to the water. Canister filters often have bonus additions like UV lights and sprayer bars. These filters are the best option for high bioload environments and do not require as much cleaning and maintenance as other types of filtration systems.
    • Internal: Internal filters are fully submersible filtration systems that function similarly to HOB filters. They pull water in, process it through filter media, and then return it to the tank. These are the safest type of filtration system to use for ponds since the entire filter is intended to get wet. These filters can often double as a water pump to create fountains within ponds.
    • Sponge: Sponge filters are not effective filtration on their own in most tanks. Sponge filters create a large surface area for beneficial bacteria colonization but do not provide much in the way of water filtration. They are acceptable filters for very low bioload tanks, like shrimp tanks, but they will not perform adequate filtration for tanks with high bioload and in these environments they should be used in conjunction with another filter type.

    Conclusion

    For the best value aquarium filter for large tanks, the Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin Aquarium Power Filter is the most cost-effective filtration system while still being an effective filter. The Fluval Aquarium Power Filter is the best premium pick for your large tank and the Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Filter is the best overall pick.

    Hopefully, these reviews have helped you narrow your search for a filter for your large aquarium. Finding the right filtration system for your tank will not only keep your water cleaner and your fish healthier, but it will also make your life easier. With the right filtration, you’ll be able to do fewer water changes without waste and toxin buildup in your aquarium.

    There are filters available for tanks of all sizes, including small ponds, which means your outdoor fish and turtles can benefit from great filtration as well. There are 10 products for you to choose from and you can choose whether your tank will benefit the most from a canister filter, internal filter, or hang on back filter.