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10 Best Hang-On-Back Filters For Fish Tanks – Reviews & Top Picks

The health of your fish depends on having a clean aquarium at all times. Having a high-quality water filtration system is essential for having clean water.

In addition to keeping your tank clean, a good filter can also replace harmful bacteria with beneficial ones and create a healthy aquatic environment for your fish to thrive.

They're the most common sort of filter since they're simple to install and require minimal upkeep; they're also efficient.

You can see BestForPets's (bestforpets.org) top picks here. Using this information, you will be able to pick the best hang-on-back filters for fish tanks.

Fish Tank Filter Buyer's Guide: How to Choose the Best Hanging-on-Back Filters

Filters for Aquariums: How to Pick the Right One

When selecting a hang-on-back aquarium filter, keep the following factors in mind:

  • The pace at which water moves through a pipe.
  • Type of media
  • Size of a tank

In order to better understand how your filter system works, let’s take a look at each of these terms.

Rate of Flow

Controlling the water flow in your aquarium is made possible by filters that have variable flow rates. Changing the flow rate of the water through the system is usually as simple as adjusting a slider or dial.

Depending on the species of fish you maintain, you’ll require a different flow rate. Three to four times an hour is a decent rule of thumb for running your tank’s water through the filter. As an example, a flow rate of 30 gallons per hour is sufficient to filter around 10 gallons of water.

Type of Media

When it comes to filtering medium, the sponge is by far the most common (and most basic). They’re inexpensive, easy to maintain, and don’t need to be replaced frequently. Bio-media and ceramic rings are two other common types of media.

Cartridges, which are sponges coated with activated carbon or other biological materials, are found in most of the filter systems on this list. A sponge filtration system, on the other hand, is sufficient for most aquariums.


Smaller aquariums are more suited for the use of hang-on-back aquarium filters. Many large reef aquariums will be unable to use an overhead filter because of this.

In order to choose the right filter for your tank, you need to know how big it is. Your fish may become ill or die if you use a filtration system that can’t keep up with the volume of water in your tank.

Hang-on-Back Filter Setup Instructions

The installation, operation, and maintenance of a hang-on-back filtration system are all straightforward. Putting it together will just take a few minutes after you’ve determined where to install it in your tank.

  • Put in your filter media. Some systems use baskets to designate where each piece of media should be stored.
  • Hang your filtration system at the desired position. Filter cutouts are commonly found in tanks. You get to choose the location if your tank does not have one.
  • Set the filter to “prime” mode. Adding water is the next step. The self-priming function of your filter means you don’t need to do this step.
  • Put in the filter.a

Maintenance for back filter systems is minimal. It’s time to clean the filter if you find that your aquarium is becoming unclean. This may be accomplished by unplugging your system, disassembling it, and then thoroughly cleaning all of the tubes and pipes within. Before you buy a new system, make sure to change or clean your filter media.



Small aquariums can benefit greatly from a hang-on-back filter, which is a low-maintenance option that is simple to set up and inexpensive to operate.

The Fluval Aquarium Power Filter is the greatest all-around hang-on-back filter. As the only filter on our list that features a telescopic input tube, it ensures that no small fish will be drawn into the filter due to its three-stage filtration technology.

The Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter is the finest value for the money.

As one of the quietest and most efficient filtration systems on the market, it has four stages of filtration.

Compared to other manufacturers, it has lower media storage capacities, but the total value it offers is exceptional.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hopes that our reviews of the best hang-on-back filters for fish tanks have assisted you in narrowing down your selections and locating the ideal product for your needs!



In terms of overall quality, the Fluval Aquarium Power Filter is the best option.

  • 70-gallon capacity
  • Freshwater and saltwater aquariums are available.
  • Tropical, freshwater, and marine species are all included.
  • Material: Plastic

Most aquarium filtration systems include three or four stages of filtration. 264 gallons of water per hour may be flowed through the Fluval Aquarium Power Filter, which has five stages of filtration. So, the ideal way to hang an aquarium filter on the backhang-on-back is to use this method.

Mechanical filtration is used in stages one and two of the filtering process to catch big particles and small trash. The final stage uses a carbon insert to remove chemicals from your water. The biological filtering process is completed in stages three and four. Each filter step may be customized to your liking by adding whatever media you like.

If you have a tank that is too loaded, this filtration system is not for you. Your aquarium’s water will get increasingly polluted the more fish you have in it. Clean water must be maintained by regularly flushing the filter sponge. However, we believe that the higher cost is justified by the higher level of filtration that this system provides.


  • There is a section for each filter media, so they may be changed individually.
  • It’s simple to keep up with.
  • You have the option of using media under your own name.
  • Fish that are too small to be swallowed by the telescopic tube will not be drawn in.


  • It contains a couple of modest media storage compartments.
  • If you have a lot of fish in your tank, you’ll need to rinse the sponge frequently.

Aquarius Power Filter with QuietFlow LED PRO by Aqueon—Best Deal

  • Size: 30 gallons or more
  • Freshwater and saltwater aquariums are available.
  • Types of fish found in tropical, freshwater, and marine environments
  • Material: Plastic

Whenever you clean your tank or have a power outage, this Aqueon tank hang-on-back filter automatically primes and gets to work. In addition to the biological, chemical, and mechanical filtering stages, the Aqueon Quietflow LED PRO Power Filter has a specific purpose filter pad. They are simple to change and contain more carbon than other types of media cartridges.

One of the quietest filters on the market, this one is a popular choice. A self-starting internal pump eliminates noise and leakage. For the money, the Aqueon Quietflow fish tank hang-on-back filter is the greatest option available.


  • A lifetime guarantee is included.
  • To set up, the self-priming feature is quite convenient.
  • When it’s time to replace the media pad, an LED light will flash.
  • The quietest filter on the market.


  • Pre-filter sponges are essential for aquariums with little fish.
  • It’s smaller and has a lower amount of storage capacity than some other variants.

Water Filter for a Large Aquarium by SeaChem

  • It may hold as much as 75 gallons.
  • Freshwater and saltwater aquariums are available.
  • Type of Fish: Freshwater, Marine, and Tropical
  • Material: Plastic

In addition to providing high-quality water filtration, the SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter is virtually completely quiet in operation. If you’re used to hearing the whir of aquarium filtration, this will be a welcome change. Water levels are low or the skimmer is blocked, which causes the noise. If your aquarium contains plants, a skimmer is a must-have accessory. In order to avoid clogging your system, it removes plant debris before it reaches its destination in the filter.

Water may be possible to get through an issue with the Seachem filter, as some customers claim. In comparison to its competitors, it offers substantially larger flow rates, and the rate of flow may be adjusted. By decreasing the flow rate, the bypass problem appears to disappear. In certain cases, people claim that the skimmer picks up fish food before the fish can consume it, so you’ll have to be careful where you feed your fish.


  • Flow controllable
  • Reliability checker built right in
  • Plant debris is collected with a surface skimmer.
  • Large storage space
  • Setup is quick and simple.


  • Bypassing the Water Supply
  • You may need to alter the way you feed your fish.

Fish Tank Filter by AquaClear

  • In volume, they range from 10 to 30 gals
  • Freshwater and saltwater aquariums are available.
  • Tropical and marine fish
  • Material: Plastic

Designed for aquariums up to 30 gallons in capacity, the AquaClear Fish Tank Filter is a universal fit. A three-stage filtration system removes mechanical, chemical, and biological pollutants from the water supply. Your aquarium will use less electricity thanks to the energy-efficient pump, and the filter is covered by a lifetime warranty.

For the AquaClear Filter system to function properly, you’ll need to thoroughly clean and flush the filter every two weeks. In order to avoid damaging the casing, use special care when cleaning it.


  • A three-stage water purification method
  • A low-energy pump
  • A guarantee that will last for the rest of time
  • Installing it is a breeze.


  • Cracks easily
  • Cleaning is required twice a week.

Cascade 150 GPH Power Filter by Penn-Plax

  • 5 to 100 gallons in volume
  • Freshwater and saltwater aquariums are available.
  • Tropical fish, freshwater fish, and marine fish are all types of fish.
  • Material: Plastic

Penn Plax Cascade has a series of aquarium filters that may be used in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, providing crystal-clear water. The flow rates provided by various model numbers vary. This type may be used in aquariums up to 35 gallons in size and has a filtration rate of 150 gallons per hour.

Chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration are all provided by Penn Plax filters, which feature a four-stage filtering system. The self-leveling casing ensures that the filter does not fall out of the case. An intake tube and adjustable flow rate allow you to tailor the system to your needs. An additional bonus: it’s small and quiet.

The Penn-Plax Cascade Power Filter has a few drawbacks. Fish may be sucked into the intake tube thanks to a big aperture. If you have a tank full of little fish, such as Tetras, this filtration system has a decent potential of snatching your pets. The media provided is likewise of terrible quality. In addition to the system itself, you’ll probably need to buy some filter media.


  • Filter assembly is simple
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • A three-year warranty is offered.
  • Changing and replacing media is a breeze.
  • Filter media can be added at any time.


  • Small fish can be sucked into the intake tube’s wide hole.
  • Low-quality media has been provided
  • The apparatus is hefty.

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler


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