10 Best Filters For A 55 Gallon Fish Tank

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1. Introduction

Aquarists know that having an effective filtration system is essential. It has numerous benefits, from keeping the tank clean and maintaining the water quality to matching the water flow for individual fish species.

In reviewing the best filters for a 55 gallon fish tank, you’ll notice there are different types: Canister filters, HOB filters, and internal power filters. Each one has its own use cases depending on the tank setup you have. For example, an HOB filter would be an excellent choice for tanks with fish species that prefer calm water, since they have a gentle outflow and create minimum water movement.

On the other hand, internal power filters are equipped with powerful powerhead motors that pumps the required flow rate of water for a large tank that needs moderate to high flow. A 55 gallon tank is relatively large, so a canister filter would work here too.

I’ve evaluated several options, including different types of filters, so you can choose the option for your fish.

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2. 10 Best Filters For 55-gallon Fish Tank

2.1 Fluval 307 Performance Canister Filter

Pump flow rate: 303 G/PH

Weight: 8.38 pounds

Dimensions: 9.45 x 7.09 x 16.54 inches

Type of filter: Canister filter

Best for: Convenience


The Fluval brand has a range of canister filters designed for several tank sizes. For a 55-gallon aquarium, the best option is the Fluval 307 Performance Canister Filter, compatible with tanks up to 70 gallons. This filter uses the Fluval eTEC (Efficient Technology), which has a sleek design and an energy-efficient pump with quiet operation.

For an adjustable flow rate, an Aquastop valve with an ergonomic design and is equipped with a raised lip for easier operation. I like that this filter contains a ‘quick primer’, which helps start the filter with minimal effort.

Another feature that caught my attention is the liftable media baskets. During filter maintenance, the media basket can be lifted and taken out – This makes it VERY convenient during cleaning.

This external filter uses biological, mechanical and chemical filtration. The Plus Fluval authentic media kit that comes with the filter includes ceramic rings, activated carbon, bio-foam and other foam varieties.

Customer Sentiments

This is a highly rated filter with an overall rating of 4.6 stars rated by over 6500 buyers, so it’s been well tested. Buyers enjoy the easy primer option, and the adjustable flow rate lever is much-beloved. They noted that the filter may leak when it isn’t cleaned routinely, which I consider to be user error.


  • Low energy usage.
  • Liftable media basket.
  • Contains a good range of filter media.


  • None apparent. External canister filters can take up room if you’re working with a small space.

2.2 Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter

Pump flow rate: 220 G/PH

Weight: 11.7 pounds

Dimensions: 12.2 x 9.17 x 15.5 inches

Type of filter: External canister filter 

Best for: Hassle-free maintenance


The Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter is a quiet, efficient filter specifically designed for tanks up to 55 gallons, making it a great option. A valve block is in place to stop water flow from the housing, and to allow quick, spill-free maintenance. This might not sound like a big deal, but I’m preferential to these because when cleaning the filter, it can be easy to spill water and the valve block comes in very handy.

This unit uses a multi-stage filtration system to ensure adequate water cleaning. For biological filtration, bio-media like bio balls and ceramic rings, are used to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Filter pads are included for mechanical filtration, helping to trap debris and other fish waste. The Marineland Magniflow has activated carbon for chemical filtration, which helps to eliminate the discoloration of water and any odors. This system would work for both freshwater and saltwater tanks. No surface skimmer included.

Customer Sentiments

With an overall rating of 4.2 stars from over 3600 customers to date, this filter is a contender. I found that this filter is silent and can clear up a tank pretty fast. The instructions aren’t super clear and it’s not the easiest to set up, but once you do, it’s a great filter.


  • 3-stage filtration system.
  • Decent pump capacity.
  • Easy maintenance due to the valve block.
  • Ideal for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.


  • Vague instructions.
  • No surface skimmer included.


2.3 Tetra Whisper EX70

Pump flow rate: 340 G/PH

Weight: 2.43 pounds

Dimensions: 6.31 x 12.88 x 9.5 inches

Type of filter: Hang-on-back filter

Best for: Simplicity, gentle outflow


If you’re looking for the simplest, least complex filter for a 55-gallon aquarium the Tetra Whisper EX70 is your pick. Typically, an HOB filter tends to be less powerful and effective as compared to canister filters, which is why canister filters are used in extra-large aquariums. That said, they’re actually ideal for certain fish species that prefer calm water and don’t have a super high bioload (eg, they don’t produce a lot of waste).

The Tetra Whisper would work well for a planted fish tank because the outflow is gentle enough to not disturb any plants or fish, and the flow itself is adjustable.

This filter uses large filter cartridges designed with a carrier to minimize dripping, which makes for mess-free cleaning. This HOB filter doesn’t require priming! This is a valuable feature because it means you don’t have to fill it with water every time you start it.

For mechanical filtration, there’s a layer of floss through which the water passes. The activated carbon provides chemical filtration, which is followed by a bio-scrubber to help remove harmful chemicals like ammonia and nitrites.

Customer Sentiments

Over 10000 buyers have left reviews for this filter, with a favorable rating of 4.3 out of 5. This fish tank filter is silent, and it oxygenates the water – Two pluses. Some buyers felt the space in the media basket could be bigger, so as to have more options for filter media.


  • Adjustable flow rate.
  • Doesn’t require priming.
  • Adds a few bubbles to the tank.


  • Doesn’t suck debris lying on the bottom.
  • Limited filter media.


2.4 Marineland Penguin Power Filter

Pump flow rate: 350 G/PH

Weight: 3.53 pounds

Dimensions: 15.25 x 6.12 x 8 inches

Type of filter: Hang-on-back filter

Best for: Longevity, high-tech filtration


The Marineland Penguin Power Filter has a very unique feature: Its patented Bio-Wheel technology, which performs wet/dry bio-filtration and is proven to eliminate toxic ammonia and nitrite. The filter itself is available in different sizes: For a 55-gallon aquarium, the best option is to select the one ranging from 50 to 75 gallons.

The Marineland filter is fitted with a two-piece vented cover for easier access to filter cartridges – It also helps provide quiet operation. An adjustable mid-level intake easily controls the water flow rate, and the unit comes with clear instructions.

When it comes to the filter media, the filter cartridge floss acts as the mechanical filtration, and the Bio-Wheel is designed with ample surface area for biological filtration. It also uses activated carbon to remove any odors and discoloration.

Customer Sentiments

This is another extremely popular fish tank filter, with a rating of 4.4 stars from over 37000 buyers. We love its quiet operation and longevity! Many buyers noted they’d been using it for over 6 years with zero problems. That said, some complained that the “Bio-wheel” gets stuck or stops working. The filter itself could have a bit more space to add more filter media, but this is a common design issue with many filters.


  • Contains a wet/dry biological filtration system.
  • Adjustable flow rate.
  • Instructions provided.


  • Doesn’t suck debris lying on the bottom.
  • Limited space for filter media.


2.5 Aqua Clear Filter

Pump flow rate: 300 G/PH

Weight: 2.58 pounds

Dimensions: 11.5 x 9 x 6.5 inches

Type of filter: HOB filter

Best for: Multi-stage filtration


Aqua Clear has a range of hang-on back filters that are excellent options for many different sized tanks. For a 55-gallon aquarium, the best option is the Aqua Clear 70 filter (rated for tanks of 40-70 gallons). It might not look super fancy, but it’s a good filter with useful features AND it has a lifetime warranty. Yes please!

The Aqua Clear filter is equipped with a flow controller, an energy-efficient pump, and chemical, mechanical and biological filtration media. All provided filter media are Aqua Clear brand and can be easily purchased separately for replacements (there’s nothing more annoying than having trouble finding a replacement!)

Did I mentioned that there’s a lifetime warranty on all non-replaceable parts?!

The pump does need to be primed, and the design of this unit does not effectively collect debris lying on the bottom of the tank – Although that’s the case for several others on this list, too. The Aqua Clear can be used for both freshwater and saltwater tanks.

Customer Sentiments

A rating of 4.4 stars from over 22000 buyers gives this unassuming filter its due. It’s easy to set up with a simple design, and doesn’t create any irritating noise when running. There were a few reported cases of it stopping working too soon, although a couple who experienced this fixed it with replacement parts. Plus, there’s a warranty.


  • Lifetime warranty on all non-replaceable parts.
  • Adjustable flow.
  • Works for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
  • Energy-efficient


  • Needs to be primed.
  • Doesn’t suck debris lying on the bottom.


2.6 Xpermatic DB-368F Internal Filter

Pump flow rate: 475 G/PH

Weight: 1.59 pounds

Dimensions: 3 x 2.4 x 13.8 inches

Type of filter: Internal filter

Best for: Customizable filter media


The Xpermatic DB-368F Internal Filter may look simple, but it does a highly effective job. These submersible filters use a powerhead, which sucks water in from one end and then back out once the water passes through the filter media. This particular filter is suitable for fish tanks up to 120 gallons.

If you have small fish in your 55-gallon tank, this filter may disturb their swimming patterns as the outflow can be pretty rough, making the water turbulent (the water flow cannot be adjusted). Otherwise, I’d consider this the best filter for its price. Having one of these power filters will also help effectively oxygenate the water because it has a bubbler in the water outflow.

The filter media for this filtration system are activated carbon and bio-sponge. You can easily customize the filter media and make it a sponge filter, activated carbon filter, or something else different according to your choice.

Customer Sentiments

To date, this power filter has an overall rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 from 1650+ purchases. It’s easy to set up, and is quiet to operate. The downside here is that it’s not a super easy/fast disassembly for the filter body during maintenance.


  • Easy to set up.
  • Aerates the aquarium water.
  • Silent.
  • Can be used in either saltwater or freshwater fish tanks.


  • Water flow cannot be adjusted.
  • Difficult to disassemble during maintenance.


2.7 Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

Pump flow rate: 290 G/PH

Weight: 2.95 pounds

Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.81 x 11 inches

Type of filter: Internal canister filter

Best for: Water polishing


The Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter is another top pick of mine, as it has some very desirable features. This aquarium filter is designed with dual chambers for filter media storage, which you can customize and add according to your choice. A micron cartridge filter is also included, which will help polish the aquarium water effectively.

In addition to water polishing, a no-back flush feature will keep dirt and debris in place when the motor shuts off, preventing cloudy water. Plus, there’s no priming required, adding to the Marineland Magnum’s convenience factor.

This is an ideal filter for a 55 gallon aquarium, but it can also be used in tanks up to 97 gallons. No surface skimmer included.

Customer Sentiments

Out of over 3000 global ratings, the Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter has a rating of 4.2 stars out of 5. It polished the water well in both fresh and saltwater tanks, and the maintenance of the filter is pretty straightforward. Buyers are divided 50/50 on whether they notice a slight sound with its operation.


  • No priming needed.
  • Biological, chemical and mechanical filtration included + water polishing.
  • Works for both freshwater and saltwater.


  • It may take some space from the tank.
  • No surface skimmer included.


2.8 Tararium Aquarium Filter

Pump flow rate: 300 G/PH

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Dimensions: 13.35 x 4.84 x 3.11 inches

Type of filter: Internal filter

Best for: Oxygen supply


The Tararium Aquarium Filter is another excellent powerhead filter with the perk of being a 4-in-1-unit. The 4 features are wave making, air supply, water pumping and water cycling.

The filter includes a black biochemical filter sponge to reduce odor and discoloring of water, while trapping debris and fish waste. This sponge is durable and can be rinsed with aquarium water to reuse repeatedly.

For aeration, simply fit the airline tubing, and bubbles will start flowing out along with the filtered water. Another feature of this filter is that it can be placed horizontally to create a fountain effect in your pond or tank. Cool!

Customer Sentiments

To date, this power filter has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars from over 750 users. The Tararium filter unit is effective and cleans tanks rapidly. It’s quiet, and easy to install. Some buyers found the strength of the filter to be too much, which is an issue for small fish when there’s no adjustable flow knob. Bigger fish will be fine, but small ones may be stressed or even get sucked through the intake.


  • Easy to set up.
  • 4 in 1 unit.
  • It can be used as a fountain.


  • No adjustable flow knob.


2.9 Aqueon Quietflow Filter

Pump flow rate: 200 G/PH

Weight: 14.25 pounds

Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.5 x 17.25 inches

Type of filter: Canister filter

Best for: Outflow options


The Aqueon Quietflow Filter has a perk I really like: A separate water polishing unit to help keep the water clear. You can also choose how you want the filtered water to flow into the tank: Either with a spray bar, or a traditional outlet. Plus, it has large filter trays that have been preloaded with a variety of filter media for effective filtration.

Quick disconnect valves with directional flow taps in this filter will help you control and resume water flow as needed. The polishing unit uses replaceable filter cartridges, which improve water clarity. The only thing I’d like to see is for the manufacturer to add a self-priming option and a flow rate controller.

The Aqueon Quietflow is an efficient filtration option for both freshwater and saltwater tanks.

Customer Sentiments

An overall customer rating of 4.4 stars indicates product reliability, and buyers have been quite satisfied with this unit. Aquarists love the large baskets, as we can add greater quantities of filter media to improve efficiency. Plus, the unit is super quiet. The only downside to this unit is that the hose fitting could be better: The suction cups used for holding the pipes disconnect easily.


  • Works for both freshwater and saltwater fish tanks.
  • Can add lots of filter media.
  • Includes a water polishing unit.


  • Needs to be primed.
  • The flow rate isn’t adjustable.


2.10 Seachem Tidal 75 (Top Pick)

Pump flow rate: 350 G/PH

Weight: 2.2 pounds

Dimensions: 15 x 6 x 15 inches

Type of filter: HOB filter

Best for: Convenience


The Seachem Tidal 75 is practically the most perfect HOB aquarium filter you can get for your 55-gallon tank. First, the pump flow rate is one of the highest I’ve seen in an HOB tank filter, resulting in impressive filtration power. Second, a unique feature that caught my attention is the built-in maintenance monitor, which alerts the user when cleaning is required. Third, it has a self-priming pump AND a self-cleaning impeller! Yes, please!

This aquarium fish tank filter is very easy to operate and setting up is straightforward. This is a 75-gallon aquarium filter, but it would also be excellent for 55-gallon tanks (75 gallons is the upper limit).

Customer Sentiments

Out of over 1200 ratings, this filter has been awarded a brilliant 4.6 stars. Aquarists are very happy with the ample space for filter media (HOB filters typically have less room), flow rate, and adjustable input. The surface skimmer cannot be switched off and can be a bit noisy if the water level of the aquarium has dropped. Overall, this aquarium filter exceeds expectations.


  • Adjustable flow knob.
  • Contains a surface skimmer.
  • No priming is required.
  • Self-cleaning impeller.


  • The surface skimmer cannot be switched off separately.


3. Our Verdict

The best aquarium filter for you depends on your fish’s needs and your own preferences. That said, I highly recommend the Fluval 307 Canister Filter as it has everything you need for effective filtration, with no significant drawbacks. Since Fluval is a reputed manufacturer of aquarium accessories, it’s easy to source any replacement parts if needed.

For a non-canister option, my top pick is the Seachem Tidal 75. It’s feature-packed, easy to operate, and has a very competitive flow rate for an HOB. Plus, Seachem is another great manufacturer.

4. Buying Guide: Best Filtration Systems For 55-Gallon Tanks

In this section, I’ll discuss filters’ functions and technical aspects to help develop your understanding! By now you know that all filters are not created equally. Their features and technical aspects differ, and they should fit the species you’re keeping in your tank. Let’s take a look at why you need one, and what to look for before buying.

4.1 Why Do You Need A Filter For Your Aquarium?

A filter is what helps to maintain livable water conditions in an aquarium. Without one, the water will deteriorate quickly, causing stress, disease, and death. A filter is mandatory to keep fish healthy.


Dirty aquarium filter

This is why we need aquarium filters:)

5. What To Look For In Filters For 55-Gallon Tanks

Easiest things first: Make sure the filter supports the tank volume/capacity. This is usually specified in the packaging (e.g., 30-55 gallons).

Second: It’s vital to make sure the filter unit fits the tank setup. For example, a canister filter is usually not the best choice for planted aquariums with nano fish, because the water outflow can be too powerful for them to tolerate. Know the species you’re keeping and what kind of water flow they need.

Below are the other things you should consider before purchasing a filter.

5.1 Adjustable Flow Rate

Some tank filters have an adjustable flow rate knob, which is used to regulate the outflow of water into the tank. The flow can be reduced if the outflow seems too high for the aquarium residents. Tanks without the adjustable flow feature can cause the tank water to turn turbulent, making this a vital factor to consider. Some species like a strong current, but for others, it’s detrimental. This is a big part of what determines water flow rate.


Bubbles aeration flow

5.2 GPH Vs Turnover Rate

Gallons Per Hour (GPH) is the amount of water a pump can process during an hour of operation. The pump’s performance (GPH) determines the turnover rate in an aquarium.

Turnover rate is the number of times tank water has been circulated within an hour. The higher the turnover rate, the more water will be filtered within a specific time. Generally, aquarists recommend a turnover rate of 4 times, which requires a pump with a rate of approximately 240 GP/H.

5.3 Type Of Filter

We’ve already talked about this a bit, but it’s worth being clear on: Canister filters, sponge filters, HOB filters, and power filters are some of the main types of filters used by aquarists. The filtration process differs for each kind, and they each have pros and cons, as discussed earlier in the article. If you require a smaller capacity filter, you can select small HOB filters or low-powered power filters. A canister filter can be used for an extensive filter system and is a great option for extra large tanks. A sponge filter is good for fish that are very sensitive to water flow, like bettas.

My opinion is that for a 55 gallon tank, a canister filter is best as it’s an advanced filter system, but this is only if you don’t have fish sensitive to water flow.

5.4 Stages Of Filtration

A filtration system has a few different filter media stages to keep the tank clean with well-balanced water conditions. The main stages of filtration are mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. A sponge filter or using a sponge in a filter can help trap waste particles, achieving mechanical filtration.

Using bio media such as bio balls, ceramic rings, and lava rocks help to grow beneficial bacteria in the filter. These beneficial bacteria produced by biological filters help break down harmful elements such as ammonia and nitrites.

Chemical filtration involves removing the odor of aquarium water and improving its clarity by getting rid of cloudiness. An activated carbon filter can be used to achieve successful chemical filtration.

5.5 Easy Cleaning And Maintenance

It’s a wise move to buy a filter that’s easy to take apart during maintenance, since it’s something you’ll be doing a lot. Some filters have extra features for easier maintenance access, and these are always my top choices.

Sometimes you may need to completely replace filter media or cartridges, but some sponges are quite durable and can be reused for a long time by rinsing them.

6. Best Filters For A 55 Gallon Tank: FAQs


Convict Cichlid

6.1 What Kind Of Filter Do I Need For A 55-Gallon Aquarium?

In my opinion, the best filter for a tank of this size is a canister filter or a power filter of a suitable capacity. In my experience, canister filters provide excellent filtration as they offer more space for filter media to be stored, allowing beneficial bacteria to grow while improving water quality. Just be mindful of water flow relative to the fish species in your tank.

Whatever you choose, I recommend picking one that can fit more filter media so that the filtration system is at maximum efficiency. Despite this type of tank filter being relatively small in size, the pump’s pressure, which allows quicker circulation, will ensure good water conditions within your fish tank.

5.2 What Should I Use For A 55-Gallon Turtle Tank?

For a 55-gallon turtle tank, again, it’s gotta be a canister filter. This is because they offer good filtration without causing too turbulent a flow of water in the aquarium, like power filters, which can disturb turtles. Turtles have a high bioload and as a result, need excellent filtration.

5.3 What Size Canister Filter Do I Need For A 55-Gallon Aquarium?

The canister filter’s capacity is listed on the packaging and in the product specs. Choose one that’s rated for 55 gallons or at least within that range. Buying a little higher than the tank volume you have isn’t usually a problem as long as it’s within 5-10 gallons and the water flow is adjustable.

5.4 How Often Should You Clean A 55-Gallon fish tank filter?

How often you clean an aquarium fish tank filter will depend on factors like pump flow rate, size of the media basket, and amount of fish in the aquarium, and their bioload. After installing a new filter, you can monitor the amount of collected waste so as to get a sense of the cleaning schedule that will be needed. Filters usually need to be cleaned around every 3 weeks, but it’s really determined by how quickly the filter gets dirty.



To say that I’m obsessed with all things saltwater is a bit of an understatement. Aquarium Passion has served freshwater and saltwater aquarium hobbyists for over 10 years, and I'm committed to keeping the information accurate and free. My post-bac certification in Sustainability informs my writing about aquarium conservation efforts. When I'm not writing at AP, I'm out in the ocean or researching weird fish.


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