The Best Overhead Filters For Aquariums 2024 (Tested)

Lauren Kiekbusch
best overhead filters for different size for aquariums

If you’re passionate about keeping your fish healthy and your aquarium pristine, you know how crucial a reliable filtration system is. As we’ve done with many aquarium products like Aquarium backup batteries and the best filter for shrimp tanks here at FishTrivia, we’ve put a bunch of Overhead filters to the test, and the Bluecoco Premium Multi-Layer Aquarium Filter comes out on top always with its unique design and low-decibel operating sound. See the other overhead filters we tested and how they stack up.

7 Best Aquarium Overhead Filters – Tested

As an experienced fish keeper, I’ve come to appreciate the role of a good overhead filter. These filters are not just a piece of equipment; they’re central to maintaining the delicate balance in our underwater worlds at home.

Overhead filters, often overlooked, are actually a powerhouse in the world of aquarium maintenance. They work tirelessly at the top of the tank, ensuring the water remains clean and oxygen-rich. But with so many options on the market, how do you pick the right one? I wrote this guide to help you navigate the choices, providing essential information and personal insights to select the best overhead filter for your aquarium needs.

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7 Best Overhead Filters for Different Sizes of Aquariums

As an aquarium enthusiast, I know that keeping the water in your tank clean and healthy is essential for the well-being of your aquatic pets. That’s why I’ve researched and compiled a list of the best overhead filters for aquariums. These filters are designed to remove debris, excess food, and other waste, ensuring your fish and plants thrive in a clean and safe environment.

1. Bluecoco Premium Multi-Layer Aquarium Filter

I highly recommend the Bluecoco Premium Multi-Layer Aquarium Filter for anyone looking for an overhead filter for their 10 to 20 gallon fish tank. It’s an excellent choice for those who want an efficient and low-noise filtration system that enhances their aquarium’s aesthetics.


  1. The multi-layer filtration system efficiently purifies the water quality, ensuring that your pets live in clear and pristine water.
  2. The unique design of the oxygenating water wheel enhances the aesthetics of the aquarium while effectively providing abundant oxygen for your pets, ensuring their respiratory health.
  3. The low-decibel operation ensures stability and quietness, so it won’t disturb your pets and allows you and your pets to enjoy a peaceful filtration experience.


  1. The instructions could be clearer, especially the diagram for set up.
  2. The suction cups on the pump can come out constantly.
  3. The arms that hold onto the tank can be difficult to work with.

I have been using this filter for a few weeks now, and I am impressed with its performance. The multi-layer filtration system efficiently purifies the water quality, ensuring that my pets live in clear and pristine water. The unique design of the oxygenating water wheel adds a beautiful touch to my aquarium while effectively providing abundant oxygen for my pets, ensuring their respiratory health.

I also appreciate the low-decibel operation, which ensures stability and quietness, so it won’t disturb my pets and allows me to enjoy a peaceful filtration experience.

However, the instructions could be clearer, especially the setup diagram. I also found that the suction cups on the pump can come out constantly, so I had to remove them before installation. Additionally, the arms holding the tank can be difficult to work with.

Overall, I highly recommend the Bluecoco Premium Multi-Layer Aquarium Filter for anyone looking for an efficient and low-noise overhead filter for their 10 to 20 gallon fish tank. Its unique design and features make it an excellent choice for enhancing your aquarium’s aesthetics while ensuring your pets’ health.

2. Whisper IQ Power Filter For Aquariums

This filter is a good choice if you want a quiet and effective filtration system for your tank.  Because a sound barrier and vibration-dampening technology protect the motor, it runs quietly. The upgraded materials ensure the filter’s longevity. This model is designed to fit perfectly in your aquarium. 

You don’t need to harass the assembled. You will find it assembled and ready to use. So when you take the filter out of the box, you will find it in the ready filter to use directly. 

Its Stay Clean filtration system is easy to use. It keeps fish healthy by removing toxic ammonia and nitrites while promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.

You don’t have to be concerned about efficiency or maintenance because this well-made filter is extremely quiet, highly efficient, and simple to maintain. You probably don’t need to notice if you keep your aquarium in a quiet room, so you can put it in your bedroom.

Main Features

  1. Quiet filtration is achieved through the use of a sound shield.
  2. The submerged motor starts up without the need for priming.
  3. Maintain a healthy pH balance.
  4. Bacterial preservation is made more accessible, resulting in healthier fish.
  5. Filter cartridges of large sizes are used.

3. Fluval C Series Power Filter

The Fluval C Power Filter achieves excellent results thanks to its 5-stage filtration system. The outstanding feature that you can find Fluval C power filters are self-priming and have an LED indicator that tells you when it’s time to change the polyfoam. 

You’ll also find a cleaning indicator, which tells you when it’s time to clean out your mechanical stages.

The media must have a large surface area and optimal dwell times to ensure an effective filtration process. Beneficial bacteria will thus be preserved one stage at a time, resulting in a stress-free environment.

Fluval C power filters have always been a good choice due to their low maintenance requirements. The majority of them are now simple to clean and maintain. It is effortless to set up and maintain. The motor is long-lasting and extremely quiet, and the impeller is protected from debris that could harm it.

Main Features

  1. Water is purified through a five-stage filtration process.
  2. It is simple to clean.
  3. Customization of media is possible.
  4. Longevity is exceptional.
  5. The intake tube is telescopic.
  6. Allows you to change the flow rate of the water.

4. Seachem Tidal Power Aquarium Filter

Because it has a large filter basket that prevents water from passing through the media and pads, the Seachem filter is ideal for freshwater or saltwater tanks. It generates robust and consistent circulation within 35-gallon tanks.

The Seachem includes a built-in surface skimmer and a self-priming pump, eliminating the need to fill the canister with water before turning it on each time.

Suppose the flow drops or the filters become clogged. In that case, an indicator illuminates, and the filter redirects the water back into the tank to prevent spills.

When it’s time to change out your filter media, a small blue indicator will appear at the top of the filter. So you don’t have to be concerned about upkeep because it’s straightforward.

Main Features

  1. The design is excellent.
  2. The capacity of the filter is quite large.
  3. Filter media is available for free use.
  4. Flow rate that is both high and adjustable.
  5. The surface skimmer cleans the water’s surface.
  6. It is simple to set up and maintain.
  7. The operation is hushed.

5. MarineLand Penguin 350 Power Filter

The three-stage filtration process of the MarineLand Penguin 350 filter removes dirt and debris from your aquarium before filtering out chemical impurities and biological toxins such as the dreaded ammonia. It can also filter out dirt and debris as well as provide mechanical and chemical filtration.

This filter has a certified flow rate of 350 GPH, which means it can easily filter a 55-gallon fish tank in a reasonable amount of time.

Furthermore, this aquarium filter features rotating bio-wheels, which are the most effective for biological filtration. Beneficial bacteria have 50 percent more surface area, which provides a rich, oxygenated surface area for good bacteria.

If you compared this filter to other power filters, its cleaning and maintenance are extremely simple, which makes it appealing to aquarists. You need to simply lift the filter cartridge, wash it, and replace it in the slot to rerun it.

Main Features

  1. Filter with three stages of power.
  2. Simple to clean and maintain.
  3. Long-lasting and tough.
  4. Rite-Size Cartridges are included.
  5. The most effective for biological filtration.

6. AQUA-TECH Power Filter For Aquariums

The AQUA-TECH Power Filter is suitable for tanks ranging in size from 10 to 30 gallons and offers biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration to remove debris and impurities.

The first mechanical stage removes large partridges. The second chemical stage removes odor, discoloration, and any other impurities in the tank water. Finally, the biological stage removes toxic elements from the water, leaving it clear.

We think it’s pretty impressive that it can filter everything in a 10-gallon tank up to 6 times per hour. It should not be used for anything else, regardless of how small or large.

This Aqua-Tech model has a decoupled motor and dampeners that reduce noise to less than 40 decibels, making it an excellent choice if you want to hang it on the back.

Main Features

  1. Filtration in three stages.
  2. Exceptional flow rate.
  3. Simple to maintain and install.
  4. Maximum contact between water and carbon.
  5. It includes two filter cartridges.

7. Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter

The Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter review is available in four sizes, which is quite efficient and does the job well. In addition, it’s pretty slim; for this, it can be placed at the back of the fish tank.

Because this item is small, it does not take up much space in your fish tank, which is an excellent and stylish filter that quickly cleans the aquarium water. In this design, filtration is accomplished through biological, chemical, and mechanical means. 

Biological filtration removes ammonia and nitrite, keeping nitrite and toxic ammonia in the fish tank stable. In contrast, chemical filtration prevents odors and discoloration. 

The mechanical stage will help the system deal with the debris and particles in the water. The auto-start pump does not need priming and will restart if an electrical break-out occurs. They are more effective when positioned vertically rather than horizontally. The motor is quiet and gentle.

Main Features

  1. The installation process is simple.
  2. Set up a three-tiered filtration system.
  3. If power is lost, the computer will automatically restart.
  4. Efficient quality.
  5. Simple to use and clean.

Installation and Maintenance Tips for Overhead Filters

Installing and maintaining an overhead filter in your aquarium doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right approach and understanding, you can ensure your aquatic environment remains healthy and thriving. Here, we’ll walk through essential tips for both installing and maintaining your overhead filter, keeping things straightforward and effective.

Installing Overhead Filters

Choose the Right Location

Select the appropriate spot on your aquarium for the overhead filter. It should be easily accessible for maintenance and positioned to distribute water evenly across the tank.

Assemble Carefully

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to assemble the filter. Ensure all parts are securely fitted and the filter media is correctly placed.

Check the Electrical Setup

Before installing, ensure your electrical setup is safe and can handle the filter’s power requirements. Always use a drip loop in your power cord to prevent water from running into the electrical outlet.

Install and Test

Once everything is assembled, place the filter on top of your aquarium and fill it with water. Check for any leaks and ensure the flow rate is suitable for your tank size.

Maintenance of Aquarium Overhead Filters

Regular Cleaning

Clean your filter at least once a month. This involves rinsing the filter media and removing any debris that may have accumulated.

Monitor Performance

Keep an eye on the water clarity and flow rate. A decrease in flow or clarity may indicate it’s time for maintenance.

Replace Parts as Needed

Over time, some parts of the filter may wear out. Regularly check and replace parts like filter sponges or media to maintain optimal performance.

Observe Fish Behavior

Your fish can give you cues about the filter’s performance. It might be time to check your filter if they seem stressed or the water quality changes.

Following these straightforward installation and maintenance tips for your overhead aquarium filter can ensure a healthy and clean environment for your aquatic life. Regular care not only extends your filter’s life but also supports your aquarium’s overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, sponge filter or power filter?

While sponge filters are not the best option for every aquarium system, they work well in smaller, well-established aquariums with low water flow and delicate livestock.

Can I use just a sponge filter?

In most tanks and setups, only sponge filters will suffice. If the tank is large enough, you may need more than one sponge filter.

Are two filters better than one

It is true that if you use more than one filter in your fish tank, neither will perform as well as if it were the only filter in the aquarium

Should I change the water after any fish died?

Change 10% of the water every hour to avoid further stressing your fish. This will allow the fish to adjust to their new surroundings without stressing them out.

Choosing the filter is not a difficult task. Still, you have to consider the size that can fit your tank filtering rate to improve the different filter water you have. Today we have listed different types and sizes of overhead filters to not get bored.

So after checking the list, choose a filter, and we hope you can get the best product that fits well and serves well.

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