Quietest Aquarium Filter: 5 (Nearly) Silent Systems

quietest aquarium filter
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Fish tank filters allow you to maintain optimal conditions inside the tank by eliminating toxic waste products. However, they utilize different mechanisms to achieve that objective, with some being louder than others during operation.

This article is for you if you are looking for a quiet aquarium filter for your peace of mind. If you are in a hurry, I recommend going for the Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter. It is quiet, effective, and reliable.

Read on to see your options for the quietest fish tank filters on the market today!

Quiet Fish Tank Filters Reviewed

1. Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter – Best Overall

As you can tell from its name, the Aqueon QuietFlow Power Filter is designed to generate as minimal noise as possible during operation. Even though it is a power filter, it comes with an internal pump that effectively dampens noise, allowing for almost silent operation.

I also love that the pump starts up automatically following a power interruption or clean-up, making your work a lot easier.

The ease of use doesn’t end there. The QuietFlow features an LED indicator light that signals when the filter’s cartridge is full of debris and requires replacing. That means you don’t have to keep checking whether the filter is clogged, making maintenance that much easier.

This unit utilizes a four-stage filtration system to achieve its objective.

Making it one of the most effective fish tank filters today. In addition to performing biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration, it also does wet/dry filtration, leaving no stones unturned to provide your aquatic life with the cleanest water possible.

The only “drawback” to this unit is that you will need to replace its cartridge once it gets clogged. Fortunately, they are pretty inexpensive.

Pros

  • Designed to dampen noise
  • Easy to use
  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • LED light to remind you of maintenance
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Cartridges require replacement

Takeaway

The Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO ticks all the necessary boxes when looking for an effective and reliable fish tank filter. The fact that it comes with a lifetime warranty should assure you that this is not a filter that will fail you any time soon.

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2. Tetra Whisper IQ Power Filter with Stay Clean Technology – Best for Small Fish Tanks

Tetra is undoubtedly one of the most well-known brands in the aquarium industry. With over 70 years of experience in the game, this company knows a thing or two about making products that address aquarists’ pain points effectively. The Tetra Whisper IQ Power Filter is an excellent example of the brand’s dedication to meeting its customers’ needs.

The Tetra Whisper IQ utilizes two primary methodologies to ensure your peace and quiet during operation. For starters,it has a patented SoundShield barrier between the filter and motor to reduce the amount of noise generated. Secondly, it also comes with vibration dampening technology, reducing the “hum” the machine generates during operation.

Consequently, the Tetra Whisper IQ produces less than 40 decibels of noise.

This power filter is not only quiet but also easy to maintain. It comes with Tetra’s patented StayClean technology that actively works to minimize sludge buildup on your aquarium’s walls and stabilize pH levels inside the fish tank. What’s more, the Whisper IQ’s submerged motor is self-priming, saving you the hassle of having to do it manually.

You will also love to know that this filter comes with a bio-scrubber that cultivates good bacteria for biological filtration.

The only issue with this particular unit is that it can take up significant space inside the tank due to coming with a submerged motor.

Pros

  • It comes with noise-dampening technology
  • StayClean technology for easier maintenance
  • Self-priming motor
  • Cultivates bacteria

Cons

  • The submerged motor can take up space in a small tank

Takeaway

The Tetra Whisper IQ is an excellent choice if you are looking for the quietest HOB filter.

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3. MarineLand Penguin 200 Power Filter – Best Value

MarineLand is another well-known and respected brand in the fish-keeping niche. The company has a rich and storied history spanning over 40 years providing aquarists with innovative products for best fish-keeping practices.

The MarineLand Penguin Power Filter is an all-around excellent aquarium filter, coming with numerous features to allow for a hassle-free fish-keeping experience.

While this hang on back filter utilizes a three-stage biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration process to purify the tank’s water, it especially excels at biological filtration. It comes with a patented Bio-Wheel that enriches good bacteria by increasing their exposure to air.

The resulting abundance of beneficial bacteria ensures that most of the toxic waste is converted into harmless compounds.

This filter is also remarkably quiet during operation, thanks to the two-piece vented cover that houses it. The vents also allow for easy access to the cartridge.

Maintaining the Penguin Power Filter is a breeze. It does not require expert knowledge to assemble, making it ideal for beginners. Moreover, thanks to the efficiency of its filtration process, the cartridge takes a while to clog up. In fact, the manufacturer recommends replacing the cartridge only once a month.

Nevertheless, you will need to prime the filter manually after taking it out for maintenance.

The MarineLand Penguin comes in 5 different sizes to suit tanks ranging from 10 gallons to 75 gallons.

Pros

  • Great Value
  • 3-stage filtration process
  • Easy to maintain
  • Vented cover to dampen noise

Cons

  • Requires priming

Takeaway

The MarineLand Penguin 200 Power Filter offers you good value for your money, considering it is suitable for 50-gallon tanks. It also comes in different configurations depending on the size of your tank.

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4. Penn-Plax Cascade 300 Power Filter – Best Quiet Aquarium Filter for Large Tanks

You would expect the Cascade 300 by Penn-Plax to be a noisy unit, considering this powerful hang-on-back filter can churn out 300 GPH for aquariums up to 100 gallons in size. Nonetheless, this unit is almost whisper-quiet during operation, thanks to its motor’s efficient design.

Moreover, the Penn-Plax Cascade Power Filter comes with an adjustable flow knob that regulates the flow rate. This allows you more control over the overall noise the unit generates during operation.

The Cascade 300 also uses a three-stage filtration process to leave your waters crystal clear. It comes with a poly-fiber floss for mechanical filtration, activated carbon for chemical filtration, and a bio-sponge for biological filtration.

The Penn-Plax Cascade 300 is not only powerful and efficient, but also a breeze when it comes to maintenance. It is easy to set up and prime, while the cartridges are easy to replace. What’s more, it is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater tank setups!

The only issue with this unit is that its intake tube is rather short.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Efficient
  • Easy to maintain
  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater tanks

Cons

  • Short intake tube

Takeaway

The Penn-Plax 300 is a well-made filter that can serve the needs of those with larger tanks. It is also a good option for those looking for a quiet HOB filter than can work for both freshwater and saltwater setups.

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5. AMOSIJOY 528GPH Ultra-Quiet Canister Filter – Premium Choice

If you are the type to take a spare-no-expense approach when it comes to your peace and comfort, the AMOSIJOY Ultra-Quiet Canister Filter might be what you are looking for.

This beast can churn out 528 GPH in tanks as large as 200 gallons while remaining as quiet as a filter can get.

According to the manufacturer, the AMOSIJOY generates less than 30 decibels during operation!

This unit achieves its quiet operation thanks to its clever design. The brushless motor is housed inside a lidded canister with no air inside, resulting in a vacuum. Moreover, the motor’s brushless design ensures no friction during operation, further reducing the amount of noise generated.

The Ultra-Quiet is no slouch either when it comes to purifying your fish tank. As with all other high-level filters, this unit also comes with three layers of filter media to remove toxic materials from the fish tank.

What’s more, the manufacturer even throws in complimentary bio-balls with your purchase.

This unit is also straightforward to maintain, as it does almost everything autonomously. Moreover, it comes with a detailed but simple-to-follow instruction manual to make maintenance a breeze.

Pros

  • Extremely powerful
  • Ultra-quiet
  • Efficient filtration system
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Expensive

Takeaway

The AMOSIJOY is the quietest aquarium filter on this list. It is also one of the quietest canister filters out there. Therefore, if you don’t mind digging deeper into your pockets, I highly recommend this unit.

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Fun Fact: The filters presented make a perfect accessory for any aquarium! But if you are into goldfish specifically, then you would target a filtering system suited for this species. Let us help you decide by proceeding to our article on Best Filter For Goldfish Tanks and choosing the one that you like the most!


What to Consider When Looking for the Quietest Fish Tank Filters

Here’s the thing, the best quiet fish tank filter might not necessarily be the ideal choice for your aqua life simply because it is convenient for you. That is the harsh truth. The most important thing to consider is how effective the filter is at purifying your fish tank’s contents.

As such, it is crucial to understand the different types of aquarium filters, and how they work so you can determine whether the quiet is a good trade-off.

Types of Aquarium Filters

As mentioned, there are several types of fish tank filters, with each having its inherent advantages and disadvantages. Needless to say, the filter’s design plays a significant role in the amount of noise it generates during operation.

There are three main types of aquarium filters: internal filter, hang-on-back filter, and canister filter.

Internal Filter

Internal filters, also known as sponge filters, are the most basic aquarium filters. This unit requires only three parts to work: a sponge filter inside the aquarium, an air pump outside, and tubing connecting the two.

Internal filters are the poster child of mechanical filtration; the air pump forces air into the sponge filter, resulting in air bubbles that draw the tank’s water into the sponge. The sponge works as both a mechanical and biological filter media.

The benefits of using an internal filter include cost-effectiveness and reliability. Since they are so basic, making one yourself is ridiculously simple, as seen in this video.

However, they take up too much space inside the tank, making them unideal for smaller aquariums. Moreover, since they rarely utilize chemical filtration, they are not as thorough as you would want them to be.

Nevertheless, internal filters are reasonably quiet during operation.

Hang-On-Back Filter

Also known as power filters, hang-on-back (HOB) filters are arguably the most common type of aquarium filters today. As its name suggests, the HOB filter is designed to hang outside the tank, with an intake tube dipping into the aquarium’s waters.

Most HOB filters today utilize all three filtration techniques, i.e., mechanical, chemical, and biological, to purify the tank’s contents.

Since HOB filters use a motor to suck water into the filter box for purification, they tend to be rather loud. However, some manufacturers today are taking steps to reduce the noise generated by utilizing noise dampeners.

If you are looking for a happy medium between cost and effectiveness, HOB filters are arguably the best option for you.

Canister Filter

The canister filter is the Lamborghini of aquarium filters. This unit comes in the form of a lidded plastic cylinder that houses the filter media and a motor. The cylinder sits under the fish tank, with hoses connecting to the aquarium’s water.

The mechanism is simple: the motor draws water into the canister, the numerous levels of filter media perform their magic, and it is then returned to the tank.

Canister filters typically come with all types of bells and whistles to make filtration and maintenance a breeze. Most importantly, they are the quietest fish tank filters in the game today.

Their inherent design ensures that no sound is generated during operation since the filtration box is encased inside a pressurized chamber.

As you can imagine, these units are not cheap by any means. However, they are the sturdiest, most aesthetically pleasing, reliable, and quietest of all aquarium filters. Finally, and most importantly, canister filters can handle any tank size.

FAQs

Which is the quietest aquarium filter?

Canister filters are your best bet when choosing a silent fish tank filter.

How can I make my fish tank filter quieter?

Adequate maintenance is key to ensuring a smooth and quiet filtration process. If the cartridge gets clogged, the motor will work harder to pull water into the filter, thus increasing the amount of noise generated.

Do fish mind the noise generated by filters?

As long as there’s nothing inherently wrong with your filter, your fish won’t mind the hum produced by most filters.

Final Thoughts

If the constant hum of your fish tank filter is a never-ending source of annoyance, you should consider switching to the Aqueon QuietFlow LED Power Filter. It features top-tier filtration tech and does not make a fuss during operation. Moreover, it comes with a lifetime warranty.

If you want the quietest filters money can buy, a good canister filter such as the AMOSIJOY is the safest pick. This is because it has been designed to be essentially noiseless.

I hope that this guide has been insightful in your search for the quietest aquarium filters.

Last Updated: July 11, 2022

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