6 Best HOB Filters for Reef Tank and Saltwater Aquarium

Who does not love a healthy and clean home? Just like a healthy home can promote your health condition and mental health, it is essential for your pets to live in a clean home. Otherwise, your pets might catch diseases. 

So, what do you do to clean your own house? You wash it, or you start dusting and vacuuming, right? Now you can not expect your fish to clean their fish tank with a vacuum cleaner! It is solely your duty to keep it fresh and healthy.

And precisely this is where the filters come into action. With a plethora of products in the market, one cannot help being confused. Moreover, there are many types to choose from. And each type has many brands of production. So the task of choosing one is easier said than done. 

Hence, we are here to help you with our review of the best HOB filter for your precious ones. Let’s dig a little more then!

Why is it necessary to install a filter?

Well, this point is crucial to know before you start keeping fish as pets. Now, you need to keep in mind that your aquarium is nothing but a miniature model of the underwater ecosystem. Hence, the delicate balance of natural situations is to be maintained here. Otherwise, it will not take more than two to three days to turn into a dead pool!

necessary things for installing HOB filter

Now in the wild, the cleaning process takes place naturally. Nobody has to worry about it there. But in an enclosed system, you have to take responsibility for cleaning it by yourself. Filters basically refine the water inside the fish tank. Your fish will be able to breathe more easily if the water is free of debris and food particles. 

In a nutshell, these are the basic work filters do in a fish tank. 

What is a HOB Filter?

A HOB filter or Hang on the back Filter is the most popular kind among aqua enthusiasts. This filter is set on the wall of your aquarium. They are not as heavy and bulky as the canister filters. These are extremely easy to install, and you can use them in various tanks without any issue. Since the filtration materials are all packed in an enclosed box, they are also known as backpack filters. They clean and filtrate the water using the waterfall method. Also, the oxygenation that many HOB filters provide is worth appreciating. 

What is a HOB Filter

A number of manufacturers and renowned brands have started producing HOB filters. To be honest, these are the most sold filters all over the globe. So choosing one for yourself might not be as easy as it seems. So in the following section, I will be reviewing some of the aquarium filters that I thought are best to install. 

List of 6 Best HOB Filters for Reef Tank and Saltwater Aquarium

We have created a list of the best HOB filters here for you. Let’s check it out!

#1. Fluval C Series Power Filter

The Fluval C series power filters are one of the most appreciated HOB filters among aqua hobbyists. This filter is equipped with Activated Carbon, a Bio-Screen pad, C-nodes, and the Fluval C4 Poly/Foam. It provides five stages of robust filtration that keep your aquarium free from all the pollutants. There is a dual layer of foam and polyester that accomplishes the task of mechanical filtration. A chemical insert basket is intentionally added for toxin removal. Moreover, the biological filtration state shows a Bio-Screen pad that blocks and prevents debris and provides a giant surface for beneficial bacteria growth. With its efficient performance, you can undoubtedly lay your hand on it. 

  • 11 x 7.5 x 10 inches
  • 2.73 Pounds
  • Fluval C4 Poly/Foam
  • Activated Carbon
  • C-nodes
  • Bio-Screen pad
  • Five stages of filtration
  • Easy to install
  • Durable build quality
  • Mechanical filter pads require replacement.

#2. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter:

The second HOB Filter on our list is the Penn Plax Cascade HOB Filter. This one is also one of the most robust filters. It comes with a Bio-Falls Quad-Filtration system that offers you maximum quality filtration. The activated carbon cartridge in the filter removes maximum harmful toxins, chemicals, odor, and discoloration. Also, the internal sponge provides maximum area for beneficial bacteria growth. With a flow rate of 300 GPH, this filter can be your ideal option to pick. 

  • Adjustable flow knob
  • Activated carbon cartridge
  • Bio-Falls Quad-Filtration system
  • 300 GPH flow rate
  • 9 x 6.5 x 11 inches dimension
  • 4.96 Ounces
  • additional ammonia and nitrite removal
  • Easy to replace media
  • Affordable budget
  • Not applicable for breeder tanks
  • The intake tube has a large opening ( easy for little fish to stuck in there)
  • It can be a little noisy

#3. MarineLand Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter:

The next filter on our list is the MarineLand Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter. Several fish parents have praised this one for its unique features. This filter comes equipped with a three-stage filtration process. Additionally, the patented rotating Bio-Wheel technology provides both wet and dry filtration. Its two-piece vented covers and adjustable mid-level intake strainers have been creatively added for the noise suppression system. The manufacturers have claimed it to be the quietest HOB filter. And well, it does justice to the statement indeed!

  • Pack of 3 cartridges included
  • Ribbed backing
  • Easy to install
  • double-thick poly fiber
  • 5.5 x 5.5 x 8 inches dimensions
  • 1.65 Pounds
  • Durable build quality
  • Ultra-quiet performance
  • The impeller is said to break easily

#4. Tetra Whisper EX Silent Filter:

Once you install this Filter, there is nothing you should worry about. This Filter provides a multi-stage filtration system with a bio scrubber. The carbon inside the bio scrubber prevents discoloration, odor, and other issues as well. It also removes harmful toxins from the tank water. Also, it oxygenates the tank for your pets to breathe easily. With its ultra-quiet robust performance, this one is ready to filter your tank. This filter is also a suitable match for you if you want a unique product in a medium price range. 

  • intuitive filtration system
  • ‎ 6.31 x 12.88 x 9.5 inches
  • 2.43 Pounds
  • Ultra-quiet performance
  • Durable build quality
  • Affordable budget
  • Great flow rate
  • When large breeds are present, the extension tubes are easily knocked off.

#5. Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter:

The next contender in our list is the Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter. Since its debut in the market, it has gathered a considerable number of fans. And aqua enthusiasts have been praising it for its super-smooth performance. This Filter comes with the features of a mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration system. And if needed, an external pad filtration can be included. Unlike most other products in the market, this one has a smart feature to detect problems. If somehow the water cannot pass through the cartridge, the LED lights start flashing to let you know about the problem. Also, the auto start technology after power restoration is worth praising. 

  • durable build quality
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Smart LED lights to indicate problems
  • Quiet performance
  • Outstanding flow rate
  • Biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration
  • 12.9 x 8.4 x 6.6 inches dimensions
  • 3.8 pounds
  • smaller space for media
  • Needs sponge if you have small fish
  • Larger models are slightly noisy

#6. AquaClear Hagen Power Filter

Up next, we have the AquaClear Hagen Power Filter. The brand AquaClear is a trusted and reputed one. Hence, you do not need to worry about its quality and performance. This Filter offers a long contact time with the filter media, and the super-efficient pumping decreases the pumping cost. It comes with an activated Carbon Filter, AquaClear Foam, and BioMax, and Cycle Guard for superior quality filtration. 

And to be honest, we love the performance of the activated carbon bag so much! It efficiently removes odor, discoloration, and impurities from the tank water. Also, the bio max cycle provides a porous area for beneficial bacteria growth. So, overall, this Filter can be your ideal choice. 

  • six times more media space
  • longer contact time with the filter media
  • activated carbon bag
  • BioMax filter
  • highly porous ceramic rings for bacteria growth
  • excellent flow rate
  • Durable build quality
  • It can be a little noisy
  • Not applicable for tanks more than 20 gallons

Editor’s choice: Winner of the race

After all of these discussions, can we just say that you have reached your pick point? Well, I can bet you have. However, it is our responsibility to guide you throughout the discussion. And here we are in the concluding part. As a matter of fact, every single Filter that exists in the list mentioned above is undoubtedly worth praising. 

Some have aced in the flow rate department, some in the filtration department, and some in the noiseless performance department. Every product has some remarkable features that may lure you into buying them and also some disadvantages. 

Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums

After examining all of these, we have decided to give the Tetra Whisper EX Silent Filter our winner’s trophy because of its unique features and ultra-quiet robust performance. This particular product, like all others, has some cons. But looking at all other features at this much affordable price tag, you may negotiate with the minor issue. 


Are HOB filters good?

To be honest, HOB filters are best friends to beginners. Filters that combine the three types of filtration processes, namely mechanical, chemical, and biofiltration, are considered the best ones. And HOB filters come under that category. With its easy installation process, this can be an excellent option to pick.

Are hang-on back filters noisy?

Are hang-on back filters noisy

Most models in the market are really noisy for first time usage. The first couple of weeks might be disturbing. But it takes almost two to three weeks for the filters for biofilm build up and the impeller being quiet. After that, they can provide noiseless performance. However, some cheaper models never stop growling.

How many GPH does a 20-gallon tank need?

To detect the flow rate, the rule of thumb is that all the tank water should be filtered four times an hour. So the optimal flow rate for a 20-gallon tank will be 80 GPH to 100GPH.

Final words:

Keeping an aquarium is a huge responsibility. Your pets are just like your children. They may throw tantrums, may create a fuss, and show many problems. But at the end of the day, there is only one who can handle all of these. And that is you. So, take your first step after thinking of all of these carefully. 

Also, we have already mentioned that the aquarium is not a self-cleaning device. And it is very unlikely to see your fish engaged on a cleaning mission with broomsticks (don’t expect it!). Hence, installing a filer is necessary. However, only depending upon the filter will not rescue you. You have to spend time on manual cleaning also. Regular monitoring and measures are the key to a beautiful and vibrant aquarium. 

Hurry up and get your ideal Filter today! Good luck!

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