Are you tired of the smaller fish tanks and want to upgrade? Typically, a 55-gallons fish tank is a common choice among beginner aquarists. It is large but comfortable enough to manage and maintain without any hassle.
However, the biggest issue with any fish tank, is filtration, be it of 10 gallons or 55 gallons. Not integrating the right filter can end up causing utter chaos. From lack of water flow rate to improper cleaning, the fish will die prematurely in such tanks.
If you have a smaller filter ideal for your previous set-up, it is time to upgrade the filter too. Typically, there are quite a few options to consider. There are canister filters, and even the staple hang on back filters. The choice comes down to your needs and preferences.
This article will discuss some of the best filters for a 55-gallons fish tank that you can consider investing in.
Here are the best filter for a 55-gallon fish tank – Tried & Tested
1. MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter
Starting with an internal filter is always ideal. This helps you manage the water flow rate and keep a check on the filtration system too. This one from MarieLand is a popular choice among users, especially beginner users.
This internal canister filter is designed with a high-quality submersible filter. This allows you to make the most out of its power for easier filtration. It takes care of all the filtration needs of the fish tank, including mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.
The insides of this filter are integrated with two separate refillable chambers. You can customize the filter media that works best for your tank setup. It also supports the staple carbon filter cartridges to filter out unwanted toxins.
The micron cartridge in the tank is designed with high-polishing with optimal efficiency for best usage. The micron cartridge comes with the pack, which is always a benefit. Not just for your staple 55-gallons tank, this works equally well for up to 100 gallons tanks too.
The high-power motor in the tank can seamlessly filter up to 290 gallons of water per hour, which is always a benefit. Also, the integrated canister filer in the package makes the purchase a worthy one. The flow rate of the filter is optimal for different fish species.
- It comes with a replaceable cartridge
- The filter is designed with a high-polishing canister
- Supports 290 GPH flow rate
- It comes with replaceable filter media
- Easy to install and set up
- Dual-chamber filtration media
- Self-prining functions
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Does create a whirring noise
2. SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter
If you are particularly looking for a hang-on back filter for your 55-gallons tank, the SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter is your ideal choice. Besides the reliability of the product, you get to make the most out of the functions too. It supports freshwater, marine, and saltwater fish tanks.
Besides the brand reliability, the tank is also very energy efficient. You get to use it round the clock and not worry about it making noises throughout the day. The filter is also one of the most potent in removing solid waste from the tank.
The self-priming motor stays inside the encapsulation. This assures that you won’t have to spend the majority of your time fixing the motor. Especially after a power outage, the motor self-primes and starts on its own with external force.
The design of the filter comes with dual-water intake with a surface skimmer. This keeps the tank clean and without unnecessary dirt and toxins. Pair that with the adjustable flow rate and a self-cleaning impeller, and you won’t have to worry about the functions anymore.
The media basket in the filter is customizable. You can fill it with sand and gravel-based filters or even carbon cartridges to keep the chemicals out. The reusable sponge in the package is an additional bonus, keeping the biological waste to a minimum.
Also, the unique and patented flow control valve in this filter is one of a kind. It allows you to adjust the flow rate and manage how much water is filtered. The surface skimmer is functional but clogs a lot of dirt at times. So, if not necessary, you can skip it out of the setup.
- It is powered by a 290 GPH internal motor
- Supports self-priming functions
- Comes with adjustable flow valve control
- Designed with a separate heater holder
- Customizable filter media basket
- Has ample bio-media capacity
- Ensures all kinds of filtration in the tank
- Manages optimal water flow rate
- Backed with three years warranty
- Ideal for every fish tank
- The surface skimmer is not the best
3. AquaClear Fish Tank Filter
AquaClear is a staple name when it comes to fish tank filters. This specific model is available in different sizes to match the size of the fish tank. Besides the unique and stable design, the brand and reliability further make it a lucrative choice.
This particular fish tank filter is ideal for lazy aquarists. If you are not looking for a lot of maintenance, this one takes the cake. The perfect and adjustable flow capacity of the filter ensures consistent filtration without any obstruction.
The filter is integrated with multiple components, including AquaClear foam, activated carbon filter, and bio max for optimal cleaning. It is a multipurpose filter that takes care of the solid wastes and the biological toxins too.
Despite the powerful motor functions, the filter is very energy-efficient. This means that you won’t have to worry about longer power bills by the end of the month. The large bio-media capacity enables users to clean the filter every 2-3 weeks.
The biggest downside to this filter is the external power motor. This indicates that it’s not a self-priming option. So, in case the power runs out, you will have to start it manually. This can take a toll on the motor functions in the long run.
Besides the primary downside, it lives up to its claims. You get to witness the optimal biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration of the fish tank. The filtration volume of this device is 7x its size, which is pretty great too. Also, it is one of the few options that is backed with a lifetime warranty.
- Designed with high-quality, BPA-free plastic
- Comes with an external motor
- Easy installation with maintenance every 2-3 weeks
- Ideal for biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration
- Integrates with customizable filter media space
- Has an optimal bio-media capacity
- Suitable for every fish species
- Comes with reusable sponge media
- Easy to set up and install
- Backed with a lifetime warranty
- Doesn’t feature self-priming
4. Penn Plax Cascade 700 Canister Filter
If we had to pick an underrated product, the Penn Plax Cascade 700 Canister Filter is the one. Despite the fantastic functions and superior design, the fish tank filter doesn’t get that much recognition in the market.
Penn Plax is a leading name in the market for its aquarium products. So, when it comes to their canister filter, there’s nothing you have to worry about. This specific one is versatile and works equally well for freshwater and saltwater tanks.
This particular design is ideal for up to 65 gallons of fish tank capacity. The bestselling feature of this filter is the adjustable flow valve. This enables you to adjust the water flow and circulation inside the tank. So, if you are worried about the quality, this should take care of your needs.
The push-button primer in the filter is another benefit. During power outages, you won’t have to kickstart the motor from the outside. The machine is equipped enough to do so. This reflects on the durability and longevity of the filter’s motor.
The canister design contributes to a larger bio-media basket for optimal accumulation of the waste. Also, you can customize the filter media in the machine for optimal cleaning and filtration. The base of the filter is designed with a tip-proof rubber design that keeps it stable inside the tank.
However, with all the good things, you have to compromise with the bad. Despite the low 185 GPH motor power, the energy consumption of this filter is relatively high. This suggests that you will have to switch it off in intervals to save on power bills.
- Designed with a 185 GPH powerful motor
- Integrated with an easy push-button self-primer
- Designed with unique flow rate valves for adjustable water circulation
- Comes with a 360-degree rotating valve
- BPA-free plastic construction with rubber bottom
- Hushed operation
- Easy to set up and install
- Ideal for every fish tank setup
- Adjustable water flow rate
- Sleek design
- Not energy efficient
5. SunSun Hw303B 370GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit
It is always fun being prepared for the worst. The SunSun Hw303B 370GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit keeps you backed up with everything you’d likely need.
Not only is it versatile, but the product also comes with a complete filtration system for future use. This ensures that you have enough filter media and replaceable cartridges after a single purchase. So, if you are a beginner with not much knowledge, this is a good starting place.
This is one of the best filters for 55-gallons water capacity. The 370 GPH flow rate ensures optimal motor functions with adjustable water flow rates. The canister filter comes with dual filter media. You have the staple carbon filter and even the ceramic filter rings for effective cleaning.
Besides filtration, this is one of the few fish tank filters that support UV sterilization. This keeps the levels of algae and bacterial growth in check. The reusable filter pads can be washed, so you can reuse them and save a lot of money.
However, the biggest downside to this filter is the lack of chemical filtration. It only takes care of biological and mechanical filtration. So, if you have high toxins in the fish tank, you won’t clear that out efficiently.
The 370 GPH powerful filter 1400 liters of water per hour. So, if you are worried about the quality of your aquarium water, you won’t have to worry anymore. Also, since this is a kit, you get everything included in the package, including the filter pads, coarse pads, and media baskets.
Also, the package comes with premium quality filter carbon media to eliminate toxins from the tank. The ceramic rings come in handy for easier filtration of the biological waste as well. Also, the setup is easy; all you have to do is follow the mentioned instructions on the package.
- Comes with all the required attachments and extra filter cartridges for filtration
- Integrated with a powerful 370 GPH motor
- Features a canister style design
- Designed with separate UV sterilization for better usage
- Has large media baskets
- Gets rid of all the germs and bacteria
- Reliable and sturdy design
- Has dual and large bio-media capacity
- Supports optimal mechanical filtration
- Installation can be a little confusing for beginners
6. Danner Manufacturing, Inc. Supreme EZ Clean External 55 Gallon Filter
While not many realize this but external filters are a lot easier to manage and maintain. They don’t need frequent cleaner as much as the submersible fish tank filters. Amidst all the options, the Supreme EZ Clean filter from Danner Manufacturing is a win.
This is a one-of-a-kind patented filter that brings you the convenience of all functions in one device. The dual-cartridge system with expansive space allows you to fill it up with replaceable media for optimal filtration. You do need to be mindful of the flow rate, though.
The insides of this external filter are integrated with a gravel cleaner. This ensures optimal self-cleaning and prevents the risks of blockages, especially from debris and other waste.
The water change feature alerts you when the tank water is beyond the realms of filtration. So, all you need to do is follow along and manually change the water then. The only downside is that it can’t get rid of fine silts due to the larger pore in the bio-media.
- Comes with a unique patented design
- Features an external motor
- Integrated with an in-built gravel cleaner
- Alerts when the water needs to be changed
- Versatile and multipurpose filter
- Easy to install
- Doesn’t require a lot of maintenance
- Filters out the biochemical waste and toxins
- Ideal for every type of fish tank
- Not ideal for finer silts in the substrate
7. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter
Last but not least on the list is this popular HOB from Penn Plax. This is your ideal option if you wish to keep your fish healthy and your tank clean. The bestselling point of this filter is the adjustable flow knob.
So, if you want to control the water flow in the tank depending on the inhabitants, this filter lets you do that. Also, the filter’s stable and sturdy hang-on design secures and latches itself to the fish tank for easier placement in the tank.
As for the functions of the filter, it features a dual-media media cartridge for optimal filtering. Also, the customized choice between the different filter media allows you to choose the one best suited to your needs. There are activated carbon and poly-fiber that work the best.
While the former filter is ideal for getting rid of the toxins and chemicals, the latter gets rid of the solid waste and the odor that comes with it. Besides the bio-media, the filter is also integrated with a sponge filter. This retains the good bacteria in the tank.
However, there are some notable downsides to this product too. Typically, it doesn’t come with bio-balls filtration. Especially for the price, it is available for, lacking these features is a bit of a downer.
- Powerful motor supports 300 GPH flow rate
- Designed with adjustable flow knob for optimal water circulation
- Integrated with double-sided media cartridges
- Offers multi-layer filtration
- Gets rid of mechanical and chemical waste and toxin
- Sturdy and sleek design
- Extremely reliable branding
- Easy to install and operate
- Lacks bio-ball filtration
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Buying a 50-55 gallon aquarium
When you search online or even look in different pet stores, you will be overwhelmed by the number of filter options. The list is long and abundant. So, choosing the right product is essential to keep a check on.
There are quite a few factors that you need to consider, and we have sorted them out for you:
Start with the Type
When it comes to fish tank filters, the types are abundant. You have the staple HOB filters and even external and canister filters. Which one you choose depends on what you are looking for.
If you want to make a long-term investment, canister filters are the best choice. However, for a 55-gallons tank, a HOB filter works equally well. It all comes down to your preferences and how things would be in the future.
Check the Filter Media
Besides choosing the type of filter, you also need to check the filter media. There are activated charcoal, carbon, and a few others available. The one you choose should be based on the fish tank size and the species inhabiting. If they are smaller in size, sponge media might be ideal. If they create a lot of waste, you might need a carbon-based one.
Adjustable Flow Rate
We can’t stress this enough, but the water flow rate in the tank is very important to look out for. Depending on the species in your tank, you want to mimic the water flow rate they get in the wild.
On a routine basis, a 55-gallons tank should have a minimum flow rate between 165-220 gallons per hour. That is the minimum and should be adjusted according to your fish tank requirements.
Also, if you have susceptible fish species like betta that don’t perform well with high water flow rates, adjustable flow rate valves come in handy. So, always opt for a filter that comes with an adjustable flow rate.
Noise Levels during Operation
With the rising requirements among users, most of the fish tanks are now designed with ultra-quiet motors. This reduces the noise production, allowing the aquarists to keep the filter switched on the entire day.
Otherwise, a poorly constructed filter will create a constant whirring and buzzing noise, which is nothing but irritating. So, look into the brands that are dedicated to developing fish tank filters that produce less noise.
Easy Cleaning and Maintenance
The last thing anyone wants to do is sit around and clean their fish tank filter consistently. If you are tired of doing the same, we’d recommend that you choose the product wisely. Most of the external filters are low-maintenance.
Also, there are a few other products that come with a self-cleaning mechanism. Depending on your budget, you can look for one accordingly.
Pricing of the Filter
Fish tank filters are indeed of varying price points. Some are less than $50, and there are some options over $500. It all comes down to one’s budget. So, always prioritize the quality and features of the filter before you look into the price.
This is a subjective question. Typically, the water changes depending on the fish species you have. Technically, as a standard timeframe, 2-4 weeks is ideal for water changing. This is the time when the fish tank water is murky enough to impose risks of infections. However, if you have one or two fish in a 55-gallons tank, the chances are that you can extend the cleaning timeframe to 6 weeks too.
Buying a good-quality water filter is the key to a clean and healthy fish tank. If you have been looking for the best filters for a 55-gallons fish tank, we hope this article helps.
If we had to pick our favorite, we’d recommend you look into the SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter or the MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter. Both of these products are one of a kind and probably the best in the market.
In case you have further queries, do leave them for us in the comments. We would be happy to help you out further.