You’re ready to upgrade your little 10-gallon aquarium to a 55-gallon tank. Filtration can be challenging, especially since you’ll need a more powerful filter to manage the water volume.
The filter helps keep fish healthy water clean and influences the flow rate, not to mention oxygenating the water. Your filter options include hang-on-back, canister, and submersible filters.
Let’s look at some of the best filters for a 55-gallon fish tank before you go shopping so you can buy the best functioning filter for your tank.
Table of Contents
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. We love this option from MarineLand, and it is a popular choice among aquarists, especially beginners.
This internal canister filter is designed as a high-quality submersible filter. It offers the best power for easier filtration. The filter provides mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.
In the filter, you’ll find two filtration chambers, which can be filled with carbon cartridges, while the second chamber allows for custom filter materials. Cleaning and changing cartridges is super easy, and the filter combination produces clean water that’s been cleared of harmful toxins.
The micron cartridge in the tank is designed to offer high water polishing with optimal efficiency. This specialty cartridge comes with the pack, which is always a win. Additionally, this staple 55-gallon filter works equally well for up to 100-gallon tanks.
The high-power motor of the filter can seamlessly cycle through up to 290 gallons of water per hour, which is optimal. Also, the filter material chambers let you customize your filter according to your needs. 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 a 290 GPH flow rate
- It comes with replaceable filter media
- Easy to install and set up
- Dual-chamber design for different filtration media
- Self-priming function
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Does it create a whirring noise
2. SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter
If you want a hang-on back filter for your 55-gallon tank, the SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter is your ideal choice. Besides the product’s reliability, you get to make the most out of the different functions, too. It supports freshwater and saltwater fish tanks.
Besides the brand reliability, the filter motor is also very energy efficient. The filter is designed for silent use with non-stop run capabilities. We also found it one of the most potent in removing solid waste from the tank.
The self-priming motor is fully encapsulated. This assures the motor is protected, and you won’t have to spend most of your time fixing it. It’s handy that after a power outage, the motor self-primes and starts independently without needing assistance.
The filter design offers dual-water intake with a surface skimmer. Cleaning both the water and the surface area 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 this filter not working.
The media basket in the filter is customizable. Fill it with sand and gravel-based filtration material or disposable carbon cartridges to remove chemicals. The reusable sponge in the filter is an additional bonus, keeping the biological waste to a minimum.
Also, this filter’s unique and patented flow control valve allows you to adjust the flow rate and manage how much water is filtered. The surface skimmer helps with surface particles but easily clogs and requires frequent cleaning. But you can leave it out when setting up the filter.
- A 290 GPH internal motor powers it
- Supports self-priming functions
- It comes with an adjustable flow valve control
- Designed with a separate heater holder
- Customizable filter media basket
- Has ample bio-media capacity
- Facilitates different kinds of filtration in the tank
- Manages optimal water flow rate
- It is backed by a three three-year warranty
- Ideal for large fish tanks
- 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 isn’t as popular as some other filters.
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 one is versatile and works equally well for freshwater and saltwater tanks.
This particular design is ideal for tanks up to 65 gallons. The best feature of this filter is the adjustable flow valve. This enables you to adjust the water flow and circulation inside the tank. No more worrying about your tank’s filtration strength or flow rate, as you can fine-tune it.
The push-button primer in the filter is another benefit. During power outages, you won’t have any hassles starting the motor. The machine is equipped to do so. Expect a filter motor that offers durability and longevity.
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 chambers for optimal cleaning and filtration. The base of the filter is designed with a tip-proof rubber edge that keeps it stable inside the tank.
However, with all the good things, there’s some bad. Despite the low 185 GPH motor, the energy consumption of this filter is relatively high. This suggests that you must purchase a timer to help save on power bills by not running the filter continuously.
- 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 370 GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit protects you with everything you need for clear water.
It is versatile, and the product also comes with a complete filtration system for future use. This ensures you have enough filter media and replaceable cartridges after a single purchase. If you are a beginner with little knowledge, this is a good starting place.
This is one of the best filters for 55-gallon water capacity. The 370 GPH flow rate ensures optimal motor function with adjustable water flow rates. The canister filter comes with dual filter media. The kit includes 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 supports UV sterilization. UV light keeps the levels of algae and bacterial growth in check. Reusable filter pads can be washed, which is eco-friendly and cost-effective.
The 370 GPH powerful filters 1,400 liters of water per hour. So, if you are worried about the quality and flow of your aquarium water, you won’t have to worry anymore. Also, since this kit includes everything you need: 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 biological waste as well. The setup is easy; all you have to do is follow the 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. Fluval C4 Power Filter
The Fluval C4 is a powerhouse in the filter world. The 5-stage filter offers the best in filtration with two mechanical filtration chambers, a chemical filtration chamber, and two biological filtration chambers (including a trickle chamber). Add c-nodes to the trickle chamber for effective nitrification, as ammonia is converted to nitrates by colonies of good bacteria.
With a flow rate of 264 GPH, the filter can easily handle tanks with a volume of 40-70 gallons. The Italian-designed filter offers excellent functionality, making it a hard-working filter for freshwater and seawater community tanks.
Installation is a breeze, and the hang-on-back filter clips onto the tank rim, securely filtering water and returning the water with a cascade outlet. Lowering the flow rate allows water to move through the filter slower, so the filtration quality improves by as much as 50%.
The filter is suitable for saltwater or freshwater tanks. The telescopic inlet allows the filter to work in different tank dimensions or depths. Adjust the flow rate with a simple lever located on top of the filter.
For ease of maintenance, a pop-up indicator lets you know when it’s time to replace the filter cartridge. Maintenance is effortless, with features like a draw tab to help you raise the filter cartridge for rinsing or replacement.
One downside is the filter isn’t self-priming, which may create problems during power failures as you’d have to start the pump manually. Over time, this can burn out the pump motor.
- 264 GPH motor
- 5 Stage filtration uses multiple cleaning steps to clean water
- Flow rate regulator
- Clean cartridge indicator
- Suitable for tanks of 40-50 gallons
- Easy installation with clip attachment
- Different flow rates for unique tank setups
- It comes with different filtration media, including a trickle chamber for nitrification
- 5 Stage filtration system for excellent water clarity and tank health
- A patented filtration system helps expose tank water to filters for longer
- There’s no self-priming pump
7. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter
The Cascade is a popular hang-on-back filter from Penn Plax. This is an excellent option if you wish to keep your fish healthy and your tank clean. The bestselling point of this filter is the adjustable flow control knob.
So, if you want to control the water flow rate into the tank according to the tank’s inhabitants, this filter lets you do it. 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 cartridge for optimal filtration. Also, the different filter media’s customizable options allow you to choose the combination best suited to your needs. The activated carbon and poly-fiber work the best for essential filtration.
While the former filter is ideal for getting rid of toxins and chemicals, the latter gets rid of the solid waste and the odor that comes with that. Besides the bio-media, where good bacteria create colonies, the filter is also integrated with a sponge filter to remove larger particles.
However, there are some notable downsides to this product, too. Typically, it doesn’t come with bio-balls filtration (which is the best biological filtration media). Considering the cost, it’s disappointing that this filtration media isn’t included.
- Powerful motor supports 300 GPH flow rate
- Designed with an adjustable flow knob for optimal water circulation
- Integrated with double-sided media cartridges
- Offers multi-layer filtration
- Gets rid of waste with biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration
- Sturdy and sleek design
- Extremely reliable branding
- Easy to install and operate
- Lacks bio-ball filtration
8. TARARIUM Aquarium Filter U-V Green Clean Machine for 15-55 Gallon Fish Tank
The next item on our list uses UV filtration to really clean and clarify your tank water, making it a technological innovation over the traditional 3-stage filters. The Tararium has a slender design, but it’s a large filter, so ensure you check your tank dimensions against the overall size of the filter.
This filter motor may seem too small for a 50-55 gallon tank, but the slower circulation speed is required to let the water pass more slowly past the UV light for sterilization.
The filter offers a 3-stage filtration process. Water first passes through a sponge filter to remove any larger particles before passing through a biological filter for nitrification. Finally, it passes through the spiral surrounding the UV light for sterilization.
With UV cleaning power, the filter will clarify cloudy water, remove any organic smells from the water (aka tank stink), and eliminate harmful bacteria or organisms like algae.
- Two separate power cords for the filter motor and the UV light
- Separate switches for the filter and UV light
- Includes a 254nm UV light
- 180-day warranty
- Efficient cleaning abilities
- Reduces the cloudy appearance of water, restricts algae growth, and keeps water fresh.
- UV light is safe for fish as it’s focused on the water and not the fish
- Silent operation
- UV lights can be expensive to replace, and the filter is quite large and not suitable for all-size tanks
9. Aqueon QuietFlow Aquarium Fish Tank Canister Filter For 55-100 Gallon Aquariums
Next, we have a trusted name in aquatic equipment with the Aqueon QuietFlow canister filter. This filter is on the upper end of our size parameters and is suitable for tanks with a volume of 55-100 gallons. While a slightly smaller option is available that is perfect for tanks with a maximum volume of 50 gallons, it’s always better to select a bigger filter.
If you choose a bigger filter, you should ensure it has a flow rate regulator that allows you to set the amount of filtration and return rate. This filter is a two-for-one deal as it includes the canister filter and a smaller hang-on-back filter to help polish the water.
The motor has an impressive flow rate of 300 GPH, and thanks to gravity, water is quickly cycled into the canister (usually placed lower than the tank).
The large media baskets are preloaded with the correct filtration media, including mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration materials. The filters are both easy to clean, and you can simply raise the hatch atop the hang-on-back filter to remove the sponge and grid for effective maintenance. The external canister is also easy to clean. Simply open the canister, remove the media baskets, rinse the material, and return them to the filter.
Thanks to the design, the filter has a near-silent operational noise level, but you can always place the canister section in a fish tank cabinet, which also keeps it hidden from sight.
- Two pack of filters, including an external canister filter and a hang-on-back filter
- Filter offers 3-stage filtration
- Large media baskets for easy refill and cleaning
- 300 GPH motor for the canister filter
- Several water return options via a spray bar, director, and polishing hang-on-back unit
- Powerful 300 GPH motor
- 3-Stage filtration process
- Additional water polish unit with hang-on-back filter
- Easy to assemble
- Multiple water outlet options
- Quite a pricey unit
10. Tetra Whisper EX 70 Filter For 45 To 70-Gallon Aquariums
Last but certainly never least is the Tetra Whisper EX 70 filter that can handle tanks with a volume of 45-70 gallons. This filter is a trusted product, and the manufacturer has an excellent reputation. You won’t have any concerns with this filter.
The filter motor kicks out a respectable 240 GPH and has multi-stage filtration for cleaner tank water. Water enters the filter and moves past four filtration levels, ranging from coarse floss that cleans away particles to a bio scrubber, where nitrification happens.
Install the filter from the box with no need for assembly or priming. Maintenance is super easy; simply pull the old cartridges out and slot in new replacement ones. This filter is so good at cleaning waste from water that it’s even recommended for turtle tanks, with an even greater waste generation.
Use the convenient hatches on the filter body to access the filter cartridges and also the impeller head, which will require regular cleaning. However, the best thing about this versatile filter is its price, making your budget happy.
- 240 GPH motor
- Multiple filtration stages
- Hatches to allow for easy cleaning of the filter
- Includes filter cartridges
- Great overall design
- Multiple filtration steps with different media to clean water
- Filter media cartridges are affordable and easy to replace
- External filters can be hidden
- There is still some noise from the filter when in operation
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Buying a 50-55 gallon aquarium
There are an overwhelming number of filters available in shops and online. Each product promises the moon, but do they deliver?
There are quite a few factors affecting filter performance that will tell you whether a filter is a good buy or not. Here you go:
Start with the Filter Type
When it comes to fish tank filters, there are many different types. Your choices include:
- Hang-on-back filters.
- External canister filters.
- In-tank or submersible filters.
- Filters with different filtration media (such as UV light filters).
For a long-term investment, canister filters are the best choice. However, for a 55-gallon tank, any of the other filter types work equally well. Ultimately, your filter preference and the unique nature of your tank will determine what works best for you.
Check the Filter Media
Besides choosing the filter type, you also need to check the filter media. Filter media include activated charcoal, carbon, and various mechanical and biological materials. The filter you choose should be appropriate for your fish tank size and the fish community.
If you have a small tank, a sponge filter might be ideal. If your occupants create a lot of waste, you might need a multipurpose filter that offers biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration.
Adjustable Flow Rate
We can’t stress this enough, but the filter’s water flow rate is an important consideration. Depending on the species in your tank, you want to mimic the water flow rate they enjoy in the wild. The size of the tank also influences the flow rate as the filter needs to cycle through the total volume of water at least 2-3 times in an hour.
Based on size alone, a 55-gallon tank should have a minimum flow rate between 160-220 gallons per hour. Adjust the flow rate according to the tank occupants and your unique filter outlet mechanism.
When your tank has vulnerable fish species like betta, you need to choose a filter with a flow rate and adjustable valves that won’t harm the fish.
Noise Levels During Operation
While we love fish tanks, we want to avoid sitting with constant noise from the filter motor. Most newer filters come with sound-dampening technology, making filters whisper quiet. The motor and the return of water to the tank all influence the noise production.
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 to sit around and constantly clean their fish tank filter. An external filter is usually better for maintenance as you don’t have to remove the filter from the tank.
Most filters have a removable filter cartridge containing all the filtration media, and you simply swap out the used cartridge for the new one. Other filters still need each filter media added to different filtration chambers (which takes time).
Some filters come with a self-cleaning mechanism. Depending on your budget, you can choose a filter with maintenance requirements that suit your lifestyle.
Pricing of the Filter
There are fish tank filters to suit any budget or price, with some costing a few dollars and others reaching over $500. Ultimately, your budget will help you limit your choices but prioritize quality and features to ensure the best for your tank.
How often your tank needs water changes depends on the number and type of fish, your ecosystem, and the filter’s effectiveness. Ideally, a 50-55 gallon tank benefits from a water change once every 2-4 weeks. When tank water turns murky, you must clean the filter or do a water change.
A good-quality filter is essential to maintaining a clean and healthy fish tank. Hopefully, you’ve found the best 50-55 gallon tank filter options right here, and you can simply click “buy” for the best filter for your needs.
Picking a favorite is hard, but we recommend looking into the SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter or the MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter. These filters offer superior design, functionality, and innovation, making them the best on the market.
Have more questions or queries? Drop us a line in the comments, and we’ll happily answer them.