best hob filters

Best HOB Filters | 2022 Reviews

Maintaining a clean aquarium is essential. Having a filter that provides an excellent filtration process will guarantee that your fish stay healthy. Hang on Back (HOB) filters are generally easy-to-install, effective, and affordable.

Here we present you with the best HOB filters, along with some great tips on how to choose and maintain your filters.

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Best HOB Filter Reviews

 MarineLand Penguin 200 Power Filter

The MarineLand Penguin 200 Power Filter is a great product that offers a series of useful features. It is recommended for 30 to 50-gallon aquariums and uses a 3-stage filtering process.

The filter uses no pumps, valves, or air stones. It is equipped with the revolutionary BIO-Wheel. This allows the filter to remove toxic ammonia and nitrite quickly. The rotation system of the filter allows good bacteria to grow. 

It is important to maintain your tank’s water level to ensure the Penguin Power filter runs quietly and efficiently. If the water drops too low, the filter becomes really loud.  

The MarineLand Penguin Power Filter series is available in five sizes, ranging from 100 GPH to 350 GPH (20 to 70-gallon aquariums). 

Overall, MarineLand Penguin 200 Power Filter is great for both beginners and professional hobbyists. Its 3-stage filtering process is highly effective. This filter will guarantee that your aquarium stays clean and healthy at all times.


  • 3-Stage filtration process
  • Long-lasting and extremely durable
  • Quiet mechanism and water alarm system
  • Available in different sizes


  • You will need to prime your filter

AquaClear Power Filter

The AquaClear Power Filter series is available in five sizes, ranging from 5 to 110-gallon tanks. 

The filter’s unique design allows for up to six times more media volume. The 3-stage filtering process includes mechanical, biological, and chemical. 

This filter comes equipped with AquaClear Foam, Activated Carbon Filter, and AquaClear BioMax. The AquaClear Foam is placed at the bottom of the filter and helps with debris removal and a surface for beneficial bacteria. The Activated Carbon Filter is located in the middle of the filter and absorbs undesirable impurities. Finally, the AquaClear Biomax is at the top of the filter and allows bacteria to thrive. 

While preserving beneficial bacteria, the filter maintains a crystal clear aquarium. The unique waterfall design returns filtered water to the tank quietly. The filter has a patented flow control system that allows users to fully adjust the water flow depending on your aquarium’s needs. 

The media basket is designed to prevent water from bypassing the filter media, maximizing filtration efficiency. Installation is easy and quick. 

Overall, AquaClear is a highly efficient and reliable filter. It offers an excellent filtration process, and it is easy to use and maintain.


  • It is quiet and efficient
  • 3-stage filtration process
  • Equipped with activated Carbon filter and AquaClear BioMax
  • Patented flow control system


  • Debris can sometimes get trapped in the impeller system and need removal

Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter

The Aqueon Quietflow E series is available in four sizes, ranging from 3 to 40-gallon aquariums. As the name implies, this filter is extremely quiet.

The dual-sided dense-floss system allows Aqueon to contain more activated carbon. That makes the whole clearing process more effective.

The great thing about this power filter is that you can install it with ease in a few minutes. Each package contains three cartridges.

The cartridges are self-priming and contain both hanging clips and suction cups. That makes them suitable for both framed and frameless aquariums.

This model also features a LED cartridge replacement light that maximizes the overall performance. The filter lets you know when to do maintenance.

The filter guarantees perfect cleaning for up to 4-6 weeks. After this period, you should replace it with a new one.

Aqueon Quietflow E is a quiet and easy-to-install HOB filter suitable for different sized aquariums. The revolutionary 3-stage filtration process will effectively remove every little debris and impurity from the tank.


  • More activated carbon
  • Self-priming cartridges
  • Suitable for framed and frameless aquariums
  • Cleaning lasts up to 6 weeks


  • Can’t adjust the flow of water

Tetra Whisper IQ Power Filter for Aquariums

The Tetra Whisper IQ comes in several different sizes, ranging from 10 to 300 GPH. Equipped with SoundShield and vibration dampening technology, this filter provides a barrier between the filter and motor to reduce noise.

The filter keeps ph levels intact, enabling your fish to grow and lead a healthy life. The materials used in both the impeller and other filter parts are high-quality.

Whisper IQ features a self-priming motor and adjustable intake to fit every aquarium’s needs. Suitable to use with marine and freshwater fish, the filter offers easy maintenance.

The filter has StayClean technology that binds tiny dirt particles and reduces buildup on the aquarium’s glass.

Whisper IQ Power Filter is a powerful yet extremely noiseless filter. Equipped with the unique StayClean Technology, this filter guarantees that the water in your aquarium stays crystal clear at all times.


  • Extremely quiet motor
  • Great for both marine and freshwater fish
  • High cleaning capacity, suitable for binding tiny dirt particles
  • Suits a range of different sizes


  • Limited room to add your own media filtration

Penn-Plax Cascade Hang-On Aquarium Filter

The Penn-Plax Cascade hang-on aquarium filter is available in different sizes, ranging from 55 to 100 gallons. It can efficiently deliver up to 300 gallons per hour of water.

The filter has a self-priming intake tube that allows users to adjust the filtration process. For example, during feeding time, you can reduce filtration via the filter’s adjustable flow knob.

The Penn-Plax Cascade filter uses two-sided media cartridges that contain high levels of activated carbon. This allows good bacteria to grow while the waste and debris are entirely removed. Moreover, this filter offers quadruple filtration.

The specifically designed Bio-falls system helps with water oxygenation and removes ammonia and nitrate. 

Penn-Plax Cascade Hang-On filter works for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. Its compact and sleek design, along with its high efficiency, make it great for your tank.


  • Special quad filtration
  • Covers different aquarium sizes
  • It has lots of room for media
  • Adjustable flow knob


  • There is no way to change out carbon without possibly damaging the filter

Marina Power Filter

The Marina Power Filter has a compact and sleek design. It takes up minimal space and is aesthetically pleasing. This filter is available in different sizes ranging from 10 to 20 gallons. 

The Marina Power filter is equipped with an adjustable flow control system. The motor is really quiet, and both installation and start-up are straightforward.

This filter is easy to maintain. The filter has two different cartridges: a Bio-Carb and a Bio-Clear. Both cartridges contain high levels of Ceramitek. Ceramitek is a ceramic filter medium that makes filtration more effective and safe. 

Marina Power Filter is a small yet efficient filter on the market. It features a noiseless motor, and maintenance has never been easier. The filter is easy-to-use and highly effective with an adjustable flow control system.


  • Small and compact
  • Adjustable flow control system
  • It is self priming
  • High levels of Ceramitek


  • It does not remove debris well, and you will need weekly maintenance to take care of debris in your tank

Fluval Power Filter

The Fluval Power Filter is available in four sizes, filtering water from 119 to 700 GPH. It features a revolutionary 5-stage filtration process. The media consists of one chemical, two biological, and two mechanical.

It has a large surface area allowing it to clear out every debris and type of waste. This filter’s design focuses on offering customers high performance and easy maintenance.

The filter removes both ammonia and nitrates. It is the perfect environment for good bacteria to thrive and grow, and it features a patented refiltration system.

It allows users to control the water flow. Therefore, you can adjust the flow depending on your aquarium’s needs.

Fluval Power Filter fits most aquariums and features a ceramic heater core for even heat distribution. The filter also has an excellent cleaning indicator that notifies you when the polyfoam needs to be rinsed.

Fluval Power Filter features a unique 5-stage filtration system. Its large surface area and high-quality filter promise to keep your aquarium’s water crystal clear at all times.


  • Cleaning indicator-know when you need to rinse the filter
  • Revolutionary 5-stage cleaning process
  • Adjustable water flow system
  • Comes with activated carbon and media


  • The filter media space is somewhat limited due to the compact design

What is a HOB Filter?

HOB (hang on the back) filters are among the most popular filters on the market. They are easy-to-install and maintain and are efficient and affordable. 

A HOB filter is a specific version of a power filter. The main difference lies in their low-maintenance and cleaning capacities.

This type of filter hangs on the back wall of your aquarium. Each HOB filter contains the filter body, the filter media cartridge, and the intake tube.

The filter’s cartridges act as the medium where filtration stages occur. Those stages are typically mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.

The motor is usually incorporated in modern HOB filters, making cleaning easier and quicker.

Things to Keep in Mind When Picking a HOB Filter

 Size of Tank

Your tank’s size will determine the size and model of HOB filter you will need. Each HOB model will come with a recommended tank size. Most aquarists tend to size up in filtration levels to ensure enough water is filtered per hour. 

Most HOB filters are designed for small aquariums. Therefore they do not take up a lot of space and are easy to maintain. It is vital to keep the water in your tank filtered for your fish’s health. 

Filtration Media

Some HOB filters come with filtration media, while others allow you to add your own. Overall there are three types of filtration: chemical, biological, and mechanical.  

Do a little research ahead of time to decide what filtration will be best for your aquarium. This will help you determine which HOB filter will work best for your needs. 


In most cases, a HOB filter needs cleaning once a month. However, depending on the specific model, you may need to replace the media every 3 to 4 weeks. 

When cleaning your filter, be sure to clean the impeller as well. It is essential to keep the impeller in good working order to avoid debris getting lodged. 

Over time you will need to remove any algae or lime deposits from the filter housing. 

Finally, depending on the type of media you have, you may need to replace it with new media before restarting the filter. 

How to Set up Hang on Back Filter

In general, HOB filters are extremely easy to set up and install. 

First, you will need to choose the right sized filter for your tank and decide where to place the filter on your tank. 

Second, you will begin to assemble the filtration media. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your filter. If you add your own media, make sure it is compatible with your filter. 

Third, you will install the intake sump.

Finally, hang the filter on the back of your tank. Be sure to prime your filter before turning it on. 

How to Clean Hang on Back Filter

Cleaning a HOB filter is relatively easy. Once a month or when your filter starts to get dirty, you should use fresh filtration media, a small pitcher, and a bucket.

Unplug the filter and clean all the pipes, chutes, and tubes. Take out the sponge and rinse it well in a bucket of old aquarium water. While the sponge is out, you should replace the filter media.

Clean the motor and impeller if needed. It is good to add a lubricant to the motor to keep it running smoothly. 

Reassemble the filter and hang it back on your aquarium. Plug the filter back in and turn it on. 

HOB vs. Canister Filter

When comparing a HOB filter with a canister filter, you will first notice a significant difference in size. Since canister filters are external devices, they usually are larger and take more space outside the tank. Therefore, canister filters are more ideal for larger aquariums. 

On the other hand, the mobile and compact HOB filter is space-saving. A HOB filter’s size and capacity make it suitable for small to medium tanks. 

Installing a new HOB filter is much easier compared to a canister filter. A HOB filter is also easier to clean. Particularly for those using a filter for the first time, the process of cleaning a canister filter on their own may be challenging.

In most cases, a HOB filter offers better filtration in its biological capacity. The only other type that can compete with HOB filters in this field is wet/dry filters.

HOB filters are generally easier to clean and maintain. They do not require frequent changing of the media. Overall, HOB filters are usually more affordable than canister filters in terms of cost.

Frequently Asked Questions About HOB Filters

Can you use a HOB filter for a saltwater tank?

The short answer is yes. You can use a HOB filter for a saltwater tank, but there are a few things you will need to do for it to be successful. First, you will need to be meticulous about regular water changes. Second, don’t overstock your tank with fish. Lately, make sure you have a lot of live rock and a protein skimmer. 

How to make a HOB filter quieter?

Most of the time, your HOB filter will make noise because there is a problem with your aquarium system. Here are some troubleshooting ideas to try and reduce noise.u003cbru003eu003cbru003e- Clean the filteru003cbru003e- Check and adjust the return pumpu003cbru003e- Reduce the water flow rateu003cbru003e- Inspect and repair any broken elements of your water pumpu003cbru003e- Lubricate the impeller or replace it if in a poor state of operationu003cbru003e- If all else fails, you may need to buy a quieter filter

Where do you put a HOB filter in an aquarium?

A HOB filter hangs on the back of your aquarium. You can place the filter anywhere on the back. Some prefer to put it on the side of the aquarium. This gives your fish the option to swim in an area of the tank with more or less current. 

What media to use in a HOB filter?

There are three types of media filtration: chemical, biological, and mechanical. The media will vary depending on the HOB filter brand and model you have. Some HOB filters allow you to place your own media. A filter that uses all three filtration methods is known as triple-stage filtration and is considered the best. 

How do you prime a HOB filter?

Priming a HOB filter means filling the filter with water before turning it on. Some filters have a self-priming system. Filling the filter up with water first allows the filter to begin working instantly since it already has water in it. 

Final Thoughts About the Best HOB Filters

HOB filters have gained lots of popularity over the last few years. Their variety of useful features, easy-to-use nature, and many benefits have made them stand out.

These filters are efficient, affordable, and require little maintenance compared to other types of filters. All you need to install a HOB filter is to assemble the filter basket and the intake tube. Then you hang the filter on your aquarium and plug it in.

When looking for your ideal HOB filter, you should look for some critical features. Those features include flow rate, filtration media, lack of noise, and maintenance needed.

Stick to reputable companies and models, like the ones mentioned above. That way, you can rest assured that the final product meets your standards. 

Looking for more gear for your aquarium? Head over to our Aquarium Gear section to see more reviews.

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