Aquarium water filtrationSelecting the best filter for a 55-gallon tank can help you maintain a hygienic ecosystem in your aquarium. It will improve the health of your fish and create a suitable climate for your aquatic plants.

However, many options available in the market have low flow rates and cannot keep larger tanks filtered and safe for fish.

So, to help you out, we tested various 55-gallon tank filters and compiled our favorite ones into a list. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner looking to set up your first fish tank or a long-time aquarist looking for an upgrade; you can find suitable options below.

Let’s get right into it.

Comparison Chart

Name Pump Output (in


Weight (in pounds) Size (in inches)
SeaChem Tidal 55 Aquarium Fish Tank Filter

250 2.2 15 x 6 x 15
MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

290 3 8.5 x 5.81 x 11
EA Performance Hang-On Power Filter

220 3.05 7.9 x 7.7 x 5.8
Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter

200 14.9 8.25 x 8.25 x 17.5
Supreme EZ Clean External 55 gallon FIlter

150 1 5.5 x 10.8 x 8.75

Best Filter for 55-gallon Aquariums – Handpicked Reviews

1. SeaChem Tidal 55 Aquarium Fish Tank Filter


  • Hang-on design
  • Adjustable water flow
  • Filter basket for filtration media
  • Provides maintenance alert
  • Extendable three-year company warranty


  • Can be loud
  • Large size

This Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter from SeaChem is a convenient and easy-to-use device, making it an ideal option for beginners. It can be used in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums up to 55-gallons in capacity.

Installing this filter is very straightforward, which is a major plus-point for beginner aquarists. It has a simple hang-on-back design that allows it to clip onto the side of your aquarium without requiring any power tools or heavy plumbing.

Once you have it running, the filter’s self-priming pump and a self-cleaning filter will keep it clean for several months without requiring any manual interference. The filter also has a maintenance alert that will let you know when it runs out of cartridges, so you’ll never end up forgetting to change them on time.

The SeaChem Power Filter also delivers high-quality water filtration. It is equipped with a filter basket that can be filled with various mediums to eliminate all types of unwanted elements. It is an efficient and comprehensive filtration system that allows you to fine-tune the filtration according to your needs by simply changing the filtration medium.

Along with this, the filter has a surface skimmer feature that releases filtered water lightly onto your tank’s surface. It is handy for keeping your tank clean as it removes any residue on the surface. Additionally, it also promotes oxygen levels and increases light penetration, which helps improve plant and fish life.

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If you are a beginner looking for an easy-to-use HOB filter, the SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter is an ideal choice. It offers convenient features such as a self-cleaning filter and an upkeep alert that makes maintenance very easy. It also manages to provide high-quality filtration and a useful surface skimmer option to keep your tank clean from top to bottom.

2. MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter


  • Suitable for aquariums up to 97 gallons capacity
  • Water polishing function
  • Multiple filtration options
  • Customizable filtration media chambers
  • Can filter 290 gallons of water per hour


  • Maintenance is costly and regular
  • Occasionally produces motor noises

The Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter from MarineLand is one of the most versatile devices on this list as it offers two distinct filtration options to choose from. You can choose to have your tank’s water filtered by either the standard three-stage filtration system or its unique water polishing option.

The three-stage filtration system involves a mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration stage. Each of these stages uses high-quality materials to give you an adequate level of water cleaning. For example, this device uses premium activated carbon in the chemical filtration system, which is excellent at removing odors and impurities in water.

However, if you feel like the first stage of water filtration was not enough to clean your tank, all you have to do is switch to this filter’s second “water polishing” option. This system uses an inbuilt pleated micron cartridge to remove debris, efficiently turning dirty water crystal clear.

This filter from MarineLand does not compromise on power either. Thanks to its robust water flow rate of up to 290 GPH, it can work well in large tanks up to 97 gallons capacity.

However, all of it comes at a price, as you will have to clean the micron cartridge and replace the internal filters at least once a month. Also, these filters require you to make an aftermarket purchase, which makes maintaining this filter slightly expensive if you are on a budget.

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The Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter from MarineLand is a versatile device that offers two unique filtration methods. The three-stage filtration is excellent at removing unwanted elements, while the water polishing option works to make water crystal clear. The filter is also potent, but it does require regular maintenance, which might be a hassle for beginners.

3. EA Performance Hang-On Power Filter


  • High-Quality filtration systems
  • Includes no-mess cartridges and sponges
  • Reasonable Price
  • Sturdy Motor Assembly
  • Transparent design


  • Risk of Leaks
  • Occasionally lacks in water output

The EA Performance Hang-On Power Filter for 55-gallon tanks is a high-quality device with a reasonable price tag, making it an excellent choice for people on a tight budget. Despite its competitive pricing, it does not compromise with power and offers an exceptional cleaning experience. Using its advanced three-stage filtration system, it can filter all types of bacteria as well as unwanted odors and debris.

To help the three-stage filtration system clean the water efficiently, It also has a dual-slotted filter body that double the filtration capacity. It improves the overall water flow of the filter, allowing it to move water at up to 220 GPH which is sufficient for most 55-gallon aquariums.

You won’t have to worry about running it at total capacity either, as the motor running the EA Performance filter’s cleaning system is well built and housed in a sturdy assembly. However, while the motor assembly is solid, the rest of the filter is not as strong, and you should avoid dropping it.

The filter comes with a set of no-mess cartridges and sponges, so keeping it clean is very simple. You can easily remove the top of the filter and swap out the cartridges or sponges without even having to get your hands wet. It is also easy to install, thanks to its simple plug-and-play design.

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EA Performance Hang-On Power Filter is an ideal choice if you are an aquarist looking for a high-quality device on a budget. The fair pricing does not mean that you are compromising quality, as this filter comes with a great three-stage filtration system suitable for most tanks. Moreover, it uses a powerful dual-slotted filter body that allows for a water flow rate of up to 220 GPH.

4. Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter


  • Runs quietly
  • Easy maintenance
  • Multiple water return options
  • Inbuilt water polishing unit
  • It fits large aquariums up to 75 gallons capacity


  • Expensive
  • Very heavy

The Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter is an excellent option for indoor aquariums, especially in your living area or bedroom. That is because, unlike most other power filters that create lots of noise when running, this filter is designed to run silently. While it may be quiet, this filter has not cut back on any features.

It uses multi-stage filtration and comes with preloaded media baskets that filter water through different kinds of materials. Along with this, the water is passed through a specialized polishing unit that provides additional filtration and keeps your tank crystal clear.

If you don’t find the water polishing necessary, Aqueon has added a variety of water return options in this filter. You can choose from either the spray bar or water director in the place of the polishing unit to flow water back into your tank. Each of these works differently and will provide unique benefits to your tank and its water.

The filter comes with everything you will need to set it up. Items such as quick disconnect valves, pump locking heads, water intake/output connections, hoses, and much more are included in the box.

However, all these features and parts add to the filter’s overall weight, which is a hefty 14.9 pounds. Due to this, you will probably need to place it on the ground or a separate table/stand. Moreover, this is also the most expensive option on our list, but its price is justified with everything you get.

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Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter is a perfect choice for aquarists looking for a silent and high-powered filter. While it is slightly expensive, you will be getting your money’s worth as it has various unique features such as water polishing and multiple return options. Also, it comes with everything you’ll need to use it, so you won’t have to spend money on external purchases.

5. Supreme EZ Clean


  • Built-in gravel vacuum
  • Well Known Company
  • All-in-one filtration system
  • Includes flexible tubing and filter bag
  • Dual filtration Cartridges


  • Not suitable for non-gravel aquariums
  • Lacks flow control

This Supreme EZ Clean external filter by Danner Manufacturing is an excellent device for your 55-gallon tank. This HOB FIlter is one of their most robust power filters that offers a load of unique features while remaining simple enough for beginners to use.

The highlighting feature of this filter is that, along with standard filtration, it also offers an innovative water change feature. It makes the filter great for quick and complete tank water cycles as all you have to do is turn it on, and it will remove and refill aquarium water using the pump’s motor. It saves you the money and hassle of purchasing an extra siphon for water changes.

Unlike standard filters that can only clean water, the Supreme EZ Clean comes with a built-in gravel vacuum and cleaner. It can remove all the gathered dust from the substrate of your aquarium effectively. If you are worried that it might harm your fish, then you can keep your concerns aside. This unique vacuum easily removes debris from your aquarium’s gravel without damaging any plant or fish life.

It comes with a separate set of flexible tubing and a mesh filter bag to filter the gravel through. It makes it a suitable filter for gravel aquariums. However, you won’t be able to use this filter with other types of substrate.

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If you are looking for a feature-packed device that will save you a lot of time, the Supreme EZ Clean Filter is a great option to check out. It is a HOB filter that offers powerful filtration along with a water change system to replace your tank water easily. That being said, it isn’t as suitable for tanks with other kinds of substrates as the gravel cleaner might not work.

Things to Consider While Choosing a Filter for a 55-gallon Fish Tank

– Filtration Stages

An essential factor you should look into when buying an aquarium filter is the stages of filtration it offers. Typically, an aquarium filter offers three different types of filtrations, namely mechanical, biological and chemical. Let’s go over them quickly.

Mechanical Filtration: Mechanical filtration refers to removing large particles of dirt, gunk, debris, and fish excretion. These make up the majority of the visible waste in your aquarium and need to be removed immediately to avoid any infections in your pet. Aquarium filters come equipped with sponges or filter paper to trap these particles. You can simply wash the mechanical filtration element for reuse.

Biological Filtration: Apart from gathering dust particles, filter sponges and mesh paper are ideal sites for the colonization of good bacteria. These bacterial colonies balance the ammonia and nitrate levels in the water while also hindering the growth of algae. Aquarium filters also come with bio balls, which enhance bacterial growth for better filtration.

Chemical Filtration: Lastly, chemical filtration is necessary to remove heavy metals, toxins, and odor from your aquarium water. It is achieved by using activated carbon, which absorbs the harmful elements present in the water to provide a suitable climate for your fish.

If you want a well-rounded cleaning and hygiene in your tank, we recommend getting a filter that follows all three processes to keep your fish healthy. Modern filters offer multiple layers of all three filtration types to make your dirty aquarium water crystal clear.

– Additional Features

Along with the basic filtration system, many large 55-gallon filters also offer various additional features. It can range from utility functions like a hang-on design to filtration boosting ones like a water polishing system.

So, look for filters that will be useful to you in your aquarium. For example, if the top of your aquarium tends to have oil build-up, find a filter with a surface skimmer option to keep the surface clean. Or, if you don’t want to purchase an additional device to clean your aquarium’s substrate, you can get a filter with a gravel cleaner built into it.

– Water Flow Rate

The water flow rate of a filter refers to the volume of water that the filter can process in a specific duration. It is usually calculated in gallons per hour (GPH) and is very important for managing your aquarium efficiently.

While it may seem like having more GPH is better, this is not always true. The higher output will surely make the filter faster at cleaning water, but it may be unnecessary for regular use and damage your aquarium’s ecosystem. That is because fast-flowing water can suck in delicate fish and plants, which can injure them.

For most 55-gallon aquariums, having a filtration unit with a flow rate of at least 220 GPH is sufficient for maintaining clean water. Anything over 300 GPH will be extra and will not be needed for regular usage. So, be sure to consider the water flow and if it is suited to your aquarium’s plant and fish before buying an aquarium filter.


1. How Many Filters Do I Need for a 55-Gallon Tank?

When it comes to 55-gallon tanks, it is advised to use a filter with a water flow rate of at least 220 GPH. A good rule of thumb you can follow when deciding how powerful your filter should be is to multiply your tank’s capacity by four.

2. Is it Okay to Run Your Filter for Extended Hours?

No, you can’t really over-filter an aquarium. However, it is possible to under-filter an aquarium, which can be very harmful to your aquarium’s plants and fish as it leads to bacteria and waste build-up.

3. How Often Should You Clean a Canister Filter?

Canister Filters are enclosed devices that have internal canisters that filter the water. These filters do not require much cleaning and can run for months without requiring treatment or replacement. It is advised to change the internal canisters every three to four months to ensure proper hygiene in your fish tank.

4. How Do I Know If My Aquarium Filter Is Clogged?

When your aquarium gets clogged, it becomes unable to eliminate excessive ammonia and nitrates from the water efficiently. It can severely affect your pets, and you will start to notice a decline in appetite, reduced energy, and loss of coloration in your fish and shrimp. The general signs become significant within 1-2 weeks, and if the filter goes untreated for long, the nitrate buildup can weaken your fish’s immunity.

5. Are Canister Filters Worth the Money?

Yes, Canister filters are worth the extra money as they are much more reliable when filtering out freshwater and saltwater aquariums. They offer powerful filtration and many unique features, such as gravel cleaners, while still requiring less maintenance. They are especially suitable for larger tanks ranging from 50 gallons and above as these benefits make it much easier to keep aquariums clean.


It is crucial to have good quality and trustworthy 55-gallon fish tank filter system to ensure that your tank stays clean. Choosing the wrong filter can not only turn out to be a waste of money but can also cause harm to your aquarium’s flora and fauna. If you want to go for the best 55-gallon aquarium filter, we highly recommend the SeaChem Tidal 55 Aquarium Fish Tank Filter.

Best filter for a gallon tankIt is a powerful, efficient, and affordable filter that is perfect for 55-gallon aquariums. It is excellent for beginners, thanks to the straightforward setup and maintenance procedures. It also offers different unique features such as a surface skimmer outlet and a clip-on design that make it much easier to use and a great all-around device.

5/5 - (17 votes)


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