You need the best HOB filter for your aquarium, especially if your fish tank doesn’t have much free space. A good filter can clasp on the side of most tanks, leaving lots of room for your flora and fauna. However, there are various options on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. It makes finding the right one for your tank quite a tedious task.

To help you find the best hang-on-back filter for your tank, we tested various options and curated a detailed list with all the details you’ll need.

So, let’s get to the list right away.

Comparison Chart

Name Pump Output (in GPH) Weight (in pounds) Size (in inches)

SeaChem Tidal 55 Aquarium Fish Tank Filter

250 2.2 15 x 6 x 15

AquaClear Fish Tank Filter

500 4.5 17.4 x 12.5 x 11

MarineLand Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter

350 2 15.2 x 6.1 x 8

Fluval C Series Power Filter

264 2.7 11 x 7.5 x 10

Boxtech Aquarium Hang on Filter

34-40 0.6 4.7 x 4.7 x 3.5

Handpicked Reviews of the Best Hang on Back Filters for Your Aquariums

Let’s get straight into our list of the best HOB filters for your tank!

1. SeaChem Tidal 55 Aquarium Fish Tank Filter


  • Adjustable water flow
  • Filter basket for filtration media
  • Provides maintenance alert
  • 3-year warranty


  • Slightly loud

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

What makes this filter unique is the variety of convenient features packed into it. It has a clip-on design, so all you have to do is hang the filter on the side of your aquarium and plug it in to start filtering.

Along with this, the filter also has a built-in self-priming pump and self-cleaning functionality that keeps it running for months without requiring any maintenance. Along with this, the filter has a built-in maintenance alert that will notify you whenever the internal cartridges need to be replaced. So, you won’t have to worry about keeping track of how clean the filter is or when your last maintenance was.

The SeaChem Power Filter also delivers high-quality water filtration. It uses a robust and comprehensive multi-stage filtration system that works hand-in-hand with a separate filter basket. The filter basket can be filled with various filtration mediums to filter through all types of unwanted elements. It allows you to fine-tune the filtration according to your needs by simply changing the filtration medium.

Along with this, Seachem has included a unique surface skimmer feature that releases filtered water lightly onto your tank’s surface. It helps keep your tank clean as it removes any surface residue, which helps promote oxygen levels and light penetration in the water.


If you are a beginner looking for an easy-to-use HOB filter, the SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter is an ideal choice. With its self-cleaning internal cartridge and maintenance alert, you’ll never have any problem keeping it clean. The filter also has an excellent filtration system and comes with a surface skimmer outlet that effectively blocks any surface residue buildup.

2. AquaClear Fish Tank Filter


  • Superior water contact time
  • Accessories are included
  • Large filtration volume
  • Ideal for up 110-gallon tanks


  • Large size

If you have trouble keeping your tank clean and are looking for a heavy-duty and powerful device, the AquaClear Fish Tank Filter is a suitable hang on back aquarium filter to consider. It offers a robust flow rate of up to 500 GPH, making it perfect for large aquariums up to 110 gallons in capacity. So, no matter how dirty your aquarium is, this filter won’t have any trouble keeping it clean.

It uses a unique three-stage water filtration system that increases the contact time between the filter media and the water. The water passes through the filtration media multiple times, which increases the cleaning capacity and makes the filter better at removing any unwanted elements in your tank.

When it comes to filters with a powerful output, a common concern is that the device will cost you a lot on your electricity bill. It is not the case with the AquaClear Fish Tank Filter, as its built-in pump is designed to be energy efficient, saving you a lot of money in the long run.

Also, this filter comes with all accessories and parts you’ll need to set it up right out of the box. Whether it’s the cycle guard that protects the filter or the clear foam filtration media, you won’t have to go out looking for anything extra. However, all these parts make the device a little bulky, so you need to ensure you have enough space for the filter to fit in.


The AquaClear Fish Tank Filter is a heavy-duty device perfect for people who have difficulty maintaining a clean aquarium. It is suitable for tanks up to 110 gallons in capacity and has an excellent 500 GPH water flow rate. Additionally, it comes with everything you will need, along with an energy-efficient pump to save you money.

3. MarineLand Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter


  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Rotating bio-wheel
  • Inbuilt vented covers to reduce noise
  • High-quality filtration


  • Bio-Wheel can be noisy when running

The MarineLand Penguin Bio-Wheel Power device is a versatile hang on tank filter that can be used with various freshwater and saltwater tanks. It gives you the freedom to clean small 10-20 gallon aquariums as well as sizable 75-gallon fish tanks, as it is available in five different sizes.

All the size variants come with a high-quality multi-stage filtration system as well as some splendid additional features. One of our favorites is the BIO-wheel, which helps improve biological water filtration by using multiple smaller filters in a cylindrical shape. It increases the overall filtration surface area and the filter’s ability to remove ammonia and nitrate from water.

This device also has built-in vents, which disperses sound and reduces noise produced by the spinning wheel and motor. While these vented covers usually work well, sometimes the BIO-wheel can still be a bit too loud for living or bedroom aquariums.

When it comes to installation, you will have to initially prime the filter in your tank’s water to make sure it starts up properly. That being said, once it is running, all you have to do is remove and replace the filter cartridge every month, and the filter will be functioning smoothly for a long time.


The MarineLand Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter is a versatile device that offers a bunch of unique features, such as its Bio-Wheel and two-piece vented covers. The Bio wheel uses multiple filters to provide high-quality filtration, while the vented covers reduce excessive noise produced by the motor. That being said, this device is occasionally noisy and may not be the best for quieter areas such as offices and bedrooms.

4. Fluval C Series Power Filter


  • Sleek design
  • Five Stage filtration system
  • Re-filtration system for superior cleaning
  • It can be used for aquariums with up to 30 gallons of capacity


  • Slightly expensive

The Fluval C Series Power Filter is a heavy-duty device suitable for all types of freshwater and seawater aquariums, no matter how dirty they are. It is designed to work with fish tanks up to 30 gallons in capacity and offers a mid-range 264 GPH output.

Unlike most HOB Filters, Fluval utilizes a superior five-stage filtration system to filter even the dirtiest tanks. Their C-series filtration system uses two mechanical filters, two biological filters, and a chemical filter that work together to provide an all-around cleaning procedure. So, if you own many fish and plants, you can trust this filter to get rid of all the waste & debris with ease and maintain a hygienic tank environment.

Additionally, Fluval Power Filter comes with parts such as a filter cover, leveling device, foam pad, and others right out of the box. So, you won’t have to spend any extra money to install and run it. That being said, understanding what goes where and how to set it all up is slightly confusing and may be difficult for first-time users.


If you have a tank that gets dirty very often and you find it challenging to keep the water clean, the Fluval C Series Power Filter is an excellent option for you. It uses a powerful five-stage filtration system and comes with everything you will need right out of the box, so you won’t have to spend your money making any after-market purchases.

5. Boxtech Aquarium Hang on Filter


  • Reasonable pricing
  • Silent motor
  • Durable build quality
  • 3-in-1 multi-function


  • Smaller capacity

The Boxtech Aquarium Hang On Filter is undoubtedly the best budget-friendly hang-on tank filter available on our list. It has a small and compact form factor that easily fits onto the side of most aquariums. While it saves you money and space, this filter does not compromise on features or quality.

The filter is made from durable ABS plastic that ensures a long-lasting quality along with low vibrations that reduce unnecessary sound. It also uses a silent motor that produces minimal amounts of noise, making this filter perfect for aquariums in quiet spaces.

It uses a unique plate design that improves the filter’s water storage space allowing more water to be filtered efficiently. Moreover, it comes with an adjustable output valve that can easily be adjusted. So, you can set the output according to your tank’s requirements to make sure it isn’t too fast or slow. Also, this helps improve the dissolved oxygen levels in your tank, making it more suited for fish and plants.

Another thing we liked about this filter was how effective it was at clearing built-up oil film around our tank’s walls. It makes it great for improving aeration and light in your tank, subsequently benefitting the ecosystem.


Boxtech Aquarium Hang-On-Back Filter is a perfect choice for aquarists looking for a silent and reasonably powerful pump at a lower price point. The reasonable pricing does not mean that you are compromising the quality. This filter uses premium materials throughout the body, such as a strong ABS plastic, to keep it crack and leak-free.

Things To Consider While Choosing an Hob Filter for Your Fish Tank

Here’s a list of some things you should consider when looking for a new HOB filter

– Water Flow Rate

When buying a new filter, You need to calculate the required flow rate for your aquarium. The best way to do this is to multiply your tank’s capacity in gallons by four to get the necessary output. For example, if you have a 50-gallon tank, you should get a filter with a water flow rate of approximately 200 GPH.

Getting a filter with the correct flow rate is essential to keep your fish safe and healthy. A filter with insufficient power can be ineffective, whereas excessive power can cause the water to splash out of the tank. Also, having a strong water current in your tank can often cause them stress if you have smaller fish.

– Additional Features

Along with water filtration, many filters available in the market offer many unique and additional features. These features can make it much easier and convenient for you to maintain your aquarium.

For example, if your tank tends to build up a lot of surface residue, purchasing a filter with a surface skimmer water outlet would be beneficial. Or, if you have a bedroom aquarium, looking for an option with a silent motor will help you keep the volume levels low enough for you to sleep.

– Build Quality

Having a low-quality HOB filter can be very harmful to your aquarium’s ecosystem. It is because any leaks or cracks can lead to dirty water re-entering your tank and creating toxic conditions for your fish and plants.

So, make sure to look for filters that are built with sturdy materials and don’t have any slim or weak joints. More substantial materials such as ABS plastic last longer and can keep going without cracking for many years.


Let’s discuss a few frequently asked questions related to Hang-On-Back Filters:

1. What Is a Hang-on-Back Filter?

A hang-on back (HOB) filter is a type of aquarium filter that can be attached to the back wall of most tanks. They consist of a filtration system that is usually above your tank combined with a water intake tube that carries water from the tank to the filter. Once the water is filtered, it flows back into the tank via either a drip method or other more complex ways depending on the outlet type of your HOB filter.

2. Do Hang-on-Back Filters Provide Oxygen?

For many aquariums, a simple HOB (hang on back) filter will adequately aerate your tank, thanks to the standard drip method used to let water back into your tank. The continuous drops help in shifting water and creating bubbles that improve oxygen levels in your tank.

3. Are Hang on Back Filters Good?

Yes, hang-on-back filters are handy, don’t require much maintenance, are easy to install, and are usually more affordable than other options. Along with this, HOB filters are also very reliable and can be used without any problems by experienced aquarists as well as beginners.

4. Are HOB Filters Noisy?

While this does change according to every filter, the short answer is no; HOB filters are silent as long as you position them correctly on the edge of your tank. It is usually done by keeping the water outlet near the edge of the tank, close to the surface, or creating some sort of slide to let the water go down it smoothly.

That is because, apart from the motor, most noise is produced by water splashing back into the tank. So, reducing the speed at which the water falls into your tank will reduce the sound it makes as well.

5. Do I Need a Filter in My Tank?

Yes, for most tanks larger than five gallons in size, using a proper filter is of utmost importance. Your aquarium’s fish and plants produce lots of waste along with various other toxic substances. The filter is essential to remove these substances keeping your tank clean and safe for your pets. Also, filters aerate tank water which helps in improving oxygen levels and promoting photosynthesis for your plants.

6. How Often Should I Change the Filter Media?

Replacing the filter media is an integral part of maintaining the filter to clean your aquarium optimally. We recommend changing the media in your filter every three to four weeks and giving your filter housing a proper rinse. Be sure to eliminate any algae or debris buildup in the media chamber as it might degrade the media quality.

7. How to Set Up and Maintain a HOB Filter

HOB filters are straightforward to set up and usually don’t require any complicated assembly procedures or instructions to install.

Before starting the installation, make sure you take into account the size and shape of your tank and have the correct type of filter for it. For example, a hexagonal tank might not be compatible with a large HOB filter. So, make these decisions beforehand and finalize where you would place the filter.

Once that is done, follow these steps for installation:

  1. Place Filter Media – Most HOB filters come with filtration media that is supposed to go in separate baskets. So, find a suitable basket and place the filter media inside the device.
  2. Hang The Filter on Your Tank – Once the filter is prepared, hang the filter on the edge of your tank. Many tanks will have an empty slot in the canopy for the filter, but if that is not the case, you can place it wherever you want on edge.
  3. Prime The Filter – Priming a filter involves manually filling it up with water to acclimate the system to your tank water. However, this is not the case with many filters that have self-priming functionality.
  4. Plug It In – Finally, you can plug your filter in, and it should start cleaning your tank’s water right away.

When it comes to maintenance, Hang On Back (HOB) filters don’t require much effort. Remember to disconnect the filter and clean out all tubing and internal parts once every four to six weeks.

Also, most devices will come with instructions on how often the filter media should be changed. It could range from bi-weekly to even once every few months for more sturdy filter media. Lastly, for the filter’s sponge, all you have to do is remove it from the device and rinse it within the tank itself. It will help clean off any debris while maintaining any healthy bacteria growth on the sponge.


After thoroughly testing all the options, we recommend the SeaChem Tidal 55 Aquarium Fish Tank Filter as the best hang on back freshwater filter. It offers a powerful multi-stage filtration system that can even be customized so you can use your own filtration media. Along with this, it comes with a unique surface skimmer feature, so you’ll never have to worry about surface residue in your tank.

On top of powerful filtration, this filter also has quick and easy installation and maintenance procedures. The filter has a self-priming pump, so all you have to do is plug it in to get it started on cleaning your tank. Also, maintenance is a breeze as the self-cleaning function will keep the filter running for months without any trouble.

So, we hope this list helped you find the perfect hang on back filter for your tank.

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