Best Filter For 55 Gallon Tank – Reviews And Buyer’s Guide

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If you have a 55-gallon fish tank, you’ll need a filter that can properly clean the water and keep your fish healthy. After all, a clean and healthy environment is essential for your fish to thrive. But with so many different types and brands of filters on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your tank.

To help you make the best decision for your fish, we’ve compiled a list of the five best filters for 55-gallon tanks. We will cover a variety of factors, including flow rate, filtration media, and ease of use, to ensure that our list has something for everyone.

Comparison Table of the 5 Best Filter For 55 Gallon Tank

IMAGE

SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter, Tidal 55 Gallon

BRAND

SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter, Tidal 55 Gallon

DETAILS

  • Product Dimensions: ‎ 8.06 x 6.13 x 8.38 inches
  • Product Weight: 2.2 Pounds
  • Manufacturer ‏: ‎ Deepwater Aquatics Distribution

Pricing

Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter

BRAND

Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter

DETAILS

  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.5 x 17.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 14.25 pounds
  • Manufacturer: Central Garden & Pet
MarineLand Penguin 350 Power Filter 50 – 75 Gallon Aquarium, 350 GPH

BRAND

MarineLand Penguin 350 Power Filter 50 – 75 Gallon Aquarium, 350 GPH

DETAILS

  • Product Dimensions: ‎ 15.25 x 6.12 x 8 inches
  • Item Weight: 3.53 Pounds
  • Manufacturer: MarineLand
Tetra Whisper EX 70 Filter For 45 To 70 Gallon aquariums

BRAND

Tetra Whisper EX 70 Filter For 45 To 70 Gallon aquariums

DETAILS

  • Product Dimensions: 6.31 x 12.88 x 9.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.43 Pounds
  • Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Tetra
Penn-Plax Clear-Free Premium Under Gravel Aquarium Filter (UGF)

BRAND

Penn-Plax Clear-Free Premium Under Gravel Aquarium Filter (UGF)

DETAILS

  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 2.5 x 11.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.02 Pounds
  • Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Penn Plax, INC.

What Do Filters Do For 55-Gallon Tanks?

We all have a vague sense that filters keep a tank clean and create a healthy environment for fish, but what do they actually do?

A filter’s job is to remove physical and dissolved waste from the water. Physical waste includes things like uneaten food, heavy metals, and other solid waste particles that can cloud the water and make it unsafe for fish. Dissolved waste consists of compounds like ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and other forms of chemical waste. To keep fish healthy, it’s important to have a filter that can effectively remove both types of waste.

Most filters work by running gallons of water through a series of filter media. The most common type of filter media is activated carbon, which can remove dissolved waste. Other types of media like zeolite can remove ammonia, and mechanical media like filter pads can remove physical waste. Once the water has been filtered, it’s returned to the tank in a series of strong currents that keep the water moving and circulating. Some filters will provide the option of gentler currents if you have fish that prefer still water.

The best filters for 55-gallon tanks will remove both physical and dissolved waste while leaving plenty of space for beneficial bacteria to grow. These bacteria are responsible for breaking down waste and keeping the water clean, so it’s important to have a filter designed to promote their growth. In addition, the best filter tanks that are 55 gallons in size will be easy to maintain and won’t break the bank.

Now that we know what filters do and why they’re important, let’s look at how one should choose the best filter for a 55-gallon tank. 

Choosing The Best Filter For Your Tank: Buyers’ Guide

woman thinking, raising her both hands with question mark

There are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing a filter for your 55-gallon tank. We’ve outlined some of the key considerations below.

Type of Filter

There are three main types of filters: canister, hang-on-back, and power filters. External canister filters are the most powerful and efficient type of filter, but they’re also the most expensive and difficult to maintain. Hang-on-back filters are a good middle ground; they’re not as powerful as canister filters but much easier to maintain. Power filters are the cheapest and easiest to maintain but are also the least powerful.

These types of filters have in common because they all use filter media to remove waste from the water. If you’ve heard of sponge, foam, or cartridge filters, these are all types of filter media. The type of filter you choose will determine what type of filter media you use for mechanical filtration. Most internal filters will also come with a built-in chemical filter, which is usually made of activated carbon.

Finally, biological filters are a type of filter that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for breaking down waste and keeping the water clean. All three types of filters will provide some space for beneficial bacteria to grow, but canister filters and hang-on-back filters usually have the most space. Take this into consideration when choosing a filter for your tank.

Filter Flow Rate

Aquarium filter

Another important consideration is the flow rate, which is measured in gallons per hour (GPH). The GPH flow rate measures the amount of water per hour that a filter can move through its media. A higher GPH means more water is being filtered within an hour and is what hobbyists may label a “faster” filter or one with a strong flow rate. These are best for larger tanks, as they create more water movement.

A lower GPH, on the other hand, will filter less water within an hour and is considered a “slower” filter with a weaker flow rate. These types of filters are often best for smaller tanks because they provide less water movement. To calculate the GPH flow rate you need for your tank, just multiply the tank size in gallons by 4. So, for a 55-gallon tank, you would need a filter with a flow rate of at least 220 GPH.

Using the right filter for your tank size is important because a filter that’s too weak won’t be able to keep the water clean, and a filter that’s too strong will create too much water movement, which can stress out your fish. The consequences of using an inappropriately sized filter is especially pronounced in tanks with a larger surface area, like 55-gallon tanks. This is because there’s more area for dirt and debris to accumulate, so a stronger filter is needed to keep the water clean.

Maintenance Requirements 

Effective filtration is important, but choosing a filter that’s easy to maintain is also important. After all, what’s the point of having a filter if you’re not going to keep it clean? The good news is, all filters require some basic maintenance, but some filters are easier to maintain than others – even if you have opted for an extra-large filter to guarantee that your water quality stays high.

As a general rule, canister filters are the most difficult to maintain because they have more parts that need to be disassembled and cleaned regularly. Things like an external motor and tubing can become clogged with debris, and the filter media itself will need to be replaced periodically. On the other end of the spectrum, something like a hang-back filter with a reusable sponge is going to be much easier to clean and maintain.

To help you keep up with regular filter maintenance, some filters come with in-built indicator lights that let you know when it’s time to clean the filter. Sometimes, you can rely on water level changes to tell you when it’s time to do a deep clean as well. For example, if your water level drops more than an inch over the course of a day or two, it’s probably time to give your filter a good cleaning. If you don’t mind the added hassle, you can also clean your filter whenever you do a partial water change. This way, you can kill two birds with one stone!

Technology

With the ever-growing popularity of aquariums, it’s no surprise that filter manufacturers are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to improve their products. Gone are the days where your filtration options were solely limited to the kinds of filter media you wanted to use. Now, there are all sorts of different filters on the market that utilize different technologies to achieve optimal filtration.

Multi-stage filtration is one popular type of filtration that’s becoming increasingly common in the aquarium world. This is where a filter uses more than one stage of filtration to clean the water. In many cases, customizable filter media baskets are used so that you can mix and match different types of media to create a filtration system that’s tailored to your specific needs. For example, if you have a particularly messy tank, you might want to use a multi-stage filter with heavier media like carbon and ammonia removers.

Finally, new features such as an internal motor and self-priming pump are making canister filters easier to use than ever before. These new features enable setting up and maintaining a stress-free environment even when the unexpected happens. For instance, power outages are no longer a death sentence for your fish if you have a canister filter with an internal motor backed up by a battery. Features like these make a world of difference when it comes to making your fish-keeping experience as enjoyable as possible.

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency

Last but not least, it’s important to consider the energy efficiency of your filter. This is especially important if you’re running a larger tank because you will need something capable of efficient filtration while remaining energy efficient. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending a fortune on your electric bill!

Some of the most energy-efficient filters on the market feature an adjustable flow knob. This allows you to dial down the flow rate of your filter so that it’s not working overtime when it doesn’t need to be. In many cases, you can also find filters that come with an automatic shut-off feature. This is especially useful if energy consumption is a major concern for you.

Choosing the best filter for your 55-gallon tank doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By keeping the above factors in mind, you can narrow down your options and choose a perfect filter for your needs!

5 Best Filters For 55-Gallon Tanks

Now that we have a better idea of what to look for in a filter, here are some of the best filters for 55-gallon tanks:

1. SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter, Tidal 55 Gallon

SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter, Tidal 55 Gallon
  • Product Dimensions: ‎ 8.06 x 6.13 x 8.38 inches
  • Product Weight: 2.2 Pounds
  • Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Deepwater Aquatics Distribution

As far as hang-on-back filters go, the SeaChem Tidal 55 Gallon Filter is one of the best you can buy. It’s an excellent choice for a 55-gallon fish tank and is very easy to install and use. Whether you have a freshwater or saltwater tank, this filter will do a great job of keeping your water clean and clear. Not only does it have a three-stage filtration system, but it also comes with a self-priming pump for easy startup.

In addition, this filter comes with a surface skimmer that helps to remove oil and other floating debris from the water’s surface. This is a great feature, as it helps keep your aquarium water looking its best. Those who have trouble remembering when to service your filter will appreciate the maintenance monitor built into this unit. Last but not least, we really like the fact that this filter comes with a self-cleaning impeller. This feature helps to reduce the amount of maintenance that you have to do, and it also helps to prolong the life of the filter.

Overall, the SeaChem Tidal 55 Gallon Filter is a great choice for those looking for an easy-to-use and effective hang-on-back filter. It’s a great choice for saltwater and freshwater tanks, and it has several features that make it easy to use and maintain. Some reviewers note that it does not come with enough filtration media, but this is easily remedied by buying additional media separately. All in all, this is a great filter that we highly recommend.

PROS

  • Very easy to install and use
  • Three-stage filtration system
  • Self-priming pump for easy startup
  • Surface skimmer removes floating debris
  • Maintenance monitor tracks service intervals
  • Self-cleaning impeller reduces maintenance

CONS

  • Some reviewers wish it came with more filtration media

2. Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter

Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.5 x 17.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 14.25 pounds
  • Manufacturer: Central Garden & Pet

Canister filters are great for a number of reasons, but they can be a bit tricky to install and maintain. The Aqueon QuietFlow Canister Filter is a great choice for those of you who are looking for an easy-to-use and effective canister filter. It’s a great choice for aquariums up to 55 gallons, and it comes with thoughtful design features such as multiple water return options for increased versatility and a hang-on-back water polishing unit.

These design features may not seem like much, but when filtration efficiency rests on proper maintenance, it’s nice to have a filter that makes the process as easy as possible. All you need to do is replace the water polishing unit and carbon filter once a month, rinse the filter pads every other week, and you’re good to go. This filter also comes with a quick disconnect valve that makes it easy to disconnect and clean the filter without having to remove the entire unit from your tank.

Because this is a quiet filter that works exactly as intended, reviewers have nothing but good things to say about it. However, several customers find the customer service lacking, with a lot of opacity surrounding warranty claims and product replacements. This is something to keep in mind if you’re considering this filter, but overall it’s the ideal choice for those of you who are looking for an easy-to-use and effective canister filter.

PROS

  • Easy to install and use
  • Comes with a hang-on-back water polishing unit
  • Multiple water return options for increased versatility
  • Quick disconnect valve makes it easy to clean the filter
  • Quiet operation

CONS

  • Customer service is not very responsive

3. MarineLand Penguin 350 Power Filter 50 – 75 Gallon Aquarium, 350 GPH

MarineLand Penguin 350 Power Filter 50 – 75 Gallon Aquarium, 350 GPH
  • Product Dimensions: ‎ 15.25 x 6.12 x 8 inches
  • Item Weight: 3.53 Pounds
  • Manufacturer: MarineLand

With over 35,000 reviews on Amazon, the MarineLand Penguin 350 Power Filter is one of the most popular aquarium filters on the market. This filter is designed for aquariums up to 70 gallons, and it features a three-stage filtration system that includes mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. The Penguin 350 also comes with an adjustable flow rate, so you can customize your aquarium filtration to your specific needs.

One of the best things about this filter is its unique rotating bio wheel that provides effective biological filtration while also helping to aerate the water. This is a great feature that ensures complete filtration. The Penguin 350 also comes with an easy-to-change filter cartridge that makes maintenance a breeze. Marineland Rite-Size Filter Cartridges are available in various sizes, so you can find the perfect fit, no matter your fish tank size.

In general, reviewers love the Penguin 350 Power Filter because it is effective, quiet, and easy to maintain. Its noise-reducing covers, BIO-Wheel filters, and adjustable flow rate make it a great choice for an effective and low-maintenance aquarium filter. However, some customers report that the filter is difficult to set up and leaks, so be sure to read the instructions carefully before installation. Overall, the Penguin 350 Power Filter is a great choice for those of you who are looking for an effective way to maintain a healthy tank.

PROS

  • Three-stage filtration system
  • Unique rotating bio wheel for effective biological filtration
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Easy-to-change filter cartridge
  • Available in a variety of sizes

CONS

  • Difficult to set up
  • May leak

4. Tetra Whisper EX 70 Filter For 45 To 70 Gallon aquariums

Tetra Whisper EX 70 Filter For 45 To 70 Gallon aquariums
  • Product Dimensions: 6.31 x 12.88 x 9.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.43 Pounds
  • Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Tetra

The Tetra Whisper EX 70 Filter is a great choice for those of you who are looking for a quiet, yet powerful filter. At under $40, this filter is one of the most affordable options on the market. The Tetra Whisper EX 70 is designed for aquariums up to 70 gallons, and it features a three-stage filtration system that includes mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. With its patented Whisper technology, the Whisper EX 70 also allows for immediate, quiet, and efficient water filtration.

One of the best things about this external filter is that it is very easy to set up. The game’s name with the Tetra Whisper EX 70 is simplicity, which is reflected in its design. This filter also comes with easy-to-change cartridges for quick and easy maintenance. With water running continuously through the filter, you can be sure that your aquarium is getting the optimal filtration it needs.

The Tetra Whisper EX 70 is a great choice for those of you who are looking for an affordable and effective aquarium filter. Its easy-to-use design and simple maintenance make it a great choice for those of you who are looking for a low-maintenance option. However, some customers report that the filter is not as effective as they would like, and that it can be a little noisier than advertised. Overall, however, the Tetra Whisper EX 70 is a great choice for those looking for something affordable that can easily carry out all the filtration stages.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to change cartridges
  • Continuous filtration

CONS

  • Not as effective as some filters
  • Can be noisy

5.  Penn-Plax Clear-Free Premium Under Gravel Aquarium Filter (UGF)

Penn-Plax Clear-Free Premium Under Gravel Aquarium Filter (UGF)
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 2.5 x 11.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.02 Pounds
  • Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Penn Plax, INC.

Sometimes, the old-school way is the best way. The Penn-Plax Clear-Free Premium Under Gravel Aquarium Filter (UGF) is a great choice for those of you who consider yourselves traditionalists at heart, though it should be noted that this tried and true method of filtration remains popular for a reason. Under gravel filters are one of the most effective ways to filter an aquarium, and they are also one of the most affordable due to their simplicity.

The Penn-Plax Clear-Free Under Gravel Aquarium Filter is designed for 55-gallon aquariums, and utilizes an air pump to deliver powerful filtration. Air and water are drawn through the gravel and filter beds and carbon cartridges to remove debris and toxins. Beneficial bacteria accumulates in the gravel bed, rounding out the three stages of filtration. The best part of this filter is practically invisible, as the only visible part is the air stone.

The Penn-Plax Clear-Free Under Gravel Aquarium Filter is a great choice for affordable and effective aquarium filters. The fact that it comes with minimal moving parts means it is also a great choice for those looking for a low-maintenance option. However, some customers lament that the tubes that come with the filter are not very durable and have to be replaced frequently. Overall, however, the Penn-Plax Clear-Free Under Gravel Aquarium Filter is a great choice for those of you who are looking for an effective and affordable aquarium filter.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Effective
  • Minimal moving parts
  • Practically invisible

CONS

  • Tubes need to be replaced frequently
  • Not as effective as some filters

The Takeaway

There are a lot of different aquarium filters on the market, and it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. However, if you take the time to consider your options and find the one that best suits your needs, you will be sure to find the perfect filter for your 55-gallon aquarium. Once you have the right filter, you can be sure that your aquarium will be healthy and happy for years to come!

We hope you enjoyed this article! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading, and please share this article with your friends!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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