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Top 3 external aquarium filters

Eheim2260

Looking for A New External Filter?

Here Are Our Picks for The Top 3 External Aquarium Filters.

Filtering your aquarium is very important, so it’s important to have the best equipment for the job.  I haven’t tried every filter available, but I have tried a good many.  This is a list of the best external aquarium filters that I have used.  Hopefully, this will enable you to make an informed decision when it comes to buying your first, or next external filter.  I haven’t ranked them as each setup and budget is different, so your number 1 may not be my number 1.  This is simply a list 3 that I have found to do a great job and be reliable.

 

Fluval FX

If you have a larger aquarium, then you have no doubt had a look at the Fluval FX range.  Their current models include the FX4 and FX6, but there are plenty of FX5’s still going strong that you can find for sale used.  These external aquarium filters are great, they offer huge media capacity and a good amount of power.  I still run an FX5, the thing is bulletproof (almost) and it is still running perfectly.

Fluval released the FX6 to replace the FX5, power-wise they are both the same, the only additions to the FX6 were maintenance dials on the top, which indicate when you need to clean out the filter.  It is also slightly more energy efficient than the FX5.  At the same time (almost) they added the FX4 to the range, giving an option for smaller aquariums.  The FX4 is slightly less powerful so is better suited to a smaller aquarium.

Here are the stats:

 

I’d say that Fluval FX has been a little ambitious with some of these numbers, such as aquarium capacity.  1,500 litres seems like a bit much for one FX6.  I run my FX5 on a 580-litre tank and it does a great job, but any bigger an aquarium and I would want at least 2 of them on it.

One issue I have found with the Fluval FX range is that the clips for the lids break quite easily.  I did, however, find that people are able to 3D print stronger ones that are available on eBay here.  These are stronger and cheaper to replace.  If you’re on the originals, then just try not to overtighten the lid ad they will be fine.

The Fluval FX filters produce a great amount of flow and allow you to add several layers of media.  This adds up to a very capable piece of equipment when it comes to filtering your aquarium.

Here is a link to Fluval if you would like to know more.

FluvalFX

 

Eheim classic external canister

The Eheim classic has been around for a good few years now and was one of my first external aquarium filters.  It’s a relatively simple design and comes with various size options to suit just about any aquarium from 50 litres to 1500 litres (again I think this is a little ambitious).   Here is a list of the sizes available:

EHEIM classic 150 -2211-:
– for aquariums up to 150 l
– Pump output: 300 l/h
– Delivery head: 1.2 m/Ws
– Canister Volume: 1.3 l
– Filter volume: 1.0 l
– Power consumption: 230 V/50 Hz 5 W
– Dimensions: 110×290 mm (diameter x height)
– Hose size suction side 12/16 mm -pressure side 9/12 mm
– delivery incl. Hoses, pipes and filter pads (without media)
– Suitable for fresh and marine water

EHEIM classic 250 -2213-:
– for aquariums up to 250 l
– Pump output: 440 l/h
– Delivery head: 1.5 m/Ws
– Canister Volume: 3.5 l
– Filter volume: 3.0 l
– Power consumption: 230 V/50 Hz 8 W
– Dimensions: 160×355 mm (diameter x height)
– Hose size suction side and pressure side 12/16 mm
– delivery incl. Hoses, pipes and filter pads (without filter media, without taps)
– Suitable for fresh and marine water

EHEIM classic 350 -2215-:
– for aquariums up to 350 l
– Pump output: 620 l/h
– Delivery head: 1.8 m/Ws
– Canister Volume: 4.8 l
– Filter volume: 4.0 l
– Power consumption: 230 V/50 Hz 15 W
– Dimensions: 185×370 mm (diameter x height)
– Hose size suction side and pressure side 12/16 mm
– delivery incl. Hoses, pipes and filter pads (without filter media, without taps)
– Suitable for fresh and marine water

EHEIM classic 600 -2217-:
– for aquariums up to 600 l
– Pump output: 1000 l/h
– Delivery head: 2.3 m/Ws
– Canister Volume: 6.6 l
– Filter volume: 6.0 l
– Power consumption: 230 V/50 Hz 20 W
– Dimensions: 205×400 mm (diameter x height)
– Hose size suction side 16/22 mm and pressure side 12/16 mm
– delivery incl. Hoses, pipes and filter pads (without filter media, without taps)
-Suitable for fresh and marine water

EHEIM classic 1500 XL -2260-:
– for aquariums up to 1500 l
– Pump output: 2400 l/h
– Delivery head: 3.7 m/Ws
– Canister Volume: 23 l
– Filter volume: 18 l
– Power consumption: 230 V/50 Hz 65 W
– Dimensions: 355×570 mm (diameter x height)
– Hose size suction side 25/34 mm, pressure side 16/22 mm
– delivery incl. Hoses, pipes and filter pads (without filter media)
– Suitable for fresh and marine water

So as you can see, there is a model here for every aquarium and it is a capable rival for Fluvals FX range.  These are again well powered and capable filters.  These canisters are very simple in design which makes them reliable, easy to clean and to maintain.  A downside to these external aquarium filters is that, due to their simple design, they do not self-prime or have a priming button,  so priming has to be done manually.

Here is a link to the Eheim website for more info

 

All Pond Solutions EF range

If you’re looking for a decent external aquarium filter on a budget, then APS is the place to go.  Their EF range is great value for money.  They may create a slight buzzing noise from the cabinet of your aquarium, but they will do a great job of leaning your aquarium.  They come in 4 model sizes and are quite a bit cheaper than the big brand competitors.  There is also an additional option of having a built-in UV steriliser to some models. ‘Boosters’ are available too which gives you a little more room for media.  Here are the three larger models:

Model: EF1
Suitable for Tanks up to 400 Litres
Flow Rate: 1000 Litres per Hour
Hose size: 20mm / 0.8″ Outside, 15mm / 0.6″ Inside Diameter
Hose length 1.8 Metres
Water Volume: 8 Litres (Approx)
Media baskets x 3
Height Max: 2 Metres
Power: 18w
Dimensions: 232 x 232 x 395mm / 9.1″ x 9.1″ x 15.6″

Model: EF2
Suitable for Tanks up to 600 Litres
Flow Rate: 1400 Litres per Hour
Hose size: 20mm / 0.8″ Outside, 15mm / 0.6″ Inside Diameter
Hose length 1.8 Metres
Water Volume: 12 Litres (Approx)
Media baskets x 3
Height Max: 2 Metres
Power: 35w
Dimensions: 258 x 258 x 440mm / 10.2″ x 10.2″ x 17.3″

Model: EFX
Suitable for Tanks up to 1000 Litres
Flow Rate: 2000 Litres per Hour
Hose size: 25mm / 1″ Outside, 18mm / 0.7″ Inside Diameter
Hose length 1.8 Metres
Water Volume: 20 Litres (Approx)
Media baskets x 4
Height Max: 2.5 Metres
Power: 55w
Dimensions: 290 x 290 x 490mm / 11.4″ x 11.4″ x 19.3″

 

APS has now also released a version for smaller aquariums called the EF-150 which circulates 400 LPH.

These external aquarium filters are very cheaply priced but they do a great job.  It does seem that the design of these filters is used by various companies, I have no doubts that they are all the same but APS is the one I used, so the one I recommend.  The downside to them is that they tend to be just slightly louder than the like of Eheim, but I honestly never really noticed mine.

 

Here is a link to the APS website

 

APS1000EF

 

 

 

Let us know your top 3 in the comments!

Click here to learn more about aquarium filtration sand filter placement.

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I am a fish keeping enthusiast with over 20 years experience. I currently keep American Cichlids (CA) which are my favourite fish to keep so far. I started Seriously Fishy as I noticed a large volume of people on various web pages looking for help with Aquarium basics. I created the first Seriously Fishy book to solve the issue in 28 pages, that led to the Seriously Fishy UK fish forum and blog.

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