5 Best Freshwater Aquarium Filtration Systems

Fish make great pets. They can are great to look at and relatively low on the maintenance. All you need to do is feed them a few times a day and make sure that their aquarium is clean. Sounds easy enough right? Well for the most part keeping the aquarium clean is easy work but not if you don’t have the right filtration system.

Having the right filtration system will be the big difference-maker when it comes to how much time you actually have to spend cleaning your tank. You want to make sure you get the right filtration system for your freshwater aquarium. Let’s take a look at 5 of the best filtration systems for your freshwater aquarium.

Best Freshwater Aquarium Filtration Systems

1. Cascade 1000 Canister Filter

The Cascade 1000 Canister Filter seems to be a top choice in the freshwater aquarium market. This superior filter can be used in any size tank that is 100 gallons or less.

This freshwater aquarium filtration system pumps up to 265 gallons per hour! But that’s not all it does.

Let’s take a look at what this filtration system is capable of :-

  • The combination of powerful mechanical, chemical and biological filtration guarantees you crystal clear water.
  • Fine particulate matter which would otherwise buildup in your tank is removed thanks to the floss pad.
  • Other toxins and impurities in the water are removed by the activated carbon media.
  • Filter comes with 4 locking clamps to make for the tightest fit possible.

The Cascade 1000 Canister Filter seems to be a popular choice among freshwater aquarium owners. If you want crystal clear water in your aquarium this might be the right choice for you!

2. Emperor 400 Pro Series Bio-wheel Power Filter

Whether you have experience with freshwater aquariums or you’re brand new to them this filter is a great addition to your tank. The Emperor 400 is perfect for aquariums that are 80 gallons or less.

With its 3 stage filtration system, this powerful filter has a flow rate of up to 400 gallons per hour.

Let’s take a look at some of the custom features designed for this powerful filtration system:-

  • Dual impeller design delivers professional grade filtration. The main impeller drives the water through the mechanical and chemical filtration systems. The secondary impeller pressurizes the filtered water.
  • The extra-large BIO-wheel comes with a noise reducing cover. This is perfect for you if you want to keep your tank quiet.
  • No set up required.

The Emperor 400 is the only filter on the market that incorporates the dual impeller design. This innovative design makes this filter unique and reliable. This is definitely a good choice for you if you have a tank that is 80 gallons or less.

3. Fluval 406 External Canister Filter

If you want to take aquarium filtration to the next level this is the filter for you. High on quality and low on maintenance the Fluval 406 is the perfect choice for any tank that is 100 gallons or less.

The Fluval 406 can circulate up to 245 gallons of water per hour.

Let’s take a look at some of the best features:-

  • The instant prime system guarantees a quick start-up.
  • Comes complete with a clog proof intake strainer.
  • Includes a dual layer pre-filter foam screen.
  • Easy installation and setup.

The Fluval 406 is best suited for anyone who wants the absolute best quality filtration. This filtration system is backed by a three year warranty. With a great reputation and a great warranty you can’t go wrong if you decide to purchase this filter.

4. Rena 721 Filstar XP2 Canister Filter

The Filstar XP2 is one of the most reliable and easy to maintain filters that money can buy.

This filter is perfect for freshwater aquariums that are 75 gallons or less. The XP2 has a flow rate of up to 300 gallons per hour which is amazing for its price range.

This filter has some great and unique features. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • The XP2 is color-coded to the instruction book for a very easy setup.
  • The self-priming features guarantee that this filter is low maintenance. No pumping is necessary.
  • Secure and flexible tubing with two flexible tubing clamps.
  • Anti-airlock system for silent operation

The XP2 will keep you aquarium clean and will keep itself quiet. This filter is great for you if you don’t have much time for maintenance but want the cleanest aquarium possible. With quality-made parts and an easy setup, this filter is a great addition to any aquarium.

5. AquaClear 110 Aquarium Power Filter

For such a small filter you wouldn’t expect the AquaClear 110 to be so powerful. Don’t let the size fool you. This filter is one of the best on the market.

Despite its size, this powerful filter is great for tanks that are 110 gallons or less. This filter is energy efficient and pumps up to 500 gallons per hour.

This filter has many great features. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

  • The media system includes a patented re-circulation grid and multi-filter media stacking. This allows water to be passed through the media filter more than once. This custom contributes to superior water quality.
  • When the flow rate is reduced 50% of the water is processed multiple times.
  • The custom intake “U” tube directs unfiltered water through filter inserts. This process traps particles and debris that could pollute the water.
  • Lifetime warranty

This filter is perfect for you if you’re looking for something with power that won’t take up much space. The company is so confident in its product that it offers a lifetime warranty. This is a great option for anyone in need of a superior filtration system.


When it comes to freshwater aquarium filtration systems you have a lot of options. The hardest part is finding the right one for you and your tank. The filters listed above is a great place to start.

However, I’d suggest doing a little bit more research and read up on what other aquarists have to say too. Be sure to make sure that the reviewer has a similar to setup as yours to fully gauge its effectiveness. As this may vary based on different freshwater aquarium setups.

If you need further guidance, be sure to read our short guide on freshwater aquarium filters. This covers the 5 things you should know about filters and understanding this will help you make a better choice.

What’s Your Freshwater Aquarium Filter Of Choice?

Have you used any of the filters listed above?

Do you think they deserve to be labeled as the Best Freshwater Aquarium Filter System?

Share your thoughts and experience with us and other hobbyists in the comments section below. We’d love to hear about other brands too!

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