With your aquarium at your home or at your workplace, it goes without saying keeping it clean will definitely ensure that the health of the fish is paramount.
Well, as it turns out, there’s no better way to ensure this other than with purchasing the best HOB filter for aquarium. This not only ensures that the water is clean enough for the fish to thrive in, but it also gives your aquarium an aesthetic look that is really eye-catching.
Now that you do have a rough idea of what this post is all about, let’s go ahead and have a look at what these are all about, shall we?
What is HOB Filter?
A HOB filter is one of the many filter options you could get in the market for your aquarium. What sets them apart from most, however, is their simplistic nature, their efficiency and most importantly, the low maintenance they come with.
A HOB filter utilizes a cartridge which is the medium of the 3-stage filtration process that keeps your fish healthy. It entails the biological, chemical and mechanical processes.
Hang On Back filters (HOB) are also preferred due to their silent nature as compared to the earlier versions. Despite all the advantages it comes with, the main setback is that when the cartridge is removed, the good bacterial colony is eliminated.
More often than not, you may have to choose between these two. Due to this, most people have somewhat of a hard time deciding which one they ought to go for. Well, let’s have a look at what each one of these is all about, shall we?
The canister variant
As compared to most, canister filters are preferred since they come with a low flow rate and their large size which allows for customizable filter media. Through media customization, cleaning the water is better. With these much advantages, it won’t come as a surprise or anyone to settle for this kind of filter.
Despite the positives, cleaning and maintenance of the canister filters are quite cumbersome. Minus at least the 30 minutes you’ll take to open it up, scrub and replace some of the filter material, you’ll also have to completely take them out before you can do this. So, to avoid too much work, it’s recommended that you always clean it on time.
The first thing you’ll enjoy with this is the easy installation process. This doesn’t need as much hardware as a canister filter needs when setting up.
As far as cleaning is concerned, it comes with fewer parts and getting to the filter media, in most cases, is quite easy as all you have to do is swap the present with a new one.
Depending on the mode, the flow rate and filtration capacity will vary so it’s recommended that you pick one depending on the size of your aquarium.
Why You Need This Type of Filter
We’ve taken a look at what the HOB filter is all about as well as the competition. From these, let’s go ahead and see why you’d be better off with a HOB filter, shall we?
First things first, since it always comes down to whether or not you can purchase one, HOB filters are quite cheap. The fact that they also have a low maintenance cost and can be chosen depending on the size of your aquarium qualifies these as the better choice as compared to most.
So, in a nutshell, even if you are on a budget, you can still be able to get good enough a filter to ensure the health of your fish is on point.
The 8 Best HOB Filter Reviews of 2020
On to today’s main agenda, it’s time to go ahead and see what you should look forward to from the best HOB filter brands in 2019. Here are the top 8 reviews:
Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter – 60 to 110 Gallons – 110v
In addition to being from one of the top brands in the market, you can also get Aqua Clear HOB Filter in different variants for aquariums with different capacities. Here’s what makes it the best HOB filter.
Get superior water quality with the multiple filtration system
Included in the HOB filter is the AquaClear Foam but in addition to this, there is also an activated carbon and BioMax Cycle Guard which ensures there is a continuous biological filtration. With the combination of more than just one medium, the water will definitely be at the best quality
The installation is quick and easy
Whether you’re looking for the best hob filter for 20 gallon tank or 110-gallon tank, this one ought to do the trick. As it is the case with all HOB filters, installation is quick and easy since all you have to do is hang it up.
Despite the simple operation, the filtration volume, as compared to other filters is 7 times larger which is quite amazing.
Enjoy superior filtration at a low operation cost
The refiltration system is designed to offer more contact time with the filter media and also included in the design is an energy-efficient pump which lowers the operating cost.
- Has got multiple filter media for superior water quality
- The installation is quick and hassle-free
- Includes an energy-efficient pump that lowers operating cost
- It’s not the best for sand aquariums as it may get noisy
Marineland Penguin Power Filter w/ Multi-Stage Filtration
From the multi-stage filtration process to the different filtration rates you can choose from, this HOB filter could just be the upgrade you’ve been looking for. Here’s every reason why.
Has got a 3-stage filtration process
Since this is what an HOB filter is all about, the 3-stage filtration process will definitely blow your mind. With the combination of mechanical, chemical and biological media, the water sure is going to be clean enough for the thriving of your fish.
The high flow rate ensures the best filtration
With this unit, you’ll be getting an amazing 350GPH which is perfect for aquariums that have a capacity of up to 70 gallons. What’s even more interesting is that you could get a lower flow rate for a different sized tank
Easy to use and set up
As far as setting it up is concerned, it comes with ready to use convenient penguin size cartridges and there are also 3 stage bio-wheel filters which makes this the best hob filter for saltwater and freshwater.
- Has got a 3-medium filtration system
- Comes with a ready to use the filter
- It’s suitable for both salt and freshwater
- The flow rate is fixed on all units
Fluval C Power Filter
Boasting to have an amazing 5-level filtration, you can get this Fluval Filter in either of 3 different variants depending on the capacity of your aquarium and there’s also plenty more to look forward to. Here goes…
Features easy maintenance and installation
Being an HOB filter, it should be quick and easy to set it up behind your aquarium. Regardless of whichever size you choose, all you have to do is clip it on and you are good to go. To add icing to the cake,
Has got a cleaning indicator built into it
On to the operation, it does have a cleaning indicator with which you should easily know when the polyfoam needs to be rinsed. This way, you’ll always clean it up on time and upon doing so ensure your fish are healthy and at the same time save you from the trouble of doing too much cleaning in the future.
It provides a superior cleaning process
Last but not least, all the models have got a 5-stage cleaning process that maintains refreshing crisp water and a stress-free environment. As far as the filtration speed is concerned, you can get the unit in either the 256, 153 or 119 gallons per hour for different tank sizes.
- Features a cleaning indication to know when to rinse the polyfoam
- Includes a 5-stage filtration process for 40 to 70-gallon aquariums
- Quick and easy maintenance makes it easy to use.
- It’s a little too loud
Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters
As the name suggests, this is indeed one of the quietest hob filters you can get in the market. In addition to being available in different sizes, here’s more you should look forward to on this bad boy.
Easy and convenient cartridge monitoring
Included in the design is an LED indicator which flashes when the time to replace a clogged cartridge comes. This basically works by monitoring the water levels so you don’t have to do this by yourself and as such, everything is made much easier. For the cartridges, it uses large Aqueon variants for optimal performance.
Designed to offer a silent and reliable operation
Also built into the Aqueon QuietFlow is an internal pump which aids in dampening noise while at the same time eliminating any leaks.
Has got 3 filtration media
Yet another feature that makes this a good enough filter is the presence of a mechanical, chemical and biological filtration media plus an additional Aqueon specialty filter pads for optimal filtration.
- The internal pump dampens noise and eliminates leaks
- It’s designed to automatically power-up in case of a blackout
- It utilizes3 different filtration media for superior water cleaning
- The LED indicator might give in after a while
MarineLand Emperor Filter Systems, 400B
Yet another amazing one from MarineLand is the 400B HOB filter. From the flow rate to the build quality and efficiency, you’ll be getting one of the best experiences as far as aquarium filters are concerned.
Has got a multi-stage filtration process
So as to ensure a clean aquatic environment is maintained, this HOB filter utilizes the mechanical, chemical as well as biological medium. At the end of the day, you won’t have to worry about your fish being suffocated or have their overall health compromised
Excellent filtration is achieved by the bio-wheel
In addition to the multi-stage filtration process, there’s also the patented bio-wheel technology which is designed to provide the best wet/dry biological filtration.
Usable with high capacity aquariums
Last but not least, yet another feature you’re bound to appreciate on this bad boy is the high flow rate. Being as high as 400 GPH, it should work perfectly well with aquariums that have a capacity of up to 80 gallons.
- Features a multi-stage filtration process
- Has got a 400GPH flow rate compatible with large capacity aquariums
- Allows for excellent wet/dry biological filtration
- It might get a little too noisy
Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter
Other than being really easy to set up, it’s also available in 6 different options for different aquarium sizes. The filtration, among other things, is amazing as well. here’s every reason you should pick it.
Adjust the filtration with ease using the flow knob
Built into the filter is a flow knob with which you should be able to reduce filtration during the feeding time which ensures your fish are getting optimal nutrition. If you’re looking for the best hob filter for saltwater and fresh water, this could just be it.
Has got a quad-filtration for maximum oxygenation
Considering the filtration system entails the utilization of anaerobic bacteria for additional ammonia and nitrite removal for maximum oxygenation, you couldn’t go wrong with it. There’s also an activated carbon cartridge that is designed to eliminate contaminants.
Design to enhance the thriving of beneficial bacteria
Inside the filter is an internal sponge that optimizes the colonization of anaerobic bacteria as well as a poly-fiber floss cartridge which traps particulate floating matter that in turn keeps the health of your fish in the best condition.
- You can reduce the filtration using the adjustable knob.
- The internal sponge optimizes the thriving of anaerobic bacteria
- Optimal filtration is achieved by the quad filtration
- Setting up the filter media is a little tricky
Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter
Coming up second last, as the name suggests, is one of the quietest hob filters from Tetra you could get. Whether you want the best hob filter for 10 gallon tank or one for a 70-gallon tank, this should do the trick.
Ready and easy to use out of the box.
So as to give you the easiest time as far as setting it up is concerned, it comes ready to use and to add icing to the cake, there’s the time strip tech. The latter is designed to make the filter more convenient to use since it tells you when to change the carbon filter
Utmost filtration is achieved by the carbon filters
On to the filtration system, you’ll be needing carbon cartridges for this and changing them is also quite easy. The trap door at the top stays in place while changing the filter cartridges and the carrier also helps keep your hands away from used cartridges to eliminate unwanted drips
- Has got a submerged and low maintenance motor
- Features a time strip to let you know when to change the carbon filter
- You’re set to use it right after you unpack it
- Its operation is a little too loud
SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter
Wrapping up our best HOB filter reviews is one of the few that have got easy maintenance and at the same time does promise a user-friendly operation. Let’s dive in and see what it’s got, shall we?
Has got a water intake regulation
With a fully adjustable telescoping intake pipe, flow regulation as well as intake regulation, it will be easy enough to draw water through from any level of the tank. What’s more interesting is that it is usable in fresh or saltwater.
Easy usage with the automatic alert mechanism
With this, you should know when it’s necessary to clean up the filter or when to do any maintenance. There’s also a fully removable basket that makes the cleaning process easy and mess-free.
For maximum gas exchange, there are additional aeration slots in the lid and outflow for maximum gas exchange.
Includes a skimmer to eliminate debris
To keep the water as clean as possible, there’s a skimmer present that is designed to capture debris floating just below the surface such as fish oil, algae, and other contaminants. At the end of the day, you’ll have crystal clear and clean water.
- It’s usable in fresh and saltwater
- Water intake can be regulated using the telescoping handle
- There’s an automatic maintenance alert
- The pump cover is a little too difficult to remove
The Ultimate Guide to Getting The Best HOB filter
On to the second portion of today’s post, let’s have a look at all you need to have in mind if you, indeed, do want to have the best HOB filter.
Size of Aquarium
Regarding the size of your aquarium, it’s all about picking a filter that will be powerful enough depending on the size of your tank. For optimal performance, I would recommend that you go for a filter that is slightly more powerful but not too powerful to create an excess current in the water
This is the amount of water that the HOB filter can filter in an hour. Depending on the size of your aquarium, it’s recommended that you select a filter that can filter at least 4 times the total capacity of your aquarium. Going any more than this would make the water in the aquarium somewhat unsettling for the fish
Filtration media varies from one model to the other and you can choose from either of three options. These include mechanical, chemical or biological media and for more efficiency, it could be a combination of all/either of these.
Since it could get a little confusing to know which HOB filter media will work best for your tank, it’s always better to go for a combination of all three just to be safe.
The HOB filter market is quite competitive which is quite an advantage since you can get some really good features at a low price.
Other than the above-mentioned features, some HOB filters could have other additional features to make them stand out from the rest. In such a case, you should only spend your hard-earned cash on it if the added features are going to be beneficial to you.
Like most products, not all brands will give you the very best. This being the case, it’s important that you know which ones you should focus on in the strive of getting the best HOB filter.
Some of the most reputed brands in the market include Marineland, Aqueon, AquaClear, Fluval, and Tetra. These should also be the easiest way for you to choose an ideal HOB filter if you don’t want to go ahead and go through the hassle of looking into the technicalities and reviews of how well one performs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does a hob filter work?
The working of all HOB filters is pretty much the same since you’ll have an impeller draw in water from the tank via the tube intake. Before being returned to the tank, the water passes through the filters. Whereas mechanical filters only function to capture debris, the water can be further purified when using a chemical or biological filter
How to set up a Hob filter?
Depending on the model you have, the set-up process may be different. It, however, all comes down to hanging the filter back on the aquarium. Most HOB filters need assembling and as such, you should go ahead and put it all together before setting hanging it up on your aquarium
How to clean a Hob filter?
First, you’ll have to unplug it and remove it from the back of your aquarium after which you should remove the lid and take out the cartridges or filter basket containing the filter media.
The filter media could be a sponge, carbon bag or biological media. Regardless of whichever media you got, go ahead and clean it in some of the old aquarium water. For a carbon bag, it’s recommended that you replace it every 3 weeks.
Next, take out the filter intake stem and clean with a brush to remove algae. The same should be done for the intake tube so as to maximize water flow.
The second last thing you should do is cleaning the motor to clean the impeller with a brush after which you should lubricate it to reseal the motor’s gasket then replace it in position.
Lastly, reassemble the filter, hang it up then fill the cartridge with the aquarium water before plugging it in
Can you use a Hob filter for a saltwater tank?
Yes, you can, as a matter of fact, be able to use a HOB filter in a saltwater aquarium. Some HOB filters are designed to be multifunctional such that with a multiple stage filtration system, it is able to clean a saltwater aquarium quite easily
Where to Place a HOB filter
As the name suggests, Hang On Back filters is basically mounted at the back of your aquarium and stand out to be the easiest to set up as far as aquarium filters are concerned.
From both the buying guide and the HOB filter reviews, you sure are going to have your fish at peak health. As much as you may have one from some of the best models in the market, I’d highly recommend that you observe routine cleaning as instructed by the manufacturer to have your filter in peak performance.
It’s also important that you be really keen on the kind of filter you choose so as to ensure that it is totally compatible with your aquarium.