75 Gallon Fish Tank in a Wooden Stand

Top 5 Best 75-Gallon Aquarium Filters (2020 Review)

Whether you own a 10-gallon or a 75-gallon tank, an aquarium filter is a basic necessity for keeping your water crystal clear. An aquarium without a filter will become dirty very quickly, which can have serious consequences on the health of your fish. 

To help you find a suitable 75-gallon fish tank filter for your aquarium, I’ve reviewed a variety of products.

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Review Summary

Best All-Rounder

Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Aquarium Filter

The Penn Plax Cascade 1200 is my top choice for most 75-gallon tanks. It’s not too expensive, offers ample filtration, and has a water flow rate of 315 GPH.

Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Aquarium Filter

This filter is my overall recommendation for most 75-gallon aquariums.

This filter by Penn Plax has a water flow rate of 315 GPH and large media baskets, which are already stocked with filter media. It isn’t too loud in operation, making it a great choice if your tank is located in your bedroom.

Best on a Budget

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

In terms of price, the MarineLand internal canister filter comes up top. It’s very affordable and has a water flow rate of 290 GPH.

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

Out of all the filters I’ve reviewed, this one is the most affordable option. 

The MarineLand internal canister filter is perfect for aquarists on a budget. It comes with all the necessary filter media and offers 3-stage filtration. The water flow rate is only 290 GPH, it’s best used with a second filter.

Editor’s Choice

Fluval 406 Canister Filter

It’s expensive, but is extremely high-quality, making it a worthwhile investment.

Fluval 406 Canister Filter

My personal favorite filter for a 75-gallon tank. It’s a little costly, but extremely high-quality.

Although pricey, the Fluval 406 canister filter is a worthwhile investment for a 75-gallon tank. It’s very well-made, comes with a lot of features, and has a water flow rate of 383 GPH. 

Types of Filters

Aquarium filters come in all shapes and sizes, as well as different types. They’re all designed to clean your tank water, but some types are a better pick for specific setups and fish species.

Here’s a brief rundown of each filter type and how they work.

Undergravel Filters

An undergravel filter goes underneath your substrate. They draw up water via uplift tubes and are used in conjunction with an airstone and air pump or a powerhead. 

TIP

Using this type of filter requires you to clean your substrate frequently to avoid detritus and hydrogen sulfide from building up.

Wet/Dry Filters

Sometimes referred to as a trickle filter, a wet/dry filter works by pushing tank water through a drip plate or rotating arm. They’re commonly used in saltwater aquariums.

Once the water is pumped through the drip plate or rotating arm, it is pressed through biological material inside the filter chamber before making its way back into the aquarium (usually directly or through a sump).

TIP

Wet/dry filters function more efficiently in tanks with high levels of oxygen.

Aquarium Canister Filter
Aquarium Canister Filter

Canister Filters

Canister filters are a common choice in aquariums that are 40 gallons and above. They’re typically pricier than other filter types.

A canister filter works by drawing up tank water through a lift tube before pumping it into an external filter chamber. Here, the water is pushed through filter media and then distributed back into the tank through a tube.

Internal Filters

In aquariums under 20 gallons, internal filters are an ideal choice. They’re fairly straightforward to install, which makes them a lot more beginner-friendly than other filter types, such as canister filters.

They’re fairly straightforward to install, which makes them a lot more beginner-friendly than other filter types

Internal filters need to be positioned in your aquarium water to work. The bottom of the filter draws up water and presses it through filter media.

Most internal filters need an airline affixed to the inlet of the filter, which is powered by an air pump. This air goes through the bottom of the filter and makes its way to the water surface, creating a lot of water movement to help with filtration.

Hang On Back/Power Filters

A hang on back (HOB)/power filter is put onto the back of your aquarium. It works by pulling up water through a siphon tube and pressing it through filter media. 

Air-Driven/Sponge Filters

Air-driven/sponge filters draw water through a sponge via an air pump, power head, or another filter. They offer very gentle filtration, making them beneficial for small fish, invertebrates, fry (baby fish), and sick fish. 

They can provide mechanical and biological filtration, but cannot offer chemical filtration.

Reef Aquarium
Reef Aquarium

Which Type of Filter is Best for a 75-gallon?

For a 75-gallon aquarium, I advise using a canister filter. They offer a lot of mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, and work best in large tanks.

However, canister filters can be a bit pricey, so if cost is a factor, then a hang on back/power filter is another suitable option. Some aquarists use two power filters in tanks over 75 gallons to ensure their aquarium is getting enough filtration.

3 Way Filtering Function

Chemical Filtration

This type of filtration uses activated carbon, resin, or another type of absorbent to get rid of bad odors, water impurities, and discoloration from your aquarium.

Mechanical Filtration

Mechanical filtration takes away particles such as uneaten food, debris, and fish waste from your tank. 

Biological Filtration

Biological filtration is the activity of beneficial bacteria converting ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate. 

Which is Best for a 75-gallon Tank?

Personally, I’d use all three types of filtration in a 75-gallon tank. Chemical filtration isn’t necessary, but biological and mechanical filtration are crucial. 

Water Flow Rate

In order to work efficiently, your aquarium filter needs to have a suitable water flow for your tank capacity. Your filter should be capable of cleaning at least four times the volume of your aquarium per hour.

Your filter should be capable of cleaning at least four times the volume of your aquarium per hour…

For example, a filter for a 75-gallon tank needs a water flow rate of at least 300 GPH (gallons per hour).

Opened Canister Filter
Opened Canister Filter

Maintenance and Filter Media Replacement

Cleaning your filter is vital, as a dirty or clogged filter won’t be able to clean your aquarium very well.

It’s best to clean your filter every four weeks, which involves taking it apart and clearing out any dirt or sludge that might have built-up. Only use tank water when cleaning your filter and media.

TIP

You should regularly check your filter for any signs of damage, such as loss of suction.

Although filter media needs changing eventually, you don’t need to replace most types too often. Media like ceramic rings, plastic bio-balls, and coarse foams typically only need replacing when they are falling apart or damaged. 

Activated carbon, on the other hand, deactivates after two to four weeks, so it will need to be swapped out regularly. Filter floss also needs replacing roughly every 5 days or when it is dirty.

NOTE

When the time comes to replace your bio-media, make sure you seed your new media for a minimum of two weeks. A lot of beneficial bacteria live on your filter media, so throwing it out before seeding your new filter media can be devastating to your aquarium’s ecosystem.

75 Gallon Fish Tank Filter Reviews

Best All-Rounder

Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Aquarium Filter

The Penn Plax Cascade 1200 is my top choice for most 75-gallon tanks. It’s not too expensive, offers ample filtration, and has a water flow rate of 315 GPH.

Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Aquarium Filter

The Penn Plax Cascade 1200 is my top choice for most 75-gallon tanks. It’s not too expensive, offers ample filtration, and has a water flow rate of 315 GPH.

It’s not too expensive, offers ample filtration, and has a water flow rate of 315 GPH…

The manufacturer states that this model is suitable for tanks up to 150 gallons, but I’d advise against this and only consider using it for aquariums up to 75 gallons. 

The filter media baskets are huge and hold a lot of filter media. You get a coarse sponge and floss pad included with this filter, which is handy as you don’t need to purchase additional filter media (except for chemical medium, which is optional!).

My favorite part about this filter is that it is quiet in operation most of the time…

My favorite part about this filter is that it is quiet in operation most of the time. It’s not completely silent, but it definitely doesn’t produce a high level of noise. I also like the water flow rate can be adjusted.

Installing and cleaning the filter isn’t too challenging, but it can be a bit time-consuming. It comes with a push-button and swimming-pool-style hose clamps that can be easily lifted to make cleaning and maintenance a little easier. 

However, removing the tubes for maintenance can cause water to leak out. It might be a good idea to place this filter in a bucket at all times to be on the safe side. 

Specs

  • Filter Type: Canister
  • Size: 11.5” x 20.5” x 11”
  • Weight: 14.6 lbs (with packaging)
  • Recommended Tank Size: Up to 75 gallons

Pros

  • Comes with filter media
  • Large filter media baskets
  • Operates quietly
  • Adjustable water flow rate

Cons

  • Setup and cleaning can be time-consuming
  • Prone to leaking when tubes are disconnected

Best on a Budget

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

In terms of price, the MarineLand internal canister filter comes up top. It’s very affordable and has a water flow rate of 290 GPH.

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

In terms of price, the MarineLand internal canister filter comes up top. It’s very affordable and has a water flow rate of 290 GPH. 

It’s very affordable and has a water flow rate of 290 GPH… 

Although the manufacturer states that this filter is suitable for aquariums up to 97 gallons, bear in mind that the water flow rate is a little under the recommended amount for a 75-gallon tank. 

TIP

If you decide to purchase this filter, consider getting a second filter to provide more filtration for your aquarium.

The filter features a dual-chamber, which can hold a substantial amount of filter media and provides a large space for beneficial bacteria to grow in. The only downside with this is that the filter is quite bulky as a result, making it difficult to hide. 

This filter offers chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration. It also comes with a reusable pleated micron cartridge to polish your aquarium water further.

Unfortunately, the MarineLand internal canister filter is not completely silent. It can produce a slight humming or buzzing.

NOTE

Additionally, this filter can be a bit of a hassle to install and clean. There are a lot of parts, particularly small ones, which could be easily misplaced.

Specs

  • Filter Type: Internal canister
  • Size: 8.5” x 5.8” x 11”
  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Recommended Tank Size: Up to 75 gallons (with another filter)

Pros

  • 3-stage filtration
  • Very affordable
  • Features a large dual-chamber
  • Comes with a reusable micro cartridge

Cons

  • Bulky design and can be difficult to clean/install
  • Best used with a second filter
  • Can be a little noisy

Editor’s Choice

Fluval 406 Canister Filter

It’s expensive, but is extremely high-quality, making it a worthwhile investment. The filter has a water flow rate of 383 GPH and comes with all the necessary filter media to provide your tank with chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration.

Fluval 406 Canister Filter

Fluval’s 406 canister filter is my favorite option for a 75-gallon tank. It’s expensive, but is extremely high-quality, making it a worthwhile investment.

It’s expensive, but is extremely high-quality, making it a worthwhile investment…

The filter has a water flow rate of 383 GPH and comes with all the necessary filter media to provide your tank with chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration. Due to how big the filter media baskets are, you can add more media if you want.

This is especially useful if you’re looking to set up a new aquarium and want to jumpstart the cycling process, as you can store additional media in the filter that can then be transferred to your new tank.

However, the filter media included isn’t the best quality, so it might be best to purchase additional filter media.

The Fluval 406 has a lot of features, including patented Aqua-Stop valves to easily disconnect the hoses..

The Fluval 406 has a lot of features, including patented Aqua-Stop valves to easily disconnect the hoses, single-motion lift-lock clamps to make cleaning and maintenance simple, and an adjustable water flow rate. It’s also relatively quiet, too.

Although the Aqua-Stop valves and single-motion lift-lock clamps make maintenance a little easier, the filter can still be a little difficult to clean and setup, at least for the first few times. Disconnecting the tubes can cause some water to flow out, and the filter can sometimes leak in general. 

TIP

Personally, I’d always keep the filter in a bucket, so your floors are protected in the possibility of this occurring.

Compared to some of the other filters I’ve reviewed, the Fluval 406 is a lot smaller in size. If you don’t have a lot of space, then this is really handy as it won’t take up a huge amount of room. The stand I use for my tanks don’t have cabinets or shelves, so I really appreciate this feature.

Specs

Pros

  • 3-stage filtration
  • Large media baskets
  • Adjustable water flow rate and
  • Relatively quiet

Cons

  • Can be a bit of a hassle to clean and install
  • Prone to leaking

Aqua Clear 110 Fish Tank Filter

The Aqua Clear power filter is a good choice for a 75-gallon tank that isn’t overly expensive. It has a water flow of 500 GPH and features an energy efficient pump to reduce operating costs.

Aqua Clear 110 Fish Tank Filter

The Aqua Clear power filter is a good choice for a 75-gallon tank that isn’t overly expensive. It has a water flow of 500 GPH and features an energy-efficient pump to reduce operating costs.

The filter is stocked with Aqua Clear foam, activated carbon, and BioMax and Cycle Guard. This provides your aquarium with mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.

You are able to adjust the water flow rate on this filter which is ideal if you own species of fish that prefer a gentler or faster current…

You are able to adjust the water flow rate on this filter, which is ideal if you own species of fish that prefer a gentler or faster current. Altering the flow rate does not interfere with the filter’s effectiveness, too!

I really like the design of this filter. It doesn’t look low-quality and can hold a good amount of filter media.

Installing the filter is relatively straightforward, but cleaning it can be a little difficult as it has a lot of small crevices where gunk can build up in. 

The Aqua Clear 110 power filter doesn’t create a huge amount of noise, but it can emit a humming or vibrating sound…

The Aqua Clear 110 power filter doesn’t create a huge amount of noise, but it can emit a humming or vibrating sound. Unless your aquarium is positioned next to your bed, this shouldn’t be a huge issue.

The main downside with the filter is it is prone to burning out during power interruptions. If you get a lot of power outages in your area, then this filter might not be the best choice.

Specs

  • Filter Type: Power
  • Size: 7.1” x 13.9” x 9.1”
  • Weight: 4.52 lbs
  • Recommended Tank Size: 60 to 110 gallons

Pros

  • 3-stage filtration
  • Can hold a lot of filter media
  • Adjustable water flow rate
  • Energy efficient pump

Cons

  • Cleaning can be a little difficult
  • Can be a bit noisy
  • Prone to burning out during power interruptions

MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter

With a water flow rate of 360 GPH, this canister filter from MarineLand is a suitable choice for a 75-gallon tank. The filter offers 3-stage filtration and comes with a polishing filter pad, bio-filter balls, ceramic, rings, filter foam, and activated carbon.

MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter

With a water flow rate of 360 GPH, this canister filter from MarineLand is a suitable choice for a 75-gallon tank. 

The filter offers 3-stage filtration…

The filter offers 3-stage filtration and comes with a polishing filter pad, bio-filter balls, ceramic, rings, filter foam, and activated carbon.

Extra Space

I like that the filter media baskets are quite large so you can add more filter media. This is handy if you want to set up a new aquarium to jumpstart the cycling process.

As a whole, the filter is not too loud in operation, which is great. If you store the filter inside a cabinet underneath your aquarium, then the sound is muffled out considerably.

Prone to Leak

However, the material of this filter is a bit flimsy. This is most noticeable on the plastic input and output tubes, which are poorly moulded. As a result, the filter is prone to leaking air and water.

Another downside with the filter is that it can be difficult to install and clean. The setup instructions included with this filter are not the most detailed and miss out important information.

Specs

  • Filter Type: Canister
  • Size: 14” x 11” x 18”
  • Weight: 19.62 lbs
  • Recommended Tank Size: Up to 100 gallons

Pros

  • 3-stage filtration
  • Large media baskets
  • Not too loud in operation

Cons

  • Creates a bit of noise
  • Difficult to install and clean
  • Flimsy material makes it prone to leaking air and water

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Best All-Rounder

Out of all the filters I’ve reviewed, I think the Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Aquarium Filter is the clear winner. It’s not too expensive and has a water flow rate of 315 GPH, making it a great choice for most 75-gallon aquariums.

My favorite feature of the filter is that it doesn’t make a huge amount of noise. As someone with an aquarium in their bedroom, this is definitely an aspect I appreciate in a filter.

I like that the filter comes with large filter media baskets that are already stocked with filter media. No chemical filtration is included, but as this type of filtration is optional, it isn’t a huge issue.

The only downside with the Penn Plax filter is it can take a bit of time to install and clean. When you disconnect the tubes for maintenance, they are prone to leaking water. This is a bit frustrating, so keeping the filter in a bucket is your best bet. 

Best on a Budget

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly filter, then the MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter is worth taking a look at. It’s affordable, but only has a water flow rate of 290 GPH.

As this water flow rate is under the minimum for a 75-gallon tank, you will require a second filter to ensure proper filtration for your aquarium. 

On the plus side, the MarineLand filter offers 3-stage filtration and comes with a lot of filter media.

Editor’s Choice

For fishkeepers who can afford to spend a little extra, I’d consider the Fluval 406 Canister Filter. It’s my personal favorite due to how high-quality it is, as well as all the features it comes with. It has a water flow rate of 383 GPH, so is plenty powerful enough for your 75-gallon tank.

If these three filters don’t seem like the best fit for your aquarium, then the other two filters I’ve reviewed might better suit your needs.

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