Are External Aquarium Filters Noisy?

Last Updated on 10 months by admin

Aquarium filters are an essential component of any aquarium setup, as they help maintain a healthy and clean environment for aquatic animals. One common concern among aquarium owners is whether external aquarium filters are noisy. In this article, we will explore this topic and provide insights on the level of noise these filters produce.

The Importance of a Proper Aquarium Filter

Aquarium filters are an essential component of any aquarium setup. Not only do they help to clean and maintain the water quality of your aquarium, but they also provide aeration, circulation, and support for the beneficial bacteria that aid in the nitrogen cycle. Without a proper filter, your aquarium can quickly become a toxic environment for your fish, leading to illness and even death.

Types of Aquarium Filters

There are several types of aquarium filters, including internal filters, hang-on-back filters (HOB), canister filters, and external filters. Each type of filter has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your aquarium’s size, inhabitants, and personal preferences.

Key takeaway: Aquarium filters are essential for maintaining water quality and the health of fish. External filters may produce more noise than other types of filters, but the noise level can be reduced with proper placement, high-quality brands, and regular maintenance.

Internal Filters

Internal filters are compact, submersible filters that are ideal for smaller aquariums or as a supplemental filter for larger setups. They are easy to install and maintain, but they may not provide enough filtration for larger aquariums or heavily stocked tanks.

Hang-On-Back (HOB) Filters

HOB filters hang on the back of your aquarium and are easy to install and maintain. They provide adequate filtration for most aquariums, but they can be noisy and take up valuable space behind the tank.

Canister Filters

Canister filters are powerful filters that are ideal for larger aquariums or heavily stocked tanks. They are easy to maintain and can provide superior filtration, but they can be expensive and may take up a lot of space under your aquarium stand.

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External Filters

External filters, also known as sump filters, are powerful filters that are installed below your aquarium. They provide excellent filtration and can be customized to fit your specific needs. However, they can be expensive, difficult to install, and can be noisy.

The Noise Factor

One of the most significant concerns when it comes to aquarium filters, especially external filters, is the noise factor. No one wants a loud, humming filter disrupting the peaceful ambiance of their aquarium. However, the noise level of an external filter depends on several factors, including the type of filter, the brand, and the placement of the filter.

A key takeaway from this text is that a proper aquarium filter is essential for maintaining water quality and providing a healthy environment for fish. There are several types of aquarium filters available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. External filters are powerful and customizable but can be noisy, while internal and HOB filters are quieter but may not provide enough filtration for larger setups. The noise level of an external filter depends on factors such as the type and brand of the filter, as well as its placement. Proper maintenance, which includes regular cleaning and replacing of filter media, is crucial to keeping the filter running quietly and efficiently.

Type of Filter

As previously mentioned, different types of filters produce varying levels of noise. External filters tend to be louder than internal filters or HOB filters due to their location and design. However, high-end external filters, such as those made by Fluval or Eheim, are designed to be quiet and produce minimal noise.


The brand of your external filter can also affect its noise level. Some brands, such as Fluval or Eheim, are known for their quiet operation and produce minimal noise. Other brands may produce more noise due to their design or lower quality components.

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The placement of your external filter can also affect its noise level. If the filter is installed on a solid surface, such as a wooden stand, it may produce more noise due to vibrations. Placing the filter on a soft surface, such as a rubber mat or foam pad, can help to reduce noise.


Proper maintenance is crucial to keeping your external filter running quietly and efficiently. Regular cleaning and replacing of filter media are essential to prevent clogs and maintain water flow. A clogged filter can cause the motor to work harder, leading to increased noise and potential damage to the filter.

FAQs – are external aquarium filters noisy?

Are external aquarium filters inherently loud?

External aquarium filters can produce noise, but it is not necessarily inherent to their design. The level of noise produced by any external filter will depend on its make, model, and efficiency. Well-designed and well-maintained external filters should only produce a slight humming noise when they are operating within normal parameters.

What causes external aquarium filters to be noisy?

External aquarium filters can be noisy for several reasons. Some of the most common causes include a clogged filter, a damaged impeller, an improperly installed filter, or an old, worn-out filter that needs to be replaced. Poor quality filters can also be louder than higher-end models because they utilize cheaper components and are not as efficient at reducing noise.

Can you make external aquarium filters quiet?

Yes. There are a few easy ways to reduce the noise coming from an external aquarium filter. First, check that the filter is clean and the impeller is not damaged. If it is, replace the impeller or clean the filter to see if that helps. Second, try moving the filter to a different location or using sound-dampening materials around it. Lastly, you can purchase a noise-reducing mat, which can help to reduce the vibrations that cause noise.

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Are some external aquarium filter brands quieter than others?

Yes. Some external aquarium filter brands are specifically designed with noise-reducing features. For example, Fluval is known for their “Sound-Dampening Impeller Design,” which reduces the amount of noise produced by the filter. Other brands, such as Eheim and Hydor, also offer filters with noise-reducing features or accessories.

What should I do if my external aquarium filter is still noisy after trying these solutions?

If your external aquarium filter is still making a lot of noise after trying the solutions mentioned above, it could be a sign that there’s something wrong with the filter. Consider consulting the manufacturer’s instructions or contacting their customer support team for advice on how to proceed. In some cases, it may be necessary to replace the filter entirely to solve the noise problem.