Updated: February 9, 2023 - By: - Categories: Equipment

Good filtration is one of the most important keys to success in the world of fishkeeping. Even larger aquariums like 100-gallon setups require good filtration to maintain the excellent water quality that your livestock deserve. Selecting the right model for your aquarium can be challenging but we’ve done all the hard work for you and put together a collection of the best options for you to choose from.

Best filters for 100 gallon fish tanks

Model Our rating Type Flow rate Ideal for Media
Aqua Clear 110 power fish tank filter editor's ratingAqua Clear 110 power fish tank filter #ad Hang-On-Back 500 GPH, adjustable 60-110 gallons Foam, Activated Carbon, and BioMax
AE-SHOP KZKR Upper Trickle Box Filtration System editor's ratingAE-SHOP KZKR Upper Trickle Box Filtration System #ad Trickle Box 740-1100 GPH (recommended pump) 75-100 Gal media not included
Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filter editor's ratingAqueon Quietflow Canister Filter #ad canister filter 400 GPH up to 155 gallons activated carbon, coarse foam, bio balls, and bio ceramic rings
Fluval 407 Performance Canister Filter 120Vac editor's ratingFluval 407 Performance Canister Filter 120Vac #ad canister filter 245 Gal/h (930 L/h) 50-100 Gal (150-500 L) bio-foams, ceramic rings, activated carbon
Fluval Advanced Filtration System editor's ratingFluval G6 Advanced Filtration System #ad canister filter 265 GPH 80-160 Gal filter cartridges
Penn Plax Cascade Black 1000 Elite Canister Filter editor's ratingPenn Plax Cascade Black 1000 Elite Canister Filter #ad canister filter 265 GPH, adjustable up to 100 Gal Bio-Sponge, Bio-Floss, Pro-Carb, Bio Rings
Polar Aurora 370GPH canister filter with UV sterilizer editor's ratingPolar Aurora 370GPH canister filter with UV sterilizer #ad canister filter 370 GPH, adjustable up to 100 Gal activated carbons, ceramic rings, bio-balls
Seachem Tidal 110 gallon power filter editor's ratingSeachem Tidal 110 gallon power filter #ad Hang-On-Back 450 GPH up to 110 Gal foam, Matrix™ bio-media
SunSun HW-303B 370GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit with 9-watt UV Sterilizer editor's ratingSunSun HW-303B 370GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit with 9-watt UV Sterilizer #ad canister filter 370 GPH (1400L/h), adjustable up to 100 Gal 4 filter pads, 1 blue coarse pad, 1lb of carbon, 1lb of ceramic rings, and bio balls

100 gallon aquarium filters reviewed

Aqua Clear 110 power fish tank filter

The Aquaclear power filter range has a model that is ideal for almost any size home aquarium. The 110 model processes an impressive 500 gallons of water every hour, making it an ideal choice for maintaining healthy livestock and excellent water quality in your 100-gallon aquarium.

This filter has a fully adjustable outflow to suit your needs and a unique waterfall design that keeps the surface of the water broken to make more oxygen available to your fish while staying quiet and not creating any loud splashing sounds.

Aquaclear Power Filter InstallationAquaclear Power Filter Installation #ad

This model has a filtration volume that is an impressive 7 times larger than other comparable models and is designed to keep water in contact with its filter media for as long as possible. The filter media used in this model are selected for superior chemical, biological and mechanical filtration.

Aquaclear Multistage FiltrationAquaclear Multistage Filtration #ad

One important component of the filter media is the trusted Biomax ceramic rings which have an extensive pore system for housing beneficial bacteria that remove harmful toxins from the water. Foam inserts act as mechanical filters for removing solid particles of waste from the water while acting as a further reservoir of beneficial bacteria.

The third component of the filtration media is activated carbon which is widely used for neutralizing toxins and removing medications, impurities, and odors from the water.

AE-SHOP KZKR Upper Trickle Box Filtration System

This external trickle box type filtration system is made to be used with a water pump (supplied) that can pump between 740 and 1100 gallons per hour. The unit is mounted above the tank and fits aquariums of 42-48 inches across. This style of filter offers the advanced aquarist maximum control over the filtration in their aquariums although they are larger and more difficult to install than other options.

This model incorporates a total of 18 separate compartments in 3 vertical layers. Each compartment can be filled with media of your choice, allowing for the ultimate custom filtration suited to your needs. Some of the most commonly used filtration media for these filters include bio balls, sponges, and activated carbon.

Aqueon Quietflow Canister Filter

The Aqueon Quietflow Canister filter provides the aquarist with a few distinct water return options. A traditional flow director is useful for setting up a defined current across your aquarium or the spray bar can be used for a more spread-out flow which improves oxygenation of the water.  A third option is the innovative water polishing system that uses a hang-on-back style fitting with a replaceable carbon cartridge that creates additional chemical filtration.

This canister filter includes 3 media baskets which are preloaded with excellent chemical, mechanical and biological filter media for complete 3 stage filtration. These baskets are easily accessed using the pump head locking clips and quick disconnect valves.

Fluval 407 Performance Canister Filter

Fluval’s latest generation canister filters are 25% quieter than previous models while maintaining their trusted power and reliability. With a running energy consumption of just 23 watts, this model is a sustainable option that will save you money in the long run.

Fluval 407 Fast Action MaintenanceFluval 407 Fast Action Maintenance #ad

This canister filter is easily primed using the rebuilt priming pump which is now 7 times more efficient. The media baskets within the canister are easy to access and remove for replacement, cleaning, and maintenance. These baskets can be removed without having to drain the canister itself which prevents unnecessary mess.

Fluval 407 Energy EfficiencyFluval 407 Energy Efficiency #ad

A 9.8ft length of ribbed hosing is supplied with the filter which can be installed well out of sight, at a maximum water column height of 2.25 meters. For complete and advanced filtration, Fluval provides 6 different kinds of filtration media with the unit, including quick clear, activated carbon, biomax ceramic rings, and 3 different types of foam.

Fluval G6 Advanced Filtration System

The Fluval Advanced Filtration System combines a stylish modern design with ultra-quiet performance. This filter is perfect for marine or freshwater aquarium keepers who love advanced technology. The system is easy to start using its one-button self-priming technology and uses a leak-proof casing with silicone gaskets that create excellent seals.

This filter has an LCD screen that displays information on water parameters and maintenance schedules for ultra-easy water quality control monitoring. Three media baskets are held within the sound dampening casing of this filter which is ideal for lightly stocked 100-gallon aquariums.

Penn Plax Cascade Black 1000 Elite Canister Filter

This canister filter stands on a sturdy, tip-proof base and has 3 large media baskets that can be filled with the supplied combination of bio-sponge, bio-floss, pro-carb, and bio-rings. Although this package comes with everything you need for excellent filtration of a lightly stocked 100-gallon aquarium, users who prefer more customized filtration can of course select their own preferred filtration media.

This unit has a fully adjustable water flow rate and you have the option of using the supplied spray bar for a spread-out return of water that improves oxygenation, or a simple direction adjustable outflow.  A push-button primer means the filter is easy to start with no messy manual siphoning and the hose valves rotate a full 360 degrees for added convenience.

Polar Aurora 370GPH canister filter with UV sterilizer

The Polar Aurora canister filter goes beyond your average aquarium filtration system by incorporating UV sterilizing technology which kills algal spores in the water. This is achieved with the use of a special 9w UV bulb that can be turned on and off as necessary.

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This ultra-quiet filter has a compact design with 3 flexible media trays that can be filled with your preferred filtration media (not included). The filter is easily assembled and has a press-type pump primer for added convenience.

Polar Aurora hose and fittingsPolar Aurora hose and fittings #ad

The filter can be installed out of sight, as far as 5 feet away from your aquarium using the provided hoses that connect securely to the unit’s input and output bar. The user has a choice as to how the water returns to the aquarium by using the supplied spray bar or single-channel outlet.

Seachem Tidal 110 gallon power filter

Oils and other debris often collect on the surface water of aquariums where most filters are unable to reach them. The Seachem tidal has been designed to solve this problem by skimming the surface water while taking in water from deeper into your aquarium for effective multi-level filtration. Just how much water is taken from the surface and mid-levels is adjustable by the user, for more control over their aquarium filtration.

The handy maintenance alert feature takes a lot of the guesswork out of monitoring your filter media by alerting the user when the filter is clogged and needs to be cleaned. An innovative, self-cleaning impeller that is constructed from corrosion-resistant materials reduces the maintenance time of the unit and keeps it running longer. This filter has a flow rate of up to 450 gallons per hour which is ideal for 100-gallon aquariums.

SunSun HW-303B Pro Canister Filter with 9-watt UV Sterilizer

Everything you need to maintain excellent water clarity and quality in your lightly stocked 100-gallon aquarium is included with the SunSun HW-303B 370GPH pro canister filter kit.

Included with this kit is a full set of filter media consisting of a set of bio balls, 1 pound of ceramic rings, 1 pound of premium filter carbon, 3 white filter pads, and a blue coarse pad.

The filter media can be packed into the 3 supplied media baskets according to your own preference. This external canister filter has been designed with user-friendliness in mind and the unit is easy to prime using the priming pump, so you don’t have to make a mess while manually siphoning.

Frequently asked questions

Do 100-gallon aquariums need filters?

Like all home aquariums, 100-gallon fish tanks need great filtration to keep the water looking and smelling great, and the fish and animals inside happy and healthy. Without adequate filtration, dangerous toxins known as ammonia and nitrites build up in the water. Helpful bacteria that live inside the filter media inside your filter convert these dangerous chemicals into a substance known as nitrate which is not harmful.

Can you have too much filtration in your aquarium?

The more filtration you have in your aquarium the better. Many aquarists choose to run 2 filters at the same time for improved results and as a backup, in case one should fail or become clogged. Of course, you should try to maintain as much swimming space in your aquarium as possible to allow your livestock the space to behave naturally.

Another important factor to consider is that filters with very powerful water flows can easily stress weak swimmers like fry and bettas so keep that in mind when selecting a filter.

How strong should the current be in my 100-gallon aquarium?

As a general guideline, you should aim for a minimum of around 400 gallons per hour of flow in your 100-gallon aquarium. This is only a guideline and it really depends on how heavily stocked your aquarium is. The more fish you have, the greater the bio-load and the more waste that will have to be processed by your filter.

If you find that this amount of water flow is causing too much current in a part of your aquarium, you can break up the flow using your aquarium’s hardscape or use a spray bar type outflow to reduce the current.

How often should I run my filter?

Aquarium filters are designed to be run constantly and should never be switched off except for during maintenance and in case of emergencies. It is important to switch off your electronic aquarium equipment during maintenance for safety reasons because although unlikely, there is always the possibility of electric shock.

The beneficial bacteria that live within the filter media require a constant flow of water and oxygen in order to survive and therefore switching off your filter for long periods of time can kill them.

Final Thoughts

Filters are a vital component of any reef or tropical fish tank and the best advice is to spend as much as you can afford when selecting a model. We’ve done all the research to provide you with a great selection of quality filters, just be sure to read through the specifications and features of each model and select one that fits your needs. All of the options listed here are great filters that you can use with confidence in your 100-gallon aquarium.

We enjoy keeping fish, and have for many years. We are trying to promote the hobby as much as possible. We want to see many others succeed in their fish keeping efforts and are committed to sharing our knowledge when we can.

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