Updated: January 19, 2022 - By: - Categories: Equipment

Are you looking for a filter for your 50-55 gallon aquarium? You probably know how crucial good filtration is for the health of your fish and to maintain good water quality. Choosing the right filter for your tank can be difficult with so many different makes and models available on the market today. The selected models here are chosen for quality and reliability to make your choice so much easier.

Best filters for 50-55 gallon fish tanks

Model Our rating Type Flow rate Ideal for Media
Aqua Clear 70 power fish tank filter editor's ratingAqua Clear 70 power fish tank filter #ad Hang-On-Back 300 GPH, adjustable 40-70 gallons Foam, Activated Carbon, and BioMax
Fluval 307 Perfomance Canister Filter editor's ratingFluval 307 Perfomance Canister Filter #ad canister filter 206 Gal/h (780 L/h) 40-70 Gal (90-330 L) bio-foams, ceramic rings, activated carbon
Aqua-Tech Power Aquarium Filter editor's ratingAqua-Tech Power Aquarium Filter #ad Hang-On-Back 30-60 gallons coarse floss, carbon cartridge, bio grid
Fluval C4 Power Filter editor's ratingFluval C4 Power Filter #ad HOB 264 GPH (1000 L/h) up to 70 gallons (265 L) floss pad, foam, activated carbon, C-nodes, and drip tray pad
Fluval U4 Underwater Filter editor's ratingFluval U4 Underwater Filter #ad internal filter 260 GPH, adjustable 34-65 Gal 2 foam pads, 2 poly/carbon cartridges, and 90 grams BioMax
Hygger Double Sponge aquarium filter editor's ratingHygger Double Sponge aquarium filter #ad sponge filter air pump powered (buy separately) 15-55 Gal 3 spare sponges, 1 bag of ceramic balls
MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter editor's ratingMarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter #ad internal filter 290 GPH up to 90 Gal polishing with the micron cartridge
Marineland Penguin PRO Power Filter editor's ratingMarineland Penguin PRO Power Filter #ad Hang-On-Back 375 GPH, adjustable up to 75 Gal Marine Land rite-size C filter cartridge
OASE Indoor Aquatics Filtosmart Thermo 200 editor's ratingOASE Indoor Aquatics Filtosmart Thermo 200 #ad canister filter 210 GPH up to 55 Gal sponges, activated carbon, ceramic rings
Penn Plax Cascade 700 Canister Filter editor's ratingPenn Plax Cascade 700 Canister Filter #ad canister filter 185 GPH up to 65 Gal floss pad, coarse sponge
Seachem Tidal 55 gallon power filter editor's ratingSeachem Tidal 55 gallon power filter #ad Hang-On-Back 250 GPH up to 55 Gal foam, Matrix™ bio-media

50-55 gallon aquarium filters reviewed

Aqua Clear 70 power fish tank filter

With a powerful filtration capacity of 300 gallons per hour, the Aquaclear 70 power fish tank filter is ideal for aquariums in the 50-55 gallon range. Setup and maintenance are easy with this user-friendly model.

The outflow of this aquarium is fully adjustable, to give you the aquarist much more control of the water movement within your 50-55 gallon tank. The Aquaclear 70 doesn’t only filter the water, it also oxygenates it by breaking the surface water of your aquarium. This makes more oxygen available to your livestock and saves you from having to run an air pump.

Aquaclear 70 installationAquaclear 70 installation #ad

For superior water quality, the water in your aquarium is put through 3 different filter media which ensure complete biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration. The more contact your water has with these 3 media types, the clearer and healthier it’s going to be for your fish, and this is reflected in the design of this filter.

AquaClear 70 multistage filter & foam insertsAquaClear 70 multistage filter & foam inserts #ad

Taking a closer look at the filter media, you’ll find that the Aquaclear Bio Max filter media, which consists of ceramic rings with a system of tiny pores, is perfect for the establishment of beneficial bacteria. The long-lasting media is not the only place where these bacteria can thrive however, the foam insert also provides plenty of surface area for colonization.

Foam, of course, is also ideal for the mechanical filtration of solid particles in the water. Finally, odors and impurities in the water are removed by chemical filtration with the research-grade activated carbon inserts which last a full month.

Fluval 307 Performance Canister Filter

One of the best features of the Fluval 307, aside from its proven filtration ability, is its energy efficiency. The latest generation models are as effective as ever while being 25% quieter and using just 16 watts of electricity. That sort of energy efficiency saves money in the long run.

Fluval performance canister filter energy efficiencyFluval performance canister filter energy efficiency #ad

This filter comes equipped with 6 different types of filter media that fit into the easily accessed media basket. The canister can simply be opened to access the basket and there’s no need to create any mess while struggling to drain the canister because the basket is so easily accessible. The unit is designed in Europe and is suitable for 40-70 gallon aquariums, making it an ideal choice for your 50-55 gallon tank.

Fluval 307 canister filter maintenanceFluval 307 canister filter maintenance #ad

The filter media supplied include 3 different types of bio-foam, bio-max ceramic rings, quick clear, and activated carbon. These media perform biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration for pristine water. With a maximum water column of 1.75m, this filter can be set up well out of sight using the 9.8ft long ribbed hose supplied.

Aqua-Tech Power Aquarium Filter

The Aqua-Tech Power aquarium filter uses the trusted AQUA-tech EZ-change #3 filter which is quick and easy to replace at monthly intervals. This filter is a hang-on-back design, one of the most popular aquarium filtration systems in modern fishkeeping.

Taking a closer look at the finer details of this filter, you will find that odors and impurities in the water are effectively removed using carbon filtration, while coarse floss captures larger waste particles suspended in the water. Biological filtration has not been forgotten and the quality Bio-grid material, which does not clog and never needs replacing, houses ammonia and nitrite removing beneficial bacteria colonies.

Fluval C4 Power Filter

This Hang-on-back filter for fresh and saltwater aquariums provides an impressive 5 stage filtration process. This includes 2 stages of mechanical filtration using both polyester and foam filtration media. Activated carbon ensures effective chemical filtration, and dual-phase biological filtration is made possible using both Bioscreen and ceramic nodes which house beneficial bacteria.

To further enhance the efficiency of filtration, water is recirculated multiple times within the filter for incredible results. This filter has an adjustable flow and a telescopic intake pipe giving you greater control of the water flow in your aquarium. An additional feature is the innovative pop-up tab that indicates when filters are due for replacement.

Fluval U4 Underwater Filter

Fluval designed this underwater filter to provide excellent filtration for both fresh and saltwater aquariums of up to 65 gallons. Complete, 3 stage filtration is guaranteed thanks to the mechanical filtration of the foam, chemical filtration of the carbon cartridge traps, and the biomax which preserves colonies of beneficial bacteria that are responsible for biological filtration.

This is an attractively designed filter with sleek lines and it can be positioned either horizontally or vertically, according to your own preference and style. Maintenance is quick and easy with the well-designed flip-top lid which provides easy access to the filter cartridge. This filter allows for a variety of output flow options, so you can choose how the water circulates within your tank.

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

This unit from Marineland is compact and versatile and has dual chambers which you can fill with filtration media of your choice for custom filtration. With a flow rate of 290 gallons per hour, it has an ideal filtration capacity for aquariums of 50-55 gallon capacity. This is an internal canister filter with a submerged motor, which means you don’t need to prime this unit before use.

Out of the box, this filter provides powerful 3 stage filtration by using the replaceable Rite-Size JH floss sleeve, Black-Diamond activated carbon and an amazing 153 square inches of surface area for colonization by beneficial bacteria. There is even an added water polishing feature thanks to the reusable micron cartridge which provides ultra-fine mechanical filtration.

Marineland Penguin PRO Power Filter

With an adjustable flow rate of up to 375 gallons per hour, the Marineland Penguin Pro power filter provides powerful filtration for aquariums in the 50-55 gallon range. This filter uses cartridges with a specially designed ribbed back that maximizes contact with the water in your aquarium. What’s more, this model is designed to accept a second cartridge allowing the fishkeeper to increase their filtration capacity.

Marine Penguine PRO installation & dimensionsMarine Penguine PRO installation & dimensions #ad

The Marineland rite-size C filter cartridges that are used provide effective biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration for pristine water clarity. The filter also makes use of innovative bio-wheel technology that provides all the additional benefits of wet/dry filtration.

Marineland filter design & componentsMarineland filter design & components #ad

The Marineland penguin pro is a great-looking filter that can be used in both fresh and saltwater aquariums. On top of its great performance, this filter runs ultra-quietly, staying below 40dB because of its tight-fitting lid, and its dampened self-priming, decoupled and submerged motor.

OASE Indoor Aquatics Filtosmart Thermo 200

This filter provides biological filtration for both salt and freshwater aquariums using large sponges and ceramic rings which together, work to maintain healthy colonies of beneficial bacteria which remove harmful nitrites and ammonia which are introduced from fish waste. Furthermore, these quality sponges work efficiently to remove waste particles that are suspended in the water.

This innovative filter by OASE, combines two essential types of aquarium hardware, a filter, and a heater. Heaters can be unsightly and take up space inside our tanks, making this integrated system a very clever design. Both the water flow and temperature are fully and simply adjusted to provide exactly the right conditions for your fish and other aquatic animals.

Penn Plax Cascade 700 Canister Filter

This external canister filter by Penn Plax is a great option for both fresh and saltwater tanks. Although a floss pad and sponges are provided for mechanical and biological filtration, you can also fill the 2 large capacity media baskets with other media of your own choice.

Although this filter is suitable for 50-55 gallon aquariums, it has a filtration capacity of 185 gallons of water per hour which more suitable for aquariums of this size with lower stocking rates. The flow valves are adjustable through a full 360 degrees and the flow rate is also adjustable.

This external filter is easy to prime using the built-in priming button, meaning no more messy manual siphoning. The water outflow provides improved water oxygenation through the supplied spray bar.

Seachem Tidal 55 gallon power filter

The Seachem Tidal 55 is a high-tech hang-on-back filter with many innovative features. This model has a flow rate of up to 250 gallons per hour, which is ideal for 50-55 gallon aquariums. The flow rate is fully adjustable so that you can adjust the water flow to suit your specific set-up.

A great feature of this aquarium is the surface skimming function that removes waste and oils that tend to accumulate on the surface water of your tank. The water intake is not limited to the surface of the tank however, you can adjust how much of the water is taken in from the surface and midwater levels of your tank as well to encourage multi-level filtration.

The Seachem Tidal 55 features a self-priming pump so you don’t need to refill the compartment after power interruptions. A high-quality matrix filter bio-media is included and a handy maintenance feature indicates when it’s time to clean out the filter. This model also features an optional heater-holder that allows you to attach your heater to the filter for better water distribution.

Frequently asked questions

What are beneficial bacteria?

You will often read about beneficial bacteria when researching aquarium filters but how do they help in the aquarium? Beneficial bacteria are present in all healthy, cycled aquariums and are vital for making the water safe for fish and other aquatic animals.

These bacteria colonize the media inside the filter, as well as the substrate in our aquariums and there they work to convert the harmful ammonia found in fish waste into nitrites, and then into nitrates which are safe for our fish.

Must I have a filter for my 50-55 gallon aquarium?

Keeping fish or other animals in a 50-55 gallon aquarium without a good quality filter is very dangerous for their health in the short and long term. Harmful chemicals in fish waste build up quickly in unfiltered aquariums causing toxic water that most fish will not survive in. Apart from the health risks for your livestock, solid waste particles in the water of aquariums without adequate filtration will reduce water clarity.

How often should I perform water changes in my 50-55 gallon aquarium?

Even with a good quality filter, you should be sure to do a partial water change in your aquarium every week or two. Exactly how much water you should replace will depend on the quality of your filtration equipment and how heavily stocked your aquarium is with fish and other animals.

Changing 10-20% of the water in your aquarium is usually sufficient but you can do larger changes in tanks that are heavily stocked. Always remember to use a water conditioner when adding new water to protect your livestock from harmful chemicals found in tap water.

What should I do if my filter is clogged?

Many modern aquarium filters use replaceable filter cartridges which are simply changed on a regular basis. The manufacturers will indicate the correct cartridge replacement schedule for the specific model you use.

Often, the sponge media in filters can be cleaned out without being replaced and this is an easy regular maintenance task. It is very important to note that the beneficial bacteria we need to maintain healthy aquariums tend to live in the sponges in our filters and for this reason, you should only rinse out your sponges in chemical-free aquarium water that you have kept from a water change.

Final Thoughts

Aquarium filters come in all shapes and sizes, and getting solid advice on which make or model to select for your fish tank can be daunting. We’ve done all the research for you in this regard so that you can buy with confidence. All of the filters introduced here make ideal choices for maintaining a healthy and clean aquatic environment within your 50-55 gallon aquariums.

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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  1. I loved the article and the way each filter was broken down. I really just have a question. Are canisters better then hang on the back?

    • It depends on your tank size. If you have a large tank over 50 gallons with a lot of fish, a canister filter is the best choice. With smaller tanks you can use a HOB filter, it is easy to use and clean. If you don’t have much time, choose an appropriate canister will help reduce maintenance frequency. When talk about filtration efficiency, it depends on the media capacity of your filter, the larger the better.