The Best Filter For 75 Gallon Aquariums: Top Canisters And HOBs

The best filter for 75 gallon aquariums usually needs to deal with a large community of fish and a lot of waste. Let’s look at some of the top picks!

By Andy Birks
Last updated on

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best filter for 75 gallon aquarium

If you own a 75 gallon fish tank it’s likely you’ll have a larger community, or perhaps a number of messier fish like goldfish that produce a lot of waste. Finding the best filter for a 75 gallon aquarium is key to dealing with this and keeping your tank clean and toxin-free.

We reviewed and assessed some of the top filters available and found the Fluval 407 Performance Canister Filter to be the best filter for a 75 gallon aquarium for its large media capacity and excellent flow rate.

But everyone’s tank is different. That’s why we assessed a number of hang on back and affordable options too. So you can find the best filter for your 75 gallon aquarium whatever your budget.

  1. Best Overall: Fluval 407 Performance Canister Filter
  2. Best Value HOB: AquaClear 110 Power Fish Tank Filter
  3. Best Value Canister: Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Aquarium Filter
  4. Best For Budget: Marineland Penguin 350 Power Filter
  5. Budget Canister: Marineland Magniflow 360 Canister Filter

Best Filter For 75 Gallon Aquariums Reviewed

We spent many combined hours assessing the filters on the list below against a number of criteria including flow rate, media capacity, and easy of maintenance. So you can concentrate on choosing the best filter for your 75 gallon aquarium.

1. Fluval 407 Performance Canister Filter

Photo: Amazon.com

  • Filter Type: Canister
  • Dimensions: 9.5 (w) x 7.0 (d) x 19.3 (h) inches
  • Flow Rate & Aquarium Capacity: 383 GPH, for 50 to 100 gallon tanks (other sizes available)
  • Filter Media: 5 customizable media baskets, includes 2 x Bio-Foam Max, 2 x BioFoam, 2 x BioFoam+, 4 x Carbon, 2 x Quick Clear particles, 2 x BioMax
  • Best For: Overall

Fluval’s 407 canister filter is incredibly high-quality and our top pick for a 75 gallon aquarium, although it does come with a premium price. Its 383 GPH flow rate can cycle a tank of this size over 5 times an hour which will provide great filtration even if you have messy fish like goldfish.

Its 1.10 gallon media basket is divided into 4 large trays and a vertical pre-filter where you add your coarse mechanical media. And because it’s vertical it gives more surface area than most canisters to remove particles, so stopping your other media from getting clogged.

The square design means not only can you fit more of your own mechanical, chemical, and biological media into the other 4 trays, but you also get more water contact than in a round canister. These factors combined mean cleaner and clearer water overall.

Fluval 07 series filters come with AquaStop valves which not only allow you to reduce the flow rate if you need to for delicate fish, but they also allow easy disconnection of the filter so you can leave the tubes in the tank. This makes maintenance much easier.

While some owners have reported the hoses could be a little thicker, overall this filter receives high praise for its power, ease of setup, and maintenance, and for being one of the quietest aquarium filters for a large tank.

2. AquaClear 110 Power Fish Tank Filter

Photo: Amazon.com

  • Filter Type: Hang On Back (HOB)
  • Dimensions: 17.4 (w) x 12.5 (d) x 11.0 (h) inches
  • Flow Rate & Aquarium Capacity: 500 GPH, for 60 to 110 gallon tanks (other sizes available)
  • Filter Media: Fully customizable, comes with AquaClear Foam (for mechanical), Activated Carbon (for chemical) and AquaClear BioMax (for biological filtration)
  • Best For: Value HOB

The AquaClear 110 hang on back is an excellent and more affordable alternative to a canister filter. It has a really powerful flow rate of 500 GPH which will cycle your 75 gallon aquarium nearly 7 times an hour, so will provide great filtration for even a well-stocked tank.

You can adjust the flow down to about 170 GPH, so it’s perfect if you have fish that need a slower current. And at a low flow rate, the AquaClear uses ‘refiltration’ to recirculate up to 50% of the water inside the filter. This means you still get great filtration at a lower rate of flow.

At 17.4 x 12.5 x 11.0 inches overall, the AquaClear has room for a large media chamber. And unlike some HOBs you can fully customize your media. This is usually more effective and cheaper than HOBs that only take specific cartridges.

Do note that you have to manually prime this filter. So if you have a power outage and the filter empties into the aquarium, the motor can burn out if it restarts without being re-primed. But overall owners praise the AquaClear for great value, and effective and quiet filtration.

3. Penn Plax Cascade 1200 Aquarium Filter

Photo: Amazon.com

  • Filter Type: Canister
  • Dimensions: 11.5 (w) x 11.0 (d) x 20.5 (h) inches
  • Flow Rate & Aquarium Capacity: 315 GPH, for tanks up to 150 gallons (other sizes available)
  • Filter Media: 4 large media baskets, 4 poly fiber floss pads, 1 coarse bio-sponge, and 1 bag of activated carbon
  • Best For: Value Canister

The Penn Plax Cascade 1200 is an alternative canister that offers great value. It has a flow rate of 315 GPH which will cycle your 75 gallon aquarium just over 4 times an hour. This is just within the minimum range needed to keep a community tank this size clean and clear.

And for that reason, whilst Penn Plax state you can use it in a tank up to 150 gallons, we would only recommend you use it for up to a 75 gallon tank. The 4 media baskets are really large so you have plenty of room to add your own media, and can add the best type for your needs.

The tap valves not only allow you to adjust the flow rate, but they also rotate 360°. This makes it really easy to adjust the direction of the hoses if you need to fit your filter inside an aquarium cabinet or tight space.

Some owners report that the tubes can leak slightly when you remove the filter for maintenance, so it’s best to disconnect it while placed in a bucket. But overall owners praise the large, customizable media chamber, quiet operation, and great value price for a canister filter.

4. Marineland Penguin 350 Power Filter

Photo: Amazon.com

  • Filter Type: Hang On Back (HOB)
  • Dimensions: 15.25 (w) x 6.12 (d) x 8.0 (h) inches
  • Flow Rate & Aquarium Capacity: 350 GPH, for tanks up to 75 gallons (other sizes available)
  • Filter Media: 3 stage filtration consisting of Rite-Size C cartridge (mechanical, chemical) and bio-wheel for wet/ dry biological filtration
  • Best For: Budget

If you’re on a budget but still looking for the best filter for your 75 gallon aquarium, the Marineland Penguin 350 HOB is our top choice. Its 350 GPH flow rate can cycle a tank this size around 4.6 times an hour which is enough to keep even a messy cichlid aquarium clean.

While you can’t customize this filter with your own media, it does take two Marineland’s Rite Size C cartridges for mechanical and chemical filtration. These can be replaced easily by lifting the two-piece vented cover. So you get maximum filtration with minimal maintenance.

The Penguin also has its bio-wheel for really effective biological filtration. Because the wheel spins contacting the air and water, it allows beneficial bacteria to colonize more efficiently. More bacteria means better breakdown of ammonia and toxins and a cleaner tank for your fish.

Although some owners report the bio-wheel can be a little noisy, most actually praise the Penguin for being very quiet when running, as well as being really easy to maintain, all for a great price.

5. Marineland Magniflow 360 Canister Filter

Photo: Amazon.com

  • Filter Type: Canister
  • Dimensions: 10.75 (w) x 13.38 (d) x 17.25 (h) inches
  • Flow Rate & Aquarium Capacity: 360 GPH, for tanks up to 100 gallons (other sizes available)
  • Filter Media: 3 stage filtration. Includes filter foam and polishing pad for mechanical, bio-balls and ceramic rings for biological, and activated carbon for chemical filtration
  • Best For: Budget Canister

Marineland’s Magniflow 360 Canister Filter is the budget option of the canisters we’ve featured here, but it still delivers great filtration for your 75 gallon tank. At 360 GPH it will cycle your tank around 4.8 times an hour which is right in the range needed.

The media chamber is large and divided into 4 for your mechanical, chemical, and biological media. The 4th chamber means you can add the fine polishing pad for extra filtration of any small particulates to get your water ultra-clear.

Some owners report that the inlet and outlet connections on top of the filter along with the hoses can sometimes cause leaks. But this is usually a case of ensuring the connections are tight and you don’t twist the hoses.

But overall many praise the Magniflow for being relatively quiet when running, producing clear water within hours, and its great price for a canister filter.

What To Consider When Looking For A 75 Gallon Aquarium Filter

A 75 gallon aquarium is capable of holding a large community of fish. So the best filter for a 75 gallon aquarium needs to be able to handle the water volume and bioload produced. Let’s take a look at what to consider.

oscar fish in aquarium

The 3 Main Filtration Types

We’d always advise your filter has all of the 3 main filtration stages to deal with a 75 gallon aquarium. Let’s look at each, along with what to focus on for your 75 gallon tank.

Mechanical Filtration

Usually a layer of filter sponge, pad, or floss, mechanical media is the first point of contact your wastewater has when it enters your filter. It’s designed to remove physical organic waste, such as uneaten food before it reaches the next filter stage.

Depending on the type, you’ll often be able to use your own mechanical media in a 75 gallon aquarium filter rather than cartridges. Using cut-to-fit filter roll, for example, can work out a lot cheaper than replacing cartridges each month.

Chemical Filtration

This stage of your filter uses substances such as activated carbon to remove toxins including ammonia and nitrates from your water. Ammonia is highly toxic to your fish if left to build up in your tank and can cause death at around 2.0 m/L [1].

In fact, you’ll need water parameters like ammonia and nitrite levels to stay as close to 0 as possible, and certainly below 0.1 – 0.2 ppm.  Whilst a large 75 gallon aquarium gives you more leeway than a small nano aquarium, chemical filtration is still needed to keep them in check. 

Biological Filtration

Arguably the most important stage, biological filtration is the breakdown of harmful ammonia into nitrites and then less harmful nitrates via the nitrogen cycle. This is carried out by beneficial bacteria, and its the biological media in your filter that gives them the right environment to grow.

In a 75 gallon freshwater aquarium, some of the best biological filter media can be ceramic rings which can be added to a canister or HOB filter and provide a great surface area for bacteria to colonize. But for a reef tank, the best media for bacteria can actually be to keep live rock.

What Are The Benefits Of A 75 Gallon Aquarium Filter

Choosing the best filter for your 75 gallon aquarium brings a number of benefits in addition to cleaning your water and making it safe for your fish.

  • Reduce Your Maintenance: Water changes can be a big job in a 75 gallon tank. You’re likely to need a 25 to 30% change around every 1 to 2 weeks, that’s about 19 to 23 gallons each time. Without a filter, you’d need to do this change even more frequently.
  • Oxygenate Your Water: As well as cleaning your tank, your filter agitates the water as it flows through to oxygenate it. The more oxygen in the water the better for your fish as they can extract it more efficiently via their gills [2].
  • Polish And Clarify: In addition to removing larger organic matter and toxins, your filter acts to clarify and polish the water. Polishing is the removal of finer particulates to leave your water as clear as possible.
  • Can Use Specialized Media: Using the right filter for your 75 gallon aquarium means you can use specialized media to tackle specific problems. For example, using phosphate remover to help deal with an algae outbreak [3].

Which Type Is The Best Filter For 75 Gallon Aquariums?

Whilst there are several common types of aquarium filter, some will be easier to maintain and more effective in your 75 gallon tank.

  • Canister Filter: These larger, external filters are a perfect choice for your 75 gallon aquarium. They have a powerful flow rate to deal with the large volume of water and are also highly customizable so you can add a wide range of filter media.
  • Hang On Back (HOB) Filter: As a cheaper alternative to canister filters, HOBs are another great choice for a 75 gallon aquarium. Many of them have large media containers you can customize and they also have a powerful flow rate.
  • Internal Filter: Whilst you can get some internal filters for 75 gallon aquariums we wouldn’t generally recommend them for a tank this size. They often don’t have the power needed for a large tank and are not as accessible as HOBs for maintenance.
  • Sponge Filter: A sponge filter can be a great primary filter in a small nano tank where you have delicate fish, but in a 75 gallon fish tank they don’t have the power needed. Larger sponge filters can be a good secondary filter though to help oxygenate the water.
  • Undergravel Filter: As the name suggests these sit underneath your gravel. They use your substrate as the filter media so do require you to frequently siphon it. And again, most lack the power needed for a 75 gallon aquarium.

Generally, the best filter for 75 gallon aquariums is an external canister. They not only have the powerful flow rate needed for your large tank, but they are the most customizable allowing you to add all 3 filtration types including the best biological media.

But canisters can be expensive, so HOBs are a great alternative. Many of them have the power and flow rate needed for your aquarium. And while there are exceptions, you can often customize larger HOB filters with your own choice of filter media instead of using cartridges.

How To Choose The Best Filter For 75 Gallon Aquariums

There are several factors to think about before your choose the best filter for your 75 gallon aquarium. Let’s look at them each in turn.

Discuss fish with red and white pattern

Type Of Tank And Fish

Filtration needs are often quite different depending on whether you are starting a 75 gallon freshwater or saltwater tank. Canisters and HOBs are good choices for freshwater and fish only marine tanks. But if you own a full reef tank with coral the best saltwater filter is usually a sump.

Also, think about the type and species of fish you intend to keep. Goldfish, for example, are very messy and produce a high bioload so need a powerful filter where you can place a large amount of media. A semi-aggressive tank of cichlids will have similar needs.

Adjustable Flow Rate

The power of your 75 gallon aquarium filter is determined by its flow rate and measured in gallons per hour (GPH). This is the number of times the filter can cycle all of the water in your tank per hour. 

Generally, the minimum number of times a freshwater tank should cycle is 4 to 6 per hour, so for a 75 gallon tank, you’d need a flow rate of 300 to 450 GPH. But the flow rate reduces as water pushes through your filter media. So a higher flow rate is always better.

Having said that, always look for a filter with an adjustable flow rate. This will give you the most control and allow you to lower the flow if you have fish that don’t like a high current.

Ease Of Maintenance And Media Replacement

HOB filters are one of the easiest types to maintain as they sit on the back of your tank offering easy access for cleaning. Canisters need less frequent maintenance and some allow you to unclip the input and return tubes so you can leave them in your tank while cleaning.

Depending on your filter, whilst mechanical media needs rinsing with aquarium water every few weeks to stop it clogging, it won’t need replacing until it starts to fall apart. Bio media can also last many months. Chemical media generally needs monthly replacement.

Price And Reliability

Canister filters for a 75 gallon aquarium are one of the most reliable and durable types, but they are also the most expensive. HOB filters are a great cheaper alternative, and you generally don’t need to worry about paying for cartridges for a 75 gallon filter as they’ll take other media.

When it comes to choosing a specific filter, always check reviews from existing owners as it’s often the best way of getting up-to-date information on how reliable the product is. Amazon reviews are a great way to do this.

Our Verdict

We found the best filter for 75 gallon aquariums overall is the Fluval 407 Performance Canister Filter for its extra-large media chamber, pre-filter, and great flow rate. Or if you prefer a more affordable hang on back the AquaClear 110 Power Fish Tank Filter is a great choice.

But whichever you choose from the list above, as long as you go for a large media capacity and correct flow rate for your 75 gallon aquarium you’ll have a filter that can deal with a large community of fish and those that produce a lot of waste!

FAQs

We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions when it comes to choosing the best filter for 75 gallon aquariums. Just take a look below!

What Type Is The Best Filter For 75 Gallon Aquariums?

An external canister filter is the best choice for a large 75 gallon aquarium, as it’s powerful, has a large customizable media basket, and is quiet. A HOB is also a great cheaper alternative.

What Flow Rate Should My 75 Gallon Aquarium Filter Have?

A 75 gallon freshwater filter should have a flow rate of 300 to 450 GPH so it can cycle all your water 4 to 6 times an hour. A saltwater filter should be higher at 375 to 750 GPH.

Which Is the Quietest Filter For A 75 Gallon Aquarium?

Canisters tend to be the quietest aquarium filter as they operate as sealed external units, often with additional soundproofing. HOB filters are also one of the quietest.

How Often Do I Need To Maintain My Filter?

Your canister filter should only need disconnecting and cleaning every 2 or 3 months. If you own a HOB filter you are likely to need to maintain it every few weeks.

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AUTHOR
Andy Birks
Andy is the owner of Simply Aquarium and manages the team of experienced writers on the site. He loves helping fellow aquarists and introducing new people to the hobby!

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