The best filter for a Paludarium overall is the Fluval FX6 canister filter. This widely beloved model comes with an impressive capacity, and AquaStop valve, Smart Pump technology, and many other features that allow it to excellently filter large amounts of water in no time.
The only instances in which I wouldn’t recommend the Fluval FX6 are if…
- You want a super quiet filter. Go with Tetra Whisper EX70 (available on Amazon).
- You’re on a budget. Go with Zoo Med Paludarium Filter (available on Amazon).
Read on to learn more about the features of these three filters in greater detail. I’ll also go through some important factors to consider before choosing the best filter for your paludarium.
Factors to Consider
There are several factors you’ll need to consider before choosing a Paludarium that fits your needs best. Examining these factors and setting your most important needs and priorities will allow you to make a well-informed purchase.
Size is one of the first and most important factors you’ll need to decide on when buying a filtration system. An adequately-sized filter will better serve the needs of your whole ecosystem and allow it to develop.
If you don’t know what size would be ideal for your Paludarium, keep in mind that all the water inside your tank should be able to pass through it ideally four times in an hour. This rate of filtration is necessary to maintain a clean, healthy environment. If possible, always choose the filter that offers the highest flow rate.
In more practical terms, if you have a 50-gallon (189-L) Paludarium, you’ll need a filtration system with a flow rate of at least 200 gallons (757 liters) per hour, possibly even more. With a quick and straightforward calculation, you can accurately decide on the ideal filter size for your tank.
Setting a budget is a crucial step in making any purchase, Paludarium filters included. Doing so will save you a lot of time and effort that would otherwise be spent looking at options that are simply inaccessible.
Although sometimes maintaining a Paludarium can get expensive, there’s no shortage of affordable, high-quality alternatives in today’s market. After setting your preferred price range, you can move on to choosing your other preferred specifications within the options that fall into that range, so make sure not to skip this step.
Your filtration system can come in two main forms: internal and external. Depending on your budget, preferences, and tank size, each can be an excellent choice.
Internal filters are characterized by their positioning inside the Paludarium, which allows them to filter the water both mechanically and biologically through a sponge filter. They’re usually a smaller, more inexpensive alternative that’s easier to fit and maintain.
They’re an ideal choice for those with less experience, but due to their small canisters, they can only be used for small Paludariums up to a certain size. This means that before buying one, you always need to check their capacity to see if they can manage to filter the water at a rate of four times an hour.
Internal filters are simple in nature, as they only consist of a pump used to draw the old water, a canister, and a sponge. When the latter inevitably becomes clogged with frequent use, you can clean it up using old tank water. Washing it under a tap can be hazardous as the sponge contains many bacteria and harmful microorganisms that you don’t want on your sink. You may also need to replace parts of your sponge periodically as necessary.
When choosing an internal filter, always look for one equipped with a special nozzle placed on the pump, whose function is to draw air and release tiny bubbles into the water. This nozzle is called a venturi, and it works as an air pump by agitating the water surface and increasing oxygen levels in the tank. This process can be immensely beneficial to all the living organisms of your ecosystem while simultaneously filtering out dangerous microorganisms.
Depending on the quality of your product, higher-end filters often come with three separate mechanisms for biological, chemical, and mechanical filtering. This separation is crucial in ensuring a thorough clean without damaging the beneficial bacteria.
On the other hand, if you have a larger Paludarium, you might want to take a look at some external filters. They have a high capacity, are powerful, and can be very versatile. Although they often come with a heftier price tag, they’re an ideal choice for those with more experience in the field.
Not only are they superior in capacity compared to their internal counterparts, but they also have much stronger pumps, bringing a level of power that can’t be achieved otherwise.
You can place an external filter underneath your tank and connect it using an inlet and an outlet pipe. After the water gets drawn through the tube, it goes through a biological, mechanical, and chemical filter before returning to the Paludarium.
Therefore, although this costly alternative may be a little more challenging to install and manage, it’s the absolute best choice for those with larger tanks and higher filtration demands.
Make sure to check out this article where I explain exactly why a paludarium needs filtration.
Although modern Paludarium filters have evolved to be more silent and undetectable compared to previous models, they still produce a slight humming sound. Although this type of noise can even be relaxing for some, you’ll want to look for silent filters if you’re a light sleeper or don’t prefer unnecessary sounds in general.
In any case, the sound that your machine is producing should never be distractingly high or annoying; otherwise, it may indicate a problem inside the filtration unit that needs to be addressed.
Therefore, depending on your preferences, decide whether looking for a silent option might be a priority for you. Doing so will allow you to limit your range of alternatives, saving you a lot of time and effort in the process.
Having said that, be prepared to pay a premium for filters with noise-canceling qualities, as they often tend to be more expensive. On the other hand, if you don’t mind the faint humming sound, investing in a silent model may not be worth it.
Best Overall: Fluval FX6 Canister Filter
This canister filter is one of the most popular and highly-reviewed options in the market today. The product’s popularity stems from its quality, volume, and flexibility. The Fluval FX6 is incredibly well-liked among more experienced enthusiasts, as one of its biggest selling points is the exceptionally high volume of water it can handle. This product can filter tanks up to 400 gallons (~1,500 liters).
The filtration technology used in this cleaning system is unparalleled, with a self-priming pipe that takes away all prepping responsibility from you and an extendable intake tube that makes the filter adjustable to fit most Paludarium shapes and sizes. This level of adaptability makes the Fluval FX6 a very convenient alternative, which is more than what can be said for most options in the market today.
This cleaning system also sets itself apart through its high-quality, reliable filtration. All filter media that comes with the canister can be changed, repaired, and customized to fit your unique needs. Best of all, although the canister offers high-volume filtering, you’ll barely hear a sound throughout the whole ordeal, as the Fluval FX6 is remarkably quiet.
A downside to this filter is its lower-than-ideal circulation rate. When used in full capacity, it can only circulate the water in the tank once every 45 minutes instead of the golden standard of once every 15 minutes. With that said, if you don’t plan to use the cleaning system to its total capacity, it can be an excellent choice for you.
You should also remember that this product can get a bit more expensive than most beginners are comfortable paying for. That’s why it’s preferred mainly by more experienced Paludarium enthusiasts, as they often can use this high-volume equipment more efficiently.
Meanwhile, some of the main advantages the Fluval FX6 Canister Filter offers are:
This option shows significantly higher efficiency than its alternatives. With its high-performance pump and constant vacuum maintenance, the Fluval FX6 outperforms even filters with much higher circulation rates.
Despite the impressive volume of water it can handle, this cleaning system in itself is small, movable, and compact, making the installment and removal process a breeze. With a length of just under 33 inches (~56 cm), it can fit under almost any tank of your choice.
It Has Aquastop Valves
This added design feature has allowed users to easily and quickly achieve a full vacuum in their input and output valves before use. To ensure a fully airtight passway that can offer excellent circulation, you’ll just need to push down the pipes onto the filter housing until you hear a crack. Afterward, your system is fully ready to start, and you’re guaranteed the circulation levels and quality will be ideal throughout the whole process.
It Has a Smart Pump Technology
A Smart Pump technology allows the pump to detect any trace of air found inside the system, which, if built up enough, can trigger the mechanism to automatically pause twice a day, a process that can allow the built-up air to escape promptly. This cycle enables the filter to work at maximum efficiency at all times.
Best Silent: Tetra Whisper EX70
If Fluval FX6’s slight humming sound is still a dealbreaker for you, you may want to take a look at this ultra-silent option. Not only is Tetra Whisper EX70 ideal for even the lightest sleepers, but it also provides excellent quality and capacity.
This filter can clean up and circulate up to 70 gallons (~265 liters) of water, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and experts. The installation process is as easy as it gets, as you won’t need to set up the system before attaching it to your tank. With that said, you’ll need to prime the filter yourself, unlike the previous alternative.
Tetra Whisper EX70 only offers mechanical cleaning, but its patented carbon filters and bacteria growth plates ensure that your whole ecosystem remains healthy and thriving. Therefore, this product can often outperform its competitors regardless of the limited profile of its cleaning process. For this reason, the filter is one of the most efficient and popular models on the market today.
The system is compact and flexible, making it easy to manage and install. Its main selling point, though, remains the extremely quiet operations, which allows you to place your Paludarium in any desired space, as you can barely even tell that there’s a filtering system circulating the water.
Best Affordable: Zoo Med Paludarium Filter
This filtering system is one of the best quality options in the market today for enthusiasts with smaller tanks or less experience. The Zoo Med Paludarium Filter can manage a water volume of up to 20 gallons (~76 liters).
Therefore, if you’re a beginner looking for a safe, trustworthy investment, you can’t go wrong with this cleaning system. It is a conveniently versatile option that can be easily set up and used. So, suppose you’ve never tried a filter for a Paludarium before. In that case, the Zoo Med alternative is ideal as a first purchase, from where you can further expand your preferences and invest in them more efficiently.
The best way to determine the filter that will work best with your Paludarium is to firstly set your priorities and needs. This process will require you to consider some essential factors regarding what makes a cleaning system worth the investment. After determining your preferences, you can take a look at some of our top suggestions to quickly find the option that would suit your needs best.
- Paludariums: Paludarium Maintenance
- All Pond Solutions: How do I calculate the right filter and pump size for my fish tank?
- Practical Fishkeeping: Choosing an aquarium filter
- Aquarium Care Basics: Aquarium Filters: Mechanical, Biological & Chemical Filtration
- YouTube: Fluval FX6 Canister Filter | Unboxing, Setup & Review