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Overhead filters are positioned above an aquarium tank, and they are quite efficient to maintain. The filter consists of a filter box and a water pump.

The pump is commonly a submersible powerhead placed under the tank’s water level. The water is channeled into the filter box containing media.

An outlet takes water back into the tank with the help of gravity. The boxes can accommodate any kind of media that the aquarist would like to keep, including bio-balls and poly-filter.

Best Overhead Filters for Different Size for Aquariums

Best Overhead Filters for Different Size for Aquariums

1. AE-SHOP Black Overhang Filter

This overhead filter promises you crystal clear water in one day with a design that promotes filter function.

The first layer involves physical filtration, where you can put biochemical cotton and filter cotton to get rid of physical debris. The second and third layers will accommodate biological media.

You can add glass rings and biochemical cotton, and other biological material to purify the water.

The water that flows through the setup will be exposed to oxygen to make it more aerated. This water will create a suitable environment for both plants and animals. The three-stage filter process of this model is guaranteed to give you the healthiest water.

The setup is easy to assemble, which will make your work easier. It is also not complicated to clean, and you only need to open the box and replace the filter media if the need arises. The filter’s 18-boxes design is exceptionally user-friendly.

It is recommended for a pump rated at 740-1100 GPH, and it will complement tanks between 75 to 100 gallons.

You will, however, have to buy filter material and a pump separately.

 

2. Spritool Overhang Filter

This model is perfect for feeding large fish as well as raising more fish.

Its six pieces box design promotes simple maintenance and convenient assembly. You can adjust the length of the bottom bracket from 15.7 inches to 25.9 inches to suit all types of pumps in the market.

The setup can be linked to the air pump to make cleaning easy and hassle-free to change the media.

Its drip filter box improves the water’s aeration. The large number of nitrifying bacteria will boost the ecological-suitability of the aquarium, and you are guaranteed to see clear water in one day.

 

3. WUPYI Upper Trickle Box Filter

This model will keep your tank clean, thanks to several excellent features.

Its 360° loop rain design ensures that the flow rate is not too fast or sparse. WUPYI relies on the scientific model of the 360° loop tube to ensure the water has a uniform drip effect and achieve the perfect balance between dripping effect and energy saving.

The filter material is entirely made of water, while the culture is impressively effective. The aquarium’s water will also have more oxygen content.

It uses one-piece molding to make the box truly “anti-overflow.” During maintenance, you only need to open the box and change the media and other materials if needed.

Plastic steel is used to strengthen the bottom plate, which can hold up to 160 kg of solid plastic material base. It will not easily bend or deform, even when subjected to large gravity.

The filter can, however, be a little bulky on top of your aquarium. You will also have to buy a pump separately.

 

4. Senzeal Acrylic Drip Box Filter

This model is manufactured with a modern transparent design that is beautiful and elegant. It is made of acrylic, and its drainage panel creates a stylish waterfall effect. The setup’s adjustable hooks suit a tank wall of 6-10 mm.

The acrylic design makes the filter durable, tough, and resistant, while still being lightweight. It is also easy to maintain, and it will be convenient to use.

The multi-functional aquarium accessory comes in handy when you want to increase the levels of oxygen in your aquarium.

It is packaged with numerous accessories, including four filter cotton, four isolation panels, one acrylic tube, 20 hexagonal rings, 20 round glass ceramics, a connection hose, and a drainage panel.

The filter is suitable for a 2W water pump.

 

5. AE-SHOP Upper Trickle Box Filter

This model features an 18-boxes design and a 3-layer filtration system. It is designed to maximize efficiency so that you enjoy clearer water in a day.

Cleaning and maintenance are also a breeze with this setup. The filter will work with aquariums between 75 to 100 gallons and pumps of 740-1100 GPH.

 

How to Setup an Upper Box Filter?

An upper box filter is simply made of boxes that will hold different kinds of media. Advanced systems will feature stackable filters for efficient and trickle filtration.

The filter box will typically be placed on top of the tank. Submerge the water pump in the water to pump the tank’s water into the upper box. This simple design is part of what makes these filters popular.

Why is an Overhead Filter so Effective?

Overhead filters are impressively efficient, and they provide a host of advantages, including:

Beneficial Bacteria

Overhead filters allow for excellent water/air interaction at the filter media, which lets beneficial bacteria work properly and efficiently.

If you have a trickle filter system, you can put a layer of nitrate-reducing filter media in the first box. A thin clarifying pad will be perfect for trapping physical particles.

The bacteria will do a good job of converting ammonia into nitrates. You can also position a large sponge in the middle boxes to offer more surface for beneficial bacteria to grow.

Efficiency

The simple design and the flowrate of the overhead filters contribute to their effectiveness. Once the pump pushes water into the upper box, gravity takes over.

Water is therefore not pushed through filter media, as is the case with other kinds of filters. The flow rate will not be interpreted, therefore, as is common with filters like canisters, especially where the media get clogged up.

The media in an overhead filter interact with water and air simultaneously, making the bacteria more efficient at converting ammonia into nitrates.

It also promotes aeration, and the water that returns to the aquarium tank is well oxygenated. Your aquatic residents will, therefore, have a suitable environment to thrive.

You only need to stock the right filter media for your setup, and other aquarists even overstock their setups slightly when using an overhead filter.

Low Flow Rate

Unlike Hang on Back filters (HOB), the bacteria in overhead filters work with the oxygen in the air and not the water.

You do not need the kind of high-water flow rates that are used on other kinds of filters. The low current increases the kind of fish species you can keep since some do not respond well to high currents.

Safety and Maintenance

An overhead filter is typically positioned on top of the tank. There is less risk in such a setup for any dangerous leaks that can drain it out. Other kinds of filters, like canister filters, can drain an entire tank out quickly.

With everything located outside the tank except the pump, cleaning time can come down to a few minutes. You only need to open the box, clean or replace the media, and cover it again.

It is not even necessary to turn the pump off, and cleaning takes the shortest time possible.

Can You Place Plants in an Overhead Filter?

Overhead filters have another advantage where plants can thrive in the setups they create. The media pieces in the filters promote bacterial growth, which enables plants to thrive. In such setups, the fish waste is pumped into the roots of the plants.

You can add a variety of plants if you have an overhead trickle filter, including garden vegetables. Your tank will have less waste since it will be channeled towards cultivating plants.

Trailing species like poison ivy can help to conceal the filter and boost the aesthetic of the aquarium. You will, however, need to avail a source of light for the plants.

Best Biological Filter Media for Upper Box Filter

Biological filtration promotes bacterial growth, which breaks down waste and creates a healthy residency for your fish. You will need to invest in an excellent biological filter media for your overhead filter.

The Biohome ultimate filter media provides the most suitable environment for bacterial colonization. It will support anaerobic and aerobic bacteria that break down ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites.

The filter media strikes a perfect balance between surface area accessibility, strength, size, and specific trace elements to create a healthy aquatic system.

Conclusion

Overhead filters are quite efficient, and they come in simple designs. They let the fish owner use a variety of filter media, depending on their aquariums, and they are also easy to maintain.

These filters also promote aeration to ensure that your fish are swimming in enough oxygen. If you have a trickle system, you can add plants to improve the aesthetics of your setup.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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