A noisy filter can be an absolute nuisance in a home aquarium. Not to mention that there are so many different filters available in the market.

They can differ in size, structure, technology and power as well. However, we are here to inform you that the filter itself is usually the last thing you need to check out.

Problems with the air pump are more common. This is not to say that issues with the filter can’t cause a lot of noise.

An aquarium filter is typically assembled of many parts and those can end up being out of place or damaged. Identifying those parts is the first step towards fixing the problem.

Reasons Why Filter is Loud

We are here to show you what are the main issues you can run into with filters and how to fix them. After all, many people keep their aquarium in their bedroom or near it. You definitely don’t want to listen to filter noise all night long, do you?

Those little inconsistent noises can be quite annoying throughout the day as well. Once you start to notice some filter noise, you need to inspect the system and fix it as soon as possible. We would recommend fixing it instead of buying a new one right away, as the solution is often simple.

Let’s see what can go wrong in a filter that can cause it to make a lot of noise:

– Dirty Filter

The problem might be that you simply didn’t wash the filter for a long time. As a result, dirt has accumulated and it started to produce some noise.

In this case, you need to unplug it, then take it out of the aquarium. Take out the filtration media after opening it and rinse it all with clean water.

– High Flow Rate

The higher the water flow rate, the faster the water is going to pass through the filter. As a result, the whole device is going to be louder. The solution is to lower the return and flow rate. As we mentioned, an aquarium filter can consist of many different parts.

If the filter works on a high setting, all those parts need to move faster, producing more sound as a result. The filter working slower is not going to be an issue in most cases, except if it’s really old. In that case, you are probably going to need a new one soon.

When adjusting the flow rate on the pump, you need to set it to a slightly lower setting first. Lowering it too much can result in the water not being cleaned properly. If there are too many contaminants in the water, your fish will suffer the health consequences.

– Air Bubbles

If you notice that too many air bubbles are produced by your filter, then it is maybe time to check the media. This usually means that there is a high concentration of protein in the water. The way protein works in water is that it prevents the bubbles from popping.

This is a clear sign that the water is becoming increasingly dirty. Your filter media is most likely dirty and has to be cleaned. Take out that media and make sure to rinse it with clean water before you put it back.

– Broken Impeller

Sometimes, the aquarium filter becomes noisy because its impeller is broken. If you are lucky, it is not broken but has to be lubricated in order to fix the noise. Check the filter and the pump and if both seem fine, go ahead and lubricate the impeller.

This can solve your problem once and for all. You need to get some lubricant that does not contain any additives that would be harmful for your fish. Silicone oil and Vaseline are both great choices. You can use them to lubricate metal shafts or any moving part you can see in the pump.

– Vibration

If there is a lot of vibration going on in the filter, then there is likely a part or two in it that is broken. In that case, check the attachment mechanism. If you examine it, you might also discover that there is a clogged-up inlet somewhere.

Or, it might be the case that the filter unit is rattling against the tank wall. This rattling sound can be reduced to zero if you put an aquarium-safe sponge in the gap.

Also, the water has to be able to flow smoothly in and out. If there are any debris or particles stuck inside, make sure to take the filter out and clean its parts thoroughly.

– Lack of Water (in case of hang on back filters)

It might seem like the filter is working while it makes noise but in some of these cases, there is no water going through. This means that while the motor works, the all the filter media has been shut down. While the filter is making the humming noise, check if the water surface is moving.

If it’s not, then you will probably need to remove and clean the filter media. You can do this by unplugging the filter, removing the media and rinsing it with clean water. Then reassemble it and try if it works properly.

Can You Turn Off Filter at Night?

Turning off the filter at night is usually not a good idea. During nighttime, the water can get increasingly contaminated and the pH can change as well. If you turn the filter off every night, you can quickly end up with low-quality water in the aquarium.

Turning it off on a regular basis is not only bad for the fish but also for the plants, bacteria and other pets living in your tank. They all need fresh oxygen and clean water in order to thrive.

Wrap Up

Hopefully, this article has helped you figure out why your filter does make a lot of noise recently. Usually, it is a small problem that can be fixed rather quickly after a short investigation. It is important to ensure that your filter is working properly because otherwise the water quality can quickly turn bad.

Also, listening to a loud filter every single day is not the most pleasant experience for sure. And again, buying a new filter should not be the first thing that comes to mind. Don’t shy away from disassembling it and lubricating certain parts or washing the media.

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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