Aquaclear 20 Hang On Back Power Filter – Review and Specs

The Aquaclear 20 is a small HOB (hang on back) power filter made for Fresh or Saltwater aquariums. As the model number indicates it is rated at 20 gallons and flows 100gph (gallons per hour). You get 3 types of separate filtration media included as well. Chemical (carbon), Mechanical (small sponge) and Biological (bio rings and a mesh bag for them). ¬†You can use all three or just one and double up the amount of media of that type. You can also wash (in tank water) the sponge and bio rings and reuse them many times. This saves money from having to buy “filter cartridges”. You can even add custom media like Purigen.

I like this HOB filter for a few reasons but the main one is noise level – this one is nearly silent. If the lid is just right it will buzz a bit but mostly it’s fine, I set my fish food on it and it keeps lid vibration from happening. The filter itself is very quiet, you can barely hear it running. It flows very well and filters without any issue. I had an Aquaclear 110 in the past that was noisy no matter what I did though, so I was hesitant when I bought this one. I have to say I have zero issues with noise so far. The waterfall is also fairly quiet which is nice, I don’t really need the splashing water noise 24/7. This has just a small trickle noise when the water level is a bit low.

The only problem I had, which was mostly my fault was mounting it to the tank. This is rated for a 20 gallon tank and made accordingly. It wouldn’t fit over the plastic lip on my 40g breeder tank, so I had to modify the plastic trim on the tank. I heated it up and pressed a section down slightly to make a spot for the pick up tube to fit into allowing the filter to slide down over the rim of the tank fully. It just has to stay in this spot now is all. The pick up tube is fairly short but if you have good water movement you don’t really need those super extended type. You can lower the flow as well via a small lever on top, which I may do when I convert it to a HOB refugium. I have live rock and a powerhead for most of the filtration needs of the tank. I got the filter with the intention of eventually making it a small refugium but while the tank cycled and for the next few months I will use it as intended as a standard filter.


Aquaclear 20 in action on my Saltwater tank, currently using the stock filter media.


The Mighty Aquaclear 20

Here is the description from Aquaclear.

The AquaClear 20 Power Filter provides mechanical, chemical and biological filtration through its multi-stage filtration system for aquariums up to 20 gallons, and filters 100 gallons per hour. AquaClear Power Filter media volume is up to 7 times larger than comparable filters. Its unique design filters aquarium water through a natural and silent waterfall. The patented flow control feature allows you to regulate the water intake and flow, allowing customized filter performance. The media basket prevents “water by-pass” around the filter media, maximizing filtration efficiency. The AquaClear Power filters include Cycle Guard with BioMax that preserves beneficial bacteria for aquarium inhabitants and maintains clear aquarium water. Filter comes complete with all media needed for a healthy aquarium. AquaClear delivers an entire line of media including Zeo-Carb and Ammonia Remover exclusively designed for the AquaClear Power Filter.

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