An aquarium filter is a vital and essential part of your fish tank. Your fish depend on it to keep the water in the tank clean and to remove debris and chemical buildups. However aquarium filters need regular maintenance like everything else, and sometimes things can go wrong with them. 

No matter whether you have a canister filter or power filter, a frequent complaint is that the filter is making excessive noise. This could be noise that has been there from the outset, or something has has come on either slowly or suddenly. Common causes of noise in the filter are components inside the filter mechanism becoming dislodged or damaged, a build-up of debris and detritus, or a low water level.

If your aquarium filter starts making noises, then you can follow this guide to hopefully solve the problem and you get your quiet fish tank filter back!

Steps to take to get a Quiet Fish Tank Filter

So let’s get into how to stop the noise from your filter.

1) First things first, turn off your filter and unplug it from the power outlet. Remove the filter and put it in a bucket so that you don’t ruin your floor!

You want to clean the filter as normal, as a build up of dirt can cause the filter to make noise. You can read our guide on how to properly clean an aquarium filter to ensure that you do it correctly and take all the necessary steps. But always remember to use the tank water, not ordinary water! Using ordinary tap water can introduce dangerous chemicals such as chlorine into your tank.

Make sure you check and clean the intake and outflow valves and nozzles properly. These are the sites of most water flow, which is perfect for algal growth. As such these are often the sites of algal build up which can cause noise. 

As we say in our guide to how to clean an aquarium filter, using a filter pipe cleaner is very useful as you can reach those hard to get spots. As you are trying to rid your filter of noise you want to get as much algal and debris build-up out as physically possible.

Hopefully giving the filter a proper clean will solve the issue, but as you have the filter out of the tank, let’s also see if there are other problems. 

2) Take the filter apart, taking careful note of what goes where. Check any fittings and make sure that everything is tight. If there is something loose it could be that it was causing the noise, so tighten it with a screwdriver or however it needs tightening.

However if you find something completely broken, then this is something that might not be able to be fixed. If the broken piece is causing the noise then you may have to purchase a new aquarium filter.

Hopefully you will be able to simply replace the piece. Check to see if your filter is still under the warranty period; if this is the case you can get into contact with the manufacturers and they will send you a new piece. If not you can either purchase a new piece directly from the manufacturer or check in a local pet store.

If the filter needs to be thrown away and replacing; always check your warranty to see if you are within the grace period. If you are then get in touch with the manufacturers and they should be able to sort it out for you.

If you have been able to find and solve the issue, or if you haven’t found any damaged parts and given it a good clean then reinstall the filter and turn it on. Fingers crossed that the noise has gone!

3) You also want to make sure the water level hasn’t dropped too low. If your filter has a bubble wand this can be very helpful in seeing whether the water level has dropped. In power filters especially a low water level can cause noise as the outflow isn’t directly back into the top of the water column. Instead the water has to drop back in and it will make a noise. In canister filters if the canister isn’t filled with water the low water levels in the filter can cause splashing and quite a bit of noise. Have a watch of the following video too, as there is a handy home fix you can do using plastic bottles to prevent splashing.

If you have a canister filter then you should check to make sure that both the intake and outflow nozzles are properly attached. You want the intake nozzle completely submerged. Also ensure that the pump is in full working order. If the pump is dying a death, it can be quite noisy.

If you have a power filter or hang on back filter, then double check that it is fitted properly. Also check that the intake is complete submerged. If the power filter can move on the side of your tank it can cause a rattling noise, so ensure it is firmly fitted.

Hopefully this guide has been helpful; good luck in sorting out your noisy filter and getting back your nice quiet fish tank filter!

About the author

Authority Aquarium Staff

Authority Aquarium Staff writers are experts and aquarium enthusiasts, our in-house marine biologist fact checks all our content and reviews to bring you the best advice for your aquarium health.

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