6 Best Aquarium Filter for African Cichlids Tank

African Cichlids are well-known as one of the most colorful fish families that people keep at home. Fish enthusiasts love to set up colorful community tanks by keeping various species together.

It is a delight to watch them interact with each other. However, most of them are rather territorial so tension might rise between them.

Unfortunately, they are not the most sophisticated animals when it comes to eating. When an African Cichlid consumes its food, it usually generates a lot of waste and debris in the fish tank.

But don’t worry, the solution is quite simple. In this article, we are going to suggest you a few highly effective filters for your home aquarium.

Best Aquarium Filter for African Cichlids Tank

A powerful filter is essential for every African Cichlid aquarium. It is going to play a huge role in keeping them healthy and the fish tank clean in general.

So now you know that you need a filter, but which one to choose? There are dozens, if not hundreds of filters available in the market.

Don’t worry, we are here to help you by making it a less confusing task. We have narrowed down the available products to the 6 most effective filters you can get for African Cichlids.

Of course, every one of them has its own advantages and downsides.

Depending on what you need for your particular aquarium, you can pick the best filter from our list and buy it right away. Without further ado, let’s see what each of these products has to offer!

1. Fluval FX4 Canister Filter

At first sight, the Fluval FX4 looks like an absolute powerhouse, which it indeed is. It is pretty easy to use too, as you only need to add some water, plug it in and let it do the rest.

Thanks to its Smart Pump Technology, the filter gets rid of the air accumulated in its system every time 12 hours have passed.

The Fluval FX4 is a reliable filter that will actually help with water changes. It comes with a utility valve that allows you to attach a hose to it.

This makes adding fresh water to the tank easier than ever. They did a great job ensuring that the whole filter is securely sealed using numerous locking clamps.

Thanks to its structure, the quality of the material it is made of and its useful features, the Fluval FX4 is one of the top filters you can get.


  • It is a powerful filter for aquariums of up to 250 gallons of size
  • All of its parts are made of durable materials including the tubes and valves
  • The Smart Pump Technology guarantees highly effective filtering
  • Quietly filters through about 700 gallons of water every hour


  • It is going to take up quite a lot of space compared to smaller filters
  • You need to make sure the hose is compatible with your fish tank


2. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

This professional filter from Hydor basically looks like a box and it will do wonders when it comes to water filtration.

It comes with rubber feet that are attached to the bottom of the box, making sure it stays quiet and doesn’t move.

The careful design also includes a ceramic pump shaft in the water pump that further reduces the noise generated by the filter.

With the Hydor Professional, you get a spray bar attachment so that you can ensure that the water is aerated while being filtered.

We can call this a bonus because not every filter comes with a spray bar. It is easy to install and once you are done, all you need to do is to push the primer button and let it clean the water.

As the filter starts to work, it instantly pushes out all the air and replaces it with water.

The maintenance of this model is straightforward. If you want to gain access to the filter, you only need to disconnect the ball-valves.


  • Adjustable intake tube for different depths
  • Its technology allows the device to operate quietly
  • Easy to install and turn on the filter
  • The filter barely makes a sound when running


  • They didn’t include an activated carbon filter
  • You need to be annoyingly precise to close the filter after opening


3. Fluval 407 Performance Canister Filter

The Fluval 407 is currently one of the superior filters you can find in the market. It is quite a universal filter as you can use it for aquariums of various sizes and both saltwater and freshwater fish.

With its powerful motor, it won’t take much time for this model to filter out the contaminants from the water.

This is the type of filter that is truly designed with effectiveness in mind. For those who look for something easy to use yet really powerful, the Fluval 407 is the filter to go for.

It comes with a set of instructions that make it straightforward to install and get it working.

While being quite strong, it doesn’t vibrate as much while functioning, meaning that it is going to work quietly.

It makes the contaminated water go through a series of filtration processes. As a result, the water quality in your tank is going to be impeccable every day.


  • Comes with high-quality clamps that hold it firmly in place
  • It is designed to barely make a sound while working
  • The modules are separated in a way that allows easy, mess-free maintenance
  • It holds more water than other filters thanks to its square shape


  • This model has no in-built UV sterilizer
  • The package doesn’t include a spray bar either


4. Oase Indoor Aquatics Biomaster Thermo

Buying the Biomaster Thermo filter will solve two of your problems at once. It is not only a filter but also comes with a heater that you can remove if you don’t need it.

This is a highly effective model whether you want to use it for a saltwater or a freshwater aquarium.

For African Cichlids, it is going to be more than ideal. It comes with filter foams and Hel-X filter media that will produce crystal clear water with little effort.

They have simplified the filter to the point where it takes little to no time to access the filters when they need cleaning.

You are going to be able to install the Biomaster Thermo and press start within a couple of minutes. Getting it to work after maintenance is also a simple process.

Since it has a heater, there is no need to install one inside the aquarium. Warm water will flow into the aquarium after it ran through the filter.


  • Easy to install, easy to maintain
  • The integrated heater which is perfect for African Cichlid tanks
  • It allows you to set the water flow according to your needs
  • In case of leakage, there is a valve that sets the system off


  • Might take some time until you figure out all the functionalities
  • It can generate air bubbles as the water goes through the filter


5. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter

This is the model 360 from Marineland that works so well for African Cichlid owners. It is called Magniflow and you can use it for any aquarium as long as it’s not larger than 100 gallons.

What makes this filter convenient is that it can function without you having to attach a hose.

You can just push the prime button instead and let the filter do the rest. Although the Magniflow is made of plastic, it is high-quality material.

It is not going to flex or warp at all while you install it or perform maintenance. Such material also makes it impossible for leaks to develop.

This also applies to the O-ring that is there to properly seal the canister. In the inside, there are two foam filters that will collect all the dirt and debris from the water.

But this is only the first level. There is also the activated carbon and another technology that combines bio-balls and ceramic rings.

The latter makes sure that the nitrite and ammonia levels are low throughout the day.


  • Every single part of it is made of top-quality material
  • Its motor is unnoticeably quiet
  • Getting spare parts is very easy through their customer service
  • It works well for tanks up to 100 gallons


  • They didn’t include a spray bar
  • The filter itself is quite big so make sure you have enough room for it


6. Aqueon Canister Filter

This model by Aqueon will run the water through its 3 different filters, cleaning it perfectly. The first one is a sponge filter with the advantage that you can easily remove and clean it.

This allows you to use it for a long period of time without paying a dime.

In addition, this filter handles the bio load of your aquarium very well with its biological filters. It takes a matter of seconds to disconnect the valves and perform any kind of maintenance.

Another great thing about the Aqueon canister filter is that it comes with a spray bar.

All in all, it has an attractive design that will look great on your African Cichlid aquarium. It is made of top-quality materials that guarantee it to work seamlessly in the long run.

Water flow can be adjusted, meaning that you can set the exact water turbulence that your fish need.


  • Another well-built, reliable model by Aqueon
  • Easy to disconnect valves for quick maintenance
  • There is a lot of space available for filter media


  • It comes with a water polishing unit that is rarely needed
  • A bit noisy for quiet places such as bedrooms


What is the Minimum Size Tank for African Cichlids?

Are you planning to keep African Cichlids at home? Then you will need to buy a fish tank that is a minimum of 50 gallons of size.

It is always better to get a bigger one and thus make sure they have enough space. In any case, you will need to install a powerful filter that will sort of over-filters the water.

The rule of thumb is to check out the recommended tank size for each of the individual species you keep and buy a tank based on that.

For some of the 3-inch cichlids, a 30-gallon tank is enough whereas you will need a 50-gallon one for the 8-inch cichlids.

How to Choose a Filter for African Cichlids?

African Cichlids are usually bigger than the average fish people keep in a home aquarium. Not to mention that they tend to eat a lot which also generates lots of waste.

For this reason, you will need to use an external canister filter. These filters are larger than the other types of filters in the market.

These filters are able to cycle a great quantity of water through themselves in a short amount of time.

By installing an external canister filter, you will be able to keep water contamination at almost zero. They come with various filter media that will ensure effective filtering every day.

External filters are also easy to maintain because they are completely dry and all the parts are accessible from outside.

Is Hang on Back Filter Good for African Cichlids?

If you own a smaller tank, then buying a HOB filter is a great idea. In case you keep African Cichlids in a bigger aquarium, however, then you better buy a canister filter.

It is much more effective and definitely not something you should save money on.

In fact, it is even better to use both. Many fish keepers choose to install both a canister filter and a hang on back one for more effective filtration.


The filters we talked about in this article all generate an ideal water flow for the typical African Cichlid.

Although there are countless filters to choose from, the ones on our list have proven to be the most effective throughout the years.

Furthermore, their filtration technologies will guarantee that your precious pets are not going to generate an intolerable amount of waste.

We have also provided some additional information about African Cichlid care, the filters they prefer and how to choose the perfect one.

Depending on the species you keep in your home aquarium, you will be able to buy the best filter based on our article.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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