Best Eheim Filters Reviewed: Which Is Right For Your Tank?

Eheim filters are a very popular choice among the many filtration systems for your aquarium.

Reliable, efficient and easy to maintain, they are one of the most used and widely known filtration systems on the market.

They have different models of filters available, from regular classic filters to high-tech models which come with electronic controls.

When picking one, the tricky part is choosing the right size to suit the needs of your aquarium – an overstocked tank is not good for your fish.

To help you find the best model, in our guide below we have reviewed each of the filters based on functionality, effectiveness, ease of setup, ease of use and cost.

All You Need To Know About Eheim Filters

Eheim filters are one of the most widely used and well-known canister filters on the market as they are reliable and relatively easy to set up.

A good filtration system is one of the most important parts of any successful aquarium. From beginners to expert aquarium hobbyists, a filter is the key to keeping water clean from substances which are harmful to your fish.

There are multiple types of filtration systems, including: HOB, power, sponge, undergravel and more.

Depending on the type of filtration you are looking for (biological, chemical, mechanical or a mix of all of the above) and the size of your tank, you should look for a specific filtration system.

Eheim are well known in the aquarium industry for producing quality reliable products. They have been producing aquarium products for 70 years so you can be sure that their products are tried and tested and constantly improving.

A good filtration system is a mandatory for your aquarium.

Aquariums are delicate microhabitats hosting a variety of organisms, from bacteria to larger sizes plants and fish producing substances sometimes harmful and sometimes beneficial to their surroundings.

This is where the filter comes in. A good filtration system keeps the water clean from organic debris and harmful substances that can alter the water conditions of your tank.

4 Best Eheim Filters Reviewed

Eheim Classic Filter

The Best Tried and Tested Eheim Filter
The Best Tried and Tested Eheim Filter

Available in five different sizes, to suit the volume of your tank, this model performs to the highest of quality.

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The Eheim Classic Filter is available in five different sizes, to suit tanks from 50 to 1500 liters (approximately 10 to 400 gallons).

This design offers great value for money, and is one of Eheim’s most well-loved filters. This range has been developed over decades and tried and tested thousands of times.

It has a range of basic features, including a spray bar, hose, inlet pipe and everything you need for installation. Different models come with specific equipment. For example the classic 150 has a base for safe positioning, and the classic 1500XL has a drain tap.

The pump can be operated separately from the canister, and for each model there are media sets available which makes it really easy to get the filtration right.

Pros:
  • This classic filter is the most well-loved.
  • It is great quality and has been tried and tested.
  • Very quiet with barely any audible noise.
  • Easy to maintain and change the filter media.
  • Produce a great flow.
Cons:
  • It can be difficult to prime.
  • Some people don’t like the green color.
  • Included instructions are not easy to read.

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Eheim Professional 4

The Upgraded and Elite Eheim Filter
The Upgraded and Elite Eheim Filter

Eheim claim this is their best external filter, with all the top features you could want.

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This is the crowning achievement of filter technology.

There are five different models available – each suited to different sized aquariums.

The model number indicates the amount of liters that the filter is suitable for. Models which include ‘T’ mean that it’s available with a built in heater. The professional 4e+ can also be electronically controlled from a PC.

This series has all of the same advantages as the older Pro 3 model including being powerful, energy efficient and quiet.

Its square shape means it fits perfectly into most aquarium stands.

This is very quiet with an adjustable flow rate and an integrated self-primer.

Pros:
  • The Pro 4 is the most elite and premium filter.
  • Very easy to set up with an auto primer.
  • This series have an adjustable flow.
  • The pre filter is reusable.
Cons:
  • The hose length is quite short.
  • Trays can be tricky to put back in.
  • No hose clamps included with the kit.

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Eheim Ecco Pro

The Energy Efficient Eheim Filter
The Energy Efficient Eheim Filter

The Ecco series offer you extraordinary energy economy, having a watt power consumption between 5 and 8.

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There are three models available in the Eheim Ecco Pro series, each one is ideal for different sized aquariums.

This is one of the most energy efficient filters on the market, with 5 watts consumed whilst pumping 600l/h, and 8 watts at 750 l/h.

Other brands of a similar size have a power consumption of around 20W, which means these models use up to 75% less energy than others.

It has a multi-functional handle, and its use varies depending on its position. It can be used as a lever to open and close the lid, as a primer and as a carrying handle.

Components are made from high quality ceramics which ensure it runs quietly, and is long lasting.

It also has a number of filter baskets – one to three, depending on which model you choose.

Pros:
  • This is the most energy efficient one on the market.
  • Extremely quiet when running.
  • Very easy to prime.
  • It will cost less to run.
Cons:
  • It needs cleaning more regularly than other filters.
  • Some replacement parts are not available.
  • Water pressure and flow drops over time.

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Eheim Professional 3

The Elite Eheim Filter
The Elite Eheim Filter

This filter is available in four sizes and has high end technology, high performance and great energy efficiency.

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There are four separate models to choose from:

  • The 250 model is ideal for tanks up to 250 liters (55 gallons).
  • The 350 model is ideal for tanks up to 350 liters (75 gallons).
  • The 600 model is ideal for tanks up to 600 liters (130 gallons).
  • The 1200 XL model is great for tanks up to 1200 liters (260 gallons).

The 250, 350 and 600 models are all available as a thermofilter. On the front is a digital thermometer which can be controlled and pre-set between 64-93°F.

Some models come with all the filter media you need, and installation accessories. The media sits in removable baskets with the three smaller models having an ‘Easy Clean’ cleaning grill.

The largest model also has a flow rate indicator which lets you know when to clean and a drip tray (which makes cleaning easier).

Pros:
  • It has a high flow rate.
  • The media lasts for a long time.
  • Looks good so can be left out on display.
  • Easy to setup and easy to maintain.
Cons:
  • Replacement filtration is quite expensive.
  • The hose is not very long.
  • Instructions included are not great.

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How to Choose the Right Eheim Filter

Filter

There are three main things to consider before buying your filter:

  1. Tank Size
  2. Filtration Type
  3. Stocking Levels

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

Size of Tank

The size of your tank is the first thing you should consider when choosing the right Eheim filter.

This is important as larger tanks typically require more powerful filtration systems.

Luckily each filter is rated for a certain sized tank.

You can find systems rated for 40 gallons such as Eheim 2211 all the way up to systems which are recommended for 300 gallons such as Eheim 2260.

A simpler system would be the best choice if you don’t have much time to dedicate to tank maintenance.

Type of Filtration

As mentioned earlier there are different types of filtration needed to keep your tank clean – biological filtration is the most important.

You can either have separate systems that offer you mechanical, chemical and biological filtration or you can have an external Eheim canister filter that offers you all three filtrations in one.

It is very important to have all three systems present in your aquarium as your fish can suffer from toxic and harmful compounds which develop in the water.

These compounds are the result of having living organisms present in the waters. Fish detritus, uneaten food and even fish respiration produce compounds such as ammonia and nitrite, lethal for your fish.

Filter Media

Stocking Levels

Another factor to consider when choosing the right Eheim filter is the fish population present in the tank.

A heavily stocked tank will require more filtration as there will be more waste to clean. So you should pick the next filter size up.

Overstocked tanks tend to produce more organic debris, from fish detritus to uneaten food, so your filter must be able to keep up with this type of mechanical filtration removing all the necessary by-product.

The same goes for biological filtration. Levels of nitrates should be monitored and kept stable as the concentrations of nitrate in overstocked tanks tend to increase quickly.

How to Set Up and Maintain an Eheim Filter

Setting Up The Filter
Setting Up The Filter by Christinamari (Flickr)

First of all, set up the tubes. Place the intake tube about 0.5″ above the substrate. If you have sand, you should allow a bit more space (1-1.5″) to prevent the sand from entering the tube.

The outlet tube can be put on the opposite side of the tank just below the water surface. You might want to angle the opening to the surface to allow some water movement (this will help with gas exchange).

Another thing you want to consider is where to place it. Even though the filter has a pump, gravity is the main way to feed the water into the canister. The pump only sucks up the water. Therefore, you should place the canister below the aquarium.

Once it is working, you should check on flow control. Really strong flows can be bad for certain fish.

After your system is set up and running, you need to maintain it. Eheim filters are generally sturdy and very easy to maintain.

Every so often it will need to be cleaned. You will be able to tell when it needs cleaning from the flow rate – a slow flow rate indicates it’s clogged and needs cleaning.

There are three main things you will need to do to maintain your filter:

  1. Replace the media every 6-8 weeks. You will want to completely replace the sponge while the rest of the system can be rinsed in old tank water.
  2. The pipes need to be cleaned every so often. A good indicator is listening for rattling or unusual sounds such as a water rushing sound which usually means that there is some blockage going on, either in the intake or return pipe. These systems are generally very quiet and unusual sounds will be easily recognizable.
  3. Finally, if you are not replacing the different filtration media you should consider cleaning them. You can turn it off and remove the parts, then rinse them in old aquarium water and place them back in the canister. You can do this every 6 to 8 weeks.

Eheim Filter Media

Now that we have mentioned the type of filtration that would be good to have in your aquarium, we can discuss the type of media to use for the different filtrations. There are a lot of choices, and all media materials play different roles in keeping the waters in the aquarium clean and healthy.

From mechanical to biological and chemical filtration, you can decide on the best materials.

Mechanical filtration removes fine particles. For this you can choose something coarse such as a pad or a foam block. Filter floss can also be used to remove fine particles.

For best results with biological filtration, use a ceramic media that is porous to allow nitrifying bacteria to grow.

Carbon is an idea media for chemical filtration. Other chemical media are granular ferric oxide, crushed corals, peat or ammonia chips.

Summary

The Best Tried and Tested Eheim Filter
The Best Tried and Tested Eheim Filter

Available in five different sizes, to suit the volume of your tank, this model performs to the highest of quality.

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Eheim canister filters are one of the most widely used filter systems in the aquarium industry. They are reliable, efficient and easy to use.

A good filtration system is essential for any successful tank.

If you are looking for a reliable and solid filter, then the Eheim Classic is ideal for you. If you want something extra with additional features, then the Eheim Professional series is for you.

Have you used any of these systems before? Why not tell us about it in the comment section below…

Robert Woods Portrait
Robert Woods is the creator of FishKeeping World, a third generation fish keeper and a graduate in animal welfare and behavior. He is also a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Marine Aquarium Societies of North America and the Nature Conservancy.

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