How to Fix Loud Aquarium Filters

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A quality filter in your fish tank helps keep the water clean so the environment is healthy for your fish and plant life. If your fish tank filter is making noise, take steps like replacing the filter and checking the water levels in the tank to troubleshoot the problem. Once you fix the issue, you can return to having a quiet aquarium filter with a peaceful hum.

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A too-loud filter may need repairs.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

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Fish tank filter making noise

The amount of noise an aquarium filter makes can vary. Some larger units needed for larger tanks may be louder than a smaller filter. In addition, some brands and models may be quieter than others. Regardless of the type of filter you have, a well-functioning, quiet aquarium filter will likely have the sound of an electronic hum and the sound of trickling or moving water in the tank.

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If your fish tank filter is making noise, it's time to troubleshoot. It may make a rattling noise against the tank if it isn't installed properly or may just be louder than usual. Before examining the filter, be sure to unplug it so that you can safely work with it.

Clean the filter

A dirty filter is a common cause of a noisy aquarium filter. There are many types of aquarium filters available, and the specific steps you need to take to clean your filter vary depending on the type of filter you have. Follow the instructions that came with your unit and remember to avoid using tap water for cleaning, as it can have harmful chemicals, such as chlorine.

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If you are unable to clean the filter sufficiently or it is simply worn out, you may need to completely replace the filter. Make sure the new filter is the correct size and works with your filtration unit. As you clean the filter, look for any broken parts or loose pieces that may be making noise when the filter is running. These will need to be tightened if possible or replaced if needed.

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Check water flow and pumps

It is possible the noise isn't coming from the filter itself but rather from the return pump or water pump. The return pump is the part of the filter that returns the water from the filter to the aquarium. Adjust the hose to eliminate any splashing when the filter is running and consider attaching it to the aquarium wall with a clip to keep it secured and to allow the water to help absorb the sound.

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It is also possible for the water pump or the return pump to break. Check the product instruction manual for troubleshooting tips but in many cases, these may simply need to be replaced. One final thing to check is water flow and water level. If the water is moving too quickly through the filter, it can make the filter much louder. Try reducing the water flow but make sure to monitor the water. If you decrease the water flow too much, the filter won't work to keep the water clean.

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Secure the aquarium filter

Once you know that the filter is clean and working properly, make sure it is secured correctly and fitted firmly against the tank. If it is loose, the vibrations against the glass can make it sound much louder than it is. Check the instructions for your specific filter for installation steps. If the filter is still too loud for your taste, consider putting a towel or rug underneath the tank to minimize vibrations against the table. Alternatively, you can purchase anti-vibration pads to use under the tank.

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