How to Fix Loud Aquarium Filters

By Jennifer Hench

Aquariums provide an environment for aquatic plants and a habitat for marine life, and they also provide a soothing sound. The sound of flowing water in an aquarium can be tranquil, unless the pump and filter start making loud noises. To combat the filter noises, you have to determine the cause of the problem to bring the aquarium back to a peaceful hum.

Listen closely to the aquarium to pinpoint where the filter noise is coming from. Turn off all additional sources of noise in the room to help you find the problem. Shut off aquarium lights may also emit sound. Shine a flashlight toward the filter system to visually inspect for problems.

Wash your hands with plain water and dry using a clean towel or cloth. Remove the lid or cover from your aquarium and place your hand inside of the tank. Place your hand inside of the aquarium, making sure that you have some light source to guide you, and gently press down on the filter if the loud noise is a rattling or shaking sound, indicating a loose filter.

Remove stones, gravel or debris that may have been sucked in and lodged in the filter. Stuck particles would cause the filter to reverberate, producing additional noise.

Adjust the return pump, if necessary, which is required if the loud noise is a splashing or lapping sound. Proper placement of the return hose for the pump, which operates the filter, produces little noise as the water re-enters the aquarium at the top of the waterline. Inserting the hose further into the water reduces noise associated with water re-entry. Attach the hose to the side of the aquarium with a clip, if necessary, to keep the hose opening completely underwater and cutting back on noise.

Change the water flow and return rate on the filter. Lower the flow rate, which is the number of times water passes through the filter for cleansing. Lowering the return flow rate reduces the noise from movement of water in the actual filter. Selecting a minimum setting on the pump dial slows the water flow and return rate.

Turn off and unplug the filter and pump to manually reset the system. Plug the pump and filter back in and turn on. Use this method to check the overall efficiency of the pump. Loud filter noises sometimes indicate the internal, mechanical parts the pump are beginning to fail. If the pump continues to make loud noises, disassemble it to inspect internal components for cracks, broken pieces or lodged debris.