Best filter for axolotl

It is important to consider the filtration system when setting up an axolotl tank. You can either manually filter the tank or invest in a good water filter suitable for axolotl tank.

Axolotls are sensitive charismatic pets that rely on the quality of their water for their biological processes. However, they eliminate a lot of waste which if not removed makes the water cloudy. Additionally, if not removed they can pick up their poop and eat it which is not healthy.

Without a filter, you would need to siphon the debris daily to keep the tank looking pristine which can be tasking.

What kind of water filter is best for an axolotl tank

There are the 3 types of water filters that are commonly used.

  1. Sponge filters
  2. Hang on back filters (HOB)
  3. Canister filters

Sponge filters are good enough for axolotls as they help remove impurities and other solid waste. However we recommend the more sophisticated hang on back filters which are effective and cheaper than canister filters. Canister filters are the most expensive and also the most effective.

Sponge water filter for axolotl tank (Budget friendly)

Sponge filters work by drawing water through a sponge removing impurities and solid waste. They are cheap, easy to use and maintain and clean.

Sponge filters are powered by an air pump that allows air flow, gas exchange and circulation. There are several types of aquarium air pumps that can run axolotl tanks. Some air pumps can even power multiple sponge filters saving on power. For axolotls however, you need to find a quiet air pump.

Here is a review of 2 of the best sponge filters that we recommend for axolotl tanks.

Hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter

Sponge water filterThis sponge filter is designed for small fish making it suitable for use with axolotls.

We recommend this sponge filter for axolotls for a number of reasons.

The first reason why we recommend Hygger aquarium double sponge filter is because it combines biological filtration, chemical filtration and oxygenation of the axolotl tank. This ensures that the water is excellent and keeps the aquarium clean for your axolotl.

Secondly, this filter allows small water flow that is gentle for axolotls who prefer gentle flowing water.

Additionally, this filter is small in size and therefore will not occupy a lot of space in the tank. The small filter is 6″ x 9″ x 13″ while the medium one is 6.3″ x 9″ x 13″.

Lastly, this sponge filter can be used on a tank of up to 40 gallons for the small filter and up to 55 gallon tank for the medium filter.  (You would however require 2 filters for a bigger tank).

The hygger sponge filter requires an aquarium air pump and a standard size 4mm hose pipe to run. You will need to purchase the air pump and hose pipe separately as they are not included in the package. You can use a quiet air pump such as Uniclife air pump with this filter.

Included in the package is

  • 1 double sponge filter with 2 containers
  • 1 bag of ceramic media balls
  • 2 strong suction cups
  • 2 spare sponges packed in the containers
  • All the parts of the hygger sponge filter are detachable and easy to reassemble together
  • The 2 strong suction cups can attach anywhere on the tank and keeps the pump in place
  • The fine material of the sponges provides more surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow in.
  • The water outlet can be extended and rotated to your desired position.
  • You can use any other type of media in the filter containers.
  • For a large tank (above 40 gallons) you would need two filters.
  • Does not remove large particles from the tank, may require manual cleaning of the tank for larger particles.

Do not wash the sponge with tap water, instead use aquarium water. When cleaning start with one sponge then the next sponge after a week. If you have to replace the sponges due to wear replace them at intervals and not together.

Check price on Amazon here.

Lefunpets biochemical sponge filter

Sponge water filterThis air powered sponge filter is perfect for use on axolotl tanks for a number of reasons.

Lefunpet biochemical sponge filter work through biological and some mechanical filtration leaving the water looking pristine.

This filter has a unique design. It is cylindrical in shape and has 6 vertical grooves. The grooves trap debris without sucking up your axolotl. Therefore, this filter is safe for your axolotl.

The other reason is because this filter produces minimal currents while in operation and produces almost no sound. As a result, this filter avoids the stress caused on your axolotl by other filters.

There are four sizes that you can choose from based on your aquarium size and requirements. The medium sponge filter has a unique design from the rest as it comes as a 4 layer corner sponge filter. Choose the sponge filter that best suits your axolotl tank.

Lastly, all the parts of this sponge filter are detachable. It is therefore easy to clean this filter. Simply detach all the parts and wash them with the tank water (DO NOT USE TAP WATER).

Lefunpets biochemical sponge filter is air powered. You therefore need an air pump and standard size hose pipe to operate it. The air pump and hose pipe do not come with the package. Therefore you need to purchase them separately.

You can use an air pump such as tetra whisper air pump with this filter.

Key features
  • Made of soft sponge material
  • Can be used on a tank of up to 80 gallon capacity
  • Cylindrical in shape with 6 vertical grooves
  • Easy to install and operate
  • All parts are detachable hence easy to clean
  • Produces minimal currents and noise thus does not cause stress on axolotls
  • It is big for a display tank

Check price on Amazon here.

Hang on back water filters for axolotl tank (Versatile and reliable)

Hang on back filters are filters that are hung on the back of the tank.

HOB filters not only filter the water but allow for circulation and oxygenation of the water.

Some hang on back filters have a regulatory mechanism to regulate the water flow. Hang on back filters can however be noisy.

They are designed for use in small and medium sized tanks which make them ideal for axolotl tanks.

Here is a review of 3 of our favorite hang on back filters.

AquaClear Fish Tank Filter

HOB filterAqua clear is a brand that is famous for providing quality aquarium supplies including water filters. We recommend this aquarium filter for axolotls for a number of reasons.

First, the aquaclear fish tank filter is superior to other filters its size. This is because its filtration volume is up to 7 times larger than comparable filters.

Second, this fish tank filter offers superior contact time with filtration media making it very effective. Additionally, this filter has an energy efficient pump that lowers operation cost.

Thirdly, this fish tank filter has a multistage filtration system that allows for mechanical, biological and chemical filtration leaving your axolotl tank looking pristine. This ensures optimal filtration.

  • Foam captures large debris – mechanical filtration
  • Carbon absorbs odors, discolorations and impurities – chemical filtration
  • Biomax has ceramic rings that allows growth of beneficial bacteria – biological filtration

Additionally, this fish tank filter is versatile and designed to meet multiple user needs. Furthermore, this filter has a patented re-filtration system. The system allows you to control the water flow making it suitable for axolotls.

Lastly, there are 6 different sizes of this filter that you can choose from depending on your tank size.

Key features
  • Comes equipped with Aqua Clear Foam, Activated Carbon and BioMax and Cycle Guard.
  • Available in 6 different sizes
  • Energy efficient pump that lowers operation cost
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Allows for large filtration volume, up to 7 times unlike other filters its size
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Design keeps biological filtration at optimum
  • Makes grinding noise when working
  • Needs to be cleaned regularly and if not careful one may break the filter.

Check price on Amazon here.

MarineLand penguin BIO-wheel power filter

HOB filterMarineLand is a brand that has been in the fish keeping business for over 40 years. You can therefore rely on them for quality and superior products. This is one of the reasons why we recommend this filter for axolotls.

The other reason is because this filter has a multistage filter system that guarantees you quality water for your axolotl. The penguin bio-wheel power filter delivers effective mechanical, chemical and biological aquatic filtration.

  1. Activated carbon removes odors, discoloration and impurities – chemical filtration
  2. Penguin rite-size filter cartridge filters out dirt and debris – mechanical filtration
  3. Bio-wheel allows for growth of nitrifying bacteria – biological filtration

MarineLand bio-wheel power filter is versatile and suitable for multiple uses including axolotl tank filtration. Additionally, you can choose from 5 different sizes based on your aquarium size. No matter what size you choose this model will effectively keep your axolotl tank clean.

The other reason is because this filter comes with an adjustable mid intake strainer. This allows you to control the water flow rate. This filter is therefore suitable for axolotls who require calm waters.

Lastly, we recommend this filter because it is easy to assemble, use and maintain. As such, even a beginner hobbyist can handle it well. Simply assemble the filter as in manual. Hang it on the tank and prime it with tank water then plug it on and it is set and running.

Key features
  • Adjustable mid-level intake strainer
  • Patented BIO- wheel technology for biological filtration
  • Each penguin power filter comes with 1 MarineLand rite-size filter cartridge
  • It comes with 2 piece noise reducing vented covers
  • Comes in 5 sizes
  • Easy to set up and maintain
  • Allows for 3 stage mechanical, chemical and biological filtration
  • Comes in 5 sizes for you to choose from
  • You can easily adjust the water flow
  • The Bio-wheel allows for effective biological filtration
  • You can replace the cartridges easily.
  • The motor has minimal noise but the water can be very noisy
  • The impellers break easily but can be replaced
  • Makes bubbling noise when the water level is low
  • The cartridge filter needs to be replaced every month

Check price on Amazon here.

Fluval C power filter

HOB filterFluval is a brand that has a high reputation for quality. Therefore you can never go wrong with the Fluval products. This and several other reasons is why we recommend this water filter for axolotls.

The first reason is because  Fluval C power filter has a multistage filtration system. It works through a 5 stage filtration system. This ensures optimal water quality for your axolotl.

  • 2 mechanical filtration stages that trap large and fine particles or debris (foam captures large debris while polyester filters out fine particles).
  • 1 stage chemical filtration where activated carbon absorbs odors, discolorations and impurities.
  • 2 stage biological filtration. First the bio-screen pads provide sufficient surface for growth of beneficial bacteria. Additionally, the C-Nodes are super charged for fast and efficient nitrification.

The other reason is because Fluval C power filter has a patented re- filtration system. The aquarium water as it pases through the filter is recirculated multiple times. This results in cleaner high quality water.

Additionally, Fluval C power filter has a versatile design. It comes with an adjustable flow button. You can therefore adjust the flow rate of the water to your desired level which makes it suitable for axolotls. Furthermore, this filter includes a telescopic intake tube that adapts to suit a variety of water parameters and aquarium depths.

In addition you can choose from 3 different sizes. All sizes provide for the 5 stage filtration system.

Lastly, Fluval C power filter easy to set up and maintain. All the sections of the filter can easily be detached for cleaning. Furthermore, this power filter requires minimal maintenance once installed. 

Key features
  • Power filter with 5 stage filtration system
  • Equipped with poly / foam pads, activated carbon, Bio- screen and C – nodes
  • Patented re-filtration system to control water flow
  • Comes in 3 different sizes for you to choose from
  • Easy to set up and maintain
  • 5 stage filtration system allowing high quality water
  • 2 stage biological filtration eliminates toxic compounds
  • Requires low maintenance
  • It can get noisy
  • The foam pads need to be replaced every 4-6 weeks and the activated charcoal every 2-3 weeks
  • The crevices in the impeller make it hard to clean

Check price on Amazon here.

Canister water filter for axolotl tank (Powerful)

Unlike sponge and HOB filters, canister filters come with superior mechanical, chemical and biological filtration capabilities.

Canister filters have high flow rates. They allow you to use any media on them and are easy to install and clean. Furthermore, you can easily adjust their flow rates making them favorable for axolotl tanks. They are quiet which makes most people love them.

Although they are powerful and highly effective they tend to be pricey. Here is a review of budget friendly canister filters.

Fluval all-new 07 series canister filters

canister filterFluval is a brand famous for their high quality aquarium products with over 40 years of making canister filters. We recommend the Fluval 07 series for axolotls because they have a number of unique features.

The first reason is because, the new 07 series features new engineering that ensures ultra quiet operation (up to 25% quieter operation)

The second reason why we recommend this filters is because they are energy efficient. The 07 filters are big on power yet they consume less energy. For example Fluval 107 and 207 models draw as little as 10 watts of energy. This is similar to a single household LED bulb.

Fluval all-new 07 series canister filters provides for powerful and reliable aquatic filtration. They allow for mechanical, chemical and biological filtration keeping your axolotls tanks pristine. Furthermore, depending on the model the 07 filter generates between 145 – 383 US gallons/hour of constant water pumping power. There are 4 sizes that you can choose from depending on your tank size.

The other reason we recommend this filter is that it utilizes every inch of canister volume available. The media is placed resourcefully maximizing media space in a compact footprint.

Lastly, the 07 series features several new design refinements that reduce the effort and time involved for maintenance. This makes this filter easy to use and maintain even for a new aquarium hobbyist.

Key features
  • Powerful canister filter
  • Provides for continuous powerful water flow
  • Near silent operation (up to 25% quieter)
  • Comes in four sizes you can select from depending on your tank size
  • Energy efficient
  • Does not take up tank space
  • Ultra quiet operation
  • Allows for mechanical, chemical and biological filtration
  • Saves on energy consumption
  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • Requires a lot of effort to set up

Check price in Amazon here.

MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter

Canister filterMarineLand is a brand that is known for producing innovative and reliable aquatic products and accessories for many years. Due to this and many other reasons we recommend the Marineland magniflow filter for axolotl.

The other reason why we recommend this water filter for your axolotl is because it is powerful. It has a powerful multistage filtration system.  MarineLand magniflow canister filter allows for 3 stage filtration that provides a favorable aquatic environment for your axolotl.

  • Polishing filter pads provides for water polishing by removing fine debris.
  • Filter foam pads screen out dirt and debris providing for mechanical filtration
  • Bio-filter balls and ceramic rings provide a large surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow on providing for biological filtration
  • Black diamond carbon provides for chemical filtration by removing odor, discoloration and water impurities.

The other reason is because Marineland magniflow canister filter is versatile. This filter can be used for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. It is therefore safe for axolotls.

Additionally, this model is easy to use and maintain. It comes with a water tight canister lid that lifts up easily for easy removal. It also comes with a valve block. The valve block allows for quick release to stop water flow resulting in spill free maintenance. To clean the canister, simply take off the lid.

Furthermore, there are 3 different sizes that you can pick from depending on your axolotl tank capacity.

Lastly, this model includes a quick prime button. This button fills the filter chamber with water for self priming system startup.

Key features
  • Water tight seal that is easily detachable
  • Allows for 3 stage filtration system
  • Comes with bio-filter balls, ceramic rings, black diamond carbon and polishing filter pads
  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Comes with a fast prime button
  • It is leak proof
  • The lid can easily to removed to clean the canister
  • It allows for a 3 stage filtration keeping the water clean and looking pristine
  • It is easy to set up
  • It can take in air bubbles which makes it not function well
  • It has a tendency to leak after some months of use.

Check price on Amazon here.

FAQs on water filters for axolotls

Factors to consider when selecting a water filter for axolotl tank

A good water filter should ideally have an adjustable flow rate. Axolotls are native to calm lake waters, as such, they easily get stressed by high water currents. Additionally, they produce a lot of waste. Therefore, they need a filter strong enough to keep the waste in check.

Consider the following factors when selecting a water filter for your axolotl.

  • Size of your tank
  • Number of animals in the tank
  • The flow rate of the filter
  • Reputable brands
  • Your budget

Do you need a water filter for axolotls?

Axolotls are messy feeders depending on what they eat.  Additionally, they produce a lot waste which they deposit all over the tank.

If the waste is not removed, the axolotl may scoop and eat it. Furthermore the waste may undergo changes fouling the water. Axolotls depend on water quality for their biological processes.

Axolotls waste builds up very fast and cleaning almost every day can be tiresome and one may tend to relax. Unless you are willing to clean the water every day to ensure water quality then you need to invest in the best filter for axolotl tank.

Are sponge water filters good for axolotls?

Sponge water filters are popular with most axolotl owners.  There are many reasons that make them favorable.

Firstly, they are cheap and save on power as many sponge filters can use one air pump.

Secondly, they are easy to install and maintain. Furthermore cleaning them is easy.

Additionally,  they allow for optimum biological filtration and oxygenation of the tank. Biological filtration is the most important in an axolotl tank. Furthermore they also accommodate some mechanical filtration.

Sponge filters are therefore good for axolotls.  We recommend investing in a good sponge filter such as the Hygger Aquarium double sponge filter.

How do water filters work?

Water passes through a water filter. The water filter removes particles present in the water in a process known as water filtration.

There are 3 mechanisms through which water filtration works.

  1. Mechanical filtration –  Machinery removes solid waste particles such as dirt and debris (axolotl waste and uneaten food particles) from water.
  2. Biological filtration –  Beneficial bacteria breaks down unwanted contaminants such as ammonia or nitrites into less toxic compounds. The beneficial bacteria grows in media such as bio rings. This method of filtration is important for all axolotl tanks.
  3. Chemical filtration –  Chemical additives remove dissolved wastes from water. Common chemical additives used include activated charcoal and purigen.

Water filters clean the water leaving the aquarium looking pristine. Clean water provides a good water environment for your axolotl to live in.

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  1. What is the flow rate of the Lefunpet sponge filter. I have not been using a filter on my tank and have had to manually siphon the tank daily and am looking for a solution as it is becoming harder to keep it up daily.

    1. Hi John,

      The Lefunpet sponge filter is air powered. You will therefore need an air pump to run it. As such the flow rate of the filter depends on the flow rate of the air pump that you are using. For example if you are using Uniclife air pump to power the filter the expected flow rate will be 4 litres per hour.
      However when the filter is operating it produces low currents which makes it suitable for axolots.
      I hope this helps.

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