What is a HOB Filter?
A hang on back (HOB) filter is a type of filter for your aquarium that hangs on the back wall of your tank.
They are classified as simple external filters. However, they are usually not as bulky as canister filters and can be used in a wider range of tanks.
All the mechanisms, filtering materials and the pump are stored in an enclosed case. They are sometimes referred to as backpack filters, and now you can see where that name comes from.
It works as follows:
- A water intake tube carries water (via a nozzle) from the tank to the filter.
- Then, inside the case the water is filtered by the sponge or any other material.
- Finally, filtered water then goes back into the tank through the chutes, creating a waterfall like flow. This flow helps mix the water more effectively and also helps oxygenate it.
The filtration technique that we described in the example above is used in the majority of HOB Filters and is also known as the waterfall method.
Some have the option to regulate the flow of water, this is ideal for people that find the sound of water pouring into the tank very irritating.
Ultimately, easy maintenance and operation is why they continue to be very popular in the world of fishkeeping.
How to Choose the Best Hob Filter For Reef Tank
There are a number of things you need to consider to help you choose the right hang on back filter for your tank setup.
- Required Flow
- Media Type
- Size of Tank
These filters allow you to take control of the water flow. They will usually have an adjustable slider either on the inflow tube or somewhere else on the case.
Normally, flow requirements depend on what type of fish (or other animals) you are keeping.
A good filter should be able to go through all the water in your tank about three or four times in an hour. In other words, a filter with the output of 30 gallons per hour will be ideal for a 9-10-gallon tank.
The filter’s output capability is also important. It’s usually stated as the volume of water filtrated in an hour. This is usually what you will see advertised first on all HOB filters along with the recommended volume.
The most common filtering material found is a simple sponge. They are relatively cheap, easy to clean and don’t need changing often.
Other popular filter media types include ceramic rings and bio-media.
To increase the efficiency of filtration you can use sponges covered with activated carbon or other biological compounds.
Most tanks will be fine with just a sponge though.
Size of Tank
Most HOB filters are designed for small aquariums. As you can guess, there is no use for these filters in large reef tanks.
Choosing the right filter for the right volume is very important. Under-filtered tanks will make your fish sick and can result in death.
We have already mentioned the output capability. Make sure this is taken into account when choosing the filter.
How to Set Up and Maintain a HOB Filter
They are easy to set up and operate – there are no complicated instructions or difficult assembling procedures.
Before setting anything up, consider the size of your tank and find the right sized filter. Then you need to decide where you are going to place it. It visually looks much better if you use a colored covering sheet or an aquarium background where the filter is placed.
It shouldn’t take anymore than 5 minutes to set your filter up.
- Add the filter media. Some filters have individual baskets which indicate where each type of media should go.
- Hang the filter in place. There is usually a cut on your tank lid to indicate where to place the filter. If there is no cut out, you can decide where the filter will go.
- Now you should prime the filter. Priming the filter involves manually filling the filter with water, however some filters have a self-priming system too.
- Finally, plug the filter in.
In terms of cleaning, these filters don’t need much. The filter should be cleaned as your aquarium starts to get dirty. To do this unplug it, disassemble it and thoroughly clean all the pipes, tubes or chutes.
You should take out the sponge, get rid of anything stuck to it and also rinse it in a bucket of tank water. Whilst the sponge is out you should replace the filter media.
Why Would You Need This Type of Filter?
Choosing a filter is a complex process and even though it may sound like the HOB filter is the right one, there may be other better options. Lets take a look what makes hang on back filters a good choice and where you might use them.
Given their usual size and the fact that they take up next to no space in the tank, these filters are ideal for small aquariums (5-10 gallon).
That is why these filters have become an appealing choice and can be seen in home and professional tanks worldwide.
They are much cheaper than other types of filters, and parts are easily replaced.
Also as the main part of the filter is not immersed in water, it is very easy to clean.
Can You Use a HOB Filter for a Saltwater Tank?
The HOB filter can be used in saltwater tanks.
In smaller saltwater tanks (less than 15 gallons) they can be used as the main filtration system.
However in larger saltwater tanks they will be used secondarily, as support.
What will be different from the freshwater tank is the media type used for filtration. Most saltwater tanks need biological filtration by the environment itself – your filter will provide simple mechanical filtration and take care of the waste removal.
Canister Filter vs HOB Filter
The first difference you will notice between the hang on back filter and the canister filter is the size. The canister filter is an external filtering device and takes up significantly more space, outside the tank. So, the mobile hang on back has an upper hand here if you want a space saving filter.
Which one is more efficient at the actual filtration? This depends on your needs. The size of Canister filters allow you to store more media inside, increasing the effectiveness of biological filtration, whereas HOB filters usually won’t be suitable for larger aquariums.
However, there is no need to purchase a huge external filter if you only have a small aquarium. You will be better off saving money and getting a hang on back filter. Besides, they are much easier to clean, and you won’t have to worry about changing the media as often.
What about the price then? Starting prices for most simple canister filters will be somewhere around $25-$35.
To sum up, they are much better if you have a small tank and don’t need to filter lots of water. They don’t take up much room and are generally quiet – they are ideal for 15 gallon tanks.
Canister filters are a good choice for larger tanks (20+ gallons). Thanks to the size and higher filter capacity, they will be able to handle more waste and larger volumes.
What to Look for When Buying a HOB filter
When getting the right HOB filter for your aquarium, you don’t just buy anything that you come across with. Of course, there are certain features that must be carefully looked into before making the final shopping decision. If you wish to end up feeling grateful for buying the right brand and model for you, it would be practical for you if you would consider the following shopping guides:
What features to search for when getting the most suitable HOB filter for your tank?
- Filtration Media. This is primarily utilized to effectively clear away dirt particles and detritus from the tank water. Take in mind that having more filter media does not often imply more outstanding filtration- rather it is the kind of media utilized that is more valuable.
In essence, even if a certain model is designed with more filter media than the other, see to it that it makes use of merely the second to none kind and quality of media. Truth is, it is unnecessary to have filters that may not aid with filtration at all.
- The flow rate. This is generally a very vital deciding factor to mull over specifically when the user is deciding whether or not to utilize a specific model. Be reminded that your particular requirements for a premium quality filter would differ hinging on the size of the tank. It is vital to invest in a model that is capable of delivering a more superior rate of flow so that the filtration could go as instantly as feasible.
- New Technology. For sure, countless of manufacturers commonly consider including the latest technology into their filters so they can lure consumers to choose them over other options. This is meant to improve the functionality of the device and to make it more effective as compared to other similar models.
That said, you must always take the time to carefully inspect the distinction between models prior to picking which one to invest in.
- The maintenance of the device. Cleaning and maintenance are unquestionably very vital with any filter. The most valuable to consider are the amount of effort and time you would devote in performing these tasks.
In substance, distinct models come with distinct instructions and methodologies for cleaning, so this clearly conveys the significance of picking a model that would be less burdening to clean and maintain.
- Brand. You must be well aware of the reality that not all brands would often deliver the superior level of performance and filtration that aquarium owners prefer nowadays. There are a few brands that are popular within the filtration field to be more exceptional as compared to others.
Be sure to search at brands that are known to be trustworthy and have been in the filtration industry for some time now.
Now that you have the most important factors to reckon with when shopping for the right HOB filter for your tank, there is no need to worry about wasting your hard-earned money in a useless device.
What is a hang on back filter? How does it work?
HOB filters are types of filter especially designed for fish tanks that are hanged on the rear wall of the aquarium. In addition to this, these are commonly categorized as simple external filters. Be that as it may, these devices are typically not as heavy as compared to canister filters and could be utilized in a broad array of aquariums.
It is worth noting that the pump, filtering materials as well as all the mechanisms are kept in an embedded case. Indeed, these are at times called as backpack filters- this is obviously where the name was derived.
Hang-On-Back filters function in the following process:
- A water intake tube displaces water through the aid of a nozzle from the aquarium to the filter.
- Afterward, within the case, the water is seeped through by the any filter object or sponge.
- Lastly, the strained water then returns to the aquarium through the channels, forming a waterfall-like type of flow. Such flow aids in mixing the water more efficiently and this also does a good job of oxygenating it.
Please be guided that this method is what nearly all hang-on-back filters utilized and this is also referred to as the waterfall approach. Moreover, a few versions come with options that keep track of the water flow and this is highly suggested for anyone who considers the sound of water streaming into the aquarium very irking.
Virtually, ease of operation as well as maintenance is the reason why HOB filters are quite well-known in the field of aquarium keeping hobby.
What are the different types of HOB filters?
Majority of today’s types of hang-on-back filters combine top quality filtration media, superior filtration capacity and ease of maintenance and operation. These are also designed with a lot of distinct power classes and sizes to perfectly fit the requirements of different fish tank owners.
Hang-on-back filters must have all three forms of media. Even so, it is indispensable to thoroughly check the quality of the included media prior to making the final buying decision. It is highly suggested to opt for a filter that is designed with 1 or 2 media than a type of filter that contains all 3 filtration methods but executes unsatisfactory operation.
By the same token, HOB filters are portable and reasonably priced to the more intricate in-tank type of filters. These are stellar at providing wonderful performance and are compact in size and do not generate more irking noise when operating. They are practical to utilize for small to medium-sized aquariums.
Regardless, for bigger-sized aquariums, it is still suggested to opt for those that are built with more powerful filtration system. Clearly, it is beneficial to select a HOB filter that fits the requirements of your aquarium. And, look into the kinds and quality of filtration media that comes with it, how uncomplicated it is to set up and maintain and the level of noise it generates.
Why do you need a hang on back filter? (Benefits)
It cannot be denied that more and more aquarium hobbyists these days go for HOB filters because they can provide more benefits in the long run. And these perks consist of the following:
- Aside from the reality that HOB filters are not sold so costly, they are perceived as one of the easiest forms of regular filter to utilize. You solely have to install your HOB filter by putting the filter cartridge and intake tube together, hang the filter on the rear wall of the aquarium and you can start to plug it.
- HOB filters are undemanding to maintain. Since the filter media is easy to access, it helps make the cleaning process and replacement task a simpler task to deal with. For a fact, they are designed to make cleaning the filter interior less complicated and it is good to know that there are no intricate methods to break it down.
- These are accessible. Since HOB filters are positioned on the above section of the tank, they are quite easy to reach. These devices do not require being stocked underneath the aquarium or on a separate stand. Also, there is no need to reach into the aquarium.
- Due to the fact that the only immersed section of the filter is the inlet hose, there is no way to disrupt your aquarium dwellers when doing some maintenance work.
In addition to all these, HOB filters serve a vital role when it comes to providing wonderful oxygenation of water as it is seeped through. And, it could also offer all forms of filtration making it an even more cost-effective and practical choice to ponder on.
In summary, as clearly tackled in this article, the best HOB filters are ideal solutions for anyone keeping a small aquarium. Such device does not necessitate high maintenance for it is a piece of cake to set up and are not priced that expensively.
Aside from these, they are also reliable and could be utilized without any issues both by novices and expert aquarists. There are lots of different models out there and many of them are certified user-friendly. You only need to pick those that are designed with advanced technology in mind.
Fundamentally, there is no reason for your pet fish to feel suffocated since the right HOB filter can inhibit this from happening. Majority of the Best Hob Filter For Reef Tank reviewed in this article are capable of delivering the appropriate amount of filtration in order to keep the fish tank water clear, safe and clean.
All you need to ensure is that you select the one that could better handle the size of your fish tank as well as the amount of water in terms of the rate of flow.
To do so, you may consider making careful comparison between diverse models just to ensure that it is what you really seriously require in the end.