8 Best Filters for 125-Gallon Cichlid Tanks in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
Cichlids are interesting and beautiful fish, but they can also be quite messy. A strong filtration system is needed for Cichlids, especially if you have a large tank. Many Cichlids can get quite large, often requiring tanks over 100 gallons for comfort and health.
If you have a 125-gallon Cichlid tank, you may have found yourself in the market for a strong filtration system that can keep up with your messy fish and large tank. These reviews of the best filters that can service 125-gallon tanks can help you pick the perfect filtration system that is within your budget and suitable for your tank.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Eheim Pro 4+ 600 Canister Filter||
|SunSun HW-304B UV Sterilizer Canister Filter||
|Eheim 2180 Pro 3 Thermofilter||
|Fluval FX4 High Performance Filter||
|Polar Aurora 4-Stage Canister Filter||
The 8 Best Filters for 125-Gallon Cichlid Tanks
1. Eheim Pro 4+ 600 Canister Filter – Best Overall
|Dimensions:||5” x 11.7” x 9.7”|
The Eheim Pro 4+ 600 Canister Filter is the best overall filter for 125-gallon Cichlid tanks. This filter runs up to 330 gallons per hour (GPH) while only using 16 watts of power, and it uses four-stage filtration for maximum cleaning. It has four filter baskets that allow you to pick your own filter media.
This filter has an “Xtender” button, which allows the filter to bypass the fine filtration pad, reducing the need for maintenance and cleaning if the pad becomes clogged. It has a self-priming aid for easy start-up and a top prefilter for exceptionally clean water. This filter is suitable for tanks up to 160 gallons, so you can feel good about using it for your 125-gallon tank.
Although it isn’t the most expensive filter, it is one of the more expensive filters for 125-gallon tanks.
- 330 GPH using only 16 watts of power
- Four stage filtration
- Four filter baskets for customization of filter media
- “Xtender” button to reduce cleaning and maintenance
- Self-priming button
- Suitable for tanks up to 160 gallons
- Premium price
2. SunSun HW-304B UV Sterilizer Canister Filter – Best Value
|Dimensions:||11” x 11” x 17”|
The best filter for your 125-gallon Cichlid tank for the money is the SunSun Hw-304B UV Sterilizer Canister Filter. This filter runs at 525 GPH, and it’s suitable for tanks up to 150 gallons. The built-in UV sterilizer helps manage algae growth and parasites within your tank, and the drip-free shut-off tap makes cleaning and maintenance mess free.
This filter comes with four filter trays that you can customize with the filter media of your choice. The included spray bar helps increase oxygenation within your tank, and the filter setup is quick and easy.
It may be difficult to find replacement parts for this filter, and some people have reported difficulty in reaching the manufacturer with questions.
- Best value
- Suitable for tanks up to 150 gallons
- Built-in UV sterilizer reduces algae and parasites
- Drip-free shut-off tap reduces mess during cleaning and maintenance
- Four filter baskets for customization of filter media
- May be difficult to contact manufacturer about replacement parts
3. Eheim 2180 Pro 3 Thermofilter – Premium Choice
|Dimensions:||13” x 13” x 20”|
The Eheim 2180 Pro 3 Thermofilter is a powerful and smart filtration unit that is suitable for tanks up to 320 gallons. It runs at 450 GPH, and this filter has a built-in heating unit, allowing it to double as an aquarium heater. The LED display is easy to read and features the current and set temperatures. It uses four-stage filtration via the prefilter and filter baskets.
The self-priming aid makes setup easy, and it won’t allow you to remove the hose clamp until the hose taps are closed, preventing big and costly messes. The flow rate indicator keeps you updated on the optimal time to clean and maintain the filter, and the included transport castors mean you can easily maneuver this filter. The biggest downside to this filter is the very high price tag.
- Suitable for tanks up to 320 gallons
- Heats the water and LED display shows set and current water temperatures
- Four-stage filtration with prefilter
- Self-priming aid
- Easy shutoff and mess prevention
- Flow indicator shows optimal time to clean and perform maintenance
- Premium price
4. Fluval FX4 High Performance Filter
|Dimensions:||6” x 15.6” x 17.7”|
The Fluval FX4 High Performance Filter is suitable for tanks up to 250 gallons, and it filters water at 450 GPH. The Smart Pump microchip technology monitors and optimizes pump performance, and this filter has a self-starting feature that allows you to just add water to get it running. Trapped air is evacuated from the unit every 12 hours to maintain efficiency and reduce noise.
A leak-proof click-fit attachment system prevents leaks, and the anti-clog telescopic intake strainer ensures water is always flowing through the system. All filter media is included, but you can also customize it with your preferred filter media. This is a premium-priced filter for your Cichlid tank.
- Suitable for tanks up to 250 gallons
- Smart pump microchip technology
- Self-starting feature for easy, quick startup
- Trapped air evacuation and leak-proof attachment system
- Allows for customization of filter media
- Premium price
5. Polar Aurora 4-Stage Canister Filter
|Dimensions:||12” x 12” x 19”|
The Polar Aurora 4-Stage Canister Filter is a budget-friendly filter that runs 525 GPH and is suitable for tanks up to 200 gallons. It has four filter media trays for customization, and the adjustable spray bar allows you to control the output flow from the filter.
Self-priming function for easy setup, and the UV light reduces algae and parasites in the tank. The single valve disconnect makes cleaning and maintenance easy and reduces messes. Some users of this filter have experienced it beginning to make noise. Sometimes, this starts shortly after installation and may be due to air in the filter, but other times it may begin after a few days or weeks of running.
- Budget-friendly filter for tanks up to 200 gallons
- Four filter media trays for customization
- Adjustable spray bar allows control of output flow
- Self-priming function and single valve disconnect
- UV light
- May become noisy
6. Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter
|Dimensions:||5” x 11” x 20.5”|
The Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter is a budget-friendly filter that is suitable for tanks up to 150 gallons. It uses three-stage filtration and has multiple filter media baskets for customization. The filter media baskets are oversized, allowing plenty of space for lots of filter media. Flow rate control valves and hose clamps allow you to control the flow rate and output of this filter.
The push button primer makes for easy start-up, and the 360-degree rotation valve taps allow for mobility of the hoses. The included setup instructions for this filter may be hard to follow for some people, making for a slow setup.
- Budget-friendly filter for tanks up to 150 gallons
- Multiple oversized filter media baskets for customization
- Flow rate control valves and hose clamps for flow rate and output control
- Push button primer
- 360-degree rotation valve taps
- May be confusing to set up
7. Marineland Multi-Stage C-530 Canister Filter
|Dimensions:||25” x 13.4” x 21.5”|
The Marineland Multi-Stage C-530 Canister Filter is made to ensure the water receives full-contact filtration, ensuring all of the water gets thoroughly filtered before returning to the tank. The three-stage filtration process ensures cleanliness, and the filter media can be customized to your preferences, but it includes startup filter media.
This filter is suitable for tanks up to 150 gallons, and the quick prime button makes priming quick and easy. The lift-lock clamps and valve block both allow for a secure seal and mess-free maintenance. This filter is larger than some of the other options for similarly sized tanks, and it weighs around 31 pounds, making it one of the heaviest options, even without water in it.
- Provides full-contract filtration for all water
- Filter media trays with startup media and customization options
- Suitable for tanks up to 150 gallons
- Quick prime button
- Lift-lock clamps and valve block provide secure seal and mess-free maintenance
- Larger and heavier than comparable models
8. Eheim Classic 600 Canister Filter
|Dimensions:||11” x 8” x 16”|
The Eheim Classic 600 Canister Filter is one of the smallest canister filters for tanks up to 159 gallons, making it ideal for 125-gallon tanks with limited space around them. It includes filter media to get you started, but this filter does only use two-stage filtration. The permo-elastic silicone ring ensures the pump head is closed securely after cleaning and maintenance, preventing leaks.
The included spray bar helps improve the oxygenation within your tank, and the constant water circulation provided by this filter will help the filter function more efficiently. This filter may be difficult to prime since it lacks a self-priming feature.
- Ideal for smaller spaces
- Includes startup filter media
- Permo-elastic silicone ring for leak prevention
- Improves oxygenation within the tank
- Two-stage filtration
- May be difficult to prime
Finding the Best Filter for Your Cichlid Tank
Things to Consider When Choosing a Filter for Your 125-Gallon Cichlid Tank
- Available Space – The space you have available doesn’t just pertain to the available space within your tank. You need to consider your tank space, as well as the physical space you have for a filter outside of your tank. Canister filters need to sit below the level of the tank, so you will need to be able to put the filter underneath or next to the stand your tank sits on. Even smaller canister filters can be quite bulky, so take your available space into account. Also, consider things like telescoping intakes and spray bars since these things can have an impact on the available space within your tank.
- Tank Stocking – The size of your tank doesn’t mean much if the tank is overstocked. If you were to buy a filter for a 150-gallon tank to use in your 125-gallon tank, it might be suitable for an appropriately stocked tank. However, if your tank is overstocked with large, messy livestock, then there’s a good chance you’d need a more powerful filter. The type, number, and size of fish and invertebrates in your tank can have a major impact on the filtration your tank needs.
- Water Current Needs – While Cichlids are generally hardy and adaptive fish, their tank mates may not be. Some fish and invertebrates require weaker water currents and may be overwhelmed by strong currents. Delicate plants may also need weaker water currents, while some fish and plants can adapt to any current. Consider the specific needs of all of the plants and animals in your tank and choose a filter with an adjustable flow if needed.
- Setup and Maintenance – Canister filters are often a great option because of their low level of routine cleaning and maintenance. That doesn’t mean that you don’t want things to go smoothly when cleaning and maintenance time comes, and initial filter setup can be a real burden if you aren’t familiar with the setup of canister filters. Choosing a filter that will allow you more accessible cleaning, maintenance, and setup can save you time and stress, and they may also save your floors from leaks and spills.
- Over-Filtration of Cichlid Tanks – While you might look at filtration for a 200-gallon or 400-gallon tank and think that it’s way too much for your 125-gallon tank, there are some benefits to over-filtration of Cichlid tanks. This is especially true with large fish and overstocked tanks. It’s also true if you are feeding your Cichlids large quantities of food frequently, which may be done to support growth and development, but can lead to poor water quality without adequate filtration. Check out this video explaining why some Cichlid tanks can benefit from over-filtration.
To pick the perfect filter for your 125-gallon Cichlid tank, use these reviews to start your research. The best overall option is the Eheim Pro 4+ 600 Canister Filter, which is a powerful filter that helps reduce cleaning and maintenance, thanks to its “Xtender” button.
The most budget-friendly pick is the SunSun HW304-B UV Sterilizer Canister Filter, which provides UV light to help keep algae and parasites under control in your tank. The premium pick is the smart and highly functional Eheim 2180 Pro 3 Thermofilter, which functions as a filter and a smart heater, but that does retail for a very high price.
Featured Image Credit: Grigorii Pisotsckii, Shutterstock