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Aquarium Filter Noise Reduction: How to Make a Fish Tank Filter Quieter

If you are an enthusiast when it comes to keeping tropical fish like I am, then you are very well aware of the filters and how they can be.

There is no doubt that a fish tank filter is very important for your aquarium. It makes the water flow and keeps it nice and clean and the fish happy and healthy.

Another good thing when it comes to the aquarium is a subtle sound of water bobbling in the background. It can be considered as white noise that I have been mentioning quite a lot lately. White noise can be very beneficial, in many ways.

But sometimes the noises that are coming from your aquarium are far from relaxing, but quite the opposite. "My fish tank filter is making a grinding noise!" - That's one of the most common complain I hear.

The noises coming from your fish tank can be very annoying and disturbing. They often come from the dirt and clog, it could have moved a little and be displaced, or it is just that some of the parts have broken.  Or maybe your fish tank filter is making a grinding noise.

Today, I will be talking about some ways of making your fish tank filter quieter.

How to Make a Fish Tank Filter Quieter

How to Make a Fish Tank Filter Quieter

1. Find the source of the noise by inspecting the filter

The first step to fixing your filter is identifying the noise. There is just one problem with it.

Since there is always a lot of noise coming from all around, it is sometimes hard to identify if the sound is coming from your aquarium.

And even when you are sure that it is, it can be difficult to put a finger on which part of the aquarium or the pump the noise is coming from exactly.

So the first step in the first step is to try and cancel all of the other noises, in order to be able to identify the source of the buzz properly.

Once you have switched other noises from the surrounding off, and you are sure that the noise is coming from the aquarium, you will need to cancel some other machines that it uses.

Since there are some lights, some heating elements, and what not in your aquarium, it would be the best if you turned them off as well.

It would be a little bit harder to see when it is so dark in the fish tank, but that is something that I do. And flashlights can really serve well in this case.

So, your first task will be to inspect the filter for any visible physical faults. Arm yourself with a torch/flashlight, and try to find any visible flaw on the filter, or to determine from which area the noise is coming from.

2. Feel the sound/noise by holding the filter

Let’s assume that you have not found any faults just by exploring the filter with your bare eyes.

The next thing that you will be wanting to do is subtly touch and hold the filter.

But! Wash your hands first; you do not want to contaminate the aquarium water.

After you have washed and dried your hands, put them in the tank, and hold the filter. You can press it a little bit, very gently and carefully, just to check if you can locate the source of the problem.

If you find a kind of a slight shake while holding the filter, there is a very high possibility that there is a loose part inside the whole unit of the filter. It this case, you will either have to fix it, if it is something small, or to buy a new one.

If your filter is already old and has served you well for a long time, I would recommend buying a new fish tank filter.

There are some good filters that you can find, and for a good price!

You will have to put up with the old noisy one for a while. I very well understand that it can be annoying, but if it is pumping, it would be the best to put up with it a little bit longer. The fish will be grateful.

If it is a newer one, however, you might try and fix it.

3. Try to look for debris

If you like to decorate the inside of your aquarium, you might be using things like pebbles, stones, some nicely colored pieces of glazed glass, and so on.

Well, all of these, and much more can get into your filter, and clog it.

This trapped debris inside the filter can clog it up, and not let the water pass undisrupted, so it will eventually start “screaming” for help.

Apart from “screaming”, it can start producing some rattle that can be very irritating.

Luckily, the majority of filters are made with some most important parts easily detachable so you will be able to remove them and clean them up properly before you put it back in the tank.

4. Lube the impeller to quiet it down a bit

Another thing that you can try is lubing up the filter.

I know how silly it sounds, but it will make everything glide smoother, and it will be much quieter.

You can use silicone oil or just regular Vaseline, and place it on metal parts that go into the motor.

And, there is no need to use a lot of it. A simple slight coating on the metal parts will do the trick just fine.

Once again, the majority of filters can easily be put apart so you will be able to put these on.

When you have done it, just assemble it again, and place it back in the fish tank.

I know that you are probably worried about the effect that these two might have on the fish. But I assure you that these are not harmful so you can use them with no worry.

aquarium filter noise reduction

5. Adjust the hoses and the return pump if needed

Another thing that you can look for when searching for the source of the noise is to listen carefully.

If the noise is something similar to the sounds of water splashing, the problem might be in the return pump.

Of course, it would be the best if you have detected the problem so far, and managed to solve it, but if not; here is what you might try to do.

Here is the thing: if the hose that returns water from the pump is set up properly, it should not be producing any loud noises. However, if it is, just try pushing it a little bit deeper into the fish tank. It should be deep under the waterline.

This would help in solving that splashy sound that is coming from the water that is re-entering the pump.

Another thing that you can try is attaching the hose to one of the aquarium sides. In that case, it would be hard for it to shift and twist and it will be placed steadily.

There are also these suction cup clips that can do an amazing job on adjusting the hose and keeping it in place.

6. Adjust the water flow and the return rate on the filter

Not only that the re-entering of the water can be the source of the noise, but the very speed of the water can be one.

There is a simple way to solve this type of noise from the filter.

Simply reduce the rate of the flow. That will be the number of times that water is passing through your filter.

Luckily, water pumps have the option for you to increase or decrease the flow rate to your liking, so you just have to turn it down a little.

It is a very simple solution to a very simple but annoying problem.

7. Reset the pump and the filter manually

It is hardly likely that you would have performed all of the steps above and that your aquarium is still making loud noises, but in case you have, and it is, there is one more thing that you could try.

And that thing is a manual reset.

No simpler thing than this! We have all been doing that to our old computers.

Simply turn the power of the whole pump and filtration system off, keep it like that for about one minute, and just turn the system back on again.

This will probably solve the problem, but if not, I would recommend buying a new one.

Of course, if you have time, and if you feel ready for some handy stuff, you can take the whole system down, open it, and look for some internal cracks and faults.

Since it can take a lot of time and energy, you can look up a new filter.

Here are our recommendations for the best quiet aquarium pumps and quietest aquarium filters.

On Aquarium Filter Noise Reduction

And these were some of the simplest of steps to fixing the noise coming from your fish tank.

I do hope that you have solved your problem in the first few and that you didn’t have to make your hands dirty a lot.

In any way, it is important to keep the water in your aquarium clean and your fish healthy, so I am sure that both you and they will benefit from your new peace after the filter has been made quiet again.