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AquaClear 50 Power Filter, Fish Tank Filter for 20- to 50-Gallon Aquariums (Packaging may vary)



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  • Aquarium filtration system that offers superior contact time with filter media and energy efficient pump lowers operating costs
  • Quick and easy installation; we recommend that you clean aquarium filter every 2 weeks for maximum operation and efficiency
  • Provides optimal mechanical; chemical; and biological filtration
  • Comes equipped with AquaClear Foam; Activated Carbon Filter and BioMax and Cycle Guard for superior water quality
  • Filtration volume is up to 7 times larger than comparable fish tank filters

Specification: AquaClear 50 Power Filter, Fish Tank Filter for 20- to 50-Gallon Aquariums (Packaging may vary)

Is Discontinued By Manufacturer


Product Dimensions

4 x 9 x 8 inches, 1.69 Pounds

Item model number




Date First Available

June 20, 2004


Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corp.

Country of Origin


5 reviews for AquaClear 50 Power Filter, Fish Tank Filter for 20- to 50-Gallon Aquariums (Packaging may vary)

5.0 out of 5
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  1. Kayle Kirby

    Powerful, great quality and filter inserts.

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  2. NRH

    Came in quick, works fantastic, although it is not the quietest filter, it works the best, keeps water crystal clear

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  3. JimmyBlues

    UPDATE: 10/15/14

    I have just purchased my first Aquaclear HOB filter in more than three years. I presently own an AC 110, AC 70, AC 50 and 4 AC 20s. These are great filters because of their clever design and tremendous flexibility.

    I am presently using a pair of Aquaclear 20 filters for polishing the water in my planted aquaria. The filters are equipped with a mechanical filter pad and a micron filter pad, the later of which is used to remove the finer particles from the water column in these tanks.

    I like using the AC 20s as part time maintenance filters because they are small, very easy to clean, and do an excellent job of filtering my planted aquaria.

    I use an AC 50 in combination with an Eheim 2211 and Cobalt Aquatics DUO 500 in a Mr. Aqua 17.1 gallon aquarium. The DUO 500 is an internal filter, however, its primary function is as an LED UV clarifier.

    I downsized some of my tanks, so the AC 110 and AC 70 are no longer in use. However
    I keep them around as spares, since you never know when you will need an extra filter.

    One of the best aspects of the Aquaclear line of HOB filters is that the motors in the AC 20, AC 30, AC 50 and AC 70 are the same. The only difference is that the impeller fan is slightly larger on each subsequent model of these filters.

    The fan can be easily removed, and either a larger or smaller fan (depending on the AC HOB filter that you are using) can be added to meet the demands of the particular aquarium you are using.

    This is why AC filters are so popular; their tremendous flexibility.

    For example, suppose that you have a 20 gallon aquarium and are using an AC 20 that doesn’t quite get the job done. You can purchase an impeller assembly for an AC 50
    and then use it to replace the AC 20 impeller fan, which will give you twice the circulation that you had with the AC 20 impeller fan.

    As another illustration using the inverse of this situation, suppose you are using an AC 70 in a 30 gallon aquarium and find that even on its lowest setting it is
    still causing too much turbulence for your fishes.

    You can replace the AC 70 impeller fan with an AC 50 impeller fan. This will still give you the filtering capacity of the AC 70, however, without the turbulence that the AC 70 impeller caused.


    My recent purchase of an Aquaclear 70 HOB (hang on back of tank filter) filter ill make this my 8Th Aquaclear. I have five Aquaclear 20’s – three on guppy tanks, and two kept as spares in the event of a breakdown. However, in over a year of constant service, I have yet to have an Aquaclear HOB filter’s electric motor burn out.

    Moreover, one must take care to turn these filters off when you are using a sand substrate which is being stirred up in the tank, since the sand can get into the motor and cause it to run roughly, or seize up.

    Even if this happens, all it usually takes to get these motors running again is to remove them from the filter housing, remove the impeller from the housing on the motor and clean the unit with water and a q-tip.

    Once you have done so, the motor will usually begin to run properly again.

    However, once sand gets sucked into these motors, it mars the finish of the impeller, which can cause it to make noise.

    I also own an Aquaclear 50 which I now keep on my 10 gallon tank, and an Aquaclear 110 which I use to filter a heavily planted 20 long tank with about 16 fish.

    So the extra filtering capability of the Aquaclear 110 is nice to have.

    As for the Aquaclear 70, this will be replacing the Aquaclear 50 which I used to filter my 37 gallon tank, and have now moved to my 10 gallon.

    The Aquaclear 70 will be used in conjunction with a Fluval 305 canister filter for redundant filtration.

    The Fluval 305, like the Aquaclear, is another Hagen product. It seems like virtually every product that is sold for the aquarist is manufactured by a subsidiary of Hagen’s.

    The 305 is also a very cleverly designed filter, which works quite well, and is very easy to maintain, thanks to Fluval’s patented Aquastop feature; the Aquastop fitting allows you to disconnect the 305 from its tubing without losing suction, so that you don’t have to reprime the unit once you’ve dumped the water from its container during a filter cleaning.

    All you do is reconnect the Aquastop fitting to the top of the 305’s canister, and then open the flow valve until the 305 fills with water.

    You must open the valve partially to avoid creating a tremendous amount of turbulance in your aquarium, since if you open it all the way while filling the 305, the air bubbles will race out of the 305’s exhaust tube disturbing your fish.

    As for the controvery between which canister is best, many people who consider the purchase of a Fluval also consider buying an Eheim, and there are those who own both. The Eheim – Fluval debate reminds this author of the Chevy-Ford controversy, regarding the merits of each.

    Moreover, I have owned both and find that Fluval and Eheim both make excellent canister filters. However, the Fluval’s internal setup is much easier to use, given the trays Fluval includes to add filter media to, while the Eheim Classic series (I’m not certain if the other Eheim filters are the same way) just stack the media atop one another, making for a more complex arrangement, since the Eheim’s filter media is in not in a tray.

    Both filters are well made and reliable. However, one must take care to re-lubricate the Fluval’s o-ring after each cleaning to ensure that it does not dry out, since this will prevent the unit from leaking onto your floor. And careful removal of the impeller housing will ensure that the impeller that does not get damaged.

    After more than a year with the Aquaclear series of filters, as well as the several months with a Fluval 305, I must say that I am very pleased with these units. They are cleverly designed, well constructed, and should last for years provided that they are properly maintained.


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  4. NRH

    The media could not be loaded.

     12-7-2013 Update and some additional information:

    I moved my aquarium to another room the week 11/24/2013. When I moved the aquarium, I decided to clean the housing, impeller, and the cavity the impeller sits in. Up until this time, the AC 50 had been running quiet. However, after cleaning everything out, the impeller was making noise like it did when it was new. As of today (12-7-2013), this noise has been reduced by about 1/2. If things continue, the filter should be quiet again after the impeller builds up a slime coat. I also removed the undergravel filter from my aquarium. 12-13-2013 filter is quite again, just the sound of the motor running.

    I have been reading several negative reviews about this filter not priming itself after a power failure, filter cleaning, or a water change. One thing that appears to be an issue when reading these reviews is that the water level in the aquarium has gone below that of the top of the impeller cover. When the filter is turned off, the water level in the filter will become equal to the water level in the aquarium. If the water level is below that of the intake tube, the syphon will be lost and the intake tube will drain of water and the filter will not be able to start on its own without refilling the water in the filter. This is typical of many Hang Over the Back (HOB) filters.

    Sometimes, the impeller will fail to restart. This can be due to residue on the impeller shaft or on the magnet of the impeller. A good cleaning will usually remedy this problem. However, a long stick or skewer can be used to jump start the impeller if it fails to restart (this however only works if you are there to witness the problem). Any HOB filter that has a stuck impeller, and remains plugged in, has the risk of motor burnout.

    Another issue I see is that people are getting a AquaClear that is rated right at the size of tank they have, for instance a 20 gallon tank gets a AquaClear 20. This filter will filter a 20 gallon aquarium with minimal bioload, however the next size filter should be chosen. This would mean an AquaClear 30 and not the AquaClear 20 for a 20 gallon aquarium. I am personally using a AquaClear 50 on my 20 gallon and I am very happy with it. It is always best to have more filtration than needed rather than having too little or just the bare minimum.

    I am still very pleased with this filter and have no plans to change to another brand anytime soon.

    This review was updated on 12-25-2011.

    I purchased two of the AquaClear 50’s on a buy one get one free deal. The price was right for the two filters and it gave me spare parts and extra media. The first filter was noisy from the impeller vibrating. I read various postings online about checking the impeller for damage, and manufacturing flaws. I also used petroleum jelly to lubricated the motor shaft, it was still very noisy from the rattling of the impeller. I removed the lid just to see if that made a difference, it did, but I could still hear the impeller vibrating from 15-20 feet away. It sounded like I was running the filter dry. I hooked up the second filter to see if it was any different. It still had a slight vibration/rattle, but it was not as much as the first one and was acceptable. I have been reading that this slight vibration/noise will go away in a month or so. After a week, the filter impeller started to quiet down and is hardly audible. I exchanged the noisy Aquaclear 50 for another Aquaclear 50.

    ***Update: 12-4-2011: The filter is now quiet with just a hum of the motor running.***

    The small amount of noise coming from the current Aquaclear 50 has even subsided and is almost silent at this point. The lid does rattle from time-to-time, but it is not very loud.

    The Aquaclear 50 was hooked up on 11-25-2011. Today (12-2-2011) I had to clean the foam as it was matted on the underside with debris that had collected on it. I could tell it needed cleaning as the flow was somewhat slowed.

    My previous over the back filter was a bio-wheel 100. I have a 20 gal tank and the bio-wheel worked well when I first got it about 5 years ago. Over time I found myself getting annoyed with the bio-wheel stopping all the time. I also have an undergravel filter to help with biological filtration. When I saw the Aquaclear 50 on sale (buy one, get one free), I decided it was time to try something different than the bio-wheel 100. The Aquaclear 50 has double the flow rate (200GPH) than the bio-wheel 100 (100GPH) and is a much improved upgrade from the bio-wheel 100. Higher flow rates are available in the bio-wheel line as well, but I wanted to try another brand of filter.

    The water in my aquarium has not been this clean for a long time. I have not any problems with the filter not restarting after the power is has been shutoff. I did a few tests to see if it would restart on its own after being stuff off for 15 minutes and it always restarted. This could change over time, and I can see this being a problem if the water level in the tank goes below the equilibrium line of the filter and the tank’s water level.

    I do recommend a pre-filter for the intake tube if you have small fish as the rate of intake can catch fish. I had this happen with one of my guppies and added a Fluval Edge pre-filter to the intake to prevent this from happening again.

    I like the ability to be able to rinse the foam insert in the filter without having to replace them entirely (although the manufacturer recommends every 2 months) unlike the bio-wheel system’s filter cartridges. The foam insert can be cleaned many times, in conditioned water, to get the debris and to keep the nitrifying bacteria. The bio-max can also be rinsed in conditioned or tank water to allow it to be used longer. With the old bio-wheel I had to replace the filters every month due to the activated carbon in them. With the aquaclear I can run the filter without the activated carbon.

    Other than the noise of the first unit (which was exchanged), and to some extent the second unit (very little noise), I am very happy with it.

    The Aquaclear 50 comes with a foam insert, carbon filter, and bio-max media. There are two extension tubes that come with the filter. The filter is easy to assemble and attach to the back of the aquarium. There is an adjuster to level the filter with the aquarium that is located on the bottom of the filter.

    I am currently running it with two of the foam inserts and one pack of bio-max. I am debating on running only one foam insert and two bags of bio-max.

    Tank Size: 20 gallons.
    Current Filters: Aquaclear 50 and undergravel filter.
    Prior Filters: Bio-Wheel 100 and undergravel filter.
    Fish: 3 platies, 2 guppies, 4.5yr old angelfish, 4 albino corydoras catfish.
    Other: 3 ghost shrimp and 15-20 ramshorn snails.

    In my video I mention that the lid was a bit difficult to put on. It is much easier to put the lid on when the filter is actually installed on the back of the aquarium. It is not really an issue at all. Just something I came across while doing the video.

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  5. Lala

    We’ve used this filter four years, just replaced with identical unit because of wear and tear (Cleaning). No issues at all, great brand of products.

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    AquaClear 50 Power Filter, Fish Tank Filter for 20- to 50-Gallon Aquariums (Packaging may vary)
    AquaClear 50 Power Filter, Fish Tank Filter for 20- to 50-Gallon Aquariums (Packaging may vary)


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