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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.

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

4.4 out of 5
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  1. River rat

    I’ve tried several different brands of hang on back filters during my aquarium keeping years. This one is a little more pricey than others, but it’s well worth it. The media they include is much more effective than the small inserts that come with others. You get a good-sized sponge (mechanical and biological), a sack of carbon (chemical), and a pouch of media for biological filtration. This is world’s better than the others that just give you a sponge pouch with maybe a tablespoon of carbon. It provides more room inside if you want to add some different filter media, and that little basket holding all the media is incredibly helpful when changing out media and cleaning. It’s also very quiet. I have jimmied an aqueon hob filter to hold the same sequence of media as the AquaClear, and it just wasn’t as good. It would clog up, and water wouldn’t flow uniformly over each piece.

    So, I have a 37 gallon tank, and I bought the aquaclear 50. By itself, it does not move enough water for my liking. Err, one side of the tank doesn’t get enough movement. This would probably be the case for any hob filter though, and there is an internal filter on the other side of the tank to make sure all the water is getting filtered adequately. This tank is tall. This filter has been working great for 4 months now. The media in the picture came with the filter. I also have plants and a sand substrate, so I keep a sponge on the intake tube (to keep sand and plant debris from getting in the impeller). Not sure it’s always necessary bc I’ve kept live plants before without covering a filter intake tube, no issues. I’m going with “better safe than sorry” here. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t use one. Some people like to put a sponge over the intake tube anyway for extra biological, mechanical filtration and to help protect delicate fish from getting sucked/stuck. Anyway, hope this helps. This is a solid purchase. I had another one way back when that was a hand-me-down from someone else. It lasted atleast 5-6 years until a natural disaster hit =(.

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  2. 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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  3. Maren

    I’ve bought these pretty regularly and have never had one break on me. I appreciate that it’s clear so I can see if there is any grime buildup that needs cleaning or if a little shrimpy went on an adventure.
    The only downside is that it has high flow, and medium high flow, but you can’t get it much lower than that so I’ve got to keep the water level right up to the filter for my Betta so the extra gravity doesn’t send him spinning all over his 6 gallon tank. – if it were a bigger tank this probably wouldn’t be an issue.

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  4. Liron

    Good filter. Reliable and customizable.

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  5. NRH

    Live in florida and have outside tank. Not good for my application. Power went out and it didn’t self prime. Water wasn’t low either. Just not for me but still give a 4 star.

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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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