Why is My Fish Tank Filter So Loud (& How to Fix it?)

A loud fish tank filter can be incredibly annoying and unpleasant to be around. For you, and your fish.

There comes a point when it can no longer be ignored for the sake of your sanity. And, maybe your fish’s sanity as well.

This short and sweet article will cover why your tank’s filter is so loud, how to fix it, and even offer some alternatives if that doesn’t quite fix the problem!


Why is my fish tank filter so loud and how can I fix it?

Depending on the specific type of filter you may experience different types of loud noises.

a) For example, a side-mounted waterfall feature can become too loud if the water level is too low. The sound of water mutes the noise of the filter running, of course.

Additionally, the sound of the water falling can potentially make a loud splashing noise.

The lower the water level the louder the splashing will become.

The simple solution here is to top up the water levels.

Remember, adjust your new water’s temperature to match that of the tank or you may make your fish uncomfortable.

waterfall fish tank

b) A problem that any filter can face which ultimately leads to a lot of loud noise is when it becomes blocked by too much dirt and grit.

This not only makes a loud and unpleasant noise but can decrease the filter’s effectiveness.

You will need to remove the filter and clean it with fresh water, scrub any grime off and ensure that there will be a smooth flow-through when you re-fit it.

Depending on the specific filter you may only need to remove a single filter liner rather than the entire unit.

c) If the flow rate of your filter is too powerful this can result in a loud almost mechanical noise as well as the noise of rushing water.

Lowering the flow rate will not only remove the noise but also make your fish more comfortable.

Strong currents around the filter can be disruptive to your fish, especially its sleep cycle, so always keep that in mind.

d) As a side note, if you find your fish are often struggling to swim or spend the day hiding, the strength of your filter could be the cause.

e) Another common cause of a loud fish tank is the vibration of the filter against the tank.

This is often louder if the tank is made of glass!

Unfortunately, this can be a real pain to deal with as there is a chance you will need to readjust the entire filter which isn’t an easy task.

If you are lucky, all that will need doing is to tighten whatever mechanism holds the filter in place on the tank. This normally requires nothing more than 5 minutes and a screwdriver.

f) Similar to the waterfall filter requiring a high enough water level, if the water intake is even slightly above the waterline it can make a dreadful growling noise as it sucks not only water but air through the filter.

This can be easily fixed by slightly topping up the water level.

g) However, if you are experiencing a growling noise and the water level is fine there is a chance something got stuck in the filter.

Like a little stone or some other such object.

These can often be dislodged simply by turning the filter off and on again. If not, you’ll need to free it manually.


What else could cause the noise?

If you have tried relentlessly to solve the noise problem and it simply isn’t the pump the next likeliest culprit is a problem with the air pump.

Just like the filter, the air pump can cause some awful noises if there is an obstruction or it isn’t placed correctly.

The best thing to do is check if the diaphragm is still functioning properly or whether it has become worn with time.

The diaphragm is a small rubber piece that can wear away and even split completely resulting in a loud noise.

These are cheap and relatively easy to replace.

Hopefully, this has helped you uncover what was making your fish tank filter so loud and has (hopefully) helped you fix it.

Usually, it’s a simple fix and it isn’t time-consuming nor is it expensive.

It can be a little tricky to pin down the precise problem sometimes.

Don’t get tunnel vision, there could be more than one cause of your problem.

Best of luck on your filter fixing mission!

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