Reversible aquarium filter? Does such a thing exist?

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New Member
Mar 31, 2023
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I have aquarium indoors and ponds outside.

In my outside pond there's an external filter with a lever on the top. Flipping that lever and the direction of flow is reversed and all the muck from the filter goes into a bucket that I pore on my garden. I still do a proper clean of the filter every so often but that back-flush once a week keeps the dregs out without disturbing the ecology in there.

But I've never seen a reversible aquarium filter. Does such a thing exist?

Alice B

Fish Herder
Feb 20, 2022
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Fort Worth, TX
You can also rig a reverse flow UG, either with a canister filter or a reverse flow powerhead, but it takes twice as long to cycle for some reason.


Supporting Member
Pet of the Month!
May 19, 2022
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Somewhere in space... Wyoming for mail.
Sort of funny that this came up as I asked about the basic same thing not long ago.

With reverse under gravel it works from reports but is less effective than normal under gravel filtration. My little 20 gallon cube tank could be easily converted to this kind of filtration but I won't do it as I see evidence that I would lose more than I would gain.


Fish Connoisseur
Dec 31, 2004
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Anybody who owns a swimming pool knows about back-washing the filter. This is not a matter of a button push. One has to change a major setting to reverse the flow through different plumbing. Sometimes this means closing a valve and opening another and rhen turning a mjor handle to cause the flow to reverse direction. Usually we have to do one of two things when we do a back-wash. We either do the it when rain has raised the water level in the pool. So the back-washing also brings the level back down to normal. But when the pool is at normal fill levels, we often have to add back water to the pool to replace what we used during the backwash.

If a tank filter was made to have this sort of capability, the cost of the filter would be quite high and its size would have to increase as would the plumbing involved. The last place to discharge the gunk in a filter would be back into the tank. So it needs to be rerouted to outside the tank if it was able to back-wash.

Also, consider what we do now in terms of filter maint. We rinse media, we may replace floss and we need to do this when we notice that the filter flow has slowed.

Finally, I run 3 Eheim Pro II 2026 canisters which are all loaded differently. Two I need to take off the tank to clean twice a year. They use Eheim media and/or AC sponges plus assorted floss pads. The third uses 100% 20 ppi Poret foam and I only clean it when the flow slows. I have had this running for well over 5 years and I have only pulled it once to be cleaned so far.

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