Top Fin Filter Not Working: Top 5 Reasons & Solution

If you are a fish lover and you have a pet fish, you probably know a top fin aquarium has a filter. These top-fin filters keep the aquarium water clean and fresh for your pet fish. The top fin filter can be considered a guardian angel for your fish’s aquarium. You don’t need to do clean water as this filter does almost 80% of the cleaning, and it maintains the well-being of your fish. It promotes oxygen circulation in the tank. It maintains the water’s purity and flows to prevent the settling of germs, toxic substances, and other dangerous chemicals into the aquarium water.

However, that’s not it; sometimes, this fin tank can have some problems as it can suddenly stop working. You would probably wonder what has happened and why your top fin filter is not working. Well, it is something of concern; however, getting your filter fixed and making it functional once more is quite easy. In this article, we are going to discuss the reason why your top fin filter is not pumping water properly and also the solutions to how you can fix it again.

Top Fin Filter Not Working

Reasons Why Your Top Fin Filter Not Working:

There could be several reasons your top fin filter won’t pump water. If you notice that the filter is not working properly as it is supposed to, check out the below-given problems and try to solve them as soon as possible.

1) Clogged Filter:

When your filter stops pumping water, making noise, or it is stopped entirely, a clogged filter is the one thing you should check out first. This is the most common issue that a top fin aquarium filter quits working. It usually gets clogged when it doesn’t get cleaned regularly as much as it needs to. Additionally, if your fish tank’s filter is too small, it must filter more with a smaller capacity, which quickly fills the filter with waste, and as a result, your Top Fin filter will continue to stop more frequently. Cleaning the dust regularly is a must as it can cause blockage.


A Top Fin filter should always be cleaned if it is clogged. You should use either two cups of aquarium water or water that is at room temperature to clean the filter. Never fill an aquarium with cold tap water because it can harm the healthy microorganisms that your aquarium requires to thrive.

You should first unplug your filter before starting to clean it. Remove the filter from the aquarium after it has been disconnected. Now, disassemble the filter next. A water conditioner should be added to either aquarium or room temperature water before cleaning the filter with it. Since you want to leave some bacteria behind, the media shouldn’t be cleansed entirely.

After cleaning the media, proceed to clean the remainder of the filter. To get rid of all the algae and dirt, scrub it with a brush or sponge and then rinse it. Use warm not hot water to do this. Once everything has been fully cleaned, assemble the filter and place it back in the tank. Check if it still functions by plugging it back in. It could be necessary to change your filter if it still isn’t functioning properly.

2) Improper Power Supply:

One of the main causes of a Top Fin filter not functioning is improper plugging, a voltage fluctuation, or an insufficient power source. It’s possible that your filter has a loose connection or is not plugged in properly. Other than that, the outlet you are using to plug in your Top Fin filter could be experiencing a power spike or have an internal issue.


Make sure that your filter is getting the proper power supply. A constant power supply is important to make it function efficiently. Whenever filters are not working it is because the connections are not functioning properly. As soon as you notice your filter has stopped, make sure to secure the connections. It is preferable to inspect it before plugging the filter into the outlet.

3) Improper Flow Rate:

An inadequate flow rate is another really major issue that many people have with their fish tank filters. Even though this isn’t a fault with the filter specifically, it does have an impact on your fish. You see, different fish require various water flow rates; some want a strong current to swim against, while others are unable to withstand swift water and just get washed around the tank.


The only solution to this problem is to buy the right filter. Purchasing a filter with a variable flow rate is your best option. Purchase a replacement filter that can accommodate the needs of your fish if your current filter is not adjustable, is too powerful, or is not powerful enough.

4) The impeller is not functioning:

The impeller is essential to the continued operation of your filter. Suction and water flow are aided by it. If your filter is not working and you have checked the power supply, clogged filters, and flow rate, and everything is good, then there must be a broken, loose, or clogged impeller.

Make it your habit to inspect the impeller more often and if it is not in a good condition try to clean and replace it as needed. Even if the damage is minor, it is preferable to replace the impeller if you observe any damage at all.


The impeller must be in good working order for a Top Fin filter to work. Each time you clean your filter, check the impeller. Keep it tidy by washing it. The impeller should be changed as soon as the smallest damage is apparent.

5) Broken Motor:

Alternately, your fish tank filter’s impeller or the motor could be damaged or destroyed. The engine powers the impeller in a filter so it can draw water from the tank, filter it, and then return it to the aquarium. The filter may lose suction if either of these components isn’t working properly.


Fortunately, fixing a blocked motor or intake tube in your fish tank filter is typically simple. Following the manufacturer’s directions, unplug the filter, disassemble it, and inspect it for clogs inside the impeller shaft, input shaft, filter media chambers, and outtake tube. Try to remove any garbage, algae, or sludge that has accumulated inside the impeller housing or intake/outtake tube using your finger or another long, thin object.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I proceed if my top fin filter stops functioning?

One morning as you switch on the lights in your aquarium, you might notice an awful silence around the tank since your filter isn’t operating. If this occurs, unplug the filter and see if the motor has been blocked with dirt, making it impossible to run. Your tank equipment could occasionally become unusable due to a power surge or outage, in which case you should give it some time to rest before plugging it back in. Check whether it works after letting the filter sit for a few hours.

Check your power source to ensure that it is not the problem if the filter still won’t operate; if it is, your motor will most likely have a problem. Although you might be able to buy a filter repair kit online, it might be simpler and less expensive just to buy a new filter.

How can I adjust the top fin filter?

As we all know, there are different fish species and they all live in different environment and requires different flow levels. Some are flexible, they can live in any flow but some requires only specific flow to survive otherwise they may have trouble swimming or become lightheaded. So, try to adjust the filter according to their need.

Open the upper cover of the top-fin filter, there is a point from where water gets in. At the top of this tube there is a round shaft that is spin-able. You just need to twist the cover forward or backward for slow and fast flow, as required.

Can a tank work without a top fin filter?

The answer is yes; your aquarium can work fine without top-fin filter. But it can be difficult to manage the aquarium properly, as these filters keep the water fresh and clean. For the aquarium to maintain good water quality and to improve oxygen levels, you’ll need a lot of real plants.

Be careful not to overcrowd the tank or choose fish species that produce a lot of waste, such as goldfish and plecos, as you’ll need to make sure the plants can support the aquarium’s bioload.

What is the right time to replace the top fin filter?

It might be time to switch to a different filter if you’ve attempted multiple fixes to fix your filtration system, and it’s still not working or working inefficiently. Filters are sometimes beyond repair, particularly if they’ve had a lot of use or were initially built improperly. Cut your losses and buy a new filter; make sure to maintain it regularly to extend its lifespan and efficacy.

Final Verdict:

It’s crucial to install the proper filter in your freshwater aquarium. Your aquarium filter will help to reduce the number of dissolved toxins and heavy metals in your tank, in addition to helping to eliminate solid waste from the water in your tank. You must maintain your filter properly since, without adequate filtration, it is impossible to reach and maintain the desired degree of water quality in a freshwater tank. Take the time to conduct some study to choose the best aquarium filter for your tank because there are numerous options available.

We hope you will find this article helpful, if you are having some troubles with your top-fin filter. You must solve your fish tank filtration issue as quickly as possible, whatever the circumstances and the solution.

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