Whisper 60 HOB

Written by OBIO. Posted in HOB Filters





  • Easy-to-use 3-stage power filters for clean, clear aquarium water
  • Reliable filter performance loaded with convenient features
  • Provides efficient mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration

Whisper Power Filters are the best-selling brand of power filters in the U.S. Appropriate for every size aquarium, they provide the three types of filtration that your aquarium needs: Biological, Mechanical, and Chemical. The unique feature of this power filter is its open Bio-Bag filter cartridge. This allows you to use the included Ultra-Activated™ carbon or choose additional media that best suits your aquarium's needs. Quiet and dependable filter incorporates superior 3-way filtration. Easy-to-use, Bio-Bag fiber quickly traps particulate matter, Ultra-Activated™ carbon removes dissolved contaminants, and Bio-Foam supplies plenty of surface area for optimal biological filtration. A specially designed reservoir prevents back siphoning in the event of a power failure. Flow control knob permits slower flow rates during feeding time to keep food out of your filter.

Filter Size GPH Recommended
Aquarium Size
Filter 20
105 gph 10-20 gallons
Filter 30
(Model 1)
150 gph up to 30 gallons
Filter 40
(Model 2)
200 gph up to 40 gallons
Filter 60
(Model 3)
330 gph up to 60 gallons

Whisper 60 Review


I am a big fan of the Whisper line of filters, especially the Whisper 30-60. I have been using Whisper filters for a long time...don't know exactly how long, but a long time. I currently have 2 Whisper 30-60s on my 55 gallon mixed South American tank. One of them is the first Whisper 30-60 that my wife and I bought for our first tank together...ah, how sweet. That filter was purchased in May 2005 and has been in continual use ever since, only being shut down during tank cleanings and during filter maintenance (which I will give a break down on later in this review). I have used the Whisper 10, Whisper 20, and the Whisper 40 as well, and liked them almost as much as I like the Whisper 60s.

The Whisper 30-60 has a factory rated flow rate of 330 gallons per hour. It is a quiet filter, as long as it is kept clean. Once it gets dirty, it gets a bit noisy...but not too bad. A dirty Whisper is still quieter than an Emperor 400 by a long shot. The Whiper 60 (that's what I refer to them as, not Whisper 30-60) primes very easily, very quickly. After water changes, I rarely have to reprime the filter...turn the power back on and they get back into action on their own. One thing that I love about the Whisper filters (and this is true with all the Whisper HOBs I have used....Whisper 10, Whisper 20, Whisper 40.....they are great for low water level applications. We had a 20 long set up with a Whisper 40 for a couple Red Belly Newts, Fire Belly Newts, what ever they were called. The tank was filled only half way with water...and that Whisper 40 had no problems pulling water up from that low level and maintaining full flow. I have started my Whisper 60s up when the 55 was less than half filled and they quickly drew the water up and resumed full flow. This is something that the Emperor 400 and Penguin 350B which we had could not do...those filters would not flow until the tank was nearly full. The impeller/power head design on the Whisper filters is incredibly strong and if the filter boxes were enlarged and the media made wider I am sure that the impeller/power head on the Whisper 60 could easily produce a flow rate of 400 to 450gph.

I have only had to replace 1 impeller on the Whisper 60s that we have owned (we had three others but let them go with tanks when we sold the tanks...I wish I would have kept them)...and that was on the first one we bought back in May 2005. Five and a half years of use and only needing one impeller replacement...that is darn good service life. The Penguin 350B that we bought new needed a replacement impeller at the one year mark...instead of buying a new impeller, I bought a new Whisper 60 and replaced the Penguin with it.

The biggest down side to the Whisper filters is the stock media. Those BIO-Bag media cartridges are flimsy and do not do a great job of mechanical filtration. And the thin Bio-mesh that comes with the filters is just too little surface area to do a great job of biological filtration. I have not used stock filter media in any of my Whisper filters in years. For my Whisper 40s and Whisper 60s I have ordered Bio-3 Clamshell filter frames from the DrsFosterandSmith web site. Very nice frames, come with a blue bio-sponge for added biological filtration. For my mechanical media I order bonded Blue/white pond filter media off of E-Bay. One inch thick. I usually buy a 1 foot by 10 foot roll of it. Last order set me back $22US. Out of that 10 square foot roll I was able to cut 48 Whisper 60 size filter pads and two pads for the Magnum HOT canister filter that I am using on my 30 gallon tank...which will be replaced with a brand new Whisper 60 soon. The black Bio-Mesh that I use in my Whisper filters started out as bio-mesh for one of the Cascade canister filters. It is nearly an inch thick, much denser than the stock stuff that comes with the Whisper 60. I cut it to size and stuffed in into the black plastic frame that holds the bio-mesh.

Using this custom filter media set up, I have never had an issue with ammonia or nitrites..not even when the 55 was home to my 15 inch behemoth Red Tiger Oscar, who died due to complications from a very nasty bacterial infection known on as JSS. ANd the Whisper 60s, again using the custom media set up, did a fantastic job handling all the mess that Drifter made. My tank was spotless....those 1 inch thick pond media pads really do their job. Would the same be able to be said for the Whisper 60 using the stock filer media...NO! Like I said, the stock media is the weak spot in this line of filters..from the Whisper 10 all the way up to the Whisper 60.

They have changed the Whisper 40s, and for me it was a hit and miss thing. I had one on a 35 Hex tank, but wasn't too happy with the filter until I made changes in the filter media. The biological mesh has been replaced with a blue plastic plate with nubblies...looked like a dog brush with half the teeth missing. I threw that away and stuffed some of the Cascade bio-mesh in its place. The media has been changed...but not improved. The filter came with a weak clamshell device that the media bag fit into....the same flimsy and inefficient media material that comes with the older style Whisper filters. I again used some of the bonded pond filter media to improve the filter's efficiency. I did like the No Prime design....the impeller/power head sits inside the tank, below the water line....just hang the filter on the tank, plug it in and it fills itself and gets to work...that was neat. Whisper really needs to rethink their media though...that is the weak point in all the Whisper filters. And the intake tube was far too short for the 35 hex...I modified it using a section from an old gravel python and some aquarium safe silicone.....why spend $5 for an extension when a little hillbilly engineering will do the job, right?

One key think to remember about the Whisper 60 needs to be maintained....which is true for all filters. I clean mine monthly. I pull the filters off the tank and take them to the bath tub. I drain the water out of them, yank the filter media out and set them on the edge of the tub. I pull the intake tubes apart and clean them with a sponge (outside) and a filter brush (inside). I clean the impeller with a clean toothbrush. I remove the impeller power head (read the owner's manual as it describes how to remove and replace the unit) and clean out the impeller well with some cotton swabs. I clean the inside and outside of the filter box with a sponge (a tank only sponge...never been used with any soaps or cleaners). I clean the lids as well. I put the filters back together, hang them back on the tank, fill them with water, plug them in..bango just like new again. Given a monthly cleaning, Whisper filters will last a long time. I have one that has 5 and a half years of use and it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.