The Best Filters for 10 Gallon Tank of 2023

best filter for 10 gallon tank

Taking care of fish is one of the most relaxing things to do. Watching colorful fishes (yes, fishes since you have various types of fish) is so calming that it really helps people who have stressful workloads. But what is even more stressful is finding a dirty 10 gallon fish tank. Imagine your tank brimming with algae and fish poop!

To find the top-quality filter for 10-gallon tank aquariums, buyers must consider various factors. So here’s a quick overview of a few to provide an idea of what to expect. Then, we’ll take a closer look at all of them in our buying guide after the reviews:

  • Filtration Process: Users have to understand the filtration process of their 10-gallon aquarium with filter devices. At the very least, it must be effective enough to provide solid mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.
  • Biomedia Capacity: Aquarium owners will want a filter with a high bio-media capacity. After all, it’s crucial to pack as much bio-media into these filters to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the tank environment.
  • Brand: Never buy from a brand that doesn’t have a stellar reputation. It’d be wise to do your research or ask for advice from online communities, such as r/Aquariums on Reddit. It’ll provide an in-depth picture of whether the brands have their customers’ trust.
  • Cost: Filters for 10-gallon tanks come with a wide range of price tags. As a result, buyers will need to identify what they need in these devices. It’ll help them build a realistic budget based on their specific preferences.

If you want to prevent this from happening, you should use the best filter for 10 gallon tank. You don’t have to search far and wide for this – I have tested a bunch and narrowed it down to the crème of the crop. Without further ado, let’s dive into my top choices!

Best Overall


MarineLand 75 Power Filter

✅ Noise-free
✅ Three-stage filtration
✅ Efficient cleaning


Premium Choice

Tetra Whisper in Tank Filter with BioScrubber for Aquariums

Tetra Whisper in-Tank Filter

✅ Quiet
✅ Durable
✅ Works well with 10-gallon aquarium


Editor’s Choice


Marina Power Filter

✅ Quiet
✅ Self-priming
✅ Easy to maintain



Top 10 Filter For 10 Gallon Tank Reviews 2023

1. MarineLand Penguin 75 Power Filter


To all fish lovers out there, have you found MarineLand Bio-Wheel Penguin yet? Well, you have to get your own A.S.A.P. This ten-gallon tank filter is like a silent worker that does its job very well!

The filter comes in the color black and has a dimension of 5.3 in. x 5 in. x 7.6 in. It is suitable for a 10 gallon-volume tank of freshwater or saltwater. It has a 75 GPH (gallon per hour) pump that does efficient cleaning for the volume. It is available in two-, three-, and four-packs.

It removes waste in the most effective way possible. The Penguin Bio-Wheel uses three-stage filtration technology: mechanical, chemical, and biological. Mechanically, it gets rid of small particles in the aquarium. The chemical aspect of cleaning eliminates toxic nitrites and ammonia. Biological cleaning helps avoid water discoloration and odor caused by bacteria and algae build-up. Do you know their secret? The Black Diamond Premium Activated Carbon does all the good work!

It gives a noise-pollution-free environment for the fish. The motor is really quiet and facilitates high water flow. It also has two vented covers that help lessen the sound. The strainer is adjustable. I was able to place it midway from the water’s surface to avoid any distracting and stressful noise.

I did not have a hard time setting it up. The size of the cartridge fits every part of the tank. What more do I like about this? It’s very affordable, and you can buy it with a few taps online!

I’m not sure if this is bad or not, but the falling water produces a sound. It’s like having mini waterfalls inside my house. I tried to look for a way to adjust the flow. Sadly, it doesn’t have an adjuster for the flow rate.

  • Efficient cleaning
  • Three-stage filtration
  • Noise-free
  • No flow rate adjuster
I’ve been using this 10 gallon filter for months and it does its job effectively. It cleans what I see and do not see, so I am pretty much relieved. The three-stage filtration is very assuring that my tank will always be clean without me exerting too much effort on it. I would surely buy another set!

2. Tetra Whisper in-Tank Filter

Tetra Whisper in Tank Filter with BioScrubber for Aquariums

If you are looking for a totally reliable in-tank filter to maintain the cleanliness of your aquarium or terrarium, the Whisper in-tank filter with bioscrubber by Tetra might be the one that you are looking for.

One of the things that I liked about this product is its silence. Once I have installed it in my aquarium, it has operated in complete silence. This is beneficial for me because I easily wake from small noises.

Another thing that really astounds me about this in-tank filter is its use of bio-bag filters. It prevents discoloration of water due to fish food. In addition, the filters really absorb grime, dirt, and other particles through its activated carbon.

Cleaning this in-tank filter is very easy. All you have to do is remove the bottom portion of the filter to access the impeller. I was able to remove the grime collected in my 10-gallon aquarium by doing it.

What I don’t appreciate about this in-tank filter is how strong its suction power. One time, my five-year-old daughter placed a small goldfish inside the aquarium. The show was so excited to watch it swim around the tank when its tail was sucked in by the filter. My daughter was worried because she thought that her new pet had died. I immediately turned off the filter to rescue the poor fish. Luckily, it didn’t get injured heavily, and I was able to transfer it to a small fish bowl (temporarily).

  • Quiet
  • Durable
  • Works well with 10-gallon aquarium
  • Utilizes medium bio-bag filter cartridges
  • Impeller can be accessed by removing the bottom for cleaning
  • Can be used for terrariums and aquariums
  • Small fishes tend to get sucked
Considering all of the points I have discussed above, I can confidently say that this in-tank filter is a remarkable product. It operates quietly. It cleans the tank without any fuss and, most of all – is very affordable. If you have an aquarium or a terrarium that needs to have a superior in-tank filter, this is definitely a product that you should trust.

3. Marina Power Filter


Are you searching for a powerful filter that takes up only a fraction of your aquarium’s space? If you want to have the top-rated in-tank filter, then the Marina S10 Power Filter should be included in your shopping list.

What I like about this in-tank filter is its self-priming feature. I don’t have to check its working condition from time to time because the filter is already doing it for me. It prevents grime and other particles from clogging up the filter, therefore keeping the water and the aquarium clean at all times.

Another likable feature of this product is its adjustable flow control. I like the idea of regulating the amount of water that would be pumped back into the aquarium. Finally, since the filter itself is very small, it takes only a small space in the aquarium. This means more space for the fish to swim around!

In addition to being powerful and having a self-priming feature, this filter works quietly. This is very convenient for those who like to keep an aquarium in their sleeping room or office, just like me. With this in-tank filter, I can focus on many important things without getting distracted by unnecessary noise. This is also perfect if you like to sleep very fast at night.

What I don’t exactly like about this in-tank filter is how small the filtration capacity is. If you have two or three goldfish and they have pooped, the filter will take quite a bit of time to clean it up.

  • Works well with 10-gallon aquarium
  • It takes up little space in the aquarium
  • Quiet
  • Self-priming
  • Easy to maintain
  • With adjustable flow control
  • Small filtration capacity
Summarizing all of the information I have stated, I can confidently say that the Marina S10 Power filter delivers top-of-the-line performance. That you won’t find in other in-tank filter brands. This product is self-priming, easy to maintain, with adjustable flow control, takes a little space in your aquarium, and most of all – quiet. You can leave your fish without any worries that the water will get dirty any time soon.

4. Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter


Do you want your fish to thrive inside your 10-gallon aquarium? Then, what you need is a good filtration system that can easily clean the water and keep it in habitable condition for as long as possible. If you are still looking for a good in-tank filter, the Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter will keep you satisfied.

What I like about this particular filter is its ease of installation. I can place the filter using the provided suction cups and clips. Once installed, I’m not worried that it will not fall deep into the aquarium. In addition, this filter takes up only a small space inside the tank. This is very important for me because I want my fish to have the maximum amount of space to swim as much as possible.

Unlike other in-tank filters in the market these days, this product provides three levels of filtration: mechanical, biological, and chemical. Mechanical filtration handles the debris and particles in the water. Biological filtration on the other hand, keeps the levels of nitrite and toxic ammonia in check. Meanwhile, chemical filtration prevents the water from having a bad smell and discoloration.

What I don’t appreciate about this filter is its suction power. One time, it sucked one of my Betta fish. The poor fish got its left fin injured. I had to place a special barrier to prevent the unfortunate incident from happening again.

  • It provides three levels of filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological
  • Quiet
  • Occupies small space
  • Easy to install
  • Has a limited lifetime warranty
  • Its suction power can injure a small fish
Taking note of what has been discussed above, I can confidently say that the Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter is an outstanding product. It is quiet and occupies a small space, thus allowing the fish to roam every corner of the aquarium. Moreover, it is very easy to install, thanks to its powerful suction cups and clips. What’s even more amazing is its three levels of filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological. This means that your aquarium will always have clear, clean, and healthy water for your fish. I consider this to be the most suitable 10 gallon fish tank filter available in the market.

5. Whisper IQ Power Filter


Imagine how trees clean the air or how the filter systems in your air-conditioning units work. That’s exactly how Tetra’s Whisper IQ Power Filter provides cleaner and ‘greener’ alternatives in your fish tanks. I have seen it. My fishes love it!

This filter system may be small, but it is powerful. The cartridge filter weighs 1.84 pounds. It comes in the color black and looks neat inside the aquarium.

It has StayClean Technology for easy filtration. I haven’t had a hard time maintaining the aquarium ever since. The filter’s Bio-Bags have bio-scrubbers. Its design makes glasses 35% cleaner compared to Bio-Bags without StayClean. The filters can last a long time with proper use and cleaning.

This one is also durable. I’ve been using this for about a year, and it worked pretty much the same as when I first bought it. No malfunction or any problem so far.

I have one for a 10-gallon unit, but this is also available in 20-, 30-, 45-, and 60-gallon tanks. You can use it with freshwater and saltwater fish.

The pump motors available can have a capacity of as high as 105 GPH and do not need calibration or start-up. There’s even a flow control knob for easy adjustment.

I’m glad that it has SoundShield technology. This gives a barrier between the motor and the filter. My friends enjoy minimal to no noise with this product!

There was a small problem during the first few weeks. I had to take out the filters frequently to clean it. Probably the aquarium had a lot of dirt, so it might collect a lot. After a while, I seldom take the filter out for cleaning.

  • Easy and quiet filtration
  • Less cleaning time after a while
  • High capacity
  • Easy to maintain
  • With noise reduction system
  • Frequent cleaning for the first few weeks
After carefully reviewing all the information I have stated above, I can honestly say that this small fish tank filter is one of the top-tier in the market. If you’re looking for a filter system that cleans and makes your pet fishes healthier, then go for Whisper IQ Filter. You won’t have any regrets like me. It operates quietly, cleans the tank thoroughly, and most of all, it requires little to no maintenance at all. Happy fishes, happy me!

6. Penn Plax 300 Aquarium Filter


Finding a good in-tank filter that can be fully submerged is very challenging. If you want to help your fish thrive without worrying about the filter getting in their way, the Penn Plax Cascade 300 Submersible Aquarium Filter is a product that you should seriously consider in your shopping.

What I appreciate about this product is how it is fully submersible. While other filters can be placed inside the aquarium tank, they cannot be fully submerged because the electric components might be soaked. However, this particular filter was designed to be soaked, therefore maximizing its capabilities to the fullest.

Another commendable feature of this filter is its adjustable pump head. With this, I can decide which direction the water in my aquarium should flow. Another thing that I seriously like the most is the spray bar option. It helps me aerate the tank to help my fish to breathe oxygen properly. This is something that I haven’t found in other in-tank filter products.

If you want to keep the filter completely hidden from sight, this product can help you do so. My aquarium seemed so natural because the filter is safely hidden away from sight. The design allows it to be completely soaked and honestly, I love how I don’t need to worry about that.

What I don’t appreciate about this in-tank filter is its suction power. It can injure a small fish such as a Betta fish or a goldfish. I had to put a small glass screen so that the fish won’t venture into the filter’s direction. I wish that the manufacturers find a way to prevent this from happening.

  • Fully submersible
  • Its three-level filtration keeps the water clear and ideal for fish
  • Has an adjustable pump head
  • Has a spray bar option that aerates the tank
  • Can be placed either vertically or horizontally
  • Can be easily hidden away
  • Works perfectly for 1.5-gallon up to 10-gallon aquariums
  • Can suck a small fish inside the filter
All things considered, I can say without fear that the Penn Plax Cascade 300 Submersible Aquarium Filter is an amazing in-tank filter. It can be fully submerged without worrying about the filter getting damaged or the fish getting electrocuted. It can help the air circulation around the tank thanks to its spray bar option. Since this filter is submersible, you can easily hide it in order to give your pet fish a huge space to swim around.

7. Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter


Are you looking for a way to keep your aquarium clear and clean at all times? Give Aqueon Quietflow a try and you will see a huge improvement compared to your old in-tank filter!

There are so many things to love about this in-tank filter. First, I love the way it is designed to be fully submerged in the water. This means that I don’t have to worry about the filter if I decide to increase the level of water in my aquarium. Second, this filter can be positioned either horizontally or vertically. Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me because I’m very accustomed to mounting all the in-tank filters vertically. But if you want to decorate your tank, it pays that the filter can be mounted either way.

Another positive feature of this filter is how quietly it works. Once I had fully submerged it in the water, the noise was completely gone. This is absolutely important for those hobbyists who want to keep the overall noise at a manageable level only. I find it perfect for my room and home office.

I have noticed that the return of water from the filter is completely adjustable. Most filters really blast the water off the filter, therefore making a mess around the aquarium. This particular filter, however, totally regulates the return of water. This is very perfect for me because I hate cleaning.

What I don’t really enjoy seeing about this particular filter is how it takes a long time to restart right after I replace the water in my aquarium. At first, I thought that the filter got damaged. But after a few tries, it started working again.

  • Fully submersible
  • Quiet
  • Can be mounted in either horizontal or vertical position
  • Return of water is adjustable
  • Has three-stage filtration system
  • Has a limited lifetime warranty
  • It takes time to restart the filter after water change
After reexamining all of the important points I have discussed above, I can confidently conclude that the Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter is an outstanding product. It works absolutely quiet, can be fully submerged, has a three-stage filtration system, and fully adjustable return of water.

8. Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter


Not all in-tank filters can be used for freshwater and saltwater fish. If you are looking for an aquarium filter for 10 gallon tank that is very flexible, the Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter is a remarkable product that you should be considering.

I love how flexible this in-tank filter is. This canister filter for 10 gallon tank can actually be used for nano tanks up to 10-gallon aquariums. With this, I didn’t have to buy a special filter for my nano tank; just one installation of this product and it instantly took care of my tank, which houses my precious dwarf pufferfish.

Another laudable feature of this wonderful product is its three-stage filtration system. Using this filter, I know that my nano tank is always clean and clear, no discoloration, no odor, and no unwanted particles floating around. The water is always right for my nano tank pets.

Aside from providing a spectacular performance every day, this filter is absolutely quiet. I have peace of mind inside my home office because there is no annoying sound coming from the filter. Just the soft bubbling and occasional splashes of water can be heard, which is like music to my ears.

There are some things that I was looking for with this kind of sophisticated in-tank filter. If truth be told, I was hoping that this kind of in-tank filter is self-priming. Instead, I have to turn the filter off, open it and remove all of the standing grime and impacted particles. If this was self-priming, I could’ve easily devoted my time and effort somewhere else. But still, this is one of my favorite filters.

  • Ideal for nano tanks up to 10-gallon aquariums
  • Quiet
  • Has three-stage filtration system
  • Provides an aeration spray
  • Can be used for both freshwater and saltwater fishes
  • Can be easily opened for priming and customizing
  • Not self-priming
After carefully reviewing all of the information I have stated above, I can say without hesitation that the Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister Filter is an impressive product. It can be used from nano tanks up to 10-gallon aquariums without really changing anything. It operates quietly, and filters the water in three stages – mechanical, chemical, and biological. Finally, it can be used for both saltwater and freshwater fishes.

9. AZOO Aquarium Mignon Filter


Heard of the saying “small but terrible� AZOO’s Aquarium Mignon Filter 60 fits it perfectly. Its tiny package brings all the things you want in a filter. It is flexible, noise-free, easy to use and maintain, and cleans efficiently.

It is smoke gray in color and has a size of 3.2 in. x 3.8 x 6 in. The small compact design suits aquariums are, holding up to 3.5 gallons. Mignon Filter 60 can fit and sit in either a rectangular tank or bowl. My bettas are happy because they have more room to swim around.

It keeps the water clean and clear with the help of the 15 GPH pump. I even have separate units for my 5.5 and 10 gallon tanks. No tiny particles flowing, no algae forming. I’m surprised that it delivers the same results!

Unlike other filters, this water filter for 10 gallon tank has a flow adjuster. So I can adjust the flow rate whenever needed.

There was a time when the power suddenly went off. I hurried home because I thought that something bad might happen, like backflow and such. But I was surprised that there was no spill or backflow. My lovely fish was swimming fine!

It works silently. The filter produces very little vibration so annoying and disturbing sound is not a problem.

What I don’t like about this is that I have to buy new sets of sponges regularly. It fills fast and is not that high quality. But aside from this, everything is fine. I can replace the sponges easily, so it’s not really a hassle.

  • Fits perfectly in any aquarium
  • A powerful pump and filtration system
  • High capacity for a small-sized filter
  • No spills and backflow
  • Easy to maintain
  • Low-quality sponges
After all is said and done, I can confidently conclude that this is filter is indeed perfect for my tank. I did not have to worry about anything because AZOO’s filter system provided it all for me. I just had to put it in the water and plug it. That is simple and easy! I think it’s time for you to try it yourself.

10. Tetra Whisper PF10 Power Filter


If you are looking for a flexible filter that can work for either a 5-gallon aquarium or a 10-gallon aquarium, the one that you are looking for is definitely Whisper PF10 Power Filter by Tetra.

What I enjoyed about this filter is how it can be used in either 5-gallon aquarium or 10-gallon aquarium. Most hobbyists spend extra cash to get a separate filter for their 5-gallon aquariums. With this, however, I don’t need to spend extra cash on two separate in-tank filters. All I need is this power filter to keep my aquarium clean all the time.

Another spectacular feature of this in-tank filter is its three-stage filtration. It can help you clean your aquarium tank through the following processes: chemical filtration, biological filtration, and mechanical filtration. This is truly beneficial to those people like me who want to keep their tanks clean without exerting too much effort in the process.

Aside from its performance, I also commend its completely silent operation. It’s so quiet I sometimes forget that it’s inside my aquarium. This is very important, especially if you want to maintain a level of noise in your home.

This particular filter may be wonderful, but it has one minor flaw. After changing my aquarium’s water, the filter does not start immediately. I had to slap it a few times before successfully restarting it. Once restarted, it continued working like a charm.

  • Can be used for 5 to 10-gallon aquariums
  • Quiet
  • Has a three-stage filtration (mechanical, biological, and chemical) level system
  • Uses medium cartridges
  • Hard to restart after a water change
Having said all of the important information above, I can say that the Whisper PF10 Power Filter is indeed a remarkable product. It can maintain purity and cleanliness in the aquarium’s water due to its superb filtration processes. It is very flexible because it can be used with either 5-gallon or 10-gallon aquarium. If you are looking for a reliable filter to help you maintain your aquarium’s cleanliness, this is definitely a product that you should be purchasing.

What To Look For When Buying A Filter For 10 Gallon Tank


It is very exhausting to search for a top-quality 10 gallon aquarium filter, especially if you are a complete beginner. You have to understand lots of things first in order to get an efficient filter for your tank or aquarium.

Advantages Of A Good Filtration

First, you have to know why you need to get an in-tank filter. If you are still mulling over why you should get one in the first place, here are some advantages that you will enjoy as an in-tank filter owner:

  • Long water stability

A filter keeps away harmful chemicals and organisms which could poison the water. If the water is poisoned, fish won’t thrive there at all.

  • It keeps the water clean and clear

In addition to keeping the water stable for the fish, an in-tank filter also keeps the water clean and clear. It prevents unwanted particles from floating around. In addition, a filter stops water discoloration from happening. As a matter of fact, it is very visually offensive to see stained aquarium water. Most people won’t even look at the fish swimming inside the tank at all.

  • It minimizes your maintenance costs

A clean and clear tank means less maintenance cost. You don’t need to regularly check the aquarium because you can be sure that the filter does the necessary cleaning for you. The only reason to schedule a maintenance session is in the event of a leak.

Now that you know the advantages let’s discuss what to look for.

Things To Look For When Buying A Filter For 10 Gallon Tank

  • Filtration process

An in-tank filter can function in one or three ways: mechanical, chemical, and biological. Mechanical filtration keeps particles such as poop and food debris away from the water. Chemical filtration on the other hand, prevents water from smelling bad and from getting discoloration. Finally, biological filtration removes bad bacteria and fungi that thrive on fish poop and food debris.

When shopping for a filter, make sure that it can perform these three to maintain the water’s cleanliness at all times.

  • Filter water flow rate

When buying an in-tank filter, the flow rate is one of the important things that you should know about. An efficient water movement and a good filter flow rate are key to keeping a healthy environment for your pet fish.

  • Brand

No matter what we say, brands still command the respect and trust to consumers. Unknown brands are still distrusted by product buyers worldwide, while the popular ones are always praised. If you are buying an in-tank filter, always look for popular brands because they build customers’ trust on their name.

  • Existing product reviews

Product reviews can really help you weigh in on the pros and cons, especially if you don’t have time to visit a physical shop personally.

  • Warranty

Unfortunate things happen to products, especially those purchased online. If in the event that you’ve seen a legitimate concern about the filter that you have received, such as a defective impeller or faulty motor, you can send the product back for replacement or repair.

When shopping for the best filter for 10 gallon tank, always make sure that you carefully study each brand’s features. Not all filter brands provide the same service. This way, you can maximize the benefits of the filter that you are going to use in your 10-gallon aquarium.

Other Important Factors To Consider


What is a filter for a 10 gallon tank?

The 10 gallon tank is one of the most famous tanks in the community of aquarium enthusiasts. The reason for this is that the 10 gallon tank is the optimal size for a starter aquarium or as a part of a larger collection. Because of its small size, it highlights the fish beautifully against a great background. And so with its popularity, the demand for the 10 gallon tank filter grew.

A 10 gallon tank filter is specially built in a way that can provide optimal help for the aquarium’s nitrogen cycle. Because of its size, a 10 gallon tank usually cannot sustain a great environment for most fish. The change in the temperature and the water’s quality is quite rapid, and it is where a great aquarium filter comes into play.

How does it work?

Easily said a 10 gallon tank filter helps aquarium owners clean the inside of their tanks. However, tank filters work differently depending on their type. There are three types of filtration that occurs inside your tank are as follows:

  • Mechanical Filtration – In the enthusiast’s community, this could also be called particulate (or physical) filtration. It pushes the water through what is called a ‘filter media‘. The filter media acts as the strainer, and this filter catches the free-floating particles and debris that, when left alone, becomes a physical problem inside the tank, marring the visibility and thus lowering the quality of life for the fish living in the environment.

There are different kinds of media parts available depending on usage. These filters can be made with filter floss, specialized filter pads, sponges, and even aquarium gravel. Some saltwater tanks even use dense masses of air bubbles. The general rule is that the finer the media, the more particles it will catch and the more it can help in the cleaning. However, filters with finer media also tend to be clogged up faster and more frequently in contrast to others. Filters with coarser media take longer to get clogged up, but they also allow more particles through. They do not take as much time and energy with the filter cleaning, but they also allow the smaller particles to pile up.

Because the 10 gallon tank is considered small, the filter is able to clean it faster and easier. The only difference lies in the filter.

  • Chemical Filtration – With this type of filtration, chemical resins and carbon are added into the water, where they extract the toxins directly. For example, the activated carbon most enthusiasts use are known to be able to pursue and remove chemicals from the tank water aggressively. That is, until the carbon becomes saturated itself, which prompts frequent and constant clearing.
  • Biological Filtration – Biological filtration emphasizes on the use and support of the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that convert the tank’s waste into less harmful toxins and substances.

Now everyone has heard of the common expression, “Do not poop where you eat.†However, fish do not follow this rule. They excrete waste in the same water where they eat their food. Granted, mechanical filters are able to help in keeping the tank clean by filtering through the debris, leftovers, and excrement floating around it. However, what do you do when those wastes are dissolved into the water? Surely chemical filtration cannot undertake this cleaning task alone. This is where biological filtration comes into play.

When there are wastes floating around the tank, the ammonia build-up is something to watch out for. In order to reverse this, you would need to support the growth and cultivation of the beneficial bacteria and its colony. Including other microorganisms, this is the owner’s line of defense. When they present themselves, they convert the toxic ammonia gathered from the leftover food, excrement, and other decaying matter into the toxic known as Nitrite. This Nitrite is then converted into Nitrate, which is a relatively harmless substance to have in the aquarium. However, everything in excess is harmful, and the Nitrate build-up in the water can lead to different bodily problems for the fish, especially in the kidney, liver, and optic areas. The simple solution to this is to change the tank water regularly.

In summation, these filters might differ in their tasks but share one goal, which is to help the owner make a better environment for the fish. Biological filtration helps in the overall maintenance of the aquarium, mechanical filtration clears out the visual eyesores and sustains the water clarity, and chemical filtration works directly with the source water.

What are the different types of 10 gallon aquarium filters?

As we are now thoroughly familiar with the type of filtrations available to us out there, we then decide what kind of aquarium filters we will use in accordance to the conditions and specifications needed by our tanks. Commonly, these are the three most prominent 10 gallon aquarium filters today:

  • Sponge Filters – Also known as ‘air driven filters’, they are among the simplest and most common filters out there that are suitable for 10 gallon tanks. It simplicity in execution will provide easier understanding for the newer hobbyists, which makes it famous among them.

An air pump pulls the water through the sponge filters, where a decent amount of mechanical filtration happens when it blocks out the floating debris, while biological filtration happens by way of supporting the bacteria growth on the sponge itself, where they are able to work.

  • Power Filters – Power filters are commonly known in the community as ‘HOB’ or ‘hang on back’ filters. They are hanged to the side or the back of aquariums most of the time, and a siphon tube sucks up the water. As the water passes through its filter pads, mechanical filtration takes place. At the same time, the carbon placed in the filter is also able to push for chemical filtration. It helps in biological filtration by supporting bacteria life in the cartridge, directly limited to the overall availability of oxygen in the tank.

Newer variations of said filters employ the use of biological filter pads or ‘biowheels’, which makes for a great biological filter.

  • Internal Filters – Small yet quite powerful, internal filters are compact in size but big in small-tank filtration. Usually used only in aquarium tanks 20 gallons or less, they can be placed against the glass with the use of underwater suction caps or at the bottom of the aquarium, where they capture the sinking debris and waste before they even have the chance to clutter up the tank’s bottom.

In some variations, they also use airlines and air pumps to inspire water movement upwards. This creates a good rhythm for decent biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration.

  • Undergravel Filter – Aptly called for its use, undergravel filters are pretty low-key when it comes to the visual appearance and the space it occupies from inside the tank. Placed under the substrate, it is a powerful mechanical filter that maximizes the use of the aquarium gravel. It is also able to host beneficial bacteria and aids in biological filtration. It might not do much for chemical filtration, but since it does not occupy much space, it provides a clearer visibility of the tank as well as an opportunity to employ another filter.

Why do you need an aquarium filter for a 10 gallon tank?

10 gallon aquarium tanks are notable for their compact size. And because it covers such a small space, hobbyists are able to use them on a small corner, while at the same time they provide an opportunity to expand small-tank collections steadily. Although it is tempting to think of, 10 gallon tanks are very delicate and should not be taken light-heartedly. They are complex in a way that the condition inside can change rapidly. The water quality, the availability of friendly bacteria, and the presence of waste, are also matters to consider when choosing the right filter for you.

And as not all filters will work with the limitations of a 10 gallon tank, the need for a specifically designed filter is urgent. If you are looking around for a 10 gallon aquarium filter, then make sure that you remember this article and choose the perfect filter for you!

Frequently Asked Questions


How many filters does a 10-gallon tank need?

A 10-gallon only requires one properly rated filter for peak results. In this case, a filter with at least a 40 GPH flow rate (4 times the tank capacity) would get the job done.

At first, it may seem a little confusing. It certainly took my head for a spin when I initially searched for 10-gallon filters. Thankfully, most manufacturers make finding models easy by listing suitable tank sizes in the product description.

But it’s still essential to research a filter’s capabilities before making a final decision. After all, finding a high-quality filter for 10-gallon aquarium tanks like Tetra’s Whisper in-Tank Filter is necessary. Then, it’ll have no trouble keeping a fish’s habitat clean and well-maintained.

Can you use a 20-gallon filter for a 10-gallon tank?

Fish owners can use a 20-gallon filter for 10-gallon fish tank setups. One good example is the Seachem Tidal filter—it’ll have no trouble filtering out the enclosure to keep the fish safe and healthy. But there are a few caveats to consider when using a 20-gallon filter inside these smaller tanks.

First, it’ll be much bulkier than a traditional fish filter for 10-gallon tank use. As a result, it’ll require clearing some space inside the tanks, which most fish owners won’t have to spare. This issue alone often makes the proposition not ideal.

One solution to this issue would be getting a filter with a more compact design. The obvious choice would be a power filter that hangs on the back of aquariums. But even this design might take up a lot of space.

Another thing to consider is a 20-gallon filter will be much more expensive. Due to this, it’s not a practical option when a 10-gallon or 15-gallon filter can get the job done. So this idea isn’t one that I’d suggest unless necessary.

Why does my 10-gallon fish tank get dirty so fast?

Several factors could be a play when a 10-gallon fish tank gets dirty quickly. But in most cases, the cause will come from one of these five sources:

  • Overfeeding: Feeding a fish too much can cause the excess food to decompose. It then creates ammonia and results in the growth of bacteria, which makes the tank dirty. So it’s essential to avoid the temptation of overfeeding your fish.
  • Broken filter: A malfunctioning filter happens to be the most common cause of a dirty tank. Obviously, a damaged fish filter for a 10-gallon tank will stop filtration. It’ll cause all bacteria and other substances being filtered out to roam around the tank without any interruption.
  • Exposure to direct sunlight: Placing the tank in a spot with direct access to natural light may seem like a good idea, but it’ll promote algae growth.
  • Overcrowding of fish: An overpopulation of fish inside a traditional 10-gallon aquarium or 10-gallon planted tank is a recipe for disaster. It’ll lead to excess poop, uneaten food, and other problematic issues that cause a dirty tank.
  • Lack of routine water changes: Regular water changes are critical to keeping a tank clean and safe for fish.

How often do you clean a 10-gallon fish tank with a filter?

Small aquariums will get dirty much more quickly than normal ones. For instance, I usually recommend cleaning out a 20-gallon or 30-gallon tank every two weeks. But a 10-gallon fish with its small aquarium filters should get a cleaning every week.

But don’t clean out all the water each week. Instead, change only 25% to ensure the necessary bacteria don’t need to regrow every week. Replacing it all ends up being rather unhealthy for fish.

How long can a 10-gallon tank go without a filter?

Usually, a fish could survive anywhere between 3 and 7 days in a filterless tank. But a 10-gallon aquarium is a bit smaller than other tanks. So these models get dirtier much quicker, which complicates the issue.

As a result, I’d expect their lifespan to be closer to 3 days rather than seven days. It’s why getting a replacement fish filter for 10-gallon tank aquariums is essential if an accident does happen. It should happen as quickly as humanly possible.

What are the most trusted 10 gallon aquarium filter brands?

There are literally thousands of in-tank filters in the market these days. Some of them may provide the most suitable filtering performance but you also have to think about flexibility. A flexible filter can be used in so many tanks, aquariums, or terrariums.

Here are some of the trustworthy filter brands in the market that you should check out:

  • Aqueon
  • Aquatop
  • AquaClear
  • Marina
  • Zoo Med

What size filter do I need for my 10 gallon tank?

This is one of the common questions that a beginning fish tank owner aska when shopping for an in-tank filter. What you need to know is that it is the manufacturers that recommend the size of the filters according to the size of the tank. Take note that most of the filters indicate “up to 20 gallons†or “up to 30 gallons.†This indicates the maximum tank size that the manufacturers say you can install their filters.

Can I use 10 gallon aquarium filter for 5, 20, 30… gallon tank?

This causes a lot of confusion among beginning hobbyists. You can only use a 10-gallon filter on a 10-gallon tank or less. Using a 10-gallon filter on a 20-gallon tank will take a very long time filtering it.

How to install & use?

Filter is one of the most vital parts of an aquarium. You need it to regularly filter away toxic chemicals and bad bacteria that mix with water. If left unchecked, these chemicals and bacteria will poison your pet fish.

Installing an in-tank filter is easy. If the filter is not submersible, put it at the back of the tank and let the pipes inside the tank. If the filter is fully submersible, place it in the water.

Before operating the filters, make sure that you read the instructions included in the package. This will let you learn a thing or two about the product that you should know. Extra information will save you from damaging the filter that you just bought.

How to care and clean?

Cleaning your in-tank filters is very important. This ensures that the filter is performing on top condition all the time. In addition, cleaning the filter prolongs the life of the product.

Most filters are very easy to clean. First, you have to remove it from the aquarium. If the filter, if fully submersible, make sure that you wipe it dry before opening it. This is to prevent any standing water from reaching the electronics. Next, disassemble the filter to get the impeller and the media. Rinse the media using the old tank water.

Once clean, assemble the filter back. Make sure that the electrical component does not get wet. If you are sure that no standing water reached the electronics, put the filter back in its place in your aquarium.

How to fix a broken in-tank filter?

There are moments when your in-tank filter may not work in its top-rated condition. However, this does not automatically mean that your filter is broken. Sometimes, all it needs is a little troubleshooting.

If your in-tank filter is having difficulty performing its duty, you need to do the following:

  • Open the bottom portion of the filter to reveal the impeller.
  • Using a screwdriver, remove the impeller.
  • Once the impeller was detached, remove all standing particles and grime on the case.
  • Before returning the impeller, make sure that it is intact.

Clean your in-tank filter every three months. This should prevent the motor from being overworked, thus leading to replacement.

Where to buy?

You can buy in-tank filters at your favorite pet stores. You can also find one in Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot. However, if the specific model that you are looking for is not available, you can always try shopping online. is one of the top-tier sites to shop for in-tank filters.


Choosing the best filter for 10 gallon tank for your own aquarium is indeed a very exhausting task. This is why you need to conduct thorough research to help you pick the perfect one. These in-tank filter reviews will help you gauge and later decide which one to purchase and use in your own tank. Always remember, though, that some of these filters may perform differently in your own tank as opposed to the ones that were indicated here. Before using your chosen brand of filter, make sure that you faithfully refer to the instructions in order to achieve maximum results. In addition, use only the parts recommended by the manufacturing company to prevent unwanted setbacks.