The Best Small Aquarium Filters to Help Your Fish Tank Thrive

best small aquarium filter

Keeping an aquarium can be entertaining and relaxing at the same time; however, it also takes some responsibility once you decide to get one. Taking care of and maintaining an aquarium, no matter how small it is can be challenging especially for novices. This is why you must be prepared prior to get one.

Essentially, in order to clean and purify a small aquarium properly, it is quite crucial to invest in the best small aquarium filter so you can be guaranteed that the tank water is kept clean and safe for your fish tank dwellers all the time. The truth is, picking the suitable kind of fish tank filter could be intricate since there are innumerable options readily available at present.

Be that as it may, not all of them could execute the job impeccably; hence, it comes down to having comprehensive information. It is imperative to have a deeper knowledge of how it works as well as its capabilities prior to selecting a filtration system.

Setting up a small tank with filters can be challenging. But it becomes much easier if you have a solid understanding of the crucial buying factors. So here’s a look at some of them before we get into the heart of this article:

  • Size: Finding a properly sized small fish tank filter is about its GPH flow rate. It must be at least four times a tank’s capacity to work effectively. If you stick with this guideline, selecting a suitable option will become effortless.
  • Type of Fish: Your fish and aquatic plants may prefer a particular filter. For instance, their natural habitat could have a powerful current. Pick a filter capable of mimicking it to promote a more comfortable setting.
  • Ease of Cleaning: Aquarium owners should only consider filters with a simple cleaning process. It’ll save you a lot of frustration and stress.

By happy chance, in this article, you will have the chance to learn a lot of important information regarding the distinct features and functions of fish tank filters, their benefits, different top brands available and other related details about them.

Best Overall

Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter

✔ Two-year warranty offer
✔ Superior at performing all filtration requirements
✔ Equipped with BioMax, foam & cycle guard


Premium Choice

Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter

✔ Furnished with 25 GPH pump
✔ Space-saving feature
✔ Certified topnotch 2 filters in one


Editor’s Choice

Fluval A440 107 Series Filter

✔ Energy-efficient design
✔ 145 GPH flow rate
✔ Easy installation


Top-Tier Small Aquarium Filter Reviews of 2023

1. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter

If you are uncertain of what appropriate fish tank filters for small tanks to purchase, then why not take a closer look at this filter?

This product is built with a re-filtration system specifically intended to provide exceptional contact time with filter media. It is constructed to be energy-efficient which means to say that it won't consume more energy, thus, lessening your expenses on its operating cost. You can set it up without any difficulty and it can guarantee steady biological filtration as well as topnotch water quality.

Basically, the fact that it is equipped with BioMax, Aqua Clear foam, cycle guard and activated carbon is what makes it quite more prominent than other available options sold on the market today.

All the same, this filter is not as compact if you are going to compare it with other available types of power filters out there. And, its smaller versions are prone to bring about some flow issues. These are a few of the demerits that you may need to look into if you invest in this model.

  • Superior at performing all filtration requirements
  • Filtration volume reaches up to seven times bigger than other similar options
  • Highly practical for aquariums containing 20 gallons of water
  • Equipped with BioMax, foam, cycle guard and activated carbon
  • Backed up by two-year warranty offer
To wrap things up, this product can be touted as one of the top-rated small fish tank filters that are worth investing in because it is the ideal choice for anyone with a limited budget. It is no trouble to install and won't consume a large space inside the aquarium. Most importantly, this does an excellent job of minimizing operational expenses because it is relatively energy-efficient to use.

2. Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter

Tetra brand is one of the names you can trust when it comes to the top-tier filter for small fish tanks. Aside from the fact that the product they manufacture is of premium quality, you can rest assure that they function just as advertised.

This filter is built with 2 filters in 1. Aside from this, it comes with ultra-activated carbon that works to get rid of bad odor and water discoloration. This is also equipped with cartridge floss that is intended to capture the fish excrement and other kinds of debris.

Once purchased, the package already comes with all the necessary accessories especially needed when setting it up in the aquarium. This is what makes it a very cost-effective investment to consider.

Regardless, a few weak points that go with this filter are it’s ideal only to fish tanks that come in small sizes and it strictly calls for periodic cleaning to keep the tank water clean and free of waste.

  • Furnished with 25 GPH pump
  • Ideal to utilize for fish tanks containing 4 gallons of water
  • Designed with space-saving feature
  • Certified topnotch 2 filters in one
  • Already includes all required accessories
  • Only ideal for small-sized fish tanks
  • Seriously necessitates regular cleaning
In a nutshell, this filter is equipped with filter cartridges that can be instantly adjusted. It can be effortlessly concealed inside the fish tank because it is constructed with space-saving feature and you can easily clip it into the aquarium. Indeed, this is user-friendly too so novices in fish keeping hobby will find it convenient to use. It is especially made with a 26 GPH pump that makes it capable of cycling an aquarium that contains four gallons of water more than 6 times per hour. For the price, this is budget-friendly, considering it has several practical features to offer.

3. Fluval A440 107 Series Filter

Fluval’s A440 107 Series Performance Canister Filter has become a favorite among small aquarium owners. After installing it, it didn’t take long to see why, especially with its hushed noise operation.

Honestly, this canister filter was whisper-quiet compared to my last one. It’s all achieved through Fluval using sound-dampening shaft support and rubberized feet. Both these attributes allow me to sleep without having to hear my tank running throughout the night.

I was also thrilled by the product’s energy-efficient design. My previous one kept running up my electricity bill, which is no longer an issue with this one. In fact, this mini filter for fish tanks only consumes 10 watts of power.

Meanwhile, I didn’t have a single issue installing this small water filter for fish tank owners. Fluval made the process effortless by including all the necessary tools and directions. Due to this, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this smallest canister filter to newbies.

I must also highlight its easy-to-use design, enabled by the dual-locking clamps and media baskets, and excellent 145 GPH flow rate. These attributes have ensured this filter is a user-friendly addition with consistent pumping power to my tank. Plus, it produces a superb habitat where my fish can thrive.

But this product could be better as it has one rather significant downside. This aquarium mini filter is among the highest-priced options on my list. So buyers will need to decide whether its top-end features are worth its increased price.

  • Quiet noise operation via sound-dampening shaft support and rubberized feet
  • Energy-efficient design only uses 10 watts of power
  • All equipment and instructions included for easy installation
  • Simple to use with dual-locking clamps and easy-to-refill media baskets
  • 145 GPH flow rate produces consistent pumping power and pressure
  • A higher-priced option

In my case, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend a little extra on this level of quality. This canister filter for small aquarium owners has been a perfect fit for my tank since its installation.

4. Aqueon Quietflow Power Filter

Are you seeking for a small water filter for a fish tank? Then, consider reducing the stress of doing so by checking out this filter by Aqueon. This is reliable in terms of effectively filtering and cleaning the tank water. It functions as advertised and it is especially built with superb processing power.

It is good to note that this filter is child's play to put together and only requires low maintenance. There is no need for priming and you could position it accordingly, plug it in and it would all be set. As its name implies, it ensures silent operation so it won't cause any stress to your pet fish even if it is placed inside the tank.

Nonetheless, the two negative aspects of this small filter include the fact that it could only execute chemical filtration. Since it is an internal filter, it tends to consume more space inside the tank. These are just a few of the factors that you need to assess if you are planning to invest in this filter.

  • Installation can be done in a snap
  • Equipped with superior filtration capacity for small-sized aquariums
  • Designed with filter cartridges that are easy to replace
  • Does not produce any irking noise
  • Built with auto-start pump that does not call for priming
  • Consumes huge space inside the aquarium
  • Only offers chemical filtration
All in all, if you want affordable, easy-to-install and maintain filters for small fish tanks, then you can give this product a try. It is designed with easy-to-replace cartridges and it is a perfect choice since it does a great job when it comes to getting rid of nitrites, odors, solid waste, colors, ammonia and other sorts of pollutants in tank water. Setting it up is not a problem at all, even for beginners.

5. PENN PLAX World Aquarium Filter

If you wish to invest in mini aquarium filters that are not that overpriced and can work top-rated for your fish tank, then this option can be your partner to a successful fish-keeping venture. This product is particularly built for fish tanks that contain 5 gallons of water. It is a good pick to try because it helps keep the small fish tanks healthy and looking great.

Please be guided that it is very necessary to rinse the cartridge quite well otherwise it would cloud the tank water due to its carbon content. Always strictly follow the manufacturer's directions and thoroughly rinse the filter prior to submerging it. If you follow the instructions carefully, you will find this filter as easy to use and maintain. It is no sweat in the long run.

However, there are a few drawbacks that need to be checked if you plan to buy this tiny filter. These comprise its potential to produce very strong currents that may scare tiny fish away. It is only ideal to use if you keep a single fish or a smaller school of fish in your mini fish tank.

  • Can fit nearly any tiny fish tank size or shape
  • Ideal filter for betta fish
  • Equipped with strong suction cups
  • Adaptable to any air pump
  • Straightforward to use and does not call for high maintenance
  • Only recommendable for one fish or smaller school of fish
  • Has the tendency to produce very strong currents
To conclude, this small filter works just as described. It calls for an air pump and tubing for it to work more efficiently. The refillable cartridges are reasonably priced and these are not difficult to find. This filter is furnished with strong suction cups that are durable enough to execute their function and they can operate right side up or sideways. For the money, this is really so affordable that you won't even have second thoughts about whether to get it or not.

6. Tetra Whisper PF10 Power Filter

If you are seriously fishing for a reliable, durable and functional filter for a nano tank, you can completely trust the Tetra brand. This filter is designed with a three-phase filtration system and operates silently without stressing you and the aquarium occupants. It is very affordable too so there is no risk if you invest in it.

What makes this filter a good catch for aquarium owners especially for anyone who is still not that adept in keeping a fish tank, is that it is quite easy to fasten onto the side of the aquarium. In the same way, there are no perplexing assembly instructions with this unit.

Take into account that this filter operates silently when the tank is mostly filled with water, otherwise it would create noise, and the device will get damaged easily and may produce noise if the water level is low. Thus, you need to follow the manufacturer's instructions accordingly.

A few things that give this small filter a couple of weak points are its easily burned pump that gets damaged during a power outage since it could not prime itself when the power comes back on and it is slightly complex to start back up after you accomplish water change.

  • Practical choice for smaller fish tanks containing by up to then gallons of water
  • Equipped with medium-sized Bio-Bag cartridges that can be easily replaced
  • Three-phase filtration helps keep fish healthy and tank water cleaner
  • Easy to attach and install
  • Ideal pick for aquarium keepers on a budget
  • A little troubling to start back up after performing water change
  • Pump tends to get easily burned during power outage
Right to it, this filter makes use of medium-sized cartridges and can provide three-phase filtration that aims to remove all sorts of waste in the tank water. It is fundamental to replace the media at least once per month to keep the proper flow of water. This is a foolproof pick if you are keeping smaller fish tanks that come with a ten-gallon capacity.

7. Penn Plax Cascade Aquarium Filter

It is delightful to know that investing in small aquariums with a filter does not need to break the bank. And, it is certainly surprising that even filters manufactured by reputable brands are priced reasonably just like this one from Penn Plax.

This HOB filter can silently deliver 20 GPH of crystal clear water for both marine and freshwater fish tanks by up to seven gallons in size. The flow knob is built to be easily modified so that you can minimize filtration during the feeding period or whenever necessary. It is definitely not a pain in the neck to utilize and it can ensure efficient quadruple filtration.

The internal sponge of this HOB filter is meant to help encourage the colonization of god bacteria. Its poly-fiber floss cartridge works to capture the waste in the tank water to provide the healthiest condition for your pet fish and live plants.

A couple of disadvantages that you may encounter if you purchase this HOB filter are it's a little tricky setup process and it does not come with Bio-balls filter system, unlike other versions of Penn Plax filters.

  • Designed with the internal sponge that maximizes settlement of good bacteria
  • Can be used for both marine and freshwater tanks
  • Built with easy to adjust flow knob
  • Manufactured with unique quad filtration
  • Comes with activated carbon meant to eliminate diverse types of waste and contaminants
  • Does not come with Bio-balls filter system unlike other Penn Plax versions
  • Installation is a bit tricky
Principally, this HOB filter is a nice choice in that it can guarantee quadruple filtration. You can effortlessly modify the filtration during the feeding period and it is built with a dynamic self-priming intake tube. By looking at it closely, you can see that it is well-manufactured and works as a very efficient Hang-on-Back filter that can keep the tank water safe and clean for your pet fish and aquatic plants.

8. Aqueon Quietflow Power Filter

Shopping for the smallest aquarium filter does not need to be challenging and expensive. This internal power filter by Aqueon is a good investment that won't leave you feeling discontented. It won't be a risky purchase to invest in mainly because a limited lifetime warranty will support you.

This filter is a decent investment since it can provide three-phase filtration. It is equipped with activated carbon that is specifically intended to inhibit foul smell, toxins, water discoloration and other kinds of polluters. The dense foam is meant to eliminate waste and other dirt particles. Meanwhile, the patented BioGrid is designed to take care of nitrates and ammonia problems.

A few of the defects with this internal power filter are it being a little challenging to use the adjustment knob for flow rate and the recommended tank size seems to be overestimated for larger sizes. These minor gripes must not be taken lightly if you plan to get this filter for your small aquarium.

  • Built to have easy-to-adjust return flow rate
  • Can provide efficient and functional three-phase filtration
  • Makes use of internal filter cartridges that can be immediately replaced
  • Capable of being totally submerged in horizontal or vertical position
  • Comes with a flow rate of 57 gallons per hour
  • Recommended tank size might be overestimated for bigger sizes
  • Adjustment knob for flow rate is tricky to utilize
As a whole, this filter is a safe investment as a limited lifetime warranty backs it up. You can possibly modify the height and direction of return; likewise, it is no sweat to submerse it in a horizontal or vertical position completely. This is practical to utilize for ten-gallon fish tanks, it makes use of a single tiny replacement cartridge, and its flow rate is 57 gallons per hour.

9. Penn Plax Cascade 300 Filter

If you are seeking the best small aquarium filter, there is no need to search further if you pick this brand. This product's flow rate is 70 gallons per hour and it is highly recommended for fish tanks that contain ten by up to fifteen gallons of water.

It is worth mentioning that this filter version is practical to utilize for both marine and freshwater tank applications. Once bought, it already comes with a pre-filter, it is plain sailing to open and clean and it is adaptable with hoses for accessories that are run by the output pump.

Not to mention, it is painless to add additional aeration with the aid of the water output return spout. Sustaining clean tank water is not a problem for this filter.

Meanwhile, a few flaws that need to be inspected if you decide to get this filter model are its weak suction cups and the pre-filter process is prone to get clogged easily so periodic cleaning is highly recommended.

  • Built with pump head that is designed with directional and adjustable flow of water
  • As long as it is submerged, it can be positioned vertically or horizontally
  • Offer more outstanding chemical, biological and mechanical filtration
  • Equipped with spray bar option to distribute water evenly
  • Works efficiently in aerating tank water
  • Suction cups that come with this unit are not sturdy
  • Calls for periodic cleaning as pre-filter could instantly get clogged
On the button, this filter is a perfect partner for fish tanks that contain roughly 10 by up to 15 gallons of water. You can effortlessly modify the rate of flow and its spray bar option is especially designed to help users distribute the water fairly to ensure proper water aeration. You can place it in a vertical or horizontal position or you can keep it concealed as well so long as it is submerged in water.

What to Look for When Buying a Small Aquarium Filter


When buying small aquarium filters, you could expect to chance upon countless diverse models sold on the market. It matters to underscore that these filters are all from different brands which makes it more challenging to point out which one is the most appropriate option for you to use.

Before anything else, of course, the first thing that you need to think about and prepare before shopping is your budget. This is a crucial consideration because it would determine the kind of filter you can afford and what you can purchase for your aquarium. No matter how much your budget is, bear in mind that settling for cheaper options yet the features are unsatisfactory is a faulty decision.

It is perfectly alright to wait for the right time to buy the filter that is built with premium quality and possesses all the features and functions that your aquarium requires. If the price does not meet your budget yet, you can set aside your money first and save some more. Take into consideration that a filter is an important investment, so it is fine to take your time in exchange for getting a reliable and high-quality one.

As discussed, the filtration system is a crucial piece of aquarium equipment. This device does a very important job of keeping the quality of water in its most suitable condition in order to keep your aquarium inhabitants safe and healthy. This is the reason why it is necessary to invest in the top-tier filter that your budget can afford.

Basically, even though there are a lot of styles readily available nowadays, it is essential to consider the suitable size of the fish tank first. Be sure to pick a filter that comes with a flow rate that is capable of filtering all the water in the aquarium at a minimum of 4 times every hour.

For instance, a 20-gallon fish tank must be equipped with a filter that comes with a flow rate of a minimum of 80 GPH like this one. When it is inexact, it is highly suggested to shift to a greater flow rate. If you have larger aquariums, consider getting canister filters.

In line with this, another important factor to mull over is the fish in your small aquarium. Some fish and aquatic plants prefer a powerful current mainly because that it what they would be accustomed to in a natural environment. Substantially, you may prefer a type of filter that is designed with a stronger outflow of water in order to fit the requirements of your fish tank occupants precisely.

Aquariums that come with higher biomass are more intricate for filters to manage since more waste or dirt particles are produced. It is worth noting that a filter that processes extra gallons per hour would be more auspicious at managing the additional dirt particles.

More than that, all filters specifically call for periodic cleaning for them to keep all things running without any trouble. Hence, when investing in a filter, search for one that is smooth sailing to take apart so that cleaning it won't be complicated and time-consuming.

Other Important Factors to Consider


What is a small aquarium filter? How does it work?

A small aquarium filter is highly regarded as a very indispensable component of both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. This is generally designed to get rid of physical as well as soluble chemical waste products from the fish tank so as to make the maintenance process less tedious and complex.

This equipment plays a very vital role since it is critical to support life mainly because fish tanks are comparably small and are designed to have closed volumes of water which is very much different from the natural environment of various fish species.

Basically, a healthy fish tank largely relies on maintaining contaminant-free water, and doing so specifically necessitates some forms of filtering out the water in order to get rid of waste and other sorts of pollutants and efficiently purify the water. There are 3 distinct kinds of filtering fish tank water and these include chemical, mechanical and biological filtration.

A filter must be capable of running all the water in the aquarium at a minimum of 4 times every hour if you prefer to sustain a fish tank efficiently. This is the reason why it is a must to be cautious about what type of filtration it provides. A few systems combine diverse kinds of filtration to varying success.

What are the different types of small aquarium filter?

Admit it or not, many a time, especially if you are still an amateur in aquarium keeping, there are lots of things that you need to learn more. This is why it is highly advised to delve into fishkeeping by mastering the skills of caring for and maintaining an aquarium.

But, before you could do that, it is a must to explore more about the distinct kinds of filters that you can use if you are planning to keep a small aquarium. Start assessing each one of them so you can end up with a well-thought-of decision.

Below are some of the diverse forms of small aquarium filters that you could encounter on the market to date:

  • Power Filters

These are broadly utilized in a lot of fish tanks. They are comparably a piece of cake to put together and are known to have the capability to last for many years of usage. They are adept at providing exceptional performance for chemical, biological and mechanical filtration.

In addition to this, they are commonly built to hang easily on the back of the fish tank for more convenience. These could also be utilized for numerous kinds of aquariums. They come with filter cartridges that are relatively easy to replace too.

  • Air-driven Internal Small Aquarium Filters

These are described as small which makes them ideal for compact fish tanks generally kept at home, office or hospitals. Their small size makes them perfect for an effortless integration with many aquariums.

Although these are small in size, they are durable and well-crafted. They aid in keeping your tiny fish tank dwellers healthy and danger-free in the water.

  • Wet/Dry Filters

These are perceived as the most outstanding when it comes to biological filtration. Furthermore, they are specifically built to serve as the most suitable fit for marine fish tanks that especially necessitate efficient biological filtration.

They are named like that because the filter media could be exposed to both water and air. Generally speaking, they aid in encouraging the growth of good bacteria that result in the potent processing of waste materials.

  • Undergravel Filters

These are positioned in the underneath section of the aquarium below a layer of fish tank gravel. They are capable of maneuvering the water through the gravel in order to form conditions for biological filtration to take place, where good bacteria disintegrate the wastes in the small aquarium.

While it is true that these filters are built precisely for biological filtration, there are several models that are designed with cartridges that can be replaced. Such cartridges contain activated carbon to aid with chemical filtration.

  • Canister Filters

These filters provide all the functions that aquarium owners particularly require in a small aquarium filter. It can be expected to deliver on all fronts, including biological, chemical and mechanical functions.

The canister is remarkably bigger for these filters as compared to other forms of filters. Moreover, each canister would have spots to hold each distinct kind of filter media, and the big canisters would have more filter media. Take in mind that this form of filter took greater effort to be put together and maintained in exchange for its flexibility as well as power.

As you can see, there are several types of filters for small aquariums. If you wish to buy the right type of filter for the current fish tank you are keeping, see to it to carefully study each of these options and examine which of them accurately suit the requirements of your fish tank.

Why do you need aquarium a small aquarium filter? (Benefits)

Once you start into fish keeping hobby, you will uncover how important it is to invest in a superb quality filter. You will need a filter to efficiently clean the tank water from various sorts of contaminants, ward off the accumulation of nitrates and ammonia, and effectively aerate the water so that your aquarium occupants can breathe well and thrive inside the tank.

Luckily, filters are definitely not exhausting to care for, they could be attractive to add in a fish tank filled with fish and they are capable of providing several perks such as the following:

  • Less regular maintenance. Aquariums could get messy instantly. No matter how hard you try to keep the tank clean all the time, it will and always be necessary to clean the aquarium often if you prefer to keep the tank water clean and clear. While it is true that a filter will call for periodic maintenance, you would be able to significantly lessen the amount of labor that you would need to execute on a periodic basis if you set a good filter in your tank.
  • A good filter can help make your pet fish safer, healthier and happier. Besides safeguarding your fish from overfeeding, such equipment considerably minimizes the hazard of ammonia stress. Substantially, this condition takes place when the toxins from droppings pile up inside the fish's bodies and could emerge rather abruptly if dirt particles are not eliminated in a timely approach. Ammonia stress could progress into ammonia poisoning and could be deadly if this condition is allowed to continue.
  • Filters are fish-friendly. In point of fact, if you do not invest in a topnotch filter, you will need to clean your small aquarium on a periodic mode and that would mean the need to scoop out your pet fish and set them aside for you to possibly and easily give the fish tank a thorough scrub. As you might already know, the repeated shifting in and out of the aquarium could be very stressful for your fish; hence, if you have a filter, your fish won't need to go through all that.
  • Installing a filter can be more hygienic. As mentioned earlier, keeping a fish tank requires a bit of work but not much if you have a sterling filter to do the job. And, apart from the fact that filters help make your pet fish healthier, having one installed in your tank is also healthier for you and your loved ones. For sure, you don't prefer to live with a bowl of water that is filled with poisonous substances, algae, mold and other sorts of waste sitting right on your desk or office table. And unfiltered fish tank could be a fatal hub for your pet fish and could also be toxic for you.
  • Having a filter installed in your fish tank can help avoid overfeeding. Many novices in aquarium keeping tend to put excess amounts of food inside the aquarium, so fish end up consuming more food than they actually should. Chronic overfeeding could lead to serious health issues for fish and this could even be fatal. A good filter works to get rid of excess food and waste that your pet fish do not consume at once- this diminishes the hazard of health problems and fish death.
  • A filter offers a very impressive appeal inside the tank. Since the filter works to keep the tank water clear and clean, the aquarium looks more stunning and relaxing to behold. The glass would look cleaner and clearer to enjoy a beautiful view inside the aquarium. And, best of all, there is no need to deal with the foul odor of standing water.

Frequently Asked Questions


What flow rate should my filter have?

An aquarium’s filter needs to have a GPH flow rate of at least four times the tank’s capacity. So if you have a 5-gallon tank, your tiny fish tank filter will need a 20 GPH flow rate. It’ll then have more than enough power to produce a suitable current and habitat.

What size filter do I need for a small aquarium?

Filter size is generated through two measurements: tank capacity and flow rate. As mentioned earlier, picking the size is about finding a flow rate at least four times a tank’s capacity. It may seem difficult, but trust me, it’s not overly complex.

Thankfully, most brands make it easy by putting recommendations in the description. So anyone uncomfortable with doing any calculations should rely on those suggestions. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve saved me from buying the wrong filter.

How long does a small aquarium filter last?

Any high-quality filter will provide a lifespan between 7 and 10 years. But, of course, it’ll depend on how well you maintain and care for it. These tasks will mean replacing the filter media and cleaning it out properly. But if you keep up with the requirements, it should last several years.

I also must point out that some types will last longer than others. For instance, an external filter for small aquarium tanks has a much better chance of reaching its maximum lifespan. It doesn’t experience the same wear and tears as an internal filter.

What are the most trusted small aquarium filter brands?

If you want to make sure that you get the right small aquarium filter, the top-tier way to do so is to purchase only from world-class and trustworthy brands. It is essential to note that when it comes to fish keeping and owning aquariums and other marine needs, the following brands won't let you down:

  • Tetra
  • Aqueon
  • Aqua Clear

When shopping for aquariums and other marine needs, make it a habit always to check out the products manufactured by these brands. These manufacturers are well-known for producing products that are tested and proven to be functional, durable and reliable.

How to set up?

Fundamentally, the mechanism of setting up a filtration system for a small aquarium starts by means of ensuring that your filter is properly assembled prior to the installation process.

Nearly all manufacturers nowadays would send the filter to the consumer with some components unassembled. This is commonly to save more space during shipment and for practical reasons. Moreover, you will need to look for all the components in the shipped package and all you need to do is to put the parts together.

Whatever brand or manufacturer you choose to purchase, they generally provide some instructions on how to put the whole product together. It is indispensable to strictly adhere to the procedures in the manual so you can easily and accordingly assemble the filter in a snap.

Please be reminded that most filters may require being assembled together with a few parts and it is all set to function. Anyhow, here are some guides when installing the filter for your small aquarium:

  • At the time you've made all the connections to the filter as a component of the setup process, it is high time to set the filter up. It is crucial to position the filter into the small aquarium under gravel if you are using the under gravel type of filter. Here, be sure that it is well suited in place prior to filling the aquarium with water.
  • The lift tubes must be properly fitted as this could greatly assist the filter in executing its function accordingly. Then, continue by linking the powerhead and pump airlines to the suitable lift tubes prior to turning it on.

It is feasible for you to acquire the external water filters as these are typically more plain sailing to put together and can be mounted on the water tank for them to start functioning.

These often come with an external power cable that links it to the primary power for filtration to begin. It is valuable to make certain that the power cable does not reach the water to avoid unfortunate incidents from emerging.

In substance, it is vital that you don't get to switch on the filter except that the aquarium is filled with water in both instances.

How to care & clean?

The main purpose when cleaning an aquarium filter is to remove dirt particles that pile up as well as the disintegrating organic substance inside the fish tank. However, it is also essential to be extra cautious about removing otherwise you'll end up exterminating a generous amount of good bacteria as well.

As much as possible, it is highly suggested to avoid the use of very hot water when tidying up the filter and see to it to refrain from using chemical-based cleaning agents- either of these could exterminate your biological filtration system.

Here are some guides when cleaning, caring for and maintaining your filter:

  1. See to it that there is water in the pump chamber. Otherwise, the filter would end up pulling in air.
  2. Pay attention to the amount of water inside the fish tank. Take note that nearly all filters especially require the water level to be roughly an inch from the filter's lip.
  3. Make it a point that the air stones or bubble walls aren't directly positioned below the intake tube. The reason for this is that if bubbles rise up to the primary tube, this will bring about irking sound and worse it might halt the filter from functioning properly.
  4. It is important to utilize gravel in the fish tank rather than fine sand. This is because sand could bring about some issues with the impeller since sand tends to get between the energizer and the magnetic impeller, averting it from turning.

On the other hand, if you already have sand in your fish tank, consider using a mesh net which you could purchase at the local aquarium or fish store or online and then put in on the strainer. You can also use panty hose as an alternative.

The filter would pull out the dirt particles; nevertheless, it would not pull up the sand.

Please be guided that if you have multiple filtration systems set up in your small aquarium, consider alternating your cleaning schedule for you to execute all of them in the same week possibly. For this, you may come up with a periodic cleaning schedule and see to it to strictly adhere to this schedule as closely as you can.

What is the warranty?

If you want to ensure getting a protected investment, it is highly advised to go for small aquarium filters that are backed up by warranties. Luckily, nearly all the products reviewed in this post come with different warranties that you can avail of. This is the product's manufacturer's way of protecting its customers.

As you might already know, warranties are your protection in case you receive the wrong item, a defective item or some other issues that especially require urgent action. You can learn more about the product warranty by reading the product description. Alternatively, if the warranty is not precisely detailed in the product description, you may directly get in touch with the manufacturer for some information about it.

Where to buy?

If you are shopping for a premium quality small aquarium filter, you may search the nearest pet store, fish store or aquarium shop in your area. You may consider going to well-stocked specialty fish stores or aquarium stores to have several options to check out.

In line with this, another way to shop for the right small aquarium filter is through legit and credible online shopping sites such as Amazon. Such sites generally can provide online shoppers with numerous options and brands to select from. You may even enjoy some special promos, discounts and freebies for every product purchased from them.


In summary, you have learned that there are several buying factors to look into first before you can ensure that you are getting the right and the best small aquarium filter for you. Unquestionably, doing a little research could be quite useful so you won't end up wasting any single cent on your investment.

As you have read in this post, there are plenty of products readily available on the market these days, and at times, it could be pressured to search for the most outstanding filter for your small aquarium, particularly if you do this on your own.

The good news is that you could begin by evaluating the top-quality products that were outlined above. See to it to carefully assess the pros and cons of each brand reviewed above. In the end, the final purchasing decision would be up to you in terms of picking a small fish tank filter that perfectly fits your needs.