Updated: May 28, 2021 - By: - Categories: Equipment

Good water quality and healthy livestock are a result of good filtration. The smaller your aquarium is the more important the filtration system is. And for a 10 gallon tank, a good filter is a must if you want to keep healthy fish in it. There are many great filter options on the market and choosing the right one for your needs is very important. Read this article for more information on a variety of filter makes and models to help you make the right choice.

Best filters for 10-gallon fish tanks

Model Our rating Type Flow rate Ideal for Media
Aqua Clear 20 power fish tank filter editor's ratingAqua Clear 20 power fish tank filter Hang-On-Back 100 GPH, adjustable 5-20 gallons Foam, Activated Carbon, and BioMax
Marina S10 Power Filter editor's ratingMarina S10 Power Filter HOB 55 GPH, adjustable up to 10 gallons filter cartridges with included carbon & zeolite
Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO 10 power filter editor's ratingAqueon QuietFlow LED PRO 10 power filter Hang-On-Back 100 GPH, adjustable 10-20 gallons carbon cartridge, biological grid
Aquatop Classic Aqua Flow Sponge Filter CAF-10 editor's ratingAquatop Classic Aqua Flow Sponge Filter CAF-10 Sponge filter air pump powered (buy separately) up to 10 Gal sponge
Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter editor's ratingAqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter internal filter 57 GPH up to 10 gallons carbon cartridge
Marineland Penguin PRO Power Filter editor's ratingMarineland Penguin PRO Power Filter Hang-On-Back 100 GPH, adjustable up to 10 Gal Marine Land rite-size B filter cartridge
Fluval 107 Performance Canister Filter 120Vac editor's ratingFluval 107 Performance Canister Filter canister filter 95 Gal/h (360 L/h) 10-30 Gal (40-130 L) bio-foams, activated carbon
Tetra Whisper 10i Internal Filter editor's ratingTetra Whisper 10i Internal Filter internal filter 80 GPH 5-10 Gal medium Bio-Bag cartridge
Tetra Whisper 20 Power Filter editor's ratingTetra Whisper 20 Power Filter Hang-On-Back 105 GPH, adjustable 10-20 Gal bio-foam, large Bio-Bag cartridge
Whisper IQ 10 Power Filter for Aquariums, With Quiet Technology editor's ratingWhisper IQ 10 Power Filter Hang-On-Back 105 GPH 10 Gal BioGrid, medium Whisper Bio-Bag cartridge
UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter editor's ratingUPETTOOLS Biochemical Sponge Filter sponge filter air pump powered (buy separately) > 5 Gal sponge, ceramic

10-gallon aquarium filters reviewed

AquaClear 20 power fish tank filter

The AquaClear 20 power fish tank filter is one of the first choices for 10-gallon aquarium filtration because of its high flow rate, very large filtration volume, and ease of use and maintenance.

One of the great benefits this filter provides to your fish is the improved water oxygenation that is a result of constantly breaking the surface of the water. Flow control is another great feature of this model which provides you with more control of your 10-gallon aquarium environment to suit the needs of your livestock and plants.

AquaClear 20 installationAquaClear 20 installation

This model is designed to increase the contact time between the water and the 3 different types of filter media, for cleaner and safer water. These 3 media work together, providing biological filtration by beneficial bacteria, as well as excellent mechanical and chemical filtration.

AquaClear 20 multistage filtrationAquaClear 20 multistage filtration

The provided foam insert provides effective mechanical filtration while creating the perfect environment for beneficial bacteria to grow. This foam insert is easily replaced every 2 months, as is advised by the manufacturer. Research-grade activated carbon inserts provide important chemical filtration and can be changed monthly.

The Aquaclear Bio Max filter media provides effective and long-lasting filtration that can be replaced every 3 months. This media is excellently designed to hold more beneficial bacteria in the many pores of its ceramic rings.

Marina S10 Power Filter

For fish keepers with limited space around their tanks, the Marina S10 Power Filter is a great choice. This great-looking filter is one of the best hang-on-back (HOB) filter options for aquariums of up to 10 gallons and gives the user more control over its flow rate to suit the needs of the fish and plants in their tanks.

Marina S10 Power Filter top viewMarina S10 Power Filter top view

The motor of this filter is housed under the water’s surface, on the inlet pipes. This innovative design provides much quieter running noise and the unit takes up very little space in your aquarium. The Marina S10 Power Filter comes with very easy-to-replace bio-clear and bio-carb filters which reduce the time and effort needed for maintenance.

Marina S10 Power Filter cartridgesMarina S10 Power Filter cartridges

A prefilter sponge is supplied which prevents your livestock from being trapped or injured during operation the operation of the filter. Another handy feature of this quality aquarium filter is its self-priming design, which means in the event of a power failure, you won’t need to refill the compartment with water before the filter resumes operation.

Aqueon Quiet Flow LED PRO 10 power filter

The Aqueon Quiet Flow filter is a Hang-On-Back unit that has an excellent flow rate, providing sufficient filtration for aquariums of up to 20 gallons. This filter provides excellent mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration, as well as extra cleaning with a specialty filter pad.

The internal pump is very quiet and is self-priming, which means it will restart without any extra effort after cleaning or power interruptions. One of the most innovative features of this filter is the LED light system that monitors water flow levels to indicate when it’s time to change clogged cartridges.

Aquatop Classic Aqua Flow Sponge Filter CAF-10

Internal air-powered filters are great for aquariums that need lower water flow speeds. The Aquatop Classic Aqua Flow Sponge Filter Provides excellent mechanical and biological filtration for 10-gallon aquariums while increasing available oxygen levels in the water at the same time.

This filter provides great mechanical filtration and the sponge doubles as a great area for beneficial bacteria to colonize for biological filtration. Furthermore, you can add a further filter media of your choice to the compartment for even better filtration. This style of filter is very safe for your fish and animals because it does not create any strong suction that could trap or injure them. A small air pump and a length of airline hose (both sold separately) are needed to run this filter.

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

The Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter provides advanced 3 stage filtration using dense foam for mechanical filtration, activated carbon for chemical filtration, and the patented Biogrid for biological filtration. This unit uses a single, easily replaceable cartridge.

The outflow of this unit is very customizable, with an adjustable flow rate and outflow direction. The filter can also be mounted in a range of positions within your aquarium, from vertical to horizontal.

Marineland Penguin PRO Power Filter

The Marineland Penguin PRO has an adjustable flow rate and uses a self-priming submerged motor that features a dampener to ensure quiet operation. This sleek and stylish hang-on back filter has bio-wheel technology for the added benefits of wet/dry biological filtration, and the activated carbon provides chemical filtration.

Filter componentsFilter components

Although this unit provides effective mechanical, biological and chemical filtration with a single cartridge, you also have the option of doubling up on the filter media by using a second cartridge for extra clean and safe water.

Fluval 107 Performance Canister Filter 120Vac

The latest generation of Fluval’s performance canister filters is now 25% more energy-efficient and quieter, while still being as powerful and reliable as ever. The energy consumption of this unit is comparable with a single 10 watt LED lightbulb, meaning your electricity bill won’t shock you at the end of the month.

Fluval performance canister filter energy efficiencyFluval performance canister filter energy efficiency

This European designed and built canister filter is suitable for 10-30 gallon aquariums and is easier than ever to open and remove the dual media baskets, creating less mess, and meaning you don’t need to drain the canister of water to change the filter media. The priming pump has been rebuilt to be 7 times stronger and more efficient.

Fluval 107 canister filter maintenanceFluval 107 canister filter maintenance

This unit comes equipped with 5 different filter media, including 3 varieties of bio-foam, activated carbon, and quick clear. The 1.45m maximum water column and provided 9.8ft long ribbed hose means this filter can be set up well out of sight. This filter is recommended for tanks with greater bioloads or larger single species tanks.

Tetra Whisper 10i Internal Filter

TheTetra Whisper 10i Internal filter is another great filter for small aquariums of up to 10 gallons. With a fixed flow rate of 80 gallons per hour, this aquarium filter provides excellent filtration. This unit is easily installed using the supplied clip to secure the filter to the inside of your aquarium.

This filter produces very low noise levels and works to increase the oxygen levels available to your fish. The Tetra Whisper 10i uses bio-bag cartridges which are easy to change. This filter is especially quiet since the motor is held under the water surface.

Tetra Whisper 20 Power Filter

Although this filter is able to process an impressive 105 gallons of water per hour, the flow rate is adjustable, meaning you can set this filter to your needs. This filter provides 3 stage filtration that is delivered quietly and efficiently.

This unit uses the easy-to-change large Bio-Bag cartridge. This cartridge provides both mechanical filtration of waste particles and chemical filtration as a result of the incorporated activated charcoal.

Whisper IQ 10 Power Filter for Aquariums

The Whisper IQ 10 is a self-priming filter that is designed to run quietly. With a submerged motor and a soft barrier between the filter and the motor, this unit generates less than 40dB of sound.

This Hang-On-Back filter has an adjustable intake to suit the shape and depth of your aquarium and it uses the easily replaceable medium Bio-Bag filter cartridges. During operation, this filter breaks the water surface, resulting in increased available oxygen to your fish. This filter is suitable for both fresh and saltwater aquariums

UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter

This filter is attached to the inside wall of your aquarium using suction cups and powered with a small external air pump and a length of airline tubing, both of which are sold separately. Not only does this filter provides effective mechanical filtration of larger waste particles suspended in the water, but the sponge also provides an ideal benefit for the growth and maintenance of beneficial bacteria.

There are also 2 compartments containing ceramic pearl balls for additional biological filtration. This style of filter does not produce any strong suction that could trap or injure your fish or livestock.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a filter for my 10-gallon aquarium?

All home aquariums that fish are kept in should be filtered to keep the water clean and safe. Although some experts are able to keep their water clean without electrically powered filtration, this is definitely not recommended for beginners, especially not in smaller aquariums like 10-gallon setups.

How often should I do water changes in my 10-gallon aquarium?

It is best to perform a partial water change every week with a small aquarium like a 10 gallon. Replacing about 25% of the water per week will improve water quality and remove some of the waste that your filter could not capture, particularly waste that has settled on surfaces within the aquarium.

Should I clean my filter?

You can clean the outside of internal filters from time to time to remove any algae that may build upon them. The filtration media inside your filters does require periodical cleaning and/or replacement as the media can become clogged by solid waste particles. Refer to the cartridge replacement schedule recommended by your filter manufacturer for the applicable maintenance schedule.

What is the best flow rate for 10-gallon aquariums?

Ideally, the flow rate (measured in gallons per hour) in your aquarium should be 4-6 times the volume of your aquarium. That means, in a 10-gallon aquarium, 40-60 gallons per hour is ideal. This means that in a single hour, all the water in your tank will be filtered several times.

Except for river and stream biotopes, a fast, strong current can be bad for your fish and plants, causing stress and fatigue. Choosing a filter with an adjustable flow rate will help you control the water flow in your aquarium.

In a heavily planted tank, a high flow rate may not be desirable since CO2 is easily lost from the water by surface agitation and many aquarium plants do not enjoy strong currents. These tanks will do best with lower flow rate filters, provided you keep to a turnover of at least around 40gph. Tanks with higher bioloads and larger fish will benefit from filters with greater turnover rates as there will be more waste to process.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your aquarium looking fantastic doesn’t need to be hard work if you have the right filter. The filters in this article all make great choices for 10-gallon aquariums. Remember to stock your aquariums correctly and you will be able to enjoy years of fun and beauty from your home aquarium.

Lucas has been keeping successful fish, planted, and reef tanks for many years. He loves to collect aquatic organisms and keep as many aquariums as he can.

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