Looking For The Best Filter For 10 Gallon Tanks?
Here’s a look at our favorites, including our top pick – Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber for aquariums.
#1 Best Filter For 10 Gallon Tank
I grew up with a big fish tank in our living room, so I’ve always loved having fish in the house.
Taking care of the fish tank was one of my regular chores, and I quickly learned how important it is to maintain a clean tank. Without the right equipment and regular cleaning, you’ll always end up with discolored water, visible pollutants, a foul odor, and sick fish.
What to look for in a good filter
The best way to maintain a clean tank is with a motorized filtration system. A good filter should attack the three types of contaminants in a fish tank:
- Physical – waste, uneaten food, debris, and particles
- Chemical – toxins, odors, discoloration
- Biological – ammonia and nitrites
As you’re shopping around for the best filter, here are a few things to look for in a filter for 10-gallon tanks:
- In-tank motor – an in-tank filtration system keeps the motor submerged in water. Sometimes this can look a little clunky and crowd your tank, but in-tank motors are usually much quieter than external motors because the water dampens the noise. In-tank filters also tend to do a better job of aerating the water, eliminating the need for an air pump.
- External motor – this is the classic, traditional-style motor. You’ll hang the motor along the back of the tank, and the filter will rest inside the water. The biggest perk of external motors is that they’re easy to hide, so it doesn’t detract from the look of your aquarium.
- Water flow – for a 10-gallon tank, you’ll need a filter that can process 70 gallons-per-hour. A good filter should have an adjustable return flow, so you can properly set the rate, height, and direction.
- Aeration – fish need oxygen in the water to survive, so you’ll either need an air pump or a filter with aeration. Most filters have a built-in aerator, but not all aerators are created equally.
The Whisper In-Tank Filter is a great internal filter that you can use in aquariums and terrariums. It only requires 2-inches of water to work, so in addition to using with fish it’s a good pick for turtle tanks, waterfall features, and more.
You’ll install it inside the tank using the included hanger and suction cups. Being inside the tank lets you place the tank flush with your wall, and it keeps the motor nice and quiet. The Whisper In-Tank Filter uses medium Bio-Bag filter cartridges, and it’s easy to access the impeller for thorough cleaning.
The Aqueon Quietflow is another solid in-tank filtration system that’s super quiet and easy to use. It’s fully submersible vertically or horizontally, with the ability to adjust the return flow rate, height, and direction. It employs a three-stage filtration process: activated carbon to trap toxins, odors, and discoloration; dense foam for debris and particles; and a patented BioGrid for nitrites and ammonia.
Like the Whisper In-Tank Filter, the Aqueon Quietflow doesn’t need much water to operate, so it’s a good pick for terrariums, too. It uses replaceable Aqueon Internal Filter Cartridges and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
If you prefer to use an external filter, the Marina Power Filter is highly reviewed and widely recommended. It employs a two-stage filtration system with easily-replaceable Bio-Carb and Bio-Clear filters—both of which contain Ceramitek to optimize biological filtration for a healthy aquarium. Its unique design is slim and compact, reducing the amount of space between your tank and the wall.
The Marina Power Filter keeps the motor submerged in the tank, so it operates much quieter than a standard external filter. It’s self-priming, and it comes equipped with an adjustable flow control that you can use to control the water flow level in the tank.
Penn Plax Cascade 300 Submersible Aquarium Filter Cleans Up to 10 Gallon Fish Tank With Physical, Chemical, and Biological Filtration
This in-tank filter is definitely the best value on the list. The fully submersible motor silently filters up to 70 gallons of water per hour, and its compact size is ideal for 1.5 – 10-gallon tanks. It employs a three-stage filtration system to catch physical, chemical, and biological pollutants, using an activated carbon cartridge to remove contaminants, odors, toxins, chemicals, and discoloration, providing you and your fish with crystal clear water. It also has an internal sponge that optimizes the colonization of beneficial aerobic bacteria.
The Penn Pax Cascade 300 uses a venturi aeration system that eliminates the need for an air pump, and it has a spray bar that lets you evenly distribute water for better aeration. The pump head is adjustable, so you can easily control the direction of the water flow. Users report that it works better than filters twice its cost, and the small size makes it easy to hide for a less-cluttered-looking tank.
The Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin 75 Power Filter employs three-stage physical, biological, and chemical filtration. The motor uses replaceable A-Cartridges to filter out physical and chemical pollutants, effectively removing discoloration and odor, and it uses a revolutionary Bio-Wheel to effectively remove biological contaminants like ammonia and nitrites. With a certified flow rate of 75 gallons-per-hour, it’s a perfect fit for 10-gallon aquariums.
Once you install a filter in your fish tank, you’ll need to change the filter cartridge every 2 – 4 weeks depending on how many fish you have in the tank. Every time you change the filter, perform a 25% water change to keep the aquarium fresh, scrub the walls with an algae scrubber, and use a siphon to clean the gravel. If you remove any of the decorations for cleaning, all you need to do is rinse and scrub them under warm water. Never use any soap or chemicals to clean anything inside the tank.
It’s also a good idea to regularly test the tank water for ammonia, pH, nitrites, nitrates, and phosphate. Most fish shops test their tanks once a month so that’s the recommended frequency, but if you’re good at keeping the tank clean it’s okay to test the water quarterly. Ammonia and nitrites are the most dangerous contaminants, and they tend to have higher levels when you’re setting up a new tank, so you should definitely test the water when you initially fill the tank.