10 Best Filter for 10 Gallon Tank (2021 Reviews & Buying Guide)

For any fishkeeping enthusiast providing the best environment for their fish is a number one priority. Owning an aquarium requires you to give the pets enough time, care as well as attention. One of the major components of a fish tank regardless of its size is a good filter to help remove toxins, debris, wastes and anything that may be in the water harmful to the fish.

Finding the best filter for 10-gallon tank can be a nightmare due to the numerous options on the market. However, since you are here, all you have to do is to continue reading and by the end of the article usually get what you are looking for. Aside from the best filters, I will also throw in a buying guide and some recommendations to make your search simpler.

Do you need a filter for 10-gallon tank?

Although attend gallon tank is small and easy to maintain it will still need a filter just like any other large size aquarium. This is because of so many reasons. The most important is to keep the tank totally clean.

You may think that it is very easy to clean a 10-gallon tank, however, the reality is very different. This is because you will not be able to see and remove all of the things that require to be cleaned out of the water. For example, you can’t clean out harmful chemicals, toxins or even odours from the water. A filter, on the other hand, will be able to do so.

To keep your fishes healthy and safe it is very important to have a filter that is specially made for a 10-gallon aquarium. This filter will be able to maintain and you will have the right flow rate suitable for your tank. Will also properly clean the tank since there are very many different things in an aquarium. Most of them are hidden because the tank is small and because the tank holds many creatures. Some of these include fish, live plants, beneficial bacteria, carpet plants, and algae.

Therefore, your 10-gallon tank requires a filter to ensure proper maintenance and to also provide a healthy self-environment for your tank habitats to thrive.

Best Filter for 10 Gallon Tank Comparison Chart

Product NameBrandWeightTarget AudiencePrice
Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber for aquariumsTetra1.05 poundsFish
Aqua Clear - Fish Tank FilterAquaclear1.4 poundsReptiles, amphibians, fish
Marina Power FilterMarina1.24 poundsReptiles, amphibians
Aquatop IF-201 Internal Filter 42 GPHAquatop4.8 ouncesfish, algae-eaters, betta-fish
NO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal FilterNO.171.5 poundsFish
Zoo Med Nano 10 External Canister FilterZoo Med2.01 poundsFish
Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power FilterAqueon8.8 ouncesFish
Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin 75 Power FilterMarineland1.3 poundsFish
Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power FiltersAqueon1.2 poundsFish
Tetra Whisper Power Filter 10 GallonsTetra1.06 poundsReptiles, amphibians and fish

Best Filter for 10 Gallon Reviews

The following are recommended filters that you can consider to buy if you have a 10-gallon tank. These filters work well and they give excellent filtration. Read on to find their features, pros and cons and much more.

Wouldn’t you love a reliable in-tank filter that will totally clean your aquarium? Well, the whisper in-tank with bio-scrubber might be what you need. The filter is to be mounted on the inside of your aquarium which is better because you’ll be able to put the tank flush on a wall. This is not possible with filters you hang on the outside.

What I like

The filter is capable of cleaning the tank without any issues. It is an in-tank filter that is quiet during operations. Aside from using it in an aquarium, you can use it in a terrarium as well. This filter is durable and it will work well in your 10-gallon aquarium. Most of all I like that it comes at an affordable price.

What I don’t like

I didn’t appreciate the suction power of this filter. It is too strong for small fish. It tends to suck them up as they swim. It is advisable to keep away such small fish in an aquarium with this filter.

Furthermore, since it’s an in-tank filter it will operate quietly unlike an external filter. Aside from being a water filter system, it can also act as an air pump to help increase oxygen levels in a 10-gallon tank. While oxygenating the water its air-driven design allows it to filter up to 80 gallons per hour. Aside from that, it has a dense dual-sided mesh which with filter all of the fish waste and debris. You will also love the bio-bag cartridge which allows mounting of the tank flush on a wall. On top of that, they are easy to change.

  • It is quiet
  • It is ideal for aquariums and terrariums
  • Uses medium bio bag filter cartridges
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Effectively cleans the aquarium
  • Strong suction power not good for small fish

If the first filter on my list didn’t impress you then check out the aquaclear fish tank filter. This filter comes in several sizes with each having a filtration volume seven times more than some other filters in the same category. It is also easy and quick to install regardless of its advanced design. Any beginner new to fishkeeping will easily adapt to this filter.

What I like

This filter comes included with activated carbon, bio-max, cycle guard as well as aquaclear foam. These provide superior water quality. Also, the pump on this unit is energy efficient meaning it will consume less energy as it works. A two-year warranty period that will cover most of its quality issues. The filter can also be used in a 20-gallon aquarium.

What I don’t like

One of the major downsides of this filter is that it doesn’t work well in aquariums with a sand substrate. The sand substrate can end up blocking the filter.

  • Energy-efficient pump
  • Doesn't take up much space in the aquarium
  • Performs quietly
  • Comes included with accessories
  • Backed by a 2-year warranty
  • Doesn't work well in aquariums with sand substrate

The Marina power filter comes with a unique compact slim design which will take up less space in the aquarium. Its unique design is like no other and it will add some elegance to your aquarium. It is also easy to maintain and startup. This unit does not need priming as it has a self-priming feature. If you are one that loves ease-of-use or you are simply a beginner then you will love this filter.

What I like

This filter is easy to set up and it features a self-priming system to allow easy startup. The adjustable water flow which provides safe water conditions for any type of fish including the delicate ones. It will not take up too much space thanks to its slim design. It also comes included with two filter media cartridges for more healthy well-balanced water conditions.

What I don’t like

The filter has got a small filtration capacity. This means if you have more than two goldfish in your aquarium it will take a long time to clean up their waste.

  • It doesn't take up much space
  • Self-priming system
  • Easy to maintain and start-up
  • Equipped with adjustable water flow
  • Quiet operations
  • Small filtration capacity

This filter is a great choice if you are looking for a filter specially made for 10-gallon aquariums. It is easy to install and use thanks to its simple design and it will not take up too much space in your aquarium. On top of that, it has an energy-efficient pump which will only consume 2.5 Watts of power. It also has a convenient flow rate of up to 42 gallons per hour.

What I like

Use as a spray bar to provide a wider output range. The quiet operations will not disturb your fish and will offer a calm environment for the fish and for you. It is perfect for a 10-gallon aquarium and it will ensure that the water is always clean and clear thanks to the sponge filter media. It is equipped with suction cups to allow horizontal or vertical mounting.

What I don’t like

The sponge filter on this unit is too small meaning it will not effectively catch debris at one go.

  • Quiet operations
  • Easy to maintain and install
  • Uses a spray bar
  • Small sponge filter

Are you in need of a discrete internal filter for your 10-gallon fish tank? If you are then you will love this unit. This internal filter is ideal for cleaning your aquarium water to provide a healthy environment for your aquatic habitats. The motor performs quietly and it is energy efficient as it is rated at 8 Watts. You will not get any annoying noises but you will surely get crystal clear water in your aquarium.

What I like

With this filter, you can choose from the multiple filter media to ensure a healthy environment for your fish. The adjustable water flow will keep your fish from harm’s way. Most of all it operates quietly and this will keep a calm environment for the fish. Also, the 5.25 feet power cord is long enough and you will not need an extension cord to reach the power source.

What I don’t like

It is of lightweight meaning you’ll have to install it firmly so that bigger fish or Turtles don’t move it around. With that said the suction cups that come on this unit are not enough to do that.

  • Quiet operations
  • Backed by 180 days warranty
  • Adjustable water flow
  • Multiple filter media
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Requires more suction cups

This canister filter is an external filter which is ideal for both freshwater and marine aquariums. It will filter up to 80 gallons per hour. The filter is versatile and it is also easy to install by anyone including beginners. The Startup is easy thanks to its priming nature which doesn’t require much effort. Overall it is a great beginner tank filter.

What I like

The adjustable water flow system that allows you to control the water flow in the aquarium. This makes it possible to keep delicate fish which require a lower water flow rate. The three-stage filtration system ensures a clean healthy environment for the fish. On top of that, it is easy to maintain and makes a great beginner filter.

What I don’t like

This filter is too big compared to the other models that I have reviewed. You will not be able to conceal it since it is an external canister filter.

  • Easy to maintain and start up
  • Has an adjustable water flow rate
  • Doesn't reduce the volume of water
  • Three-stage filtration system
  • It cannot be concealed
  • It is too big

Any 10-gallon aquarium owner would love to see that their fish thrive and the best way to ensure that is to have the best filtration system. This will guarantee that there is a balance of cleanliness as well as a healthy environment for the fish. The Aqueon quietflow E internal filter will help with that and more. It is easy to install thanks to the included clips as well as the suction cups. It will also take up very little space in the aquarium leaving plenty of room for the fish to move around freely.

What I like

The filter uses aqueon replacement filter cartridges. It has also got a maximum flow rate of up to 57 gallons per hour making it ideal for a 10-gallon aquarium. On top of that, it has a limited lifetime warranty to handle any quality issues that may arise. The adjustable water flow rate gives you total control on the filter and the three-stage filtration system ensures clean healthy water for the fish.

What I don’t like

This filter cannot be easily accessed when you want to clean it. Also the suction power of this filter is too strong meaning you have to be careful if you have small fish.

  • Three-stage filtration system
  • Quiet operations
  • Easy to install
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Adjustable flow of water
  • Strong suction power
  • Not easily accessible for cleaning

If you are a Marineland product lover, then you will love the Marineland bio-wheel penguin filter. It is a 10-gallon aquarium filter which is very easy to install as it features a hang on back design. You can use it in Freshwater as well as saltwater tanks. It performs quietly thanks to its fully submerged motor.

What I like

The three-stage filtration system that ensures a clean, clear, healthy environment for the fish. Also it is equipped with an energy-efficient motor that doesn’t make noise during operations. It doesn’t have complicated installation instructions since it’s an easy to set up unit.

What I don’t like

The falling water the filter causes tends to create some sound like a small fountain or waterfall is inside the aquarium. This is because the unit doesn’t have an adjustable water flow.

  • 3-stage filtration
  • Quiet motor
  • Effective cleaning
  • Easy to set up
  • Additional cartridge comes included
  • Doesn't have an adjustable water flow

This LED pro tank filter is ideal for 10 gallons to 75-gallon aquariums. If you are looking for a filter with a higher water flow rate compared to other units then you will love this model. It will increase oxygen levels in the aquarium and at the same time clean the water to keep it healthy for the fish. With the internal pump, you will get quiet operations regardless of the high flow rate.

What I like

The LED light which indicates that the cartridges are blocked and water isn’t filtered anymore. It also has a four-stage filtration system which is assisted by Filter Pads to provide clean, clear, safe, and healthy water for the aquarium habitats. On top of that, the self-priming and self-cleaning systems make it a great beginner filter.

What I don’t like

This filter does not have an adjustable flow. This only means that if you have delicate fish which cannot handle a high flow rate they will be harmed by the filter.

  • Self-priming and self-cleaning systems
  • LED light to alert clogged cartridges
  • Quiet operations
  • Easy to change cartridges
  • Doesn't have adjustable water flow

If you are a fish keeping enthusiast then you must be familiar with the tetra brand because it has been around for decades. Tetra Whisper power filter is one of their best 10-gallon offers which offer triple. The three-stage filtration system ensures that the fish get a cleaner and healthier environment. Additionally, the dual-sided mesh filters will ensure all the fish waste and debris is caught by the filters.

What I like

It is easy to change the cartridges by replacing them with a tetra Whisper bio-bag cartridges which can be got easily in any fish store. I also like the stay-clean technology which eliminates build upon the glass and makes filtration easy. On top of that, it is equipped with activated carbon to deal with any odours or discolouration in the aquarium.

What I don’t like

It is a great filter although it will not be the best filter for Betta fish. It’s water flow rate work continuously push the Betta fish around and will not give them peace to swim around freely. Also, some users claim that the start-up is hard after a water change.

  • Stay clean technology
  • 3-stage filtration
  • Included activated carbon
  • Ensures clean healthy environment for the fish
  • Quiet operations
  • Not ideal for Betta fish
  • Hard to start up after water change

Buying Guide

Before purchasing a filter for a 10-gallon tank, there are a few things that you must keep in mind. Below I’ll guide you through some of them so you can choose the one that will work for you best.

Multiple filtration stages

A good filter for an aquarium must have the three filtration stages. These include mechanical, biological and chemical filtration stages. These stages help to keep the tank clear, clean and healthy at all times. Furthermore, they ensure that nitrogen, as well as oxygen levels, are adequate in the tank. When choosing a filter make sure that it at least has both mechanical and biological filtration stages because they are the most important for your aquarium habitats to thrive. However, the best choice would be one which has all the three filtration stages.

Tank size

This is one of the most important things you should consider before you buy a filter for your tank. Not all filters are capable of working in all tank sizes. Some are rated for smaller tank sizes while others are rated for larger tank sizes. For a 10-gallon tank endeavour to look for one that will work well in it. Luckily I have reviewed some of them so making a decision shouldn’t be that hard.

Water flow rate

The water flow rate of the filter is also an essential factor that you should consider. A filter with a high water flow rate will not be ideal to use in an aquarium which has delicate or small fish. It may turn out to be dangerous for them. Likewise one with a lower flow rate will not be ideal for a tank with big fish or reptiles. It is important to consider a filter that has a flow rate which will be suitable for the fish that you are keeping. Preferably I recommend you go for a filter with an adjustable flow rate.

Ease to set up and maintain

If you are a beginner, you wouldn’t want something that will stress you out especially during installations or maintenance. Therefore, before buying a filter for a 10-gallon tank, consider one that is easy to set up and easy to maintain. You should also look at for one which comes with easy to change cartridges and one that performs silently.

Type of filter

Fish tank filters come in different types and these are specially made for different fish tank types. When buying a filter for a 10-gallon tank, consider one specially made for small tanks. The best filter for a small tank, for example, a 10-gallon tank will be an air-driven internal fish tank filter. Therefore, as you search for a filter for your 10-gallon tank you should consider one in that category.

Price and warranty

Before you go out to buy a filter, you need to set your budget first. This way you’ll be able to get something that you can afford and will be able to handle your needs. Choose a filter that is affordable without compromising on its quality. Also, the fact that products usually have quality issues, I recommend you go for a filter which comes with a reliable warranty. This way you will be able to increase the benefits of the filter without worrying about quality issues.

Types of Filters for 10 Gallon Tank

There are mainly four types of filters for 10-gallon tanks. Choosing any of these will depend on how much you are willing to spend, type of filtration you want, and the bio-load of your fish tank. Let me take you through each one of them

Sponge filters

The sponge filters are those that are used with an air pump so that water is forced through the sponge to get mechanical filtration. They are also ideal for biological filtration and they are usually cleaning them is quite easy. These filters are the ideal option in case you are keeping small and fry fish. This is because these types of fish can get sucked up by a traditional filter.

External canister filters

These types of filters are usually used with small aquariums which do not have ample space within the tank for a filter. They are widely used because they are larger and they have a bigger holding capacity of filter media. With them, you can easily change the media they hold and they are capable of turning huge volumes of water per hour.

Hang-on-back( HOB) filter

This type of filter will take up very minimal space within the aquarium and also outside the aquarium. This gives the user more space on the outside and on the inside of the tank. This filter is partially submerged in water making it the best silent filter. They are also usually easy to access for maintenance.

Internal filters

Just as the name suggests, these filters are fully submersible in water. They are placed inside the aquarium and are great for small tanks. Also if you own a terrarium or you have a freshwater aquarium they are a great choice.

Types of filtration system

Although there are several filtration systems within fish tank filters, I will focus on the most important ones which are mechanical, biological and chemical

Mechanical filtration stage

This is the first stage of filtration where debris, food particles, and decaying plants are trapped. This is because they are the largest particles that can be seen floating in the tank. When installing a filter in your tank, the mechanical Media is usually placed at the top where water will hit first. The mechanical medial get rid of these particles which cannot be filtered by the smaller filter media.

Biological filtration stage

Second filtration stage is the biological where nitrogen cycle is encouraged. The biological stage features a sponge and ceramic hoops. This stage ensures that your fish remain healthy in the tank. It works in a way that it will support beneficial bacteria which is responsible for turning toxic ammonia into nitrites as well as nitrates.

Chemical filtration stage

This is the last filtration stage of a tank filter. This stage usually uses activated carbon to remove impurities from the water which the first two stages will not be able to. These impurities include chemicals, hormones, metabolic waste, organic pollutants as well as proteins.

When using this filtration Media, make sure that you soak it in water for at least 1 hour before you place it into the filter so that it does not reduce oxygen levels. Also after medicating your tank, remove this filtration Media because it will end up removing the medication in the water.


Q: How often should I change my filter cartridge?

A: This will actually depend on the amount of waste and other floating particles that are in your tank. I suggest you change your filter cartridge at least once a month.

Q: Which filter size can I use in my 10-gallon tank?

A: Well, this is easy. All you have to do is to check the manufacturers recommended size of each filter depending on the tank size.

Q: How long do filters for fish tanks last?

A: Powerful filters will last for many years while others may not. It will also depend on the brand and how often you maintain your filter. Regular maintenance at least monthly or after two weeks will ensure that your filter lasts longer. Also, some brands manufacture durable filters that can last for many years.

Final Words

Choosing the best filter for 10-gallon tank should not be hard anymore. With my list of some of the best filters for a 10-gallon tank, I’m sure by now you have already singled out the one for you. Remember that not all these filters will be able to work for you that is why it is important to understand your tank and its needs.

Compare the top 10 products above and refer to the buying guide to weigh your options in order to make a satisfying purchase.

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