Editor's Choice - Our Favorite 3 Gallon Aquarium Filters

1. SunSun HW-3000 UV 9W 5-Stage External Canister Filter 793gph, White

User Ratings: 66 10

SunSun HW-3000 First Impressions

"5 minutes."

They are easily found from mom-n-pop pet stores to large chain stores. SO I decided to order this for my 29 gallon tank. The first night I had the pump going it started making a screeching sound. You'll want to pull that water from the bottom. I will never buy any other HOB no matter what deal they might be offering. This filter has is a very simple and efficient design. SO, I sat down and read EVERY little thing in rhe instructions.

  • SunSun HW-3000 UV 9W 5-Stage External Canister Filter 793gph, White
  • LCD Display that allows users to adjust the flow rate of the pump and the duration of the UV light
  • Flow rate: up to 793 Gallons per hour (adjustable)
  • 9W UV sterilizer, perfect for maintaining a clean and clear Aquarium
  • Can be used for any freshwater and Saltwater aquariums.Voltage: 220-240V/50Hz
  • Comes with White Filter pads (Filter media sold separately)
  • Manufacture: SunSun
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 13 x 16 inches; 18.95 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The SunSun HW-3000
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='3.2']
  • Quality [star rating='4']
  • Value For Money [star rating='4.6']
  • Affordability [star rating='4.5']

SunSun HW-3000 Final Thoughts

"I was to tire to fix it."

I also don't like how short the intake tube is. My fish are definitely happier and my water is crystal clear. It sounds like a Big Air pump buzzing. However, lately I've purchased the Aqua Clear 70 and 50. I put it together, reading instructions of course. I have had no issues with it being to loud. Unlike my old HOB filter, it doesn't sound like a leaky toilet.

Overall Score
4.2

[star rating="4.2"]
(418 Points)

Peoples Choice - Other Highly Rated 3 Gallon Aquarium Filters

2. Aqueon Betta Filters Volcano One Size

User Ratings: 49

Aqueon 100542356 First Impressions

"Five years later."

A canister or in tank filter is ten times more work and messy. I have 4 other AquaClear filters and like them. I have had no issues with it being to loud. I wasn't able to fill my tank fully because there was little to no surface agitation. Typically just below the flat part of the outlets. With the 350's inexpensive price point, you can’t go wrong with this powerful filter. I thought that U had put it together wrong so I took it all apart and started over.

  • Aqueon Betta Filters Volcano One Size
  • For small betta habitats like bowls and aquariums up to 3 gallons
  • Carbon and sponge cartridge should be replaced monthly for optimal performance
  • Air bubbles provided added environmental enrichment and oxygen in betta habitat
  • Requires air pump for operation (sold separately)
  • 90 Day Limited Warranty
  • Air operated betta filter with volcano decoration helps improve water quality and clarity for a healthier habitat
  • Included: Betta filter with volcano, suction cup base, air tubing and suction cups, air adjustment valve, check valve, instructions
  • Manufacture: Central Garden & Pet
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 2 x 8 inches; 4.96 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Aqueon 100542356
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='4.7']
  • Quality [star rating='3.3']
  • Value For Money [star rating='3.8']
  • Affordability [star rating='4.5']

Aqueon 100542356 Final Thoughts

"I bought this filter."

That water got so dirty we had to keep changing it every 2 or 3 days. I used to have a 37 gallon eclipse aquarium. Fill it up with water before you plug it in. Therefore, you wouldnt have 2 filters running. Replace activated carbon every 6-8 months ish. I stopped the pump and I pulled it apart. In the afternoon the noises started again.

Overall Score
4.0

[star rating="4"]
(2 Points)

3. Zilla Internal Filter for Aquactic Reptiles, 40 Gals

User Ratings: 70 6

Zilla 100528849 First Impressions

"This thing is a beast."

It was perfectly quiet without any extra effort on my part. They can be very noisy at the impeller, which sometimes quiets in time, but may not. That water got so dirty we had to keep changing it every 2 or 3 days. The current is strong but you can adjust it with the midsection lever. I stopped the pump and I pulled it apart. I wasn't able to fill my tank fully because there was little to no surface agitation. I can hear it 3 rooms away grinding away.

  • Zilla Internal Filter for Aquactic Reptiles, 40 Gals
  • For aquatic turtle terrariums up to 40 gallons
  • It works hard to keep terrariums clean
  • Includes suction cups and hanging clips that make installation quick and easy
  • A protective grate is in place to prevent the your Turtle from accidentally entering the filter
  • Each filter comes with a replaceable carbon cartridge that removes odor, waste, and debris from water
  • Medium carbon cartridge included
  • Protective grate prevents animal from entering the filter
  • Patented power filtration
  • Manufacture: Central Garden & Pet
  • Item Weight: 2.79 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 6 x 11.25 inches
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Zilla 100528849
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='3.5']
  • Quality [star rating='3.8']
  • Value For Money [star rating='3.8']
  • Affordability [star rating='5']

Zilla 100528849 Final Thoughts

"Just a tip!"

I want to answer some of the complaints I've read. I'm a mechanical engineer and understand design. Once it loses its charge, you'll need to replace it. This one is working perfectly good FOR RIGHT NOW. Doing research I learned that if I add more filter media, the noise will subside. I took it apart reassemble it and it's not pumping in the water. It's easy to clean and we all know about easy.

Overall Score
4.4

[star rating="4.4"]
(835 Points)

4. QuietFlow Aqueon 50 LED Pro Power Filter

User Ratings: 64 9

QuietFlow 4334824686 First Impressions

"-Not self-priming."

They were great to deal with and the new filter is working great! This filter comes with a sponge, activated carbon, and bio material in a mesh bag. I used a small pair of pliers and carefully got the pebbles out. This is not my first experience with a marineland filter. I had a lot of particles in the water. They are easily found from mom-n-pop pet stores to large chain stores. They are easily found from mom-n-pop pet stores to large chain stores.

  • QuietFlow Aqueon 50 LED Pro Power Filter
  • The Aqueon QuietFlow LED Pro 50 Power Filter features four stages of filtration–mechanical, chemical, biological and wet/dry–for the cleanest, clearest, healthiest water
  • This new version includes an LED light that flashes when the cartridge becomes clogged, indicating it is time for replacement. The batteries are included for this feature.
  • 250 gph flow rate
  • Manufacture: Aqueon
  • Editor's Impressions Of The QuietFlow 4334824686
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='5']
  • Quality [star rating='3.8']
  • Value For Money [star rating='4.3']
  • Affordability [star rating='3.5']

QuietFlow 4334824686 Final Thoughts

"It just is."

Overall, I like the 350's slim back design, and be able to add up to 4 cartridges. I'm a mechanical engineer and understand design. You'll want to pull that water from the bottom. You do have to unplug it for those two jobs. Marineland bio pumps have been around forever. I've think I've had had six of them. My old pump was not working very well so I had to make a major clean up.

Overall Score
4.2

[star rating="4.2"]
(189 Points)

5. Fluval External Filter

User Ratings: 74 9

Fluval A217 First Impressions

"My fault not theirs."

There is a sound from the water shooting into the tank! I put it together, reading instructions of course. It was perfectly quiet without any extra effort on my part. Of course the sound all depends on how much water is in the aquarium. I can hear it 3 rooms away grinding away. Also price was very reasonable and shipping was fast. I plan to cycle this new AC 50 on a separate tank and then xfer it to the 20 gallon.

  • Fluval External Filter
  • Multi stage filtration for healthy fresh & saltwater aquariums
  • Suitable for aquariums up to 100 gallons. Flow Rate: 1450 LPH (383 US GPH)
  • Sound dampening impeller design for a quieter operation. The Fluval 406 Canister Filter has a unique square shaped canister design that holds 35 to 50 percent more water than round canister filters of similar size allowing better water flow through a complex cleansing path that maximizes contact with the filtration media
  • Equipped with a clog proof intake strainer and a dual layer foam screen. To prevent water from dripping onto the receptacle or plug,a “drip loop” should be arranged by the user in the cord connecting appliance to a receptacle
  • Built with a patented Aqua stop Valve, multiple filtration baskets, and rim connector assemblies; 3 year warranty.Media Capacity: 8.5 L
  • Manufacture: Fluval
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 14.5 x 17.8 inches; 10 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Fluval A217
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='4']
  • Quality [star rating='3.7']
  • Value For Money [star rating='4']
  • Affordability [star rating='3.6']

Fluval A217 Final Thoughts

"SAME THING!"

In the afternoon the noises started again. A canister or in tank filter is ten times more work and messy. I was worried about some of the negative reviews. I've looked at so many filters and reviews. The Marineland penguin 350 is a great filter. SO I decided to order this for my 29 gallon tank. I attempted to clean and lube the impeller, but to no avail.

Overall Score
4.4

[star rating="4.4"]
(2951 Points)

6. Penn Plax Cascade 400 Internal Bio Filters for Aquariums (3 Pack)

User Ratings: 85

Penn-Plax First Impressions

"Not ideal but it works."

Worst case is that the motor could burn out. Therefore, you wouldnt have 2 filters running. The ability to regulate the flow solves the loud waterfall problem. I will never buy any other HOB no matter what deal they might be offering. I have contacted customer service to see if I can get a replacement unit. I used to have a 37 gallon eclipse aquarium. Fill it up with water before you plug it in.

  • Penn Plax Cascade 400 Internal Bio Filters for Aquariums (3 Pack)
  • Pack of 3 Penn Plax Cascade 400 Internal Bio Filters for Aquariums
  • Convenient, no-fuss replacement cartridges for your Cascade 400 internal power filter.
  • Optimizes the colonization of beneficial aerobic bacteria.
  • Easy-to-replace disposable filters.
  • Manufacture: Penn Plax
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 3 x 4 inches; 2.65 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Penn-Plax
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='4.3']
  • Quality [star rating='4.9']
  • Value For Money [star rating='4.3']
  • Affordability [star rating='5']

Penn-Plax Final Thoughts

"No effect."

Get it and take heed to what I wrote. This lives up to the praise that people give it. I liked the clean lined look and the pull out basket. This one is working perfectly good FOR RIGHT NOW. The filter stopped working all of a sudden. I have purchased several Aqua Clear filters over the years. SO I decided to order this for my 29 gallon tank.

Overall Score
4.8

[star rating="4.8"]
(6 Points)

7. Powkoo Sponge Filter, Bio Sponge Filter Aquarium Filter Sponge for Fish Tank Up to 15 Gallon

User Ratings: 80

Powkoo HJK90006BK First Impressions

"So this is a big STEAL."

First they are simple and designed to pump and filter aquarium water. It was perfectly quiet without any extra effort on my part. I used to have a 37 gallon eclipse aquarium. The ability to regulate the flow solves the loud waterfall problem. I was new to the hobby and didn't realize that Tetras were inferior filters. First they are simple and designed to pump and filter aquarium water. I recently upgraded from a 10 gallon aquarium to a 29 gallon.

  • Powkoo Sponge Filter, Bio Sponge Filter Aquarium Filter Sponge for Fish Tank Up to 15 Gallon
  • Sponge filters provide both mechanical and biological filtration, traps floating debris mechanically cleaning tank water without trapping baby fish, air powered sponge filter, work quietly, suitable in freshwater and saltwater
  • 10-layer ribbed shape sponge, it quickly established a bio filter and provides extra oxygen, means more surface area for beneficial bacterial to colonize and faster cycling, keep your fish tank crystal clear and clean
  • Easy to use: connect the airline tubing to the air inlet of the sponge filter, the other end to the air pump, oxygenates your tank, provide both aeration and filtration for your fish
  • Easy to clean: all parts of the sponge filter are detachable so as to clean, simply rinse and squeeze the sponge in used tank water, never use tap water, recommend to rinse the sponge once a month
  • 【Fits fish tank size: 5 to 15 gallon】Comes with two suction cups, can be easily stick to any position in fish tank glass, excellent for shrimp tank, betta tank, breeding tank, planted aquarium, turtle tank, goldfish, fry, guppies, snails, crayfish, axolotls
  • Manufacture: Powkoo
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Powkoo HJK90006BK
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='4.1']
  • Quality [star rating='3.8']
  • Value For Money [star rating='4.7']
  • Affordability [star rating='5']

Powkoo HJK90006BK Final Thoughts

"So far so good!"

This lives up to the praise that people give it. The first night I had the pump going it started making a screeching sound. Marineland bio pumps have been around forever. I returned the Aqua Clear 70 and promptly received a replacement. I had a lot of particles in the water. I ordered 4 of these, for different tanks of course. I took it apart reassemble it and it's not pumping in the water.

Overall Score
4.8

[star rating="4.8"]
(23 Points)

8. Aqueon Submersible Internal Aquarium Filter, AT10 Gallons

User Ratings: 59 13

Aqueon 100537259 First Impressions

"I love this canister."

I can hear it 3 rooms away grinding away. I still have my original wheels on the year old 350 with no issues whatsoever. Replace activated carbon every 6-8 months ish. I checked and cleaned it and still just as loud. I was worried that it might be too much for my aquarium or that it would be loud. I have had no issues with it being to loud. I took it apart reassemble it and it's not pumping in the water.

  • Aqueon Submersible Internal Aquarium Filter, AT10 Gallons
  • Fully submersible and self-priming
  • Efficiently cleans and filters water
  • Directional return pipe allows for vertical or horizontal mounting perfect for placement in smaller aquariums or shallow water
  • Three stage filtration: dense foam for particles and debris, activated carbon for toxins, odors and discoloration and patented BioGrid for ammonia and nitrites
  • Uses Aqueon Small Replacement Internal Filter Cartridges and meant for aquariums up to 10 gallons
  • Manufacture: Central Garden & Pet
  • Product Dimensions: 3.86 x 1.38 x 5.75 inches; 8.8 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Aqueon 100537259
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='3.1']
  • Quality [star rating='4.4']
  • Value For Money [star rating='3.1']
  • Affordability [star rating='3.5']

Aqueon 100537259 Final Thoughts

"IMPORTANT!"

Works like a dream and can't even hear it! I was worried that it might be too much for my aquarium or that it would be loud. I put it together, reading instructions of course. Early on it seems to be working as advertised. Lightly clean the silver roller pins on the ends. However, lately I've purchased the Aqua Clear 70 and 50. This one is working perfectly good FOR RIGHT NOW.

Overall Score
4.0

[star rating="4"]
(35 Points)

9. Zoo Med Turtle Clean External Canister Filter, 50-Gallon

User Ratings: 56 25

Zoo Med TC50 First Impressions

"Very pleased!"

The instructions are a bit to much for me. I contacted Marineland about my issue and they promptly sent me a new one right away! My baby turtle even loves it so much he won't let go. My fish are definitely happier and my water is crystal clear. The bacteria eats the nitrates in the water to help keep it clean. What I don't like is how much smaller it is than the Aqueon. My baby turtle even loves it so much he won't let go.

  • Zoo Med Turtle Clean External Canister Filter, 50-Gallon
  • External canister filter with slimline design for tight spaces
  • 200 gallon per hour rating, ideal for turtle habitats up to 50 gallons in size
  • The included spray bar increases oxygenation to help support your turtles' health
  • Double filtering system with both carbon and ceramic filters and internal biological recirculation
  • Combines mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration to give your pets the cleanest, healthiest habitat
  • Manufacture: Zoo Med
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 9.5 x 14.5 inches; 1.2 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Zoo Med TC50
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='3']
  • Quality [star rating='4.5']
  • Value For Money [star rating='2.9']
  • Affordability [star rating='4.4']

Zoo Med TC50 Final Thoughts

"This is not."

Of course the sound all depends on how much water is in the aquarium. First they are simple and designed to pump and filter aquarium water. My tank was a mess when I got this pump. Never ever ever use it past a year. Replace activated carbon every 6-8 months ish. I plan to cycle this new AC 50 on a separate tank and then xfer it to the 20 gallon. Clean the foam insert apparently it pulled a lot of dirt and needs cleaned.

Overall Score
3.7

[star rating="3.7"]
(86 Points)

10. Imagitarium Replacement F Filter Rectagular Sponges, Pack of 2

User Ratings: 79

Imagitarium First Impressions

"Expensive."

I used to have a 37 gallon eclipse aquarium. I will pick 3-4 of these at one time over a single system any day. I was worried that it might be too much for my aquarium or that it would be loud. It wasn't producing much surface agitation. I was worried about some of the negative reviews. Just rinse them out once a month, don't throw that beneficial bacteria away. BUT after some YouTube research I was able to fix the noise issue.

  • Imagitarium Replacement F Filter Rectagular Sponges, Pack of 2
  • Replacement Filter Sponges from Imagitarium
  • Use with Imagitarium aquariums and filters compatible with Replacement F Filter Rectangular Sponges
  • Helps remove impurities from water
  • Simple to use and install
  • Manufacture: Imagitarium
  • Item Weight: 0.915 ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Imagitarium
  • Filter Effectiveness [star rating='4.1']
  • Quality [star rating='4.5']
  • Value For Money [star rating='3.8']
  • Affordability [star rating='3.9']

Imagitarium Final Thoughts

"5 minutes."

The lever on the bottom helps even the filter out. Early on it seems to be working as advertised. My box came in good condition, parts where in tact and new. I've been researching so many things on how to take care of them. I use Marinelands refillable cartridge for extra carbon on the extra slots. All in all, I highly recommend this filter and I'm a extremely happy customer! Once I found that, the world was right again.

Overall Score
4.7

[star rating="4.7"]
(22 Points)

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