Editor's Choice - Our Favorite Small Aquarium Filters

1. Tetra Whisper Internal Filter 3 to 10 Gallons, for Aquariums, in-Tank Filtration with Air Pump, Blac...

User Ratings: 70 6

Tetra AQ-78056 First Impressions

"And SILENCE."

If that does not work, look into silicone grease so you can lube the impeller. Get it and take heed to what I wrote. However, lately I've purchased the Aqua Clear 70 and 50. Overall I would recommend this item. This filter has is a very simple and efficient design. It was perfectly quiet without any extra effort on my part. I eyedball everything and put it together with a look back at instructions.

  • Tetra Whisper Internal Filter 3 to 10 Gallons, for Aquariums, in-Tank Filtration with Air Pump, Blacks & Grays (25816)
  • FOR 4 GALLON aquariumS: This Whisper Internal Power Filter uses small filter cartridges and adjusts easily to high or low water levels.
  • 27 GPH PUMP: The internal 27 GPH pump cycles a 4 gallon aquarium more than 6 times per hour.
  • TWO FILTERS IN ONE: Cartridge floss catches debris and fish waste, while Ultra-Activated carbon removes odors and discoloration.
  • SPACE-SAVING DESIGN: Your aquarium can be flush to the wall with the internal filter designed to clip on your tank wall and be hidden by décor.
  • EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS INCLUDED: This pack contains the hinged lid, tank clip, internal filter and filter cartridge.
  • Manufacture: Spectrum Brands Pet LLC
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 7.38 inches; 8.78 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Tetra AQ-78056
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Tetra AQ-78056 Final Thoughts

"5 minutes."

My tank is nice and clear and my fish are much happier. Fill up the media slot with water until it's full. I use Marinelands refillable cartridge for extra carbon on the extra slots. Typically just below the flat part of the outlets. You can't really tell though, and the filter is working great. You'll want to pull that water from the bottom. My baby turtle even loves it so much he won't let go.

Overall Score
4.4


(7387 Points)

Peoples Choice - Other Highly Rated Small Aquarium Filters

2. Tetra Whisper Power Filter 10 Gallons, Quiet 3-Stage aquarium Filtration (26316)

User Ratings: 60 11

Tetra 26316 First Impressions

"One piece of advice."

I plan to cycle this new AC 50 on a separate tank and then xfer it to the 20 gallon. Basically, make sure everything that is suppose to spin, does so smoothly. I used a small pair of pliers and carefully got the pebbles out. I have always used Marineland filters and been happy with them and their quality. I AM IMPRESSED THAT IT WORKS AS IT ACTUALLY SHOULD! I recently upgraded from a 10 gallon aquarium to a 29 gallon. My tank was a mess when I got this pump.

  • Tetra Whisper Power Filter 10 Gallons, Quiet 3-Stage aquarium Filtration (26316)
  • QUIET & RELIABLE The Tetra Whisper Power Filter uses 3-stage filtration to create clear clean water – PF 10 treats aquariums up to 10 gallons
  • ABSORBS ODORS Ultra-Activated carbon removes both odor and water discoloration
  • CATCHES DEBRIS Dense dual-sided mesh filters debris and fish waste
  • INNOVATIVE CLEANING POWER Integrated Stay Clean technology reduces buildup on glass and binds small dirt particles to make them easier to filter
  • CARTRIDGE REFILLS Change cartridges monthly uses medium-sized Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Cartridges (refills sold separately)
  • Age Range Description: all ranges
  • Included Components: Whisper PF10 Aquarium Filter (5-10 Gal)
  • Manufacture: Tetra
  • Product Dimensions: 4.25 x 6 x 7.06 inches; 1.06 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Tetra 26316
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Tetra 26316 Final Thoughts

"Five years later."

This is a good choice if you're tired of cleaning your turtle tank all the time. Fill up the media slot with water until it's full. There is a sound from the water shooting into the tank! The filter arrived within 2 days and was the exact same as Petsmart's. They are easily found from mom-n-pop pet stores to large chain stores. I own 3 of these and besides my canister they are my favorite filters. I plan to cycle this new AC 50 on a separate tank and then xfer it to the 20 gallon.

Overall Score
4.1


(2563 Points)

3. Penn-Plax Small World Aquarium Filter, Filter Kit, and Replacement Media Cartridges (Bio Sponge, Car...

User Ratings: 61 8

Penn-Plax SWF1 First Impressions

"The product itself."

I have had no issues with it being to loud. The Aqua Clear is on the left and the Aqueon is on the right. There must be a huge batch of these units at Amazon right now that are bad. With the 350's inexpensive price point, you can’t go wrong with this powerful filter. Never ever ever use it past a year. I contacted Marineland about my issue and they promptly sent me a new one right away! There is a sound from the water shooting into the tank!

  • Penn-Plax Small World Aquarium Filter, Filter Kit, and Replacement Media Cartridges (Bio Sponge, Carbon, and Zeolite Crystals) – Safe for Freshwater and Saltwater Setups
  • age range description: All Life Stages
  • Helps keep your small aquarium healthy and looking beautiful
  • Specifically designed for small aquariums up to 5 gallons
  • Fits almost any small aquarium shape or size and is compatible with any air pump
  • Helps keep your small aquarium healthy and looking beautiful
  • Specifically designed for small aquariums up to 5 gallons
  • Supercharged with scientifically formulated Carbon and Zeolite Crystals, the media cartridge absorbs ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and phosphates in a fast and timely manner, along with removing harmful chemicals and toxins, clearing up discolorations, and reducing foul odors from your aquarium, tank, or habitat.
  • In addition to the Carbon and Zeolite Crystals, the included media cartridge also contains a Bio Sponge for physical filtration of larger particulate matter, and biological filtration that optimizes the colonization of anaerobic bacteria.
  • Manufacture: Monster Pets
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 6 inches; 2.88 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Penn-Plax SWF1
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Penn-Plax SWF1 Final Thoughts

"The product itself."

First they are simple and designed to pump and filter aquarium water. Overall, I'm very happy with this filter. Early on it seems to be working as advertised. This is not my first experience with a marineland filter. I'm a mechanical engineer and understand design. The Aqua Clear is on the left and the Aqueon is on the right. I decided to go with this filter since I had a positive experience previously.

Overall Score
4.1


(1365 Points)

4. hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter, Comes with 2 Spare Sponges, 1 Bag of Bio Ceramic Media Balls, ...

User Ratings: 74 3

hygger First Impressions

"Great product."

Overall I would recommend this item. I liked the clean lined look and the pull out basket. This new AQ50 filter has loose bio-media, i. I want to answer some of the complaints I've read. Months later, this filter is still working great on my 29 gal set up. My tank was a mess when I got this pump. I stopped the pump and I pulled it apart.

  • hygger Aquarium Double Sponge Filter, Comes with 2 Spare Sponges, 1 Bag of Bio Ceramic Media Balls, Quiet Submersible Foam Filter for Fresh Water and Salt-Water Fish Tank
  • 【Multi-filtration functions】this sponge aquarium filter combines bio-filtration, oxygenation and physical filtration in one and also makes small water flow, which can ensure the excellence of the water quality. Helps your small fish or shrimp to live a happy, healthy life
  • 【Filter Demension】plus the sponge filter with media balls takes up no more room. Small filter is 6" in width and 9" to 13." in height, the sponge inside circle diameter is 0.39 inch, suggest for 10 to 40 gallon fish tank. Medium filter is 6.3" in width and 9' to 13 in height, the sponge inside circle diameter is 0.59 inch, suggest for 15 to 55 gallon fish tank. For larger tank you may need 2 of this filter
  • 【Package Includes】1 double sponge filter with 2 containers +1 bag of ceramic media balls + 2 pare sponges (packed in the 2 containers). This aquarium filter must be used with an air pupm and a standard size 4mm air hose, please note pump and air hose are not included. Please choose a powerful enough air pump according to your fish tank size for this filter
  • 【Removable Fine Sponges 】you can easy to take down the 2 sponges from the filter to clean or replace it, the 2 sponges are fine 60ppi not coarse, which means more surface area for beneficial bacteri to live on. Don't use tap water to clean it, just rinse or squeeze the sponges by using the aquarium water
  • 【Easy to use】all the parts of this filter are detachable, you can easily to assemble them together, with 2 strong suction cups you can stick the filter firmly to any tank position under water, withouting floating. The water oulet tube can be extended and rotated, you can adjust the outlet to above or below the waterline
  • With 2 strong suction cups to keep the filter stay in place.
  • Filter parts are detachable, easy to install (image 5 show the steps).
  • Comes with a bag of ceramic media balls.
  • Manufacture: hygger
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.1 x 9 inches; 13.62 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The hygger
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

hygger Final Thoughts

"Its AMAZING."

I have always used Marineland filters and been happy with them and their quality. I wasn't able to fill my tank fully because there was little to no surface agitation. It was perfectly quiet without any extra effort on my part. Lightly clean the silver roller pins on the ends. I've looked at so many filters and reviews. Really happy with the money I was able to save. I was worried that it might be too much for my aquarium or that it would be loud.

Overall Score
4.5


(1272 Points)

Honorable Mentions - More Top Selling Small Aquarium Filters

5. UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter, Ultra Quite Aquarium Air Pump Single Head Bio Sponge F...

User Ratings: 70 5

UPETTOOLS First Impressions

"It just starts right up."

LOW and BEHOLD, LMAO, I missed where you had to put water in the back of the filter. There is a sound from the water shooting into the tank! Early on it seems to be working as advertised. Replace activated carbon every 6-8 months ish. The ability to regulate the flow solves the loud waterfall problem. BUT after some YouTube research I was able to fix the noise issue. A canister or in tank filter is ten times more work and messy.

  • UPETTOOLS Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter, Ultra Quite Aquarium Air Pump Single Head Bio Sponge Fish Tank Foam Filter
  • 【Multi-filtration Functions】Upettools sponge filter combines single scientific 7-layer ribbing shape sponge design, which can quickly established a bio-filter, improve purifying water quality, and the oxygen port can rotate 360 degrees without dead ends, keep your fish tank crystal clear and clean.
  • 【Special Ceramic Bio Filter Media】Upettools aquarium sponge filters compatible with one container with ceramic bio filter media inside, which help to remove harmful substance and increase oxygen level in your tank, you can replace the filter media to enhance water quality.
  • 【Removable Sponges 】 You can take down the sponge from the filter easily to clean or replace it. Sponge filters provide both mechanical and biological filtration, traps floating debris and protect your baby fish from being sucked up into the filter.
  • 【Easy to Set Up】Simply install an airline into the unit and turn on the air pump, great way to clean and oxygenate your tanks. Don't use tap water to clean it, simply squeeze the sponges in tank water.
  • 【Max Suit for 55GAL Fish Tank】Compatible with 2 suction cups, can be installed anywhere and can be easily hidden on the back wall of the aquarium. Suitable for freshwater & saltwater and all kinds of ornamental fish breeding, breeding and fish formation, especially for colorful fairy, small fish,shrimp tank, betta tank etc.
  • Manufacture: UPETTOOLS
  • Product Dimensions: 2.36 x 6.3 x 9.06 inches; 1.1 Pounds
  • Editor's Impressions Of The UPETTOOLS
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

UPETTOOLS Final Thoughts

"No issues."

I want to answer some of the complaints I've read. Fill up the media slot with water until it's full. I will pick 3-4 of these at one time over a single system any day. Fill it up with water before you plug it in. I contacted Marineland about my issue and they promptly sent me a new one right away! I own 3 of these and besides my canister they are my favorite filters. Typically just below the flat part of the outlets.

Overall Score
4.4


(1003 Points)

6. Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

User Ratings: 56 12

Aqueon 100106970 First Impressions

"Best to you all!"

You can't really tell though, and the filter is working great. Really happy with the money I was able to save. I also don't like how short the intake tube is. I contacted Marineland about my issue and they promptly sent me a new one right away! I returned the Aqua Clear 70 and promptly received a replacement. This lives up to the praise that people give it. I ordered 4 of these, for different tanks of course.

  • Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter
  • Fully submersible in vertical or horizontal position
  • Adjustable return flow rate
  • Direction and height of water return is also adjustable
  • Three stage filtration: dense foam for particles and debris, activated carbon for toxins, odors and discoloration and patented BioGrid for ammonia and nitrates
  • Uses Aqueon Replacement Internal Filter Cartridges
  • Adjustable direction and height of return
  • AT10 is recommended for 10 gallon tanks, flow rate is 57 GPH and uses 1 small replacement cartridge
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Manufacture: Central Garden & Pet
  • Product Dimensions: 2.75 x 1.5 x 5.38 inches; 9.6 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Aqueon 100106970
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Aqueon 100106970 Final Thoughts

"So far so good!"

Following morning it was running quietly. The Marineland penguin 350 is a great filter. I was new to the hobby and didn't realize that Tetras were inferior filters. What I don't like is how much smaller it is than the Aqueon. This is not my first experience with a marineland filter. I want to answer some of the complaints I've read. BUT after some YouTube research I was able to fix the noise issue.

Overall Score
4.0


(995 Points)

7. AZOO Mignon Filter 60

User Ratings: 70 5

Azoo AZ13097 First Impressions

"Water crystal clear."

I wasn't able to fill my tank fully because there was little to no surface agitation. This filter comes with a sponge, activated carbon, and bio material in a mesh bag. SO, I sat down and read EVERY little thing in rhe instructions. I will pick 3-4 of these at one time over a single system any day. They are simply the best design for nitrifying bacteria to grow on. I also don't like how short the intake tube is. I used a small pair of pliers and carefully got the pebbles out.

  • AZOO Mignon Filter 60
  • Small compact design
  • Queit performance
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Manufacture: Sevenports, Inc
  • Product Dimensions: 3.25 x 3.75 x 6 inches; 1.6 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The Azoo AZ13097
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

Azoo AZ13097 Final Thoughts

"No need to unplug."

The lever on the bottom helps even the filter out. I returned the Aqua Clear 70 and promptly received a replacement. My old pump was not working very well so I had to make a major clean up. Clean the foam insert apparently it pulled a lot of dirt and needs cleaned. This is a well designed unit and a lot of bang for the buck. It doesn't rise up hugely above the tank like a lot of HOB filters. It wasn't producing much surface agitation.

Overall Score
4.4


(920 Points)

8. boxtech Aquarium Hang On Filter - Power Waterfall Suspension Oxygen Pump - Submersible Hanging Activ...

User Ratings: 52 14

boxtech 4346783286 First Impressions

"It's priced awesome!"

I had to cut the hood to make it work. It wasn't producing much surface agitation. Therefore, you wouldnt have 2 filters running. The filter stopped working all of a sudden. Overall I would recommend this item. Oscars are very messy fish, especially during feeding. I have 4 other AquaClear filters and like them.

  • boxtech Aquarium Hang On Filter - Power Waterfall Suspension Oxygen Pump - Submersible Hanging Activated Carbon Biochemical Wall Mounted Fish Tank Filtration Water
  • 3 in 1 Multi-function filter: Aquarium filter has the function for filtration,oxygen aeration and clearing oil-film, a variety functions provide by ultra-thin design filter, perfect for your fish tank.
  • Low noise: Filter motor running will not bring noise, will not affect the life and mood.
  • Adjustable flow valve: The water flow is adjustable, dissolved oxygen for creature growing.Suitable water flow, fit for fish bowl and grass cylinder,so it satisfy your various demand.
  • Hanging on filter with filter plate design:can increased filter strage space,also clean up aquarium fish feces, create a clean environment for your lovely fish.
  • Safe material: The fish tank filter made of ABS plastic,strong, quiet and durable
  • Prevent clogging of the pumping port
  • Removable cleaning
  • Prevent small fish from being sucked away
  • Manufacture: Boxtech
  • Product Dimensions: 4.72 x 4.72 x 3.54 inches; 9.59 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The boxtech 4346783286
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

boxtech 4346783286 Final Thoughts

"I bought an FX6 in 2013."

You can't really tell though, and the filter is working great. They can be very noisy at the impeller, which sometimes quiets in time, but may not. I use Marinelands refillable cartridge for extra carbon on the extra slots. I have 4 other AquaClear filters and like them. SO, I sat down and read EVERY little thing in rhe instructions. This lives up to the praise that people give it. They were great to deal with and the new filter is working great!

Overall Score
3.8


(836 Points)

9. Aquarium Turtle Filter Waterfall Flow Water Clean Pump Bio-Filtration for Reptiles Tank Low Level Wa...

User Ratings: 55 13

JackSuper First Impressions

"MINE IS VERY QUIET."

I want to answer some of the complaints I've read. In the afternoon the noises started again. I bought a top fin 55 gallon aquarium on sale. I've think I've had had six of them. You do have to unplug it for those two jobs. The Marineland penguin 350 is a great filter. I have contacted customer service to see if I can get a replacement unit.

  • Aquarium Turtle Filter Waterfall Flow Water Clean Pump Bio-Filtration for Reptiles Tank Low Level Waterfall Filter for Small Fish Tank Turtle Tank Shrimp Tank Amphibian Frog Crab
  • We have the 90 days replacement and the refund service. All the emails will be replied within 24 hours. We have lifetime technique support, please feel free to contact us for any quality problem. We will do our best to help you.
  • Perfect Aquarium filter for aquatic turtle tanks, Reptiles, Amphibians, Frog, Cichlids, Newt or Fish tank in any aquarium up to 40 gallons
  • Easy to install,Water filter pump can be hung on the aquarium or fixed with sucker. Low water level capability(Lowest water level 1.6inch/4cm)
  • Water circulation and cleaning:this turtle filter helps water cycling,the Activated carbon cartridges and bio ball help clean water,absorbs odors and discoloration,provide a healthy water for your aquarium
  • High performance, the motor set under the water,more quiet than external filter,you can creat a waterfall with rock inside the fish tank
  • Filter waste and stop the waste go into power head
  • Protect your filter power head and prevent small fish or animal suck in the filter.
  • absorbs odors and discoloration
  • Manufacture: JackSupermall
  • Product Dimensions: 8.27 x 3.66 x 2.76 inches; 14.39 Ounces
  • Editor's Impressions Of The JackSuper
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

JackSuper Final Thoughts

"This is the one."

I had a lot of particles in the water. They are easily found from mom-n-pop pet stores to large chain stores. Get it and take heed to what I wrote. Overall, I like the 350's slim back design, and be able to add up to 4 cartridges. Firstly, I'd recommend taking the motor apart and putting it back together. I AM IMPRESSED THAT IT WORKS AS IT ACTUALLY SHOULD! It's easy to clean and we all know about easy.

Overall Score
3.9


(763 Points)

10. AQUANEAT 4 Pack Double Bio Sponge Filter, for Fry, Betta, Shrimp, Nano, Aquarium Fish Tank

User Ratings: 78 3

AQUANEAT SF-A010x4^^ First Impressions

"Great product."

Worst case is that the motor could burn out. Also price was very reasonable and shipping was fast. I'm a mechanical engineer and understand design. It wasn't producing much surface agitation. Oscars are very messy fish, especially during feeding. Works like a dream and can't even hear it! Following morning it was running quietly.

  • AQUANEAT 4 Pack Double Bio Sponge Filter, for Fry, Betta, Shrimp, Nano, Aquarium Fish Tank
  • Biochemical Filtration:Sponge filter provide both mechanical and biological filtration, also, the air infusion chamber produces minute bubbles which increase the oxygen solubility
  • Easy to Set up & Clean: Simply install an airline into the unit and turn on the air pump; simply rinse and squeeze sponge in tank water
  • Recommend Tank Size: Up to 55 gallon, excellent for small size fish like dwarf cichlid, guppy, killifish etc ; or for hatcheries, maternity tanks, and fry tanks, as the filter produces minimal current and has almost no way to suck the fish through the filter
  • Dimension: 6.5”L x 2.4”W x 9.5”H
  • Includes: sponge filter 4 pcs
  • Manufacture: AQUANEAT
  • Editor's Impressions Of The AQUANEAT SF-A010x4^^
  • Filter Effectiveness
  • Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Affordability

AQUANEAT SF-A010x4^^ Final Thoughts

"Came on time."

They are simply the best design for nitrifying bacteria to grow on. It started out silent for about 30 mins and then it got super loud. I was new to the hobby and didn't realize that Tetras were inferior filters. The current is strong but you can adjust it with the midsection lever. It's easy to clean and we all know about easy. I eyedball everything and put it together with a look back at instructions. I had originally got one for my 75 Gallon tank housing an Oscar.

Overall Score
4.6


(761 Points)

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