10 Best Aquarium Filters 2020

Aquariums make for a beautiful and fascinating addition to any home or office, but they do need to be kept in good condition. The water needs to be kept clean and healthy and this is done using filters that help to remove the dirt and help with aeration. Without a filter, your fish will soon begin to become ill and even start dying.

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There are many different filters to choose from; some of them are better at performing certain tanks than others, and it is important to choose the right one.

We have created this simple guide with the information you need to help you choose the best aquarium filter for your needs.

Top 10 Aquarium Filters Table

PictureNameTank CapacityPriceRating (1-5)
PictureNameTank CapacityPriceRating (1-5)
1. XY-2831 Air Pump Sponge Filter for Aquarium10 Gallons$4.6
2. Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Filter10, 15, or 40 Gallons$4.4
3. XY-380 Aquarium Fish Tank Biochemical Sponge Filter50 Gallons$4.5
4. AZOO Mignon Filter 605 Gallons$4.4
5. EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter40, 66 or 92 Gallons$$$$4.3
6. Penn-Plax Premium Undergravel Filter10, 29, or 40/55 Gallons$4.3
7. Fluval External Filter25, 45, 70or 100 Gallons$$$$4.3
8. Marineland Emperor 400 Pro Series Bio-wheel Power Filter80 Gallons$$$4.3
9. AquaClear Power Filter20, 30, 50, 70 or 110 Gallons$$4.2
10. Whisper In-Tank Filter with BioScrubber for aquariums10, 20 or 40 Gallons$4.2

What to Look for When Choosing an Aquarium Filter

When choosing a filter for your tank, you should look out for the following features:

  • Cleaning Effectiveness. The most important thing of all when looking for any filter is how effective it is at keeping the tank clean as this is essential for the health of the tank’s occupants. There are two major ways in which filters clean tanks which are mechanically, by physically trapping debris, and biologically which involves helpful bacterial colonies that help facilitate the nitrogen cycle.
  • Fish Safety. Some delicate fish are prone to getting stuck in or against filters, although sponge filters are an effective solution to this problem. This makes sponge filters particularly useful for use with hatching fry.
  • Noise. The pumps for some filters can be quite noisy, which can be quite irritating especially if you are just trying to relax. Some of the best filters on the market come with pumps that have been designed to operate as quietly as possible.
  • Tank Capacity. You will also need to make sure that the filter you choose can handle the volume of water that it will be expected to keep clean. Some filters come in different sizes for cleaning different sizes tanks.
  • Is the Pump Included? A filter is useless without something to pump water through it, and not all filters are sold with one. Check before buying whether or not you will need to purchase a separate pump.

Top 3 Best Aquarium Filter Reviews

1. XY-2831 Air Pump Sponge Filter

The XY-2831 air pump sponge filter is a gentle filter that is safe to use with small or long tailed fish that might otherwise get sucked in or stuck. It attaches to the side of the inside of the tank and is suitable for tanks up to a maximum size of 10 gallons.

The sponge makes a perfect for habitat for bacteria that help with the filtration process, while also helping to manually filter out particles from the water. It is very effective at keeping the tank clean and owners say that cloudy water will become crystal clear when using this filter, making it one of the best aquarium filter products available on the market today.

The filter itself is very affordable, but it should be noted that it does not come with a pump which will need to be purchased separately. If you are looking for a filter that is highly effective at keeping your tank well cleaned with posing a risk to more delicate species, the XY-2831 air pump sponge filter could be just what you have been looking for.

2. Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Filter

The Aqueon QuietFlow internal filter is a filter that is popular largely because of just how quiet it is, although that is not the only reason for its popularity.

The filter unit is submersed on the inside of the tank and can be placed either vertically or horizontally. It is also a low profile design and is aesthetically unobtrusive, helping to make it a popular choice. The return flow rate is adjustable, as is the height and direction of the flow. Owners of this filter have noted that it performs well even in demanding aquariums and is suitable for tanks up to 10 gallons.

This filter comes with a replacement cartridge and a limited lifetime warranty so you can be confident of buying a quality product. If you are looking for a quiet pump that you can count on to clean even demanding tanks, the Aqueon QuietFlow internal filter could be just what you have been looking for.

3. XY-380 Biochemical Sponge Filter

The XY-380 biochemical sponge filter is another filter of the sponge variety that is suitable for use in tanks with delicate fish.

Providing a suitable habitat for bacteria colonies, it provides biological filtering as well as the mechanical filtering provided physically by the sponge. It is a large filter, suitable for larger tanks, although it can still be easily concealed from view by plants and other items. It sits at the bottom of the tank and water is pumped away via a tube that travels vertically out if the tank.

When cleaning sponge filters, it is recommended not to clean them too thoroughly or use chlorinated water so as not to cause too much harm to the useful bacteria colonies within.

As with other sponge filters, it should be noted that this product does not come with a pump included. If you are looking for an effective filter for use in larger tanks, the XY-380 aquarium fish tank biochemical sponge filter is one of the best aquarium filter products that you can buy.