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The 7 Best 10-Gallon Aquarium Filters

Some individuals with very tiny aquariums, like 10-gallon tanks, believe that a filtration system is not absolutely essential. However, this is simply just not the case. Small tanks need effective filters just like bigger tanks.

There are several filter options available for a 10-gallon aquarium, making it difficult to select the best one. BestForPets (bestforpets.org) have limited the field down to these seven filters, which we believe are the top candidates for the title of best 10-gallon aquarium filters.


Marina Power Filter

The Marina Filter is one of the finest solutions for 10-gallon fish tanks, in our opinion. This filter is available in capacities ranging from 5 to 15 gallons, however, our primary focus is on the S10 (10-gallon) variant.


It is narrow and compact, so it does not take up too much space on the interior of the tank, which is a plus. However, if you install it in a smaller tank, such as a 4-gallon tank, it will likely take up far too much area, leaving the fish needing more swimming room. It is a hang-on-back filter, so it does require a small amount of room behind the tank.

Process Speed

This filter can handle 30 to 40 gallons of water per hour, which is a respectable rate. This implies that it can filter a 10-gallon aquarium three to four times each hour. This should be sufficient to maintain the water’s cleanliness and clarity.

Flow Rate

This filter includes an adjustable flow rate, allowing you to choose the amount of water filtered every hour. This is also useful because the output may be adjusted. This item is supposed to be rather quiet, which is usually a plus.

Motor / Priming

To clarify, this item is a submerged internal motor. Although it is not the most space-efficient, it is handy since it self-primes. It does not require priming; thus, you need only plug it in after it is immersed, and it will begin operating on its own.

Installation / Maintenance

The Marina Filter is designed for simple installation and maintenance, which you may appreciate. The media slots are all easily accessible, making it simple to change media.

Filter Media

This item has sufficient space for four distinct forms of media. As claimed, this filter is intended for excellent biological filtration, hence it includes two types of biological media.

In addition to this, there is room for mechanical and chemical filtering mediums. In other words, this is a four-stage filtration system capable of removing all three primary forms of media for clear, pure water.


  • Inaudible operation
  • More than sufficient for a 10-gallon aquarium
  • Space for four forms of media
  • 2 types of bio-media included
  • Does not take up much room inside the tank
  • Self-priming
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Modifiable flowrate


  • Not all that durable
  • The motor is not exactly built for longevity
  • Included media is not the greatest in the world


Aqua Clear Power Filter 20

This filtration device is suited for tanks between 5 and 20 gallons, but not larger or smaller. Given that it can manage a 20-gallon aquarium with reasonable ease, a 10-gallon aquarium should pose no difficulty.


This option features a hang-on-back filter, which is a wonderful feature. This means that the clip may be attached to the rear of the tank and you are ready to go. It will require priming, which is a minor inconvenience, but it’s nothing to worry about. As this is not an internal filter, it does not take up space within the aquarium, which is a plus.

Process Speed

The Aqua Clear 20 can handle up to 100 gallons of water per hour, which is an advantage. This means it can purify the water in a 10-gallon tank up to ten times per hour, resulting in very clean water. It may be excessive, but you may reduce the flow rate to slow the water’s processing, which your fish may like.

The Aqua Clear Power Filter is equipped with a re-filtration technology that guarantees optimal water-to-media contact is maintained even when the flow rate is reduced. When the flow velocity is decreased, around 50 percent of the water in the chamber is treated numerous times.

Media / Filtration Stages

This device’s three-stage filtering system is a good feature. It already includes mechanical, biological, and chemical filtering mediums. Now, we may state that it is not the finest quality of media. However, you may easily replace it with material that is better suitable for the media slots.

It’s fantastic that it’s a three-stage filter, but it obviously needs better media. On a side note, this item is neither particularly quiet nor very durable, two disadvantages that must be considered.


  • Does not use space within the tank
  • Numerous processing cores
  • Re-filtration apparatus
  • Modifiable flowrate
  • There are three media included.
  • Simple installation and maintenance
  • 3 step filtration


  • Not very quiet
  • Not very enduring
  • The included media is subpar.


AquaTech Power Aquarium Filter

This is another excellent choice for a hang-on-back filter. As stated previously, we favor hang-on-back filters because, for one, they are so simple to install. Aside from needing to be primed, which is a pain in the buttocks, this filter can be attached to the back of the tank and is nearly ready to use.


It does not use any space on the interior of the aquarium, which is beneficial for your fish. Nevertheless, you will need some space behind the tank to accommodate this item.

Process Speed

The AquaTech Filter is designed for use with aquariums ranging in size from 5 to 15 gallons. It should not be employed for anything smaller or larger.

This particular filter can take up to 60 gallons of water each hour, or close to it, meaning it can filter everything in a 10-gallon tank up to six times per hour, which, if we do say so ourselves, is very astounding.

This item does not have an adjustable flow rate, thus the flow may be too powerful for some species in a 10-gallon aquarium, which is a disadvantage to consider.

Media / Filtration Stages

The AquaTech Power Filter has an EZ-Change filter cartridge with both mechanical and chemical filtering for the removal of colors, pollutants, and aromas. This cartridge is really simple to replace. It does not last very long, which is a downside, but it is quite easy to replace once it has run out.

This item also has a biological filtering function for the elimination of ammonia and nitrates, but it never requires replacement, which is pretty convenient. Again, loudness and sturdiness are drawbacks, so please bear that in mind.


  • Efficient filtration
  • Numerous processing cores
  • Contains media contained.
  • Simple to replace cartridges
  • The biological grid requires no replacement
  • Does not use space within the tank
  • Simple installation and maintenance


  • A little noisy
  • Mechanical and chemical media may be improved
  • Durability is a little dubious
  • Requires a substantial amount of space behind the tank


PF10 Tetra Whisper

This specific item may be used for any tank up to 10 gallons in capacity. Now, its processing capacity is not exceptional, but it should be adequate for moderately populated tanks.

It can handle around 30 gallons per hour, which is neither exceptional nor horrible. Again, as long as the tank is not overstocked, it should function well. The motor on this device might not last all that long, but the general degree of durability is OK here.


As its name suggests, this item is designed to be silent. This is something we like because noisy filtration systems are not enjoyable.

In terms of spatial needs, this object does not take up any room inside of the tank being as it is an exterior hang-on back filter. It will need to be primed, which is never enjoyable, but at least it doesn’t suck up internal tank space.

Installation / Maintenance

Consequently, you will need a considerable amount of space behind the tank in order to use this item. With the exception of priming, the Tetra PF10 is fairly simple to install. Simply attach it to your back, and you are ready to go. In addition, maintenance is extremely simple here.

Media / Filtration Stages

The Tetra Whisper Filter consists of three stages of filtering. In other words, solid waste, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, various toxins, colors, and smells are removed using mechanical, chemical, and biological filtering.

All things considered, for such a little filter, its filtering capacity is actually quite enough. It provides ample space for media on the interior. It includes a bag of a biological filter medium that is already prepared for use.

These bio-bags are chemical, mechanical, and biological filtering bags in one, which is convenient. While this device’s media compatibility is restricted, the usage of easy-to-replace all-in-one bags is a plus.


  • Fairly sturdy
  • Inaudible operation
  • Simple to install
  • Does not use space within the tank
  • Acceptable filtration capability
  • Equipped with simple-to-replace, all-in-one cartridges


  • Media availability is limited
  • Flow cannot be adjusted
  • Requires a great deal of space behind the tank


Aqueon Internal Quietflow Power Filter

This is a pretty practical small filter that may be used for up to 10 gallons of liquid. Keep in mind that it should not be utilized for anything greater. If your tank is poorly loaded, you may be able to utilize this device for a 15-gallon tank, but it’s a reach.

Process Speed

This filter can handle up to 57 gallons of water per hour, which is more than plenty for a 10-gallon aquarium. This item also features an adjustable flow rate, allowing you to control how much water it processes each hour. This is especially beneficial for fish that cannot tolerate rapid water flow.

No Priming

This specific filtering machine is quite handy in that it does not require priming. This filter is completely submersible and does not require priming. Nicely, the filter may be put either vertically or horizontally.


However, given that this is an internal filter, it does take up a considerable amount of room inside the tank. Simply adhere it to the interior of the tank using the suction cups provided.

Media / Filtration Stages

A feature of the Aqueon Filter is that it utilizes simple, all-inclusive cartridges. There is mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration in these cartridges. Now, these cartridges are quite simple to replace, which is a plus, but they do not last very long.

Yes, they are effective when new, remove all types of contaminants from the water, and are simple to replace, but do not anticipate them to survive longer than one month. The Aqueon is designed to be extremely silent, which is a wonderful feature, however, its durability is rather doubtful.


  • Inaudible operation
  • Simple to install
  • Does not need priming
  • Acceptable filtration capability
  • Adjustable output position and output flow
  • Can be mounted horizontally or vertically
  • Simple replacement of cartridges


  • Longevity is doubtful.
  • Media does not last for very long.
  • Utilizes a considerable quantity of internal tank area


Penn-Plax Cascade 170 Filter

Here we have a little submersible filter that is ideal for small aquariums. It offers a spray bar option, a respectable processing rate, is compatible with many tank kinds, and more.

This item can be utilized in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums, which is extremely remarkable.


In terms of size, this 10-gallon filter is designed for 10-gallon aquariums, thus it should work perfectly.

Its dimensions are 3.25 inches long by one inch wide and 1.5 inches deep, so it’s not very huge. Therefore, despite the fact that it must be placed immediately within the aquarium, it is quite small and will not take up excessive space.

It is nearly ideal for a 5-gallon aquarium.

Process Speed

Additionally, the Penn-Plax Cascade 170 Filter can process up to 45 gallons per hour, which is notable.

This means that it can process 4.5 times as much water per hour as a 10-gallon tank.

Heck, processing around three times as much water as is in a tank every hour is plenty, so 4.5 times as much should certainly suffice. Keep in mind that this filter’s setting is changeable.

Media / Filtration Stages

This filtration system has three stages of filtration: mechanical, biological, and chemical.

However, the supplied media should be improved, but at least some are included. In terms of filtration quality, this filter excels in biological and mechanical filtration but may fall short in chemical filtration.


  • Ideal for tiny aquariums
  • Excellent processing speed
  • Alternative to a spray bar
  • Three filtering levels


  • Somewhat modest durability
  • Not the most effective for chemical filtration


Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin 75 Power Filter

Here is a HOB or hang-on back filter to keep in mind, one that has an incredible processing speed, all three stages of filtering, and takes up very little space.

Let’s examine it in further detail.


Okay, so this filter is neither the tiniest nor the largest available.

It does require a few inches of clearance behind the aquarium, but it is a HOB filter, so it hangs off the back, and very little of it is really in the tank or water, so it does not take up too much room.

Yes, back clearance is required, but that’s about it.

Process Speed

The truly astounding feature of this Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin 75 Power Filter is its capacity to filter up to 75 gallons of water per hour.

When it comes down to it, for a modest 10-gallon aquarium, that may be a bit excessive.

However, even if it is overkill, it still processes more than enough water each hour to maintain a 10-gallon tank clean and clear.

Media / Filtration Stages

The Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin 75 Power Filter has three stages of filtration, and what’s nice is that the filter cartridges are simple to change.

This filter performs chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration, although the integrated bio-wheel specializes in biofiltration.

Whether or not a bio-wheel is present, this filter offers three stages and all essential types of filtering.


  • Does not use space within the tank
  • Excellent processing speed
  • All three forms of filtering
  • Excels at biological filtration


  • Requires rear or side clearance of the tank

Buyer's Guide

Let’s take a brief look at the most critical elements to consider when purchasing a 10-gallon filter for your aquarium.


When it comes to your aquarium, the optimal 10-gallon filter is one that will fit properly. Now, these items will have a particular size, and naturally, the larger they are, the more space they will require within the aquarium.

Therefore, you may wish to consider an external or hang-on-back filter, as submerged filters, while not necessarily bigger than the other two, will take up space within the aquarium.

Also, ensure that the size of the item you purchase corresponds to the size of your aquarium and is neither excessively huge nor too little.

Levels of Filtration

Simply said, the more the number of filtering stages a filter has, the greater its total effectiveness. Some include only two phases, while others have as many as six.

In general, a 5-stage filtration system should be enough for a 10-gallon aquarium. It should be alright as long as there are two stages of mechanical filtration, two stages of biological filtration, and some chemical filtration.

However, three steps are also acceptable, especially for smaller aquariums with a light bioload.


You should also get a filtering system that is sturdy. Now, this is easier said than done, since every shop will say that their filters are indestructible.

Obviously, you should consider what others say about it. The motor, the impeller, and the pump are all components to consider.

These are the most essential components, therefore ensure they are of acceptable quality.

Simplicity of Use

Installing and maintaining a filtration system is always a major concern, regardless of whatever system you choose.

You do not want to choose an aquarium filter that will require hours of your time to set up and maintain.

Added Functions

You may always search for more filtering capabilities, such as additional filtration stages. A waterfall that adds oxygen to the water is never a bad addition.

Additional features may incur additional costs, although they can be extremely handy at times.


Is A Filter Necessary For A 10 Gallon Fish Tank?

Yes, a filter is required for a 10-gallon fish tank. Technically, all fish tanks, regardless of size, should have a quality aquarium filter.

In reality, smaller tanks, particularly when well stocked with fish, become soiled more quickly than bigger tanks, thus yes, smaller tanks still require filters.

What is the best filter for a 10-gallon aquarium?

We would argue that the Marina Power Filter is the finest filter for 10-gallon tanks since it is our top selection here today.

It’s a hang-on back filter that doesn’t take up any room within the aquarium, and it’s incredibly simple to install and maintain.

In addition, it has four distinct types of media and can treat up to 40 gallons of water each hour.

Can a 20-gallon filter be used on a 10-gallon tank?

Technically, you can use a 20-gallon filter with a 10-gallon aquarium. You must just keep in mind that it may be physically too huge.

If you intend to accomplish this, you will need a HOB filter so that it does not use a valuable tank area.

In addition, a variable flow rate is necessary since the system may handle too much water.

How often should I replace the filter in my 10-gallon fish tank?

If you get a quality filtration system, you should never have to replace it. Certainly, you will need to regularly change the media, clean the filter, and maybe even repair parts.

However, if you choose a high-quality model, you will only need to replace the filter if it breaks.

If you also require heating recommendations, this article can be of use.


In the end, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) appreciate that you picked our website among dozens of others to read reviews of the best 10-gallon aquarium filters. Hopefully, this article has assisted you in selecting the most suitable product.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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