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The 9 Best Filters For 30-Gallon Fish Tanks

All aquariums need a filtration system.

People may try to convince you that a filter is unnecessary for the inhabitants of your aquarium by claiming that certain fish species do not need a filter.

But unfortunately, that's not the case. An aquarium, especially a larger sized tank like a 30 gallon tank, must have enough filters to ensure the health and survival of the fish kept in it.

You cannot keep your fish healthy without the right filter. They are likely to die after a while.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) compiled this guide to help you choose between the best filters for 30-gallon fish tanks (our top recommendation is the one on the right).

What Should I Look for in a 30 Gallon Fish Tank Filter?

When shopping for a filter for a 30-gallon fish tank, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Let’s talk about the things that really matter when making a purchase right now.

Size (Flow Rate)

Remember to verify the filtration unit’s capacity in terms of the volume of water it can transport each hour.

Three times the volume of water in a tank per hour is a good minimum requirement for a filter’s flow rate. This means that a canister filter designed for a 30-gallon tank should be able to handle at least 90 gallons per hour of water flow.

Location & Layout

Well, it’s true that the filter’s dimensions and construction are also important considerations. It’s possible that your tank is already packed to the brim with fish and other aquatic life, in which case you might not want to add a filter.

Therefore, a hang-on-back (HOB) or canister (canister) filter may be a better option as they require no additional space within the tank.

Modalities of Filtration and Their Media

When searching for a new aquarium filter, it’s also crucial to consider the filtration system it employs.

There should be at least three filtering stages in the finest aquarium filters, and some have as many as five. Your filter should offer three different types of filtration: mechanical, biological, and chemical.


These items may be rather expensive, so you should prioritize finding a sturdy model.

The best course of action is to consult experts and, sure, read reviews independently. You shouldn’t put a lot of money on anything if it won’t last you a month.

FAQs Regarding Filters for 30-Gallon Aquariums

In 30-gallon aquariums, what is the best canister filter to use?

The Penn Plax Filter is regarded as one of the best filters for 30-gallon aquariums. With a maximum flow rate of 115 gallons per hour, the Penn Plax canister filter is well-suited for aquariums of up to 30 gallons in size.

There’s a ton of room for media, and it has chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration, too.

It’s not ridiculously compact, but the canister design means it won’t be too bulky in your aquarium. Additionally, it has a tough exterior for longevity and an easily cleaned layout. It’s currently one of the top options available.

When filling a 30-gallon tank, how many gallons per hour is required?

A decent filter for a 30-gallon tank should have a minimum flow rate of 90 gallons per hour.

Look closely at the goods we discussed today, and you’ll see that we discussed filters that can transfer as much as 120 gallons per hour.

Anywhere from three-and-a-half to six times the volume of the fish tank each hour is a good range for a filter’s capacity.

How much water movement is required for a reef aquarium of 30 gallons?

Flow rate is an issue that has to be carefully monitored in reef tanks; in fact, a reef aquarium will need more flow than a standard freshwater fish tank.

You should aim for a filter that can change out about five to eight times the volume of water in the aquarium every hour if you have a reef aquarium.

It follows that a filter capable of handling at least 150 gallons of water per hour would be ideal for a 30-gallon reef tank.

Consider this post a companion piece if you’re looking for stocking stuffer ideas.


It depends on your specific needs and the inhabitants of your 30-gallon aquarium, but any of the aforementioned filters is a solid alternative.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org)’s top recommendation is Penn Plax Cascade, but we still have plenty of other best filters for 30-gallon fish tanks for you.


Penn Plax Canister Filter Cascade for Fish Tanks

You can’t go wrong with a Penn Plax Filter, and it’s also one of our top picks. There are many good arguments proving this. This filter works great in aquariums up to 30 gallons in size. There has a 115-gallon per hour capacity.

If you have a 30-gallon aquarium, this filter can clean the entire tank nearly four times an hour. In a similar vein, the Penn Plax Canister Filter’s strong exterior shell and somewhat sturdy construction are also notable highlights.

You can adjust the flow rate of this filter to suit the demands of your aquarium thanks to the included rotating valves. The flow control valves may be rotated through a full 360 degrees, making it a flexible choice for restricted areas.

The filter is not especially compact, but it won’t take up a lot of room either. The Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter is a great option since it requires less effort to remove the top and clean, and the tubing is simple to manipulate.

The Penn Plax Aquarium Filter is a great choice because of its simple priming process. This is so much easier to use than the manual method because you only have to click a button to completely prime it.

This filter is unique in that it performs mechanical, biological, and chemical filtering simultaneously. You may tailor it to your aquarium’s specific demands by filling the two large media baskets with a variety of media kinds.


  • Fast and simple to set up
  • Simple upkeep
  • Makes use of all three filtering techniques
  • A whopping 115 gallons every minute!
  • Fluid dynamics are variable.
  • A variety of sized media baskets for arranging your own media
  • One touch button for a speedy warmup
  • Structured and constructed to last
  • The swiveling of valves is complete.


  • The motor doesn’t last very long, and the internal components may use some improvement.
  • A few of the seals aren’t quite complete.


This is the AquaClear High-Efficiency Filter

You can’t go wrong with this filter for an aquarium no bigger than 30 gallons. Actually, any aquarium up to 50 gallons in size may utilize this filter. Two hundred gallons per hour is a huge amount of water that can be moved via this.

Consequently, it can filter a 30-gallon aquarium nearly seven times per hour, which is, of course, quite amazing. The AquaClear Power Filter is adjustable in flow rate, so it can be used with either a 20- or 50-gallon aquarium with ease.

The fact that the AquaClear Power Filter may be hung from the back is one of its many great features. This means that it requires very little room within the aquarium, leaving more room for your aquatic plants and animals.

The ease of installation is another plus for this product.

It comes in a small number of components and can be assembled in seconds before being clamped to the rim of your aquarium.

Moreover, the AquaClear Power Filter is fantastic in that its design makes it simple to clean and maintain. Since filters require regular upkeep, this is crucial information to have.

This filter is well-liked by both you and your fish because to its low noise output. Good news for your wallet: the AquaClear Power Filter consumes hardly any power. This filter uses mechanical, chemical, and biological filtering methods.

As an added bonus, filter media is included with each purchase. This filter’s huge media capacity guarantees efficient water filtering for your aquarium. Among the best filters for a 30 gallon aquarium, we recommend the AquaClear Power Filter.


  • Reduced use of power
  • Calm enough
  • Takes up no area in the fish tank
  • Massive amount of content
  • Features bundled media playback
  • Does the Big Three of Filtration
  • Heavy volumetric flux
  • The ability to regulate the flow rate


  • A leak has been observed to develop on occasion.
  • This material isn’t quite up to par.


Mechanical Filter for Penguins in Marineland

We also recommend this filter for any 30-gallon aquarium as an alternative to a canister filter. We choose hang-on-back filters because they conserve valuable floor and cabinet space within the aquarium itself. Attach it to the outside of your tank, and you’re all set. We always make sure the aquarium equipment doesn’t take up too much area inside.

In addition to being simple to install, the Marineland Penguin Power Filter is also simple to set up. You may attach it to the tank’s lip using the included clamps. After the tubes are joined and the medium is put in, it may begin operating.

Additionally, the Marineland Penguin Power Filter is well-liked because of how simple it is to service. When closed, it’s impenetrable to outsiders, yet servicing the inside couldn’t be simpler.

The Marineland Penguin Filter is suitable for aquariums up to 50 gallons in size, making it an excellent choice for a tank of any size up to 30 gallons. This filter, like the last one we checked out, can process 200 gallons of water per hour.

That means it can purify the water in a 30-gallon tank more than six times an hour, resulting in water that is remarkably pure and fresh. If the default flow rate is too high or too low for your aquarium, you may change it easily.

As a conclusion, the Marineland Filter is capable of chemical, biological, and mechanical filtering with equal ease. A unique noise-cancelling bio-wheel and triggered black diamond carbon are only two of the many media components incorporated.

The Marineland Power Filter reliably eliminates any and all waterborne pollutants while operating at a relatively low decibel level.


  • Reducing the Need for Adjacent Space
  • Heavy volumetric flux
  • the ability to regulate the flow rate
  • Incredibly simple to set up and install
  • Low-Effort Upkeep
  • Superb Three-Stage Filtration
  • Prime media are abundant and included.
  • Calm enough


  • Bad motor quality
  • Appears to lack coherence at times.


Power Filter Tetra Whisper Tetra

The Tetra Whisper Power Filter lives up to its name as one of the quietest filters now on the market. There is nothing more annoying than a noisy filtration machine, and thankfully, that is not an issue with this specific type. This filter’s low noise level is undoubtedly a selling factor.

This filter, like the last one, is a hang-on-the-back kind that is attached to the tank’s lip. It may be placed on a shelf or in the aquarium itself without taking up any area, allowing for maximum fish occupancy. As a similar point, installing a Tetra Whisper Filter couldn’t be simpler. The filter is installed in seconds; just set it on the aquarium’s rim and screw it into place.

The Tetra Whisper Power Filter’s low maintenance requirements are one of our favorite features. It has a single filter cartridge that does it all. The filter material in these cartridges are both chemical and mechanical in nature.

Although it’s not exactly cost-effective to have to constantly buy new cartridges, at least doing so is simple. Equally important, this filter effectively removes all types of impurities from the water. It’s a fantastic three-stage filtering system that uses convenient 3-in-1 cartridges.

If you have a tank less than 30 gallons, the Whisper Power Filter is perfect for you. It has a respectable rate of flow and can filter all of your tank water many times in an hour.

Though its flow rate isn’t nearly as high as some other filters’, it’s more than adequate for a 30-gallon tank with a moderate amount of fish. Actually, the flow rate may be adjusted to meet the needs of every aquarium’s filtration system.


  • A hushed hush
  • Simplest setup imaginable
  • Uncomplicated set-up and upkeep
  • Average or better flow rate
  • Filter cartridges with three uses in one
  • Makes use of all three filtering techniques
  • Takes up no room in the aquarium


  • The frequency with which cartridges must be replaced is high.
  • Not recommended for tanks with high bio-loads.


Aquatic Life Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Power Filter for Fish Tanks

The name of this filter gives away its primary selling point: it is far quieter than the previous filter we looked at. No one likes to have to put up with a loud filter all day and night, so we keep an ear out for those that meet this criteria. Another good hang on back filter is the Aqueon QuietFlow Power Filter.

As a rule, the compactness of HOB filters is something we appreciate. They don’t take up any room in the tank, and they don’t need any shelf space, either.

We think it’s ideal to be perched just on the edge. The Aqueon QuietFlow Filter, like this one, is a hang-on-the-back filter that requires little in the way of upkeep or installation effort.

The Aqueon QuietFlow Filter is intended to accommodate tanks of up to 45 gallons, thus a 30-gallon tank is well within its capacity range.

In fact, with a flow rate of 200 gallons per hour, this filter can circulate the entire contents of a 30-gallon tank multiple times an hour for pristine results. The flow rate is variable, which is helpful when aquarium conditions shift.

Since the Aqueon Power Filter is self-priming, it makes our jobs easier. This filter’s inner workings are made to be as quiet as possible so as not to frighten you or your fish.

This filter includes cartridges that provide mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, all in one convenient package. The cartridges will need to be changed, but it’s a simple and fast process. There’s also a built-in LED light that blinks when it’s time to swap out the filter cartridges.


  • LED light to show when cartridges need to be replaced
  • Filtration methods: chemical, biological, and mechanical
  • Does not require any more space in the aquarium
  • Incredibly simple to set up and install
  • High-quality filtering and flow rates.
  • Reasonably peaceful and pocket-friendly
  • Self-priming


  • It’s possible that, with use, a slight vibration will develop.
  • LED lights used for filter changes are unstable.

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler


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