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8 Best Filters For Goldfish – Reviews & Top Picks

While goldfish are well known for their dirty habits, many first time owners completely misunderstand just how filthy they really are.

Goldfish health and water quality are significantly improved with the use of a water filtration system. When maintaining more than one or two goldfish, it is best to use a filter larger than the tank capacity.

Even so, you still want a powerful filter to keep your water pure, reduce waste and allow beneficial microorganisms to thrive. BestForPets (bestforpets.org) created this guide. You can find the best filters for goldfish for your needs.


Inspecting Your Goldfish Tank Filter


The size of your tank is one factor to keep in mind when selecting a filter for your tank. If your goldfish are untidy, you’ll want to choose a filter that’s labelled for a tank at least as big as yours.

For a 40-gallon tank, there is no need for a filter in a 55-gallon container. Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates can build up in the water if the filter is too tiny, and this can be deadly.

The bioload generated by goldfish in an aquarium should be handled by your filter. This is a major reason why sponge filters are appropriate in tanks with low bioload, such as shrimp tanks, but not in tanks with high bioload, such as goldfish aquariums.

How Many Fish Are There?

The amount of filtration you require will be inversely proportional to the number of fish in your tank. A filter designed for a 55-gallon tank will likely be adequate for a single goldfish in that size tank.

Goldfish in a 55-gallon tank may require a filter that can handle a 70-gallon tank or more. Despite the fact that it is quite unlikely that you would overfilter your tank, it is possible that you may underfilter your tank.

Fishes of Various Sorts

This article is about goldfish, but what else do you keep in the same tank as them? Snails, on the other hand, do not produce a significant bioload.

If your tank just contains goldfish, you’ll want to keep that in mind while making your selection of filter. Your tank mates and bioload should be taken into account if you have goldfish and other fish or invertebrates.

Considerations Not Mentioned

The kind and amount of plants in your tank, the availability of filter media and components, and whether or not you currently have filtration in your tank should all be factors to consider when selecting a filter.

What Filtration Stages Do

  • Filter floss and sponges are examples of mechanical filtration, which is used to collect big particles of physical waste. Mechanical filtration cleans the water by removing fish excrement, plant materials, and any remaining food.
  • Chemical: Activated carbon, for example, is used in this step of filtration to eliminate odors and cleanse water. Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and phosphorus may all be removed using other chemical filtration methods. Based on the characteristics, each tank may require a different chemical filtering method.
  • In the biological stage of filtration, we are referring to the healthy colonies of helpful bacteria that reside in filters and other portions of the tank where water movement is present. Ammonia and nitrites are consumed by nitrifying bacteria, which removes them from the water and improves its quality. Make sure you don’t remove all of your helpful microbes at once because they are an essential element of the tank’s cycle.


The SUNSUN Aquarium UV Canister Filter is a great choice for UV sterilization in your filter while looking for the best filter for your goldfish tank. Marineland’s Bio-Wheel Emperor Power Filter and Penn-Plax’s Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter are the best choices for HOB and cartridge filters, respectively.

While BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has reviewed the best filters for goldfish, you’ll probably need to experiment with a few different models until you find the one that works best for you.

If your original filter option doesn’t meet your needs, you’ll be able to get a refund or replacement under a guaranteed return and warranty policy.


UV Sterilizer Canister Filter for Aquariums by SUNSUN

  • 75 gallons, 100 gallons, and 150 gallons are available in sizes.
  • Canister Filtration Is the Most Common Filter Type Stages: 5-stage
  • Upkeep: Moderate
  • UV Sterilizer is one of the additional features

The SUNSUN Aquarium UV Sterilizer Canister Filter is the ideal solution for maintaining dirty goldfish. In addition to UV sterilization, this filter has five stages of filtration and comes in three sizes.

The UV sterilizer includes a separate on/off button, so you may run it as needed and turn it off when not needed without disrupting tank filtration. Free-floating algae and parasites can be killed by UV sterilizers.

If you’ve never used a canister filter before, you might be intimidated, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that they require significantly less cleaning and maintenance than hang-on back filters. The provided instructions are detailed to make setup straightforward.

Because shutting down the filter, removing the hoses, and cleaning all three filter trays may be a major job, the upkeep is deemed moderate.

The filter trays are deep enough for you to personalize with your own filter media, however it does come with filter floss to get you started. You can plainly notice algae and biofilm buildup in the hoses that come with this filter since the hoses supplied are transparent green.


  • There are three sizes to choose from.
  • A separate on/off switch for the UV sterilizer is included.
  • Filtration via five stages
  • Detailed setup instructions are available.
  • Three deep filter media trays are included.
  • Includes everything you need to get started, including filter floss and other essentials.
  • It needs a thorough cleaning and maintenance every few months.


  • The upkeep isn’t that difficult.
  • Hoses included are clear.

Bio-Wheel Emperor Power Filter by Marineland

  • Available in 10 gallon, 20-gallon, 30-gallon, 50-gallon and 90-gallon sizes
  • A HOB filter does the job. Stages: 3-stage
  • Upkeep: Easy
  • Bio-wheel is an added bonus feature.

The Marineland Bio-Wheel Emperor Power Filter is an excellent choice for a strong HOB filter. Large enough to handle the messiest goldfish and comes in six different sizes for tanks ranging in size from 10-90 gallons.

An innovative Bio-Wheel with a wide surface area encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the system’s three stages of filtration.

Flowing through the Bio-Wheel, the water creates a soothing water flow as it returns to the tank from its filter. Filter floss, activated carbon filter cartridges, and a Bio-Wheel are all included in this starter kit.

The tank’s cycle can be disrupted if the HOB filter cartridges aren’t replaced carefully enough. The cartridges can be replaced less frequently if you use your own filter material.

Filter cleaning will be necessary every few weeks, however the Bio-Wheel will need to be replaced every few months.


  • Sizes range from XS to 2XL
  • A three-stage filtering procedure is utilized.
  • Features of the Bio-Wheel
  • Setup is quick and simple.
  • Maintenance is simple
  • Contains the initial set of filter cartridges needed to get things going.


  • Every few weeks, it has to be cleaned and the filter cartridges replaced.
  • Only brand-specific parts can be used to replace a Bio-Wheel.

Canister Filter for Aquariums by Penn-Plax

  • 30 gallons, 65 gallons, 150 gallons, and 200 gallons are the sizes available.
  • Canister Filtration Is the Most Common Filter Type Stages: 3-stage
  • Upkeep: Moderate
  • There are no other features.

The Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter is a strong canister filter that comes in four different sizes. Deep filter media trays and starter filter media are included with this canister filter.

This filter comes with all the necessary hoses and connectors to get you up and running. Rubber feet and a push-button primer keep it from toppling over.

As with other canister filters, this filter will only need to be cleaned and maintained every 1-2 months, although it’s a bit of a pain when it has to be done.

To eliminate the “dirty” image, the filter’s accompanying hoses are solid colors, so algae and biofilm growth inside the hoses cannot be seen. This filter has no frills, but it’s a strong, high-quality filter nevertheless.

Even though it doesn’t come with detailed instructions, YouTube tutorials are an excellent resource for setting it up.


  • There are four sizes to choose from.
  • A three-stage filtering procedure is utilized.
  • Deep filter media trays are included.
  • Start-up filter media and all the necessary hoses and connections are included.
  • It needs a thorough cleaning and maintenance every few months.
  • Hoses of the same color


  • The upkeep isn’t that difficult.
  • It does not offer detailed instructions for setting up the device.

Power Filter by AquaClear

  • Thirty, fifty, and seventy gallon sizes are available
  • A HOB filter does the job. Stages: 5-stage
  • Upkeep: Moderate
  • Pop-up indication, biological trickle chamber

A HOB filter, the Fluval C-Series Power Filter comes in three sizes. With a specific biological trickle chamber, the water is passed through an area that is well-colonized with beneficial bacteria, making it ideal for drinking water.

The water is recirculated several times before being returned to the tank, where it is thoroughly filtered. There’s also a pop-up display that tells you when the filter media needs to be cleaned and tended to. This filter’s startup media is provided.

According to the manufacturer, filter media and parts should be replaced every two weeks for carbon filter media and once a year for the filter’s O-ring.

Due to the numerous filter media chambers that need to be cleaned and replaced, filter maintenance is relatively challenging. You should not use this filter in settings like bedrooms because of its noise level.


  • There are three sizes to choose from.
  • Filtration via five stages
  • Media filtering is included in the startup media.
  • Beneficial microorganisms populate a specialized biological trickling chamber.
  • completely cleans and clears water through water recirculation
  • When it’s time for cleaning and maintenance, a pop-up indication lets you know.


  • Media and parts must be replaced on a regular basis
  • The upkeep isn’t that difficult.
  • Noise may be a problem.

Filtering through a sponge of hygger

  • Single sponge, double sponge in various sizes
  • Sponge Filtration is the filter style. Stages: 2-stage
  • Maintenance: a piece of cake!
  • There are no other features.

The Hygger Sponge Filter is an excellent choice for a sponge filter. Sponge filters, if you’ve never used one before, are an excellent addition to a tank with already excellent filtration.

In addition to removing solid waste, sponge filters are used to colonize beneficial microorganisms. Bio-ball filter media sits in the base of both single and double sponge versions of this sponge filter, providing extra bacteria colonization. When it comes to tanks with a capacity of less than 40 gallons and more than 40 gallons, a single sponge is the best option.

These are incredibly low-maintenance and only only a rinse and a squeeze of filthy tank water from time to time to maintain them clean.

However, this filter does not serve as a substitute for a complete filter. In order to utilize this sponge filter, you will need to purchase an air pump and tubing separately.


  • There are two sizes to choose from.
  • Cleaning and upkeep are kept to a minimum.
  • An excellent choice for establishing a colony of beneficial bacteria.
  • Sponge and bio-balls are among the materials included.
  • It’s a breeze to clean and maintain your home.


  • Filtration is limited to two stages.
  • Not a substitute for a complete filtration system
  • requires the purchase of an air pump and hose separately
  • Insufficient water flow
  • Little physical waste is removed from the water by this method.

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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