Let’s figure out the best filter for 10 gallon tank through below guideline

When choosing a fish tank to add the touch of water life to their space, many people would choose the 10-gallon tank because of its efficiency: the possibility of holding most types of freshwater fish, not taking up too much space, especially, working well with a simple filtration system. The filtration system will be one of the biggest concerns among aquarists. Thus, once you already select the 10-gallon tank as your best choice, let us help you to go through some of the best filter for 10 gallon tank in the current market and clarify the reasons why they should be.



==> Top 5 Best Filter For 20 Gallon Tank You Should Not Miss

==> Best Filter For Betta – What Should You Buy?

Top 5 best filter for 10 gallon tank for your convenience

Top 1: Tetra Whisper Internal Filter With Air Pump

[sc name=”amz” asin=”B0002DHYF4″ ]


  • Budget-friendly: Some people will have a look at the price of this product with a bit of surprise and suspicion, however, Tetra is a big brand, and this product has been introduced to the market for nearly 20 years. Thus, you will not have to worry about an unpleasant experience at a high cost.
  • Small but efficient: With a dimension of only 4.25 x 4 x 8 inches (LxWxH) and a weight of 1.05 pounds, the filter uses Tetra Whisper Assembled Bio-Bag Filter Cartridges as a filter medium and there is also a dual-sided mesh for catching all the debris and fish waste. Thus, the filtration system is effective in up to a 10-gallon tank.
  • Compact & convenient design: The filter includes both a water filter system and air pump with a flow rate of up to 80 gph (gallon per hour) while continuously push oxygen into the water. Moreover, this internal filter is a kind of clip-on filter that mounts to the inside of the tank wall and increases the space for your fishes. And because the Bio-filter bag is exposed without the top lid, you could easily take it out for changing after being clogged.


  • The fish food may get sucked into the filter intake. Thus, you should turn the filter off while giving food to your fish and then turn it on again when they finish their meal.

Top 2: Whisper IQ Power Filter for Aquariums

[sc name=”amz” asin=”B06XHSJ8MV” ]


  • Super quiet: It contains a sound shield – a soft barrier to separate between the motor and the filter to minimize the noise less than 40 dB (noise of normal conversation is 60 – 70 dB and whispering is <30 dB). Thus, with this technology, the filter is really worth its name: Whisper IQ.
  • Supplying oxygen while filtering better with Bio-scrubber: With vibration dampening technology, the filter helps spill more oxygen to the water by agitating the surface. Meanwhile, the bio-scrubber cultivates aerobic bacteria which removes toxic ammonia and nitrite to give a better filtration. Just please note that the filter also uses Tetra Whisper Assembled Bio-Bag Filter Cartridges as a filter medium.
  • Adjustable flow and intake: The flow is 105 gph as maximum and could be adjustable to much lower if you are raising some small bettas or to create gentle flow for your live plants inside the tank. The filter intake is also adjustable to fit the tank’s height. 


  • There is an overflow potential so just make sure that the filter frame is placed lower than the filter housing and the pump then you could avoid this trouble.

Top 3: Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter 10 

[sc name=”amz” asin=”B000SP65N8″ ]


  • Efficient 4-stage advanced filtration system:
    • Stage 1: The dense floss structure catches all particles and debris.
    • Stage 2: The activated carbon in the medium Aqueon replacement cartridge (sold separately) removes toxins, odors, and discoloration.
    • Stage 3: The patented Bio-Holster in the Aqueon Specialty Filter Pads (do not clean those pads) removes toxic ammonia and nitrites.
    • Stage 4:  Lastly, the diffuser grid removes additional toxins while adding oxygen for more active fish and reduces splashing makes the return exceptionally quiet.
  • Overload alert: Whenever the filter cartridge gets clogged, the red light on the top lid of the filter will flash to indicate that you should change the filter cartridge. 
  • Quiet, auto-start, self-priming motor: This filter features an internal pump design that helps to dampen noise, eliminates leaks, and especially self-priming, which means it could automatically start after cleaning or power interruptions.


  • It is not suitable for small bettas because of the high flow rate (100 gph) and could not be adjustable.

Top 4: AquaClear Power Filter, Clip-On Aquarium Filter

[sc name=”amz” asin=”B000260FVG” ]


  • Quick and easy installation: This filter is a kind of hang-on-back filter so it is easy for you to install, uninstall and change the filter media.
  • Efficient 3 stage-filtration system: There are 3 stages of filter media where the water completely finished its nitrogen cycle. Firstly, on the bottom is the mechanical Foam Insert to catch all the dirt and debris. Secondly, in the middle is the chemical Activated Carbon Insert to remove all the unwanted odors, discolorations, and impurities. The last filtration stage is on the top of the filter house where the biological BioMax Insert creates a complex pore system for beneficial bacteria to thrive. 
  • Lifetime guaranty: AquaClear gives you a life-time guaranty which means you could get your filter repaired or exchanged at $5 of shipping/handling cost for any defects at any time as long as you return the complete pump with purchase proof and postage paid. 
  • Adjustable flow: The AquaClear Power filter features the flow control which allows you to reduce the flow rate to be suitable for feeding, bettas or live plants, etc.


  • The pump must not run dry and because it is not submersible, it could be damaged when getting wet.
  • Though there is a detailed guide for the maintenance job, the cleaning task is a little complicated for clumsy people.

Top 5: Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter 100 GPH

[sc name=”amz” asin=”B0007ZS230″ ]


Clean filtering with 3-stage filtration system:

  • Stage 1: Mechanical Filtration

This filter uses Penguin Rite-Size Filter Cartridge, which you will have to buy separately after using up 3 packs in this package. The double-thick poly-fiber of the filter cartridge will hold most of the particles and dirt.

  • Stage 2: Chemical Filtration

At this stage, Black Diamond Premium Activated carbon in the filter cartridge works to remove odors, discoloration, and impurities. Remember to change the filter cartridge every 2 – 4 weeks because the carbon is de-activated over time.

  • Stage 3: Biological Filtration

The Bio-wheel technology of the filter eliminates toxic ammonia and nitrite on contact and helps grow the bacterial medium.

Easy-to-assemble: Firstly, you need to rinse the filter pad, slide it into the pre-assembled cartridge and then clip it on the tank. Next, you need to pre-install the filter tube and then install it into the clipped-on filter. Put on the cover and the top lid and finally, plugin and see how it runs.

Worth the money: both the Penguin Power filter and the Penguin Rite-Size Filter Cartridge are sold at a very reasonable price and normally, you will not have to think of a replacement in the first year.


  • The current is not adjustable so it will not be a good choice for small bettas.

How to choose the best filter for 10 gallon tank?

The first thing you should consider when choosing a good filter for a 10-gallon tank is its capacity display thru the flow rate. The flow rate should not be over 100 gph unless or if its maximum rate is a little over, it should be adjustable at many other lower levels. 

The second thing we should consider, of course, is the efficiency of the filter media. A good filter should both mechanically keep and remove all the waste and chemically removes odors and other impurities as well as grow good bacteria for completing the nitrogen cycle in the tank.

Thirdly, the filter should be easy for cleaning and maintenance. It is best if you only have to change the filter cartridge. However, for most filters, you should also have to clear the clogged filter pads at the mechanical stage. A good filter will help you to run the tank for a long time without having to change the filter media, meanwhile, still maintain the good parameters of the tank water with undetectable ammonia and nitrite as well as ensure a long-lasting filter. 

Last but not least, the filter should run quietly to help you avoid irritating noise and bring peace to your mind and soul as an aquarium should do to people.

Best filter for 10 gallon tank FAQs:

What is a nitrogen cycle?

The nitrogen cycle in the natural world is a full cycle where nitrogen goes from the air to plants to the animal to bacteria and then comes back to the air without human intervene. However, in an aquarium, the nitrogen cycle is a continuous chemical degradation of nitrogenous compounds from ammonia to nitrite and then nitrate. Final nitrates will be absorbed by aquarium plants or removed from the water by other means. 

Usually, it takes 3 months for a living aquarium to finish a full nitrogen cycle: to turn all its waste into nitrate. Thus, the method of stocking a new aquarium is to gradually introduce stock and usually starting with younger, smaller fishes so that the bacteria have time to grow and keep pace with increased waste matter.

Ammonification: when fish and other animals in the aquarium expel waste or in fish food particles or plant deaths, the initial form of nitrogen is organic. Bacteria or fungi convert the organic nitrogen within the remains back into ammonium (NH4+), a highly toxic gas. This process is called ammonification. 

Nitrification: in the early stage of nitrification, the bacteria like Nitrosomonas species shall help turn ammonium into nitrite (NO2_), which is very toxic to the living stock in the aquarium. The final stage of nitrification is when other bacteria like Nitrobacter help to oxidize the nitrite (NO2_) and turn it into less toxic nitrates (NO3_), which could be absorbed by living plants in the aquarium or continue to go to the last step: denitrification

Denitrification: this is a process when bacterial species like Pseudomonas and Paracoccus under anaerobic conditions turn (NO3_) into N2 (nitrogen gas) and O2 (oxygen gas) to complete the nitrogen cycle.

How to start a nitrogen cycle?

Introducing fish to a new tank where a nitrogen cycle has not been started yet may cause fish deaths. Thus, the most important thing is to start a nitrogen cycle by introducing good bacteria to your aquarium. Fortunately, good bacteria are very available in the tank and in the air. The key is your patience because it may take several days. Adding ammonia source in the tank while constantly running the filter creates good conditions for the bacteria to flourish. The easiest way is to take one-third of tank water from a healthy aquarium on a day of water change and introduce it to your tank. Another method is to introduce two hardy starter fish such as goldfish for cold water tanks or zebra danios for warm freshwater tanks. Do not hurry in introducing more fish because they will produce more ammonia than the bacteria in the tank could handle and result in fatal fishes.

Leave a Comment