Keeping an aquarium can be entertaining and relaxing at the same time; however, it also takes some responsibility once you decided to get one. Taking care of and maintaining an aquarium no matter how small it is can be challenging especially for novices. This is why you must be prepared prior to getting one.
Essentially, in order to clean and purify a small aquarium properly, it is quite crucial to invest in the best small aquarium filter so you can be guaranteed that the tank water is kept clean and safe for your fish tank dwellers all the time. Truth is, picking the suitable kind of fish tank filter could be intricate since there are innumerable options readily available at present.
Be that as it may, not all of them could execute the job impeccably; hence, it comes down to having comprehensive information. It is imperative to have a deeper knowledge of how it works as well as its capabilities prior to selecting a filtration system.
By happy chance, in this article, you will have the chance to learn a lot of important information regarding the distinct features and functions of fish tank filters, their benefits, different top brands available and other related details about them.
Table of Contents
- Best Small Aquarium Filter Reviews of 2021
- 1. Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter
- 2. Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter
- 3. PENN PLAX World Aquarium Filter
- 4. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter
- 5. Tetra Whisper PF10 Power Filter
- 6. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter
- 7. Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter
- 8. Penn Plax Cascade 300 Submersible Aquarium Filter
- What to Look for When Buying a Small Aquarium Filter
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Small Aquarium Filter Reviews of 2021
1. Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter
Are you seeking for small water filter for fish tank? Then, consider reducing the stress of doing so by checking out this filter by Aqueon. This is reliable in terms of effectively filtering and cleaning the tank water. It functions as advertised and it is especially built with superb processing power.
It is good to note that this filter is a child’s play to put together and it only requires low maintenance. There is no need for priming and you could just position it accordingly, plug it in and it would all be set. As its name imply, it ensures silent operation so it won’t cause any stress to your pet fish even if it is placed inside the tank.
Nonetheless, the two negative aspects of this small filter include the fact that it could only execute chemical filtration and since it is an internal filter, it tends to consume more space inside the tank. These are just a few of the factors that you need to assess if you are planning to invest in this filter.
2. Tetra Whisper In-Tank Filter
Tetra brand is one of the names you can trust when it comes to the best filter for small fish tank. Aside from the fact that the product they manufacture are of premium quality, you can rest assure that they function just as advertised.
This filter is built with 2 filters in 1. Aside from this, it comes with ultra-activated carbon that works to get rid of bad odor and water discoloration. This is also equipped with cartridge floss that is intended to capture the fish excrement and other kinds of debris.
Once purchased, the package already comes with all the necessary accessories especially needed when setting it up in the aquarium. This is what makes it a very cost-effective investment to consider.
Regardless, a few weak points that go with this filter are its being ideal only to fish tanks that come in small size and it strictly calls for periodic cleaning to keep the tank water clean and free of waste.
3. PENN PLAX World Aquarium Filter
If you wish to invest in mini aquarium filters that are not that overpriced and can work best for your fish tank, then this option can be your partner to a successful fish keeping venture. This product is particularly built for fish tanks that contain 5 gallons of water. It is good pick to try because it helps keep small fish tank healthy and looking great.
Please be guided that it is very necessary to rinse the cartridge quite well otherwise it would cloud the tank water due to its carbon content. Always strictly follow the manufacturer’s directions and thoroughly rinse the filter prior to submerging it. If you follow the instructions carefully, you will find this filter as easy to use and maintaining it is no sweat in the long run.
However, there are a few drawbacks that need to be checked if you plan to buy this tiny filter and these comprise of its potentiality to produce very strong currents that may scare tiny fish away and it is only ideal to use if you keep a single fish or smaller school of fish in your mini fish tank.
4. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter
If you are uncertain of what appropriate fish tank filters for small tanks to purchase, then why not take a closer look at this filter?
This product is built with re-filtration system that is specifically intended to provide exceptional contact time with filter media. It is constructed to be energy-efficient which simply means to say that it won’t consume more energy; thus, lessening your expenses on its operating cost. You can set it up without any difficulty and it can guarantee steady biological filtration as well as topnotch water quality.
Basically, the fact that it is equipped with BioMax, Aqua Clear foam, cycle guard and activated carbon are what make it quite prominent than other available options sold on the market today.
All the same, this filter is not as compact if you are going to compare it with other available types of power filter out there. And, its smaller versions are prone to bring about some flow issues. These are a few of the demerits that you may need to look into if you invest in this model.
5. Tetra Whisper PF10 Power Filter
If you are seriously fishing for a reliable, durable and functional filter for nano tank, you can completely trust Tetra brand. This filter is designed with three-phase filtration system and operates silently without stressing you and aquarium occupants. It is very affordable too so there is no risk if you invest in it.
What makes this filter a good catch for aquarium owners especially to anyone who is still not that adept in keeping a fish tank is that it is quite easy to fasten onto the side of the aquarium. In the same way, there are no perplexing assembly instructions with this unit.
Take into account that this filter operates silently when the tank is mostly filled with water, otherwise it would create noise and the device will get damaged easily and may produce noise if the water level is low. Thus, you need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions accordingly.
A few things that give this small filter a couple of weak points are its easily burned pump that gets damaged during power outage since it could not prime itself when power comes back on and it is slightly complex to start back up after you accomplished water change.
6. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter
It is delighting to know that investing in small aquariums with a filter does not need to break the bank. And, it is certainly surprising that even filters manufactured by reputable brands are priced reasonably just like this one from Penn Plax.
This HOB filter can silently deliver 20 GPH of crystal clear water for both marine and freshwater fish tanks by up to seven gallons in size. The flow knob is built to be easily modified so that you can minimize the filtration during feeding period or whenever necessary. It is definitely not a pain in the neck to utilize and it can ensure efficient quadruple filtration.
The internal sponge of this HOB filter is meant to help encourage the colonization of god bacteria and its poly-fiber floss cartridge works to capture the waste in the tank water to provide the healthiest condition for your pet fish and live plants.
A couple of disadvantages that you may encounter if you purchase this HOB filter are it’s a little tricky setup process and it does not come with Bio-balls filter system unlike other versions of Penn Plax filters.
7. Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter
Shopping for smallest aquarium filter does not need to be challenging and expensive. This internal power filter by Aqueon is a good investment that won’t leave you feeling discontented. It won’t be a risky purchase to invest in mainly because you will be supported by limited lifetime warranty.
This filter is a decent investment since it can provide three-phase filtration. It is equipped with activated carbon that is specifically intended to inhibit foul smell, toxins, water discoloration and other kinds of polluters. The dense foam is meant to get rid of waste and other dirt particles. Meanwhile, the patented BioGrid is designed to take care of nitrates and ammonia problems.
A few of the defects that go with this internal power filter are its being a little challenging to use adjustment knob for flow rate and the recommended tank size seems to be overestimated for larger sizes. These minor gripes must not be taken lightly if you are planning to get this type of filter for your small aquarium.
8. Penn Plax Cascade 300 Submersible Aquarium Filter
If you are seeking for the best nano aquarium filter, there is no need to search further if you pick this brand. This product’s flow rate is 70 gallons per hour and it is highly recommended for fish tanks that contain ten by up to fifteen gallons of water.
It is worth mentioning that this filter version is practical to utilize for both marine and freshwater tank applications. Once bought, it already comes with a pre-filter, it is plain sailing to open and clean and it is adaptable with hoses for accessories that are run by the output pump.
Not to mention, it is painless to add additional aeration with the aid of the water output return spout. Sustaining clean tank water is not a problem for this filter.
Meanwhile, a few flaws that need to be inspected if you decide to get this filter model are its weak suction cups and the pre-filter process is prone to getting clogged easily so periodic cleaning is highly recommended.
What to Look for When Buying a Small Aquarium Filter
When buying small aquarium filters, you could expect to chance upon countless of diverse models sold on the market. It matters to underscore that these filters are all from different brands which make it more challenging to point out which one is the most appropriate option for you to use.
Before anything else, of course, the first thing that you need to think about and prepare before shopping is your budget. This is a crucial consideration because it would determine the kind of filter you can afford and you can purchase for your aquarium. No matter how much your budget is, bear in mind that settling for cheaper options yet the features are unsatisfactory is a faulty decision.
It is perfectly alright to wait for the right time to buy the filter that is built with premium quality and possesses all the features and functions that your aquarium requires. If the price does not meet your budget yet, you can set aside your money first and save some more. Take into consideration that a filter is an important investment so it is fine to take your time in exchange of getting a reliable and high quality one.
As discussed, the filtration system is a crucial piece of aquarium equipment. This device does a very important job of keeping the quality of water on its best condition in order to keep your aquarium inhabitants safe and healthy. This is the reason why it is necessary to invest in the best filter that your budget could afford.
Basically, even though there are a lot of styles readily available nowadays, it is very essential to consider the suitable size of the fish tank first. Be sure to pick a filter that comes with a flow rate that is capable of filtering all the water in the aquarium at a minimum of 4 times every hour.
For instance, a 20-gallon fish tank must be equipped with a filter that comes with a flow rate of a minimum of 80 GPH. When it is inexact, it is highly suggested to shift to a greater flow rate. If you have larger aquariums, consider getting canister filters.
In line with this, another important factor to mull over is the fish in your small aquarium. Some fish and aquatic plants prefer a powerful current mainly because that it what they would be accustomed to in a natural environment. Substantially, you may prefer a type of filter that is designed with stronger outflow of water in order to precisely fit the requirements of your fish tank occupants.
Aquariums that come with higher biomass are more intricate for filters to manage since more waste or dirt particles are produced. It is worth noting that a filter that processes extra gallons per hour would be more auspicious at managing the additional dirt particles.
More than that, all filters specifically call for periodic cleaning for them to keep all things running without any trouble. Hence, when investing in a filter, search for the one that is smooth sailing to take apart so that cleaning it won’t be complicated and time-consuming.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a small aquarium filter? How does it work?
A small aquarium filter is highly regarded as a very indispensable component of both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. This is generally designed to get rid of physical as well as soluble chemical waste products from the fish tank so as to make the maintenance process less tedious and complex.
This equipment does a very vital role since it is critical to support life mainly because fish tanks are comparably small and are designed to have closed volumes of water which is very much different from a natural environment of various fish species.
Basically, a healthy fish tank largely relies on maintaining contaminant-free water, and doing so specifically necessitates some forms of filtering out the water in order to get rid of waste and other sorts of pollutants and efficiently purify the water. There are 3 distinct kinds of filtering fish tank water and these include chemical, mechanical and biological filtration.
A filter must be capable of running all the water in the aquarium at a minimum of 4 times every hour if you prefer to efficiently sustain a fish tank. This is the reason why it is a must to be cautious to what type of filtration it provides. A few systems combine the diverse kinds of filtration, to differing degrees of success.
What are the different types of small aquarium filter?
Admit it or not, many a time, especially if you are still an amateur in aquarium keeping, there are lots of things that you need to learn more. This is why it is highly advised to delve into fish keeping by mastering the skills of taking care of and maintaining an aquarium.
But, before you could do that, it is a must to explore more about the distinct kinds of filters that you can use if you are planning to keep a small aquarium. Start assessing each one of them so you could end up with a well-thought-of decision.
Below are some of the diverse forms of small aquarium filters that you could encounter on the market to date:
- Power Filters
These are broadly utilized in a lot of fish tanks. They are comparably a piece of cake to put together and are known to have the capability to last for many years of usage. They are adept at providing exceptional performance for chemical, biological and mechanical filtration.
In addition to this, they are commonly built to easily hang on back of the fish tank for more convenience. These could also be utilized for numerous kinds of aquariums. They come with filter cartridges that are relatively easy to replace too.
- Air-driven Internal Small Aquarium Filters
These are described as small that makes them ideal for compact fish tanks generally kept at home, office or hospitals. Their small size makes them perfect for effortless integration with a broad range of aquariums.
Although these are small in size, they are durable and well-crafted. They aid in keeping your tiny fish tank dwellers healthy and danger-free in the water.
- Wet/Dry Filters
These are perceived as the most outstanding when it comes to biological filtration. Furthermore, they are specifically built to serve as the best fit for marine fish tanks that especially necessitate efficient biological filtration.
They are named like that because the filter media could be exposed to both water and air. Generally speaking, they aid in encouraging the growth of good bacteria that result to potent processing of waste materials.
- Undergravel Filters
These are positioned in the underneath section of the aquarium below a layer of fish tank gravel. They are capable of maneuvering the water through the gravel in order to form conditions for biological filtration to take place, where good bacteria disintegrate the wastes in the small aquarium.
While it is true that these filters are built precisely for biological filtration, there are a number of models that are designed with cartridges that can be replaced. Such cartridges contain activated carbon to aid with chemical filtration.
- Canister Filters
These filters provide all the functions that aquarium owners particularly require in a small aquarium filter. It can be expected to deliver on all fronts including biological, chemical and mechanical functions.
The canister is remarkably bigger for these filters as compared to other forms of filters. What is more, each canister would have spots to hold each distinct kind of filter media, and the big canisters would have more filter media. Take in mind that this form of filter takes greater effort to be put together and maintained, in exchange for its flexibility as well as power.
As you can see, there are several types of filters for small aquariums. If you wish to buy the right type of filter for the current fish tank you are keeping, see to it to carefully study each of these options and examine which of them accurately suit the requirements of your fish tank.
Why do you need aquarium a small aquarium filter? (Benefits)
Once you start into fish keeping hobby, you will uncover how important it is to invest in a superb quality filter. You will need a filter to efficiently clean the tank water from various sorts of contaminants, ward of the accumulation of nitrates and ammonia, and to effectively aerate the water so that your aquarium occupants could breathe well and thrive inside the tank.
Luckily, filters are definitely not exhausting to care for, they could be attractive to add in a fish tank filled with fish and they are capable of providing a number of perks such as the following:
- Less regular maintenance. Aquariums could get messy instantly. No matter how hard you try to keep the tank clean all the time, it will and always be necessary to clean the aquarium often if you prefer to keep the tank water clean and clear. While it is true that a filter will call for a periodic maintenance, you would be able to significantly lessen the amount of labor that you would need to execute on a periodic basis if you set a good filter in your tank.
- A good filter can help make your pet fish safer, healthier and happier. Besides safeguarding your fish from overfeeding, such equipment considerably minimizes the hazard of ammonia stress. Substantially, this condition takes place when the toxins from droppings pile up inside of the fish’s bodies and could emerge rather abruptly if dirt particles are not eliminated in a timely approach. Ammonia stress could progress into ammonia poisoning and it could be deadly if this condition is allowed to continue.
- Filters are fish-friendly. In point of fact, if you do not invest in a topnotch filter, you will need to clean your small aquarium on a periodic mode and that would mean the need to scoop out your pet fish and set them aside in order for you to possibly and easily give the fish tank a thorough scrub. As you might already know, the repeated shifting in and out of the aquarium could be very stressful for your fish; hence, if you have a filter, your fish won’t need to go through all that.
- Installing a filter can be more hygienic. As mentioned earlier, keeping a fish tank requires a bit of work but not much if you have a sterling filter to do the job. And, apart from the fact that filters help make your pet fish healthier, having one installed in your tank is also healthier for you and your loved ones. For sure, you don’t prefer to live with a bowl of water that is filled with poisonous substances, algae, mold and other sorts of waste sitting right on your desk or office table. And unfiltered fish tank could be a fatal hub for your pet fish and could also be toxic for you.
- Having a filter installed in your fish tank can help avoid overfeeding. Many novices in aquarium keeping tend to put excess amount of food inside the aquarium, so fish end up consuming more food than they actually should. Chronic overfeeding could lead to serious health issues for fish and this could even be fatal. A good filter works to get rid of excess food and waste that your pet fish do not consume at once- this diminishes the hazard of health problems and fish death.
- A filter offers a very impressive appeal inside the tank. Since the filter works to keep the tank water clear and clean, the aquarium looks more stunning and relaxing to behold. The glass would look cleaner and clearer so you can enjoy a beautiful view inside the aquarium. And, the best of all, there is no need to deal with foul odor of standing water.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted small aquarium filter brands?
If you want to make sure that you get the right small aquarium filter for you, the best way to do so is to purchase only from world-class and trustworthy brands. It is essential to note that when it comes to fish keeping and owning aquariums and other marine needs, the following brands won’t let you down:
- PENN PLAX
- Aqua Clear
When shopping for aquariums and other marine needs, make it a habit to always check out the products manufactured by these brands. These manufacturers are well-known for producing products that are tested and proven to be functional, durable and reliable.
How to set up?
Fundamentally, the mechanism of setting up a filtration system for a small aquarium starts by means of ensuring that your filter is properly assembled prior to the installation process.
Nearly all manufacturers nowadays would send the filter to the consumer with some components unassembled. This is commonly to save more space during shipment and for some practical reasons too. Moreover, you will need to look for all the components in the shipped package and all you need to do is to put the parts together.
Whatever brand or manufacturer you choose to purchase; they generally provide some instructions on how to put the whole product together. It is indispensable to strictly adhere to the procedures in the manual so you could easily and accordingly assemble the filter in a snap.
Please be reminded that most filters may require being assembled together with a few parts and it is all set to function. Anyhow, here are some guides when installing the filter for your small aquarium:
- At the time you’ve made all the connections to the filter as component of the setup process, it is high time to set the filter up. It is crucial to position the filter into the small aquarium under gravel, if you are using under gravel type of filter. Here, be sure that it is well suited in place prior to filling the aquarium with water.
- The lift tubes must be properly fitted as this could greatly assist the filter to execute its function accordingly. Then, continue by linking the powerhead and pump airlines to the suitable lift tubes prior to turning it on.
It is feasible for you to acquire the external water filters as these are typically more plain sailing to put together and can be mounted on the water tank for them to start functioning.
These often come with external power cable that links it to the primary power for filtration to begin. It is valuable to make certain that the power cable does not reach the water to avoid unfortunate incidents from emerging.
In substance, it is vital that you don’t get to switch on the filter excepting that the aquarium is filled with water in both instances.
How to care & clean?
The main purpose when cleaning an aquarium filter is to remove dirt particles that piled up as well as the disintegrating organic substance inside the fish tank. However, it is also essential to be extra cautious about removing otherwise you’ll end up exterminating generous amount of good bacteria as well.
As much as possible, it is highly suggested to avoid the use of very hot water when tidying up the filter and see to it to refrain from using chemical-based cleaning agents- either of these could exterminate your biological filtration system.
Here are some guides when cleaning, caring for and maintaining your filter:
- See to it that there is water in the pump chamber. Otherwise, the filter would end up pulling in air.
- Pay attention to the amount of water inside the fish tank. Take note that nearly all filters especially require the water level to be roughly an inch from the filter’s lip.
- Make it a point that the air stones or bubble walls aren’t directly positioned below the intake tube. The reason for this is that if bubbles rise up to the primary tube, this would bring about irking sound and worse it might halt the filter from functioning properly.
- It is important to utilize gravel in the fish tank rather than fine sand. This is because sand could bring about some issues with the impeller since sand tends to get between the energizer and the magnetic impeller, averting it from turning.
On the other hand, if you already have sand in your fish tank, consider using a mesh net which you could purchase on local aquarium or fish store or online and then put in on the strainer. You can also use a panty hose as an alternative.
The filter would pull out the dirt particles; nevertheless, it would not pull up the sand.
Please be guided that if you have multiple filtration systems set up in your small aquarium, consider alternating your cleaning schedule in order for you to possibly execute all of them in the same week. For this, you may come up with a periodic cleaning schedule and see to it to strictly adhere to this schedule as closely as you could.
What is the warranty?
If you want to ensure getting a protected investment, it is highly advised to go for small aquarium filters that are backed up by warranties. Luckily, nearly all the products reviewed in this post come with different warranties that you can avail of. This is the product’s manufacturer’s way of protecting their customers.
As you might already know, warranties are your protection in case you received the wrong item, a defective item or some other issues that especially require urgent action. You can learn more about the product warranty by reading the product description. Alternatively, if the warranty is not precisely detailed in the product description, you may directly get in touch with the manufacturer for some information about it.
Where to buy?
If you are shopping for a premium quality small aquarium filter, you may start your search in the nearest pet store, fish store or aquarium shops in your area. You may consider going to well-stocked specialty fish stores or aquarium stores so you can have a number of options to check out.
In line with this, another way to shop for the right small aquarium filter is through legit and credible online shopping sites such as Amazon. Such sites generally can provide online shoppers with numerous options and brands to select from. You may even enjoy some special promos, discounts and freebies for every product purchased from them.
In summary, you have learned that there are a number of buying factors to look into first before you can ensure that you are getting the right and the best small aquarium filter for you. Unquestionably, doing a little research could be quite useful so you won’t end up wasting any single cent for your investment.
As what you have read in this post, there are a plenty of products readily available on the market these days, and at times, it could be pressuring to search for the most outstanding filter for your small aquarium particularly if you do this on your own.
The good news is that you could begin by evaluating top quality products that were outlined above. See to it to carefully assess the pros and cons of each brand reviewed above. In the end, the final purchasing decision would be up to you in terms of picking a small fish tank filter that perfectly fits your needs.