You’ll agree with us when we say that 10-gallon aquariums are extremely popular and with all the different varieties of filters available for them, it can be quite intimidating to find the best one.
This motivated us to test many of the popular aquarium filters found on the market ourselves so we could conclusively determine which ones truly stand out from the crowd.
In this post, we’ll discuss what you should look for in a 10-gallon filter and what are some things you should avoid when getting a filter for such an aquarium.
After months of testing, we can conclusively say that these three filters are the best of the best out of all the ones we could get our hands on.
Now, let’s get into the reviews for the top 5 best 10-gallon aquarium filters.
Best 10-Gallon Aquarium Filter - Top 5 Reviews
1. All-Around Best 10-Gallon Aquarium Filter - NO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter Review
This product was the greatest surprise during all the months we spent testing all these different filters. It came from an unheard-of manufacturer and it simply blew us away with its amazing performance.
Many of us were also impressed by just how durable and well-made its body was.
It’s able to output a flow rate of 132 gallons per hour while only utilizing 6 watts of electricity. The flow rate is also easily adjustable and you can see the results instantly as you turn the knob which is helpful in identifying what particular flow rate would be absolutely perfect for your particular aquarium.
Features of NO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter – Best 10 Gallon Aquarium filter
- Dimensions: 2 inches by 2 inches by 7 inches
- Weight: 1 pound
- Maximum flow rate: 132 gallons per hour
- Adjustable flow rate
- 6-watt operating capacity
- Comes with a six-month warranty
- Great build quality
- Quiet operation
- Easy installation
- Requires additional tubing in order to be effective
If you’re looking for a reliable filter that will perform consistently for your 10-gallon aquarium then this is the product for you. It’s made from high-quality materials and operates extremely silently.
2. Best Energy-Efficient 10-Gallon Aquarium Filter - Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter Review
In today’s day and age, it makes a lot of sense to be energy-conscious and this is a product that addresses those concerns. It’s been designed to use electricity in a way that is both efficient as well as functionally beneficial for your aquarium, i.e., this filter saves you a lot of cash but it does so while compromising nothing when it comes to the filtration performance.
It’s also built in quite an intuitive way in that the user can tell just by looking at it how it’s supposed to fit onto their aquarium and how it can be started and used.
Features of Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter
- Dimensions: 4.5 inches by 2 inches by 4 inches
- Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Flow rate: 80 gallons per hour
- Comes with superior filtration media
- Modifiable flow rate controls
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- Small in size
- Comes with a two-year warranty
- Low electricity consumption
- Relatively flimsy
- Can become noisy over time
If you want a filter that does not suck up too much energy during its use then this is definitely the product you’re looking for. It’s highly effective, it won’t cost you a ton in electricity bills and it’s very easy to handle.
3. Best Budget-Friendly 10-Gallon Aquarium Filter - MarineLand Penguin Filter Review
Setting up an aquarium can become quite pricey so it’s important to cut corners where you can without compromising on quality and performance and this is a product that enables you to do just that. While Marineland is a reputable brand, we were still expecting this product to underperform considering its low price tag.
We were wrong though as this product can easily go head-to-head in terms of performance with most of the filters on this list. It actually was able to clear and clean our aquarium water much quicker than a lot of its competitors and also, we’ve been running this filter for months now and it has shown zero signs of any dip in quality.
Features of MarineLand Penguin Filter
- Dimensions: 5.5 inches by 5.5 inches by 8 inches
- Weight: 1.65 pounds
- Maximum flow rate of 100 gallons per hour
- Flow rate can be adjusted
- Uses Rite-Size filter cartridges
- Filters water at a rapid rate
- Very silent
- Requires little maintenance
- Easy to assemble
- Tends to overheat when not given proper ventilation
If you’re looking to save some money but still want an effective filter for your 10-gallon aquarium then this product was made for you. It operates at a quick rate and you’ll find it to be very user-friendly.
4. Best Silent 10-Gallon Aquarium Filter - Fluval Underwater Filter Review
As we’ll go on to discuss later in this article, having a filter that works silently is absolutely essential to the successful running of a 10-gallon aquarium and with this product, you can rest assured of this. Many filters claim to work silently and they do when you first bring them home but they tend to get noisy as time goes on. This product is not one of them.
It’s also a filter that’s very beginner-friendly in that it’s not time-consuming to set up or to maintain.
Features of Fluval Underwater Filter
- Dimensions: 3.8 inches by 5.2 inches by 6.5 inches
- Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Adjustable flow rate knob
- Comes with a built-in output diverter
- Great for smaller tanks and tanks with low water levels
- Easy to maintain
- Very easy to set up
- Very silent
- Clogs up quite easily
If you’re tired of having your fish disturbed by noisy and loud filters then this is definitely the product for you. It’s incredibly quiet during operation and you’ll find that the waves it creates inside a tank are also very gentle and stimulating for fish.
5. Best Internal 10-Gallon Aquarium Filter - Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter Review
Many aquarists don’t like tons of aquarium equipment sticking out of their aquarium and this product is definitely aimed at them. This product’s design allows you to fully submerge it in your aquarium and position it both vertically or horizontally. Even though it looks perfectly okay out in the open, you can definitely easily hide it with ornaments or decorative objects if you wanted to since it’s quite small in size.
As for performance, being inside the aquarium completely means it’s able to filter the aquarium much more efficiently and it’s also able to circulate water much more efficiently without too much load being put on its motor.
Features of Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter
- Dimensions: 2.8 inches by 1.5 inches by 5.4 inches
- Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Maximum flow rate of 57 gallons per hour
- Tunable return flow rate
- Completely submersible
- Very easy to assemble and disassemble
- Incredibly lightweight
- Highly durable
- Takes up space inside your aquarium
If you don’t want a filter hanging onto the walls of your aquarium or on the outside of it then this is the product you’re looking for. It’s designed to be fully underwater and it’s built in a way that enables it to not clog up very easily.
What are some factors to think about when buying a 10-gallon aquarium filter?
Some of the factors to think about when buying a 10-gallon aquarium filter are:
Flow rate is by far the most important thing to consider when buying a filter for your aquarium. The general rule of thumb is that your aquarium filter should be able to filter all of the water inside your aquarium at least four times an hour for it to be effective. Thus, for a 10-gallon aquarium, you would need to have a filter that has a flow rate of at least 40 gallons per hour.
There are mainly three types of filtration: mechanical, chemical and biological. Mechanical filtration refers to the filtering of debris, leftover food and other large particles inside your aquarium water. Chemical filtration refers to the neutralization of dangerous chemicals and compounds inside your aquarium water. Biological filtration refers to the use of beneficial nitrifying bacteria to help neutralize toxic compounds inside your aquarium. When you buy a 10-gallon aquarium filter, ensure that it is able to perform all three of these processes. While it is true that you can get away with not having chemical filtration in smaller aquariums, in aquariums as big as 10 gallons, you’re going to need all three filtration processes for it to run successfully.
Durability and Consistency
Of course, you’re going to want a filter that’s going to give you consistent performance for a long time. It’s obvious that every manufacturer is going to say that their filters last a lifetime but one surefire way of figuring out whether they’re lying or not is to look towards customer reviews.
You can often find customer reviews of popular filters where people give their first impressions and then use the filters for a few months and then come back and update their review to inform you about the filter’s performance across the entire period. This can give you great insight into how the filter performs over time.
What are some things to avoid when buying a 10-gallon aquarium filter?
The number one thing to avoid is getting a filter that does not have the option of adjusting the flow rate. Oftentimes the default flow rate of a filter is too inadequate or too powerful and some tweaking is necessary. If the filter doesn’t provide you with this option, you’re going to be stuck with a product that you can’t use since it would be harmful to your fish.
Another thing you should be wary of is buying a filter that is notorious for being noisy. Now, we all know that noisy filters are undesirable in any case but in aquariums as small as 10 gallons, they can be the main reason why your fish are unable to live a healthy life. Too much noise can be very stressful for fish in a small setting so this is something that you definitely want to avoid.
Where do I place my 10-gallon aquarium filter?
This depends mainly on whether you have an external or an internal filter.
If it’s an external filter, you generally want to place it underneath your aquarium in a place where it’s, ideally, out of sight.
If it’s an internal filter, you should put it in a corner of your aquarium where it is the most unobtrusive and where you’re sure it won’t come in the way of any fish. Many aquarists tend to hide their filters using ornaments or aquarium plants in order to avoid visual clutter.
How do I prime my 10-gallon aquarium filter?
Priming a 10-gallon aquarium filter is pretty much the same as priming any other filter but it would be a good idea to read the instruction manual first as the process can definitely vary slightly depending on the manufacturer.
Generally, what you want to do is place your filter inside your aquarium and mount it securely onto it. Next, take a cup and fill the filter with your aquarium water. Your filter is now fully primed. Once this is done, check whether everything is correctly plugged in and turn your filter on.
Note that this is an important step and you should definitely perform this while using any filter that does not have a self-priming mechanism built into it. Not priming your filter prior to turning it on can seriously damage your motor or even burn it out instantly.
How do I install media into my 10-gallon aquarium filter?
It’s generally quite easy to install filtration media into a 10-gallon aquarium filter. All you really have to do is open the filtration basket and fix the media inside. The most important thing is that you get the order correct: mechanical filtration media first, followed by biological filtration media and then chemical filtration media.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What types of filters are appropriate for a 10-gallon aquarium?
Generally, we would prefer that you opt for HOB or power filters as your go-to option if you’re in the market for a 10-gallon aquarium filter.
Under-gravel filters used to be a popular choice among aquarists that had aquariums of this size but they’ve quickly gone out of style since they’ve been conclusively proven to be a lot less effective than most other types of filters.
Should I opt for pre-filters for my 10-gallon aquarium?
They are not an absolute necessity but if you can, we definitely recommend that you go for them as they have many benefits.
The most obvious one is that they speed up the growth of beneficial nitrifying bacteria by a lot. If you run an experiment side-by-side, you will conclusively notice that an aquarium gets cycled much more quickly with a pre-filter than without one.
Not to mention, most 10-gallon aquariums are home to small and delicate fish that can quite easily get swept up into an aquarium filter. A pre-filter sponge helps alleviate this problem entirely.
How often does a 10-gallon aquarium filter need to be cleaned?
For an aquarium filter as small as those that handle 10-gallon aquariums, you’re going to want to check every other week to see if it needs cleaning or not. Along with regular cleanings, you also have to think about replacing filtration media inside the aquarium filter. Mechanical filtration media needs to be replaced every 3 – 4 weeks or so whereas chemical filtration media needs to be replaced every 2 – 3 months.
When you are cleaning your filter, you should ensure that your biological filtration media does not get clogged as this is the spot that hosts a lot of the beneficial nitrifying bacteria inside your tank. If it gets clogged, they could lose their access to oxygen and ultimately die.
What are the functions of a 10-gallon aquarium filter?
The two main functions that a 10-gallon aquarium filter performs is that of cleaning and water circulation.
Cleaning refers to all three processes of filtration (mechanical, chemical and biological) which help keep the tank environment clear and healthy for your fish.
Water circulation helps in aerating your aquarium and keeping the water rich in oxygen. Aquariums as small as 10-gallons also have a problem with the temperature dropping or rising too quickly so, keeping the water circulating constantly can help solve this problem.
How do I maintain my 10-gallon aquarium filter?
All you really have to do is perform regular maintenance and ensure the filtration media gets replaced when needed.
Monthly oilings to the impeller and motor are also a great way to keep it running smoothly and increase your filter’s life.
Is an air pump necessary with my filter in a 10-gallon aquarium?
Most aquarium filters, if not all, come equipped with some sort of circulation system that is able to pump water into them where they can pass it up through their membranes and then release it back into the aquarium.
While an air pump is absolutely not a necessity in a 10-gallon aquarium with a filter, you can still add one or even more if you want additional water circulation in your fish tank.
Should my 10-gallon aquarium filter always be on?
Yes. A filter is not a piece of equipment that you can turn off when you go to sleep at night. It needs to be working 24/7 in order to be effective at keeping your aquarium’s environment safe and healthy for your fish.
What are the most reliable brands when it comes to 10-gallon aquarium filters?
Some of the most reputable brands that have made a name for themselves over the years are:
- Aqua Clear
Can my fish survive in a 10-gallon aquarium without a filter?
While it’s true that a lot of fish can survive in a 10-gallon aquarium without a filter if you perform adequate water changes regularly, they would not be living a life where they are happy and thriving. If you want your fish to grow effectively and be alert and happy, we definitely recommend that you invest in a filter for your 10-gallon aquarium.
10-gallon aquariums are very popular among beginner fishkeepers so it’s important you do your research to get a filter that helps you start your fishkeeping journey on the right foot.
After a lot of speculation, we’ve concluded the NO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter as the best 10-gallon aquarium filter. It blew us away with its incredible build quality when we took it out of the box and it blew us away again when we plugged it in and gauged its performance.
And now, we’re at the end of our post for the best 10-gallon aquarium filters.
Let us know in the comments what filter you’re using for your 10-gallon aquarium.