Stephen is an owner of several aquarium supplies shops in New York. Like no one else, he knows how to pick the perfect fish tank or any aquarium accessory from pump to artificial decorative plants.
Last updated: August 12, 2022
Picked By Fish is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Having a small aquarium that fits in your home is fun. It will not take too much space in the home, and you still get to have fish in the tank. The only issue comes in if you have no ideas which filter to use. Getting the wrong filter might hurt your fish or create a mess in the room. As such, you need to know how to choose the right filter for your 30-gallon aquarium.
One of the features we looked at is how powerful the filter is. When owning a filter, you must know it can get the job done. The flow rate will affect how well your filter works. It will also ensure that you do not have to worry about needing to get a replacement soon enough. The flow rate also determines the fish you get to keep. If you have a very powerful filter, then you need to keep bigger fish, so they do not get harmed in any way. Another feature we looked at when choosing the best filters for a 30-gallon aquarium is the additional features like multi-filters and the quietness of the filters. All these go a long way to ensure that you have a functional filter. If you have no idea what to look out for in a filter, look no further. Here are the top filters in the market and why they would work for you.
"The Tetra Whisper IQ filter can start with no priming, reducing the hassle of setting it up. It also maintains the right pH balance in your water, so you can rest easy knowing your water is clean throughout."
"The Fluval C2 Power Filter is perfect for you if you have no idea what kind of water you have in your home. It works perfectly with salty and fresh water and will eliminate both small and big debris. It is perfect for both fresh and marine fish."
"If the major issue in your aquarium is organic waste, then this AQUATICLIFE 115 Mini Internal Protein Skimmer/Filter is the best option for you. It is also very easy to install, making it easy to use."
"The Aqueon Quietflow works best because it offers mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. It is also self-priming, so you do not have to worry about starting it up each time there is a power interruption."
"The AQQA filter offers multiple filtrations to ensure your aquarium has no debris. It also has an adjustable water flow valve that will regulate the water’s pressure. You can use it with both small and big fish."
Top 10 Filters for 30-Gallon Aquariums Reviewed in 2022
More features: Easy to install, the optimal mechanism
The Aquaclear Fish Tank Filter stands out because it efficiently cleans out debris. It has a three-stage filtration system that ensures all the debris is cleaned out. It is also very powerful, so you can be sure no dirt or dust will be left behind. Most aquariums with bigger fish find it very efficient since you do not have to clean out the tank every so often.
We gave this filter the editors’ award due to its overall performance. The filter pump is powerful enough, so the entire tank will be cleaned. You do not have to worry about getting back to clean it. We also love that it has 3-stage filtration, which most filters in the market lack.
The AquaClear fish tank comes with activated carbon, different from the AQUA-TECH Power Aquarium Filter’s carbon surface. As such, you get better quality water in the long run. The activated carbon is made of superior quality, which makes the filtration process even better for you.
What are its best features?
It is powerful enough to clean the entire aquarium
More features: ultra-quiet, flow regulation handle, filter basket, UV sterilizer
The one thing you will notice with this filter is it has premium quality features. Aside from having a powerful filtering feature, it also has a UV bulb feature that helps kill bacteria in the water. The filter is quiet yet so powerful, and most people like it because of this. If the bulb gets spoilt, you can always replace it since that is no big deal.
We chose this as our premium filter because of how great it is for working. It can be used in an aquarium in your bedroom because it is quiet. We also love that it can be used with a bigger aquarium even though it is meant for the 30-gallon size.
Compared to the AQUA-TECH Power Aquarium Filter, the only difference is that it does not have a carbon surface. As such, one will not get the perks the layer of carbon comes with. Most users prefer Aquatech because of the carbon, although the UV light feature in this filter still makes it stand out.
Why did it make our list?
It is quiet
It comes with the UV light feature
What is not ideal about it?
The tubing sometimes gets cut off, which interrupts the water flow
The Marineland Penguin 200 is a great filter if you need powerful suction. The multistage filtration makes it easier to use since it removes all the debris from the aquarium. While some people think it can be loud, you must ensure you read the manual and set it up well. It runs with a very low hum after proper installation. You will not even realize it is there in the first place.
We love this filter because, based on its price, you will get value for your money. It is powerful and has a bio-wheel that helps with wet and dry biological filtration. We also love that it has multi-filtration, which ensures that the water in your aquarium stays clear.
The only difference this filter has with the AQUATICLIFE 115 Mini Internal Protein Skimmer/Filter is its difficulty installing it. Most users have complained that the Marineland filter can be hard to use because it is complex to install. Needing that extra help can be costly, and most people do not want to pay that price. Once you get it installed, however, you can be sure you’ll get value for your money.
More features: stay clean technology, quiet, self-priming, for freshwater and marine fish
There is nothing as annoying as having to restart your water filter whenever there is a power outage or when you install it after cleaning. The Tetra Whisper IQ Power Filter ensures you do not have to do that. It has a self-priming feature that makes it easy to start once you install it. It can also be used in fresh and salty water, so you are not limited in the kind of fish you want in your aquarium. The filter is very quiet, making it perfect for most rooms in your home.
We picked this filter because of its versatility. The filter works so well with salty and fresh water, giving an aquarium owner the freedom to choose which fish to keep. We also love that it is quiet, so one does not have to worry about the notice filter makes when running.
Compared to Fluval C2 Power Filter, it is the better version because it works with salty and fresh water. Most filters can only work with one kind of filter, which can be limiting. Having a filter that can do both is a great steal and advantage. You do not have to worry about it not working for you in the long run.
More features: filter cartridge floss screens out dirt
One of the things you will get from the AQUA-TECH Power Aquarium Filter is an easy-to-maintain piece. The filter has three-stage filtration, ensuring the water is free of debris. The filter is not so loud, so you do not have to worry about being too noisy in the house. Its price makes it perfect if you have a smaller tank that needs constant filtration.
We picked the AQUA TECH filter because it is easy to use. You do not have to worry about it since it works with minimal maintenance. The filter also has a larger carbon surface ratio, improving your water quality. Despite the noise, it can still be used in rooms with people since it is not so loud.
The one thing that makes this filter stand out from the AMOSIJOY Canister Filter is that the AQUA-TECH Power Aquarium Filter has a carbon surface. With this, you get better water quality which most people might not get with their filters.
More features: for both fresh and salt water, adjustable flow
The Fluvial C2 power filter is one of the new designs in the market that people are slowly embracing. They are great for salty and freshwater aquariums, giving you options on the kind of fish you want to keep. The stages of filtration it offers ensure that your aquarium stays clean at all times.
We liked this filter because it can be used for fresh and salty water. You do not have to worry about getting different species of fish you get to keep. Another great perk of this filter is it is built to last. Reviews left by users show that it can be used for years without needing replacing. The water in your aquarium will stay clear throughout.
Just like the Tetra Whisper IQ Power Filter, it can be used for salty and fresh water. It makes getting this filter even more worth it. Very few filters in the market can allow for this, so this is a great steal. Coupled with the adjustable flow of water, you can be sure you are getting a great steal with this filter.
More features: for saltwater aquarium, powerful, easy to install, needle-wheel impeller
One of the things you will notice with the Aquaticlife filer is it can be used with salty water. There are very few salty water filters in the market, so this feature makes it stand out. The filter is also inexpensive making it perfect for you if you are on a tight budget. Most users prefer this because they get great value for their money.
We love this filter because of its amazing price. We also love that it is a saltwater filter that is hard to come by. The filter is easy to install as well, which, in our thinking, is perfect poor anyone new to using aquarium filters
Compared to the MarineLand Penguin 200 Power Filter, the AQUATICLIFE filter is easier to install. That makes it the perfect filter for newbies who would like to install their own filter without needing help, the MarineLand Penguin 200 Power Filter might have a filter, but more people are drawn to the AQUATICLIFE version.
More features: LED indicator, self-priming, internal pump design
The Aqeoun QuietFlow is one of the quietest filters on the market. The self-priming filter comes in handy when there is a power surge, or you are in a rush to install it. The design is also simple, so anyone can use it, and it is inexpensive, making it worth your money. If you are looking for a filter in your bedroom aquarium, you should check out Aqeoun. You will sleep like a baby with it running.
We love the Aqeoun filter because of the multistage filtration filter. Due to its super quiet nature, you do not have to worry about any distraction to you or the people around you. We also love the fact that it is self-priming, so you do not have to worry about needing to restart it in case of a blackout. As long as you have it installed, the filter will work perfectly.
Even though filters like AMOSIJOY Canister Filter are quiet, nothing beats the Aqeoun filter. Most users claim it is quieter than the hum of a laptop fan. Using this filter in your home means you no longer have to worry about the constant purring of the filter in the background. Your filter will work fine without interfering with your other activities in the house or room.
More features: adjustable, four-nozzle, 180-day warranty
One of the reasons why most people love this filter is it is submersible. As such, you can rest easy knowing there will be no sound of rushing water when using it. It can also get adjusted to suit whatever aquarium you are using. Most people find it easy to assemble and disassemble, making it perfect for those times when you need to change a few changes to your filter.
We love this filter because it is submersible. It reduces the sound of flowing water in the house, so you won’t have to bear with the filtering noise. It also has different noddle lengths and sizes, and you can use this based on the kind of aquarium you have.
When compared to the AQQA Aquarium internal filter, which is submersible, you get better features with the No17. It has nozzles that can be adjusted based on what you want them to do. You do not have to worry that they will not work for you or your home. The filter will fit in most tanks and is still powerful enough to deal with any issues.
More features: submersible, adjustable water flow, ultra-silent
The great thing about the AQQA filter is that it is submersible. It has a flow regulator, so you get to change it based on the setting you want it in. The compartments make it versatile and easier for you to use. The AQQA filer has great suction power, so you do not have to worry about it coming off when attached to the tank.
We chose the AQQA because of the flow regulation. We loved the fact that you do not have to worry about the water flow being too much. It is also very silent, so you do not have to worry about it being too loud in the room. We also love the great suction it has since that means it will not come off of the tank while running.
Just like the No17 filter, the AQQA filter is submersible. The one thing you will get with this filter is adjustable flow rates. You do not have to feel like the speed or force is too slow. That makes it easy to clean out even bigger and dirtier tanks.
What are our favorite features?
It has adjustable flow rates
What could be better?
Adjusting the force takes a while
Things to Consider
Buying a filter can be daunting, especially if you do not know what you need to look out for. To help you decide, we have written a buying guide. We have also included a few features you need to look out for when choosing the right filter.
There are several features you need to consider when choosing the right filter. Top of the list is the type of filter, the noise rate, the flow rate, the tank size, and the installation process. Let’s take a detailed look at how these features affect the quality of the tank.
Type of filter
Knowing what design you need goes a long way to ensure you have a filter you can use.
The one thing you need to consider when buying a filter is the kind you buy. Brands are different, and they will all have different perks. For instance, the Fluval C2 Power Filter can be used for fresh and salty water, while the AQUATICLIFE 115 Mini Internal Protein Skimmer/Filter is only fit for salty water. Such things might seem trivial, but they will go a long way in ensuring you get a filter that works for you. It also helps if you know whether your filter is submersible or not. Submersibles like AQQA Aquarium Internal Filter are preferred because of how efficient they are when it comes to reducing the sound of water passing through them. They also work best with smaller tanks.
The flow rate affects how fast a dirty aquarium can get cleaned. It also affects how much force your filter produces when it is working. If you are unsure of all this, you might end up harming your fish. Filters like AMOSIJOY Canister Filter have adjustable flow rates, making it easier for you to choose a filter that works with your aquarium. You will not have to worry that your fish will not be okay.
The main reason you pick a filter is to filter out all the debris that builds up in the water. As such, getting a quality filter beats the whole point of wanting to filter your aquarium in the first place. To help ensure all the debris is out of the water, most people use filters like Aqueon QuietFlow have multiple stages of filtration. They work best because one does not have to worry that the water will still have debris. If you have a bigger aquarium, you might also consider getting a filter like NO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter that works with different size aquariums. That way, you have something that works perfectly for you.
The other thing you need to look at is the tank capacity of the filter you are using.
Most filters claim to be able to work with bigger aquariums when they do not. For this reason, you must ensure you get the right size for your home. Filters like NO.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter can still be used with bigger tanks even though they are meant for 30gallon aquariums. They will give you value for your money even when you need to upgrade your aquarium.
Ensure that the filter is powerful enough to get the aquarium clean yet gentle enough that it does not draw in fish. That way, you are sure you are getting a good deal.
The other thing you need to look at is the filter size. While most people prefer smaller filters because they are not bulky, it could work against it. Ensure you get a big enough filter so you have no worries when it comes to the efficiency it comes with. If you have a small tank, then a submersible like AQQA Aquarium Internal Filter will work for you because it is not so bulky that you feel it will damage the tank. As long as it has a high enough flow rate, you can rest assured you are using the right filter size, even for a submersible.
When it comes to noise, you first need to remember that every filter will have to remember every filter comes with some buzz or hum. All you need to remember is to get a quiet filter, so you do not have to hear it every time. Some filters like the AMOSIJOY Canister Filter are so quiet you barely notice. The hum almost feels like white noise. Such filters are perfect for you if you want to use your filter in the living room or bedroom. They can keep running in the background without interrupting conversation or making it hard for you to sleep.
When all is said and done, you must ensure you can install your filter without an issue. One of the things many people struggle with is assembling a filter. While most filters are easy to figure out, some come with complex parts and instructions. Since most of them are poorly installed, it can be hard for you to figure out how to reduce the noise the filter emits or how to ensure the suction stay after installation. Getting an easy-to-install filter will ensure this happens.
Even though it sounds complicated, it is much simpler than you think. Most people who have used the filter admit that installing it is simple. Here are the steps to flow when installing your filter.
Line up all your pieces to ensure there is no missing piece. You might need your manual to countercheck this.
Use one hand to grab the holding tank and the other to attach the inflow tube inside the tank. You might need to adjust it so it is in the right place.
Attach the tube to the inflow tube.
Insert the smaller filter into the tubing in the holding tank.
Insert the filter cartridge into the holding tank.
Fill the holding tank up to three quarters with cold, clean water.
Attach the filter to the back of the aquarium. Ensure it is firmly attached so the filter does not move when working. Some people recommend gluing the filter to the tank or getting more powerful suction cups.
It is recommended that you change your filter anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. Your filter traps algae and debris, and when left for too long, you end up with a filter that is not functioning. Most filters come with cartridges that can be replaced every couple of months. Despite that, you need to take out your filter and clean out all the debris. That way, no debris will be pumped back into the tank, which will cause the water to be cloudy.
Cleaning out the filter is pretty simple. All you need to do is remove the filter, remove the debris, and rinse it in clean water. Put the filter back into the water and observe how well it filters afterward. It will go a long way to ensure your tank stays clean.
Yes, you must clean your aquarium even when using a filter. Many people think the filter will do all the work for you, but that is not true. Every once in a while, there will be debris in the water that a filter cannot remove. As such, it is recommended that you regularly clean out your aquarium to reduce the buildup of dirt. Doing this ensures that your filter keeps working efficiently, and you do not have to worry about changing the cartridge more often. It also removes any debris your filter might not have removed.
When cleaning out your aquarium, simply take out your fish and put them in a bowl or different tank, uninstall the filter, then clean out the tank and pour in clean water. Once that is done, set up your filter and ensure it runs before you bring back the fish.
Of all the filters above, we had our top three picks in the categories editors’ choice, the best value, and premium pick. By taking the time to learn about these filters, you can make an informed decision when buying a filter for your home. Our editor’s choice is the AquaClear Fish Tank Filter because of how powerful it is. Most filters on the market have issues when cleaning out debris, but you do not have to worry about that. The AquaClear Fish Tank Filter comes with activated carbon, which makes it easier to ensure the dirt in the water is completely removed. When using this filter, there is no need to go back and clean the aquarium every so often.
Our best value filter was the MarineLand Penguin 200 Power Filter. Even with this price, it still delivers on quality. Most cheap filters can cost you more in terms of the time it takes to clean the water and how often you should wash the filter. The MarineLand Penguin 200 Power Filter is efficient, so there is nothing much to worry about it. It makes the perfect filter when you are on a tight budget.
Our premium pick is the AMOSIJOY Canister Filter. It is a very quiet yet powerful filter. While it might be costly, the value you get from it is worth it. If you are looking for a silent filter, you will not even realize it is working. Go for the AMOSIJOY Canister Filter if you want functionality and convenience. The list above has a detailed guide on the best filters for 30-gallon aquariums for your needs. Peruse through it and pick what works for you and your aquarium.
The effects of interacting with fish in aquariums on human health and well-being: A systematic review - PMC
Some research has associated viewing fish in aquariums with positive well-being outcomes; as there is no physical contact with the animal, this form of interaction carries less risk. At present, little is known about the specific benefits of human-fish interaction.
Frontiers | The Art of Aquarium Keeping Communicates Science and Conservation | Communication
In technology-driven societies, scientists, and educators alike flounder in making science interesting and applicable. Communicating science, defined as communicating scientific facts as well as teaching and using the scientific process, can also be done informally though leisure activities. In this qualitative study, I examined the leisure activity of aquarium keeping and its ability to communicate relative aquatic facts and processes.