The 10 Best Filter for 30 Gallon Tank in 2023 (Reviews and Buying Guide)

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An as an aquarist, you want the best environment for your fishes. Having a filter in your tank is a must as the water needs to be cleaned continuously. The filter screens out the debris and toxins and makes your tank water clean and secure.

Even small aquariums like 30-gallon ones require filters. Some people think smaller tanks don’t need filters to keep it clean since there are few fishes. But, without good filtering, the water will get dirty, and your fishes will be riddled with germs.

How do you find the best filter for 30 gallon tank with hundreds of choices to choose from? We have gathered the best filters in the market and reviewed them for you. So, let’s dive right in!


Best Pick and Budget Pick

Best Pick 

Our best pick for the best filter for a 30 gallon tank is the Aqueon QuietFlow filter. It has an impressive 200 GPH flow rate and can handle 30-gallon tanks with ease. What makes it even better is its durability. You can control the water flow rate to suit your tank’s needs.

On top of all those qualities, it also ensures a soundless operation. The self-primer feature puts it above all other water tanks. It tracks your filter cleaning schedule and alerts you with a LED indicator. You will receive the best service for your 30-gallon tank from this premium quality filter.


Budget Pick 

If you have a small budget for tank filters and searching for a cost-efficient product, the Marineland Penguin filter is the answer to your dilemma. It is one of the best filters for small tanks, and it costs much lower than other filters. This filter has a flow rate of 150 GPH and uses a 3 phase process to filter.

The patented biofiltration removes toxic elements while the Black Diamond carbon keeps your aquarium clear and odorless. It is a very efficient product. The filter set comes with all required items for set-up, which makes this device extremely budget-friendly.


Top 10 Best Filter for 30 Gallon Tank 

Everyone has their own choices and needs when it comes to tank filters. We have analyzed the best qualities of each tank and listed their benefits and drawbacks. Let’s read ahead!


1. Aqueon QuietFlow Filters 

Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters, Size 30-200GPH
  • Provides mechanical, chemical, biological filtration plus additional assistance with the Aqueon specialty filter pads
  • Self-priming – starts up automatically after cleaning or power interruptions.


Aqueon Quiet flow filters are one of the best filters for 30 gallon tank you will ever encounter. It can handle tanks up to 45-gallon, meaning at 30-gallon, it will work with excellent proficiency.

The GPH is very high at 200, which means it can filter your 30-gallon tank several times per hour. It is highly durable, as well. You can also adjust the water flow to your liking, which is super important. Its cartridges contain filtration media.

If you want a soundproof filter for your tank, this is a great option to consider. Since your tank filter will be running 24/7 or most of the day, you need a soundless filter. This is a device that will work so quietly; you won’t notice its presence.

Some of the best features of this filter are the LED indicator and the self-primer. The LED indicator tracks the maintenance days and shows when you need to clean the cartridge. Since it’s a self-priming filter, there’s less labor for you.

It is perfect for small aquariums because it is of hang on the back design. These filters are easy to set up as there’s no need to spare space in your tank. You can just place it on the side walls.



  • LED light tracker and indicator
  • Automatic primer
  • High GPH rating
  • Activated good quality carbon
  • Low maintenance



  • Higher price
  • Prone to vibration


2. Marineland Penguin Power Filter 

MarineLand Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter
  • WITH ROTATING BIO-WHEEL: Patented Bio-Wheel technology provides excellent wet/dry biological filtration.
  • MULTI-STAGE FILTRATION: Delivers mechanical, chemical and biological aquarium filtration to maintain a clean aquatic...


If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your tank filter, consider this filter for your tank. The Penguin filter is different from other Marineland products as it offers an excellent service for a lower price. It costs less than 20 dollars and half of most tank filters.

But what makes this filter one of the best filters for a 30 gallon tank is the good GPH. The flow rate of the Penguin filter of 30-gallon tanks is 150. You can depend on it to keep a clean and safe environment for your marine life.

This device has a 3-stage filtration method. One of the best features is the chemical filtration process using the Black Diamond Premium Activated Carbon. You need the carbon to keep your tank thoroughly clean. It also stops the terrible smell and discoloration of the water.  

The biological filtration technique uses the patented BIO-Wheel, which eradicates nitrite and ammonia. This way, the helpful bacteria can grow amply and assist in the biological filtration.

This filter is highly efficient and functional. It is also effortless to set up and comes with all initial media. You can be sure that this filter will thoroughly screen out the debris in your tank.



  • 3-stage filtration
  • Patented BIO-Wheel for bacteria growth
  • Premium quality carbon medium to avoid odor
  • Easy set-up process
  • Less costly than other filters



  • Not durable
  • The filter is loud and draws attention.


3. Seachem Tidal 35 Filter 

Seachem Tidal Power Aquarium Filter - 35 Gallon Large Fish Tank Filter
  • FLOW REGULATION: The fully adjustable flow regulation feature on the Tidal Power Filter adjusts performance to a...
  • SURFACE SKIMMER: The surface skimmer on the Tidal Power Filter will capture the water from just below the surface, where...


The Seachem Tidal filter is a product made for comfort. With its 130 GPH power and large media compartment, it guarantees a clean and clear aquarium. You can take advantage of the soundproof internal motor. 

You can fill the large media section with all three types of media matter- mechanical, chemical, and biological. Since the unit is so spacious, you can try out different mixes of media filters. This way, you can find out which combination suits your need the best.

However, the filter’s internal motor makes it one of the best filters for a 30 gallon tank. How does this motor stand out? You never have to prime this filter, which means the hassle of adding water to the filter to activate the vacuum is no longer a necessity.

Since the vacuum pump’s position is underwater, it starts the suction process instantly. The internal motor also ensures quiet operation. If your power goes out, this filter will back itself up.

This filter uses a multi-stage filtration technique. Note that it is not safe for shrimps and works best for fish tanks. You can’t use this in a shrimp or smaller marine creature aquarium as the surface skimmer may suction in them.



  • The media compartment is spacious
  • No hassle of priming
  • Internal motor
  • Quiet working process
  • Self-backup


  • The surface skimmer can vacuum smaller creatures
  • The skimmer can’t be disabled.


4. AquaClear 30 Power Filter


Aqua Clear - Fish Tank Filter
  • Aquarium filtration system that offers superior contact time with filter media and energy efficient pump lowers...
  • Quick and easy installation; we recommend that you clean aquarium filter every 2 weeks for maximum operation and...


AquaClear’s fantastic filter is one of the best filters for a 30 gallon tank. This particular model can handle up to 50-gallon aquariums. So, you can be sure that it will be highly efficient in your 30-gallon tank.

The impressive 200 GPH means that this filter can screen out your 30-gallon tank seven times per hour. This filter allows you to adjust the flow rate so you can customize it to your tank’s preference. It also comes with all required filter media products.

Another great feature is the hang on design. It needs very little space. The setting up process is relatively easy as you can pop it over the side walls. You only need to attach the built-in clamps on the aquarium rim.

Your marine life will get to have a larger area to roam in the 30-gallon tight tank. The filter design makes it easy to maintain as the cleaning process is more straightforward than most. However, it does need to be cleaned quite often.

It is also a soundless operating filter. One of the massive plus points is that it consumes less energy than most filters, and it will not drastically increase your electricity bill.



  • High GPH
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Requires a small area
  • 3-stage filtration
  • Comes with necessary media items



  • The exterior isn’t very sturdy
  • The external motor is prone to malfunction.


5. Tetra Whisper Filter

Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums
  • WHISPER QUIET The Tetra Whisper EX Power Filter provides silent multi-stage filtration for clear clean water
  • FAST SETUP Sets up easily right out of the box – no priming required


If you’re looking for a quiet operating filter, you should check this one out. This filter can work in a soundless manner. It also creates a continuous water flow and ensures maximum oxygenation. You can use it for turtle tanks as well.

There’s only one filter cartridge, and it is low-maintenance. You don’t have to worry about remembering when to change the cartridge as the filter’s Timestrip tech will remind you.

All three filtration stages take place in that one cartridge. The bio-scrubber feature removes nitrite and ammonia and creates a disease environment for your fishes. It removes all types of debris and remnants from the tank water.

It has a hang on design, meaning it requires no extra space in the aquarium. You don’t have to position it inside the tank but rather hang it on the side walls. This way, your fishes can have as much space as they can get inside a small tank.

The design also makes it easy to install as you only have to place it over the rim of the tank and secure it with screws. It is genuinely a filter made for comfort. All these factors put it in the best filter for a 30 gallon tank list. 



  • Continuous water flow
  • Bio scrubber removes toxic elements
  • No space for installation
  • Timestrip tech indicator
  • 3-in-1 filter cartridge



  • Can’t handle huge bio-media load
  • Frequent cartridge change


6. Fluval C Power Filter

Fluval C Power Filter
  • 5-stage clip-on power filter designed for freshwater and saltwater aquariums between 10 and 30 gallons
  • Two mechanical stages trap large and fine debris, foams easily slide out for quick cleaning


The Fluval C Power series offers a 5-stage filtration process. Its extensive cleaning method is sure to leave your aquarium water clean and clear. This filter is one of the best filters for 30 gallon tank you will find on the market.

This filter has been designed for excellent water flow and quality. The 30-gallon tank filters have a flow rate of 119 GPH, and it has the capacity for 35-gallon tanks. Sometimes smaller fishes or delicate creatures require a lower flow rate.

You can adjust this filter’s flow rate and reduce it. Decreasing the flow rate won’t affect the filtration method. The clip-on design makes it easy to maintain. It delivers a stress-free environment for your marine life by filtering very proficiently.

Some of the functionalities include the ceramic heater and clip-on design. The heater provides an even heat circulation, which helps you clean your tank. Its polyfoam indicator feature is a winner in our eyes as it tracks and shows you when you need to clean.

Cleaning tanks quite often isn’t possible for every marine life. If you need a highly efficient product that is also low-maintenance, this is the filter for you. It will keep your tank in top shape as it is highly capable.



  • Clip-on design
  • Low-maintenance
  • Highly functional
  • Can reduce the flow rate
  • Ceramic heater



  • Very noisy operation
  • A bit wobbly


7. Penn Plax Hangon Aquarium Filter 

Penn-Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter with Quad Filtration System
  • QUIET & EFFICIENT: The Cascade 150 Power Hang-On Filter quietly delivers crystal clear water throughout the aquarium....
  • ACCOMMODATING: The adjustable flow knob allows for increased or decreased water flow at will, which is extremely helpful...


If you want quad filtration for your aquarium, then check out the Penn Plax Hang-on filter. It offers additional bio-falls filtration and keeps your tank clear and disease-free. This filter is perfect for tanks of 20 gallons to 35-gallon volume.

One of the traits that make this device one of the best filters for 30 gallon tank is the poly fiber floss cartridge. This cartridge can stop every type of remnants you can think of. It also has activated carbon media, which removes toxic elements and discoloration of the tank water.

Since the carbon works so efficiently and keeps the water smell free, you don’t have to clean the tank water very often. If those features weren’t enough, this filter is also straightforward to assemble.

This device’s maximum flow rate is 150 GPH, which is impressive for its size. There’s also an adjustable flow valve which you can control to suit your need. The media cartridges are double-sided and easily replaceable.

The bio-falls remove all nitrate and ammonia from the tank water and keep it safe for your fishes. It maximizes oxygenation inside the tank. This filter’s bio sponge cartridge increases the growth of anaerobic bacteria.



  • Adjustable ball valve
  • Floss cartridge filter
  • Activated carbon prevents odor
  • Bio-fall removes toxin
  • Bio sponge grows ample beneficial bacteria.



  • Not durable
  • Complaints about broken and missing parts in the package


8. Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter 

Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter
  • CASCADE 500 CANISTER FILTER: Without effort, the Cascade 500 Canister Filter quietly delivers crystal clear water...
  • STATE OF THE ART FEATURES: In addition to the push button primer that allows for a simple and quick prime, this Canister...


Penn Plax is one of the most reliable names in the pet product market. They undoubtedly make fantastic filters for tanks, and this filter has a 3-stage process. Their 30-gallon tank has a flow rate of 115 GPH.

You can use it in both saltwater and freshwater tanks. The 115 GPH means that this filter can screen the water of your 30-gallon aquarium four times per hour. It is highly efficient but also durable with a hard exterior.

The filter’s 360 rotating flow valves make it one of the best filters for 30 gallon tank you will ever find. You can maneuver the valves easily, even in the smallest water tanks. It also comes with two media trays. You can customize them according to your needs.

There’s a button-activated primer, and it is competent. This filter also boasts a spray bar, filter medium, and steering jet. The maintenance method is simple, as you can easily remove the valves.

Meaning you don’t have to take out the hose and intake-output while cleaning. The installation process is straightforward, as well. This filter set comes with all necessary parts for installation, so you no need for extra purchase.



  • 3-stage filtration
  • Easy installation
  • Adjustable 360 rotating ball valves
  • Simple cleaning method
  • Button push activated primer


  • The filter media is tough to find
  • The design isn’t fashionable


9. YCTECH HangOnBack Aquarium Filter 

YCTECH 20-50 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank Hang Filter with Surface Skimmer 3 Stage Water Air Skim Filter Pump, 211 GPH Adjustable/Flow Biological Filtration Oxygen Circulation Wall Mounted Filter
  • Practical: Advanced 3 step filtration Biological and mechanical filtration. Box includes active carbon and bio media...
  • Adjustable: lengthened water inlet pipe, the length adjustable range is between 3-16 inch, which is suitable for...

 If you prefer a low-maintenance aquarium filter at an affordable price, YCETCH hang-on filter is the answer to your needs. The flow rate of this filter is awe-inspiring at 211 GPH. It comes with a surface skimmer that screens out every little debris.

The flow rate is adjustable, and the design of the water outlet is brilliant. It provides a soundless operation, and you won’t even notice it in the aquarium. This filter is ideal for aquariums between 20 to 50 gallons.

One of the qualities that filter one of the best filters for a 30 gallon tank is the adjustable water intake pipe. The length can be controlled between 3-16 inches, which is perfect if you have a tall tank.

The filter comes with bio media and activated carbon. This is a 3-stage filtration filter. Its filtration process and the surface skimmer sieve out waste, remnants, and chemicals. You can also adjust the flow control of the skimmer.

You can use it for both saltwater or freshwater. They hang on the back design, which makes it easy to install. You need to prime the filter before using it. However, it is not very durable as it only has a one-year warranty.


  • Impressive flow rate
  • Surface skimmer for screening
  • Controllable water hose
  • Easy set-up
  • Comes with all necessary items


  • Not durable; one-year warranty
  • Needs time to adjust


10. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter 

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums, Fast Maintenance
  • 3-STAGE FILTRATION: Water flows through media layers to filter water and ensure a clean aquatic environment.
  • VERSATILE: For freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

This product is a fantastic canister filter that is perfect as it has an extensive bio-media capacity. It’s the best feature is the canister lid. The lids make the filter stand out among the others and put it in the best filter for a 30 gallon tank list.

The canister lids make the filter watertight. It prevents leaks as avoiding leaks in-tank filters are vital for its operation. The covers are also direction neutral. Which means you can put them whichever way and it will fit.

It comes with bio-balls and ceramic rings. Your filter needs these items as they can create a healthy environment for biological growth. Without the proper biological filtration, your tank’s bio spires won’t grow.

If all those aspects weren’t enough to confuse you, this filter also boasts the Black Diamond Carbon. This carbon prevents discoloration of tank water and keeps it odorless. It removes other debris and impurities as well.

The filter is suitable for saltwater and freshwater aquariums. You can load the massive media trays in this canister filter with three types of filtration media, especially a large amount of bio-media. This filter’s maintenance process is quite complex compared to the rest of the filters in this list.



  • Good quality carbon media
  • Silent working process
  • Defense against leaks
  • Large media tray
  • Affordable



  • Requires more maintenance
  • Not too strong


Buying Guide for best filters for 30 gallon fish tank:

If you don’t know which features you should look for in a filter, don’t worry. We have listed some of the factors you should know before buying a tank filter.


Filtration Process 

Don’t assume just because your tank is small; it won’t require heavy filtering. The best filter for a 30 gallon tank is the one that has at least 3 stage filtration processes. Your tank filter must have mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.

This way, your tank water can be free of toxic chemical elements, ammonia and nitrate, debris, waste, and even the smallest remnants. Some filters have more than three stages but check the additional steps carefully to see if they are actual stages or just advertisements.


Filter Size

The filter size is essential since 30-gallon tanks are small, to begin with. You need a product with a slim fit that is sturdy but efficient. Filters that don’t take up much space in the aquariums are the ones you should go for. Hang on back filters offer such services.

You want your fishes and other marine creatures to roam freely. So, you need to be aware of the filter’s size when you choose. External filters like hanging on back ones or canister filters take up space outside the tank and use minimal interior area.


Flow Rate 

The filtration unit’s size also determines its flow rate. The GPH of a filter is crucial as you want your tank to be cleaned at least thrice an hour. GPH stands for Gallon Per Hour, and it means how the maximum gallons that the filter can screen per hour.

Since 30-gallon tanks are small, you can use filters that have 90-220 GPH. Having the option to adjust the flow rate is also necessary. If you have a delicate marine life that needs calm water flow, you need to reduce the speed to create a healthy environment.



This factor depends on your marine environment, and the time you can devote to your aquarium. Some filters are low maintenance. If you have a marine life that can’t be disturbed frequently, consider those filters. Some filters require more cleaning effort than its actual functionality time, don’t buy those.



Tank filters are quite expensive, and even the most affordable ones cost more than other pet products. The reason for that is this is not a product that needs to be replaced every month or so, which is why you need a filter that will last you at least a year or even longer.



While this trait isn’t the most vital, it does have its merits. The convenient features you want in your filter depends upon your tank’s needs. Some filters have light indicators to notify when it needs to be cleaned. This is a handy feature for aquarists.

While some filters like Aqueon QuietFlow have self-primers that lessen your work. After you power it on, it starts cleaning and eliminates the need for manual priming.




1. What is the best 30gallon filter?

There is no best filter as it all comes down to your personal choices. Think about all the listed factors and see which ones match your needs.


2. What is the best filter size for a 30gallon filter?

Since your tank size is limited, you need a filter on the smaller size or something that doesn’t require much space. Hang on the back filter is perfect.


3. What flow rate does my filter 30gallon filter need?

For your 30-gallon aquarium, you need at least 90 GPH. However, 100-220 GPH will work fantastically.


4. What GPH do I need for a 30gallon reef?

Reefs are more flow rate sensitive. They need more GPH than freshwater tanks as the water needs to be filtered 5 to 8 times an hour. So, you should look for filters with 150-240 GPH.


5. How frequently should I maintain my filter?

Filters need routine changes. You need to replace the carbon every few months.


6. Can I buy the filter made for a bigger size?

It is not suggested. The most you can do is filters for 50-gallon tanks.


7. How should I handle strong water flow?

Some have adjustable water flows. If yours don’t, you can place a sponge on the water flow opening.


8. Should I buy the filter set with all the required items?

This choice comes down to your preferences as well. It would be better if you did buy the whole set together.


9. What if I have small fishes or shrimps?

You should check whether the filter is shrimp friendly or not. Since some have a surface skimmer, shrimps tend to get sucked in.


10. When should I change my water for a nonfilter tank?

In such instances, try to change 10-20% of the water every week.



I trust that you’ve understood which factors to look for and which you must avoid. Remember that not every filter will work with all types of marine creatures. Consider the installation and maintenance process as well because you could be stuck with an incompatible filter.

When it comes to buying the best filter for a 30 gallon tank, you need to check for size, GPH, and the filtration process above everything. Then you have to match your needs to the additional features. Choose the best fit for your tank to give your marine pets a safe and healthy environment to live in.

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