The Top 8 Best Filter for 40 Gallon Tank in 2023

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Keeping fishes can always be tricky when working with a medium tank like a 40 gallon fish tank. Filters are an essential component of a tank and are responsible for maintaining your fishes’ perfect and healthy life inside the aquarium. Aquarium and fish tank filters help clean and sanitize tank water, eliminating fish squander, old food, fish waste, and other harmful compounds like ammonia. Filters come in different shapes and sizes, each offering something unique. It is essential for you to know what are your requirements while selecting the best filters. Choosing the perfect filter for a medium tank like a 40 gallon tank can be bothersome.

Nonetheless, not everyone can carry out their task consummately, so it comes down to having the correct data. Before you can pick the perfect filter, it is imperative to see how it functions and its abilities. Hence down below, I will be reviewing the best filter for 40 gallon tanks.


Different Types of Aquarium filters

Before I go down to reviewing the best filter for 40 gallon tank, you must understand well about different types of filters. This will help you in your conquest to find the best filter for a 40 gallon tank easily.

Undergravel filters

 Undergravel filters are not very common these days; however, they work very well in cleaning the tank. As the name suggests undergravel, these filters are set in the fish tank base underneath a gravel layer. They will move the water through the base of the gravel to make conditions for biological filtration to happen and grow useful bacteria, which helps to remove toxins in the water.

Undergravel filters mostly work with biological filtration; however, you can find models that offer changeable carbon cartridges, which also help in chemical filtration.

Canister Filters

Canister filters are the most widely used for the larger tanks. They are slightly larger in size and require a larger space to keep them. Canister filters offer all three types of filtration; mechanical, biological, and chemical.

Canister Filters have areas to keep different filter media types, and larger filters usually have more rooms to keep more filter media. However, do keep in mind canister filters require a lot of maintenance.

Canister filter works best with Planted and saltwater fish tanks or when you are keeping cichlids.

Power Filters

The most common type of filters are the power filters and are very popular; they work well in both smaller and medium tanks. They are moderately simple to set up and keep going for quite a while. Numerous individuals love them, as they give the best performance on all types of filtration; biological, chemical, and mechanical.

They are intended to handily stay at the back of the aquarium for accommodation and be utilized for a wide range of fish tanks. They are easy to maintain due to the replaceable filter cartridges when contrasted with different kinds.

Airdriven internal filter

Airdriven internal filters are usually small in sizes, and they are the best choice for smaller tanks. They are small and compact and works well with small fishes. Their build quality is quite good compared to the size and performs well despite their compact build.

A great deal of internal filter uses an airline that is joined to the inlet of the filter. Air is siphoned through the base of the channel by means of an air pump. Air bubbles disperse at the water surface, making water development that permits the filter to perform.

Wet/ Dry Filter

In case you want biological filtration, then the Wet/Dry filters are the best option for you. They are intended to be a great fit for saltwater aquariums that request effective biological filtration.

They got the name Wet/Dry filter because of the fact that they can be revealed to both water and air. These types of filter work by providing good bacteria colonization areas and this helps in natural aeration and removal of the toxic substances from the water.

Do keep in mind that setting up these filters is not that easy, and you will require a sump to store water and enable the water to go to the pump.


Best Filters for 40 Gallon Tank

You can find many different options for filters nowadays, but down below, I will be listing the best filters that I came across for 40 gallon tanks.


1. Aquanet Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter

AQUANEAT Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter
  • Sponge filter provide both mechanical and bio filtration, also, the air infusion chamber produces minute bubbles which...
  • Easy to set up & clean: simply install an airline into the unit and turn on the air pump, simply rinse and squeeze...

Weight And Dimension

Aquanet bio sponge filter has a dimension of 5.9 x 5 x 5 inches with a weight of 11.22 Ounces.

Product Description

This bio sponge tank is smaller in size and can be kept anywhere around the aquarium, and it can easily take care of any fish tank within a size range of 40-60 gallons. This sponge filter offers both biological and mechanical filtration, and the filter also comes with an air infusion chamber, which can produce minute bubbles to increase the solubility of the oxygen.

The Filter comes with its own tools from the manufacturer, and you can easily set it up using the tools; you just to fix an airline in the filter and the air pump needs to be turned on, and you are good to go.

The filter comes with essential accessories that you are going to need to set it up like a sponge filter, 4ft airline tubing, one control valve, four suction cups, one non-return check valve, and one tee.



  • Moderate power hence your small fishes, are safe with this filter.
  • You can even use this filter for axolotl tanks.
  • The size is small; hence it doesn’t require much space to store.
  • It Works well in breeding tanks.
  • Replacement sponges are easy to find.



  • You might have a hard time reading the instruction manual.


Our thoughts on AQUANEAT Aquarium Bio Sponge Filter

The Aquanet bio sponge filter is a very good tank in case you are thinking of keeping small fishes like guppies, killifish, or dwarf cichlids. The filter produces moderate power, which makes it user-friendly to use with smaller fishes or breeder tanks. And the two-way mechanical and biological filtration ensures proper cleaning of your 40 gallon tank.


2. AquaClear 50 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...

Weight and Dimension

The AquaClear has a dimension of 4 x 9 x 8 inches with a weight of 1.69 Pounds.

Product Description

AquaClear is a renowned company in the field of filters. This hang-on filter is no exception, either. They have a unique patented feature called cycle guard, which provides a longer contact time between filter media and aquarium water. This ensures a perfect filtration with smooth and toxic free water.

Not only this, but the cycle guard also allows you to control the flow rate according to your needs. This filter comes with a flow rate of 200 GPH; however, you can reduce it down to 66 GPH. You can use this filter not only for a 40 gallon tank but also for 29 and 30 gallons, respectively.

The Aqua Clear 50 Power Filter includes a remarkable multi-stage filtration framework that gives total biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration media for overall water quality.



  • It comes with activated carbon, which gives perfect chemical filtration.
  • The AquaClear filter also includes BioMax ceramic rings, and these rings provide a large surface for good bacteria to grow.
  • The maintenance is very easy and can be done regularly without any hassle.
  • The Flow rate can be controlled according to requirements.



  • The filter can get a bit noisy at times.


Our thoughts on Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter

The AquaClear Hang on the back filter can be a very good option for a 40 gallon fish tank if you are looking for an easy to setup filter in the budget. Their unique, patented re-filtration system makes them very unique, and you can further control the flow rate according to your needs. You also have the option to use your own filter media if you don’t like the ones that come with the filter.


3. Water and wood new 2 in 1 Underwater corner Filter


Water & Wood New 2 in 1 Underwater Air Driven Oxygen Releases Aquarium Fish Tank Pond Biochemical Stone Sponge Corner Filter
  • New 2 in 1 Underwater Air Driven Oxygen Releases Aquarium Fish Tank Pond Biochemical Stone Sponge Corner Filter
  • New item with high quality

Weight and Dimension

This filter comes with a dimension of 7 x 3.5 x 3.3 inches and a weight of 14.4 Ounces.

Product Description

This filter comes with multiple layers of filtration media, which gives you the portability of choosing the way you want to lay down your filter media. The filter uses bubbles of air, which is produced from an external air pump, or it uses an integral water pump, which will draw water through the filter.

The top layer of the white filter sponge gives a mechanical filtration along with it the dark bio-wipe in the second layer and fired rings with rock gives biochemical filtration. This filtration media further upholds the colonization of microbes. The microorganisms help to separate hurtful waste (alkali and nitrite).

The nicest feature of this filter is the air pump that comes with it; the air pump is designed to be noiseless.



  • Can be used in planted tanks
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • You can Customize the filter media trays according to your choice.
  • The size of the comparatively smaller hence doesn’t take a large area to keep.



  • Extra Filtration pads may not fit, so you will need to cut them according to the size.


Our thoughts on Water & Wood New 2 in 1 Underwater Air Driven Filter

If you are in search of an easy to maintain filter, then the water and wood new 2 in 1 Underwater corner Filter can be a very good choice for you. Coming with a multi-layer filtration system, this filter will make sure that your 40 gallon tank is clean and your aquatic pets get a perfect and most pristine supply of water. The unit takes only a couple of minutes to dismantle. Hence you will have no problem cleaning it, and further, you can layer your media according to your choice.


4. Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Submersible Aquarium Filter

Weight And Dimension

The Penn Plax Cascade has a dimension of 12 x 5 x 3 inches with a weight of 2 Pounds

Product Description

In case you are looking for an internal filter for your 40 gallon tank, then the Penn Plax Cascade 600 can be a good option for you. Even though it’s an internal filter, the capacity is much larger than other internal filters.

You can pick your own filter media, which you believe are the best ones to play out the best filtration for your fish tank. Furthermore, as different filters with a huge limit, you will spare your time cleaning the channel and utilizing that valuable time for unwinding and making the most of your fishes.

The Penn Plax 600 Cascade Internal Aquarium Filter is intended to give better filtration and air circulation above and beneath the surface. Ultimately sub, this aquarium channel offers biological, chemical, and biological for fish tanks from 20 to 50 gallons in size.

The enacted carbon cartridge eliminates hurtful synthetics, poisons, scents, and different contaminants from your aquarium’s water. It also comes with an internal sponge that helps in the colonization of helpful bacteria.



  • It has a robust flow rate.
  • The direction of the water flow can be adjusted.
  • It comes with a spray bar option.
  • The shape looks nice.


  • The filter can get noisy at times; regular maintenance should take care of the problem easily.


Our thoughts on Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Submersible Aquarium Filter

Penn Plax 600 is an absolute top choice if you are looking for an internal filter. This filter comes with an internal filter cup which permits you to pick and use your own filter media. This aquarium filter has a flexible and directional water stream yield, which can pump up to 175 gallons for each hour; there is also a spray bar for uniform air circulation.


5. Fluval C3 Power Filter

Weight and dimension

The Fluval C3 has a 9 x 5.5 x 9 inches dimension with a weight of 1.76 pounds.

Product Description

The Fluval C3 power filter has a flow rate of 153 GPH, a moderate flow rate which makes it suitable for smaller fishes and planted aquariums. The Flow rate can be further adjusted according to your needs.

This filter comes with three types of filtration; mechanical, chemical, and biological, with a unique 5 stage filtration. The filter media comes with Activated carbon, C-Nodes, and Bio-Screen pad, foam.  The Filter is very easy to maintain.



  • 5 stage filtration
  • It comes with an adjustable flow rate with a max flow rate of 153 GPH
  • Easy to maintain and change filter media.
  • The filter is made in the USA. Hence you can believe in the quality.



  • Like the other hang on back filters, this can get a bit noisy. However, the sound is pretty normal for a filter.


Our thoughts on Fluval C3 Power Filter

The Fluval C3 comes with a unique 5 stage filtration system that ensures perfect and proper cleaning of your 40 gallon tank, giving your fishes healthy water to live in. With their Patented Refiltration system, the flow rate can be controlled according to your needs. When you reduce the flow rate, up to half of the water inside the filter chamber goes through reprocessing. As a result, you get more clean and toxic-free water.


6. Huijukon Air Driven Sponge Filter Aquarium

Weight and Dimension

The Huijukon filter has a dimension of  9.5 x 6.6 x 2.3 inches  with a weight of 3.21 Ounces

Product Description

The Huijukon Air pump filter is designed with a double sponge, and this double sponge provides efficient filtering of your 40 gallon tank. The filters are designed in a 10-layer ribbing shape; it gives the tank with extra oxygen. Additionally, the larger surface area of the dual sponges provides extra area for the colonization of the helpful bacteria.

This filter gives both mechanical and organic filtration, which traps gliding garbage. Don’t worry, your fishes will never get sucked inside and will make sure that your tank is crystal clear and clean.



  • Easy to Maintain
  • Works perfectly fine with small fishes and can even be used in breeder tanks.
  • Height can be adjusted according to your needs.
  • It contains double layers of sponge for more efficient filtering.



  • The air pumps are not of the best quality


Our thoughts on Huijukon Air Driven Sponge Filter Aquarium Filter

If you are in search of a filter for your smaller fishes, then the Huijukon Air pump filter can be of excellent choice; the tank comes in the small budget but performs in the same way compared to the other expensive models out in the market. The filter does not just work well for small fishes; it performs brilliantly also for shrimps and axolotl tanks.


7. Penn Plax Premium Under Gravel Filter System

Weight and Dimension

Penn Plax premium under gravel filter system has a dimension of 11.5 x 2.5 x 11.5 inches with a weight of 2.02 Pounds.

Product Description

This filter comes in a unique flat shape. This under gravel filter uses three types of filtration; chemical, biological, and mechanical, which effectively removes toxics substance from your 40 gallon tank. Since this a flat-shaped under gravel filter, it provides a larger surface area for the aerobic bacteria to grow.

You will find an enormous 1-inch customizable lift tube with this filter. These lift tubes convey from the aquarium base to the top, making a delicate progression of water through the rock and the lift tube. You will also get four filter plates, and the gravel is kept in such a way that it doesn’t fall through the filter cartridge.

The setup process is very easy and can only be done within 5 minutes. You will just have to connect the new filter to the air pump, and you are good to go.



  • The filter works very well in planted tanks.
  • You can use this filter for both saltwater and freshwater.
  • The build quality of the filter is very sturdy.
  • You will get carbon filter cartridges with the filter.



  • The bottom of the filter can get clogged up over time; however, you can get rid of this easily with regular maintenance.


8. Tetra Whisper Ex Silent Filter

Weight and Dimension

The Tetra Whisper Ex has a dimension of 6.31 x 12.88 x 9.5 inches with a weight of 2.43 Pounds

Product Description

If you are looking for a small filter for your freshwater tank, then the Tetra Whisper Ex Multi-stage power filter can be a very good option for you. The filter is designed to be silent. However, there is a small sound of water flowing, but that’s completely common for filters.

The filter offers all three types of filtration; mechanical, biological, and chemical. The biological filtration media is designed to grow useful bacteria that help in tank cycling. The activated carbon helps to remove all types of impurities, providing your fishes with a healthy living environment.



  • The filter is designed to noiseless.
  • It is very easy to change the filter cartridge.
  • The filter works very well for a 40-70 gallon tank.
  • The water continuously flows so that the debris doesn’t build-up.



  • Since the size is small, it doesn’t have much power.


Our thoughts on  Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums

If you are looking for a small, easy to set up a filter, then the Tetra Whisper Ex is the best option for you. The filter comes with two filter cartridges inside, which ensures proper cleaning of water. This unit is very low maintenance and easy to change the cartridge without the mess; hence it can be a very good choice for beginners.


How to Choose the Right Filter for  40 Gallon Tank

There are few simple things that you need to know to choose the correct filter for the 40 gallon tank. By following these simple rules, you will be able to select your filter more accurately.

The Method of Filtration

The filtration innovation will contrast, starting with one brand or model then onto the next. Each organization consistently needs to be appraised as the best, contingent upon the filtration innovation.

Each company offers some of its best features, and each company uses its own technology to filter the water. However, you need to be careful to understand your fish tank type and then study well that what type of filtration technology is more suitable for your tank. Hence, select the one that best matches your tank type.

Size of the aquarium

Know your tank well before selecting the type of filter, since every filter doesn’t work well with all sizes of the tank. Some filters can have a range of tank sizes with which it works, and others have a fixed size of the tank.

So, while buying the filter for your tank, see the specifications fully of the filter you are choosing and check whether it is the perfect match for your tank size or not.

Flow Rate of the aquarium

The water flow rate is estimated in gallons every hour. You need a channel that will fill your fish tank quicker. Examination to discover this rating before making the buy.

It is better on the off chance that you can contrast various brands with see, which offers the best water flow rate. A few brands will have a higher flow rate than others do, so make sure to pick the filter from a renowned brand.


Frequently Asked Questions


1. How to do proper maintenance of the filter?

Answer: Some aquarium requires more maintenance than others, depending on the aquarium’s size and type. Normal maintenance of your aquarium filter is significant for ensuring it performs to its maximum capacity.

The filter media loses its adequacy after some time. However, you do not need to change them on a regular basis. Filter media like ceramic rings and coarse foams possibly need changing when they are self-destructing or have created bigger pores.

Conversely, actuated carbon should be supplanted as it loses its most within half a month to a full month, and it loses its efficiency more often. You will also need to change the filter floss every five days or when it gets dirty. When cleaning your filter or filter media, just use water from your tank, but make sure not to use tap water.


2. Why do I need to use a filter?

Answer: If you use a filter for your tank, then you do not need to change the water too often since changing water is a hassle, and your filter will take care of it for you. A filter for a fish tank is significant, with the goal that you don’t change your tank water time and again. Continuously changing the water can irritate the fishes. It can even the ecosystem inside your marine water tank.

And moreover, if you use biological filtration, your tank will up free from algae since biological filters grow bacteria that eat up the algae.


3. Types of filter should I use for the 40 gallon tank?

Answer:  You can use a variety of different types of filters for your 40 gallon tank; you have the option to choose from to hang on back, canister, internal filters, or many more. Choose the one that best matches your requirements.
For further classification, you can check my list for the best filter for a 40 gallon tank and choose the one that best matches your tank type and needs.


4.  Can I use filter media of my own choice?

Every filter model doesn’t allow using your own media. So while buying the filter, check the specifications properly to check whether the filter you are choosing allows you to use your own filter media or not.


5. Can I use two filters in one tank?

Yes,  if you want, you can use more than one filter in the tank; however, you do not need more than one. Just choose the right filter, and you can check my list above to find the right filter for your tank.



Keeping a fish tank can be quite stressful if you don’t follow certain rules and maintain the unit properly. So, you are thinking about keeping a medium-sized tank like a 40 gallon tank; choosing the correct tank can be consuming since there is a huge amount of option of filter for a 40 gallon tank. To make your decision to choose the correct filter less confusing, I have listed the best filter for 40 gallon tank. These filters have been tested and earned enough reputation to be included in this list. This guide only doesn’t include the list for the best filters, but you will also get the idea of how to choose the best filter. But don’t just rely on my list, do your own research before selecting the best filter for your 40 gallon tank.

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