10 Best 30-Gallon Fish Tank Filters (Freshwater & Saltwater)

best aquarium filter
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Last Updated: May 26, 2022 by Dave Gibbins

When it comes to your fish you only ever want the best for them but it can be difficult to know what kind of tank and filter they need.

That’s why…

We’re here to give you the best aquarium filters for your 30 Gallon fish tanks. In this review, you have 10 options for the best 30 gallon fish tank filter to choose from and I bet you’ll find one that will suit your needs, best. 

My personal favorite is the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter. It’s easy to work with that even beginners will not have difficulty installing it. And the plus factor is that it comes with all the accessories you need to get started with. 

Top 10 Best 30 Gallon Aquarium Filter Products Reviewed

1. Penn-Plax Cascade Aquarium Canister Filter – Best Overall

On our list, we have this blue and black diamond-shaped Penn-Plax filter that works by using carbon technology to achieve a deep clean.

This filter is stellar for those who want an easy clean with minimal effort and time.

It’s a curved filter that gives you a better grip. 


  • Can be used in both saltwater and freshwater tanks
  • Easy installation
  • Comes complete with accessories
  • Quiet
  • Quick start-up
  • Easy-grip design


  • Pricey
  • Some customers complained about leaks


Penn-Plax Cascade is the best aquarium filter for a 30 gallon tank, IMO. It is fast, has a plethora of applications, and comes with every part you need to get started. It has many features and uses each filtration available making it a very convenient filter to use.


2. AquaClear Biomax Filter Insert – Best Value

AquaClear Biomax Filter Insert is an important element to ensure that your aquarium is clean, your fish; healthy and maintaining good health.

This filter works by reducing the ammonia and nitrite levels in the tank increasing natural biological filtration by 30%.

Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fishes takes away the guesswork.


  • Saltwater & Freshwater use
  • Affordable
  • Wide opening; easy to access
  • Durable
  • Ant-moat feature


  • Can be difficult to clean the ports properly


If you want a small, mesh material-based filter for your fish, then you can’t go wrong with the Biomax Filter Insert.


3. Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin Filter – Most Affordable

The Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin Aquarium Power Filter works by using a three-tier system that filters water to an advanced degree.

Not only that, but this filter provides an advanced filtration system for both freshwater and saltwater tanks and aquariums.

The BIO-Wheel in the filter has vented covers that get rid of intrusive noise and the intake strainers that are included can be positioned to your liking.

The filter itself comes in different sizes to suit a variety of tanks.


  • Three-stage filtration
  • Rids off discoloration & odor
  • Promotes growth of healthy bacteria
  • Removes water toxins with the BIO-Wheel


  • Heavy and clunky


The Marineland Bio-Wheel Penguin Aquarium Power Filter is a powerhouse when it comes to fish tank filters. Not only does it offer many options for keeping the tank clean but it also provides an affordable and quick way of cleaning your fish tank.


4. Aquatic Life Protein Mini Skimmer – Most Compact

Waste can accumulate very rapidly in a tank and aquarium, but not with the Aquatic Life Protein Mini Skimmer.

This filter has a needle-wheel impeller pump device that has 8-watts of power. This device makes it energy-friendly, which also makes this filter perfect for getting rid of impurities that can make the water discolored and smelly.

The flow of water can be changed with ease by altering the position of the knob.

It comes with suction cups to prevent it from falling off.


  • Compact
  • Needle-wheel impeller to increase air-to-water contact
  • Easy-open housing
  • Quiet


  • Marine fish only


The Mini Skimmer filter is an awesome filter for those wanting something that doesn’t take up too much room in the tank. It is also safer to use with its built-in channel that protects the power cord.


5. Tetra Whisper with BioScrubber – Easiest To Maintain

This Tetra Whisper filter model is ideal for owners looking to preserve their fish’s habitat and achieve a deep clean. 

If you’re looking for another option for the best aquarium filter for 30-gallon tank that is easy to maintain, Tetra Whisper is the one for you. 

It has a three-stage filtration system that results in thoroughly cleaning the tank.

The bio mode creates the perfect environment for healthy bacteria to thrive. The chemical filtration utilizes carbon that is activated to achieve clean water by removing dirt and harmful bacteria. And of course, the traditional mechanical filtration method in which dirt and wastes are trapped.

Its BioScrubber feature makes the water flow evenly over the bristles to achieve excellent performance.


  • Easy set-up
  • Easy maintenance
  • Adjustable flow rate
  • Complete accessories
  • Three-stage filtration system


  • Can fall off the side of the tank


The Tetra Whisper Internal Aquarium Power Filter is the perfect filter for those looking for a well-designed system.


6. Zoo Med Nano External Canister Filter – Best Low-Noise

The Zoo Med Nano External filter uses 3-tier filtration to keep the fish tank and aquarium clean.

Each stage uses different methods of filtration, take mechanical for example, it works by ensnaring dirt and waste and shoots out clean water in exchange.

Its unique design makes it quick and simple to install, and maintain. Cleaning one of the best canister filters is easy and you don’t need any special tools to do so.

To get a perfect finish is that the filter uses carbon that is activated to remove discolored water and gunk from the water.

It’s quiet, thanks to its brushes, you won’t need to worry about the noise that can disturb your finned friends while cleaning up.


  • Anti-vibration technology
  • Quiet
  • Minimalist design
  • Reputable brand


  • May not last long enough


Zoo Med Nano External Canister Filter is a great filter that incorporates a minimalist design with advanced technology to create a system that not only cleans the tank but does not disturb the fish’s environment.


7. SunSun UV Sterilizer Filter – Most Advanced Technology

The SunSun Hang-On Aquarium UV Sterilizer Back Filter uses UV sterilization to clean the tank. Aside from UV sterilization, it also uses a biological filtration system at the same time.

This filter can sit in the back of the tank, making it convenient to clean and access.

It makes very little noise and uses little power to operate, about 5-watts at most. It lasts a long time with frequent cleaning.


  • Equipped with active carbon and bio media
  • Advanced technology
  • Low noise, low energy consumption
  • Unique UV sterilization


  • Can be pricey for some


Out of all the filters on this list, SunSun Hang-On Back Filter is by far the most unique and environmentally friendly.


8. AquaClear Zeo-Carb Filter Insert – Most Budget-Friendly

The AquaClear Zeo-Carb Filter Insert is a filter that acts as a replacement for regular filters. It uses natural ingredients to bind with ammonia and extract it from the water.

The carbon in this model has been thoroughly researched and works by expanding and then trapping dirt, harmful bacteria, and other waste materials.

It works as a cheaper alternative to mainstream chemical models and gives you the best of both worlds by including two filters.

Using Zeo-Carb, you can keep your fish healthy and in a prime environment that is similar to their natural habitat.


  • Removes impurities
  • Affordable
  • Portable
  • Easy setup


  • Freshwater only


The AquaClear Zeo-Carb Filter Insert is inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and a perfect addition to your small fish tank.


9. Seapora Breeder Sponge Filter – Quickest Assembly

If you want a filter that’s cute and sturdy then the Seapora Breeder Sponge Aquarium Filter is just the one you need. It has an air pump as well as a powerhead giving it some bang for your buck.

The system works using two-stage filtration; mechanical and biological. This filter functions for a different number of tanks.

The only aspect of this filter that is not so great is that the material used to make it filter degrades after several uses.


  • Two-stage filtration system
  • Suitable for a variety of aquarium types
  • Safe to use with an air pump
  • Quick assembly


  • Microfiber material may not last long


Overall, the Breeder Sponge Aquarium Filter is great for 30-gal tanks because of its compact size. It’s also a cheaper alternative to other brands/models.


10. Tetrafauna – Best Multipurpose

This Tetrafauna filter blends well with the natural setup of your tank which makes it unnoticeable to your finned friends. With its filtration unit comes a waterfall and a built-in critter access ramp, plus a pump chamber.

Putting it together is a no-brainer and its size is suitable for 20 to 50 gal aquariums, making it still usable if you decide to shift to a bigger aquarium setup.

The filtration system also clears waste and clutter. this helps mimic these creatures’ natural environment.


  • Has a three-tier filtration system that effectively cleans water
  • It’s a perfect filter for fish as well as other marine life
  • This filter works in tanks up to the size of 55-gallon
  • This filter comes with spare cartridges, an extension piece as well as a pump, and a chamber


  • Expensive


The Tetrafauna Viquarium Terrarium And Aquarium is a multi-purpose filter that is suitable not only for fish but also for other aquatic creatures.


Frequently Asked Questions

Once you’ve read through this extensive 30-gallon tank filter review, a few questions may come to mind in regards to which one is considered the best one. So let’s get into it!

1. What is the best filter for a 30 gallon aquarium?

The best filter for 30 gallon aquarium is the Penn-Plax Filter because it reduces noise and keeps the tank clean.

2. How often do you have to change a 30-gallon aquarium filter?

You should change a 30-gallon aquarium filter about once a month because debris and waste can build up which can make your fish sick if left for too long.

This video shows how often should you change the filter cartridge in your aquarium:

3. What is the best 30-gallon aquarium filter?

The best type of filter for a 30-gallon fish tank is the Penn-Plax Filter because it reduces noise and keeps the tank clean.

4. What is the best 29 gallon fish tank filter?

The best 29 gallon fish tank filter is the Tetra Whisper Internal Aquarium Power Filter because it comes in small sizes and cleans smaller tanks more effectively.

5. What is the best filter for a 29 gallon aquarium?

For a 29-gallon aquarium, the best filter is the AquaClear Zeo-Carb Filter because it’s cheaper and designed for smaller aquariums

Final Thoughts

And as we come to a wrap-up this 30 gallon fish tank filter review, the Penn-Plax still remained my top choice. Aside from its three-stage filtration system, I love its push-button primer feature for easy startup and the quiet operation is truly a bonus!

The AquaClear Zeo-Carb comes next to me for its affordability and being environmentally friendly.

How about your choice? What’s your 30 gallon fish tank filter top pick from this list? It’ll be awesome to hear about it in the comments box below.

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