Best Filter For Goldfish Tanks (Top 5 Picks in 2022)

best filter for goldfish
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If you are anything like me, the sight of colorful goldfish swimming around their tank brightens your day. To keep these active swimmers healthy, you need a filter system.

Let’s face it:

Goldfish produce lots of waste. If this waste is not cleaned, it can become a toxic environment for your goldfish. And since you are reading this, you must be looking for the best goldfish filter.

After intense research and consideration, I found the Fluval C Series Power Filter to be the overall best filter for goldfish. However, if this option does not tick all your boxes, there are four more great options to try.

The Top 5 Best Filter For Goldfish Tank Reviewed

1. Fluval C Series Power Filter – Best Overall

If you are looking for premium performance, get the Fluval C Series Power Filter. This C4 system filtrates fresh and saltwater aquariums. I love how it clips easily in most aquariums and is suitable for large-sized tanks of up to 70-gallon tanks.

This power filter contains 5-stage filtration for excellent cleaning.

With one chemical filter, two biological filters, and two mechanical filters, the system provides superior water filtration and cleaning in crowded goldfish tanks.

The biological trickle chamber is a special bonus feature as it allows efficient nitrification. The ceramic nodes in the chamber provide space for the growth of good bacteria, which in turn removes nitrites and ammonia.

This C4 filter includes a patented re-filtration system where the tank water is recirculated for thorough cleaning. Despite the gentle water flow, this power filter does not compromise efficiency.

This goldfish tank filter is easy to clean since the mechanical foam and draw tab are easily removable. There is a pop-up cleaning indicator that notifies you when the system needs cleaning or replacing.

However, this clip-on filtration system suffers a major drawback, noise. This means that you can only put it in those rooms that do not mind the background noise.


  • Features 5-stage filtration
  • Suitable for large and overcrowded tanks
  • The pop-up indicator helps you clean and replace parts on time
  • Works in freshwater and saltwater tanks


  • Quite loud


The Fluval C Series is an excellent fit for owners looking for a functional yet budget-friendly filter. The purchase contains 15 components, including a filter cover, foam pad, and leveling device, so you do not have to spend more.


2. Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter – Best Value

Think functionality and innovation with the Penn-Plax Cascade Canister Filter. This model features two large stackable media baskets, two 360-degree valve taps, and an easy-to-use button primer.

With its two large, stackable media baskets, this system filters 115 gallons per hour, making it preferable for 30-gallon aquariums. Nevertheless, there are other Penn-Plax options for larger goldfish tanks.

The Cascade 500 filters toxins, chemicals, foul odors, and discoloration from the aquarium using the two included poly-fiber floss pads, activated carbon, and coarse bio-sponge. It also optimizes the growth of anaerobic bacteria.

If you are worried that your aquarium cabinet has limited space, you’ll love that the independent valve taps can rotate at 360 degrees.

The valves ease the agony of maneuvering the taps and maintaining the canister. The canister’s self-primer button facilitates easy and quick prime. Additionally, the system is easy to set up with its swimming pool-style hose clamps and flow-rate control cut-off valves.


  • It runs on an ultra-quiet mode
  • Ideal for freshwater and saltwater
  • Features 3-stage filtration
  • Ideal for turtles


  • Consumes excessive power


The large media baskets in Penn-Plax Cascade 500 extend cleaning and replacement periods. These baskets offer chemical, biological, and physical filtration to work with goldfish, turtles, and plants.


3. Marineland Penguin 100 GPH Bio-Wheel Power Filter – Best Budget

The Marineland 100 GPH Bio-wheel filter cleans all chemicals, toxins, and debris from the messiest goldfish tanks.

This filter system features three-stage filtration. The first stage features floss filter media to remove dirt and debris, while the second uses activated carbon to screen impurities, toxins, odors, and discoloration.

The patented Bio-wheel, in stage three, removes ammonia and nitrites upon contact. Biological filtration offers a 50% larger surface to aid the growth of good bacteria.

The Penguin 100 requires no setup. Its hang-on-back design combined with the pre-installed cartridges allows easy installation without taking up much space. This power filter is ideal for 20-gallon tanks and filters 100 gallons of water every hour.


  • Good bacteria thrive on the large surface area on the Bio-wheel
  • Offers three-stage filtration
  • Runs quietly
  • 2-piece vented cover allows access to the filter cartridge for easy cleaning


  • Suction may suck in shrimplets and small fry


This bio-wheel filter delivers pristine, crystal clear, and oxygenated water for your goldfish. However, you have to keep up with cleaning the filter regularly as well as replacing the filter cartridge every few weeks.


4. Fluval FX6 High-Performance Aquarium Filter – Best for Large Tanks

It’s no doubt that Fluval is an exceptional brand as this is their second product on this listing. With 925 GPH, the FX6 filter is recommendable for large tanks up to 400 gallons. This high-performance filter will clean even the dirtiest tanks.

Its built-in motor features a Smart Pump Tech that not only monitors but optimizes the performance and speed of the filter.

The Fluval FX6 removes trapped air every 12 hours for maximum efficiency. Additionally, chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration improves water quality for your goldfish.

Gone are the days when you’d use large buckets to change aquarium water. The smart pump technology facilitates fast water changes so you can rest easy once you attach a hose kit to the filter’s output. However, you have to buy the hose kit separately.

This filter is suitable for goldfish, thanks to its multi-directional nozzle. The nozzle features anti-clog, telescopic strainers that prevent it from clogging with goldfish waste. Moreover, the multidirectional nozzle allows you to customize the water flow to prevent fish from being pulled into the current.


  • Smart Pump Technology maximizes efficiency and performance
  • Works with large aquariums
  • Removes trapped air
  • Easy installation and maintenance
  • Operates silently


  • It is large and heavy
  • Expensive


This is a must-have filter if you own a large goldfish aquarium. It moves large gallons of water per hour, can clean fresh and marine tanks, and uses Smart Pump technology for optimum efficiency.


5. Aqua Clear, Fish Tank Filter – Best for Small Tanks

The Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter delivers simplicity, effectiveness, and versatility with its multi-stage filtration system. This hang-on filter is equipped with mechanical, chemical, and biological media for a healthy aquarium for your goldfish.

This model features a 3-stage filter placement design. The AquaClear Foam insert at the bottom removes debris and allows optimum water distribution. It also facilitates biological filtration on its porous structure to promote beneficial bacteria.

The middle features 100% research-grade carbon filter inserts. These inserts have a large surface area to absorb all undesirable impurities, odors, and discolorations. Meanwhile, the top placement allows beneficial bacteria to grow and thrive, thanks to the BioMax Filter inserts with ceramic rings.

You can control the current on this model with its patented re-filtration system. Plus, it delivers seven times more filtration volume for longer water-to-media contact, which is more than ideal for goldfish.

This filter is suitable for 10 to 30-gallon tanks. However, if you are looking for a larger size, a 60 to 110-gallon filter is available.


  • Easy to set up
  • Multi-stage filtration removes debris, impurities, and odors
  • It self-primes to prevent motor burnout
  • Energy-efficient pumps reduce operations cost


  • Requires regular cleaning every two weeks
  • Regular replacement of filters is expensive


The AquaClear Filter is a suitable choice for goldfish beginners. It is easy to set up, comes in five models, and offers more media volume to create a healthy water environment. However, it is high-maintenance as it requires cleaning every two weeks.


Fun Fact: Aside from having your choice filter, you should also consider your choice goldfish tank! We prepared a list for you to consider. Proceed here — Best Goldfish Tank: Top 7 Choice Aquariums You Cannot Ignore.

6 Factors To Keep In Mind When Buying The Best Fish Tank Filter For Goldfish

There are hundreds of filters in the market. But that does not mean each product is the best aquarium filter for goldfish. To narrow your options, consider these six factors:

Filter Type

Filters are either internal or external, depending on their positioning on the tank. Internal filters work inside the tank while external ones slide outside.

Filters are also categorized as sponge, hang-on-back, power, or canister.

Sponge Filters

These are perfect for small, delicate fish, including goldfish fry. Sponge filters are gentle and offer more biological than mechanical filtration.

Hang-On-Back Filters

As the name implies, hang-on-back filters hang onto the back of the aquarium.

Power Filters

Power filters are effective as they handle mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration.

Canister Filters

These heavy-duty canisters are suitable for medium and large aquariums. You can use them in freshwater, marine, saltwater, and turtle tanks.

Filter Size

Goldfish are known to produce excessive waste. For this reason, find a powerful filter that will clean up all the waste build-up for a toxic-free tank.

The best aquarium filter for goldfish should be at least five times higher than the volume of your tank per hour. This means that if your tank holds 10 gallons, you should consider a filter with a flow rate of 50 gallons per hour.

Avoid a low flow rate filter as it will not remove all impurities. You would rather have an over-filtered tank as it is healthy and stable instead of an under-filtered one with harmful chemicals and toxins.

Water Flow Rate

Did you know that a fast water flow rate can stress and weaken a goldfish’s immune system? Moreover, it can suck your pet into the flowing water.

To avoid this, get a filter with an optimal water flow rate. I believe the best goldfish filter is one that turns over four or five times the capacity of the tank, so it is neither too slow nor too fast.

Number Of Fish

Keeping in mind that goldfish are messy, you must consider the number of fish in the tank. For instance, you will need a 30-gallon filter when housing a single goldfish in a 30-gallon tank. However, if you have two goldfish, consider getting a 50-gallon filter to avoid under-filtrating the tank.

What if the goldfish tank is home to other fish? Consider their bioload, too, when choosing a filter. For instance, snails have a lesser bio load compared to dojo loaches. This means that you’ll need a bigger filtration system for a goldfish tank with dojo loaches compared to one with snails.

Biomedia Capacity

Biomedia refers to the surface where beneficial bacteria attach. Goldfish need beneficial bacteria to break down the toxic waste and ammonia into safe compounds. When looking for the best filter for a goldfish tank, get one with enough bio-media capacity, particularly a large one with a good water flow.

Filtration Technology System

An effective goldfish aquarium works best with these three filtration systems: mechanical, chemical, and biological.

Mechanical Filtration

This is the first filtration stage that catches waste and debris. Sponge and filter floss clean leftover food, plant, and fish waste from the fish tank.

Chemical Filtration

This stage removes harmful chemicals, odors, and nitrites. Activated carbon and resins are often used in this stage to purify the water.

Biological Filtration

This final step involves dissolving dangerous bacteria that affect your pet’s health and lifespan. Biological filters help good bacteria, such as nitrifying bacteria, thrive to keep the water healthy and stable.

When these filtration systems are combined, they guarantee that your goldfish tank stays thoroughly clean all-day long.

Fun Fact: Aquatic water filtration helps promote a healthy environment for your pet goldfish by absorbing harmful elements. One source of this is goldfish poop. Read more about Goldfish Poop: Understanding The Colors Behind Their Wastes.

Why Goldfish Need A Tank Filter

Goldfish are a hardy and easy-maintenance fish species. But do they really need a tank filter? Yes.

Unlike changing the water daily or once every two days, the filter turns over the water in the tank four or five times an hour. This constant movement of water prevents bacteria build-up.

Moreover, the filter cleans out food leftovers, fish waste, and harmful ammonia. If your goldfish is constantly exposed to this waste, it may suffer general sickness, including skin burns.

Apart from getting a tank filter, here is a video that gives you more tips on how to better care for your pet goldfish.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can Goldfish Live Without A Filter?

Technically, goldfish have a long lifespan of up to 20 years when placed in the right environment. However, if you do away with the filter, they may live for just two or three years.

Do Goldfish Love Strong Water Currents?

No. Goldfish prefer slow-moving current as it mimics nature. Your goldfish will face difficulty swimming or foraging in a strong current, thus resulting in stress and infections.

When Should I Clean The Tank Filter?

The answer lies solely in the filter you have. Hang-on-back filters need cleaning every two to three weeks, while canister filters can run for three months.


Speaking from experience, I recommend the Fluval C4 Power Filter as the best filter for goldfish.

It filtrates freshwater and marine aquariums with its five-stage filtration to keep the water clear and healthy. Moreover, it is pocket-friendly for owners with 40 to 70-gallon tanks.

However, get the Fluval C Series Power Filter if you own a large tank. It features Smart Pump Technology that self-starts monitors the pump performance, and helps during water changes.

We hope this goldfish filter review guides you to find the ideal filter for your pet.

Last Updated: July 13, 2022

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