5 Best Aquarium Filter for Goldfish Tanks

Goldfish are reputed for producing a lot of waste, which is why you need to equip their tanks with a powerful filter. Doing water changes can only do so much, and a filter is better-equipped to keep up with waste buildup.

The first thing to consider when purchasing a filter is the size of your aquarium. It is recommended to keep goldfish in a minimum of 20 gallons, and it is advisable to get a filter rated for a bigger tank.

Over-filtering is preferred to under-filtering, as your tank will be a healthy environment for your pets.

Best Aquarium Filter for Goldfish

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Best Aquarium Filter for Goldfish

Best Aquarium Filter for Goldfish

Below you can find a detailed overview of some of the best filters for goldfish aquariums:

1. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter

The Aqua Clear Filter promises easy and quick installation and a filtration volume that is seven times larger than that of comparable filters. It has a unique design that filters water through a silent and uniquely-designed waterfall.

The model also features a patented flow-control function to allow for customized filter performance. It is rated for 40 to 70 gallons, and you can be sure it will keep your tank’s water conditions stable.

The filter provides superior mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, and its media are placed in a strategic layout to maximize their effectiveness. The AquaClear Foam Insert is positioned at the bottom to trap debris and particulates.

It additionally promotes optimal water distribution to allow subsequent media to function at maximum efficiency. The porous structure of the foam provides surface area for beneficial bacteria to thrive and reproduce.

In the middle is the AquaClear Activated Carbon Filter Insert that is made of 100% research grade carbon. The insert absorbs undesirable impurities and boosts water quality.

The water then passes through the AquaClear BioMax Filter with ceramic rings that allow beneficial bacteria to thrive. This system is more effective than cartridge filtration systems because you lose out on the bacteria that have accumulated on the cartridges when they are thrown away.

The filter also has a patented refiltration system, which lets you control the flow rate while still preserving the filtration efficiency.

The AquaClear Fish Tank Filter is an impressively versatile hang-on filter system. It maximizes the contact time between the media and the water, and it will provide a very healthy environment for your goldfish as a result.


2. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter

If you want a powerful canister filter for your goldfish tank, consider the Hydor Professional External Filter. The 250 model is rated for tanks between 40 to 75 gallons.

The filter feels well-constructed and sturdy, which is a relief from some cheap plastic alternatives. Hydor has opted for a rectangle canister shape reminiscent of Japanese-styled canister filters. This design enables the filter to accommodate more filtration media than round models.

It is incredibly easy to install since all the valves and tubing you need come with the package. The inlet and outlet connectors are made to swivel easily so that you seamlessly connect the necessary hoses. You should complete the process in a maximum of 30 minutes.

The filter is packaged with user-friendly features. The expandable spray bar comes in four sections to help you adjust the placement and length that is ideal for your aquarium.

By spreading out the water flow, your tank will benefit from improved water distribution. The ball valves also make it easy to adjust the water flow rate to allow for optimal output. Hydor has also provided extra-wide tubing with this filter to boost the water flow.

Various kinds of filter media enhance the filtration process. The porous Bio Rings perform biological filtration while the sponge and filtering pads absorb impurities. The filter does not, however, have any charcoal media, but you can customize the filter’s capabilities with any new media of your choosing.

The filter also has an impressive water flow rate, and it will filter about 240 to 280 gallons per hour. The automatic priming feature will only need you to press the button three to four times, and it is good to go.

The filter manages to be both powerful and quiet, and you can say goodbye to the humming noises of other filters. With Hydor being fairly new in the industry, however, replacement parts can be hard to locate.


3. Fluval 207 Perfomance Canister Filter

The Fluval 207 Filter features an ergonomic design and a raised lip for smoother operation. It is rated for tanks of up to 45 gallons. This model is included in the 07 series, which is a welcome upgrade from the company’s 06 series.

Fluval has redesigned its filtration system with the models in this series. The dual motorhead clamps, for example, enable quick attachment and release through a simple lift-lock function.

You can also just use two fingers to operate the priming device with 3 to 4 pumps when compared to the more manual-intensive previous filter. The feet stabilizers have been redesigned for improved stability, and they also absorb more of the filter’s vibrations.

The filter also sports an advanced pump with an upgraded magnetic rotor and fan blade. The ceramic impeller shaft gets rid of tolerance and gap for better performance. The impeller makes frictionless rotations and is 25% quieter as a result.

The media baskets can be easily removed without the need to remove any water from the canister, and you will, therefore, enjoy hassle-free maintenance.


4. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter

The filter will compliment aquariums of up to 30 gallons. It is quite bulky, and you may have a hard time moving it around. The build feels sturdy and durable, and you can expect it to serve you for a long time.

Set up has been made easy with a quick prime button that quickly fills the canister housing with water. The filter’s valve makes it easy to control the water flow and separate the housing from the cover to minimize spills.

The filter offers superior filtration for any aquarium. The polishing filter pad removes fine debris while the black diamond carbon removes coloration, odors, and other impurities.

The ceramic rings and the bio-filter balls offer a large surface area for the colonization of bio spires. With all these media provided, you only have to set up your filter to enjoy a clean aquarium.


5. Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter

The Cascade 500 is rated for aquariums of up to 30 gallons, and it works at 115 GPH. The filter will suit both marine and freshwater settings.

The filter is packed with functional features that make using it a joy. A quick push-button primer ensures that users can easily set the filter up. Its operation is simplified by two 360-degree rotating taps, pool-style hose clamps, and flow-rate control valves.

The valves will make it easy to maneuver the filter in tight aquarium cabinets. To keep the unit in place, the base has been made with tip-proof rubber.

The large filter trays that come with the filter means that you can use a large amount of media and have extended periods between replacement. The coarse sponge and floss pad provided remove debris and promote bacterial growth.

By customizing your filter media, you can create the filtration system that works best for your aquarium. Changing the media is quite easy as all you need to do is lift the clamps that will, in turn, release the vacuum.

You can use activated charcoal, bio-floss, and other kinds of media to keep your tank clean. The model harnesses directional returns to suspend waste matter and channel it to the filter for stunningly clear water.

The filter’s air-tight seal promotes the appropriate flow rate while maintaining quiet operation.


How to Choose an Aquarium Filter for Goldfish Tank?

Choosing a filter for your goldfish requires careful consideration, and you can use the following guide:

Tank and Filter Size

Filters come in different sizes and are typically rated for differently-sized tanks. By filter size, aquarists are actually talking about the flow rate.

If the filter does not have an optimal flow rate, your aquarium will not be totally free of impurities.

Flow rate means the amount of water filtered in an hour. The minimum flow rate that you should settle for should be five times the volume of your aquarium per hour.

A more effective model should provide ten times the volume of your tank per hour. If you have a 20-gallon tank, the filter should deliver a flow rate of 100 to 200 gallons per hour.

It is also advisable to get a filter that is rated for a larger aquarium than yours. A 20-gallon tank will be better served by a filter recommended for 30 or 40 gallons.

Over-filtering will leave your aquarium healthy and stable.

Filter Type

Filter are generally categorized as either external or internal. Internal filters sit inside the water while external ones are positioned outside.

External filters are regarded as being more effective because they can accommodate more filter media. You can also store them in aquarium cabinets and avoid overcrowding your tank.

Filters can also be canister, hang-on-back, or sponge. Canister filters are the most powerful, but they can be expensive. Hang-on-back filters are more cost-friendly, while sponge filters are more suited for small setups.

Filter Features

The most important part of a filter is its filtration system. A good model should accommodate a lot of media and enable you to customize the media for your filtration requirements.

Biological filtration is especially important as it encourages the growth of the bacteria that filter out elements like ammonia.

The filter should also accommodate mechanical and chemical filtration to keep your tank clear and free from waste. The model has to be efficient and powerful to ensure your goldfish are living in a suitable home.

Water Flow

While goldfish appreciate a level of current, they need spaces where they can rest peacefully.

If you have fancy goldfish, keep the current at a minimum as their long fins often get caught up in the flow, making the fish move from place to place.

These irregular movements can easily stress your pet out.

How Often Should You Clean a Goldfish Tank Filter?

The goldfish tank maintenance schedule includes weekly water changes, but when is the right time to clean the filter? It mostly depends on the type of filter you have.

You can clean canister filters after three months, for example, while hang-on-back models are less-forgiving. Clean the latter every few weeks or at least once a month.

If you notice a blockage in your filter, it is advisable to squeeze the filter sponges during regular maintenance to remove the accumulated particulates.

It is not recommended to clean the filter too many times as it often holds a lot of beneficial bacteria. Getting rid of these bacteria will stress out your fish because of the unstable water conditions that will result.

Can Goldfish Live and Survive Without a Filter?

The goldfish is surprisingly hardy and will survive in a tank without a filter. The fish can, however, only live in poor water conditions for a short time.

The quality of the environment considerably influences the lifespan of a goldfish. Healthy goldfish have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, while stressed ones will only live for two to three years.

Goldfish are noted for being dirty and messy, which makes a filter necessary. Beginner aquarists commonly think that water changes are enough to keep the bowl clean, but it is impossible to keep pace with the waste-production of goldfish.

If you observe your pet at the surface gulping for air, the water conditions in your tank are harmful to them, and the oxygen levels are insufficient.

Do Goldfish Like Strong Water Flow?

It is safer to avoid exposing your goldfish to strong water currents. The fancy goldfish is particularly intolerable to strong water flow and will get stressed due to being moved around constantly.


Experienced aquarists know the importance of a filter for any aquarium, and it is no different with goldfish tanks.

Canister filters are more suitable for goldfish since they are powerful enough to get rid of the waste that the fish produce.

It is also better to get a filter recommended for a bigger than yours since it is better to over filter than under filter.

Questions and Answers

Lakmal Subasinghe May 1, 2020 Reply

I have heard that best water temperature for Goldfish is between 20 – 25 c. However, I’m from Sri Lanka and the average room temperature these days is 30 – 35 c. Is this harmful for my fish? What options are available for me to make my fish comfortable?

    For goldfish, you should keep water temperature between 20-25 °C. Anything above 25 °C is really stressful for fish.
    You can cool the water with air bubbles, but the best way to cool aquarium water is to point a fan to the surface of the water. The constant air movement will make the water evaporate much faster, but it will cool it in the process.
    Another way to keep the water cool is to use an aquarium chiller, but that is expensive and consumes a lot of electricity.
    Keeping room temperature with air conditioning at around 24-25 °C is another option.

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