The Best Goldfish Filters 2024: According to tests

Lauren Kiekbusch
The Best Aquarium Filter for Goldfish Tanks

As an avid fishkeeper, I understand everything that goes into maintaining a thriving aquatic environment, especially for goldfish, known for their unique requirements. In this article, we’ll explore the critical role of a well-chosen filter in ensuring the health and happiness of your goldfish. Although a little pricey, the Fluval FX6 Canister Filter is the best filter for goldfish tanks we recommend in 2024 and beyond; it’s effective, has all the media filters included, and can be used on most tank sizes. Here are the other filters for goldfish tanks we tested.

Best Goldfish Tanks, Tested

Goldfish, beloved for their vibrant colors and dynamic personalities, are popular among aquarium enthusiasts. However, many don’t realize that these charming creatures are more than just pretty faces; they demand specific care, particularly regarding water quality. The right filter plays a pivotal role in maintaining a clean and balanced environment, which is crucial for the well-being of your goldfish.

In this guide, we’re focusing on the best aquarium filters tailored for goldfish tanks. From understanding why goldfish need special filtration to reviewing the top filter models on the market, we’ll cover all the essentials. We’ll also provide practical tips for installation and maintenance, ensuring your goldfish thrive in their aquatic home.

Also worth reading;

  1. 7 Best Small Hob (Hang on Back) Aquarium Filter
  2. 6 Best 5-Gallon Aquarium Kits (Updated)
  3. 8 Best Canister Filters for Turtles Aquarium (Updated)
  4. Best 50 – 55 Gallon Aquarium Kits & Fish Tanks
  5. 5 Best Filters for 5 Gallon Small Fish Tanks

Why Goldfish Require Special Filtration

Goldfish are more than just a staple of the aquarium world; they are creatures with specific biological and environmental needs that directly impact their health and well-being. Understanding these needs is crucial, especially when choosing the right filtration system for their tanks.

Goldfish Biology and Waste Production

Goldfish are known for their prodigious waste production. Goldfish are prolific producers of solid and dissolved waste, unlike many other fish species kept in home aquariums. This characteristic stems from their digestive system and feeding habits. Goldfish lack a stomach, leading to more frequent and less efficient digestion of food. The result is a significant amount of waste, which can quickly deteriorate water quality if not managed properly.

Impact on Water Quality

The waste produced by goldfish contains ammonia, a toxic substance that can harm fish even at low concentrations. In a well-filtered aquarium, beneficial bacteria break down ammonia into nitrites and then into nitrates, a process known as the nitrogen cycle. However, without adequate filtration, this cycle can be disrupted, accumulating harmful toxins in the water.

Moreover, goldfish are known for their hearty appetites and tendency to forage, which can stir up the substrate and increase the amount of suspended particles in the water. This not only makes the tank look unclean but can also contribute to poor water quality.

Necessity of Special Filtration

Due to these factors, goldfish tanks require robust filtration systems to handle high levels of waste products. A suitable filter for a goldfish tank should have strong mechanical filtration to remove solid waste and equally efficient biological filtration to handle the high load of ammonia and nitrites. Chemical filtration, although not always necessary, can be beneficial in maintaining water clarity and removing unwanted chemicals.

Best Aquarium Filters for Goldfish Tanks

Below are the seven best aquarium filters for goldfish tanks;

1. Fluval FX6 Canister Filter

Key Features

  1. All filter media included – mechanical, chemical, and biological
  2. Aqua-Stop valves with leak-proof Click-Fit attachment system
  3. Valves are positioned at a convenient 45-degree angle for easy installation and rotation
  4. Anti-clog, telescopic strainer ensures continuous water flow
  5. Multi-Directional Output nozzles can be fully adjusted to create customized water flows

Suppose you need a professional aquarium filter for a vast aquarium of up to 400 gallons. In that case, the Fluval FX6 is an excellent option. It has so many features that I can’t even start naming them all. The FX6 is a high-performance filter that is self-priming and nearly leak-proof.

One of the most exciting features is the stackable media baskets. The seals block water from going through the baskets, and you can personalize your filter media. The auto-stop valves often avoid water leakage or backflow into your tank.

2. AquaClear HOB Power Filter

Key Features

  1. Maximum Output: 200 gallons
  2. Complete Flow Control: 66 mph
  3. Power Consumption: 6 watts
  4. A lifetime guarantee backs the AquaClear 50 Filter.

Suppose you’re searching for a HOB filter for a bedroom aquarium or one in a position where sound could be a problem. In that case, the AquaClear power filter might be the best option for your house. It’s the quietest filter on my list.

This filter isn’t especially fancy, which works in its favor. It is silent since it lacks a “bio-wheel” and does not spray as much water as other HOBs. Since the flow rate is customizable, it is suitable for sensitive fish and shrimp aquariums. It’s a tremendous two-year warranty on a surprisingly long-lasting filter.

This filter is the quietest on the list because of its silent motor and minimal water splashing.

3. Aqueon Large Filter Quietflow Internal

Key Features

  1. The ready-to-use cartridge contains high-quality activated carbon that keeps water clean, and rinses before replacement.
  2. Installs in seconds: align the cartridge bottom key slot for an accurate fit inside the Filter.
  3. For optimal performance, change approximately every 4 to 6 weeks
  4. Do not clean Bioholster when replacing the cartridge as it contains beneficial biological bacteria
  5. Fits Aqueon QuietFlow Filter: LED PRO Size 10 and E Internal 20-gallon.

Aqueon’s internal Quietflow model is one of the most delicate 40-gallon aquarium filters. It’s easy to install in the upper section of your tank using a hanger or suction cup. It has three stages of filtration, including a biological level.

It also has a high flow rate of up to 290 GPH, making it an excellent option for planted tanks. It’s nearly a foot tall, so it’ll be noticeable unless covered behind your tank’s decor. The best feature of this filter series is that the auto-start pump immediately pulls water into it when you plug it in. It works whether there is water in the tank or not.

4. Penn Plax Cascade HOB Filter

Key Features

  1. 185 GPH, recommended for aquariums up to 65 gallons
  2. Swimming pool-style rotating valves with flow controls
  3. Easy to use push button primer for quick and easy setup
  4. 2 large media baskets can be customized to meet the needs of all aquarists
  5. Flow valves can be easily removed for canister maintenance while your hoses, intake, and output remain at the aquarium

This Penn Plax HOB-style machine is the perfect 100-gallon aquarium filter. Given its low price, it’s a surprising workhorse of a filter. The Penn Plax has three filtration levels, like many HOBs. Still, unlike most, it also has a special compartment that chemically filters the water over time.

It has a large size, a flow rate that can be adjusted up to 300 GPH, is safe for fragile species, and is an ideal filtration system for both planted and fish-only tanks. Filter pads and repair parts for a brand name can be more difficult to find in your local pet store.

5. Penn Plax Premium Undergravel Filter

Key Features

  1. Provides powerful biological and chemical filtration
  2. Trouble-free setup and operation
  3. Includes filter plates, air stones, adjustable lift tubes, and filter cartridges
  4. Available for 5, 10, 15/20H, 20L/29, 40 / 55 gallon aquariums

We don’t recommend under gravel filters in some situations because there are so many other options that perform just as well or better. Undergravel, on the other hand, is often the most cost-effective and convenient choice for planted tanks.

This Penn Plax model is typical under gravel system for a brand-new aquarium.

While gravel systems leave debris in the substrate, this is less of a problem in planted tanks with fewer fish. As long as your bio-load isn’t too heavy, the Penn Plax can provide adequate filtration and circulation to keep your plants happy.

Tanks holding 20 or 29 gallons, it has two levels of filtration. Filtration is mounted at the tank’s bottom to prevent dead areas in the substrate and around the plants.

6. Dennerle Internal Corner Power Filter

Key Features

  1. For aquarium sizes up to 20 US gallons
  2. Efficient – relatively – compact – and easy to use
  3. Baby Filter Guard, Filter extension is available and sold separately.
  4. Replacement filter media should be replaced every 6 weeks, available, and sold separately.
  5. Nano corner Filter – 110V, 2 watts, US plug

The Dennerle is extremely quiet, and its 40 GPH capacity is ideal for Bettas and shrimp. However, 3-stage filtration is appropriate for goldfish and planted aquariums.

The submersible filter is tucked away in the corner of your aquarium. It has an excellent premium filter choice for tanks under 20 gallons. The water volume is infinitely adjustable, and the filter outlet can be rotated by 90° to allow water to flow in any desired direction. 

The filter includes a nozzle tube with an incorporated cleaning slide and a Mini-Brush for cleaning the nozzle openings. Cleaning The filter factor is self-explanatory: simply grab the outflow pipe and move the filter forward. The back half of the filter housing is also in the aquarium. 

Wash the filter part in a clean bucket filled with aquarium water to avoid harming the essential filtering bacteria.

7. Hydro 3 Sponge Filter

Key Features

  1. Mechanical filter media easily installed over the filter intake
  2. Effectively collects acceptable debris and keeps your aquarium clean
  3. Prevents small or baby fish from getting trapped in the filter
  4. Specifically designed for the Fluval Edge aquarium series
  5. Includes one replacement pre-filter sponge.

Sponge filters are typically single-stage devices, but this Hydro alternative adds biological filtration to the mechanical filtration for longer-term use. It’s an excellent choice for raising fish and shrimp fry, and while hospital tanks don’t need bio-filtration, you can still use the Hydro for them.

With a low, gentle circulation rate, it provides mechanical and biological filtration. Its flexible architecture makes it suitable for raising shrimp and fish fry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Size Filter Do I Need for My Goldfish Tank?

The filter size you need depends on the size of your tank and the number of goldfish you have. Generally, goldfish require more filtration than most other fish due to their high waste production. Aim for a filter that can cycle all the water in your tank at least 4-5 times per hour. For instance, if you have a 20-gallon tank, look for a filter rated for at least 80-100 gallons per hour (GPH).

Are Goldfish Filters Noisy?

The noise level of a filter can vary depending on the type and quality. Hang-on-back (HOB) filters and canister filters are popular choices for goldfish tanks. While HOB filters might have a slight water trickling sound, canister filters are often quieter. However, ensuring that your filter is properly maintained and installed can significantly reduce noise levels.

How Often Should I Clean My Goldfish Tank Filter?

Regular maintenance is key to filter efficiency. For goldfish tanks, cleaning the filter at least once a month is advisable. However, this can vary depending on the filter type and the bioload of your tank. Remember, over-cleaning can disrupt beneficial bacteria, so following a balanced approach is essential.

Can a Filter Be Too Strong for a Goldfish Tank?

Yes, overly strong filtration can create a too powerful current for goldfish, especially for varieties with long, flowing fins. It’s important to choose a filter with an adjustable flow rate, allowing you to find the perfect balance for your tank.

Do Goldfish Prefer a Certain Type of Filter?

Goldfish aren’t particularly picky about filter types, but they do thrive in well-oxygenated water with minimal ammonia and nitrites. Both HOB and canister filters are excellent choices, as they provide efficient mechanical and biological filtration.

What Are Common Signs of Filter Troubles in Goldfish Tanks?

Keep an eye out for decreased water clarity, visible debris, or changes in water flow rate, which can indicate filter issues. Also, watch your goldfish for signs of distress or illness, as these can be indicators of poor water quality due to inadequate filtration.

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