When it comes to fish tanks, they all need filters. Some people might tell you that this fish or that fish does not need the aquarium to have a filter. However, that just is not true. A fish tank, especially a larger one like a 30-gallon tank, needs to have proper filtration in order for the fish to be healthy and survive.
Without a good filter, you cannot expect your fish to remain in good condition. After a while, they will most likely perish. We are here today to help you find the best filter for a 30-gallon fish tank (this is our top pick) and we have narrowed it down to five options.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners in 2023
|Best Overall||Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter||
|Best Value||AquaClear Power Filter||
|Premium Choice||Marineland Penguin Power Filter||
|Tetra Whisper Power Filter||
|Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter||
We have put together a list of five decent filters that we feel are ideal for 30-gallon tanks, even though they are all a little different, each of them makes for a really good choice in their own way.
Let’s take a closer look at each of our top dive picks in more detail, starting off with our top picks.
The 5 Best Filters for 30-Gallon Fish Tanks
1. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter
The Penn Plax Filter is definitely a fan favorite, and one of our personal favorite options as well. This is true for a variety of reasons. This particular filter is ideal for any aquarium up to 30 gallons. It can handle 115 gallons of water per hour.
This means that it can filter the entirety of a 30-gallon tank almost four times per hour, which is quite impressive, to say the least. On that same note, what is also impressive about the Penn Plax Canister Filter is that it features a fairly durable build with a solid outer shell.
This filter does come with rotating valves that you can use for flow control, which is convenient because you can match the rate of filtration to the needs of your aquarium. The flow valves can rotate a full 360 degrees, which makes it a convenient option for even the tightest of spaces.
While the filter itself is not necessarily small, it won’t take up too much space. You might also like how the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter has an easy-off top and easy-to-handle tubing, thus making maintenance and cleaning about as easy as can be.
Something that we really like about the Penn Plax Aquarium Filter is that it has an easy prime feature. You literally just need to push a button to totally prime this bad boy, making life just that much easier for you.
This filter is that it does engage in all three major types of filtration including mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. It comes with 2 massive media baskets that you can customize with various types of media to suit the needs of your aquarium to a tee.
2. AquaClear Power Filter
This particular filter is another really good choice to go with for a 30-gallon aquarium, or anything slightly smaller. Actually, this filter can be used for any aquarium up to 50 gallons. This thing has a massive flow rate of 200 gallons per hour.
So, if you use it for a 30-gallon aquarium, it can filter the entirety of the tank almost seven times per hour, which is of course extremely impressive. Of course, the AquaClear Power Filter also allows for flow rate control, so you can set it at the ideal filtration level for a 20-gallon tank or a 50-gallon tank too.
One of the things that we really like about the AquaClear Power Filter is that it is a hang-on back filter. This means that it barely takes up any space at all inside the aquarium, thus reserving prime real estate for your fish and plants. On that same note, this thing is also very easy to install.
There are only a few pieces that you need to put together, and using the built-in clamps, you can easily attach it to the rim of your aquarium. Furthermore, the design of the AquaClear Power Filter is great because it is also fairly easy to clean and maintain. Filters do need quite a bit of maintenance, so this is quite important.
One of the things which this filter is known for is being fairly quiet, something that both you and your fish can appreciate. Also, the AquaClear Power Filter does not use very much energy, something that bodes well for your electricity costs. This filter does engage in all 3 major types of filtration including mechanical, chemical, and biological.
It actually comes with filter media included, which is always nice. The large media volume of this filter ensures maximal filtration of your aquarium water. All in all, we think that the AquaClear Power Filter is one of the very best filters for a 30 gallon aquarium out there today.
3. Marineland Penguin Power Filter
This is another hang on back filter option that we think is a great fit for any 30-gallon aquarium. Like we said before, we do like hang on back filters because they don’t take up room inside of the aquarium nor do they need shelf space. Simply mount it to the rim of your aquarium and it is good to go. Not taking up room inside of the aquarium itself is something that we always look out for.
The Marineland Penguin Power Filter is also fairly easy to mount and set up. Simply use the included clamps to mount it on the rim of the tank. Once you have connected the tubing and inserted the media, it is good to go.
People also tend to like the Marineland Penguin Power Filter because maintenance is not hard to perform on this thing. When it is closed, it is completely secure, but getting to the inside to perform maintenance is about as easy as it gets.
The Marineland Penguin Filter can be used for aquariums between 20 and 50 gallons in size, which is more than ideal for a 30-gallon tank. Just like the previous filter we looked at, this particular one has a flow rate of 200 gallons per hour.
In other words, it can process all of the water in a 30-gallon tank more than six times per hour for some really clean and clear water. The flow rate is adjustable, so you can increase or decrease the flow rate depending on the needs of your aquarium.
Finally, the Marineland Filter does all three types of filtration with ease, chemical, biological, and mechanical. It comes with all kinds of media included, which includes a patented noise reducing bio-wheel and activated black diamond carbon.
Removing all manners of contaminants from the water, while also being fairly quiet is something that the Marineland Power Filter definitely does without question.
4. Tetra Whisper Power Filter
As the name of this filter implies, the Tetra Whisper Power Filter is one of the quietest filters you can get your hands on right now. Nobody likes a noisy filtration unit, a problem which this particular model does not suffer from. The fact that this filter is so quiet is indeed one of its biggest selling points.
Now, this is also a hang on the back filter, which means that it is mounted on the rim of the tank. It does not take up any space on a shelf or in the aquarium itself, this reserving as much room as possible for the fish inside of the tank. On that same note, mounting the Tetra Whisper Filter is about as easy as it gets. Simply place the filter over the rim of the aquarium, tighten the screws, and it is ready to go.
One of the things that we really like about the Tetra Whisper Power Filter is that it is really easy to maintain. It comes with a simple all in one filter cartridge. These cartridges contain mechanical, biological, and chemical filter media.
Having to replace the cartridges on a regular basis may not be all that cost effective, but at least it is easy. On that same note, this filter does a good job at taking all out manners of contaminants from the water. It is a great three stage filtration system with simple 3 in 1 cartridges that make life a whole lot easier.
The Whisper Power Filter is designed to be used with a 30-gallon tank or anything smaller than that. It has a decent flow rate and can filter all of the water in your tank several times over per hour.
It may not have quite as high a flow rate as some other filters, but it is more than good enough for a fairly well-stocked 30-gallon tank. In fact, you can change the flow rate depending on the filtration requirements of your particular aquarium.
5. Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter
Just like the previous filter we reviewed, this particular one, as the name implies, is designed to be very quiet. Once again, a quiet filter is always something that we look out for because nobody wants a noisy filter running all day and night. The Aqueon QuietFlow Power Filter is also a hang on back filter, which is completely fine.
We always like how these HOB filters are very space efficient. They don’t need any shelf space and they don’t take up any space inside of the aquarium either. Sitting on the rim is perfect as far as we are concerned. Hang on back filters like this Aqueon QuietFlow Filter are also very easy to maintain and to install, which always helps make our lives much easier.
The Aqueon QuietFlow Filter is designed to suit tanks up to 45 gallons in size, so it will definitely not have a problem handling a 30-gallon tank. In fact, this particular filter has a flow rate of 200 gallons per hour, so it can turn over all tank water in a 30-gallon tank several times per hour for optimal water quality. The flow rate is adjustable, something that comes in handy when things in your aquarium change.
We do also like how the Aqueon Power Filter is a self-priming filter, which means that there is less work for us. The internal components of this filter are designed to be as quiet as possible so that it does not disturb your or your fish.
This filter brings the best of mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration to the table, all included in nifty little cartridges. Yes, the cartridges will need replacing, but doing so is very quick and easy. It even comes with an LED indicator light to let you know when the filter cartridges need to be changed.
What To Look For When Buying A 30 Gallon Fish Tank Filter?
There are certain things that you need to look out for when buying a 30-gallon filter for your fish tank. Let’s discuss the most important purchasing points right now.
1. Size (Flow Rate)
Always remember to check the size of the filtration unit, by which we mean how much water it can move every single hour.
Generally speaking, you want a filter to be able to move at least three times the amount of water in a tank per hour. So, a 30-gallon canister filter, for a 30-gallon tank, should be able to process at least 90 gallons per hour.
2. Space & Design
Okay, so you do also have to look at the size and design of the filter as well. In other words, you may have a heavily stocked tank, in which case you might not want to take up more room with a filter.
Therefore, you may want to consider getting an external filter, such as a HOB or canister filter, which uses room outside of the tank, instead of inside of it.
3. Filtration Types & Media
Another super important thing to look out for before buying any kind of aquarium filter is what type of filtration it comes with.
The best aquarium filters will come with at least three stages of filtration, and some even come with five stages. In terms of filtration type, your filter should come with mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration.
Yes, these things can cost a good bit of money, so you do want to look for a unit that is very durable.
It’s best to get advice from pros, and yes, to read reviews on your own. You don’t want to invest a ton of cash into something that isn’t going to last the month.
What’s A Good canister filter for 30 gallon tanks?
One of the best filters out there, for 30-gallon tanks, is the Penn Plax Filter. The Penn Plax canister filter can move up to 115 gallons of water per hour, which is a flow rate more than ideal for 30-gallon tanks.
It comes with tons of space for media, and yes, it features all three types of filtration, including chemical, biological, and mechanical.
It’s not overly small, but it is a canister filter, so it won’t take up space inside of your tank. Moreover, it comes with a solid outer shell for durability and an easy to maintain design. It’s one of the best ones out there at this time.
How many GPH does a 30 gallon tank need?
Ideally, for a 30-gallon tank, any good filter should provide a flow rate of at least 90 gallons per hour.
If you notice what products we reviewed here today, we talked about filter that can move even 120 gallons per hour.
If a filter can move anywhere between 3–5 times the volume of the fish tank per hour, you are on the right track.
How much flow does a 30 gallon reef need?
Reef tanks are a bit more sensitive when it comes to flow rate, and in fact, a reef aquarium is going to require a higher flow rate than a normal freshwater fish tank.
To keep a reef tank healthy, you want your filter to be able to move around 5–8 times as much water as is in the tank per hour.
So, for a 30-gallon reef tank, you want a filter than can process at least 150 gallons of water per hour.
When it comes to finding the right 30-gallon tank filter, all of these above options are good choices to go with in our opinion (The Penn Plax Cascade is our top pick), it just depends on what exactly you are looking for and what you are housing in your aquarium.
- Related Read: 12 Great Fish For 29 & 30 Gallon Tanks (With Pictures)
Feature Image Credit: KUPRYNENKO ANDRII., Shutterstock