Top 5 Best Filters for Goldfish and Guide How to Choose the Right One

There are many things to know before you decide to buy your aquarium kit. The best way to buy all the necessary equipment that will keep your fish healthy all the time is if you research that field. Many beginners want to own a beautiful aquarium and get into the fish keeping hobby without knowing the necessary steps and procedures, which can lead to creating an unhealthy environment.

Is the ​Fish ​Filter ​Important for ​Your ​Tank?

Fish filters play a significant role in every tank,  and it is a vital part of maintaining your water clean and healthy life for your goldfish. Some pet owners change the tank water daily, but that can only do so much. On the other hand, having a fish filter turning the water constantly is a much better option.

Since we established that fish filter is crucial for improving the health of your goldfish, let’s jump into finding the best filter for goldfish on the market.

Product Name

​Filtration System



Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter


Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter


Fluval C Power Filter


MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter


Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter


Review of Best Filters for Goldfish in 2020

1. Fluval Canister Filter, FX6 Filter (Best Goldfish Filter)

This is one of the most popular choices among fish owners just because of its high volume rating and flexibility. At first glance, we can establish that this filter is capable of maintaining healthy water for large tanks 400 gallons or 1,500 liters. It is also expandable so it can be adjusted for all tank sizes.

Sometimes beginners are confused about their goldfish filter setup. It is not the case with the Fluval FX6 since the pump is self-priming, and all you need to do is plug it in.

Maintenance of the filter is also an important thing to look out for when you are buying. Things like trapped air can compromise the filter capabilities, which is not the case with the Fluval FX6 just because the pump automatically evacuates any air trapped in the system every 12 hours.

It uses a combination of mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration to make sure you get the best water quality for your fish. The filter comes pre-loaded with all the necessary components for filtration, but it can be modified to suit your specific needs.

It also has smart pump technology that includes an electronic controller that monitors it’s speed and force in order not to harm your goldfish.


  • ​Capable of filtering large quantities of water
  • ​Customizable filtration media basket
  • ​AquaStop and purge valves are easy to maintain
  • ​Great Smart Pump Technology
  • ​Three-year warranty
  • ​Automatic priming system


  • ​The foam inserts in the filter basket require frequent replacement
  • ​It is a big-sized filter
  • ​It is a bit expensive

2. Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter  (Most Popular Option)

Penn Plax filters are one of the most popular models that you might be interested in looking into. This is an external filter that uses 3 large filter trays, which should be enough for the whole filtration process. The flow rate is significant on every filtration system, and the Penn Plax can offer a flow rate of more than 300 gallons per hour.

This filter is primarily used on larger capacity tanks up to 150 gallons. Since it is an outside filtration unit, it offers excellent durability. It is made from hard plastic, and it will last for a long time.

There is no need to be concerned about setting it up or call for help, just because you will be able to do it in less than 15 minutes. Just make sure all the necessary hoses and rubber tubing on the filter are tighten, and you are good to go.

As we mentioned, filter cleaning and maintenance is what will keep it running all the time smoothly. With the Penn Plax, cleaning is effortless and can be done in a few minutes. All you have to do is turn off the intake valve and disconnect the hose to stop water leaking after that take it and wash it in a sink.


  • ​Multi-stage filtration system for optimal water cleanness
  • ​Great Self-priming feature
  • ​All components are made from high-quality materials
  • ​Includes a spray bar which is essential for water circulation


  • ​Setting up the model can be difficult for first-time users
  • ​This particular model tends to consume a lot of power as it is rated 27 watts

3. Fluval C Power Filter (Best Filtration System)

This is one of the less expensive filters that it is still capable of doing an incredible job. Even though it might be less expensive, this filter is different from the previous ones just because it offers not three but five different stages of filtration. This filtration system would not allow anything to compromise the water quality.

The Fluval C is designed for filtering water with a smaller capacity than previous ones, or up to 70 gallons, which is not that small compared to other aquariums. We all know how hard it can be to tell when your filter needs cleaning, and with the Fluval C, you will get an indicator when it senses that filtration cleaning is required.

One of the drawbacks of this filter is the noise it makes. Most people are concerned about having fish equipment that will disrupt the quiet in the room and unfortunately, the Fluval C tends to be a bit louder than most other filters.


  • ​5 Stage Filtration System
  • ​Features cleaning indicator
  • ​Excellent flow rate for turning the water on up to 70-gallon tanks


  • ​Louder than other filters

4. MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter (Best Budget Filter for Goldfish)

This is one of the best internal filters on the market. Marineland Magnum offers some great features, and it can be the right choice for you.

Let’s start with filtration capacity. MarineLand is designed to be used on larger aquariums or up to 97 gallons in size. It has a high processing power capable of filtering up to 290 gallons of water per hour. In other words, it is a very powerful filter.

Even though it is designed for a 97-gallon tank, the most optimal performance is delivered on tanks up to 70 gallons where the entire water volume can be filtered four times per hour.

Just like most of the filters, it has a 3 stage filtration system. It includes mechanical filtration for removing solid debris, biological for removing ammonia and nitrates, and chemical for removing other toxins, colors, or unpleasant odors. All of the filtration media comes included with the filter.

The only drawback of this filter is its size. Since it is an internal filter, it will use quite a bit of space in your aquarium with its 12 inches height and 8 inches diameter. It is positioned on the tank using suction cups, which makes the setting up process reasonably easy.

Internal filers have other benefits, such as the self-priming process. Just because it is already submerged underwater, it does not require any manual priming, which sometimes can be challenging to do.


  • ​Very Powerful Filter
  • ​Great durability
  • ​Customizable media capacity
  • ​Self-priming function


  • ​Big-sized filter that will use quite a bit of space in your aquarium
  • ​It produces quite a bit of noise
  • ​The media that comes with the filter could be better quality

5. Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter (Best Goldfish Filter for Small Tanks)

Aqua Clear filters are famous brands among fish owners, and there is a good reason for that. This particular Aqua Clear fish filter is one of the best filters for goldfish on the market and the right choice for most aquariums.

It is made from high-quality materials, which means it is incredibly durable and can last a decade if properly maintained. One of the most important things that people are concerned about when they are buying a filter apart from the filtration capacity is the noise that the filter makes.

This is where the Aqua Clear filter shines, as it is one of the quietest filters currently on the market. On the other side, it has a slightly smaller filter capacity than the previous filters, which means that this filter is best for small aquariums. It has a rate of flow of 100 gallons per hour and best for a 20-gallon fish tank.

Aqua Clear comes with a three-stage filtration system that includes mechanical, chemical, and biological filtering. The internal layout is built in a way that allows you to customize the media to suit your specific needs.

The only drawback for this filter is that some of the owners experienced issues with the water flow, with the 10-gallon version. This can be easily fixed by cleaning the filter, but it is not a permanent option.


  • ​Very Quiet Filtration
  • ​High-quality and very durable
  • ​Great customizable options


  • ​Some people experienced flow issues if not regularly cleaned

Buying Guide

As we can see, there are a lot of different specifications on these filters. Choosing the best one depends on many things such as aquarium size, fish type, etc. To make sure you have the right screen that is capable of maintaining a healthy environment for your goldfish, you need to follow some of the buying guides mentioned below.

Goldfish Tank Size

Not every filter system works with all the tanks. Considering how powerful is the filter and its capacity to turn, the water should align with your tank size. The first and most important thing when buying your filter is your goldfish tank size. Every tank size is measured by the number of gallons of water that it can hold at a time.

The flow rate of any filter will determine how much water will go through the filtration system at a given time. This is essential to make sure that your goldfish tank is cleaned entirely without the risk of getting your fish sick.

Almost all fish filter manufacturers have highlighted the optimal tank for their filters, and it is best if you follow the guidelines.

 Water Flow Rate

The next most important thing when buying a filter is making sure you have the optimal water flow rate for goldfish. This is also directly connected to the size of your goldfish tank. To create the cleanest environment for your goldfish, you have to buy a filter that is capable of filtering the entire water of the tank four or five times in an hour.

This means if you have a 30-gallon tank, you should be looking for a filter with a water flow rate capable of turning 150 gallons in an hour. Optimal water flow will ensure that your tank is getting cleaned at the right speed without causing the strong currents that may hurt your fish.

Types of Aquarium Filters for Goldfish

As we’ve seen from our previous product specification, there are a lot of different filters on the market. Some types are sponge filters, power filters, under gravel filters or canister filters, and the goal would be to choose the right one for your goldfish.

Sponge filter for goldfish is mainly used in breeding tanks. The water filtration process is powered by a pump that forces the water through sponge-like material. This will prevent some bacteria and particles from growing since they would be stuck in the sponge.

The other choice is to go for the power filter. This is one of the most commonly used filters, and it uses electricity to pump the water through different types of filtration cartridges. These types of filters are widely known as HOB or hang on back filters just because they usually hang on the edge of your aquarium

Some people think that undergravel filters are outdated as of now, but people are still using them as a vital filtration system for their goldfish tank. The most significant advantage of using an under gravel filter is clearing up bacteria from the bottom part of the tank where is most present.

However, since goldfish should not be kept with gravel just because it is a choking hazard, this option is useless for your goldfish tank.

And at last, we have the canister filter. This is the type of filter that uses electricity and utilizes a ‘water bar’ to spread the outflow of clean water. This filtration method is suitable for saltwater and planted aquariums.

 Filtration Technology System

To have a healthy environment for your goldfish, three types of filtration must occur. Water balance is essential for avoiding health issues for your fish. And the filter does not just only circulates the water, but it also goes through a series of filtration stages to improve water quality.

Mechanical filtration is the first step of any filtration system. It is designed to catch any waste particles during the water transfer. It just makes sure that your water is mechanically cleaned from larger particles.

Chemical filtration is used to dissolve any toxic chemicals that pass through a filter. Every filter is designed to attract harmful molecules and neutralize the water.

The final step of an essential filtration system technology is biological filtration. This means that to keep the water structure stable, you have to dissolve harmful bacteria with good bacteria. Biological filter promotes the growth of good bacteria to destroy any harmful things that can affect your goldfish health.

Frequently Asked Questions

​Do goldfish need a filter?

The short answer is yes. Changing the water frequently will not be just as good as a whole filtration system that can do it four or five times in an hour. Apart from water circulation, the filtration system is also responsible for removing any larger particles and bacteria from the water to make sure your goldfish are healthy.

We all know the risks from increasing levels of ammonia in the water, which cannot be removed only by replacing the water in the tank. This is why you need an excellent goldfish filter setup to maintain a healthy environment.

  • Do goldfish like strong water flow?

It is always essential that you establish the right water flow for your goldfish. Keeping an optimal water flow will make sure your goldfish are relaxed. Strong water flow can also affect its ability to feed as they would not have enough energy to chaise the nourishment you provide.

You must make sure you buy a filter that does not have a strong water flow that can affect your goldfish health.

  • How to reduce filter current?

Since the current can affect your goldfish mood, it is best if you get on top of the situation and control the water flow. As we mentioned before, some filters have adjustable water flow where you can control the current at any given time.

However, for those filters that do not come with motors speed control, you can always use live or plastic plants in front of the water flow that will reduce the impact of powerful water flow.

You can also control the filter intake on some filters that come with flow restricting valve, but you have to know that this will reduce the gallons per hour flowing through the filter.

  • Do goldfish need an air pump?

New goldfish owners think that the air pump is essential for keeping goldfish and providing the right oxygen in the water. However, the truth is that the air pump does not really provide oxygen to the water. The primary source of oxygen is when you have disturbance in the surface from that small air bubbles.

So, the air pump is not the only way to make a disturbance in the surface to create the right oxygen mixture. You can provide the right amount of oxygen for your fish to breathe only with the current of your filter. This means that the air pump is not necessary if you have another way to create water disturbance.


There are many filters to choose from, and finding the right one must be done through analyzing specifications. Having a good water filter is both good for the fish health where the water is circled a couple of times in an hour, and for you, that will spear you the time for manually cleaning the fish tank regularly.

Obviously, the Fluval FX6 is the best filter for goldfish, but it’s a bit bulky and not practical for small tanks. If you have a larger fish tank, it is the perfect option for you. This is the best way to make sure your aquarium water quality always stays the same, and provide a healthy environment for your goldfish.


  • William Rieder

    Hi, my name is William Rieder and I'm a pet and animal blogger. I love reviewing all things pet related, from dogs to cats to horses! I also write about other topics such as personal finance and relationships. I enjoy helping people find the perfect pet for their lifestyle and am always interested in hearing what they have to say about their pets.

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