Best 20 Gallon Fish Tank Filter for 2024


Best 20 Gallon Fish Tank Filter for 2024

Power filters are the units of choice for the vast majority of aquarists. They provide ample mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration for your fish. And they are tremendously easy to maintain and clean on a biweekly or monthly basis! If you’re looking for a model for your 20 gallon fish tank then here are the best choices on the market today!

The Best 20 Gallon Fish Tank Filters of 2024

Whisper IQ Power Filter for Aquariums, With Quiet Technology

Whisper has been in the game for decades, perfecting their near-silent filters to an astonishing degree. The Whisper IQ line rates under 40 decibels of noise thanks to their magnetically driven impellers and sound-dampened construction.

The base flow of the pump is 175 gallons per hour, providing plenty of turnover for a 20 gallon tank. But the flow can be reduced to as slow as 10 GPH when feeding or to maintain a comfortable living environment for bettas, fish fry, and other slow swimmers. And the interior of the chamber uses a traditional activated carbon + floss cartridge alongside a patented BioGrid. The grid provides extra living space for the beneficial bacteria that consume ammonia and nitrite in your system. In this way, you can maintain a healthy colony even when changing out the cartridge during regular filter maintenance!

AquaClear Fish Tank Filter

AquaClear filters are some of my favorites because they are much more customizable than other power filters. They use a large media chamber that gives you room to stack the included media – or any media you wish – inside. In this way they are more like canister filters, only cheaper and sized for a 20 gallon tank!

AquaClear includes non-biodegradable foam, an activated carbon satchel, and ceramic bio rings for bacteria to colonize. But you can easily swap them out for chemical resins, diatomaceous earth, or any other specialty media of your choice! The unit is a little chunkier as a result, requiring more space between the tank and the wall than usual. Still, I find they are ideal for expert aquarists in need of a little extra space!

Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter

The main attraction of Aqueon QuietFlow is the LED unit included, which acts to alert you when the filter cartridges need maintenance. As the cartridges fill with waste, the water flow decreases, lighting up the LED for your attention!

Unlike many power filters the Aqueon QuietFlow is also self-priming. This means it can be started without being filled with water partially, which would damage most other filter pumps. The unit is also intelligently designed to make maximum use of space for biological filtration potential! Each Aqueon has not only an included cartridge but a Bio-Holster to hold it, as well as a Diffuser Grid on the outflow. The grid not only scatters water, oxygenating it as it enters your tank, but also provides extra surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize!

Marineland Penguin PRO Power Filter

Last but not least is this design by Marineland! Marineland filters use a patented BioWheel design built into the outflow of the unit. BioWheels are one of my favorite designs, using a wet/dry system that provides loads of extra surface area for beneficial bacterial colonies. And by splashing in and out of the water the BioWheel ensures the bacteria get plenty of oxygen for processing fish waste as well as helping to further oxygenate your aquarium!

Despite this, the unit is extremely quiet, creating less than 40 Db of sound; ideal for a bedroom or other quiet living space. The interior chamber also has space for not just one but a second filter cartridge (not included). Two cartridges provide extra mechanical and chemical filtration for tanks with a heavy fish load!

Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter

The Aqueon Quietflow E uses a simpler but no less effective design than the other models! Rather than sitting outside of the tank and using a siphon to pull water into itself, this unit is immersed directly inside the aquarium. This is ideal for setups where space behind the tank is at a premium. And to ensure as little living space is taken up within as possible the unit is designed to be svelte and discrete enough to be hidden behind plants and other decorations.

Once water enters, it is passed through a floss and carbon cartridge, which provides all three modes of filtration before being quietly expelled from the top of the unit. Four suction cups attach the Aqueon Quietflow to the interior walls of the tank and the included lid gives you instant, easy access to the unit for maintenance!


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