How to choose the best filter for goldfishPicking the best filter for goldfish is very important, as these fish are known to produce a lot of waste and release harmful chemicals from their gills. These reasons make it essential to install a filter in your goldfish aquarium. However, many filters available in the market offer low filtration capacity or poor build quality that can be very dangerous to your fish.

To help you out, we have tested multiple filters and compiled a list of the best ones available. So, let’s get started with the list and find the best filter that suits your goldfish tank!

Comparison Chart

Name Recommended Aquarium Capacity (in gallons) Weight (in pounds) Dimensions (in inches)

Fluval FX High-Performance

Up to 250 14.17 15.6 x 15.6 x 17.7

MarineLand Magniflow

Up to 30 10.15 12.2 x 9.2 x 13.6

Penn-Plax Cascade 600

Up to 50 2.14 12 x 5 x 3

Fluval C-3 Power Filter

20 50 1.76 9 x 5.5 x 9

Handpicked Reviews of the Best Filter For Goldfish Tanks

Let’s look at our list to figure out what’s the best fish tank filter for goldfish you can buy online.

1. Fluval FX High-Performance Canister Filter


  • Powerful 700 GPH output
  • A microchip that monitors and adjusts the pump constantly
  • All the filter media is included
  • Rubberized feet that reduce noise


  • Large size

General Characteristics

The Fluval High-Performance Canister Filter is a heavy-duty and powerful device that is great for cleaning even the dirtiest aquariums. It has an impressive flow rate of 700 GPH, which is powerful enough to keep large tanks with up to 250-gallons capacity clean and hygienic. Moreover, the built-in motor is robust and can maintain this flow rate without any issue.

Integrated Smart Chip Technology

Along with this, Fluval has also added many useful features to this device. One of our favorite ones is the integrated smart chip technology that calculates and monitors the pump’s performance and manages the water output accordingly. This chip helps you get the best cleaning possible as it will optimize the pump’s power according to your tank’s conditions.

Multi-directional Nozzle

Another feature that makes it great for goldfish tanks is the multi-directional nozzle. It allows you to change the direction of the water flow in your tank to avoid pulling any of your goldfish into the flowing water. Moreover, all the nozzles are covered with anti-clog and telescopic strainers, so you won’t have to worry about the filter getting clogged with waste and debris.

Easy Installation

While this device is quite large and heavy, it has a convenient and straightforward installation and maintenance. It offers a self-starting design that will get the filter cleaning your tank water as soon as you place it in your aquarium and plug it in. The filter also comes equipped with a unique trapped air removal system as well as an automatic water change feature, so making those regular water changes will only require a press of a button.

Also, this device comes with all the filtration media you’ll need, so you won’t have to go through the expense of finding them separately. That being said, it might not be suitable for people on a budget as this filter is quite expensive.

A Silent Filter

As it is quite a heavy and powerful filter, we were expecting a loud machine. However, it is not the case with the FX4. To keep noise levels low, Fluval has added rubberized feet that are great at reducing vibrations along with most of the motor noise made by this filter.

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The Fluval High-Performance Canister Filter is an excellent goldfish tank filter and is perfect for larger aquariums that are difficult to keep clean. It has a powerful filtration system and various smart features built-in. For example, the device has a smart chip-controlled pump that manages water flow, a multi-directional nozzle, and many more, making it one of the best all-rounder products on this list.

2. MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter


  • Self-priming
  • Easy maintenance
  • Water polishing function
  • Strong build quality


  • Suitable for only up to 30-gallon tanks

General Characteristics

The MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter is a sturdy device with an effective filtration system. The build quality of the pump is excellent, and its robust design gives it a very premium appeal. It is just as well built on the inside and uses a three-stage filtration system that is great for populated goldfish tanks.

A Combination of Filtration Systems

This efficient system works a bit differently as compared to most filters available on the market. It pushes water directly through the filtration media with ample pressure forcing the water through and providing better filtration. It combines biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration to clean even the toughest of waste or odors from your tank, keeping it safe and clean for your fish.

Water Polishing Function

Moreover, MarineLand has also included a water polishing function to this filter, improving water clarity and cleaning power. It is exceptionally efficient in cleaning away smaller debris particles, and we loved how quickly it was able to get our testing tank’s water crystal clear.

Ease of Use

Along with being efficient at cleaning, this filter is straightforward to use and perfect for beginners. It has a self-priming function that fills and primes the filter at just the click of a button. So all you have to do for installation is place the filter on your tank, plug it in, and it will start working right away.

Once installed, maintaining this filter is just as easy, thanks to its unique design. The lid lifts up to allow quick access to the filter media, so you don’t need to take the whole device out of the water every time. Also, with the help of an inbuilt valve, you can shut off the water flow to allow for mess-free maintenance.

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If you are a beginner looking for a sturdy goldfish water filter for your tank, the MarineLand Magniflow Canister Filter is an excellent option for you. It comes with a powerful three-stage filtration system and has an effortless installation and maintenance procedure.

Along with this, MarineLand has included a unique water polishing feature that boosts this filter’s water cleaning capability.

3. Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Submersible Filter


  • Fully submersible
  • Multiple media chambers
  • Aeration system to improve oxygen levels
  • Spray bar output


  • It needs a high water level

General Characteristics

The Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Aquarium Filter is a fully submersible filter compatible with tanks up to 50 gallons in capacity. It works well in both freshwater and seawater tanks and has a decent water output of 175 GPH. It makes it a suitable device for most small to medium-sized goldfish tanks.

This filter combines an efficient three-stage filtration system with two separate media chambers to keep your tank crystal clear. The inbuilt media chambers also come with filter media right out of the box, so you can get this filter started immediately without any extra steps.

Double Water Outlet Option

Once the water is cleaned, you can choose to have it flow back into your tank in two distinct water outlet options. You can choose either the normal pump head or the attached spray bar outlet. The normal pump head lets water back into your tank in a single stream, and you can adjust its speed as well as direction. On the other hand, the spray bar outlet evenly sprays water into your tank, keeping the water moving and aerated at all times.

Maintains High Oxygen Levels

That being said, no matter which outlet option you choose, you won’t have to worry about the oxygen levels in your tank. The filter’s integrated Venturi Aeration system is great at keeping the water oxygen-rich. The system also eliminates the requirement of an air pump and can function with an air tube and muffler instead.

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The Penn-Plax Cascade 600 Aquarium Filter is an all-around device for goldfish, as well as amphibian tanks. The filter has a decent three-stage filtration system as well as an efficient system for improving underwater oxygen levels. Along with this, the Cascade 600 is fully submersible, so it can easily fit into cramped aquariums without blocking the view.

4. Fluval C-3 Power Filter


  • It easily clips on the tank
  • Five-stage filtration system
  • Re-filtration system for superior cleaning
  • It can be used for aquariums with up to 30-gallons capacity


  • Slightly expensive

General Characteristics

If your goldfish tank is full of fish and decor, you can go for the Fluval C-3 Power Filter, which is a hang-on-back filter suitable for cramped aquariums. It has a convenient clip-on design, so you can attach it to the side of any tank without taking up too much space. Moreover, this filter uses a single spout for the water inlet, so you can easily fit it in between your tank’s decor.

Even though this filter has a small form factor, it doesn’t compromise the filtration quality. This filter can be used with tanks up to 30 gallons in capacity and offers a mid-range output of approximately 264 GPH. Along with this, Fluval has integrated a five-stage filtration system that can filter even the dirtiest tank water.

Excellent Cleaning

The C-3’s filtration system uses two mechanical filters, two biological filters, and a chemical filter that work together to provide excellent cleaning and water filtration. It makes it especially great at cleaning waste and harmful bacteria from tanks.

Contains Cleaning Components

Additionally, Fluval Power Filter comes with all the necessary components required to clean your tank. Parts such as a leveling device, filter cover, foam pad, and others are included in the package. So, you won’t have to spend any additional money to install and run this filter. However, the assembly process is slightly complex and might be confusing for beginners.

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If you have a crowded goldfish tank, the Fluval C Series Power Filter is an excellent option for you. It is a perfect HOB filter that uses a powerful five-stage filtration system to keep your tank clean without taking up much space. Along with this, it comes with everything you will need right out of the box, so you won’t have to spend your money making any after-market purchases.

Things To Consider When Choosing a Filter for Your Goldfish Tank

Let’s go over some factors you should consider when buying a new filter for your goldfish tank.

Types of Filtration

When it comes to choosing an aquarium filter for goldfish, brands usually combine various types of filtration media to create an all-around cleaning process. Each of these types of filtration work in different ways to clean out different impurities and unwanted elements from your tank water.

Biological Filtration

Biological filtration works by providing an area for the cultivation of good bacteria in the filter media. The good bacteria breaks down toxic ammonia in your tank toxic nitrates that don’t cause harm to your aquarium ecosystem.

Chemical Filtration

Chemical filtration is quite different from it and uses activated carbon and resins to remove dissolved particles in your tank water. It is great for maintaining the water quality and clarity as these substances can often lead to unhealthy and murky water.

Mechanical Filtration

Apart from these two, mechanical filtration is also a common process found in most tank filters. It is quite straightforward and involves physically removing dirt particles and debris such as uneaten fish food and fish waste from the water. It is also often the first stage of filtration in most systems.

So, when looking for a filter for your goldfish tank, find the filtration types that suit your tank’s requirements. For example, a tank with lots of physical debris like floating substrate will require a strong mechanical filter, while one with lots of waste-producing fish will require a combination of biological and chemical filtration. Hence, you should look for the combination of filtration stages that matches your tank’s water.

Additional Features

Along with water filtration, many aquarium filters offer various unique features. These features range from simple outlet options to more complex ones such as smart pumps that can automatically adjust their output according to your tank’s condition, etc.

These features can be handy according to your requirements. For example, if you have a goldfish tank without much free space, looking for a filter that can clip onto the top of your tank would be a great way to save space.

Also, if your tank has surface residue, a filter with a surface skimmer can help. So, be sure to look for useful features that can help you in maintaining your goldfish tank.

Safety Features

A common problem when using filters with smaller fish is the risk of sucking them into the powerful water flow. It is more important in the case of goldfish as they are pretty delicate and can easily be damaged by powerful filters

To keep your fish safe, look for a filter that has safety features. These features are commonly seen in the form of smaller input valves and anti-clog tubes and can make your tank much safer and less stressful for your pets.


Let’s discuss a few frequently asked questions related to Goldfish Filters.

1. Do Goldfish Need a Filter All The Time?

Turning your goldfish tank filter off can be problematic and may even be fatal for the fish. That is because goldfish produce large amounts of waste. So, while you can turn the filter off occasionally, keeping it off for too long can lead to a build-up of debris that can make your fish sick.

2. How Long Will a Goldfish Live Without a Filter?

While there is no set rule for how long a goldfish can live without a filter, for larger tanks, it will take approximately 12 to 48 hours for the tank to become uninhabitable for goldfish. It is due to the lack of oxygen and build-up of waste over time unless the water is cleaned. It becomes more prominent for larger tanks, so having a good quality filter is very important.

3. What Size Tank Do I Need for Four Goldfish?

If you plan on keeping four small-sized goldfish, you should have a tank capacity of around 50 to 60 gallons. A simple guideline you can follow is to have 20 gallons of water in your tank for each goldfish to live a healthy life. So, while 60 gallons will be enough for smaller goldfish, it may be safer to go for an 80-gallon tank if you plan on keeping larger ones.


Picking the best filter for goldfish tankIt is crucial to have a robust and sturdy filter for your goldfish tank. Choosing the wrong filter can not only cost you more in the long run but also ruin your tank’s ecosystem by letting in harmful bacteria that can be fatal to goldfish.

If you want only the best for your goldfish, we highly recommend you to go for the Fluval FX High-Performance Canister Filter It is a powerful device with a 700 GPH output that can clean even the dirtiest and most crowded aquariums. It is a reliable device that will last you for years with its sturdy build quality.

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