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10 Best Filters For 20 Gallon Tank – 2023 Reviews

Filters are an essential item for any type of tank. These devices keep tanks in top shape and help your fish breathe better in their aquatic environment. While it’s easy to find a filter in any store though, it can be difficult to get a product that is a perfect fit for your tank. You don’t want to end up purchasing the wrong filter.

In this guide, you’ll learn which filtering devices are right for your 20-gallon tank. You want the best filter for 20-gallon tank systems. We’ll help you get that!

In addition. our post is compiled with helpful information about filters and 20-gallon tanks. This will further aid you in setting up your filter. It will also help you understand which filtering products match your needs.

You should have a full understanding of any product you buy for your fish and tank. This is an important purchase for your tank after all.

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Best Filters For 20 Gallon Tanks

The following are ten of the best filter products you can get for 20-gallon tanks.

We have gone through numerous 20-gallon filters and arrived at these ten options.

You will only get the best filter for 20-gallon tank systems in this post.

1. AquaClear Fish Tank Filter

[amazon box=”B00020SVDG”]

If you want a hang on filter for your 20-gallon tank, AquaClear is a great choice. AquaClear can handle tanks from ten gallons up to thirty gallons. So it fits in perfectly with 20-gallon tanks. In addition, it has all the types of filtration necessary for your tank water.

With the AquaClear, you’ll get beneficial bacteria growing in sponge pads quickly and abundantly. Other waste will be taken out of the water. This will be done with ease as mechanical and chemical filtering technology does its work.

Some filters can be too powerful for fish, but Aquaclear has a number of settings that help adjust water movement. If you have sensitive fish, Aquaclear helps reduce the flow rate and creates calmer waters. This is accomplished through its re-filtration system.

This system is found only in the AquaClear. It keeps the filter system efficient but lowers water movement up to fifty percent. You still get the same power output as other filters, but it disturbs your pet less!

Overall, the AquaClear is energy-saving and well designed for 20-gallon tanks. The media in this filter is of high quality and the AquaClear system keeps your tank running and healthy.

This is a great option for your tank, and it will not cost you much money. AquaClear is the best filter for 20-gallon tank systems if you don’t have money to spend on higher-end filtering products!


  • Good budget option for 20-gallon tanks
  • Has multiple filters options for large tanks
  • The AquaClear has an easy setup and operates well
  • AquaClear offers a two-year warranty for all customers
  • Filters a large range of tank sizes
  • -Good at reducing flow rate without compromising efficiency


  • The AquaClear can be a little loud on occasion
  • Have to replace certain media in the AquaClear every few months

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “PetSolutions: Aqua Clear Power Filters”

2. Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter

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If you are looking for something a little quieter why not try out the Aqueon QuietFlow.

AquaClear is a good option for some tanks, but this Aqueon product will keep your tank setup near silent. It will also ensure that your 20-gallon setup is clean for your fish.

All three categories of filtration are included with the QuietFlow. So, you won’t have to worry about adding extra media, everything your 20-gallon tank needs is in this model!

When you choose a device, Aqueon has filters in several sizes and power outputs. We recommend the size ten for 20-gallon tanks. It has the necessary power to keep a medium tank in good health.

Owners of 20-gallon tanks should have no problem placing this product in their tank as well. The QuietFlow is a submersible model that is fairly easy to install.

QuietFlow looks great, saves you some space, and works well in larger tanks. On the whole, this is a great device that has a lot of value for 20-gallon tanks. If you are looking for the best filter for 20-gallon tank systems, this is one product to be on the lookout for!


  • Ideal if you do not want a noisy filter for your twenty-gallon tank
  • Quality Filtration method that includes all modes of filtering
  • Saves tank owners space if they need more of it
  • Uses cartridges that are inexpensive and easy to replace


  • Requires a decent amount of rear clearance.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


Video: “Aqueon Quietflow E Internal Power Filter”

3. Tetra Whisper Power Filter for Aquarium

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The Tetra Whisper for 20-gallon tanks is another quiet option for fish lovers. Three-stage filtration is included with the whisper and it also has flow control. This way you can maintain your water and keep your fish in ideal environmental parameters!

Not only does this device work well, but it is also created by a top brand. In short, if you want to find a great filter for your 20-gallon tank, Tetra products are a good place to start.

Tetra is no stranger to filtration technology. They have been making these types of products for decades. So you will definitely get a reliable filter from this company.

The Whisper is equipped with all the right features for 20-gallon tanks. Flow control and multiple filtration categories are important but the Whisper also has a streamlined design.

The system in the Tetra is not complicated but simplified so your device works fast and to the highest capacity. Extra carbon and filtering media have been added to the Tetra so your fish’s water becomes clear and breathable!

If you want the best filter for 20-gallon tank systems this particular product is a great option. It’s not expensive and has great durability and performance in tanks!


  • Price is great for anyone buying their first filter if you need to save money
  • This filtering system does not take a ton of power
  • You will not be disappointed by the performance of the Tetra
  • Nice and Quiet filtering
  • Filtering comes in three stages for better clean
  • The Whisper comes with a good warranty


  • Will have to replace cartridges often

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “Smerrill’s Reviews – Tetra Whisper PF 20”

4. Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquarium

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If you want to pay even less money for your filter, this next Tetra filter is for you. This version of the Whisper line is made for 20-gallon tank owners on a budget.

This is not the most ideal device, but it works well and has all three filtration categories. It will keep your tank water clean. But you might need to change the cartridges more frequently to keep your water in the best condition!

So consider these trade-offs.

The gallon flow on the Ex20 is decent and goes up to 110 gph. But you won’t be able to change the flow of water like you can with the other products we reviewed. Still, this is by no means a bad 20-gallon tank filter. It just isn’t the best filter you can get for your aquarium.

The features on the Whisper Ex20 include bio scrubs that grow bacteria and catch particles, medium-sized carbon cartridges, and floss to trap bigger particles.

You’ll want to clean this device when you can. But if you maintain it right, your tank will look great!


  • Lots of good features for 20-gallon tanks
  • Has all categories of filtration your water and fish needs
  • Low price for a filter that does a lot to clean your tank
  • Good water flow output for 20-gallon setups
  • A few different features included to combat fish filth
  • Ex20 has a sensor that tells you when to change the cartridge


  • Cheaply made Tetra product, could break so be careful with it
  • Smaller filter cartridges in this model that need more changing
  • Some people complain this whisper device is not that quiet

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “Whisper EX Power Filter | DrsFosterSmith”

5. Fluval C Power Filter

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The Fluval C Power filter has all categories of filtration included, as well as, a few extra features. You will get some of the most powerful filtration with the Fluval C Power model.

Not only is there a ton of surface area available for cleaning, but there is plenty of versatility. This is to be expected of a 20-gallon filter from Fluval.

So what kind of media and cleaning tools are in this device?

Fluval C Power comes fully loaded. It has a foam pad that catches debris for mechanical filtering.

Carbon media is used for chemical filtering in the C Power and will keep the water clear and odor-free.

Two bio filtering methods are also used. You have a bio screen that further filters out waste before it enters the biosystem. And then you have bio nodes that allow room for good bacterial growth.

This Fluval filter is the best filter for 20-gallon tank systems. The price for the Power C is not high, and the value is undeniable!


  • The price of C Power is great
  • You get lots of features with this product
  • Ideal size and specs for 20-gallon tanks
  • Great starter filter for people newer to tanks and fish
  • Looks nice and is put outside your tank to save space
  • A thorough cleaning from the C Power


  • Can get noisy over the months

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “Fluval C-Series Aquarium Filter Maintenance”

6. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter

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Penn Plex Cascade is another quality 20-gallon tank filter. The Cascade works with tanks between 10 and 20-gallons, so it’s just the right size for your tank!

The power of this model will help get your aquarium water in good condition. It has a gph output of 100 gallons and the water flow can also be adjusted with ease.

In addition to this, the Cascade has all categories of filtering. Debris bits and other impurities will be taken care of by this Penn Plex device easily.

This is accomplished with active carbon cartridges. In addition, sponge pads also aid in good bacteria growth and there is a trapping mechanism for mechanical filtering!

Penn Plex has some of the best filters for 20-gallon tanks. The price for this is similar to Fluval and Tetra, and again you get plenty of quality and value with this device!

And you can use this on any type of tank including marine tanks!


  • Good gph for a 20-gallon tank
  • The price of the Cascade is good
  • Three categories of filtering for a great clean
  • You can use the Cascade on marine and freshwater tanks
  • The Cascade has a simple set up, it’s also simple to operate


  • Some durability issues

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “How To Set Up a Penn-Plax Cascade Hang On Filter”

7. Marina Power Filter

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Marina Power is a smaller and slimmer 20-gallon filter. It’s a more simple filter in comparison to some of the other devices on this list. But it costs less money and can save you space. You can also adjust water flow which can be good for some types of fish.

Unfortunately, Marina only has biological filtering and chemical filtering. So you won’t get any mechanical filtering out of this filter. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but you might have to do water changes every once in a while, if you have a lot of debris in your tank.

Water output is decent with this model, and you won’t have a hard time setting up the Cascade.

Still, we don’t recommend this device if you have a lot of fish.

You might need something with more power and filtration with a bigger bioload. If you only have a few fish this could be okay though.


  • You can change the water flow in the Marina
  • The price is affordable and fits a lower budget
  • Has good biological filtering focus
  • Marina is a simple product and good for beginners
  • Marina’s slim design helps save some space


  • Not a great filter for tanks with a lot of fish
  • Doesn’t have all the categories of filtration
  • You might have to clean your tank more often

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “Marina Slim Filter S15 runs”

8. Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter

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The next 20-gallon filter is a canister type device. Unlike the Marina, you will get a lot of filtering power out of this product. Canister filters are meant to filter large quantities of water quickly!

But you will be paying more for this model of the Cascade. Still, tanks with a lot of fish will benefit from this type of filtering device.

This is because Penn Plax’s Canister filter can go through 185 gallons of water every hour. This means that it will filter water almost two times faster than typical filtering products.

You can put any kind of media you want in the Penn Plex as well. It has plenty of room to fit in whatever you want and will go through all categories of filtration. Tubing and media do come with this product though so there is no need to spend extra money.

On the whole the Cascade Canister is another contender for the best 20-gallon filter. So, look into this item if you can afford the price!


  • Very fast filtering with this canister filter
  • Includes filtering media and tubing
  • Powerful cleaning technology in the Cascade
  • Good quality and longevity with this canister filter
  • Great for 20-gallon tanks with a lot of fish


  • Could cost too much for some

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “PetSolutions: Cascade Canister Filters”

9. Hydro Sponge

[amazon box=”B000NP8W84″]

The Hydro Sponge is a simple sponge filter made for 20-gallon tanks. This is not as advance as other 20- gallon filters. But the Hydro does a good job of trapping debris and building up good bacteria.

For people with less of a budget, the Hydro is a decent choice. It doesn’t have many features but you can put in a limited amount of media into it. This way you can get chemical filtering in as well. Tubing is included with the filter, but you will have to hook up your own pump to this device.

Sponge filters are not meant for every 20-gallon tank but this particular sponge filter gets the job done. Consider how much waste your fish will produce though. And if you have more fish, you might want to go with a different product.

If you have a low bioload this should be fine to use, especially if you have a good air pump to attach the Hydro to.


  • A nice alternative to other types of filters
  • Less water movement with the sponge filter
  • Good price with the Hydro
  • Has all filtration categories, but you need to add in extra media


  • Might not be ideal for 20-gallon tanks with a lot of fish
  • Have to purchase a pump separately

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “Sponge Filter ATI Hydro Sponge Foam Set Up”

10. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquarium

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The MarineLand Canister is our final 20-gallon filter recommendation. This device comes in at under 100 dollars. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a Penn Plex Cannister, this could be an alternative option for you.

Like other canister filters, the MarineLand is power-packed and able to filter through many gallons of water in an hour. You get all the types of filtration you need for 20-gallon filters as well.

MarineLand is a quality brand that knows how to make good filters. So you can’t go wrong with a canister filter purchased from them. What’s great about this 20-gallon filter is that you get plenty of variety in media. In particular,

Marineland provides customers with bio balls for the canister. You also get foam pads and carbon media. All of these features combined make for clean and healthy tank water!

Overall, this is another great 20-gallon filter!


  • Lower price than most canister filters
  • Good quality from MarineLand
  • Has all categories of filtration
  • Powerful cleaning from this canister device
  • Lots of different filtering media included
  • Can work in saltwater tanks as well


  • Still might be too expensive for some buyers
  • The canister could be a little too large for some people

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Video: “Marineland Magniflow Unboxing & Product Review | Big Al’s”

Why You Should Get A Filter For Your 20 Gallon Tank

You won’t want to skip out on a filter, especially if you have a large 20-gallon tank. It isn’t hard to understand why this is the case.

When your fish live in an enclosed aquatic space, they create waste. This waste needs to go somewhere. Otherwise, it accumulates in the tank water and makes your fish ill. Numerous water changes are possible of course. But in a tank with twenty gallons of water, this can be near impossible to accomplish on a regular basis. This is why you need a good filter for your 20-gallon tank!

These products will reduce the time you spend cleaning your 20-gallon tank. Best of all your pets will stay healthy and live in a quality aquarium environment!

Filter Types For 20 Gallon Tanks

When you get your filter for your 20-gallon tank, there are a few different categories of filters to choose from. Generally, we recommend going with one of the following filter types.

Hang On Back

Hang-On filters are one option you could go for with your 20-gallon tank. All you have to do with these is clip them to the side of your tank setup.

You don’t have to have any other external equipment; they just hang on the side of aquariums. They work well and are easy to maintain generally.


The next type of filter you could go for is an internal filter. Usually, you want to use these kinds of filters for a tank with less water. But if you can find a good internal filter model these products should be fine.

Internal filters are popular because they tend to be quieter. They are put inside the water but can take up space.


The last type of 20-gallon filters we would recommend is a canister filter. Canister filters are bigger, more powerful, and can be more expensive. But if you want a more powerful clean this might be a device you consider getting for your 20-gallon tank.

Canister filters are external and sit next to or below tanks. The setup for these devices can also be more complicated. But overall, these are great for bigger 20-gallon tanks!

Choosing the Best Filter For 20 Gallon Tank Setups

When you choose your filter for your 20-gallon system consider the following requirements. First off, a quality filter product will not only work well but last you a long time. So you want your filter to be sturdy and durable. This way it won’t break down easily or leak with water. An included warranty policy is a bonus in case of an accident.

Once you know that your device is durable, you want to make sure it has enough power. Filters for larger 20-gallon tanks should have at least 100 gph water outputs.

Sometimes more if you have a lot of fish in you tank space. This will help the water run through your filter system faster. It will also keep the water filtering continuous and efficient.

All categories of filtration should be present in a good filtering device as well. Mechanical filtration is especially important. You don’t want any waste contaminating your 20-gallon tank.

Biological and chemical filtering should be present too. This way your tank looks great and stays properly maintained!

Lastly, you want a 20-gallon filter that is from a good brand and is priced reasonably. Well-known filter brands are more likely to create quality products.

This is because they have been selling filtering products for years, so they know what tank owners need in their tanks. Not only should the brand be good, but the price for your 20-gallon filter should be good as well. You don’t want to go to extremes spending hundreds of dollars. You also don’t want to purchase a product for under ten dollars. As this could lead to you purchasing a cheap and easily broken filtering device.

Really, if you follow these guidelines, you should find the best filter for 20-gallon tank systems!

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20-gallon tanks require quality filters to keep tank water well-maintained. You do not want your fish to get sick, or your tank to look like a mess. So this is a necessary investment for any serious fish owner.

Finding the best filter for 20-gallon tank systems can be hard though. To remedy this, we introduced you to some top brand filters for your larger tank.

We also gave you some in-depth information on 20-gallon tank filters. In addition, each of our filter product recommendations were reviewed.

This should help you make a great choice for your tank, and keep your fish happy!

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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