Choosing a filter for your goldfish tank

Choosing a filter for your goldfish tank

All three kinds of aquarium filter in use today (undergravel, internal and external) will help keep a goldfish aquarium clean and healthy.

You’ll still need to regularly change a portion of the water and keep the glass clean (as well as being careful not to overfeed or overstock your fish), but at least the filter will trap the dirt in one place, and so speed up the job. But how do you choose which aquarium filter is right for you?

Firstly, it’s important to buy the correct sized filter for your tank. An undergravel filter should completely cover the bottom of the fish tank, and be teamed with a sufficiently strong airpump or powerhead. Different models of internal and external filter are designed for different sized aquariums; you can check their capacity on the box, by studying any online data if you’re buying over the Internet, or by asking in the shop.

Beyond that it’s really a matter of personal choice, and perhaps a financial one.

Generally, we’d recommend an undergravel filter if you’re on a tight budget and noisy bubbles from airlifts aren’t a problem. If they are, you can get a decent internal filter for only a little more than a powerhead and you’ll save on the cost of gravel, not that it’s particularly expensive.

Power filters are very versatile, and the latest designs are quick to clean. In the old days you always had to suck a tube to get them started again (which often meant gulping down a potentially dangerous mouthful of aquarium water) but you can now avoid that if you buy a modern self-priming model. All in all, if money is no object you’re unlikely to regret buying a power filter.

34 Responses to “Choosing a filter for your goldfish tank”

  1. I have a quick question about filters. You say that it is important to buy the correct size, but I have heard that it is okay to buy a filter that is one size larger than your tank (a 20 gallon one for a 10 gallon tank, etc). Is this true?


  2. @Bek – yes, that would be fine. A really powerful filter on too small a tank would be bad if it created currents that were too strong and upset your goldfish. But one size larger is fine – in fact, it’s better if you can afford it. More margin of safety.

    Enjoy your goldfish! 🙂

  3. Do all goldfish need a filter?

  4. they do not need filters, but it saves a lot of water changing

  5. I have a ten gallon tank and I just bought two goldfish for it. They’ve only been in the tank for two days now and the water’s already cloudy. We have a 5-15 power filter for it. Is the filter too small or did I get one fish too many? (each fish is about 2in. long)

  6. Gold fish reply on April 9th, 2010…. Gold fish are dirty fish and will leave alot of fish waste in the tank and thats why your water is cloudy. Your ten gallon tank is to small to carry two gold fish. You will need a 30 gallon tank for the two goldfish because they will get bigger and will need more room to swim. Your filter is to small and will not filter enough to make your water clear. If you decide to purchase a larger tank which is highly recomended, you will need a bigger filter system to keep your aquarium water clean. Amonia is the number 1 killer for all fishes especially goldfish, get your water tested at a pet store that carrys fishes. I would suggest that you get a book on beginners guide to goldfish care, so you can gain knowledge how to take care of your goldfish. Good Luck.

  7. Hello,
    I was just wondering if I can leave my 2 goldshish in a ten gallon tank until they get bigger? Also, one of my goldfish was nipping the other one, what should I do about this? My goldfish are about 2 1/2 inches long.

  8. My goldfishsfour in a forty five gallon tamk. One of my goldfishes
    (black Moor) has one eye.It is not only inactive but also not feeding.I am constantly worring about it as it has sight from one eye.Please help me!

  9. I have four goldfishes in a forty five gallon tank.I am worried About a one of themIt is which is a ( A black moor) and has one eye functioning and is not feeding.I am worrying about.Please help

  10. @Shabbir m Lotia:: Not feeding is a bad sign, I really don’t know what you should do. I think that if my goldfish stopped eating, I would go to an aquarium store and see if there is any medicine that they could suggest. I’m sorry that I can,t be of more help 🙁

  11. Hi, we just got a goldfish aquarium with filter for my daughter and recently experienced a power outage for several hours. What do you do when there’s a significant power outage? How long can they last without the water circulating?

  12. It seems like you are producing complications your self by trying to remedy this problem instead of taking a look at why
    their is really a difficulty within the 1st location

  13. how long can gold fish live i have one that is about 7 years old? thank you much. randy delk

  14. hey whats you contact number

  15. can i put a goldfish in a 5 gallon

  16. I have Neon Tetras and Fantail Comets… in a 1.5g tank. Heater, up filter, keeps the temps at 73. My fish keep dying?? How do I know if they are getting enough oxygen in the water?

  17. i have in a 40 gal tank with 11 inch gold fish just body lenght by refreshing their water & adding nutrients. these goldfish r between 5 & 7 years old. I clean & do regular filter changes in the pump every other week. only once loss in past 3 past years. in this tank is an algae eater, 1 dogo, 3 zebra convicts. regular checks for nitrates and so forth. plenty of bubblers.

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  21. I have a 3 gallon tank with one goldfish. I am currently using the whisper filter that originally came with the tank, the water still gets cloudy withing a month of changing the water. Is there a filter that I can get that would work better for me?

  22. Hi Crystal
    Having a filter for your Goldie is great but one fish requires a tank with at least 20 gal. Also water changes at intervals of at minimum 1/3 weekly. 3 gal and monthly water changes will not alow for good water quality. Another factor to concidered is cycling. Was your tank cycled before adding your Goldie?without all the good bacteria cultured in the tank before bringing your fish home will only set you up for daily water changes for at least a month. Goldfish are NOT beginning level fish. Because the urban legend contradicts this, the average lifespan of a Goldie is only one month from purchase. Keep asking questions and you’ll be a goldfish pro soon.

  23. My fish keeps getting ick….what am I doing wrong. I have 10 small gold fish in a 39 gallon tank. Please help

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  29. Hi, I have one pet goldfish that has began to hang out any the bottom of the tank and won’t eat. I think it may be due to the water quality. Although I don’t use a filter I do clean her water every week what the python gravel cleaner which does great. Is my fish doing this because the water isn’t being cleaned enough or because she is stressed. Please help, I’m not sure what to do.

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  33. Thanks for your best filter and it work for my Goldfish tank.

  34. Great work, I love power filter for goldfish, quick fast and dirty destroyers.

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