Do GloFish Need a Filter?

Do GloFish Need a Filter

If you’re planning on getting GloFish, you might be asking yourself the question do GloFish need a filter? The short answer to this question is yes GloFish will need a filter. If you plan on keeping GloFish in a small fish tank we recommend you get a sponge filter (Amazon Link). For larger aquariums the Aqua Clear Power Filter (Amazon Link) would be the best option.


Why Do GloFish Need a Filter

Aqua Clear Power Filter (Click to View on

GloFish need a filter in order to keep the water they swim in free of ammonia, nitrites, and any other contaminants. If you don’t provide your GloFish with adequate filtration, it can harm their health and eventually lead to their demise. The following sections go over the primary functions of a filter, and how each process helps maintain the quality of your aquarium’s water.


Mechanical Filtration

One of the simplest functions of an aquarium filter is to remove debris from the water. As fish waste and other detritus builds up you will need a way to remove these small particles from your aquarium. A filter will help remove some of these particles before they settle to the bottom of the tank and foul up the water.


Biological Filtration

The primary reason you want to have a filter on your fish tank is to process harmful substances like ammonia and nitrite. These chemicals are toxic to fish, and if they are not removed or processed somehow they are deadly to most aquarium inhabitants.


The way the biological filtration process works is by using bacteria to break down ammonia and nitrite into less harmful nitrate. The bacteria that are responsible for this process are called Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter. Nitrosomonas first oxidizes ammonia into nitrite, and then Nitrobacter breaks down the nitrite into nitrate. The leftover nitrate is less harmful to fish, and it can even be a benefit in planted aquariums.


Chemical Filtration

Chemical filtration plays an important role in removing any substances that are relatively hard for the other filtration media to remove from the water. Some of the things that a chemical filter removes are volatile organic compounds and certain medications.

Chemical filters generally use activated carbon to filter out some of these hard to remove substances. The activated carbon forms a chemical bond with these compounds in order to remove them from the water.

Once the activated carbon has become fully saturated it will need to be replaced since the chemical filtration process is not easily reversible. As long as you change your chemical filter media on a regular basis you can prevent volatile organic compounds from building up, which will help limit any smells that might be coming from your fish tank.


Water Flow

An aquarium filter will also help keep the water in your fish tank from becoming stagnant. No matter what type of filter you use they all will create a current in the water. This current will help oxygenate the water, which will benefit your fish and the bacteria that help clean the water. Having sufficient water flow will also help evenly distribute heat in your tank if you plan on running a heater.




Best Filters for GloFish

Aqua Clear Power Filter
Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters
MarineLand Penguin Power Filter w/Multi-Stage Filtration
Aquaneat Bio Sponge Filter
AQUAPAPA Corner Filter




GloFish Tank Filters



Aqua Clear Power Filter

The Aqua Clear Power Filter (Buy Online) is one of the best hang on back power filters on the market. The Aqua Clear filter line can handle fish tanks that range from 10 to 110 gallons.

What really sets Aqua Clear Power Filters apart from most other filters on the market is their filtration media. Unlike other filters, each stage in the Aqua Clear Power Filter can be changed independently. That means you can change any one of the filter pads without having to disturb any of the others.

The Aqua Clear Power Filter has up to 7 times the capacity of other comparable filters on the market. It also has an adjustable flow rate, which is great if you want to control the current in your aquarium. In addition, the adjustable flow rate will allow you to save a little energy if you don’t need to run the filter at full power.

Overall if you want one of the easiest to maintain full-featured filters that can handle any size tank you can’t go wrong with the Aqua Clear Power Filter.




Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters

The Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter (Buy Online) is another good choice for a GloFish tank setup. Aqueon QuietFlow Power Filters come in a number of sizes that can handle fish tanks that range from 10 to 100 gallons.

Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters use an all in one cartridge system to make filter changes as easy as possible. The only downside to the cartridge system is that you lose a lot of the bacteria in your filter when you change the media. Aqueon has taken this into consideration in their new filters by adding a secondary biological filter right on the overflow outlet.

One of the other unique features of the Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filter is the LED indicator light. This light will warn you when a filter change is necessary by glowing red. Some people do complain that the LED is a little finicky, so you should use it as a guide and not as a precise measurement.




MarineLand Penguin Power Filter w/Multi-Stage Filtration

The MarineLand Penguin Power Filter w/Multi-Stage Filtration (Buy Online) is another very popular power filter for medium to large aquariums. The MarineLand Penguin Power Filter Line can be used on tanks that range from 20 to 70 gallons.

MarineLand Penguin Power Filters use an all in one cartridge system like most power filters. These cartridges are made up of floss and activated carbon. The floss provides mechanical filtration, while the activated carbon removes any organic compounds from the water.

One of the most unique features found on the MarineLand Penguin Power Filter is the Bio-Wheel. The Bio-Wheel acts as a large biological filter that spins around in the outlet flow of the filter. This allows the bacteria on the Bio-Wheel to break down waste at peak efficiency since they are almost completely exposed to oxygen.

The only downside to the Bio-Wheel is that it can become jammed and clogged when it runs for long periods. In most cases, you can simply rinse off any of the debris that might be causing the problem, or you can replace the Bio-Wheel completely if you can’t easily resolve the jamming issue.




Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter

The Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter (Buy Online) will work perfectly on most GloFish tank setups. The Tetra Whisper EX Silent Line of filters can handle aquariums that range from 10 to 70 gallons.

These filters use a dual cartridge filtration system, so you can change one out without disturbing the other. The first cartridge houses the mechanical and chemical filtration media. As usual, the mechanical filtration is provided by a fine floss media, while chemical filtration is taken care of by activated carbon.

The second cartridge in this filter is the patented bio-scrubber. This cartridge provides a large surface area for bacteria to colonize. This filter media is made of durable soft plastic, so it won’t need to be replaced at all in most cases. The only maintenance you will need to do to keep the biological filter clean is to rinse off any detritus that builds up using dechlorinated water.




Aquaneat Bio Sponge Filter

The Aquaneat Bio Sponge Filter (Buy Online) is the perfect filter for a small GloFish aquarium. These sponge filters can either be purchased individually or in multi-packs if you want to save a little money on each filter. This particular sponge filter is made for a 10-gallon tank, but there are many different size sponge filters out there that will work on any size aquarium.

The real nice thing about sponge filters is that they only need an air pump to operate. The force of the air rising up through the outlet tube pulls water through the sponge which drives the filtration process. The sponge provides both mechanical and biological filtration in a simple and easy to maintain package. The porous nature of the sponge captures small particles from the water, and the sponge has ample surface area for bacteria to colonize.

The only thing that most sponge filters lack is chemical filtration. In most cases that is not that big of a deal, but if you do need a chemical filter then a power filter or a corner filter might be a better option.




Corner Filter

A Corner Filter (Buy Online) is one of the most tried and true filters for a small aquarium. These filters are an excellent choice if you have a small 5 to 10-gallon aquarium. They are also one of the more power efficient filters since they only need an air pump to operate.

A corner filter works just like a sponge filter does by using the force of rising air to draw water through the filter media. The one advantage corner filters have over sponge filters is that you can pack them with any kind of filter media.

That means if you need some added chemical filtration you can add activated carbon to a corner filter with no problems. You can also pick and choose from a wide range of mechanical and biological filtration media if you want to increase the performance and maintainability of the filter.

Another nice thing about a corner filter is that you can teach your kids about the inner workings of an aquarium filter. You can make packing the filter a little science project for your kids, and then go over each part of the filtration process with them.

Mark Young
Mark has worked with a wide range animals for over 10 years, and he regularly volunteers at his local animal shelter. Mark has decided to share his years of knowledge by writing helpful guides for both new and experienced pet owners