Best Filter For 10 Gallon Reef Tanks

A 10 gallon saltwater tank is considered to be a nano tank with the standard dimensions of 20 x 10 x 12.

Although these tanks are quite small, there are many people who love to keep a nano reef tank in their home or office.

Regardless of the size of your saltwater tank, it will need filtration. Of course, the larger the tank size, the more filtration it will need.

Small nano tanks like the 10 gallon don’t require large filtration systems. There are a few great options available if you are looking for a filter suitable for a 10 gallon tank.

The main type of filter used on small saltwater nano tanks are the hang on the back.

Although you can use a canister filter or a sump/refugium filtration system if you like.

Let’s look at the best hang-on-back filter options for a 10 gallon reef tank.

Seachem Tidal 35AquaClear 30Aqueon
QuietFlow 30
Dimensions7.5″L x 6.5″W x 6.5″H 4.5″L x 8.2″W x 6.7″H7.4″x4.4″x7.9″
Flow Rate130 GPH150 GPH125 GPH
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Hang on the back filters (HOB)

Hang-on-the-back filters are very easy to install and use on a small reef tank. They are affordable and don’t require a lot of maintenance.

Seachem Tidal 35 Filter

Seachem is my #1 choice for using a hang on the back filter on a 10 gallon tank. They are available in many sizes, but I recommend using the Tidal 35 model.

Although it is rated for tanks up to 35 gallons, it will work well on a 10-gallon tank. If you have a higher bioload, it won’t hurt to have extra filtration.

This filter has a flow rate of 130 GPH which will give you a 13X turnover rate using a 10 gallon tank.

The Seachem Tidal filters have a self-priming pump, dual water intake, adjustable flow, and plenty of space to keep a variety of filter media.

They are also quiet and affordable.

Features and stats:

  • Self-priming pump
  • Dual water intake
  • Self-cleaning impeller
  • Surface skimmer
  • Maintenance alert feature
  • Mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration
  • Dimensions: 7.5″L x 6.5″W x 6.5″H 
  • Flow rate: 130 GPH
Seachem Tidal Power Aquarium Filter - 35 Gallon Large Fish Tank Filter,black
  • FLOW REGULATION: The fully adjustable flow regulation feature on the Tidal Power Filter adjusts performance to a specific aquarium volume, type, or provide an environment for fish that prefer more or less water movement or oxygenation. Adjust the dial from anywhere between 450 gallons per hour down to a gentle 90 gallons per hour.
  • SURFACE SKIMMER: The surface skimmer on the Tidal Power Filter will capture the water from just below the surface, where excreted fish oils accumulate, as well as deeper in the tank to remove floating debris.
  • ADJUSTABLE INTAKE FLOW: With Tidal’s dual intake, it pulls water in through the telescoping pipe below the surface and at the surface through the surface skimmer. Easily adjust how much flow comes from the underwater intake pipe versus the surface skimmer with the intake flow dial.

Read: Best hang on back filters for saltwater tanks

AquaClear 30 HOB Filter

The AquaClear hang-on back filters have been a staple in the aquarium hobby for many years. They are durable, long-lasting, and available in a variety of sizes.

For a 10 gallon saltwater tank, I recommend the AquaClear 30. It is rated for tank sizes between 10 and 30 gallons with a maximum flow rate of 150 GPH. This will give you a turnover rate of 15X.

The AquaClear HOB filters come with a large storage basket and will hold many different media types.

They are easy to set up and use and will do a great job filtering your tank.

Features and stats:

  • Superior water contact time with filter media
  • Energy-efficient pump
  • Mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration
  • Includes foam, carbon, and bio max rings
  • Filtration volume up to 7X more than comparable filters
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 8.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Flow rate: Up to 150 GPH
AquaClear 30 Power Filter, Fish Tank Filter for 10- to 30-Gallon Aquariums
  • Aquarium filtration system that offers superior contact time with filter media and energy efficient pump lowers operating costs
  • Quick and easy installation; we recommend that you clean aquarium filter every 2 weeks for maximum operation and efficiency
  • Provides optimal mechanical; chemical; and biological filtration

Aqueon QuietFlow 20 LED Pro Filter

The new Aqueon Quietflow LED Pro HOB filters are designed with an internal pump which is quiet and leak-free. It is also self-priming and will start up automatically in the event of a power outage.

A great feature of this filter is it includes an LED light which will illuminate if the filter cartridge becomes clogged with debris.

The Aqueon QuietFlow 20 filter is suitable for a 10 gallon saltwater tank. It has a flow rate of 125 GPH which will give you a turnover rate of around 12X.

These filters are also very reliable and a popular choice.

Features and stats:

  • Mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration
  • Auto-start, self-priming filter
  • Patented bio-holster removes toxic ammonia and nitrites
  • Diffuser grid removes additional toxins while adding oxygen
  • Includes an LED cartridge change indicator
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Dimensions: 7.4″x4.4″x7.9″
  • Flow rate: 125 GPH
Aqueon QuietFlow 20 LED PRO Aquarium Fish Tank Power Filter For Up To 30 Gallon Aquariums
  • Dense floss removes particles and debris
  • Activated carbon removes toxins, odors and discoloration
  • Patented bio-holster removes toxic ammonia and nitrites


Does a 10-gallon tank need a filter?

Every aquarium needs some form of filtration incorporated into the system. For smaller tanks like a 10 gallon nano reef tank, you can use an affordable and convenient hang-on-back type filter.

Some smaller nano aquariums have filtration built into the system. An all-in-one kit like the Fluval EVO 13.5 or IM Nuvo Fusion 20 is very popular and does not require an additional filter as it is built into the tank.

Read: 5 best media reactors for nano tanks

Best filter media for nano tanks

Once you have decided on the right filter for your nano tank, it is time to choose and add the filter media.

Regardless of whether you are using a hang on the back, canister, sump/refugium, or media reactor, you will need to choose the proper filter media to put in it.

Mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration media can be used one at a time or all together if needed. Some medias are better and more efficient than others.

Depending on your tank’s needs, you can decide on what filter media is required.

Activated carbon is a common source of chemical filtration and is great for water clarity and removing toxins. Rox 0.8 carbon is one of the best carbon media available.

If you are looking to add biological filtration, consider using Marine Pure, which is a high performance bio filter media.