TOM Aquarium Mini Internal Filter Review

This is a wonderfully tiny filter perfect for a 5 gallon (or 5.5 gallon) aquarium. The very low flow rate is great too, and with the addition of using the spray bar you can really get the water movement down.

All of my aquariums are fully planted at the plants themselves are the main filtration. I only need a filter to catch floating solids and to keep the temperature in the tank even along with moving nutrients for the plants. The vast majority of freshwater fish that people keep come from swamps, bogs, flooded rivers, and very slow moving streams. The common factor is low (but not zero) water movement. I know that may sound counter to what a lot of the web says, but you really don’t need a raging river in your tanks, and your fish will thank you for it! Especially Betta’s, they have long fins and high water movement makes it very hard for them to move around. Fighting a current causes stress, and stress in fish causes disease.

The filter compartment itself contains just a regular course sponge, which is perfectly fine. It will hold up for a long time (compared to a pad) and is easy enough to remove for washing. Above the sponge is a very small compartment that comes pre-filled with loose activated carbon. That went straight into the trash, activated carbon does absolutely nothing for a planted aquarium, and very little otherwise with how infrequent people tend to replace it. In its place I put a small bit of filter floss (otherwise known as poly fil from a craft store, or quilt batting also works) that increases the filters performance with small particles.

In the picture below you can see how it fits in my 5.5 gallon aquarium including the spray bar attachment. Note how the spray bar does add a little to the vertical height of the filter, but still easily fits within the aquarium. The heater shown in the picture is a Hydor Theo 25W  submersible heater and you can read my review on it here.

Minifilter and Heater

TOM Aquarium Mini Internal Filter and 25W Hydor Theo Heater

Noise wise the filter is pretty quiet. You can hear the hum, but it is less that you would get from a HOB or sponge filter. The power for this filter is DC instead of the more normal AC so it comes with a ‘wall wort’ as I call it, the large plug that takes up space near the outlets.

I use this with a Betta, but it would also be fine for an invert tank (shrimp and snails). And did I mention it is really small? Huge plus for me as space is at a premium in these small tanks.


  • Small Size
  • Low Flow Rate
  • Quite


  • Large plug

Rating: 5/5

What to see more reviews? I have several more on my Reviews page.

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