Tetra Whisper Power Filter Review

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Right away I will say that I like this filter. The Tetra Whisper Power filter is a strong, inexpensive power filter. It uses the waterfall method, which sucks water from the tank, passes it though a few layers of filtration and pours it back into the tank. This means it will run louder than an internal filter and canister filter. It makes up for this by being much stronger than internals and significantly cheaper than canister filters. The Tetra Whisper Power Filter comes in four different sizes.

Model Tank Size # of Filtration stages Max Flow Rate
(Gallon Per Hour)
20 up to 20 Gallons 2 105 2+ Years
30 up to 30 Gallons 2 145 3+ Years
40 up to 40 Gallons 3 210 3+ Years
60 up to 60 Gallons 3 330 3+ Years
  • Easy to open motor makes maintenance really fast.
  • Waterfall design aerates water, removing the need for air pumps
  • Multiple extra tubes let the filter extend deeper into the tank. Good for high ridge tanks like those kept outdoors.
  • Large compartments let you add any additional filtration stages you wish.
  • Control knob on the top of the filter makes adjustments easy.

Setting up this filter isn’t difficult. While I have the largest model, the 60, installation will be the same for smaller models as well.

Open up the body and put everything in the box to the side of the filter. Depending on the size of your filter you will get a few bags inside the body. The paper on the top of the bag in the filter simply says to rinse off the cartridge before using it. This is to get the dust out rather than letting it go into your tank.

The filter body comes assembled, so you will only need to get the intake tube set up. Remember to only make it as long as you need. Making it longer than needed will make the filter less effective, as it has to pull the water further, losing strength/speed along the way. This means it is ideal to use as little tubing as possible. However you need to make sure the entire intake is under water. Any air and you risk the filter stopping. If this happens the filter is likely to break, as it will try to run dry and break the impeller.

If your filter is able to run like this then do so. Otherwise extend the tube using the additional pieces provided with the filter. Mine is for an outside turtle tank, so it needs to be quite long. If the water was too high he would hop right out of the tank, which he has done before.

As shown in the picture you will be putting the tubing into the filter followed by the lid. cartridges should be removed from their bags, rinsed off and put into the filter. There are small divots in the filters compartments that will hold the cartridges in place.

Seeing as the cartridges do not take up the whole compartment I highly advise you add some sore of bio-filter, like these fluval biomax ceramic rings. The will house beneficial bacteria, which eat toxins in the water.


The adjustment method here is simple. Turn the black knob, which will be on the top of the filter protruding from the hood. The more you block the tube with the black knob, the lower the water flow will be. For my tank I will be leaving it on full strength. If you have fish who do not like the full strength feel free to turn it down.

To make the filter run quieter you will need to keep the water level near the top of the tank. The less distance the water falls the less noise it will make. If the water is up to the bottom of the filter than you can expect the filter to be nearly silent.

Cleaning The Filter

Shown to the right of the adjustment valve is the impeller. This will be inside the motor, but its really easy to get out. When you are cleaning the filter you want to focus your attention on this impeller and its housing. It is the only part of the filter that can break. It only needs to be cleaned maybe twice a year.

To take apart the motor you only need to empty the filter of water, twist the motor from the base of the filter and twist off the face plate of the motor. This gives you direct access to the impeller and its housing. Clean both of these only using non abrasive materials. I like to use cotton swabs, as they are always on hand and can get into small places easily.

Warranty & Lifetime

Tetra offers a Two Year Warranty on their power filter. This is pretty handy, as most filters will either last well beyond the warranty or break fairly quickly. The filter isn’t often defective, but it is still nice to have the warranty.

The lifetime of the filter is mostly limited to the motor, and more specifically the impeller that was shown above. While the motor itself can break, I have never seen one break before an impeller. Keep it clean, cleaning twice a month and never let the filter run dry. Do this and you will easily see over four years of life from this inexpensive power filter.

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