Top Fin MF10 Internal Filter Review - with Video Accompaniment

ChrissFishes01

Product Overview: The Top Fin MF10 is a bang-for-your-buck internal filter that uses a cartridge-based design with non-traditional cartridges - they’re just sponge and carbon! The cartridges don’t have to be replaced, and extras can be found for $2.99 or less. The filter has a max flow rate of 80 GPH (gallons per hour), but that can be adjusted down to around 40 GPH. It has a relatively narrow flow output, but the turnable output makes it easy to aim the flow at a wall or a decoration to break it up if the flow is too strong.

My Experience: I’ve used this filter for a bunch of different applications over the past 6-7 years. I originally bought it for a cheap hospital tank filter, and whenever I found that it worked well, it became my go-to for any situation where I didn’t already have a filter on hand. I’ve used this for quarantine tanks, hospital tanks, display tanks, water polishing, and even just for water movement. I currently own 5, and run 4 daily on several different tanks as water polishers and biological filters.

The Main Draw: For me, the best part about this filter is the filter media. It comes with a sponge filled with carbon that’s intended to do biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration. These sponges are much, much more sturdy than filter floss pads, and can be used for years. I’ve got some of the original sponges I bought with these filters years ago, and they’re still usable. You simply have to clean them out every few weeks, just like you would a sponge filter. You can load carbon (or any other chemical media) into the sponge if you like, but I personally toss the carbon and don’t run chemical media in my tanks. I find it to be unnecessary most of the time - but the option is absolutely there. This sponge-based system also means that you can easily load almost any media into the filter - I’ve used AquaClear sponges, filter floss, plastic pot scrubbies, Purigen, Chemipure Blue, and small bioballs. They all worked well, with the exception of the bioballs - I’ve found ceramic and plastic medias to reduce flow to a trickle in this filter, probably due to the chamber being so small. The largest size (MF40) does come with some biorings included, so I assume that if you’re using ceramics, that might be a better buy.

Specifications: The filter measures 5 ¾” tall, 2” wide, and 2 ½” deep. It attaches to the tank with four suction cups (that are amazing for such a cheap product), and has an 8 foot long cord. The motor is very quiet after it’s worn in, but can make some scraping noise the first day or two. The flow output can be modified with an included spray bar attachment, but I’ve always found it to be underwhelming and messy - I do have insanely hard water, though, so any splashing is likely to cause mineral build up. You folks with softer water may not mind it so much.

Final Thoughts: If you’re looking for a cheap filter that you can get from your local Petsmart, I don’t think you can go wrong with this. Even in larger tanks where it may be lacking flow-wise, it should still have more than enough filtration capacity to keep those tanks healthy. For smaller tanks, 20 gallons and below, I think this can be an excellent source of filtration, and when taken care of, will last you for years. At $12.99, it’s a steal.


Q/A: This section will be reserved for some questions I’ve been asked about the filter, and will be edited with questions that are asked below.

Q: Do you find it has strong flow for something like a betta? By betta06
A: It really depends on the tank size! In something 5 gallons or larger, definitely not. In smaller tanks, you may have to turn the output towards a glass wall or decoration to bounce the flow and slow it down, especially for long-finned bettas. You can also try the spray bar. Should work well for a betta tank, though!

Q: Will it suck up my fry?
A: Likely, yes. I think that as long as you have some filter floss around the intake livebearer fry will be safe, but I’m fairly positive small fry (Pseudomugil, Cory fry, maybe pleco fry) will get sucked into the filter and trapped.

 

BigManAquatics

I have seen and heard good things about this elsewhere as well, just can't remember where off the top of my head! Just not big on internal filters myself....too attached to my sponge filters!
 
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ChrissFishes01

I have seen and heard good things about this elsewhere as well, just can't remember where off the top of my head! Just not big on internal filters myself....too attached to my sponge filters!
I'm absolutely on the same page - sponge filters are my go-to, most of the time. I just like these for use in tanks where I may need more flow, need more mechanical filtration, or where a sponge filter may be the wrong choice - like in a saltwater QT tank, where the bubbles are going to spray salt everywhere.
 
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BigManAquatics

I'm absolutely on the same page - sponge filters are my go-to, most of the time. I just like these for use in tanks where I may need more flow, need more mechanical filtration, or where a sponge filter may be the wrong choice - like in a saltwater QT tank, where the bubbles are going to spray salt everywhere.
Well, i haven't and don't ha e any designs on saltwater anytime soon, so that part is null anf void for me at this point :) but i can definitely see it. Spent enough time in/on/around the oceans of the world to know how that works!
 
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Mhamilton0911

I loved your write up, but loved seeing the video. Filter in action! So apparently I'm a small filter hoarder. I think I have 6 or 7 now that I've bought for the same tank, lol. I call it my mulm tank. It's a 10 gallon that I started with just a sponge filter, but the mulm was just too much for me so I've been on this quest for what I deem my ideal filter, and so far I keep searching. I will try this one next! Thanks for the recommendation!

The video was good, informative, helpful. I loved seeing your tanks and the filter in action! But please adjust your camera down, lol
 
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ChrissFishes01

I loved your write up, but loved seeing the video. Filter in action! So apparently I'm a small filter hoarder. I think I have 6 or 7 now that I've bought for the same tank, lol. I call it my mulm tank. It's a 10 gallon that I started with just a sponge filter, but the mulm was just too much for me so I've been on this quest for what I deem my ideal filter, and so far I keep searching. I will try this one next! Thanks for the recommendation!

The video was good, informative, helpful. I loved seeing your tanks and the filter in action! But please adjust your camera down, lol
I'm glad you enjoyed it! I put quite a bit of work into it over the past week or so.

I hope this filter works out for you! I like to have several different filters around, just because you never know when a certain filter is going to fit your needs for a particular tank better than another.

I've got a tripod in the mail, lol. What you didn't see was the balancing act I did with my camera on my 40 breeder - I just kinda stacked stuff on top and did the best I could! I noticed it while I was editing the video and couldn't really get a better angle with what I have when I reshot it. Next video will be better, with the equipment I have coming ;)
 
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