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The 9 Best Saltwater Filters

A saltwater aquarium requires a clean water filtration system.

While biological filtration is needed to break down ammonia and nitrite, many people choose to use additional filters, such as mechanical filters, that can remove particles from water before they break down.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) will help you learn more about the best saltwater filters in this article.


To help you find the best saltwater filters for your aquarium. BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has listed some of our most reputable products for you.

Featured are the Canister Filters by Penn Plax Model Cascade 700, and the Danner Skilter 250 Power Filter


Penn Plax Cascade 700 Canister Filters are the Top Choice

Many aquarium keepers like canister filters over power filters because of their compact size and capacity to hold more material. For saltwater aquariums, we recommend the Penn Plax Cascade Canister Aquarium Filter.

With its big capacity, stacking media trays, this filter can perform all three types of filtering to leave your water sparkling clean. It has a flow rate of 350 GPH and can be primed with a button press, making it suitable for aquariums of up to 200 gallons in volume.

The Penn Plax Cascade’s adaptability as a media tray system is a major selling point (it has five baskets, all told). It’s a wonderful option for saltwater aquarium owners seeking a canister filter because it’s durable and well-made.


Top Skitter Filter: Danner Skitter 250 Power Filter

The Skilter 250 Power Filter combines the functions of a protein skimmer and a filter, eliminating potentially hazardous proteins and toxins by whipping them into a froth and then skimming them out of the tank.

This pump features a user-friendly, self-starting design with a 250 GPH flow rate that makes it suitable for tanks of up to 55 gallons in capacity. The filter material may be easily replaced thanks to the cartridge’s snap-together construction.

The Skilter 250 Power Filter is a high-quality filter and skimmer that requires no effort on your part to keep in good working order.

While the skimmer feature is occasionally audible, some users have reported success in reducing the noise level by making minor adjustments.


Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter Is The Quietest Option

The last thing you want is a filtration system that is always making noise and diverting your attention away from your tank.

Fortunately, there are several options available that do their job silently without losing the strength required of a high-quality filter.

The Aqua Clear Power Filter features a unique “waterfall” design that allows it to work virtually silently while yet providing effective mechanical, chemical, and biological filtering.

It works great for 40-70 gallon tanks since its filter capacity is up to seven times bigger than that of many rival products. In addition, the inclusion of AquaClear Foam, Activated Carbon, BioMax, and Cycle Guard ensures that your tank is always being filtered biologically while yet protecting the beneficial microorganisms within it.

The Aqua Clear Power Filter is very quiet for a device that moves so much water and provides extensive filter material modification options.

Easy upkeep is another perk; cleaning the pump’s impellers requires little more than taking it out of its housing.


The Tetra Whisper Power Filter for Aquariums is the Best Choice for 20 Gallon Aquariums

As a beginner, it may be more practical to start off with a smaller saltwater tank rather than a huge one. When it comes to tiny tanks, the Tetra Whisper Power Filter is an excellent choice.

These external filters employ huge whisper bio-bag cartridges and provide three distinct filtering options for your fish.

The filter removes harmful ammonia and nitrites from the tank water, and the adjustable flow rate facilitates more efficient feeding. Best of all, the price of this filter is less than twenty dollars per.

When it comes to maintaining clean and healthy aquariums, the Whisper Power Filter is dependable and effective. Though initial configuration may provide some challenges, several how-to manuals are available to assist you.


A 55-gallon aquarium? The Fluval C Power Filter is your best bet

When compared to competing systems, the five-stage filtering process offered by Fluval’s C Power Filter is a significant improvement.

What is the outcome? Free of harmful ammonia and nitrites, tank water that is pure and uncolored. Its 264 GPH flow rate makes it a good choice for tanks ranging in size from 40 to 70 gallons.

Unlike other filters, this one just only a few minutes to set up because it clamps into your tank and comes with a Poly-Foam pad and Bio-Screen.

If you want a tank that’s as clear as glass, go no further than this filter, which has consistently outperformed the competition. It’s one of the greatest “HOB” (hang on back) filters you can buy.


The Hygger Submersible Aquarium Powerhead is the best option for aquariums of up to 75 gallons in size

If your tank is on the bigger side, you’ll need a filter that can handle a lot of water flow and supply the necessary electricity to keep things running smoothly.

The Hygger submersible aquarium powerhead may be rotated in any direction and adjusted for the ideal water flow in any aquarium thanks to its two ball joints and 2000 GPH flow rate.

This system may be utilized in tanks as large as 130 gallons because of the powerful circulation that mimics natural ocean currents, which is wonderful for marine plants, corals, and animals.

The innovative design of the Hygger Submersible Aquarium Powerhead makes it easy to control the flow exactly where you need it, and the high flow rate it produces is perfect for maintaining a healthy ecosystem in even the largest of tanks.

Surprisingly, despite its powerful performance, it runs almost softly.


We recommend the Hydor Professional External Canister Filter – Aquarium External Filter for large aquariums

A tank of up to 150 gallons can be used with any of the five available sizes of the Hydor Professional External Canister Filter. All three types of filtration—biological, mechanical, and chemical—are covered by one single canister filter.

This filter is located outside and has a capacity of 345 gallons per minute (GPM) of flow. It has telescoping intake tubes for increased water flow and is simple to prime.

The biggest filtration system is effective for a 150-gallon tank, however it is so quiet that it will not disrupt your peaceful evening at home.

To purify water, nothing beats the Hydor Professional External Canister Filter. It takes almost no time to set up and ensures the work is completed successfully every time.

It’s more expensive than some of the other filters on our list, but if you have a big saltwater aquarium, it’s money well spent.


Ocean Bio-Active Live Aragonite Saltwater Aquarium Sand Is The Best Live Filter

When it comes to biological filtration, nothing beats live rocks and sand in a saltwater aquarium. In most cases, they are superior to a mechanical system and are a far better option.

Sand is considered “alive” because of the tiny bacteria and microbes that colonize it and work to decompose organic materials in your tank. Marine Life in Aragonite Saltwater Aquarium by Mother Nature This sand comes straight from the ocean and is 100% natural, with 10 million active marine microorganisms.

You may put fish in your tank the same day you set it up if you use this sand. The sand helps maintain your saltwater aquarium’s natural biological balance while cutting down on waste.

Sand granules range in size from 0.5 mm to 1.7 mm and include living aragonite, which aids in preserving a healthy pH level.

Nature’s Ocean Sand requires little upkeep and won’t cause the seawater to get cloudy. You may put it in a working aquarium, but you should do it gently.

It is available in 10, 20, and 40-pound bags, and the recommended amount for a gallon of water is about 1.45 pounds of sand.

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler


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