Saltwater aquariums and freshwater aquariums differ from each other in numerous exciting ways. Their choice of fish and filter is the most notable difference between both types of aquariums. A great saltwater aquarium can only thrive when it’s fitted with the best saltwater aquarium filter available on the market. In this guide, we tell everything you need to know about finding the perfect saltwater filter for your aquarium.
Finding the perfect aquarium filter can be difficult sometimes with the hundreds of options currently available on the market. To make the selection easier, we have identified a handful of features that should help you outline and select the most viable products currently available.
Gallons Per Hour
Gallons per hour or GPH is a value used to quantify the amount of water that a filter can filter in an hour. Depending on high or low this value is, your filter will purify water incredibly fast or slow. Generally, you want a filter with a higher GPH. You should also note that larger filters usually come with higher GPH ratings or numbers.
How Many Gallons Is It Rated For
Saltwater aquariums tend to be on the larger side; however, if you are the proud owner of a relatively small saltwater aquarium, you should try to make sure you have the right gallon rating. Just like freshwater aquariums, saltwater filters also come with different sizes rating. Always make sure the filter gallon rating tallies with the tanks you own.
Three-stage filtration refers to the biological, chemical, and mechanical process of water purification. It involves removing debris (mechanical), clearing up the color (Chemical), and removing the nitrate and ammonia (biological.) when choosing a filter, you should always opt for products that feature all three filtration processes.
Certain products come with numerous additional features that make them more useful or practical than other filters. Certain filters come with exclusive features and practical features like flow control, and filter LED lights. If you find products with these features and they happen to fit into your budget, always try to buy them.
Top 15 Best Saltwater Aquarium Filters
In this section, we discuss 15 of the best saltwater filters available on the market. Most of the filters on this list come with exciting and unique features that are bound to improve your user experience.
Oase Indoor Aquatics Bioplus
The Oase Bioplus Aquatic Bioplus is an impressive three-stage filter with great circulation. It comes with fully adjustable water flow, a diffuser, and a nozzle built-in for better oxygen flow. The manufacturers of this amazing filter ship each filter they make with every single feature and fitting that we the users might need. This way, once you install the device, you can set it up immediately.
It is an internal filter with discrete suction cups that allow it to sit vertically on the walls of the aquarium. It comes in the bioplus 50, 100, and 200 modules, respectively. It’s also incredibly easy to disassemble and clean.
MarineLand Magniflow canister Filter
The MarineLand Magniflow is another unique aquarium filter that features Marineland groundbreaking technology for better water flow, purification, and marine life care. It features the typical three-stage filtration technology, and it is suitable for both fresh and saltwater aquariums.
It comes with a nifty valve block feature that allows you to shut down the water and disassemble the filter for quick maintenance. The Magniflow is an internal filter, and it comes in three popular sizes. The 30-gallon option, the 55-gallon option, and the 100-gallon option.
Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter
The Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter is a popular stainless steel water filter with impressive energy-saving features and filter speeds. It’s low power pumps, and quick integration design promise users a superior aquarium experience. It can filter up to seven times the usual volume most commercial filters are capable of.
The Aqua Clear Fish Tank Filter with the proprietary Aqua clear foam, activated carbon, biomax, and cycle guard filtering technologies for a superior filtering experience. It comes in four options with power capacity ranging from a small 5-gallon tank to a large 70-gallon tank.
Sun 13W UV Sterilizer Adjustable Pump Filter 150 Gallon Aquarium Filter
The Sun 13W sterilizer/ pump filter is a powerful 150-gallon filter that works perfectly in both fresh and saltwater environments. It comes with a 13W UV light integrated into its design, and adjustable water flow regulating nozzle.
The Sun filter comes with the standard three-stage filtration system, and it is an internal filter. It comes with great suction cups that allow you to set them up either vertically or horizontally.
Aqueon Quietflow LED pro Aquarium Filter
If you are an aquarium owner in the market for something fast, powerful, and noiseless, then you should pay close attention to the Aqueon. It delivers the standard three-stage filtration in style and completely noise-free.
It comes with a stable water flow rate that promotes great circulation and improves the fish’s health. The special water wheel style of water filtration helps deliver a pure and noiseless experience. In addition to coming with impressive water purification features, it also comes with a notification LED that informs you to cartridge change times.
Marineland Penguin 100 GPH BIO-Wheel Power Filter
Marineland Penguin’s brand is a household name when it comes to great filtration technology. The rotating silent Bio-wheel sets it apart from the hundreds of filters available on the market.
It comes with the standard three-stage filtration technology that accompanies most filters available on the market. It comes with their proprietary rite-size filter cartridges that provide a superior filtering experience every time. The MarineLand Penguin also comes in different size options that go from as low as 75 gallons per hour, all the way up to over 300 gallons per hour. Thanks to its rotating bio-wheel, it runs almost noiseless, and it is great for both fresh and saltwater aquariums.
The Cascade CCF4UL Canisster Filer for Large Aquariums for Fish Tanks
The cascade canister filter is a fresh and saltwater heavy-duty aquarium filter for aquarium with a capacity of about 150 gallons. The Cascade filter stands far above the hundreds of great underwater filters commercially available because of its unique proprietary features.
The cascade comes with 360 degrees rotating flow valve that delivers freshly purified water for even the tightest aquarium cabinets. It comes with a large aquarium media cabinet that allows users to customize or dictate their various filtering needs. The filter also comes with directional customization features that allow users to manipulate the direction and distribution of water flow.
The Hygger Sponge filter Aquarium Double Sponge Filtration
The Hygger sponge filter runs on a complex double sponge filtration system capable of both biochemical and mechanical filtration. It’s not as impressive as most three-stage filtration filters, but it is by far one of the safest filters you can invest in for the long term health and safety of your fish.
Since the filter uses sponges as a medium of purification, it comes with four sponges and only utilizes two, this way, you will always have spare sponges. It is completely noiseless, and it comes with a rare 360 degrees nozzle for better water distribution. It comes in various sizes and is great for fresh and saltwater aquariums.
SeaChem Large Aquarium Fish Tank Filter
The SeaChem large aquarium filter is a feature-packed aquarium filter for fresh and saltwater aquarium. It can filter more than 300 gallons of water each hour, and it is recommended for aquariums that are above 50 gallons.
It comes with a nifty self-priming feature, a maintenance failure warning notification. The Sea chem also comes with a surface skimmer, a self-cleaning impeller, and a high capacity basket that allows you to customize your filter sizes and requirements.
Aqueon Quietlflow E Internal Power Filter
If large Aqueons are not quite your style and you need something compact that still delivers the signature Aqueon noiseless experience, then you should buy consider the Quietflow E. It comes with an exciting auto-priming feature that allows you to instantly run this filter.
The Aqueon comes with side-mounted suction cups that allow you to mount the filter horizontally or vertically. It comes equipped with carbon cartridges that remove odors and coloration. It has an incredibly appealing form factor, and it runs completely noiseless. It’s perfect for users with smaller fresh and saltwater filters.
Fluval Underwater Filter
The Fluval Underwater filter is a silent saltwater aquarium with very little power requirements. It comes with four distinct tank sizes and with standard three-stage and self-priming features and with impressive 3-way flow control with a fully adjustable external flow.
It also comes out of the box with two foam cartridges, two foam pads, two poly/carbon cartridges, and 40 grams of BioMax. With all this equipment, you are set up for immediate use straight out the box.
Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter With Quad Filtration System
The Penn Plax Hang-on filter is a quiet hang-on filter for various fresh and saltwater aquarium sizes. The Penn Plax Cascade features their proprietary Quad-Filtration system that layers a new and efficient anaerobic bacteria filtration technology onto the existing three-stage filtration.
It comes with an internal sponge used to cultivate healthy bacteria and an adjustable knob that allows you to reduce filtration speed during filtration.
SunSun HW- 3000 UV 9W 5-stage filtration External Canister Filter
The SunSun filter silent filter is one of the few filters that boasts of an impressive five-stage filtration system. It comes with an LCD display that allows you to keep an eye on the flow rate and the duration of the UV light during filtration sessions.
It can filter up to 793 gallons per hour (which is adjustable), and it is very power efficient- it runs on a measly 9 watts. This versatile filter works fine with both fresh and saltwater aquariums. It the perfect filter for you if you own a large aquarium.
Aquarium Masters Up to 55 Gallon Tank Power Filter
This oddly named filter is one of the most impressive multi-stage filters available on the market. It utilizes a combination of poly fiber floss traps, super-activated carbon granules, and Hi-flow bio sponges for complete filtration. It’s a hang-on filter, so it is typically attached to the sides of your filter.
It runs almost noiseless, and they come with three-stage adjustable flow control. They are great for both salt and freshwater tanks, and it comes with instant cartridges for first-time use.
Danner Supreme EZ Clean External 55 Gallon Filter
The Danner Supreme EZ external filter is a massive 55-gallon waterfall salt and freshwater filter suitable for all sizes of fish. It features a distinct dual external filter that uses the standard three-step filtration and removes the gravel and waste from your water.
Its design features a visually appealing waterfall, and it runs almost completely silent. It consumes very little power, and it comes with cartridges out of the box for instant use. The Danner supreme comes with precise flow control that allows for better feeding sessions, and customizability.
Final Thoughts on Saltwater Aquariums
Saltwater aquariums are not that different from their freshwater counterparts. The best saltwater aquarium filters use three-stage filtration just like their freshwater counterpart. External saltwater filters tend to lasts longer than internal water filters, so you should try to opt for a hang-on filter at the very least. You should always try to find an aquarium filter recommended for both fresh and saltwater aquariums. These kinds of filters allow you to explore both popular types of tanks without having to purchase a new filter.