Best Saltwater Aquarium Filters 2022 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

1. Aqua Clear 2. Hydor 3. SunSun Hw304B


Some think over a planted tank or a freshwater aquarium, but then some individuals bring the undersea life right on the surface with a beautiful, lively and regal reef tank or a seawater tank.

Having the vibrant colored fishes swimming in the ocean blue tank water is just a beautiful sight and instantly adds glamour to your living room. But does a beauty like this come without any investment or effort on your part? Of course not!

There are indeed troubles involving the installation of a seawater tank in your home. However, with one of the best saltwater aquarium filters, having a saltwater tank becomes a tad bit less complicated.

The primary benefits of the best filter for saltwater tank is to keep the tank clean, healthy and to keep the fishes from falling sick. There is no point of having a reef set up at home if its water is all murky, and the fishes are on the verge of dying!

However, keeping the tank clean and the fishes healthy are not the only functions that this equipment performs. They have some other uses like lowering the level of ammonia and nitrate in the saltwater tank to keep the habitat safe and secure.

Once you plan to purchase one of the best saltwater aquarium filter, you will have to look into the various types that are available in the market and understand their functioning. We can help you with that to some extent.

Through this article, we will cover all the crucial points that you must consider before you choose the best filter for saltwater tank. Additionally, we have provided you with a list of the most popular products in the segment. We hope this makes the decision-making process a lot easier for you.

Factors To Consider While Buying The Best Saltwater Aquarium Filter

Indeed, it gets confusing while choosing the best saltwater aquarium filter. There are various kinds of products available in the market, which makes a choice even more complicated. This especially goes out for beginner hobbyists.

In that light, here is a checklist of factors which can make your buying process less complicated:

1. Types of Saltwater Aquarium Filters:

Mechanical Filter

Mechanical filters are the most common filter available in the market. However, this is not the best saltwater aquarium filter. This filter is ideal for freshwater tanks, so let no one tell you otherwise. This type of filter extracts the debris and waste floating in the water. For this purpose, some filter medium is used. Mainly paper, sponges, pads, and floss are used. However, this filter cannot be used to remove any form of dissolved waste such as algae or bacteria, which adversely affect the freshwater tank ecosystem.

Biological Aquarium Filters

This is one of the best saltwater aquarium filter available in the market. The filter in itself acts like a living creates and becomes the nest for good nitrifying bacteria. Toxic ammonia products are absorbed and converted into nitrite, which is further converted to nitrates. It is relatively easy to remove nitrates from the water through a regular water change or by the use of chemicals.

Chemical Aquarium Filters

This type of tanks usually makes use of activated or regular charcoal to eliminate the waste from the water. Chemical tank filters are one of the best available in the market since they can practically remove any form of impurities in the water. Additionally, it can also remove heavy metals and chlorine from the tank. However, owing to its high absorption rate, chemical aquarium filters must be removed if the tank is to be medicated. These do absorb the medication as well.

2. Sump Aquarium Filters

The sump based filtration system is the best for saltwater tanks. However, this setup is quite pricy since it requires other equipment and pumping gadgets to go with it. Though the sump is usually located underneath the tank, you can also choose to place it in another room for aesthetical concerns.

3. Fluidized Bed Aquarium Filters

This is relatively a new product in the market which uses sand as a medium of absorption. An elevated water circulation process is used to keep the sand free from any waste particles. However, the filter does not allow the growth of beneficial bacteria.

4. Canister Aquarium Filters

This is yet another good choice for saltwater tanks. This multipurpose filtration setup can either be used solely or in combination with other filtration pieces of equipment. It is a potent filtration system and can be an ideal choice for anyone who has a lot of marine life.

5. With Sump Or Without One?

The best saltwater aquarium filter is either with sump or without it. But how do you take a call on this? A list of the pros and cons of both can be helpful:



The platform offers a wide range of systems and equipment. It is difficult to pump aquarium with a sump.
It can work as a system ideal for mangroves, live rocks and algae. It is loud.
Increases the volume of water It has an enhanced chance of leakage.
Can store all the pieces of equipment out of sight.

After carefully considering the pros and cons of filters with sumps and without sumps, choose an ideal one that best suits your needs.

6. Location

There are some types of equipment such as pumps, filters, UV filters, and skimmers which can be placed outside the tank. However, they can be connected to the tank using pipes or overflow.

These are one of the best saltwater aquarium filter since it gives the user the scope to incorporate more equipment in the tank setup. One does not have to use a hang-on or In-Tank equipment. Plus, the tank looks a lot cleaner.

However, since the various pieces of equipment are placed outside the tank, it can make the area around the tank look congested. Additionally, such filters heighten the risk of external water leaks.

7. In Sump Setup

This variety of saltwater aquarium tanks can incorporate the largest variety of equipment. Model of protein skimmers, wet/dry filters, heaters, live rocks, and many other essential items mainly designed for this filter can be used in an In-sump tank.

Before that, you have to find out and decide on the types of filter you will have in your sump. Based on that you can get an idea about which models will work and which won’t.

8. Remote Control Mounted Equipment

Many hobbyists do not want a sump in their tank and aim to keep it as clutter-free as possible. A piece of mounted remote control equipment is the ideal choice for such individuals. There are many pieces of equipment which can be placed at a distance from the tank and controlled via remote.

Some of such equipment can be:

  • Cannister Filters (a few varieties) are designed for remote mounting.
  • A few In-Sump Protein Skimmers
  • Some Wet/Dry Systems.

But caution must be practiced while selecting the system. There are some which have to be installed in the tank for them to function.

9. Hang On or In-Tank Setting

There are many pieces of equipment which can be hung outside, on the sides and back of the tank. Some of these include Protein Skimmers, water pumps, wet/dry filters, and such other variety. Made by different manufacturers, these types of equipment come in different styles.

However, there is only a handful of equipment which can be installed inside the tank. The best saltwater aquarium filter, however, is designed to be placed inside the tank. These filtration systems are beneficial, and some saltwater tank purists only use these filter systems as it reduces the need to use other types of equipment.

10. Hang On Tank Equipment

Many hobbyists prefer to use Hang-On-Tank pieces of equipment. If you have an 8” place at the sides, or the back of your tank, it can be an ideal place to hang all your tank gadgets. If you have a reef or saltwater tank, don’t worry. Almost all the pieces of equipment used in a saltwater tank can be found in Hang-On-Tanks. Protein skimmers, pumps refugiums are all available in this variety, and one can use a mix of all to design an ideal filtration system.

Top 13 Best Saltwater Aquarium Filters 2022

1. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter

Aqua Clear Best Saltwater Aquarium FilterThis product offers a fantastic re-filtration system with high-quality contract time using filter medium along with energy pumps which lower the operating costs. The product is very easy to install and is almost hassle-free.

The filtration volume is almost seven times more than other comparable filters available in the market. The best part of the product is that it comes with Activated Charcoal, AquaClear Foam, and BioMax. Cycle max ensures continuous biological filtration, which results in premium water quality.

If you are planning on buying this product, you will be entitled to a 2-year warranty. Aqua Clear Filter is the perfect product for 110-gallon tanks. The pump is ideal to be used in water temperature up to 35 degrees.

However, some users have reported that this filter sucks in sand and pebbles in its impeller, causing a grinding sound. Gradually, the product stopped working for many.


2. Hydor Professional External Canister Filter 

Hydor Professional External Canister Filter – Aquarium External Filter – Telescopic Intake Tubes, Easy Priming – EcoSystem in a Box – Biological, Mechanical, Chemical Filtration – 450 to 320 GPHThis is not just one of the best filter for saltwater tank; it is an ecosystem in itself! The product offers a complete biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration system that is required for a healthy aquarium.

The product has an easy priming element, long telescopic tubes, and everything else that is required to make your saltwater tank come alive.

However, some users have complained about the connection points. It so seems that the connection points are made of cheap plastic material which does not hold firmly over the hose and thus causes constant dripping.


3. SunSun Hw304B 525GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit with 9-Watt UV Sterilizer

SunSun Hw304B 525GPH Pro Canister Filter Kit with 9-Watt UV SterilizerThis product is ideal if you own a 150-gallon aquarium. The flow rate of this filter is balanced at 525 GPH (2000L/Hr). The pro-kit consists of a canister filter, whiter filter pads, a coarse pad, and media baskets.

It is possible to handle 525 gallons per hour using the flexible tray that comes along with the product. The adjustable media tray allows one to add carbon, ceramic rings, and bio-balls so that biological mechanical and chemical filtration can be achieved.

The key takeaway of the product is that its 9-Watt UV sterilizer is ideal for killing algae and other water-based bacteria. As a result, the filter produces crystal clear water. Additionally, The HW-304B canister filter comes along with a self-priming pump that reduces the need for manual siphoning.

Though apparently, the product promises a world of good, users have complained about the leak underneath the latches. The intake tubes of the product are connected very loosely, which caused some amount of dissatisfaction amongst users.


4. Aqueon QuietFlow LED Pro Aquarium Power Filters

Aqueon QuietFlow LED Pro Aquarium Power FiltersThis product not only provides biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration, it also provides additional assistance with the Aqueon specialty filter pads. The best part is that the self-priming process starts by itself after cleaning or any power interruption.

The product has an LED indicator which flashes when it is time to replace clogged cartilages after monitoring the actual water level. The internal pump design eliminates any cause of noise and leaks.

Your fishes are most likely to be very happy and healthy if you use this filter. The certified flow rates ensure that.

However, users are not so sure about the noise control mechanism that the product promises. Some have reported that the filter does make a lot of noise. Additionally, the impeller absorbs dirt, sand, and gravel. In such occasions, power supply to the impeller is not cut. As a result, it keeps on moving. Once it stops working altogether, the shaft heats up and eventually wraps.


5. Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter With Quad Filtration System

Penn Plax Cascade Hang-on Aquarium Filter With Quad Filtration SystemThis is a hang-on aquarium filter, a product ideal for 55 to 100-gallon tanks that cater 300 gallons of crystal clear water per hour. The product is ideal for both marine and freshwater tanks.

The product has a Revolutionary Bio-Falls Quad-Filtration system which aids in effective filtration of anaerobic bacteria. It also removes any additional ammonia or nitrate, thereby providing maximum oxygen to the tank.

Penn Plax is powered by activated charcoal that eliminates any form of harmful chemicals, odors, toxins, discoloration and other elements that contaminate the tank in any way.

The internal sponge provided with the tank builds on the multiplication of bacteria, and the poly fiber floss cartridge attracts any floating matter in the tank.

The product has additional knobs which allow users to reduce the level of filtration during feeding times or whenever needed. Lastly, this product can be used by both freshwater and seawater tank owners.

However, some users have been critical about this product since it stopped working for them within a short time.


6. Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter For Aquariums, Fast Maintenance

Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter For Aquariums, Fast MaintenanceThe Marineland Magniflow Canister Filter for Aquariums, Fast Maintenance uses a three-step filtration system which makes it an ideal product for both seawater and freshwater tanks. Owing to this multi-stage filtration process, you can be guaranteed of a clean tank water environment.

The cannister lid of the filter gives a watertight seal and hold. Additionally, the filter pads of this product act like a water-polisher removing fine debris. The ceramic rings and the bio-filter balls provide surface large enough for the growth of bio-spires.

Finally, the product uses a cloud of black-diamond carbon dust to remove any form of impurity from the tank water.

Though the product is appreciated by users, some users have been very disturbed with the leaks and the quality of material used.


7. Polar Aurora 265GPH / 266GPH / 370GPH / 525GPH External Aquarium Filter with Builtin Pump Kit Canister (266/370 / 525 GPH with UV)

Polar Aurora 265GPH 266GPH 370GPH 525GPH External Aquarium Filter with Builtin Pump Kit Canister (266 370 525 GPH with UV)This product is ideal if you own a 75-gallon fish tank. This filter comes along with three media trays which you can use to handle the filtration setup as per your choice. The product also has an adjustable spray bar. This feature comes in handy if a user wants to control the output flow of the water.

Like many other products, this product too offers a convenient self-priming pump which eliminates the need for any sort of manual siphoning. Single valve disconnect and priming pump help in easy maintenance of the tank.

The cannister filter makes use of high water pressure generating from a properly powered pumping system. This allows the water to run through the dense filter media. The pump can absorb the water from an under-gravel filter and then run it in the cannister for double filtration.

The three filtration tray allows users to add other filtration systems such as bio-balls, activated carbon, and such.

The only complain that users have raised about the product is about leaks.


8. Aqueon QuietFlow 155/400 Canister Filter

Aqueon QuietFlow 155-400 Canister FilterThis filter is ideal for tanks up to 155 gallons. The filter can be used both in freshwater and marine tanks. Plus the maintenance of the product is very easy since its a hang in the back equipment. The best part of the product is that it allows easy water polishing, ideal for maintaining good and healthy water quality.

The cannister of the product comes preloaded with biological, mechanical, and chemical media which effectively moves waste and toxins from the tank. The product comes along with disconnecting valves, water intake and output units, hoses, water polishing units, carbon foams, and bio balls.

The only problem with the product is that it’s quite loud and makes a lot of noise.


9. Polar Aurora 3 Stage 100 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank Canister Filter + 9W UV Sterilizer 370 GPH

Polar Aurora 3 Stage 100 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank Canister Filter + 9W UV Sterilizer 370 GPHThis particular tank filter guarantees high-quality material, free media, and a dimension of 10 X 10 X 17 inches, Max.

The filter uses a three-stage cleaning system and maintains a flow rate of 370 GPH (1400L/h).

However, some users complained that this product leaks to a great extent.


10. MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter

MarineLand Magnum Polishing Internal Canister FilterThis tank water filter, too, uses a three-stage cleaning system to keep the water fresh and free from impurities. The hi-end water polishing system of this product keeps the water free from debris and results in crystal clear, freshwater, ideal for the tank ecosystem.

The product can clean about 290 gallon per hour, which makes the product ideal for a 97-gallon tank. The best part of the product is that it does not require any added priming. Plus the submerged motor allows easy setup and maintenance.

The dual-chamber media container is packed with black diamond carbon which allows further purification of the tank water. However, this product has not been used by anyone yet, so you might be the first one to do so!


11. No.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter, Adjustable Fish Tank Filter with Water Pump for Fish Tank

No.17 Submersible Aquarium Internal Filter, Adjustable Fish Tank Filter with Water Pump for Fish TankThis is one product that is ideal for your fish tank if you wish to create a clean and healthy environment for your fish and other aquatic creatures. The 8-watt product is just perfect for a 10-50 gallon tank.

The water pump of this product is so designed to keep the volume of the operation low. Plus users can make use of the key to monitor and control the level of filtration. The product comes with two nozzles which can be used during the cleaning process.

The multiple filter medium used in this product ensures a healthy and clean environment for all aquatic lives in your tank.

Though this product seems like a dream come true for many hobbyists, some users have faced issues with its quality. A few others feel that the product is not ideal for tanks bigger than 5 to 10 gallons even though the product description reads otherwise.


12. Aquarium Protein Skimmer Saltwater Filter Internal Water Tank Filter for Marine Aquarium Flow Rate 160Gal/Hr(600 l/hr)For Fish Tank Under 78 gallons (#1)

This particular saltwater filter has a very heavy duty protein skimmer that helps in the removal of protein and other organic waste from the water. However, the operations will not disturb the fishes and critters in the tank since it occurs quite silently. The filter works perfectly to increase the level of oxygen in the water.

As far as the material goes, the product is made from high-quality plastic. A very professional manufacturing process is used to create every part of this product. This product is ideal for the removal of organic matter, heavy metal, and other material from the tank smoothly and effectively.

Cleaning this product, too, is quite easy. The collection cups are designed to prevent any form of sewage backflow without clogging. The product does not use any artificial additives. Only natural logs are used, which enhances the level of oxygen in the tank.

However, some reviews of this product do not highlight the benefit of usage. In fact, a few users were highly disappointed with this specific product. A few users also reported that the product reacted massively to the slightest change in the water.


13. Boxtech Aquarium Filter, Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter Quiet Submersible Foam Filter for 10-20 Gallon Fish Tank Fresh Water/Salt Water:

Boxtech Aquarium Filter, Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter Quiet Submersible Foam Filter for 10-20 Gallon Fish TankThis product offers a seven-step ribbing sponge pattern which works as an excellent biofilter and improves the water quality. The oxygen port can be changed up to 360 degrees without any dead end, and this arrangement keeps the tank clean and sparkling.

The product is ideal if you wish to bring that extra dash of oxygen in the tank after the removal of any harmful material from the tank itself. Cleaning the product is also very easy. You can take out the used up sponge either to clean it or to replace it entirely.

The sponges offer both mechanical and biological filtration, extracting all sorts of impurities from the water and ensuring a healthy environment for the fishes and other aquatic creatures in the tank.

The setup process is also quite easy. One has to install the airline into the unit and start the pump. The product starts working right away, adding oxygen to the tank.

However, many users have not been satisfied with this product. A few of them complained about the size of the product, whereas others had issues with the material used and the noise it generates.


As mentioned earlier, it is easy for a person to get baffled with so many choices that are out there. In that light, the most popular products in this genre have been covered. However, before you buy one of the best saltwater aquarium filter, it’s essential to look into the factors mentioned above carefully. We hope you find the product that checks out your expectation list.