Most Common Saltwater Aquarium Filtration System

Now let’s discuss the basics of saltwater aquarium filtration and its process.

Remember that it helps contribute to a successful saltwater aquarium.

So I hope this section will help you understand the different types of saltwater aquarium filtration and its process.

Filtration means cleaning and purification of saltwater in your aquarium.

Like the filters we use at home such as for drinking water, humidifiers and other home appliances, these filters help create a healthy environment.

Saltwater Aquarium with Live Corals

When you look at a saltwater aquarium and the water is clear and looks so clean, what would you usually think? Yes the water is perfect!

But that concept is absolutely incorrect if we are talking about a healthy and livable saltwater aquarium condition.

Selecting the right saltwater aquarium filtration system for your aquarium is a very important task.

There is a wide variety of option nowadays to keep your saltwater clean and healthy. Sometimes, you may need to use more than one type of filter to achieve the best possible water condition for your saltwater fish and other inhabitants.

So, which one or which ones should you use? Here are the most common types of filter you may want to know about:

Undergravel Filters

They go on the bottom of your aquarium, underneath your gravel or sand. They are inexpensive and rely on either an air pump or powerhead to function. They are best suited for aquariums with a light fish load.

Wet/Dry or Trickle Filters

They are also called “Wet/Dry Trickle Filters”. Water is pumped from the aquarium, then by means of a drip/trickle plate or rotating spray arm the water is dispensed or “trickled” down over and through a biological material source contained in the wet/dry filter chamber.

There are many designs, but they all work on the same concept. The filter media is exposed to both aquarium water (wet) and air (dry). Many aquarists believe that they are great for saltwater fish-only aquariums.


They are the most common way to keep your aquarium condition healthy. They are designed to work on the majority of aquarium set-ups and provide quality results and very easy to use. They hang off the back of your aquarium. You can conveniently replace the filter cartridge which makes maintenance very simple.

Canister Filters

They are very versatile, as they are able to serve many purposes in a tank. They can act as stand alone filter or be used in combination with other types of filtration as well.

The canister itself is larger than most power filters. They are able to hold different filter media types that are layered on top of each other. They serve as a biological, chemical, and mechanical filter in an aquarium with plenty of fish.

There you go! I cannot stress enough that the filtration is the heart and sole of any aquarium – without one an aquarium simply cannot function.

You now that you have an idea on what types of saltwater aquarium filtration system is out in the market, but…..

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