Saltwater Aquarium/Filter


Hello David,
My question is regarding filtration. I am planning to build a 55 gallon salt water tank. I am planning on buying a canister filter designed for a 100 gallon tank with a high gph rate. My question is this going to be to much filtration? I have read around that it is sometimes bad on a tank to have water that is too clean.I am planning on 50 pounds of live rock & sand, fish and some invertebrates.


Good morning Eric:

Good question.

Some would say, there is no such thing as over filtering aquarium water.

For your 55 gallon salt water tank a canister filter designed for 100 gallons will be fine. I would also recommend a good quality protein skimmer suited for your size aquarium.

You may want to invest in a wet / dry sump filter, which will give you a little more freedom and room in regards to various media's that you can use. You can also keep some of your aquarium apparatus inside of it, hiding them out of plain view. Apparatus that could go inside a wet / dry sump filter may include: heaters, pH monitor probe, thermometers, protein skimmer, reactors, live rock, refugium, various macro algae, plants like mangroves etc... As you can see this gives you more options in regards to what you can do.

Some will even run a wet / dry sump filter along with a canister filter, using the canister filter only to run carbon or phosphate media in, for polishing off the water.

I wish you success with all your future saltwater aquarium endeavors.

Happy Holidays!


Saltwater Aquarium

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David Ocreef


Technical saltwater coral reef related aquarium questions are welcome. Coral, invertebrate, and peaceful species of saltwater fish questions are welcome. Questions asked on Saturday and Sunday will be answered the following Monday. REMINDER: Please check the answers pool to see if your question has already been asked and answered. Questions typically are answered within a 48 hour period, however sometimes it may take longer.


I possess over twenty-five years of hands-on experience and knowledge in the ecology of aquariums. Beyond the traditional, I have successfully tested and sustained environments that have been uncharted territories for hobbyists, for decades. I am the first to admit I don't know it all because there will always be something new, amazing, and exciting to learn about, as discoveries are made. It's a hobby one can never outgrow, or grow tired of.

MASNA - Marine Aquarium Society of North America. Director of Orange County Reef Aquatics -

Publications,, and many others.

After High School, my experience and love of marine animals influenced me to take up studies in Marine Biology. Throughout college, I studied Microbiology with an emphasis on Marine Life, as well as numerous other sciences. I continued to advance in this hobby, by building a dozen or more saltwater ecosystems all utilizing Microbes as the major source of my filtration method.

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