Saltwater Aquarium/Filter


I am a newbie to saltwater fish.I have question about the cleaning process.Can I get a filter and have it do all the cleaning for me,or do I have to clean it by hand.Thank you.
         All my best,

Hi Catherine:

Welcome to the world of saltwater aquatics.

From my years of experience, and since saltwater aquariums need to be kept pristine to sustain delicate invertebrates, saltwater fish and corals, I'd actually recommend using multiple types of filtration. Write these down so when you visit your local fish store they can show you what they have available in regard to these types of filters. I will list them below. You can also find good deals on aquarium supplies from online stores like and Check-out these websites when you have a moment. They have a plethora of amazing saltwater and coral reef aquarium supplies.

Conclusion: Although these multiple filters working in conjunction with each other will keep the aquarium water clean, you will still have your regular maintenance chores like cleaning algae from the glass, checking the salinity level, and partial water changes. These are not difficult tasks, so don't let it sound discouraging. The reward for keeping a saltwater aquarium is definitely worth the maintenance involved. There's simply nothing else like it.

Filters /Filtration recommended:

1.Protein skimmer filter

2.Wet /dry sump filter

3.Bio-balls - (this type of filtration is called biological filtration) (bio-balls work inside a wet /dry sump filter or inside an overflow back-compartment on a reef ready aquarium)(colonies of beneficial microbes live on the bio-balls. These microbes keep the water clean by eating /breaking down nitrates.)

4.High grade filter carbon - (this type of filtration is called chemical filtration for removing ammonia fish-waste urine discoloration etc.

5.Filter floss /filter padding, sponge media - (this type of filtration is called mechanical filtration for the removal of particulates in the water)

6.Live Rock - (provides natural filtration / biological filtration) (colonies of beneficial microbes will live on the rocks)

7. Phosban /Phosphate Reactor - (optional filtration / helps keep phosphate, silicate and red slime levels down in saltwater aquariums. These enter the water from varying types of fish foods.)

Thank you for your question. I wish you the best of luck with all of your saltwater aquarium endeavors.


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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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