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How to choose the right aquarium filter?

If you want your aquarium to look like something you and others will enjoy, you have to supply it with the right filter. This is important because filtration helps with aquarium maintenance. Filtration consists of several types of filter media (filter materials).

  1. Mechanical filter media are for collecting solid particles (larger debris) from the aquarium.
  2. Biological filter media are essential for the optimal natural balance, as well as, nitrates and nitrites level in the water.
  3. Chemical filter media are for water with a lower quality of chemical composition. Activated carbon and zeolite are there because of their effect on the chemical composition of water.

Activated carbon or zeolite is for tanks that are using low-quality tap water. This way, the activated carbon removes chlorine and any other harmful element found in the water inside the tank. Aquarium owners with chemical filter media apart from mechanical and biological ones must know to take out activated carbon after six months at the latest. After that period, the filter media can release absorbed substances back into the tank.

aquarium filters

Biological filter media for the aquarium

If you use higher quality water, it’s sufficient to use a filter with only mechanical and biological filter media. You can find biological filter media in almost every shop. That includes bio sponges, ceramic rings, bio-balls…

Bio sponge is incredibly porous. Actually, it is a plastic mass that is really favorable for the formation of beneficial bacteria. Ceramic rings are microporous and even more favorable for beneficial bacteria. Bio-balls are the most popular media among aquarists. They are usually round, the size of a ping-pong or smaller, and of different structures.

Unlike activated carbon, you can keep biological media even after 6 months. Namely, you can clean biological filters by a light rinsing in the aquarium water during the regular change of one-third of the aquarium water, once in two weeks or one month depending on the size of the tank and the capacity of the filter material. The best way is to fill a plastic bin with aquarium water and rinse the biological filter in it. After that, place the filter material back into the water. In case you clean the biological filter with chlorinated tap water, also you can wash away beneficial bacteria because of the chlorine and temperature difference. In that case, pay attention to the process of forming beneficial bacteria. It is important to establish a normal water flow for this mass.

Most commonly used for mechanical filtration is aquarium (Perlon) wool which absorbs the mechanical debris.

Internal aquarium filters

An internal filter can have a powerhead. Beneath them, there is a container with filter material. They are not very popular among aquarists because they spoil the look of the aquarium. However, there is a solution for that. Our backgrounds have the option of hiding filters.

The second group of internal filters is partitioning the tank with glass, which you can usually hide with wallpaper. If there isn’t any wallpaper, the filter looks really unflattering. The mass inside the filter is much or less the same, which means that you can place both mechanical and biological media and even chemical media.

External aquarium filters

Filter canisters fall into the category of external aquarium filters. They are extremely popular because they can be controlled. These filters can be placed anywhere outside the aquarium, except above it in case the filter turns off or stops working. Then the water that is inside the filter can leak into the aquarium. However, you can solve that with a check valve. These filters are really strong and have a higher water flow rate. Better quality filter canisters are ready for cleaning once every 6 months or once a year depending on the amount of fish in the tank, type of fish food, etc.

Although canister filtration is the most expensive way of filtration, it pays off. The problem is that these filters are not for aquariums with a capacity of over 528 gallons of water. In these cases, one filter is not enough for a bigger aquarium, you have to use more.

Sump filters are also very popular among aquarists. They are usually beneath the aquarium. Their functioning system is more complicated and you can find it in sea aquaristics.

aquarium filters

Speaking of aquarium filters, we should mention that there are glass filters that are beneath the aquarium. This type of filter is rarely used today. They are connected to the aquarium with a system of communicating vessels with different types of pipes. They are not reliable because they can cause an overflow of the tank or the filter when the filter mass gets really dirty. That is the reason why filter canisters that are hermetically sealed or the ones inside the tank are more popular. There can’t be any overflow.

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