Aquarium maintenance is a very important process in
keeping fish and plants alive. Aquarium filters are the instruments that keep the tank clear of waste and particles. Fish
waste is dangerous for the fish health. In the wild fish waste is diluted, but the aquarium is much smaller, and
the waste is toxic.
Fish waste produces ammonia which is toxic in large amounts. A small tank with large fish will
produce large amounts of ammonia. Furthermore ammonia can break down into nitrate. Nitrate becomes toxic when it
reaches high levels, therefore keep the water clean.
Ways of filtration
There are three ways to filter your aquarium water: biological, mechanical and chemical
Biological filtration is Mother nature's response to toxic waste from fish water. In nature we
find bacteria that break down organic wastes from ammonia to nitrite. These bacteria need plenty of oxygen to
grow and they need something to attach to, like rock, gravel and even tank decoration. The bacteria also needs
ammonia to feed. It is recommended to wait until the bacteria culture is formed and only then add the fish to
Mechanical filtration is necessary for you to be a step ahead of toxic waste. Mechanical
filtration means that water is filtered through a strainer such as filter wool or foam, to remove particles. The
most popular mechanical filtration media are sponges, paper cartridges, loose and bonded floss. You will have to
clean the filter once in a while to ensure it doesn't clog which would stop the water from passing through it.
Chemical filtration refers to the process of removing particles through chemical means. There
are two ways of chemical filtration. The first one and the most common is water filtered through gas activated
carbon. Another way of filtering the water is protein skimming. Protein skimmers dissolve organic waste.
What type of filter do I need?
There are many types of filters that are available on the market nowadays like:
Undergravel filter is the most common type of filter, it is very easy to use and very efficient.
Undergravel filters consist of plates that are covered with gravel. The undergravel filters pass the water through
the bottom gravel, which sits on top of a perforated plate. The filter is powered by an air pump through an air
stone in an up- right tube. When the air bubbles moves up the tube, water is also drawn up the tube. When water
passes through the gravel, waste is trapped and broken down by nitrifying bacteria.
Sponge filters, are an efficient and cheap form of biological filtration. A sponge filter consists of a tube, a sponge, and a place for air-line connection. Water is forced
through porus foam by an air pump. When water passes through the sponge it allows the bacteria to break down the
Power filters, hang on the back of the tank. A tube pulls the water from the tank into a filter
box and passes the water through a mechanical filter. An internal pump will return the clean water into the
Canister filters, pump water with a moderate pressure through a material such as a micron filter
cartridge or glass wool. Canister filters assure mechanical filtration. Wet/ Dry filters are the best biological
way of filtration. These filters work on the principle that bacteria that grow in well oxygenated water break down
the ammonia. Wet/Dry filters consist of filter media though which the water drips.
You can also read our review on Eheim Filter.