Just like every living organism, fish constantly excrete waste. When waste is not removed from the aquarium, they accumulate and become potential poison to the fish and other residents of the aquarium. This is why it is highly essential to install the best aquarium filter to remove these toxins from the tank.
What is the best aquarium filtration system?
Water inside the aquarium can also be dangerous to the fish when the aquarium water gets oversaturated with toxic gas as a result of the nitrogen cycle. This phenomenon is called nitrogen embolism or nitrogen gas bubble disease. This can cause fish casualties. Properly aerating the aquarium water can avoid such mortalities.
Best aquarium filter systems can help maintain healthy aquarium life. Filtration is the process of cleaning aquarium water by removing waste products, excess food, free-floating particles, decaying matters, and other harmful chemicals. Filters, or the tools used for filtration, come in a variety of types and sizes. These filters are also categorized based on where they are placed in the aquarium tank so there are inside, outside and sub gravel filters. However, they all share the same basic function. All filters circulate the aquarium water through a medium that strains or cleanses to keep the water biologically and physically clean.
Aquarium filter media are made from a variety of materials. The simplest type consists of filter wool, which is an effective material for mechanical filtration, and activated carbon, which is a recommended medium for chemical filtration. Large particles are trapped by the filter wool while the smaller ones are absorbed by the activated carbon.
There are three major categories for aquarium filtration system types, specifically biological, mechanical and chemical filtration.
Biological filtration removes bacteria and other forms of microorganisms found in the aquarium water. These kinds of filters convert waste products into substances that are less toxic through a process called cycling. Biological filters convert ammonia into nitrite, and then from nitrite to a relatively harmless chemical called nitrate.
Mechanical filtration helps maintain water clarity by acting as a sieve or mesh to trap and physically remove unwanted particles. Mechanical filters strain or use absorbent materials to remove solid wastes.
Chemical filtration removes toxins and other chemicals from aquarium water. These chemicals are introduced into the water when presenting fish medications or when performing water changes.
Aquarium filter systems are necessary for maintaining a healthy aquarium environment. They remove waste products, from solid particles to soluble chemicals, thereby simplifying aquarium maintenance. They also help support fish life by keeping their environment free from toxic gases and other chemicals that can cause casualties.
Best types of aquarium filters today
- Sponge filters: Mainly a mechanical filter, this type of filter consists of a sponge, through which water is filtered. Ideal for small tanks, over time this filter starts performing biological filtering as well.
- Box filters: Air powered, these filters can be filled with any form of media that you want. They are best suited for small to medium sized tanks.
- Internal power filters: A bit more powerful than box filters, or any form of air-powered filters, internal power filters are powered by an electric centrifugal pump. They usually consist of sponge as the main media, but differ by providing additional chambers for other media of your choice. You can create multiple forms of filtration through the ingenious use of media in these filters, which can be used for tanks up to 4ft wide.
- External power filters (Hang-On-Back): Usually these fish tank filters hang on the back of the aquarium and suck in water through an inlet tube which is placed inside the aquarium. The water then flows through a series of filtration pads and filter media. The filtration pads act as chemical filters, having contained within them charcoal that also traps debris. The filter media acts as biological filters. After passing through these two filters, the clean water is returned back into the fish tank.
- External canister filters: Similar to Internal power filters; the only difference is that these filters are placed outside the tank. They draw water from the tank through one tube, and pass it back into the tank through another. Ideal for large tanks, especially those which contain numerous plants. They can also hold multiple media.
- Under-gravel filters: Functioning as biological and mechanical filters, these filters pull water through the gravel substrate. Equipped with a wider surface area of filtration, these filters even clear up dirt from amongst the gravel.
- Sump filters: Used for large tanks, these filters are placed outside the tank, and are used for heating and protein addition to the tank. They are quite complex, but can also be made at home.
- Trickle filters: Available in wet and dry forms, these filters are ideal for biological filtration and work on the same principle as sewage treatment plants. Suited for large tanks with a high population of fishes.
- Diatom filters: Small filters; these perform only mechanical filtration, and need to be cleaned after every use. Ideal for small tanks and the cleaning can get a little tedious.
- Fluidized bed filters: Special biological filters, the do not perform any other form of filtration, so you will need an external filter for mechanical and chemical filtration.
Now that you have a better idea about what you have and what you need in terms of your aquarium filtration needs, just head out to the nearest store and get the kind you need.