Setting up a fish tank that functions properly involves buying an installing many pieces of equipment. However, the key piece of equipment is a high quality filtration system. Filters are irreplaceable in providing a clean and healthy environment for your fish which, in turn, is essential for keeping your fish healthy themselves. Without it, it is impossible to have healthy aquarium with beautiful fish as pets.
You might get confused when you try to decide what to buy because of the sheer number of options to choose from. You are not allowed to make the wrong choice for the sake of your pets. You need to think about the specifics of your tank. It is important what size your fish tank is, is it saltwater or freshwater, and also to pay attention to the requirements of your tank inhabitants.
We have written you a short guide to use when you decide how to buy the best fish tank filter system for your fish tank.
Your filter must perform several important tasks. First, it has to be able to catch any debris that gets sucked up through the intake tube. This part is called mechanical filtration. Most filters will use some type of mechanical barrier made from different types of foam, filter floss, pads, micron paper pleats, and diatomaceous earth in order to make sure that the debris doesn’t circulate back through the filter and into the tank again.
Your filter must also provide chemical filtration of your fish tank. This is accomplished using cartridges with certain absorbent substances such as activated carbon. Cartridges need to be changed regularly; manufacturer’s instructions that come with every filter must be followed precisely.
Finally, your filter provides you with biological filtration. It serves as a growing surface for natural bacteria that accumulate in the tank. They break down ammonia and other chemicals that can be harmful to your fish. These microorganisms live in the grovel, on your plants, rocks and aquarium decorations, but many of them live inside the filter too. If you have a filter with two cartridges for chemical filtration, change them one by one, to not disturb the gentle balance of living organisms in your fish tank.
Your filter also has a role to provide a gentle current to circulate so the water circulates around the tank uniformly, to mimic natural circulation of water. This means heat will be distributed evenly, the water will be properly aerated and less debris will be able to sink to the bottom of the tank.
Types of filters:
- Corner (Box) Filters – They are the cheapest version and should be used in small tanks up to 10 gallons. They are placed in the corner of the tank.
- UGF (Under Gravel Filter) – They are common in beginner aquarium kits because of their low price. They are really simple for maintenance too. Because they are placed under the gravel they can clog overtime.
- Power Filters – Powers provide excellent mechanical, biological and chemical filtration. They can be found in many different sizes. They are very simple for maintenance.
- Wet/Dry (Trickle) Filters – They are commonly used for saltwater fish tanks. They are more expensive option but extremely useful for large fish tanks.
Canister Filters – These are the most powerful filters for larger tanks and they are very quick. They can be placed underneath the aquarium to keep them out of sight. Canisters require more maintenance than other filters and they are more expensive than other units. However, they are worth the money spent if you own a large fish tank.