Select a Reliable Aquarium Filter
To keep aquarium fish healthy and happy, the water quality must be maintained at a high level. An aquarium filter is the key to keeping the water in optimal condition; the many types of filters can be confusing, though.
The Purpose of an Aquarium Filter
An effective filter serves to aerate the water and to remove suspended particles, debris, ammonia, nitrates and heavy metals from the water.
Most filters have three sections to accomplish these tasks:
- Biological, where "good" bacteria break down the ammonia produced by fish into nitrates, and more bacteria further break down the nitrates.
- Mechanical, where filters remove particles and debris.
- Chemical, where medications, heavy metals and other chemicals are removed from the water.
Types of Filters
Factors in determining which kind of filter is best for your aquarium include tank size, the load that'll be placed on the filter and, of course, your budget. The most common types of filters are:
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- Air-powered filters, which attach to the side of the tank or sit on the bottom, use an air stream to force water through the filter. This type of filter is also a good DIY, as the main component is a simple air pump.
- Under gravel filters draw the water through the gravel at the bottom of the tank and return the cleaned water to the top through vertical pipes. Under gravel filters are very cost-effective and simple to maintain.
- Internal power head filters are the most prevalent filter currently used in home aquariums; this filter attaches to the inside back wall of the tank and uses an impeller to draw the water through the filter and return the clean water to the tank.
- HOB or canister filters, which are becoming more popular, are efficient, but they can be a bit bulky. However, since they are placed outside of the tank, they can be hidden away under a table (or the aquarium stand) or inside a cabinet.
- Sumps, which are a separate tank used as a filter, are the most versatile but can be quite complicated and are best if you are an aquarium expert who wants to build your own filter.
Major Filter Brands
There are many excellent manufacturers of aquarium filters, and several are worth noting. For extra-quiet functioning, the Whisper aquarium filter is a good choice. The Second Nature Aquarium filter uses a patented multi-filter system for exceptional cleaning of tank water. The ProClear Aquatic saltwater aquarium filter is manufactured specifically for marine aquariums.
Maintaining proper water conditions is the key to keeping your fish healthy. A good filter is a necessary tool for aquarium maintenance.