Pet fish need a healthy environment in their tank to thrive. Changing their water regularly can help, but you won’t have to do that so often if you learn the importance and benefits of aquarium filtration.
Fish, like all other living things, produce waste. That waste includes ammonia and nitrates, which can also accumulate from rotting aquarium plants or uneaten fish food decaying at the bottom of the tank. These toxins can sicken or even kill your fish if left uncontrolled. The right size and type of filter can reduce these toxins and lower the frequency of necessary water changes.
Types of Filtration
The three basic types of aquarium filters are biological, chemical, and mechanical. Many filtration systems use one or more of these methods to provide filtration in the tank.
Biological filters allow beneficial bacteria to grow, launching a beneficial nitrogen cycle that converts ammonia to nitrites and then to less harmful nitrates. You must rinse biofilters in aquarium water every once in a while, as they can become clogged or overgrown with bacteria.
But you shouldn’t rinse away all the beneficial bacteria because you want them to recolonize and continue doing their job of filtering the water. They can only do this in the presence of sufficient oxygen, so you must ensure your tank has good water flow. It should also not sit in direct sunlight, as this will allow algae to grow, depleting the tank of oxygen.
Aquarium plants can act as a natural biological filter, absorbing waste and carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen.
Chemical Filtration uses a medium like activated charcoal to capture contaminants in the water, such as chlorine, ammonia, nitrites, and unwanted proteins. The chemical filtration must be changed frequently to maintain effectiveness and prevent the filter from releasing the absorbed contaminants back into the water.
Mechanical filtration works by forcing water through a filtering material like foam or floss to catch particles. Mechanical filtration only captures unwanted particles—it doesn’t alter them into less harmful substances the way biological filters do. You must clean mechanical filters regularly.
Common Styles of Filters
Sponge filters are simple and work like biological filters, allowing beneficial bacteria to grow. A pump forces water through the filter, and the sponge captures contaminants.
Hang-on or power filters can hang from the back of the tank. They usually include a pump and have a mechanical filter cartridge within, sometimes combined with a chemical filter. The filter oxygenates the water that passes through, encouraging beneficial bacteria to grow.
Large aquariums may use external canister filters that receive water through tubes and filter it through chambers that include chemical, mechanical, and biological filters. These filters then pump the water back into the tank.
Now that you understand the importance and benefits of aquarium filtration, you can buy aquarium products online from Natural Environment Aquatix. If you’re not sure what type of tank or filter you need, you can give us a call, and we’ll be happy to help.