While there are three forms of filtration systems to choose from when setting up your freshwater aquarium—chemical, biological, and mechanical—you absolutely need a mechanical filtration system at the very least. However, knowing that mechanical filtration systems are nonnegotiable doesn't help narrow down your options very much, as there are many mechanical filtration systems to choose from. That's why this article will review the different systems and what to consider when choosing a freshwater aquarium.
Sponge filters are a type of internal filter that provides mechanical and biological filtration to your tank. A tube is used to pull water through the sponge while the sponge traps particles and waste matter inside of it. The water that passes through and the waste trapped in the sponge is the mechanical filtration, and the sponge provides a space for good bacteria to grow. However, this filter does not provide a lot of oxygenation and needs to be cleaned in a warm tank water once a week.
Corner Box Filters
Corner box filters are another form of internal filtration systems. This system provides all three forms of filtration and fits in the corner of the tank. Air flows through the bottom, pulling water through and allowing the filtered water to go through the top. Bacteria grow on the filtration media to perform biological filtration, use layers of tight woven floss for mechanical filtration, and the carbon filter performs the chemical filtration. However, much like the sponge filter, it does not provide a substantial amount of oxygenation to the water, and this filter needs to be paired with another filtration system as its overall efficiency is low.
Canister filters are one of the most popular forms of external filters. It won't take up any space in your tank, and with the help of a motor, the water will pass through multiple layers of filtration. This type of filter is perfect for tanks that need a lot of cleaning and have a high bioload. Due to the layers of filtration, this filter will provide excellent mechanical filtration as it goes through the tank and will then go through multiple layers of chemical and biological filters before the water is put back out into the tank. However, these filters can be very expensive, and you will need to disassemble them entirely to clean them properly, which is quite time consuming.
Knowing the pros and cons and what to consider when choosing a freshwater aquarium is critical in providing the best environment for your fish. Each filtration system comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately, it's best to pick an aquarium that suits the particular needs of your tank. Luckily, at Natural Environment Aquatix, you can buy aquarium products online so you can find the best filter for your tank without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.