Which Aquarium Filter Is Best For You?
By Lee Dobbins
Having a good aquarium filter is vital for the health of your tropical fish and to have a crystal-clear tank that you enjoy looking at. Without filtration, your fish would quickly die as the water would build up with ammonia from their waste and uneaten food. This ammonia becomes toxic to your fish so you need to provide them with a healthy clean environment and ammonia free water which has been filtered properly.
There are basically three types of filters that one uses in a home aquarium, power filters, under gravel filters and canister filters. Some people even use more than one kind in a single aquarium. the type of filter that is best for you depends on the size of aquarium you have and whether it is saltwater or freshwater.
Under gravel aquarium filters are a great choice for tanks that are 40 gallons and under. These filters are nothing more than a plastic slotted piece that goes in the very bottom of your tank underneath the gravel or substrate and tubes that run up the side. The under gravel filter is a biological filter that pulls the water through the gravel and then returns it at the top of the tank. the problem with these is that the fish waste also tends to get sucked down into the gravel and you really need to vacuum it pretty frequently. They also can get clogged (although I had one for many years and it never did) and they are not recommended If you want to have aquarium plants. On the other hand, they are quite low-maintenance as they do not have any filters or cartridges to change and unless you have a problem they pretty much run unattended.
Power filters are the most common home aquarium filters and most people will recognize these as the ones that hang off the back of the tank. They are a great choice for mechanical filtration and tanks that are under 55 gallons. these filters usually hang on outside of the tank and have it to him that runs down into the water and a pump that sucks the water up into the unit filtering it through some kind of a cartridge. Most of them also have either a carbon cartridge to provide chemical filtration, or some kind of a by a wheel or sponge that provides biological filtration. Many aquarists combine the power filter with the under gravel filter to get the best of both worlds and crystal-clear aquarium water.
Canister filters are recommended for tanks over 55 gallons and tanks that are going to be saltwater or marine aquariums. These types of filters will provide you with both mechanical, biological and chemical filtration and will also allow you to adjust how much of each you get. These units can be hidden underneath in the aquarium stand so are a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the power filters. They have tubes that run into them and the water is pushed from the tank through the tubes into the filtering material and then back into the tank once it is filtered.
It’s important to get aquarium filter that works right for your size and type of tank otherwise you’ll just be unsuccessful in your fish keeping efforts. Having the proper filtration will make sure that your water quality is near-perfect in your fish are happy and healthy in you’re aquarium crystal clear.
About the Author: Lee Dobbins writes for http://www.fish-tank-guide.com we you can learn more about choosing, setting up, and maintaining your aquarium as well as find out about certain accessories like the aquarium filter.