Types of Aquarium Filters

Friday, February 4, 2011
Aquarium filters is essential to keep your aquarium water clear and healthy. However, without regular maintenance of the aquarium filtration will not function efficiently. This condition can lead to decline the water quality level and cause problems to the fish and plants which live in it. This also provides a form of insurance in case one of the filters stops working.

Today's aquarium filters offer a wide variety of options for maintaining clear and heathy water in an aquarium. When choosing filtration, base your decision on the size of your aquarium, as well as number of fish you hope to keep. To achieve the absolute best water conditions and for the fish that require extremely clear water, such as cichlids, more than one type of filter should be considered.

Top Filters
The form of Top filters could blocked the light entering into the aquarium. Whereas light is the essential thing for the plants to growth. Especially if using a spray system (water falling out over the water surface). In addition to supplying oxygen, the spray will get rid of carbon dioxide (CO ²). Top filter is not for aquascaping, its more appropriate to maintain the ornamental fish only.

Undergravel Filter
Undergravel filter is a type of aquarium filter that is still popular until now, mainly to keep the fish alone. As their name suggests, Undergravel filters are placed underneath a layer of aquarium gravel. These filters move water through the gravel to create conditions favorable for biological filtration. Once the beneficial bacteria colonize the gravel, they begin to efficiently break down waste materials. Undergravel filters are relatively inexpensive and rely on either an air pump or powerhead to function.

Undergravel filters are primarily biological filters. However, many models feature a replaceable cartridge placed at the end of the rigid tubing to provide supplementary chemical (activated carbon) or mechanical filtration (filter floss). These filters are available for small or large aquariums but are best suited for aquariums with a light fish load.

Because the flow of water filtered through sand at the bottom of the aquarium, then the use of primary fertilizer can not be applied. If potted plants in sand media is inserted, then the nitrate which is absorbed by the plant will be returned back into the aquarium water. Consequently, the moss will grow. Undergravel filter can not be used for aquarium aquascaping.

Canister Internal Filter
Canister internal filter usually placed at the inside corner of the aquarium. This filter is suitable for small aquariums or for beginners, because of easy installation and maintenance - no installation required the pipes or hoses. The venturi utilization or the air bubbles from the pipe output is not allowed, because it would remove the CO ² gas needed by aquatic plants.

Canister External Filter
The canister external filter which placed under the aquarium has function as a mechanical and biological filter. Types of filters that are very popular in the past 30 years have many sizes in accordance to the volume of aquarium water. Noteworthy to the Canister External Filter are:
  • If the filter media used in tightly form, such as filter wool and rarely cleaned, so the filter will be clogged and as a result the decomposition bacteria which already exist will be deprived of Oxygen and the Nitrogen cycle will be disrupted.
  • If the filter pump is not working more than three hours (e.g. due to power outages), the whole of degrading bacteria within the filter media will die because there is no water flow and Oxygen supply. As a result, Ammonia and Nitrite that has been broken down into Nitrate will turn back into Ammonia. If the filter pumps run again the ammonia will entered into the aquarium and cause disaster. To avoid this condition filter media should be cleaned first before the filter pumps run again.
Trickle Filter (Wet / Dry Filter)
Trickle filter is a type of filter is located inside the aquarium cabinet and made with the 'open systems', so that the oxygen contents can be much more to increase the performance of bacterial decomposition. Excess of the trickle filter when compared with the canister external filters are:
  • It is easier to clean the filter media.
  • The level of the water surface in the aquarium will not down if there is shrinkage due to water evaporation occurs in the filter.
  • If the pump does not work (power outages or damage to the pump), the bacterial decomposer in the filter media will not die quickly or drastically as well as the canister types filter. This is because there are many air cavities and trickle filter still have direct relationship with the air.
  • The large capacity of the space of filter media compared to the canister filters even could be 8-10 times greater.
The weakness of Trickle filter type is, it could be removed some carbon dioxide (CO ²) because the water falling inside the filter tank and in the surface skimmer. To compensate this, then the dose of CO ² which entered should be greater than the external canister filter system.

Surface Overflow Skimmer
The Surface Overflow Skimmer is a tube associated with filter. Taking the advantage of this tool are:
  • Droppings of which are in surface water such as dust, fine moss, and a layer of oil will be sucked into the filter, so that gas exchange in the surface water is not obstructed.
  • Maintaining the oxygen levels of aquarium water so not under minimal, because the water that falls in the tube surface skimmer to produce the oxygen.