When you are passionate about aquariums, you are always searching for a new piece of equipment to add to your system. If there is one device that you must always have, no matter what type of fish or plants you have, it is a filter.
In order to keep your fish healthy and active, you need to clean the water of impurities and particles that destroy the chemical balance. Since you cannot change the water in your tank every single day (and even so, it wouldn’t be clean enough), a filter is the right piece of equipment. The filter will pass the water through a sponge or other material and store every particle that does not belong there. After a while, the sponge needs to be replaced otherwise the filter will no longer be efficient.
There are different types of filters, thus you will need to research filters before purchasing one. Make sure you consider the fact you will have to change the sponge every few months or less, which can be inconvenient for some people.
What kind of filter do I need?
Corner filters are extremely common and most beginners use them. They are suitable for small aquariums not more than 15 gallons. They filter the water using an air stone; after a few weeks, colonies of bacteria will develop inside the filter so the water will be biologically clean. It is not recommended if you want to keep a natural aspect because the position in the corner of the tank will make it very obvious and difficult to hide.
Power filters will strain your water mechanically, biologically, and chemically. These come in different sizes and types and it’s easy to find one that matches your needs. Unlike the previous one, you don’t place the entire filter in the aquarium, only a small tube. This makes it more appropriate for aquariums with a natural aspect; it’s fairly easy to hide the tube behind decorations or plants.
Wet/dry filters provide excellent biological filtration, even if they are more expensive. If your tank has a large population, this is the kind of filter you need. It is composed of two parts and it usually functions based on carbon units, but the newer versions can also contain other filtration materials. As an added bonus, it will also increase the oxygen levels in your tank.
Canister filters offer mechanical filtration and they are generally used for large tanks. The filter itself is sizeable, but it is placed outside the tank so it will not disturb the visual appearance. It requires maintenance every few weeks and you have to be sure that every filter is changed in time. It might seem like a lot of trouble, but it’s the only way to be sure that a large tank is cleaned appropriately.
How to install the filter
The installation process depends a lot on the type of filter you choose, but also on the kind of tank you have. Sometimes you want to conceal the filter so you place it behind large plants, but this can be a problem in the long term. The plant can get caught in the tube and it can destroy the filter or the water stream will be too strong and it will stop the development of the plant.
At the same time, make sure you don’t place the water flow tube directly towards the substrate. This will make the sand spread in the tank and destroy the appearance you worked so hard to build.
Another factor you need to take into consideration is the size of your fish as well as the size of your tank. There is no point in placing a large filter inside a small tank; this will not keep the water clearer and it will not do any good. It will destroy the plants and the substrate because the water flow will be too strong and it can hurt small fish. If you want to reproduce fish in your tank, make sure nothing disturbs the surface of the waterwhere the fish will place their eggs.
Remember that no filter will last forever, so you need to clean it every once in a while. In this way you will maintain a perfect habitat in your tank.