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Why Do Aquariums Need Filtration?


If you’re planning on rearing some pet fish in your home, you may be wondering if a water filter is among the essential equipment you’ll need for your complete aquarium setup. There are several aquarium equipments you can find in your local pet store, and it can be a daunting task identifying which are the most essential for your aquarium. Most of the equipment you’ll require will largely depend on factors like the type of fish e.g a heater is necessary if you’ll be keeping tropical fish. A few general essentials include air pumps, gravel, thermometers, plants, and, oh yes, filters! Getting the best aquarium filter you can get will go a long way in ensuring your fish remain healthy. 

What Does An Aquarium Water Filter Do?

Understanding what a water filter system does in an aquarium is key to appreciating the role it plays in not just the well-being of your fish but also in lessening the manual work you’d have to do that a filter does. A water filter rids your aquarium of potentially toxic chemical build-up (ammonia and nitrates) and other debris, thus aerating the water hence easing breathing for your pet fish.   

What Are The Types Of Water Filtration 

There are various water filter types, and the style you settle for should be the best fit for your type of fish and aquarium. There are three water filtration forms employed by different water filter types, although some water filtration systems use all three with varying levels of success.

1. Mechanical filters

In this process, particles and debris are sieved by expertly designed aquarium filters mechanically by circulating water and sieving it through. Many people trust this to be a sure way of filtration. However, it is necessary to note that mechanical alone is not effective as it does not deal with dissolved harmful substances like ammonia and nitrate. Free-floating wastes can only be removed by mechanical filtration before they decay into toxic substances in an aquarium. It is advisable to have the filters replaced or cleaned monthly. On the other hand, mechanical filtration improves water aeration.

2. Biological filters

This involves introducing beneficial bacteria, which break down ammonia and nitrate and change them to nitrate compounds that are found to be less harmful to the fish. It is important to note that beneficial bacteria survive well in water full of oxygen and a surface to attach themselves to; the gravel serves this exact purpose (others can be sands and rocks). All aquariums must have at least some form of biological filtration. With a small population of fish, biological filtration can work fine as the only filtration method. It’s almost always included to work in combination with other filtration forms.

3. Chemical filters

Our home water supply may contain dissolved harmful chemical residues (like chlorine and organic chemicals) that could make their way into the aquarium. Chemical filtration systems are highly effective in filtering out any form of chemicals, pesticides, and other contaminants. The most commonly used chemical filter is activated charcoal. 

A regular maintenance routine is key to ensuring a fully functioning aquarium filter system and healthy fish for all the above filtration forms. If trapped debris rot on the mechanical filter, it could rot into ammonia which could seep back and contaminate the aquarium. Biological filter’s effectiveness may also decline with time as they get clogged. 

Where Are Filters Installed In An Aquarium?

Water filters can be located inside the aquarium (internal filters) or outside (external filters). External water filters (power filters) require a water pump and are much easier to maintain than internal filters. They are also more flexible, making it easier to swiftly change from one filter type to another, hence providing more options on the kind of water you need in the aquarium. Internal filters are situated inside the aquarium; they include sponge filters, internal power filters, under gravel filters, and box filters. They cost more in maintenance.  

How Frequent Should I Change My Aquarium Water?

It’s advisable to do partial water replacements on your aquarium at least once monthly. Do this by replacing approximately 20 percent of the total water volume but never replacing more than 25 percent of the water. You can do lower amounts on a more frequent scale, like a week or two. It’s essential to ensure that the temperature of the water being replaced is the same as the water getting in to avoid causing temperature adjustment stress to the fish. A thermometer and a heater are two crucial tools you must always have to do this perfectly.

If you’re planning on starting with a simple aquarium, Betta fishes are one of the best starter fish you can take care of! Read more here about betta fishes.

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