Aquarium maintenance is a very important process in keeping fish and plants alive. Aquarium filters are the instruments that keep the tank clear of waste and particles. Fish waste is dangerous for the fish health. In the wild fish waste is diluted, but the aquarium is much smaller, and the waste is toxic.
Fish waste produces ammonia which is toxic in large amounts. A small tank with large fish will produce large amounts of ammonia. Furthermore ammonia can break down into nitrate. Nitrate becomes toxic when it reaches high levels, therefore keep the water clean.
Ways of filtration
There are three ways to filter your aquarium water: biological, mechanical and chemical filtration.
Biological filtration is Mother nature's response to toxic waste from fish water. In nature we find bacteria that break down organic wastes from ammonia to nitrite. These bacteria need plenty of oxygen to grow and they need something to attach to, like rock, gravel and even tank decoration. The bacteria also needs ammonia to feed. It is recommended to wait until the bacteria culture is formed and only then add the fish to the water.
Mechanical filtration is necessary for you to be a step ahead of toxic waste. Mechanical filtration means that water is filtered through a strainer such as filter wool or foam, to remove particles. The most popular mechanical filtration media are sponges, paper cartridges, loose and bonded floss. You will have to clean the filter once in a while to ensure it doesn't clog which would stop the water from passing through it.
Chemical filtration refers to the process of removing particles through chemical means. There are two ways of chemical filtration. The first one and the most common is water filtered through gas activated carbon. Another way of filtering the water is protein skimming. Protein skimmers dissolve organic waste.
What type of filter do I need?
There are many types of filters that are available on the market nowadays like:
Undergravel filter is the most common type of filter, it is very easy to use and very efficient. Undergravel filters consist of plates that are covered with gravel. The undergravel filters pass the water through the bottom gravel, which sits on top of a perforated plate. The filter is powered by an air pump through an air stone in an up- right tube. When the air bubbles moves up the tube, water is also drawn up the tube. When water passes through the gravel, waste is trapped and broken down by nitrifying bacteria.
Sponge filters, are an efficient and cheap form of biological filtration. A sponge filter consists of a tube, a sponge, and a place for air-line connection. Water is forced through porus foam by an air pump. When water passes through the sponge it allows the bacteria to break down the toxic ammonia.
Power filters, hang on the back of the tank. A tube pulls the water from the tank into a filter box and passes the water through a mechanical filter. An internal pump will return the clean water into the tank.
Canister filters, pump water with a moderate pressure through a material such as a micron filter cartridge or glass wool. Canister filters assure mechanical filtration. Wet/ Dry filters are the best biological way of filtration. These filters work on the principle that bacteria that grow in well oxygenated water break down the ammonia. Wet/Dry filters consist of filter media though which the water drips.
You can also read our review on Eheim Filter.
Types of internal filters:
- The Eheim aquaball is an internal filter with a moveable ball, has a shaped head with adjustable air take in. It is good for large aquariums, between 3.14 - 13.9 gals.
- The Eheim powerline - for aquariums over 7 gal.
- The Eheim pickup - compact internal filter for aquariums up to maximum 3.14 gal.
External filters are positioned outside the tank, and maintains contact with your inside environment through hoses that connect the outside with the inside. External filters work with a big variety of media filters. They can also work for a longer period of time without maintenance.
- You want to have a good performance from different filter media.
- You want crystal clear water
- Cut down on water maintenance.
Types of external filters:
- The classic Eheim - is the original Eheim filter and it still works.
- The ecco pro filter is an energy saving filter. It uses less electricity and has a high performance. For big aquariums
- The Eheim professional - is the professional standard model, for aquariums up to 10 – 20 gal.
- The professional 2 - has many useful features such as: automatic self priming, adjustable throughflow, maintenance indicator, for 24 – 41 gal aquariums.
- The Eheim professional 3 - is used for aquariums up to 24, 41, and 83 gal. It has a special priming system.
- The Eheim professional 3е - is the new kid on the block. It has everything that your aquarium needs: electronic control for flow rate, wave effect, self checking system, and is good for aquariums up to 24, 31 or 48 gal.
|Your aquarium is established, filled with beautiful fish, plants and rocks but something is floating on the surface, is doesn’t look nice and it smells, must be time for a cleanup!|
- First of all it smells - there are many reasons why the water smells. It could be the fish excrement or old food that is causing the smell.
- Algae overgrowth - if you don’t have enough good bacteria, or plants, algae will grow. Algae spoils the water quality, and bad water is bad for the fish.
- Removal of toxins – these toxins can be introduced in your tank through air
- Water becomes brown or yellow – these are caused by decoration, driftwood, and other components.
- For pH control – in order to maintain a good quality of pH, you have to clean the water.
- Before you start the cleaning process. Remember to unplug the heater.
- Filter some water into a large container, and then carefully remove the fish into this container.
- Once you have removed all the water, clean the glass on the inside. Use algae pads.
- Next step is to remove the rocks and all decoration that have algae growth. You have to scrub off all the algae.
- Next in line is the gravel, use a water siphon to vacuum all the debris. Vacuum carefully so that all the debris is removed.
- After the inside is clean, clean the light, tank top and outside glass.
- Once the inside and the outside are clean, return all the decorations, rock and plants.
- Next step is cleaning the filter, but for that you have to wait a few weeks. Why do you have to wait? Because now that the tank is clean, all the beneficial bacteria is gone. But fortunately there still are some beneficial bacteria in the filter media. Changing the filter media now would be a disaster for the entire ecosystem.
- The final step now that everything is clean is to fill up the tank with water, and then return the fish to the tank.