Facts About Aquarium Filters
For people who love sea life and love visiting the local aquarium, it's only a matter of time before they end up investing in one or more aquariums themselves. For the new aquarium owner, there's lots of things to learn. But there's probably nothing more important to the health of your tank than the filtering system.
Your aquarium's filter system is much like your body's own filtering system, your kidney. One of the primary task of the kidney is to filter out the impurities in your system and flush them out of your body. If something goes wrong with your kidney or if it is overwhelmed, you will either need a kidney replacement or you will need to be on a dialysis machine to take the place of your kidney and clean your body.
Similarly, an aquarium filtering system is designed to keep the tanks' habitat environment clean. Without one, or with a poorly functioning one, your tank would become contaminated and your fish would soon become sick and die. Also, without a proper filtering system, you will effectively become your aquarium's dialysis machine. The frequency with which you will need to change the water would increase greatly. Note that filters do not eliminate the need for water changes. They simply greatly reduce the number of times that you will have to do so.
The type of filter you need will depend on the size of your tank and the type of fish that you have. Some filters are designed to filter the entire tank over the course of 2 to 3 hours - others will be less or more active. The more frequently that you need the water changed, the higher quality filter you will need. Your proprietor of your local pet shop can help you to choose the type of filter you need.
To perform well, filters require regular maintenance. You should have a regular maintenance schedule for cleaning your filters and for replacing any filtering media that they require. If you bought your filter locally, some pet stores will offer to clean your filter for a small fee.
Basically there are 3 types of aquarium filtration - mechanical, biological, and chemical.
Mechanical Filtration is the process of physically removing solid waste from aquarium water by some method of mechanical straining using a filter media. This type of filtration does not remove chemical impurities, such as ammonia. It also doesn't remove bacteria and algae.
Biological filtration is used to remove fish waste, such as ammonia. It works by using "good" bacteria to break down the fish waste into harmless, non-toxic compounds. Biological filters come with both disposable and re-useable filter media. Many aquarists prefer the re-useable media because it's able to retain much of the good bacteria used to filter the tank impurities.
Chemical filtration, as its name implies, involves using some sort of chemical compound to collect dissolved waste material. There are many types of chemical filtration media, but the most popular chemical filter medium used is granular activated carbon. Manufacturers are continually coming up with new combinations and types of chemical filtration. Check with your fish store or pet store to get their recommendations on which type is best for you.