Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Choosing a Freshwater Aquarium Filter

Choosing a Freshwater Aquarium Filter

By Robert Hedley

Whatever kind of fish tank or fish you have, a freshwater aquarium filter is a must have. Fish, just like any other living thing, produce waste in the form of excrement and gases, and because a tank is such a limited environment, this waste accumulates. It will eventually kill off your fish if it's not removed. A fish tank filter is used to gather up this waste as it is produced. The water in your aquarium will always circulate through the filter and leave behind any waste that's in it.
The entire filtration process has 3 steps. There is mechanical filtration which will clean up floating debris. There is also biological filtration which ensures that there is biological balance in the tank by releasing good bacteria that convert ammonia waste into nitrites and then nitrates. Chemical filtration will remove dissolved waste from the water.
A freshwater aquarium filter will depend on the kind of tank that you have, and the kind of fish too. Some fish produce more waste than others and may need a more specialized freshwater aquarium filter. Choosing should not be such a problem if you know the different kinds of freshwater aquarium filters available.
1. Corner Filters: They sit in the corner and usually come stuck on the glass wall of the tank. They will be able to do all the three processes mentioned above. They however need frequent maintenance, although all you need to do is change the carbon filter.
2. Under-gravel Filters They are an excellent for those who are starting out in aquarium keeping. They use a combination of a filter and gravel mechanism to keep your aquarium clean. They are not so popular though because the gravel needs frequent vacuuming. This means that as you buy supplies, a gravel vacuum is a must. The gravel also captures air bubbles that can contain poisonous waste gases.
3. Sponge filters These are an excellent choice for a freshwater aquarium filter because of their expert biological filtration. Water will flow through them by a tube and then into a sponge that releases friendly bacteria. They however lack mechanical and chemical filtration, and if you choose them, you'll have to install along with the other 2 different filters. It's an excellent way to go for bare-bottomed tanks and those that hold young fish -because they require frequent water changes, young fish tend to thrive.
4. Power Filter This is by far the commonest freshwater aquarium filter. Its maintenance is easy, and it's preferred because it does all three filtration processes. There is one problem though, and it's in the way they are designed; the inlet to the filter is right next to the outlet for clean water, so that filtered water immediately gets in contact with unfiltered water. It may labor the filtration process, but the filters are made to cope quite well.
5. Canister Filter They are a bit more expensive, but also highly effective. They come as trays, each filtration process carried out by a different tray. The water will be pushed from the bottom up for some and others will have it the other way around. Make sure you know how each tray works so that you can place them correctly.
Those are 5 great options for a freshwater aquarium filter. Your choice should be based on the size of tank you keep and how often you think you can manage to clean. Remember that whichever kind of filter you get, its going to need cleaning and replacing at some point.
Robert is an experienced aquarist, who owns and maintains his and other people's aquariums. For more great tips on freshwater aquarium filter, visit

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Rating: 4.0
Posted by: Treat Fish Treat Fish, Updated at: 7:08 PM


  1. This is my first visit here. I found some really interesting stuff in your blog especially this discussion. Keep up the good work.Freshwater Aquarium

  2. The water from this filter tastes great. Use it constantly. Has the advantage if the water is turned off I can still filter water from any other water source.

    Water Filters Perth


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