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Aquarium Advice

What Are the Best Aquarium Filters?

Aquarium filters form an integral component of any quality, healthy aquarium. The filter provides the cornerstone of the tank’s ecosystem and, without it, the balance of life in your aquarium would most likely become unstable and uninhabitable to many forms of aquatic life.

Types of Filtration

In order to be able to choose the correct filter for your aquarium, it’s important to understand how filtration works. There are three key ways that aquarium filtration works:

Mechanical Filtration

Mechanical filtration removes bigger, solid waste particles from your aquarium. This can include both uneaten fish food or excretion. Mechanical filtration helps keep the water properly oxygenated and aerated, whilst removing large debris.

Biological Filtration 

This is to remove the ammonia which your fish’s excretion produces. Biological filtration creates bacteria which converts ammonia into nitrites and then into  nitrates, which is much more harmless than ammonia. This can then be removed through chemical filtration.

Chemical Filtration

This removes the waste our human eyes cannot see; the waste that has dissolved into the tank’s water. This can be a range of things, from nitrates, to chlorine. It helps to prevent discoloured water and keeps those unwanted odours at bay.

What Are Internal Filters?

Internal filters are ideal for small to medium-sized aquariums, as they aren’t as versatile as external filters. Popular, high-quality filters from the likes of Fluval and Interpet are easy to install and incredibly convenient to maintain, offering the perfect hands-off approach to keeping your fish healthy and happy. They work by sitting in the corner of your tank; water goes through the bottom of the filter and is drawn through a sponge which entraps the debris. The bacteria in the sponge convert substances such as the likes of ammonia into nitrate, clearing the water from harmful chemicals that will harm its inhabitants.

What Are External Filters?

External filters sit outside of your tank, as I’m sure you have guessed, in the cabinet below. Water is pulled into the filter, is cleaned and is then pumped back into the aquarium. Compared to internal filters, external filters are much more tactile as they include much more special media within. This means, not only can it clean much more out of your tank, but you also won’t need to clean the filter out as often.

External filters provide a robust means of filtration for larger sized tanks and are ideal for those who have a much more demanding aquarium life. At Pond Planet you’ll find some fantastic external filters from the likes of JBL and Oase, both of which are renowned for their market-leading approach to keeping your aquarium’s ecosystem ticking over and its inhabitants in perfect health.

Choosing The Best Filter For Your Tank

Trying to choose your aquarium’s filter can be overwhelming as there is ample amount of choice that all claim to be the best, that’s why knowing how to narrow down your options is important. By taking these steps and asking yourself these questions, you will be able to find the best filter for your tank:

What is the size of your tank?

Different sized tanks require different levels of filtration; the general rule of deciding what size filter you should have is that all of the water in your tank should be able to get through your filter 4 times an hour. If you’re teetering between two sizes, always go higher! For example, if you have a 100L aquarium, you should be looking at filters that can process 400LPH, like the Fluval Underwater internal filter.

What type of fish and tank do you have?

The type of fish you choose will have an effect on the type of filter that you need; slower moving fish cannot handle a constant filter flow and need a calmer, less aggressive form of filtration. This is why it’s important to really research the type of fish you want to get before you do, to understand their needs and match them with the equipment you buy.

Similarly, you need to consider what tank you’ve got before you choose your filter. If you’re choosing to have a planted aquarium or lake Malawi cichlid tank then these are factors to take into consideration.

What is your budget?

Filters come at a range of prices, so you really need to consider how much you can afford to spend before you jump in. Do your research and figure out what your tank, fish and plants need and then consider what you can spend on it and buy the most suitable for your situation. It can be easy to fall into wanting the best, most expensive but, what’s good for one tank isn’t always good for another!

How much maintenance work do you want to do?

The final thing to consider is what level of regular work you want to be dedicating to your tank. Any filter you choose will need maintenance to make sure they’re working properly and performing its best, however, some require more than others. Internal filters are relatively high maintenance whereas External Filters are much easier to maintain requiring less cleaning.

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of just how aquarium filtration works and you know what important questions you need to ask yourself before you rush in and buy the next best filter, you’re ready to go and make the choice for yourself. Make the right decision for your aquarium set up, your chosen fish and the plants you’ve opted to share the space with them.

Browse our full aquarium filter range today and narrow our wide range of options down to suit your needs and get a crystal clear, healthy aquarium today.

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