Choosing the right filter for your aquarium

Why do I need a filter?

A filter is essential to remove the waste produced by the fish. Without one, the water would become contaminated, poisoning the fish and causing disease or death.

How do they work?

Most filters work mechanically by trapping solid waste manually to remove it later and biologically when the particular friendly bacteria convert toxins in fish waste into less harmful nitrates that you can remove during water changes.

Very importantly, all filters take time to start working, so they are unable to remove contamination from the start; you must first let them cycle.

A proper filter is the essential piece of equipment necessary to maintain a healthy aquarium, but let us tell you how you choose the best filter for your tank?

What does a filter do?

Aquarium filters remove excess debris, particles, chemicals, and debris from tanks, keeping the water cleaner and healthier for resident fish. If waste products accumulate in the tank, the fish can become stressed and are more susceptible to disease.

Filters can work in three different ways to clean water.

  • Mechanical Filtration

  • Chemical Filtration (Use chemicals to filter water)

  • Biological Filtration: (Use microorganism, especially bacteria, to purify water)

The best filters keep your aquarium water healthy and clean, and many filters use all three types of Filtration simultaneously.

Filter types

Many different types of filters can be used to keep aquariums clean. The most popular designs include:

  • Under gravel filters

  • Box or corner filters

  • Canister filters

  • Power filters

  • Hang on back filters (HOB filters)

  • External filters

There are other types of filters, such as wet-dry filters or drip filters, but they are only recommended for the most advanced aquarium keepers.

How to choose a filter?

Several elements must be considered when choosing the optimal filter for your aquarium.

  1. Tank size Larger tanks will require more extensive and efficient filters, while smaller tanks can be cleaned and cleared with more basic options.

  2. Maintenance The best filter will keep a tank clean for longer durations, and you require less additional cleaning and maintenance, but the filters themselves also need to be cleaned regularly. External filters are much simpler to maintain than an internal filter for example since you don't even need to open the aquarium lid to clean it.

  3. Fish sensitivity Some fish are susceptible to water changes and chemical balance and need more efficient filters to stay healthy.

  4. Cost The best filters have higher prices, but the cost may be worth it to protect expensive or delicate fish species.

  5. Water quality If local water supplies are contaminated or less suitable for aquarium use, a better filter will be needed to keep the tank clean.

  6. Fish population A tank with a higher number of fish or larger fish species will require better filters to remove debris and unwanted chemicals.

By choosing the right and accurate filter, aquarium maintenance can be minimized, and your fish will live healthier and longer lives as part of a fresh, clean tank.

How strong a filter do I need?

A good rule of thumb to go on is that your filter should turn over 4 times the volume of water every hour. This would mean if you have a 30 gallon aquarium you should get a filter that has a flow rate of 120 gallons an hour.