There are many different kinds of aquarium filters, each having various benefits and drawbacks. Most fish aquarium enthusiasts have learned over time that the best aquarium filters function best when used with another, often complementary, filter, this redundancy is key for peace of mind, especially if one filter suddenly fails, another can keep your aquarium alive…indefinitely. In fact, some fish aquarium owners like to keep a spare filter on hand at all times so that they never have to worry about their filters. But, how do you know which filter is right for you? Let’s take a look at the different kinds of aquarium filters and see what benefits and drawbacks they offer.
Basically, there are two basic kinds of filters, the first being an organic marine aquarium filter and the second being a solid organic filter. An organic filter relies on an external factor, usually air or water, to push debris from the aquarium into the filter where it is processed. An example of an organic filter is the Eheim BBi, a popular fish aquarium filter that has been around since 1979.
The second type of filter is the solid organic bed filter, also known as a gravity-based filter. These filters rely on gravity to keep debris from entering the filter and are more effective than air-based filters in removing excess fish food, chemical filters, and bacteria. The biggest drawback to using a solid aquarium filter is the slow process required to circulate all the water through the bed; this can waste a lot of time.
Another main choice in filters is whether to use a canister filter or a head pressure canister filter. Canister filters work very well in almost all circumstances, but there are some situations where a head pressure canister filter is better. Canister filters require less maintenance and replacement parts compared to head pressure. Head pressure canisters are able to filter larger volumes of water with less effort. The disadvantage of using a canister filter is that sometimes the canisters get dirty or full of debris and clog the head pump which can cause the filter to not work properly and waste aquarium water.
There are also aquarium water conditioners to consider, such as the Magic Wave Smart Filter, Aquaguard Bio Cube, and Eheim Bio Cube. The Magic Wave Smart Filter uses an ion exchange system to reduce chemicals and residues in the water. The Aquaguard Bio Cube uses a two-step filtering method to provide excellent filtration, with the first stage containing live rocks and gravel. The Eheim Bio-Cube is a semi-automatic air stone filter that provides good filtration but requires you to manually switch the water conditioner on and off. The arena smart filter efficiency rating is calculated based on the amount of aquarium water per day and standard test methods.
Mechanical filtration involves using a filter brush and mechanical cover that is attached to the filter itself. The most common types are cartridge filters that require no water change except for replacing the cartridges. These types require more maintenance and replacement parts than the other types and do not have as good filtration performance. The arena smart feature alerts you if the filter is dirty or full of particulates and removes those particles from the water column before they become waste.
Sponge filters or mechanical filtration can be installed using a variety of techniques. A sponge filter can be installed using a length of flexible plastic tubing that can be inserted into the aquarium. The spongy material is a suspension of materials that are used to cover and cushion the inside of the tubing. A length of these tubes is tied into a knot so that the pressure inside the tank can evenly distribute the weight of the stones. A wheel with a handle on one end is connected to the spongy material with a small screw.
Biofilters are much like sponge filters except the suspension of materials is on a spongy material and it is used much like a biofilter. In this case, aqueon or carbon granules are suspended in the water column. These carbon granules filter out most of the larger particles from the water column. You will need a very strong pump to run these types of filters because the power is on full force. The best types of bio-filters are the aqua gardening aqueon and economy hob filter.