Aquarium fillers and filtering
materials for external and internal filter
An important issue in the life of any aquarium is proper and quality filtration of aquarium water. We previously considered the question of which Fish Tank Filter is better and what types of filtration exist.
In this article, let’s take a closer look at the question of fillers that are used in Fish Tank Filters: what are, how and for what are they used?
Sintepon – "cotton" for Fish Tank Filter
This filter material is used as a mechanical filtration of aquarium water. Due to its density, the synthetic winterizer does not allow even the smallest suspension. A filter in which the padding cotton is packed tightly can in a matter of hours remove all the dust and dust that, say, has risen after harvesting – the aquarium siphon or after transplanting and weeding the plants.
The downside of such aquarium filler is that it quickly clogs. Even if the aquarium water is clean, all the same, for a week, the synthetic winterizer is contaminated, sticks together in a clump of dirt and thereby loses its filtering properties. Reuse is possible only after thoroughly washing the padding pad under the faucet.
Based on the foregoing, it is recommended that synthetic padding be used periodically, when it is necessary to remove the mechanical suspension, or it can be used together with other fillers.
Sponge foam for Fish Tank Filter
This is probably the most popular filler and filter material for Fish Tank Filters. Unlike a synthetic winterizer, it has a more porous structure and is not so quickly polluted, mainly performs the function of mechanical filtration, but also has a biological filtration – colonies of useful nitrifying bacteria settle in the sponge, which are removed from the water ammonia, nitrite and nitrates.
Such sponges are used in virtually every Fish Tank Filter: both in external and internal. It is worth paying attention to the fact that the foam aquarium sponge does not need to be washed frequently, on the contrary, you should try to keep them in the filter as long as possible. Such an approach will contribute to the development of a good biological environment in the filter itself. When it is time to clean, it is advisable to wash the sponge in a basin or a bucket with aquarium water. You should not wash it thoroughly under the tap, and even more so with detergents, thus you “wash out” colonies of beneficial bacteria, leveling the biofiltration processes.
Ceramics for Fish Tank Filter
It is known that filtration of aquarium water can be: mechanical, biological and chemical. Ceramic rings are used in the organization of biological filtration. The structure of the material (unfired clay), from which porous ceramic fillers are made, promotes the development of a colony of useful nitrifying bacteria.
A beginner aquarist should not neglect this type of biological filtration, since, in fact, ceramic rings are our tool with which we can adjust the biological balance in our aquarium.
This filter material does not wash, only sometimes rinsed in aquarium water! Ceramics are embedded in external filters, but can also be used in internal filters, if the filter compartments allow.
Biochars for Fish Tank Filter
Another filler that performs the function of biological filtration is the so-called plastic bio-balls. As well as ceramics, bio-balls, due to their structure, provide the best distribution of water flow throughout the filter and other filter materials. Due to the large area, I also contribute to the development of a large colony of nitrifying bacteria. Subjectively, in our opinion, ceramic fillers are still better.
Sintered glass as filter aquarium filler
One of the latest know-how in the field of biological filtration of an aquarium is products made from special sintered glass – glass-ceramic (balls, tubes). At the moment, it is believed that such a filler has the best biological filtration properties. As a result of the incandescence of glass according to a certain technology and at a certain temperature, the material produces the greatest number of small pores, in which colonies of beneficial bacteria colonize.
Lava and claydite as filter aquarium fillers
The main characteristics of biofiltering materials are the surface area and the ability not to become clogged by mechanical suspension in water.
Lava and claydite area
25-400m2 per 1 liter. For comparison, glass ceramics has an area of 1600m2 per liter, ceramics has 600-1400m2 / l.
In addition, lava and expanded clay may contain phosphates, heavy metals and silicates. These materials require very good washing before use, especially expanded clay.
Clogged slowly. Can be very dusty when flushing.
Zeolite as filtering aquarium filler
Zeolite is an ion exchange resin, more about which you can read in Forum thread nitrites and nitrates in the aquarium. The properties of the zeolite are also fully discussed in the article: Zeolite: good and harm. The use of zeolite can be called a chemical method of filtering aquarium water. Due to their ability to ion exchange, zeolites and other ion exchange resins are able to selectively secrete and reabsorb various substances. Simply put, zeolites remove harmful substances such as nitrite, ammonia and ammonium from water, and some ion exchange resins can remove excess phosphates and nitrates from water.
Using zeolite, you need to consider that it also affects the pH downwards! Our recommendation zeolite from Medos VladOx – inexpensive quality!
Peat, as filtering aquarium filler
Peat in an aquarium is used in case you need to lower the PH and CN in the aquarium. It should be borne in mind that not all hydrobionts are treated with water treated with peat! The main purpose of peat filler is the enrichment of water with humic acids and tannins. By lowering the pH and kH peat creates favorable, close to natural conditions for soft-water fish and plants. Sometimes peat is used in spawning aquariums. For more information on the use of peat in the aquarium see here.
Coal for the aquarium as a filter material
Activated aquarium carbon – contains a huge amount of pores and therefore has a very large specific surface per unit mass, as a result of which it has a high adsorption capacity. Depending on the manufacturing technology, 1 gram of activated carbon can have a surface of from 500 to 1500 m². Aquarium charcoal is not a biological filter, it is just like a sponge absorbs some active substances.
Aquarium charcoal is not recommended to use constantly, since its service life is limited. Usually, its use is combined with other fillers in the case of aquarium water turbidity or for removing drug residues after fish treatment.
Used coal cannot be recovered. The term of application of coal depends on the objectives and properties of the filtration system in which it is located. The average value of coal use is two weeks. Some coal producers specify up to one month.
PROS! Aquarium coal absorbs:
– heavy metal salts;
– organic compounds (including organic radicals, toxins, dyes, medicines);
– some chemically active elements (ozone, chlorine, etc.).
CONS Aquarium Coal:
– absorbs trace elements (as chelates) necessary for plant growth;
– does not absorb NH4, NO2, NO3. Some manufacturers of aquarium coal indicate that it is their coal that absorbs the above poisons =). Allegedly, their coal has the necessary pore size in which colonies of beneficial bacteria can settle. But even if this is so, the question arises – why. if the waste coal is soon discarded anyway.
– has a limited capacity. Having accumulated a certain amount of harmful substances, it will stop working and will begin to give harmful substances back;
– has a porous structure, i.e. it must be placed after a preliminary mechanical purification of water, otherwise it is quickly clogged with organic matter.
New filter materials for the aquarium
Aquarium companies and trademarks are always trying to surprise and delight us with their new products. Relatively recently, the company Tetra released its new product –Tetra Balanceballs ProLine.
Tetra Balance Balls – balls consisting of a special polymer material, which is an ideal food source for nitrifying bacteria that reduce the content of nitrates. Thus, nitrifying agents contained in water settle mainly on the surface of the Tetra BalanceBols filler and gradually decompose it. Read more about Tetra BalanceBalls here.
The procedure for laying fillers in the Fish Tank Filter
Finally, it should be said that all of these fillers can be used both together and separately. Multi-layer filtration provides the best cleaning of aquarium water. The order in which the fillers are laid depends on the type of filter and the combination of filter materials. For example, as a rule, ceramic fillers are placed first, because they provide an even distribution of water flow. And let’s say peat, is laid with the last or the last but one layer, before the clean water leaves the filter. Peat possesses bactericidal properties and affects both pathogenic bacteria and beneficial nitrifying bacteria. If the peat filler is placed in front of the biofiltering material, then it can adversely affect the development of a colony of beneficial bacteria.
Aquarium Water Filtration Video