All natural water bodies are cleaned naturally. A closed ecosystem independently maintains the necessary balance. In the rivers and lakes there are large colonies of beneficial bacteria, as well as various natural filter materials. In aquariums, filtration is also necessary to maintain cleanliness. However, it is often carried out exclusively by mechanical means.
Of course, this type of treatment is also quite useful, but if we talk about efficiency, the best option is an internal or external biofilter. Aquarist should not wrestle with, because for him everything has long been invented by nature. The main thing is to simply implement the natural biological process at home, which is relatively easy to do.
Why do you need a biofilter?
There are several types of cleaning. The most common is mechanical, but there is also a chemical and biological type. Scientists believe that the latter type is considered the most important and necessary.
This is explained by the fact that in every aquarium there is organic matter, which is left by fish and other inhabitants. The decomposition of feces, food residues, plant leaves and gases exhaled by animals provoke the release of ammonia. He bears a great danger to all living creatures living in the underwater home world.
At a concentration of 0.2 mg / l, ammonia will kill all the fish, and for some species the dangerous indicator is 10 times less. Accordingly, an aquarist needs to carefully control similar biological processes and not allow situations where animals can suffer.
Ammonia can be fought in various ways. The easiest is regular water changes. They are held weekly, but not more often. Such procedures – a strong stress for the inhabitants of the aquarium and, in addition, so you can break the delicate balance of the home ecosystem.
Therefore, the best way to fight ammonia is to use useful colonies of bacteria that oxidize it, thus processing it into nitrite and then into nitrate. The latter, of course, in a certain concentration can also cause damage to animals, but they are also a nutrient for natural plants.
This is the principle of biological filtration. It takes place in several stages:
- Fish leave behind waste products;
- Feces, food debris and leaves decompose, releasing ammonia;
- Bacteria recycle them;
- The nitrate thus obtained is absorbed by living plants.
Bacteria when performing the nitrogen cycle are independently formed in the aquarium. They live in water, on walls, on decorations. They help maintain the necessary balance, but sometimes it happens that these colonies are not enough, and then ammonia still accumulates, poisoning all animals. In this case, the task of an aquarist is to propagate microorganisms so that they can cope with high biological loads.
What is the principle of work
A biofilter for an aquarium is an original device that is easier to assemble yourself, at home. Of course, there is equipment from manufacturers. However, they, regardless of the type, perform several types of cleaning. Most often it is a biological and mechanical type, but also aquarists additionally acquire chemical fillers (activated carbon, zeolite).
That is, in such devices, the biofilter is only one of the components, albeit predominant because of its importance. However, in some cases only biological filtration is needed. Then it is easier to assemble the device yourself.
There are several varieties of such filters, differing in type of housing, fillers and other characteristics. But, regardless of this, they all have a simple principle of operation:
- Capacity is taken;
- Fillers are poured into it (soil, expanded clay, foam rubber, ceramic rings, foamed glass, etc.). They necessarily have pores in which colonies of beneficial bacteria eventually colonize;
- A hose with a working element that creates a current is connected to this case (the compressor is most often used);
- The water flows through the fillers for the biofilter, and at this moment the microorganisms living in the tank recycle the hazardous compounds;
- The water that is already purified and safe for fish enters the aquarium, and the nitrates remaining in it are absorbed by the planted live plants.
Types of filter materials
For modern biological filters are used a variety of fillers. Each has certain characteristics, and accordingly, advantages and disadvantages. Most aquarists use:
Foam rubber or synthetic winterizer. Perhaps they are the most common. This is due to their versatility and efficiency. First of all, they provide mechanical cleaning. They contain feces and various solid impurities. But at the same time they also settle bacteria. They are usually installed in internal biofilters. However, this option is not suitable for large aquariums, as it is not able to cope with a large load and clogs quite quickly;
Bioceramics. Also quite popular filler. It is often present in the basic configuration of external canister type filters. According to their properties, they are optimal for outdoor equipment. They perfectly disperse oxygen, and in addition, colonies of bacteria easily settle in them. In addition, they do not carry out mechanical cleaning, and accordingly, contamination in them does not linger, and therefore they need to be washed very rarely;
Glass. Recently, porous glass has become in demand. It is made by special technology. Thanks to her, the balls are 8-12 mm in diameter. They quickly appear bacteria that process hazardous compounds in the aquarium water.
Popular brands of biofilters
If desired, an aquarist may not be engaged in making his own filter. He has the opportunity to simply purchase ready-made equipment that will provide high-quality cleaning of the aquarium. It is impossible to list all the options available on the market, so it is better to focus on a few of the most sought-after brands.
Perhaps every aquarist at least once heard about this manufacturer. Its products are known for their high quality, because the German company carefully controls production processes.
Filters from Tetra are no exception, and they are in demand among fans of underwater flora and fauna for a long time. This equipment provides high-quality cleaning of aquariums of 60-500 liters. Ceramic rings and biological balls are usually used as standard.
Before connecting, be sure to read the instructions. There will be an assembly diagram. We recommend to pre-rinse all the fillers under the tap (for sure, dust and small fragments formed during transportation) appear in them.
In order for the equipment to work, it is necessary to create the flow craving yourself This is done using a special swap button located on the top of the case.
Another famous German manufacturer specializing in economical filters. In all their models of biological filters applied bioceramics. Water enters them from above, passes through mechanical cleaning fillers, and then returns back through the biological substrate.
Equipment preparation is performed in the same way as with Tetra.
The Polish company is known for producing low-cost filters. But, despite their low price, they are characterized by high performance and reliability. The model range includes equipment for aquariums of 100-700 liters. In the most powerful devices there are two pumps and four hoses at once (for drawing in and discharging water), due to which it is possible to achieve a stronger flow and mixing of water. Of the fillers used ceramic rings or biological balls.
DIY Aquarium Biofilter
The self-made biofilter will not be inferior in its functions to counterparts from well-known manufacturers, if we approach the production it is responsible and select the right materials. In general, there are several options for biological filters.
Bowl in a glass
The simplest materials that are available in the home of every aquarist are suitable for this filter. You will need a small plastic bottle, a PVC tube with a diameter to fit the neck, a primer (fine pebbles up to 5 mm are best), a synthetic winterizer and a compressor.
The manufacturing process itself is as follows:
- The bottle is cut (near the upper border of the label). The main thing is that the upper half hardly passed to the lower;
- In the resulting bowl (half with neck) make about 10 holes with a diameter of 3-4 mm;
- Insert the tube into it. It is important that she sat tight. If there is a gap, then you need to seal it with silicone glue. The tube itself should be slightly higher than the bottom half of the bottle, and it is important that it does not reach the bottom;
- Pour pebbles in a ready-made case with a layer of 5-6 cm and place a synthetic winterizer on it;
- The hose from the compressor is placed in the tube and fixed there;
- Actually, the filter is ready. Throw it in the water, turn on the compressor, check the performance.
This is an extremely simple and fairly effective option. The air will pass through the tube and go upstairs. The substrate will be saturated with oxygen, and the water will flow through the holes to the bottom of the tube and then into the aquarium.
In principle, this option is similar to the previous one, but it has its own differences. At this time, you need a plastic bottle of 1.5 liters., The substrate, foam rubber, clamps, compressor, hose and sprayer.
The assembly scheme is not very complex:
- With the help of sewing we make holes in the bottom of the bottle;
- Further, it is wrapped with foam rubber and tightened with clamps;
- Approximately half of this container is filled with substrate;
- From above we carry out a hose from the compressor together with a spray;
- The finished design is placed in the aquarium, turn on, check.
The size of the bottle is not critical, but it should be selected based on the volume of the aquarium and the power of the compressor. The principle of operation is extremely simple. Due to oxygen flow occurs. The air along with the water is forced out through the neck of the bottle, and from the bottom the liquid passes through the holes made.
Thus, colonies of bacteria will settle in the filler, which, due to the flow, will absorb harmful substances.
This variant is distinguished by the greatest complexity of manufacturing, but at the same time it significantly surpasses the above described analogs in its characteristics. For this design, you need a special aquarium glue, three types of fillers, glass, glass cutter, centimeter, ruler, matches, alcohol.
The manufacturing process itself is quite long, but interesting. It occurs as follows:
- We carry out accurate measurements of the aquarium in length and width;
- Then we cut out glass of absolutely identical sizes (we get the bottom of the future filter);
- Next you need to make the side walls. They should be under the length of the aquarium, and the height does not matter, but 10 cm is enough;
- Need to cut the back wall. The length is the same, but you need to make a small margin, taking into account the thickness of the side windows. Height is similar, about 10 cm;
- Pre-process all glass with alcohol;
- Apply glue to the edges of the future walls;
- We assemble the structure and wait until the composition hardens;
- Then you need to make partitions. The length is the same, but the height is a little less. To do this, you can put a matchbox on the bottom. The height will be the same, but it is important that the water in this place runs along the bottom;
- The resulting partition is fixed with glue on a special mark. In total there will be two “barriers” and three filled cameras. The walls should be at the same distance (we take the measured width, divide it into three parts and mark there);
- Cut the second same partition, glue it, but now very close to the bottom (should be at a level just below the side walls);
- Glue this part at equal distance from the first;
- We are waiting for the day, after which the boxes can be removed from under one partition;
- We cut two more partitions due to which water will not fall on the ribs of the aquarium itself (the filter is installed on them). It is important that they are wider than the ribs. We glue them to the free side of the structure, where water will flow out;
- Cut the bar along the length of the filter, but only 2 cm wide. It is glued to the front part of the second partition, so that it is like a visor;
- Waiting for glue to dry;
- We make another bar, a little shorter than the length of the aquarium and about 7 cm high. It will be installed in the third compartment, to which the synthetic winterizer will be added. This is necessary so that it does not clog and allows water to flow into the aquarium;
- We fix this partition;
- We make one more bar, the same length as the above described barrier for a synthetic winterizer, but only 2 cm wide. It is glued under the gap;
- Fill the first compartment with foam rubber, the second expanded clay or ceramic rings, the third – with padding;
- Install the filter above the aquarium;
- We supply the hose from the internal filter or pump and check the correct operation of the finished structure.
The result is a powerful and effective biofilter with three different fillers and cleaning steps. Initially it may seem that this option is extremely complex, but in fact it is not. In fact, an aquarist just needs to cut a few glasses and fasten them together. If you do not have the skills to work with a glass cutter, then you can always use the services of specialists who will do everything according to the above measurements.