Before choosing a filter, the aquarist should answer the following questions:
1. Do I need a filter! After all, before they got along without it and at the same time successfully kept and bred fish.
2. Filter internal or external! The external filter is undoubtedly more efficient in many ways; as its shortcomings are called excess in some cases, for example, for a plant aquarium, performance, high price, noise and the need for additional space outside the aquarium.
3. If an external filter is selected, do you need an additional internal filter! Such a powerful combination turns out to be very useful in aquariums where cichlids are kept, or simply heavily overloaded with fish.
By internal filter we mean a device consisting of a pump, a housing, and a filter material. The predecessors of the internal filters were filter heads. Similar to them, the internal filters, made according to the classical scheme, have a cylindrical or rectangular synthetic synthetic sponge inside as a filtering material. However, unlike the filter heads, the sponge is located inside the so-called “cup”, i.e. removable cover. In advanced models of internal filters, the case consists of two (one in the other) "glasses", or of two or more prefabricated sections. Another group of internal filters are devices that have one or more solid rectangular foam pillows as a filtering material.
The standard principle of the internal filter: the flow of water ejected by the filter reaches the opposite wall, is reflected from it and brings suspended particles to the slots of the filter bowl where it is sucked in (i.e., the flow must be strong enough, but not too strong to there was a repetition of it, this time from the filter itself, with dirt moving away); further inside the glass through the filter material and, being cleaned, through the outlet nozzle of the pump to the outside of the aquarium.
The main functions performed by the internal filter in the aquarium:
– mechanical filtration;
– biological filtration;
– chemical filtration;
– water circulation;
Not always the filter has to perform all of the above functions at once. Sometimes it is enough for him to serve only as a quick filter (i.e., to ensure quick mechanical cleaning of suspension from aquarium water). So, if, along with the internal filter, the aquarium is also serviced by an external “canister”, i.e. in fact, the internal filter is used as an additional one, the biofiltration function is not taken into account. Conversely, when used as a primary filtering device, it is important.
In the absence of aeration by the compressor, the internal filter is often assigned the function of enriching water with oxygen, which can be solved in two ways: by creating a strong flow at the surface and / or using a diffuser (Venturi head), and vice versa, the presence of a compressor purge makes the diffuser completely useless and redundant. The need for chemical filtration, as a rule, arises only sporadically, for example, after the use of medicines, and requires special consumables (in our review this function is not considered).
It should also be borne in mind that these functions are closely interrelated. Contamination that accumulates in the filter material can be eliminated either by frequent washing, or self-processed biologically. The latter significantly extends the term of non-stop operation of the filter, and also eliminates the danger of its “biological tipping” and the release of accumulated harmful substances back into the aquarium. However, for successful biological processes in an aerobic environment, a high oxygen content in aquarium water is required.
Which function is the main, which minor, depends on the specific situation in each individual aquarium and the tasks that the aquarist solves.
The main characteristic of the internal filter is the performance of the pump, measured in liters per hour. This indicator is important primarily to achieve good mechanical filtration, requiring performance in the amount of four to five volumes of the aquarium per hour. For effective biological filtration, it is enough to have one and a half to two volumes per hour (although some performance margin does not hurt, but too much of a current can worsen it). It should be remembered about another important characteristic, which is sometimes “forgotten” not only by users, but also by filter manufacturers (they do not indicate it in the specifications), namely, the volume of filtering material. However, the quality of biofiltration also depends on the distribution of flows inside the filter, and mechanical filtration depends on a reasonable ratio of performance and filtering material (too large or dense sponge can interfere with the work).
Unfortunately, the common features of all internal filters are limited maximum pump performance and a small amount of filter material. In this regard, despite the optimistic recommendations of some manufacturers, our review considers only the "older" models, because, regardless of what is written in the original instructions ("150-200 l" or "over 200 l"), a two-liter aquarium – This is for the internal filter, as a rule, the limit of possibilities. Want to have a big “jar” – put the filter head with a sponge, or even two, or a powerful “external”. At the same time, internal filters compare favorably with filter heads in a more aesthetic appearance, ease of maintenance and, which is important for a room aquarium, comparatively low noise, and external filters with their low price and no need to allocate additional space for them outside the aquarium.
All this allows us to talk about the internal filter as an amateur equipment designed for relatively small indoor aquariums. In larger domestic aquariums and in professional aquarism, their field of application is already significant: as an additional filter with a main external filter, as a main filter in small exhibition or trade aquariums.
Fluval 4 Plus
Manufacturer: Askoll, Italy
Manufacturer: AquaEl, Poland
Eheim 2212 AquaBall
Manufacturer: Eheim GmbH Co, Germany
Eheim is the most popular and expensive brand among manufacturers of aquarium equipment "mass consumption". This, apparently, explains the enthusiasm that arouse every failure of the aquarists in his zealous aquarists. However, in the category of internal filters, as opposed to external, this brand has never been the undisputed leader. And the popularity of the AquaBall line extends most of all to its younger models.
Description: made according to the principle of a classic filter head with a sponge. Although the filtering material is covered with a casing, this lightweight lattice design does not affect the distribution of the flow inside the filter, nor does it prevent mud from splashing out when it is removed from the aquarium. However, despite the fact that from the point of view of the basic layout, the AquaBall is an undoubted step backwards compared to its predecessor Eheim Pick-Up, it is impossible to blame the conservatism of the developers of this filter.
Most of all, the fundamentally new, not yet analogous, design of a swiveling ball head, which, like a computer joystick, can be freely rotated in any direction and move the output nozzle in any direction, including up or down, attracts attention. This is definitely very convenient.
But what the Germans failed was their pedantic tendency toward unification. All models of AquaBall pumps have a single design and only slightly differ in power (5-6 watts). As a result, it turned out that the younger models have excessive productivity, while the older ones – insufficient. Although, in contrast to the "fluvale" and especially the "aqua", Eheim 2212 confidently develops its passport 650 l / h, experience shows that it copes with mechanical filtration very much. FAN-3 in this capacity is much more convincing. The reason is the excessive ratio of the volume of filter material and pump power. A weak pump is simply not able to properly shed the filter sections. Mechanical filtering sacrificed biological.
However, mechanical filtration can be improved by reducing the amount of filler. Fortunately, the filtering part of the "aquaball" has a national structure, consists of removable sections. In the older model, their nominal number is three, but it can be changed, depending on the needs, both up and down. If you want to achieve a tolerable mechanical filtering, you don’t have to purchase or install additional sections, rather, remove the regular ones.
Another advantage of prefabricated sections – if necessary, they can be washed alternately and interchanged.
There is also a small upper compartment for the fine liner. We note the branded Eheim liner is very expensive, so after its complete contamination (after a few days), it makes sense to fill this compartment with a padding polyester (of course, not ordinary household, but special, better than the production of the same Eheim, Sera or Hagen). But it is even better if you do not want to repeat this procedure weekly, fill the bio filler there, as the manufacturer recommends, or leave the compartment empty at all. True, the quality of fine cleaning will then deteriorate.
The regulator of the output stream is made qualitatively and conveniently, but the impossibility of supplying an air aerator in the full and minimum performance mode causes annoyance. In addition, the diffuser has a short hose (5 cm). The diameter of the nozzle outlet nozzle is designed for bulky hose 18/22 mm. This is also not very practical. But the horizontal direction of flow can be changed in two ways at once: by turning the ball head, or the entire filter in the arcuate fixture clamp.
A vulnerable element of the design is the ceramic axis of the impeller (in others it is metallic). When carelessly disassembling the filter sometimes breaks.
Filter design may be the undoubted pride of its creators. In appearance, the AquaBall, as well as possible, is suitable for an aquarium decorated by divers, Egyptian tombs and sunken "Titanic".
Fasteners: through a separate holder with four strong vacuum suction cups.
Advantages: reliable, convenient design that allows you to change the size of the filter, the presence of a fine cleaning compartment, the flow direction changes in all directions, good biofiltration, partly capable of self-cleaning biologically, low-noise, popular design.
Disadvantages: expensive, weak mechanical filtration, filter housing does not prevent from splashing out of dirt, fragile ceramic axis of the impeller, too large diameter of the nozzle of the output nozzle.
Ability to upgrade: install / remove filter sections.
Additional accessories and fillers: removable filter sections, EHFISUBSTRAT, EHFIKARBON.
Summary: optimally suited for a beginner, but rather a wealthy aquarist, unless, of course, he decides to immediately acquire an external filter of the same manufacturer.
Crystal Duo R20II
Manufacturer: Hydor, Italy
At the time of writing this material, another favorite of the race, "TetraTec IN1000," came off the track.
In the first issue of Aquarium Magazine, the German company Tetra was reported to have broken with the real producer of filters sold under its label – Italian company Hydor, which decided to focus on strengthening its own brand. However, I do not think that it is worth much regret for this loss. The fact is that the IN1000 has proved itself far from the best, although very convenient to maintain the internal filter. Most of the complaints were caused by the quality of mechanical filtration, the reason is still the same – the flow of water past the sponges. From this point of view, the IN800 and IN400 single-section models were more successful.
Now TetraTec is produced in Poland. Despite the catchy inscriptions “Plus” and “New”, in a constructive respect, it has changed little and is neither cheaper nor better.
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