Hello dear readers of the site Myaquaworld.ru. In previous articles devoted to filters, we considered their types and features of the device of internal and external models. Today I invite you to discuss options for the use of various filter materials.
So, for the implementation of any type of filtration, be it mechanical purification of water from impurities, chemical changes in its composition or biological treatment of water, it must pass through a special material, which is called the filter element. As practice shows, modern aquarists use completely different materials in its quality, which the manufacturer carefully includes in the delivery of your filter or invites you to choose the most optimal option.
It can be safely called the most popular filter material. Using no filter is complete without it. It is widely used for external and internal filters. Foam rubber, thanks to its porous structure, perfectly retains mechanical impurities present in water. In addition, due to the large surface area, this material is a good place to settle the bacteria, so it can take part in the implementation of biological filtration.
When choosing this filter material, first of all, you need to focus on its density. Foam rubber with a smaller structure produces better mechanical filtration, but clogs faster and begins to require cleaning. In addition, the requirement for the performance of the pump to ensure the movement of water is also increasing.
You should also pay attention to the method of producing foam rubber. The material used in the manufacture of upholstered furniture and toys is categorically not suitable for aquarium needs, as it quickly opens and decomposes.
They are made in the form of hollow tubes with a porous structure of the material and are used to organize biological filtration in an aquarium. With relatively small external sizes, they have a large surface area for settling colonies of bacteria. In addition, due to internal holes in the rings, water flows are actively redistributed, which ensures their more uniform distribution throughout the entire volume of filter elements. It is considered to be one of the best fillers for biological filtration, for which it has gained popularity all over the world. However, it is worth mentioning that ceramic rings that do not have a porous structure and, therefore, do not provide a large area for the settlement of bacteria, come across in the sale. Such a filler only redistributes the water flow and provides coarse cleaning to trap large particles.
It provides very high quality mechanical filtration. Due to the density of the material and its structure, it retains the smallest impurities and dregs. Used in multisection filters as a means of finishing water treatment. Due to its density, it greatly reduces the filter performance and is very quickly clogged by filtered particles, which can completely interrupt the circulation of water in the system in a short time. Therefore, the use of synthetic winterizer as a filtering element allows filters with a high-performance pump and its periodic cleaning and control of the filtration rate. Many experienced aquarists agree that it is necessary to use a synthetic winterizer for a short time, if necessary, to clean the water as soon as possible.
Bioshars (hedgehogs, lattice rings)
This type of filter filler is made of plastic and consists of balls or rings, jagged with ridges and partitions, which in the aquarium slang are called “Hedgehogs”. This form is dictated by the desire of manufacturers to increase the surface area that will come into contact with water, with a constant volume. However, the ceramic rings described above, with an equal volume, represent a larger area for the colonization of bacteria. This means that the same biological filtration efficiency can be achieved with a smaller amount of filler.
Of the advantages of biochars over ceramic rings, it is possible to call a lower price and lower weight. This is especially important when using a large amount of filler (for example, for a 1000 liter aquarium).
Sintered Glass Balls
This type of filler appeared relatively recently, so I did not have time to gain great popularity. It is a small size of balls made of glass, which is subjected to high-temperature processing. As a result, a large number of small pores are formed on the surface, due to which the surface area increases significantly. As a result, this type of filler is far superior to biochars and even ceramic rings in the area of bacteria accessible for settling. Of the shortcomings can only be noted, perhaps, a higher cost.
Some time ago, gravel filters were the most popular. Gradually, the place of this filler was occupied by high-tech substances. However, the use of gravel in modern filters currently has a number of undeniable advantages. Gravel with a rough surface of irregular shape has a good ability to biological filtration, and can also be used as a prefilter, which retains large particles of dirt. Of course, comparison with modern materials is not in favor of gravel, but given the fact that any person can prepare for himself an unlimited amount of this filler of the desired form and fraction, it makes it very attractive from an economic point of view, completely free of charge.
Collected in nature, gravel before use in the filter requires the preparation of similar to that carried out with aquarium soil (How to prepare the soil for use in an aquarium can be found in the article by clicking on the link).
Also used as a biological filter. It represents elements of a spherical or elongated shape with a porous surface, which is gladly inhabited by various bacteria necessary for the nitrogen cycle. Its properties are similar to gravel filler. The surface area is approximately commensurate with gravel, with the only proviso that the surface area of gravel strongly depends on the concrete specimen, whereas in claydite it is relatively constant.
This natural material is a mineral of sedimentary volcanic origin. Due to the porous structure and the ability to hold toxic compounds in it, the zeolite is used not only in aquarism, but also in medicine, technology and other fields.
Based on the above, it becomes clear that the main purpose of a zeolite in an aquarium is chemical filtration. With it, you can reduce the level of ammonia and ammonium, eliminate toxic compounds dissolved in water. But it is worth remembering that the level of phosphates and nitrates will also inevitably decrease. Also, zeolite has the ability to acidify water.
This type of filler is also focused on chemical filtration and changes in the composition of water. Peat is a mineral that is formed mainly in swamps and is a compacted, not completely decomposed organic elements. It consists mainly of carbon (up to 50%) and other mineral substances. It is used in agriculture as a fertilizer, as a fuel and in construction as a heat insulating material.
In aquariums, peat is used mainly to change the composition of water in the direction of reducing the active reaction (pH) and carbonate hardness (kH), which is necessary for fish and plants that prefer such conditions for living or for the time of spawning. In addition, it saturates it with humic acids and gives a pleasant amber shade, which is sometimes used for biotope aquariums.
It is a black granules, which have a high adsorption capacity. Activated carbon is a temporary application and is added to the filter compartment only if there is a need to remove any harmful and toxic substances from the water. Eliminate the remnants of drugs after treatment of fish or preparations from algae or snails. Activated carbon does not react with these substances, but works on the principle of a sponge, incorporating them into its structure. After complete saturation of the structure with these substances turns into a time bomb, gradually poisoning the water, therefore, must be promptly removed or replaced. Approximate service time – 2 weeks. You can read more about activated carbon in the article.