How To Choose A Filter For A Small Aquarium Review And Recommendations

As a rule, people who decide to get fish or other marine creatures for the first time start from a small aquarium. It takes up little space, saves money, is easier to decorate. But even a small container requires the installation of certain accessories. In this article we will look at what filters are for a small aquarium and why they are needed.

Why do you need a filter

A common opinion is that a small aquarium needs little maintenance. This is not entirely true; looking after him is more problematic than large. It is necessary to ensure the correct temperature and composition of water. It is the filter that supports the small ecosystem of the aquarium and gives its inhabitants the necessary conditions for life.

How To Choose A Filter For A Small Aquarium Review And Recommendations

The main task of the filter is to purify water from the waste products of fish, garbage, and feed residues and prevent its flowering by saturation with oxygen. Even the smallest filters for an aquarium should pass from 8 to 15 of their volumes of water per hour, while not forming strong streams. Ideally, the equipment will be compact and be combined with the design, and the smallest inhabitants of the aquarium will not get stuck in the sump.

External filters

External filters for a small aquarium include those that are outside the tank and are connected to it with special tubes. To the inhabitants did not get into the device, its water lines are equipped with a protective grid.

How To Choose A Filter For A Small Aquarium Review And Recommendations

Depending on the model of the external filter, it involves mechanical, biological or chemical purification of water. It is important to note that such devices provide better water cleaning than indoor installations. They allow you to adjust the movement of fluid flow or dissipate using a special tube with small holes. Due to this, the pressure is divided into small streams. Improved filters for a small aquarium have a built-in heater and sterilizer, which eliminates bacteria directly in the water, affecting ultraviolet rays.

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Internal filters

Such devices are installed inside the tank, they do not protrude beyond its limits. They consist of two main parts – the pump and the filler. A sponge is used as the second; water passes through it. Internal filters for a small aquarium are also suitable for medium sized tanks.

The advantage of such devices is the mechanical cleaning of water. Due to the fact that they do not perform many other functions, these models are more durable, reliable, have a low cost and almost silent.

As disadvantages it is worth noting the need for regular cleaning, low biological filtration. Among other things, such a filter is rather cumbersome, it is difficult to hide it behind the decorative elements of the aquarium. More powerful models form a current with which small fish are often unable to cope.

Popular models of internal and external devices

Among the wide variety of filters for a small aquarium on the market, it is worth highlighting the most popular devices:

  1. Mounted filters (backpacks or waterfalls) are used when it is not possible to use more powerful devices. These devices are more suitable for very small aquariums. The so-called waterfalls are both external and internal. The undoubted advantage of this filter is the minimum flow that is formed by falling water and in this way contributes to the aeration of the aquarium. One of the main drawbacks is the inconvenience of filling the filter with special filtering components.
  2. Mini-filters with glasses are among the most sought-after devices on the market. Their convenience is the ability to put all filter materials in a glass. The complete set gives the chance to regulate and direct a current of the filter. As a drawback, a rather loud buzz is noted at work. Despite the compactness of the aquarium, it is undesirable to buy this filter of a small size, since it will not perform its function to the full.
  3. Airlift filter for a small aquarium belongs to the internal devices. His work is based on the movement of air in any direction under the water. The air rises through the branch pipe and creates cravings, and already under its influence the water passes through the filtering material and is cleaned. Airlift filter performs the function of an aerator and cleaner. The disadvantage of the device is the incessant murmur of water, although some even like it.
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Filter material

Manufacturers equip filters for a small aquarium with a minimum set of filter components. For this reason, support materials have to be purchased separately. Sponges or synthetic winterizer are suitable only for the mechanical purification of water from large debris, organic matter and feed. Biological filtration is provided by more complex, highly porous elements that attract bacteria.

How To Choose A Filter For A Small Aquarium Review And Recommendations

It is important to note that a large amount of algae and large species of aquarium inhabitants need a cleaner of greater power than indicated on the package. Simply put, the larger the fish, the better the filtration should be to ensure the required level of water purity.


When discussing the question of whether a filter is needed in a small aquarium, experts unequivocally give an affirmative answer. They warn that in models of internal and external filters there is one of the essential differences – this is performance that needs to be taken into account.

In general, the quality of the device is estimated performance. The higher it is, the greater the volume of water able to pump the filter within an hour. Accordingly, the water in the tank will be cleaner. In the production of filtering devices in the first place indicates the amount for which they are designed.

The main characteristics when buying a filter are its performance and the rate of calculation of the volume of water in the aquarium.