How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

Home for aquarium fish and other aquatic inhabitants needs high-quality clean water, because otherwise your swimming pets will not be very happy and, most likely, they will not live with you.

Properly selected filter allows you to create the desired ecosystem, which favorably affects all aquarium inhabitants. Let’s take a look at how to choose a filter for an aquarium and what to look for when choosing it.

Purpose and Description

As is well known to anyone interested in aquariums, the axiom is the need to clean the aquarium water. And if the water in a river or lake is purified in a natural way, this method is not applicable in aquarism. Therefore, the water in the tank should be cleaned artificially. The normal existence of all aquatic inhabitants, be it ornamental fish or plants, mollusks or crustaceans directly depends on the quality and purity of the water in the tank.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

  • be relatively small;
  • be easy to maintain and quality;
  • the efficiency of the purifier should be determined by the volume of purified water.

Aquarium water purifiers are of various kinds, they operate according to different principles and are filled with unique components. Maintain the ecosystem in an aquarium in many ways.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

By type of filtering

There are biological, chemical and mechanical types of filtration of aquarium water.

This classification separates the filters for the aquarium. There is also a water purifier that uses all three types of cleaning at once. This is an external canister filter. But the need to use all types of cleaning at once is not necessary. For an aquarium it will be enough to filter one type. Let us consider in more detail the types of filtering.

Mechanical filtration purifies water with a filler. Dirty water enters the filter, particles of debris and dirt are deposited in the pores of the filler, and the output is water that is free of debris. Thus, the filler accumulates particles of debris. A sponge or a bundle of tangled fishing line can act as a filler. This type of filtration is suitable for aquariums in which goldfish and cichlids live.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

Biological filtration no less important for an aquarium. With its help, the aquarium gets rid of toxic substances, which are formed as a result of the vital activity of fish and plants. This type of filtration allows you to keep an aquarium with healthy fish and vegetation.

Biological filtration is performed by special bacteria that live in the soil. Also, special fillers for water purifiers are used as biological filtration. In such fillers live colonies of bacteria that purify water from toxins.

Chemical filtration allows you to remove waste from the water thanks to activated carbon. Water passes through a carbon filter and absorbs phosphates and other impurities and minerals. With the help of such a filtration ammonia and an unpleasant smell leave the water. This type of cleaning is very effective and helps to obtain a high degree of water purification.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

By way of installation

According to the construction format, there are several types of water purifiers:

  • external;
  • internal;
  • canister;
  • bottom.

External filter placed outside the aquarium. Usually it is placed in the nightstand under the aquarium, or it can be attached to the side or back wall. This placement makes it easy to care for and clean. The device is divided into compartments. Such a water purifier can combine all three types of filtration, since it is possible to load different types of filler into different compartments.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

Internal filter – This is a small size design with pump and filter media. Foam rubber is most often used as a filler. It is placed inside the aquarium, mounted with special suction cups on any convenient wall. Such equipment uses only mechanical type of filtration and needs frequent maintenance. Very popular with home aquariums.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

Canister filter can be considered as a subtype of the external filter. They differ only in location. The canister water purifier is placed vertically and can be installed on the floor or inside the aquarium pedestal. The canister water purifier provides all three types of filtration.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

Bottom filter quite unusual. This is a system of tubes, which is located under the ground. Soil is used as a filter element. This type of filter helps to prevent acidification of the soil. Falsely used in addition to the filter of another type. Such equipment home aquarists practically do not use.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

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Criterias of choice

There are various criteria for choosing an aquarium water purifier. Next, we will look at how water is filtered in aquariums, what kind of water purification devices exist, and what filter is best for an aquarium for specific needs — external or internal.

By power and performance

The most important criterion for choosing a water treatment device for your aquarium is its power and performance, that is, how much liquid the device can pass through itself in 1 hour. On the packaging of the device there is always a label with a capacity value – 300 liters per hour, 1000 liters per hour, etc.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

If you are not interested in understanding the calculations of the power of the water purifier for a specific tank – you can see what volumes the manufacturers write on the packaging of the device. However, this value is not always true. Such an estimated power is calculated by the manufacturer under conditions close to ideal, namely in pure water, in which there are no impurities and fillers.

By filter type

The most popular and used in aquariums is the internal filter device. Such water purifiers are very easy to use and inexpensive, but occupy useful space in the tank.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

In contrast to the internal water purifier use external. In the tank, only 2 tubes are lowered through which water is purified. The undoubted advantage of such cleaners is their high performance. In addition, they are devoid of the shortcomings of domestic appliances. However, external filters are more expensive and larger in size than internal cleaners.

Compromise between the two previous devices will be mounted cleaner. It is attached to the wall of the aquarium, and the filter device is in the tank. True, these types of filters are not very popular.

An interesting alternative to these instruments will be a bottom filter – false.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

It conducts cleaning both through the soil and through the filter element, so the liquid is cleaned twice. However, the bottom cleaner is less productive and more difficult to maintain than other types. For these reasons, they are bought for small aquariums.

By filler material

Sponge is the most popular element for a water purifier. Small-pored and large-pored sponges trap mechanical debris (leftover food, plants, foreign objects) in themselves when the water forcibly passes through them. Such sponges in a week settle down useful bacteria that act as a biological water purifier and purify water from nitrates and methane. The term for cleaning these filtering components is usually indicated on the instructions for the device; on average, the sponge should be cleaned once every 2 weeks.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

More qualitatively, than a sponge, water in an aquarium is cleared by absorbent carbon. The truth with this type of water purifiers must be remembered that when activated carbon is over-saturated with harmful substances, it will itself emit them back.

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Another type of fillers are bio-fillers from multi-porous ceramics. Bacteria settle on such fillers, by creating huge colonies produce biological water purification. Such water purification is very effective, especially if used in conjunction with mechanical cleaning.

By price

The most inexpensive Fish Tank Filters are devices of Chinese companies Atman, Resun and some others. The first, despite the cost, is very reliable, as developed by American engineers, and released by the famous Chinese company Chuangxing Electrical Appliances Co.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

The average price range – from manufacturers such as JBL, Sera, Hagen, Tetra (Germany), Aquael (Poland), Ferplast, Hydor (Italy). However, despite its European origin, all devices are also manufactured in China.

The most expensive, because of their quality and reliability, are the filters of the German company Eheim.

By manufacturer

For large tanks, experienced aquarists recommend purchasing an internal filter from the Polish brand Aquael Fan. These devices are easy to install, reliable and quality filtering. With such a device, you also do not have to think about aeration of water, as the filter additionally produces it.

If you need the perfect combination of price and quality, use the Polish brand of external water purifiers. Aquael UNIMAX.

Products of the German brand Eheim are in high demand, as the silent filters of this company are designed for any volume of water.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

If you want to use in your tank the latest technology of bio-purification of water, your choice of device – the German company Tetra. They are able to work well for up to six months without replacing the filtering components.

Many aquarists use Chinese-made bottom water purifiers. Particularly stand out from the rest of the filters company HAILEA. On the device of this brand prices are always small, but their maintenance takes longer.

You should also pay attention to the canister water purifiers Italian brand Hydor. Water purification devices of this brand are inexpensive and, at the same time. pretty high quality.

Features of use

How to use Fish Tank Filter for water is quite a non-trivial question for a beginner aquarist. The instruction to the device is usually not obvious or completely incomprehensible. Next, we will look at how to install the device in the aquarium and use this most important instrument for the inhabitants of the aquarium.


The internal type water cleaner should be lowered into the water so that several centimeters of water remain above it.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

Attach it to suckers to the wall of the aquarium, suckers, as a rule, come bundled with the device. Further, the hose from the water purifier is attached to the device with one end and the other end to the outside, since air is supplied through it. Air intake should be above the water level in the tank. The bottom filter should not touch the bottom of the tank.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

After you properly fix the device – turn it on the network, and the wire should not be stretched, but fall freely. If there is a flow of water – you did everything right. At the outlet of the liquid in the water purifier is a damper, which regulates the power flow and direction of water. If you want to correct it or change the direction of the water, first turn off the device from the outlet. Biological water purifier during installation has certain subtleties. In order for it to settle the necessary bacteria on the sponges or filler device, use a special drug that allows bacteria to develop faster.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

Also use specially prepared water with the addition of special conditioners. All this must be done before installing the filter in the tank.

How To Choose A Filter For The Aquarium

The bottom filter is somewhat more difficult to install in an aquarium. To do this, completely drain the liquid from the aquarium, install the frame of the device, pour the soil back. The soil should not be too small, as it can clog the device. This water purifier should be washed every 4 months.

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All filters require cleaning and maintenance. For normal service of the equipment, it is necessary to clean it regularly. The efficiency of the clogged filter is reduced regardless of its type. In order to determine how often it is necessary to clean a water purifier, you need to remember the following rule: the smaller the water purifier and the greater the load on it, the more often it must be washed.

The exact frequency of cleaning the filtration system is determined according to the parameters of the tank and the type of filter.

Water purifiers with a mechanical type of cleaning often need to wash the filler. Typically, this procedure is done 1 time in 2 weeks. To do this, turn off the filter, remove it from the aquarium, remove the filler and wash it under running water. If the aquarium clogs faster, then cleaning the filter should be done more often. Biological water purifiers are washed much less frequently. They are washed in parts (approximately 1/3) every 3 months. General cleaning is not carried out. In order to preserve the colonies of bacteria, you need to leave a little old substrate.

If a water purifier with chemical cleaning is installed in the aquarium, the coal used over time needs to be replaced. Activated carbon absorbs organic matter well on average from 2 to 4 months. More accurate calculations are hard to make, since the purity of the water in an aquarium depends on many conditions.

According to many experienced aquarists, water treatment is an essential part of aquarism. Therefore, every lover of ornamental fish needs to know how to choose the right water purifier, install a filter in the aquarium and continue to operate it correctly. When choosing Fish Tank Filters, it is necessary to take into account the volume of water, types of fish and plants. Properly selected filter will allow the inhabitants to live in comfortable conditions and facilitate the care of the aquarium.