Fish Tank Filters Why They Are Needed, How They Work And Why They Cannot Be Turned Off

This article is intended for beginner aquarists. The reason for its writing was one very popular question that we have to listen to if not every day, then weekly: How long should the Fish Tank Filter work all day? And can I turn it off at night? And indeed, novice aquarists often exploit the filter in an intermittent mode, then turning it on, then turning it off. This is where their usual and very serious mistake lies: the Fish Tank Filter should work continuously! Turning it off is both meaningless and harmful. Why is that? To answer this question, we will first deal with the filter device.
By the word filter we mean a device consisting of two parts: a turbine head (a pump that pumps water) and a cartridge with filter material. There are internal filters (those that are immersed directly in the aquarium), and there are external filters, sometimes called “buckets” by experienced aquarists. "Bucket" it stands near the aquarium and is connected to it with hoses. The volume of filter material in external filters is much larger than in submersible (internal) filters and is placed there so as to work with maximum efficiency. So the sense of external filters is incomparably greater than that of internal ones. But the principle of operation of both is the same: they pump water through the filtering material.

Fish Tank Filters Why They Are Needed, How They Work And Why They Cannot Be Turned Off

So, WHAT FOR Still need Fish Tank Filters?

The filter in the aquarium is needed for the mechanical purification of water from turbidity, for the chemical purification of water from the waste products of fish and other people in the aquarium, and also to mix water. For a small filter, where there is almost no filtering material, this last function will probably be even the most important. A fairly strong jet of water from the filter head creates a current in the aquarium. A properly installed filter constantly mixes the upper and lower layers of water, contributing to the gas exchange between the aquarium water and the air in the room where it is located. The layer of water in contact with the surface gives up the accumulated carbon dioxide, is enriched with oxygen and goes deep into. There are no stagnant stagnant zones in the aquarium and the fish do not stand constantly at the surface, but are distributed throughout the volume, because the concentration of dissolved gases becomes almost the same everywhere.
Many filters have an outlet pipe from which a jet of water is beating, has a special pipe on which you can put on the air intake tube. In this case, the water jet carries with it many small air bubbles, providing very efficient aeration. And here, many newcomers who have bought an aquarium with a deafly closing lid make an important mistake: they leave the outer end of the air intake tube under it. As a result, the jet of water is enriched with the same air, which has already lost a significant amount of oxygen and managed to get saturated with carbon dioxide. If there are no live plants in the aquarium, an additional source of oxygen, everything often ends up being frozen with fish. In aquariums with a deaf lid, the air intake filter tube must be brought out, then constant fresh air pumping will be ensured. See how to do it:

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How do Fish Tank Filters work?

But back to the main topic – to filtering. AS is she going on? It would seem, well, what questions could there be? Filter material retains dirt on itself. When he clogs it, it will be necessary to thoroughly rinse with lukewarm water, so that it is cleaner and put back. If you do this often and gently, the water in the aquarium will always be transparent! But it was not there! Under such exploitation of the filter, the nasty white cloudiness will relentlessly pursue the aquarist and the more rapidly it develops, the more often the diligent newcomer will wash the filter. It turns out the purification of aquarium water includes two processes: mechanical and biological. Particles of dirt linger on the filter material – this is mechanical filtration. But then the bacteria saprophytes are taken for this dirt and decompose it into simple mineral substances. Ideally, water, carbon dioxide, nitrates, phosphates and some others. This is a biological filtration. And if it is performed in full, the water in the aquarium will be crystal clear. But this is ideally, that is, if the filter substrate is densely populated with bacteria. In fact, the filtering filler is the location of a giant colony of microorganisms. But in the new filter, this colony has not yet had time to form. And if the filter is thoroughly washed each time, it will not form. In this case, biological filtration of aquarium water will not be fully implemented. The aquarium water will be saturated with semi-decomposed organic matter and microorganisms will spread in huge quantities right in it, making it whitish-muddy! The Fish Tank Filter practically does not delay bacteria and it is useless to hope to filter them out.
And then what to do? You can do nothing – it will pass with time. The “right” bacteria will settle in the filter, when there will be a lot of them, they will not allow the semi-decomposed organic matter to be released into the water and the bacteria freely floating in the water will die of starvation — the white cloud will disappear. The water will become clear, biological balance will be established in the aquarium.
It is necessary to wash a filter filler only as necessary. Those. when its overgrowing with bacterial films and silt will interfere with the pumping of water. In this case, you can not use any detergents. It is best to rinse it with water downloaded from the same aquarium with its partial substitution. The purpose of this procedure is not to wash the filter to a sterile purity, but to release the pores of the filler and restore sufficiently free flow of water through the filter.
The process of establishing biological equilibrium (in other words, launching an aquarium) can be accelerated many times if you put in a new aquarium old slightly silted filter from a prosperous aquarium, or add a sufficient amount (about 10-15%) of old soil. You can also rinse the sponge of the working filter from the aquarium with the established biological equilibrium in a small amount of aquarium water and safely pour the resulting dark liquid into the new aquarium. In addition, there are special bacterial preparations, which also significantly accelerate the process of starting the aquarium.

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And in conclusion we will answer the question:


How to increase the biological power of the filter is described and shown in our next note about the filtration of aquarium water: "Why do small filters fail to clean aquarium water? Size does matter!".
You do not know how often you need to wash the Fish Tank Filter? This is described in a special article.