The filtration process is an extremely important part of caring for your fish as it helps to ensure the correct chemical balance within your tank.
One of the first things to understand is the different types of filtration that need to take place in your tank to keep your fish healthy.
Mechanical filtration is the process of physically removing dirt, excess food, sediment and other visible particles from the water. Every fish tank will need to be fitted with an appropriate filter, and a full range of filters and accessories are available from your local Petmania store.
Chemical filtration is the removal of unwanted chemicals from the water. This process is largely unnecessary in the day-to-day maintainence of your tank, but depending on circumstance, it may be recommended.
Biological filtration is the most important filtration in your tank, without which your fish will suffocate it their own waste. As a fish keeper, you will need to monitor the biological filtration process in your tank and and take any actions necessary to ensure a stable environment in which your fish will live.
The Biological filtration process uses good, nitrifying bacteria to break down the ammonia generated by waste and convert it first into nitrites and then into nitrates. Adding new fish, plants, gravel etc. will change the biological make-up of your tank and may cause the chemical balance to fluctuate. With careful management however, your biological filter will adjust quickly to changes to ensure a stable environment in maintained.
The nitrifying bacteria will need somewhere to live, and because they will attach themselves to anything, it is important to have as much surface area as possible for them to live on - filter sponges, ornaments, gravel etc all make up the habitat for this bacteria.