Fish Keeping – Filtration and Your Fish TankPetmania Pet Care Advisor
Filtration and Your Fish Tank
The underwater environment that your fish lives in requires a careful balance to keep your fish happy and healthy. In this blog post we take a look at the role filtration plays in maintaining the health of your fish tank.
The filtration process is an extremely important part of caring for your fish; it helps to ensure the correct chemical balance within your tank.
Different Types of Filtration
Believe it or not, there are different types of filtration that need to take place in your fish tank. Understanding the role of each of these different types of filtration is one of the first things to understand these and why they are so important to maintaining health of your fish.
Chemical filtration is the removal of unwanted chemicals from the water. This process is largely unnecessary in the day-to-day maintenance of your tank, but depending on circumstance, it may be recommended, for example for the removal of medications for the water following treatment.
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 but how do you know which type is best?
- Sponge Filters are usually run by an external pump which pushes the water through a sponge where bacteria becomes trapped. You will need to remove and clean the sponge regularly.
- Box Filters are as the name suggest, a small box which is fitted inside your aquarium. These filters will contain an insert containing activated carbon which is remove organic pollutants from the water. The filter media with these types of mechanical filters will need to be replaced regularly.
- Canister Filters are possibly the most efficient mechanical filters, and recommended particularly for larger tanks. These filters often sit outside of the tank and the water is pumped through them to clean and remove toxins.
Biological Filtration is the most important filtration in your tank – without it your fish will suffocate in their own waste. As a fish keeper, you will need to monitor the biological filtration process in your tank, and take any actions necessary to ensure a stable environment for your fish to live in.
The Biological filtration process uses good, nitrifying bacteria to break down the ammonia generated by waste. It then converts 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. However, with careful management, your biological filter will adjust quickly to changes to ensure a stable environment is maintained.
The nitrifying bacteria will need somewhere to live. As a result, they will attach themselves to anything; it is important to have as much surface area as possible for them to live on, for example; filter sponges, ornaments, gravel etc all make up the habitat for this bacteria.