Maintaining an aquarium is a lot of work. You need to monitor the pH balance of the water, feed the fish and regularly change the water. However, none of these tasks are as important as purchasing a good water filtration system. Without a good water filter, all the rest of your hard work is pointless and while everyone may be aware of this fact, the wide variety of filter systems available can be a little confusing.
In order to clear up this mess, it is best learn about the three primary roles of an aquarium filter system. These are biological, chemical and mechanical filtration.
Biological Filtration – Biological filtration use beneficial bacteria to propagate the nitrogen cycle in water similar to natural maritime ecosystems.
Chemical Filtration – Chemical filtration systems remove waste that has been dissolved into the water and therefore invisible to the naked eye. Chemical filtration uses activated carbon or zeolite to remove the waste.
Mechanical Filtration – Mechanical filtration systems are probably the most common, basic and easiest to understand. These filter systems do nothing but remove visible particles present in the water.
This type of filtration system lets beneficial bacteria be present within the aquarium. In turn, these microorganisms convert the ammonia from the fish waste into nitrites, which in turn are converted by other bacteria into nitrates. While nitrates, in large concentrations, are still harmful to fish, they are easy to monitor and remove. Simply change the water in the tank.
Ultimately, the filter system you use is your choice. Find the best available one that you can afford and never opt for the least expensive just because it was the cheapest. You are only hurting your fish and the health of your aquarium ecosystem in the long run. As long as you understand the mechanical, chemical and biological roles involved in aquarium filter systems, you’ll have no problems finding the perfect filter for your aquarium.