Paying attention to the type of filter you choose for your aquarium can help ensure that your tank is in peak condition and the nitrogen cycle is ideal. If you use proper filtering techniques, your fish, plants or other aquatic creatures have a better chance of being healthy and strong.
Be it a saltwater or a freshwater tank, maintaining ideal water conditions in your tank requires some knowledge about the different types of filter media used in aquariums. The three types of filter media are biological, mechanical and chemical. Here are some details about how each type helps filter your tank.
Biological Filter Media
Bio-filter media is helpful in filtration because it allows beneficial bacteria to flourish in your tank environment. The bacteria are responsible for controlling the amount of ammonia in the tank by breaking it down naturally. It’s important to allow for the biological media to do its job and to not replace it during the life of the tank. Instead, you can simply clean it periodically.
- Live Rocks – For saltwater tanks, some hobbyists prefer using porous live ocean rock as the base for a new tank. The rock also acts as a biological filter in keeping the nitrogen cycle in the right conditions.
- Bio-Filter Media – It is also possible to purchase commercially available biological filter media, such as bio balls or other rocky substances. These accessories can be placed in the sump of the tank’s filter and help keep your water clean, clear and free of harsh ammonia levels.
Mechanical Filter Media
Another piece of a healthy tank is an effective mechanical filter with appropriate filter accessories. These pieces work alongside the biological system to keep water perimeters at top levels for healthy creatures.
- Filter Pads – Filter pads work along with your current filter setup to help strain out debris and other matter before it gets recirculated through the tank. It’s vital to regularly clean the pad to help it do its job better.
- Filter Floss – Filter floss made from polyester helps keep your water clear. It can be placed inside of a canister filter and work with the system to keep particulates out of the tank.
- Foam Blocks – A firm foam block can assist your main filter with having clear and healthy water when it is placed in your tank’s filter system.
Chemical Filter Media
Finally, chemical filtration is another effective method that hobbyists use to keep their tanks in optimal condition. Some aquarium enthusiasts think this type is purely optional, but it can also be used with your basic filtration system for your tank.
- Carbon Filters – The most popular type of chemical that is used in filtering is activated carbon. You can purchase carbon accessories to help remove harmful bacteria in your tank, but using too much can do more harm than good.
- Resin Filters – Some tank owners use ion exchange resins to assist them in keeping their tank clean. Resins help by adhering to various particulate molecules, such as ammonia, nitrate or organic matter, and dissolving them.
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