By Rob Charite

Before we even start to add fish we have to grapple with an under estimated but important subject. Right, filtration !!!

It is amazing how much money is spent on plants, fish and light. While the filter systems are mostly the key to success. There are a lot of types of filters and they all have some specific advantage or disadvantage.

But before we go to unbelievable Tec talk here we really have to do some research on filtration.
The first question that might arise is, why filtration ??

Well, this is not easy to explain because there are many ways to success.
But the first thought might be to get unwanted particles out of your tank (mechanical filtration).
The second will be to give the tank a better biological balance ( bio filtration ) Nitrosomonas and nitrobacter (bacteria) will "eat" the poisonous ammonia and nitrites and change them into the less harmful nitrate.
And the last can be to adjust water parameters and polish the water.

Mechanical filtration

Most people use a canister filter for that.
Canister filters are mostly powerful filters who can get your water clean in no time but can't carry a huge bio mass. But I don't think it will give any problems when you don't mind regular water changes as a daily routine like me for instance. I don't forget that the unwanted nastiest are out of the tank but not out of it's system !! Therefore we need to clean the canister regularly !!!

Biological filtration

Oh dear oh dear!! There are so many ways to reach that goal that it is impossible to pronounce them all but they all do pretty much the same.
Actually it is a bloody war in a bio filter but with a purpose .
Bio filters do have a giant surface area for the habitat of the bacteria (Nitrosomonas and nitrobacter).

Since they are aerobic bacteria they need oxygen as well to keep them happy and thriving, that is why most bio filters (and all bio filter hybrids) are wet/dry filters.
So their main task is to create a large surface area for oxygen exchange, (loads of oxygen = loads of bacteria) and enough room for the bacteria to settle .

Once your bio mass is working at its full potential they are pretty good nitrate factories so water change is always needed. By the way, on the article index is a pretty good item about building a biological filter explained in detail.


This contains every filter media that alters the water conditions: f.i. peat moss, diatom filtration, denelite, activated carbon, ion exchangers etc. etc.
I am not very fond off such filtration possibilities because most remove the "food" supplies for the filter bacteria so when you want to use them be aware of that.

Rob Charite en Walter Soestbergen

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