written by: Rob Charite
date: 19 July 2000
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
But the first thought might be to get unwanted particles out of your tank
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
And the last can be to adjust water parameters and polish the water.
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 !!!
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
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
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 & Walter Soestbergen