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Aquarium Setup
Filters

The purpose of a filter is to:
  • Clarify and purify the water
  • Keep the water clean and safe for the fish
  • Extend the life of the water
  • Help maintain a uniform chemical balance
  • The three types of filtration that should exist in some form in every aquarium are biological filtration, mechanical filtration, and chemical filtration.
    Getting Started with a Freshwater Aquarium
    1. Aquarium Water
    2. Choosing Freshwater Fish
    3. Aquariums & Stands
    4. Hoods & Lighting
    5. Heaters & Thermometers
    6. Air Pumps & Accessories
    7. Filters
    8. Gravel & Décor

    Biological filtration provides an environment that breaks down organic waste such as excess food and feces. It decomposes and detoxifies the debris.

    Mechanical Filtration cleans the water by mechanically trapping debris in filter floss, gravel or a foam filter cartridge.

    Chemical filtration uses chemical filtrates to clean water by removing odors and discolorations. Use chemical filtrates such as activated carbon, ammonia absorbents and water softeners.

    Filter Types

    Different fish need different types of filters. The following chart describes the various types of filters and which types of filtration they provide.
    Filter Type Description Filtration Type PETCO Suggestions
    Box (Corner) Filter
    • Usually a plastic box, which contains filter media that traps debris, while the carbon removes discoloration and odor from the aquarium water
    • Placed in the back corner of the aquarium
    • Powered by an air pump
     Biological
     Mechanical
     Chemical

    Penn Plax Small World Pump & Filter Kit
    Penn Plax Small World Pump & Filter Kit



    Undergravel Filter
    • Best all-around filter for any aquarium
    • Simple
    • Inexpensive
    • Provides aeration
    • By drawing "oxygen-rich" water through the gravel, this filter promotes the growth of bacteria in the gravel to break down fish waste and leftover food (biological filtration)
    • Air pump or powerheads are used to run this type of filter (reverse flow systems)
     Biological
     Mechanical
       Chemical

    Petco Undergravel Filters
    Petco Undergravel Filters


    Lee's Undergravel Filters
    Lee's Undergravel Filters



    External Power Filter
    • Uses a built-in water pump for power
    • Usually provides mechanical filtration and chemical filtration
    • Collector of wastes (mechanical filtration)
    • Must be periodically emptied and cleaned
    • Usually moves more water than air-driven filters
    • Many newer power filters also add a site for biological filtration to occur (may be in the form of a wheel or sand or some other method)
    • May also be used in conjunction with undergravel filter
     Biological
     Mechanical
     Chemical

    Marineland Penguin BIO-Wheel Power Filters
    Marineland Penguin BIO-Wheel Power Filters


    AquaClear Aquarium Power Filters
    AquaClear Aquarium Power Filters



    Sand Filter
    • Variation of External Power Filter and uses all the same mechanisms
    • Sand in this unit provides biological filtration
    • The media (carbon, floss, or foam) must be changed periodically (sand media can remain constant)
     Biological
       Mechanical
       Chemical

    Pentair Aquatics Lifegard Fluidized Bed Filter
    Pentair Aquatics Lifegard Fluidized Bed Filter



    Internal Power Filter
    • Driven by electricity
    • Placed inside the aquarium
    • Holds a limited amount of mechanical and chemical filter material
    • Designed to be space-saving
       Biological
     Mechanical
     Chemical

    Marineland Duetto Multi-Function Internal Filters
    Marineland Duetto Multi-Function Internal Filters


    Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filters
    Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filters



    Canister
    • Very efficient filter
    • Has a large plastic container filled with different kinds of filter material
    • Recommended for larger aquariums or for smaller aquariums that house a large number of fish
     Biological
     Mechanical
     Chemical

    Fluval 05 Canister Filters
    Fluval 05 Canister Filters


    Marineland C Series External Canister Filters
    Marineland C Series External Canister Filters




    Step 8: Gravel & Décor