Fish Tank Filters & How They Work For Your Fish

You will need a fish tank filter for your lovely fish because it is going to remove excess food, decaying organic matter, particulates, dangerous chemicals, and fish waste products from the water! Your fish is excreting waste as he swims and if you don’t remove the waste, toxins will build up and you will poison your fish.

How does Fish Tank Filter Work For Your Fish?

You can see that a Fish Tank filter is necessary. The way the fish tank filter works is varied depending on whether you have a biological, mechanical, or chemical filter. You must have a biological filter. I will also discuss mechanical and chemical filtration.

The biological fish tank filter converts toxic ammonia (from your fishes’ waste, excess food, and decaying or dying plant matter) into Nitrite and toxic Nitrite into Nitrate. Nitrate must be removed from the tank water with regular water changes that you must do or else your fish will suffer kidney, liver, and eye problems, won’t eat, and will not be able to breathe well. Biological filtration is established during cycling – biological filters must properly cycle before they can process fish waste.

Mechanical filtration, on the other hand, is particulate filtration and pushes the tank water through filter media such as a sponge, filter floss, a dense mass of air bubbles (only in saltwater), filter pads, or aquarium gravel. The quality depends on how fine the media is, how much water is passed through the media, how often you clean your tank, and how messy your tank is.

A chemical fish tank filter is carbon or chemical resin that extracts toxins from the water. You will need to change an activated carbon filter often because it becomes saturated with chemicals.

There are many fish tank filters to choose from, and you will get one that fits your needs and is right for the type of fish you are a pet parent too. Filtration will make your fish tank look cleaner and you will have to change the water less often in order for your fish to be happy and healthy! Of course, you still do your usual tank maintenance to ensure that your babies are free from stress and disease. This is the least we can happily and gladly do for our best little fishy friends! After all, these little guys and girls are a part of our family and we love them!

Fish Tank Filters
Fish Tank Filters & How They Work For Your Fish 1

The Best Aquarium Filter: AquaClear by Hagen

I love my AquaClear 20 Power Filter on my 5.5-gallon tank. It functions well and is so quiet I barely even notice it when it’s running. It’s also easy to maintain and switch out the media. You can even adjust the water flow from a lever on the top of the unit. What more could you ask for in an aquarium fish tank filter?

AquaClear is a 3-stage filter and it comes with these media inserts:

  • Foam Sponge Insert (Mechanical)
  • Activated Carbon Insert (Chemical)
  • BioMax Insert (Biological)

Depending on your aquarium water change schedule and needs:

  • Clean the foam sponge during every water change
  • Replace the charcoal once a month (or more often if needed)
  • Replace the BioMax every 3 months

As with any filtration system, never replace more than one of the media inserts at a time. Wait at least a few days to a week in-between replacement.

Money-Saving Tip #1

You NEVER need to replace the foam sponge that comes with the fish tank filter. I’ve had mine for a few years now and it still strains the debris out of the water perfectly. Simply remove the sponge during a water change and squeeze out a few times in the old water you’ve removed from the tank until it rinses clean (do not do this in the water straight from your faucet – if you must, add a few drops of water conditioner to it first). Presto, good as new! The only reason you may ever need to replace the sponge is if it becomes torn or misshapen and doesn’t properly cover the bottom of the filter. It may become discolored over time, but it will still function fine.

Money-Saving Tip #2

You don’t have to give in to their marketing tactics. If you don’t want to buy the AquaClear brand replacement media packs, such as charcoal, simply make your own for a lesser cost. You can find aquatic charcoal in bulk at most major pet stores, as well as the sleeves to pack it into. Just make sure you always secure the end of any do-it-yourself media pack well so it won’t leak. Personally, I don’t mind picking up their pre-made media inserts as I find the price reasonable and appreciate the convenience, but if you’re motivated to try it on your own it’s really quite easy and will save you money in the long run.

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