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    Pinky Filters — Freshwater

    Understanding Aquarium Filtration: Different Types of Filters to Consider

    Understanding Aquarium Filtration: Different Types of Filters to Consider

    Understanding Aquarium Filtration

    Setting up a proper filtration system is one of the most vital steps of maintaining a healthy aquarium. That being said, filtration can be a bit more complex than you might realize at first glance. In this post, we are going to discuss the most common forms of filtration (and what you should use in your tank!).

    Different Types of Aquarium Filters

     Mechanical Filtration

    Different Types of Aquarium FiltersWhen you think of an aquarium “filter”, you’re most likely imagining a mechanical filter. Mechanical Filtration is a simple – yet important – form of filtration that aims to capture large particles (such as uneaten food, fish waste, plant leaves, etc.) from the water column. Capturing waste before it has a change to decompose is crucial to maintaining good water quality.


    Mechanical filters can take a few forms. Here are a few of the most common types that you should consider when setting up a tank:


    • Hang on Bank Filters: HOB filters are the most common form of mechanical filtration. HOB filters sit conveniently on the back of your tank and cycle water through a chamber. This chamber contains crucial filtration media (sponges, pads, cartridges) that help remove hazardous particles from the water column. Generally, HOB filters are good for tank under 40 gallons (or maybe larger tanks that don’t house any sensitive fish).
    • Canister Filters: If you’re setting up a tank larger than 40-50 gallons, a canister filter is the way to go. Canister filters sit outside of the tank and use a pump to draw water – for this reason, they are usually much larger than HOB filters and can process much more water. In addition, canister filters generally have room for a lot of filtration media, ensuring sparkling clean water once it makes its way back to your tank.
    • Sponge Filters: Sponge filters are extremely simple – they sit inside the tank and use air flow to draw water through a sponge. Although they definitely don’t stack up against HOB and canister filters in terms of power, sponge filters are extremely useful in certain situations. For example, sponge filters are gentle enough to be used with fry or shrimp (since they won’t suck up even the smallest of creatures).


    Chemical Filtration


    Most aquarium owners usually don’t get into chemical filtration until they’re a bit more advanced. That being said, chemical filtration can be extremely useful for certain setups and scenarios (such as for those battling algae).  


    But how does chemical filtration work?


    Chemical filtration works by absorbing harmful compounds from the water column at a microscopic level. PhosBan, for example, helps removes phosphates (for those that don’t know, phosphate is basically algae fuel). Other, more advanced, chemical filtration medias such as Chemi Pure Elite and All-In-One Biopellets help remove nitrites and nitrates along with phosphates.


    Chemical filtration medias such as those discussed above can vary in ease of use. Chemi Pure, for example, comes pre-packed in bags that can be conveniently placed within your HOB or canister filter. Biopellets and GFO, on the other hand, often require reactors to be used effectively.


    Biological Filtration


    Biological filtration is arguably the most important form of filtration for any fish tank – in fact, none of us would be able to keep an aquarium without it. In short, “biological filtration” refers to the beneficial bacteria within your tank that convert harmful compounds (ammonia & nitrite) into less harmful compounds, such as nitrate. Without these beneficial bacteria, ammonia would build to deadly levels in a matter of days.


    So, what can you do to encourage strong growth of beneficial bacteria?


    First of all, giving your tank enough time to cycle in an absolute must. During this time, beneficial bacteria levels build up within your substrate, rockwork, and filter media. Adding fish to your aquarium too soon in the cycling process (before the beneficial bacteria are strong enough to convert ammonia to nitrate) usually doesn’t end to well.


    Another important step in maintaining strong beneficial bacteria levels in your tank is cleaning your filter media properly. When cleaning out your mechanical filter, it may be tempting to rinse the entire pad/sponge under a faucet – this is not the correct way to do it. Tap water usually has trace levels of chlorine that will kill off your beneficial bacteria. Instead, get a small bowl of water from your established tank and rise the filter media in that water. Doing this will rinse out the waste particles, but also allow the beneficial bacteria to survive within the media. 

    Reference: BuildYourAquarium.com

    Thank you to our friend Mason at www.BuildYourAquarium.com for writing this post!  

    Fifty-Five Gallon Fresh Water Aquariums

    Fifty-Five Gallon Fresh Water Aquariums

    Fifty-Five Gallon Fresh Water Aquariums

    A fifty-five-gallon freshwater aquarium is a good choice when purchasing a new tank, if nothing else, simply because of its size.  These tanks are large enough to accommodate a variety of fish, but still small enough to keep in tight spaces in the home or office.  Your local retailer can assist you with specifics in purchasing, but here are some suggestions for the basics.  Purchase an acrylic tank, because they are lighter in weight and easier to care for than glass aquariums.  Also, the visibility is better in an acrylic tank.  If you don't already have a stand or a suitable replacement, keep in mind that you will need to purchase one. You will need a heater for temperature control, and a thermometer for checking the water temperature. It will take approximately five bags of rock or another substrate to line the bottom of the tank.  Choose a bright color to add some interest to the aquarium.

    Filters for Fifty-Five Gallon Fresh Water Aquariums 

    Filters for Fifty-Five Gallon Fresh Water Aquariums In addition, you will need to purchase a filter for the tank.  Filters can be complicated.  Do a lot a research to find out what type of filter is suggested for the fish that you choose.  There are filters that go beneath the substrate in the bottom of the tank, as well as filters that attach to the side of the aquarium.  They also vary greatly in price.  It is not necessary to buy the most expensive filter when setting up a basic freshwater aquarium.  The best part is that you can also save money on using the Pinky Filter Media in any filter that you Purchase.

    The aquarium will also need lighting.  Again, based on personal preference you can keep it simple or get very technical.  Most fish will respond nicely to a basic light that is simply turned on for a few hours each day.  An aquarium should contain some form of plants for added interest.  The plants serve a place for the fish to seek refuge and feel safe.  There are many varieties of freshwater plants that would work nicely in a fifty-five-gallon aquarium.  Just be sure to purchase an aquatic specific species.  If you don't want the hassle of live plants, plastic is always an option.  They have come along way with synthetic plants.  In most cases the fish may not even notice the difference, unless of course they try to eat them. 

    Once your tank is established and you are ready to add fish, choose your fish carefully. Start with hardy fish, such as live bearers, gouramis, barbs, and danios. These fish are hardy enough to handle higher nitrate levels in the tank.  Allow about thirty days for these fish to become acclimated to the tank, before adding any new fish.  It usually takes about thirty days for the symptoms of ich or other fish illnesses to show up. It is important to make sure that all existing fish are healthy before adding any new species.  The transportation of new fish itself is stressful enough, without having to add disease to the situation.  When purchasing fish, it is important to remember that a fifty-five-gallon aquarium can handle about fifteen to twenty small fish total.  This will allow plenty of growth room for the fish.

    Aquarium Care Guide: New Tanks

    Aquarium Care Guide: New Tanks

    Aquarium Care Guide

    When starting a new aquarium, it is important to understand the nitrogen cycle.  Many new aquarium owners jump into the hobby of fish keeping too quickly.  Before purchasing fish, the aquarium must be cycled.  This could take anywhere from twenty-four hours to four weeks.  In an established aquarium, there are certain bacteria that help the breakdown of ammonia to nitrates, but they are not present in a new tank because they are generated from existing fish. If there are no existing fish, then there are no good bacteria.

    The basic principle of the nitrogen cycle is this.  Fish eat food and generate waste.  That waste along with excess food and plant debris become ammonia in the aquarium. Ammonia is toxic to fish and needs to be broken down.  That's why the nitrifying bacteria is important.  This bacteria, turns the ammonia into nitrites which are more tolerable to fish than ammonia.  Next, different nitrifying bacteria will turn the nitrites into nitrates, which are even less toxic to the fish and other aquarium life.  The nitrates are collected and minimized by filters; however, they will eventually accumulate in the tank.  Regular water changes are required to remove the nitrates from the water.

    New Aquarium Tank Guide

    New Aquarium Tank GuideIt is important to set up and run an aquarium before any fish are introduced into the environment.  Wash the tank and any substrate and decorations thoroughly with water. Don't use any soap.  Fill the tank with de-chlorinated water and attach filters and lighting.  Allow the tank to cycle until the water is no longer cloudy and sufficient P.H and water temperatures have been established. 

    Now it is time to purchase the fish!  Buy hardy fish such as danios, barb, Gouramis, and live bearers.  They should be able to withstand the high nitrite levels and ammonia in the new aquarium.  Only introduce about four fish at a time. Float the fish in the bag in the aquarium for about fifteen minutes before adding them to the tank.  This will help the fish become acclimated to the water temperature in their new home.  When adding the fish, be careful not to allow the water from the bag into the aquarium.  It may be contaminated, or will at the very least, throw off the temperature and P.H.  Allow the fish about two hours to become acclimated before feeding.


    Starfire Red Danio Tiger Barb


    Starfire Red Danio Tiger Barb


    Only feed an amount that can be consumed in the first two to five minutes.  Overfeeding is a common problem in an aquarium.  It is important not to overfeed, because excess food will become debris adding to the ammonia levels.  This is especially important in new aquariums that lack nitrifying bacteria.  Test the water P.H. every day within the first month. Watch the tank for cloudiness; if the aquarium becomes cloudy, it may be necessary to add a clarifier.  Monitor the fish for signs of stress or illness.  A healthy fish will be swimming regularly.  Lethargic fish will usually hover near the surface of the aquarium.  After about a week change approximately ten percent of the water and begin regular maintenance.  Don't forget to make sure you keep Pinky Filters installed :)