The goal of any filtration system you set up for your aquarium or pond is to make sure the water is clear and the chemicals are removed or converted to healthier compounds that can more easily be managed for the health of your fish and the tank environment. It’s best to include a few kinds of filtration so you get all the benefits of each type. Combining mechanical filtration, which removes particles from the water, with biological filtration is the gold standard for a clean and healthy aquarium. To understand more about mechanical filtration, read this.
Bio Filters and How They Work
Along with your mechanical filtration systems, its recommended to add bio filters to further remove ammonia from your aquarium water. Bio filtration works through promoting the growth of “good” bacteria which can convert ammonia left from old food and fish waste into nitrites and nitrates. Once this nitrogen cycle is working, regular maintenance and conditioning can keep the nitrate levels at a healthy, lower level.
Bio Balls Used in Your Bio Filtration System
The intricate indentations and patterns of the Bio Balls allow for more abundant neutral surfaces for bacteria to grow. Ideally, you can add Bio Balls to your sump or cannister filters after the water is filtered through a mechanical system. This prevents the bio surfaces from being gunked up with debris, while allowing the water to supply nutrients to the helpful bacteria that make their homes on the surfaces of the Bio Balls. Here are a few helpful facts about using Bio Balls in your biofiltration system:
- Regular maintenance – To keep the nitrate levels from rising and becoming a problem, do regular aquarium cleanings, replacing the water by half, vacuuming the gravel, using water conditioner and cleaning your mechanical filter.
- Cleaning the Bio Balls – Your Bio Balls will be covered in gunk over time, reducing their effectiveness, so every few tank cleanings, use water from your tank to rinse them. DON’T use tap water or cleaning solutions, or you’ll kill the bacteria on the Bio Balls and have to start over with your tank setup.
- Use a Mesh Bio Bag – Keeping your Bio Balls in a Mesh Bio Bag inside the filter avoids disturbing the tank bio-balance when you must take the filter apart, allowing you to add the Bio Balls back safely when cleaning is done.