The Saltwater Aquarium Filter Explained, Biological and Mechanical Filtration Systems, Marine Reef Filters with Live Rock and Tropical Fish, How to Set Up and DIY Videos
The Basic breakdown in Saltwater/Freshwater Aquarium Filtration Systems
There’s a massive offer of different types of a saltwater aquarium filter, many types for many different types of tanks and a lot of different Medias that work with these filters. The choice of your saltwater aquarium filter is very important for your marine reef tank. Some organisms are very sensitive to waste pollution and only the right saltwater aquarium filter system will ensure a beautifully flourishing marine reef tank with healthy live corals and fish.
In general there are 2 types of filters and saltwater aquarium filter media:
Biological Filtration (which keeps the fish healthy)
Mechanical/Chemical Filtration (which keeps the water polished and clear)
Biological Filtration doesn’t need to be maintained, because here the Nitrogen Cycling Process depends on bacteria to break down the ammonia into nitrate.
Larger fish tanks are capable of completing a full water cycle with the necessary additives; smaller units need an extra boost in filtering the polluted water. Usually a biological filtration system consists of one multifunctional saltwater aquarium filter, or a combination of filters who work together to enhance the biological process.
Mechanical/Chemical filtration, such as Granular Activated Carbon, Canister Filters, Protein Skimmers, and Undergravel Filters needs maintenance!
Looking at a mechanical saltwater aquarium filter you will find a pre-filtered sponge or filter media that physically pulls waste particles out the water. There are several reservoirs for chemical absorption or carbon; sometimes they come as hang-on filters or canister filters, which take out some of the chemical toxins that are in the water. These filters need to be cleaned and some saltwater aquarium filter media need replacement pads.
Saltwater Aquarium Filter/Biological
Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) is a bituminous or lignite based carbon made from coal. The use of this type of saltwater aquarium filter is chemical, removing gelbstoff, pollutants, chlorine and other chemicals which give the yellow color to the tank water.
Wet-Dry Trickle Filters are good to use for aquariums that contain only fish. As for marine reef some attention is needed to control the unwanted nitrates building up inside the wet/dry chamber of the saltwater aquarium filter. Consists of the drip/trickle plate, the pre-filter setup, and bio-material for internal use.
Live Rock Filtration and Berlin Systems, this main component of the saltwater aquarium filter has more than 1 function, apart from decorating the tank or aquascaping, it assists in the biological nitrification process. The many forms of micro and macroscopic organisms that live inside the rock, causing the calcium carbonate skeletons to come alive. The Berlin method consists of Live Rock, Protein Skimmer and Metal Halide Lighting.
Live Sand is also a part of the saltwater aquarium filter and has the same use as a live rock and is usually collected from ocean shores.
Under gravel Filters is a fairly difficult method but still popular amongst hobbyists. It involves a plastic grid or plate placed under a few inches of crushed dolomite or coral sand. The goal is to draw oxygenated water trough the gravel layers where bacteria accumulates in colonies and thus simulating the conversion of ammonia into nitrites and eventually nitrate.
Tips: When choosing your saltwater aquarium filter you should talk to an expert, while you are setting up your tank, or if you already have your system running and see what they recommend.
My personal recommendation is to get a saltwater aquarium filter that is slightly larger or has more capacity than what your tank requires.
When you have a little more filtration, if you make a mistake by over feeding or by over stocking or putting too many fish in your tank, that larger saltwater aquarium filter will give you a little bit of breathing room.
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The Saltwater Aquarium Filter Explained, Biological and Mechanical Filtration Systems, Marine Reef Filters for Live Rock and Tropical Fish, How to Set Up and DIY Videos