Nature has an interesting and curious way of taking care of its inhabitants, and filtration is one method in which nature keeps its fish alive. You can do the same inside of your aquarium by using appropriate aquarium filters. Inside of an aquarium, filtration removes fish wastes and impurities, and it also reduces high ammonia levels – commonly the result of overstocking a tank.
Kinds of Filtration and Filtration Processes
Aquarium filtration can be biological (naturally occurring), chemical (through the use of additives), and mechanical (machine operated). For a healthy aquarium, you’ll want to ensure quality operation of each. No one filtration method is effective all on its own however they each contribute a unique function. For example, chemical filtration is designed to remove wastes, mechanical filters are designed to remove impurities, while biological filtration is designed to reduce high ammonia levels.
Getting It All To Work Together
This unique but important three-part filtration system requires a power filter (commonly attached to the back of an aquarium), activated charcoal, and a live aquarium sponge.
The power filter sucks up tank water, passes it through a biological filter (like a sponge, or wool material) and then pours the filtered water back into the aquarium.
Another kind of mechanical filter is an undergravel filter and this system lies on the bottom of an aquarium – right under the rocks. It’s primary function is to move oxygen throughout a tank by sucking down water from the tank’s surface and pushing it back into the tank’s lower levels. The problem with this kind of filter however, is bacteria growth that occurs atop the tank’s gravel. As long as you vacuum the gravel on a regular basis, you can minimize the amount of work that all your other filters have to do.
The activated charcoal (placed beneath your gravel and atop your undergravel filter if you have one) is your chemical filter and it will remove fish waste – the “stuff” that yellows and stinks up an aquarium.
Sponges are nature’s own little filters and they reduce high ammonia levels by eating bacteria and emitting important nitrates into the aquarium’s water.
Plants Help Too
Even plants play a part in successful filtration by consuming carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen.
The End Result
This three-part filtration system (plus or minus a few aquatic plants) works together to create a healthy living environment, fight off disease, remove chemicals found in tap water, and do a little aquarium ‘quality control.’