Basic Advice

Aquarium Filters, Part Two: Filter Varieties for Your Aquarium

Last month, we covered the basic types of filters: mechanical, chemical, and biological. In this post, we’ll look at some of the actual filters you can purchase for your aquarium, and the differences between them.

Sponge filter pressure from an air pump is used to pull water through a sponge in order to do basic mechanical filtration. These filters are not very efficient and are usually used on small and undemanding aquarium setups.

Undergravel filter this filter is placed under the gravel of your tank and sucks water through the gravel, which in itself offers some mechanical filtration benefits. Again, due to low efficiency, these filters tend to be used on smaller aquariums.

Hang on Back filter one of the most common filter types, these guys hang on the back of your aquarium and have a tube that goes into the tank, drawing water into the filter. The water is then passed through filtering pads for mechanical filtration, and sometimes a level of charcoal for its chemical filtration properties (the carbon traps certain chemicals). Many Hang On filters also have a biological element as well, completing 3 stage filtration.

Canister filter these operate on the same principles as the Hang on Back filters, but they are external to the aquarium, with water being pumped to the canister and back out to the aquarium. This allows the canisters to be bigger and to contain more levels of filtration, increasing their efficiency.

Wet/Dry filter this filter features a sponge-like substance that is exposed to both water and air, leading to the growth of more beneficial bacteria than any other biological filter. Though it’s harder to set up, these filters are great at biological filtration and are popular with saltwater aquarium owners and adding mechanical and chemical filtration along with these filters is simple to do with a micron sock for filter floss and carbon bags.

Not sure where to start? Get in touch with us, and we’ll be happy to recommend a filter that works best for your specific aquarium setup.

About Jon Wolf

Servicing Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana & Michigan, Blue Planet Aquarium Services has been the most trusted name in aquarium design, installation and maintenance since 1999. A company large enough to be dependable but small enough to still watch out for your best interests, Blue Planet is the only company to call if you are planning to install an aquarium or have one maintained.