Internal & Sponge Aquarium Filters
- Azoo Oxygen Aquarium Sponge Filters : These high-quality sponge aquarium filters are excellent for breeding tanks, fry tanks or fish aquariums. This aquarium filter utilizes a hydrophilic sponge that creates an environment for cultivating a high density of nitrifying bacteria.
- Hydro-Sponge Aquarium Filters : The Hydro-Sponge aquarium filter provides both mechanical and biological filtration. Aerobic bacteria colonize the filter 's sponge, providing a bacterial substrate to facilitate the nitrogen cycle.
- Sen Internal Aquarium Power Filters : SEN IPF series internal aquarium power filter can be placed in water in either a vertical or horizontal position according to the size of tank and water level.
In-Line & Specialty Aquarium Filters
- AquaMedic Carbolit In-Line Aquarium Carbon Filter : The carbolit in-line reactor is a compact chemical filtration chamber for aquarium use. This filter can be installed in line with any standard canister filter or used with a separate pump.
- AquaMedic In-Line Aquarium Phosphate Filter : The phosphate aquarium filter is a compact chemical filtration chamber for aquarium use. It can be installed in line with any standard canister filter, or via a separate pump. The phosphate aquarium filter contains 1 litre of antiphos.
- PhosBan Media Filter / Reactor : The PhosBan Filter / Reactor 150 is designed with the upflow principle to achieve the most efficient use of PhosBan or other chemical filter media.
By pushing water from the bottom upward through a dispersion plate, it forces an even distribution of water through the media, and prevents channeling.
It can be mounted hanging on the back of the aquarium or below the aquarium.
- Precision Marine SR-35 Reverse-Flow Substrate Filter / Reactor : Precision Marine Reverse-Flow substrate filter / reactor. For use with the substrate/media of your choice. Suggested uses include activated carbon, nitrate and phosphate removing aquarium filter medias and de-ion resins.
- Precision Marine SR-45 Reverse-Flow Substrate Reactor : SR-35 Specifications: Overall Height: 26”, Footprint: 5.75”, Input/Output: 1/2”
System 1 Aquarium Pressure Filter : System 1 aquarium pressure filter in an easy, quick filtering water "polishing" pressure filter. Considered by most hobbyists as the best diatomaceous aquarium filter available, System 1 aquarium filter can be used in Freshwater and Saltwater aquariums. System 1 aquarium pressure filter fits most aquarium rims.
- DE Cartridge, filter element for System 1 Pressure Filter
- Drive Belt for System 1 Filter
- Extension Tube Kit for System 1 Pressure Filter
- Jar for System 1 filter
- Jar Seal for System 1 Pressure Filter
- Preemo Pre-floss for System 1 Pressure Filter
- Preemo-Clean Diatomaceous Earth 4.5 lbs.
- Rebuild Kit for System 1 Pressure Filter
Nitrate Reductors : The Nitrate reductors utilize a sealed chamber through which water is pumped very slowly, creating a low oxygen environment. In these anoxic conditions, naturally occurring bacteria breakdown nitrate (NO3), to use the oxygen it contains, entirely removing it from the system.
- Nitrate Reductor 1000 up to 250 gal. by AquaMedic
- Deniballs Media for Nitrate Reductors by AquaMedic : Deniballs are made from a special biologically based plastic material and are designed to provide a long-term carbon and food source for anaerobic bacteria within our Nitratereductors. In the absence of oxygen, these anaerobic bacteria metabolize the Deniball material to accelerate the reduction of nitrates into nitrogen gas. One box of Deniballs (0.2 gallons) for the Nitratereductor 400 and 3 boxes for the Nitratereductor 1000 is enough to be the sole source of supplemental food within the reductor for 12 months. For the Nitratereductor 5000 you will require about 1.2 gallons, about 6 boxes or one bucket, every year. Changing the Deniballs every 12 months is recommended to ensure safe and maintenance free denitrification for your fresh or saltwater aquarium.
- Denimar 150 gr. by AquaMedic : Denimar is an essential food source for the anaerobic bacteria within our Nitrate Reductors. When dosed into the Nitrate Reductor, nitrate removal rates are accelerated. Denimar is particularly effective when first establishing a Nitrate Reductor, when Deniballs are still new and haven’t yet begun to dissolve. Denimar powder is a quick dose format of the same carbon and nutrient mixture pressed into our Deniballs. As such, it is suited for salt and freshwater aquaria. Denimar contains no fertilizers and does not foster the growth of algae.
Aquarium Canister Filters : Aquarium Canister Filters are a big part of any freshwater or saltwater tank. There are primarily four types of aquarium filters : chemical, biological, organic and mechanical.
Aquarium Power Filters : More power filters are sold than any other type of aquarium filter. The ease of set up and maintenance, low price, and wealth of optional features make aquarium power filters extremely popular. A variety of filter media is available, from standard carbon to specialty items such as nitrate absorbers. Like with any aquarium filter, be sure to match the flow rate to the size of your aquarium.
Wet-Dry Aquarium Filters
- Wet-Dry Bio Filters by Aquatic Design Habitats ADHI : The Bio Wet/Dry Filters by ADHI ( Aquarium Design Habitats ) are the most complete filtration system for your fish only tank. While it can be used in a reef environment, it's self contained biological filter chamber allows for maximum performance in your display tank. This powerful filter includes large pre-skimming chamber that easily fits most in sump skimmers and an easy access drip chamber for mechanical filtration.
As with all our Bio Filtration units, ADHI Bio line of filters can be used with external or internal pumps allowing you the flexibility to choose/change your pumping method without expensive conversions.
- Precision Marine Aquarium Trickle Filters : Precision Marine has been fabricating custom wet-dry aquarium trickle filters for many years, however, we now offer two production models. We believe these fill the gap the mass-produced wet-dry filter manufacturers leave out.
Aquarium Reservoirs & Sumps
- Precision Marine Bubbleless Reservoirs : All Precision Marine Reservoirs are constructed from Domestic Cell Cast acrylic. Note the perimeter bracing and no-bypass sponge pre-filter. Excellent glue joints throughout. When you receive your sump reservoir from Precision Marine, you won’t be surprised with poor quality glue joints, mediocre craftmanship and a garage-job finish.
- AE Tech Berlin Sump Reservoirs : All AE Tech sump reservoirs are build to an extremely high quality standards. Oversized to provide extra water capacity and a very roomy working environment. Nothing on the market compares to these beautiful sump tanks.
Filter Max Prefilters : The Filter Max Aquarium Prefilters provide filtration of water before entering the main filter. They prevent debris from clogging the filter media and at the same time provide biological filtration.
Aquariums are small bodies of water with a greater density of organisms than real environments--leading to the build-up of waste products to toxic levels. Filtration removes these unwanted compounds from the tank's water--making the environment more suitable for keeping corals, fish, invertebrates, and any other life forms that you may be planning to add to your aquarium.
All aquariums require biological, mechanical and chemical filtration. Each of these types of filtration requires different methods for reef tanks, saltwater fish only tanks and freshwater tanks. Below is a general guide to help you decide which products you need for your aquarium.
About Biological Aquarium Filtration Biological filtration deals with the removal of nitrogen breakdown by-products from the water. These nitrogen compounds appear in the tank as a result of the animals added to the tank; the food that is added to the tank, the algae that die off, and the respiration and metabolism of the fish and invertebrates. Even though the water quality is usually excellent when an aquarium is first started up, as soon as animals are added the water quality starts deteriorating quickly. Biological filtration counteracts these negative effects and removes whatever noxious compounds may have been added to the water as a result of populating the tank, feeding the animals, biochemical activity taking place, etc. Biological filtration is best done with live rock, live sand, undergravel filters or biological. Read on more more in on when and how to use various types of biological filtration.
Biological filtration has four goals:
1. removal of nitrogen breakdown products, such as ammonia and ammonium
2. conversion of ammonia to nitrite
3. conversion of nitrite to nitrate
4. removal of some of the nitrate from the system
Bacteria is used to eliminate ammonia and nitrite. Ammonia present in the water is broken down to nitrite by a form of bacteria called Nitrosomonas. These bacteria appear spontaneously, or their proliferation can be sped up by the addition of a batch of seeded gravel or rock from another tank. Seeded gravel is gravel, or rock, that comes from an aquarium that has been running for a while, and already has a great deal of bacterial life. Transferring some of the gravel (rock, coral pieces) also transfers bacteria. Ammonia test kit should always show zero mg/l, or ppm. Even small amounts are unacceptable in reef systems, as they will definitely harm fish and invertebrates alike.
Nitrite must also be removed. Nitrobacter species appears spontaneously in tanks and convert the nitrite to nitrate, a compound that is less damaging. Should nitrite level of the aquarium water show the presence of merely low amounts of nitrite, such still is an indication that somewhere in the aquarium, or in the filters, the natural breakdown cycle has been, or is being, interfered with. The hobbyist should immediately determine where this interference is coming from and remedy the situation. This may entail cleaning all mechanical filters, ensuring that the gravel or substrate is clean and does not harbor trapped detritus and other organic matter, removing dead or dying algae, checking the cleanliness of corner overflow boxes and/or surface skimming siphons, etc. The presence of nitrite may also suggest that you are feeding too much or the tank is overloaded to such a degree that the filters can no longer deal efficiently with that biological load. This should prompt the removal of lifeforms, or the increase of the filter capacity by adding additional biological filtration.
Nitrates are another problem altogether. Traditionally nitrate has been regarded as a compound that is not harmful. Such may be the case in fish-only tanks, but it is not so in today's living reef aquariums. Nitrate is definitely a pollutant, and it does affect the well being and appearance of corals and other invertebrates. Levels as high as 8 ppm of Nitrite result in both Catalaphylia jardinei and Discosoma species corals not opening as much as they do at lower levels, respectively not lifting themselves as far off the rocks to which they are attached, and not stretching out as much as usual.
LIVE ROCK AND LIVE SAND FOR REEF TANKS
For reef aquariums, using live rock and live sand are the best methods of biological filtration. AquaCave does not sell live rock or live sand. It's best to purchase these products locally.
How Does Live Rock Perform Biological Filtration?
1. Live rock immediately introduces into the aquarium numerous algae, bacteria and small invertebrates--all of which contribute to the overall quality of the aquarium water.
2. Ammonia, nitrate and phosphate are readily assimilated by algae and photosynthetic corals growing on and in the rock.
3. Ammonia can also be quickly converted into nitrate by the bacteria on and in the rock.
4. This nitrate can be either absorbed by the algae and corals, or it can be denitrified by bacteria in close proximity to the nitrate producing bacteria.
At the same time live rock enhances the look of the aquarium and provides shelter for the inhabitants.
CANISTER FILTERS & POWER FILTERS
Fish only saltwater and freshwater tanks might use a mechanical aquarium filter to perform biological filtration. You should never use a mechanical filter with a reef aquarium.
Mechanical filters, such as canister filters and power filters, are containers that usual have filter pads/media and often have some sort of filter media, such as a biological filter pad or bio balls. The mechanical filter pad traps waste, which needs to be periodically washed off the filter pad. With some canister filters, such as the ocean Clear canister filters, all of the media is biological media. When using filters such as the Ocean Clear, you would want to use a mechanical filter in line before the biological filter. For freshwater or saltwater fish only tanks over 100 you'll definitely want to use one or more Ocean Clear (and for tanks from 50 to 100 gallons you might still want to use one). The Ocean Clear brands will take some knowledge of plumbing to set up as they need to be use with plumbed through the bottom tanks or with an overflow box.
For smaller tanks and for simpler installations you will want to use the power filter, all of which have some sort of biological filtration.
UNDERGRAVEL AQUARIUM FILTERS FOR FISH ONLY SALT WATER AND FRESHWATER
An effective method of biological filtration in fish only saltwater and freshwater tanks is an undergravel filter.
An undergravel aquarium filter is a slotted piece of plastic (undergravel plate) that sits on the bottom of the aquarium and lets water flow between the plate and the bottom of the tank. There is a tube that is attached to this bottom piece, known as the lift tube. Gravel is placed on top of the filter, and the filter, lift tube and gravel work together to provide filtration.
Water is pulled down to the bottom of the tank, through the gravel, and then the undergravel plate. Then it flows back up to the top through the lift tube. The water is again pulled down through the gravel. This allows beneficial bacteria to thrive on the oxygen laden water flowing through the gravel.
When using an undergravel aquarium filter you should purchase at least 1.5 pounds of gravel for each gallon your aquarium holds (a little less than that for tall hexagon-shaped aquariums). If you are using a power filter or some other type of filtration and no undergravel filter, you may purchase slightly less gravel. One pound of gravel per gallon in your aquarium should be enough.
3. Wet/Dry Aquarium Filters
Also known as trickle filters wet/dry filters operate on the principle that the beneficial colonies of ammonia neutralizing bacteria grows best in the presence of well oxygenated water. By "trickling" water over un-submerged plastic gizmos (such as bio balls) or other media, wet/dry filters provide a very large air/water surface area. Many things can used for the media, with the best providing great amounts of surface area, while at the same time having large openings to reduce the tendency to clog and ensure efficient gas exchange. The problem of clogging of the media can also be reduced by pre-filtering the water with an efficient mechanical filter and by use with a protein skimmer.
Wet/dry aquarium filters have been used on reef tanks, but reef hobbyists understand that bacteria will colonize any porous substrate (such as live rock). Oxygen is provided by protein skimming. Also of concern to reefers using wet/dry filters is that particles and debris get trapped in the plastic medium used in wet/dry filters, and this nutrient-rich debris provides an unwanted food supply for algae.
The wet/dry filters are best for fish-only tanks, where you need a large area for colonizing bacteria. The open design allows easy access to pre-filter material.
About Chemical filtration
Chemical filtration is most commonly accomplished by means of activated carbon. The carbon's micro-porous structure absorbs dissolved organics, chloramines, fish odors, toxic metals, toxic gases and growth inhibiting enzymes.
Tips for using activated carbon:
- MAKE SURE IT IS ACTIVATED CARBON. Many types of carbon are sold in pet stores. For a reef aquarium you need carbon that has been activated--a process that substantially increases the porosity of the carbon, and as a result greatly increases the total active surface area, allowing it to be much more effective at absorbing compounds that need to be removed from the tank's water.
- FLOW WATER THROUGH, NOT OVER. Your activated carbon will work much better if water is actually forced to go through the amount used, rather than just flowed by, and over it. More contact between the activated carbon and the water obviously results in a more efficient cleansing process.
- REPLACE YOUR CARBON. Activated carbon has a maximum adsorption capacity, which is the reason that it should be replaced from time to time. How frequently is hard to determine, because it is dependent on the quality of the water that is flowed through the carbon.
- IN REEF TANKS, PUT THE CARBON BEHIND THE LIVE ROCK OR IN THE SUMP.
Phosphate & Nitrate Removers
Besides activated carbon, a wide variety of resins, minerals, and other media have been employed by aquarists in an effort to remove either specific ions like phosphate or a wide range of largely unidentified substances from aquarium water.
Boyds Chemi Pure and ChemiPure Elite come pre-bagged inside the jar. All other products need to be bagged using one of the media bags. All bags have ties sewn into the top for easy closure.
Poly-Bio-Marine Poly Filters
Poly-Bio-Marine Poly Filters are pads that absorb and adsorb contaminants and other toxic materials that are found in nature or added to fresh and salt water with or without fish and invertebrates. Medication added to aquariums for treatment of diseased fish will automatically be removed by the Poly Filter (after serving their intended purpose). The pads are placed in any filter in a place where chemical filtration media is intended (generally, after the larger sediment has been filtered out).
About Mechanical Aquarium Filtration Mechanical Filtration is the removal of unwanted particulate matter from an aquarium by trapping it in a dedicated location, such as a filter pad, which must be cleaned periodically. The key to this is the cleaning. A mechanical filter is useless unless it is cleaned.
Mechanical filtration is recommended for all freshwater tanks and saltwater fish only tanks. Because reef aquariums are very delicate and require cleaner water, we recommend using a protein skimmer instead of a mechanical filter with a reef aquarium. Protein skimmers are also recommended for use with saltwater fish only tanks. They can not be used with freshwater tanks because protein skimmers require saltwater.
Keep in mind that mechanical filtration:
Many mechanical filters also perform the functions of biological and chemical filtration if special filters are used for those functions.
- does not directly remove dissolved ammonia
- does not remove microscopic bacteria and algae from the water
- does not remove any solids trapped by gravel, plants, or decorations
There are three basic types of mechanical aquarium filters:
1. Protein Skimmers (for saltwater tanks) are not always listed as a method of mechanical filtration (perhaps because they work very differently than canister and power filters), but it is the best form of mechanical filtration for any saltwater reef or fish only tank. Protein skimming is a process analogous to the production of sea foam. The motion created inside the skimmer injects air bubbles into the aquarium water, creating a meringuelike foam on which organic molecules collect at the air-water interfaces of the bubbles. This foam is captured in the collection cup and disposed of. It is the only method that actually removes dissolved organic compounds from the tank before they break down into toxic ammonia and nitrite compounds.
2. Canister Filters (for freshwater and saltwater fish only tanks)
With a canister aquarium filter water is pumped at moderate pressure through a filter media, such as a micron filter cartridge. The waste in the water is trapped by the filter media. Canister filters are especially useful in aquaria with large or numerous messy eaters that generate a lot of waste.
For these filters to be effective they must be frequently cleaned to avoid the decomposition of waste in the water stream. Clean the filter(s) at least once a week. (As noted above, you should not use a canister filter for a reef tank). Cleaning the canister filter media involves removing all the material that you placed inside, except biological filtration material, and rinsing it thoroughly in fresh water before placing it back in the canister. These filters usually sit in a cabinet below the aquarium, or on the ground next to the aquarium.
In order to make the cleaning process as easy as possible, it is suggested that you use quick disconnect shut-off valves on either side of the canister filter. This will allow you to take the canister filter out of service without having to worry about water spillage, except for the very little water that is between the canister and the quick disconnect valves.
Some filters use some form of pleated bag, or pleated device, to increase the amount of surface area through which the water can flow and be filtered. The more surface area, the better the filtration. Cleaning is a little more involved, as these bags usually need to be bleached to remove the accumulated detritus. This takes more time and requires that you make sure all the bleach is removed, before putting the bags, or other material, back in the canisters. It is, actually, a good idea to have an extra bag or pleated cartridge around. Because of the way they need to be cleaned, the pleated bags or cartridges will wear out.
Some units come with pressure gauges. This allows you to determine when it is necessary to clean the cartridge (pleated bag or other device) based on what the manufacturer suggests. Increased levels of pressure inside the canister are an indication that it is plugged, and needs cleaning.
3. Power Filters.
Power filters typically hang on the back of the tank. A siphon tube pulls water from the tank into the filter box and passes the water though a mechanical filter, typically a porous foam sponge or fabric. An internal pump then returns the filtered water into the aquarium.
Power filters are easier to maintain than canister or wet/dry filters and can be as economical as undergravel filters. Depending on the filter and manufacturer, the filter can also act as a biological filter and chemical filter.
Because the power filter hangs on the back, the filter cartridge can be easily inspected for clogging or removed for cleaning or replacement. You must clean the filter regularly to remove the solid wastes before it decomposes and dissolves back into the water.