What does my filter do?
Your Filter is the most essential piece of equipment in your fish tank. Like every other household pet, fish need a healthy environment. Because dogs and cats have largely the same environmental needs as ourselves, we are much more aware of conditions that could be upsetting our pets. A fishes “watery world” is completely different from our own and so we need to work actively to understand and maintain their environment. Filtration plays a crucial role in making that job a lot easier.
Aquariums are a closed system and any waste or dirt produced by fish and plants remains trapped in the water, so if you do nothing about it the aquarium rapidly turns into an unhealthy sewer.
That’s where your filter comes to the rescue by acting like a mini sewage treatment processing plant. The filter creates a healthy environment by:
- Mechanical Filtration – Trapping dirt and physical waste to make the water crystal clear
- Biological Filtration – Beneficial bacteria living on the filter media process fish waste, creating healthy water
- Chemical Filtration – Removing algae food to prevent algae growth; harmful metals and toxins; nasty odours and organic dyes for crystal clear water
- Circulation – aerating water to maximise oxygenation and remove Carbon dioxide
The video below shows how our CF filter carries out these functions:
The filters biological filtration replicates a natural process called the Nitrogen Cycle, breaking down toxic waste to help maintain a healthy environment for your fish. The image below explains how the Nitrogen Cycle works, changing the very toxic Ammonia excreted by fish and the breakdown of waste into less toxic Nitrite and then to relatively safe Nitrate.
In short, your filter is an essential life support system which makes the aquarium habitable for your fish.
Here are a few top tips to keep your filter working properly and the aquarium water perfectly balanced.
- Filter bacteria take a long time (up to 8 weeks) to get established on their own you can speed the process significantly when setting up a new aquarium by adding a bacteria and enzyme product like Fast Filter Start with the first fish to get the process started
- Check daily that your filter is running properly, check the flow and remove any blockages.
- Top up any evaporation in your aquarium, treat the new tap water with a de-chlorinator like Bioactive Tapsafe plus.
- Every month
- maintain your mechanical filter this is easily done in a cartridge filter by simply replacing your cartridge, otherwise clean or replace other mechanical filter media.
- Replace chemical media – carbon and algae pads as these become full up and need refreshing.
- Dose with Fast Filter Start to boost bacteria levels which may have been lowered by filter maintenance.
- Biological Filter media, only needs a very occasional rinse every 6 months and should only be washed in aquarium water as tap water contains chlorine which will kill all of the bacteria you have spent months maturing
- Most of the toxic chemicals are completely invisible to the naked eye so you need to test your water regularly to check for chemical irregularities. This way you can catch problems early before they have severe effects on the health of your aquarium.