Choosing the between all the various salt water fish tank filtration systems can be confusing to say the least. But, before you choose your specific system, there are a few points you must know no matter which system you choose. Keep in mind filtration is a very important part of your tank, so don't rush through this step.
In natural habitats, the fish have an ample areas in which to live. In your tank, they are confined to a relatively small quantity of water. In your tank, waste products can quickly build up and spell disaster. That's where the filter comes in.
Four factors have a huge impact on the success of your tank, and your filtration system. You must have an adequate biological base, the appropriate choice of animals, not over-populate, and don't over feed. Get one of these factors wrong, and you most likely will have problems with your saltwater tank.
Biological filtration is the most important sector of salt water fish tank filter systems. The biological filters are living organisms within your tank. They consume oxygen and waste material within your tank. It's not something you can add. They will occur naturally within your saltwater fish tank.
The second type of filtration for your tank is mechanical filtration. This is where you choose the type of salt water filter system you will use in your new tank.
Mechanical filtration strains the solid particles from your tank water. It will not remove solids trapped by gravel, or other items within your tank. A good mechanical filter traps enough solids to keep your water clear, without becoming clogged frequently.
Smaller openings catch finer particles and are clogged faster than a larger opening. Keep this in mind as you choose your mechanical filtration system.
Types of Mechanical Filters
For years, the corner filter has been the least expensive and most used type of salt water fish tank filtration systems. These clear plastic boxes sit inside the tank. An air stone bubbles air through an airlift tube, which forces water through a bed of filter floss mechanically filtering the water.
Today there are better methods,that don't take up space, look nicer, and perform well.
Power filters are used by many. You'll find many styles of power filters. The most common hangs 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. An internal pump returns the filtered water into the aquarium. Power filters come in many sizes suited for small to large aquariums
Under-gravel filters work by slowly passing water through the gravel on the bottom, which sits on top of a perforated plate. The water pumped with an airlift, with bubbles air lifting the water in a vertical tube attached to the filter plate. One problem is that the gravel clogs up with waste creating a health risk for your fish.
Sponge filters are an efficient,cheap form of biological filtration. Water is forced through porous foam by air bubbling through an airlift tube. Water flowing though the sponge allows the growth of a colony of beneficial bacteria that neutralizes toxic ammonia.
Chemical filtration removes dissolved wastes from aquarium water. The most popular chemical filtration is the carbon filter method. Your water is filtered through gas activated carbon. The best GAC for filtering water is made from coal and is
macro-porous (larger pores).