Setting up a freshwater fish tank is a fun and relaxing hobby. Once the tank is set up and ready to go, it is fairly easy to maintain and can provide hours of enjoyment, as well as beauty to your home.
However, when setting up the aquarium, there are some very important factors, such as choosing the correct freshwater aquarium filters. A good aquarium filter will maintain several things in your tank, such as keeping the water clean, aerated, and circulated, which is essential to the health of your freshwater fish.
Before setting up your tank, there are five things you need to know about aquarium filtration systems.
1. Functions of an Aquarium Filter
It’s always good to start from the very basics. What does your aquarium filter actually do? How does it help in maintaining the natural environment in your freshwater tank?
Well, basically your filter needs to handle three things: biological, mechanical, and chemical.
Biological – Fish produce ammonia from their gills as they breathe, as well as being release as their waste breaks down.This ammonia needs to be removed from the tank through the filtration system since it is toxic to fish.
Mechanical – The mechanical process will remove debris and waste from the water as it circulates it. This not only helps keep the tank cleaner and promotes good health in fish, but it also helps keep the water aerated.
Chemical – Water carries a lot of chemicals that can harm fish, such as copper, chlorine, dissolved proteins, even dissolved medications and dyes are left in our tap water. The last task of aquatic filtration systems is to remove all the harmful chemicals.
2. Types Of Aquarium Filters
Now that you have general understanding of what an aquarium filter does. It’s easier to decide on the type of aquarium filter you’ll need.
There are many different types of filters, among the common ones are:-
Power filters – Aquarium power filters comes in a variety of price ranges. They are easy to use and cover all three of the basic tank needs. They generally include a bio-wheel or replaceable filter to give additional biological support to the tank.
Canister filters – These filters are excellent for larger tanks. While a little more difficult to maintain, they provide excellent water filtration.
Undergravel filters – These filters are placed under a layer of gravel at the bottom of the tank. These freshwater aquarium filters rely on an air pump or powerhead to work. They are generally work well as biological filters, although many models include replaceable filters at the end of the tube for chemical or mechanical filtration
For a list of the best filters for your aquarium filters, read here: 5 Best Freshwater Aquarium Filters
3. Setting Up Your Aquarium Filter
One of the most commonly overlooked step in setting up your freshwater aquarium filter is to properly prime the pump. This ensures that your filter performs at its most optimum level. Not to mention making it last longer.
When setting up your freshwater aquarium filter, be sure to follow these 3 basic steps:-
Setting up the filter – follow the instructions included with your filter as to the correct placement of the filter system. Whether the filter needs to be placed under the gravel, or attached to the back of the tank, correctly place all of the components.
Cleaning the filtration system first – it is important to rinse all of the filter parts that are washable in clean water before submerging it in the water.
Priming the pump – running a filter without water will burn out the motor, so it is important to ensure that the pump is primed. Some freshwater aquarium filters come with a priming button. If not, be sure to follow the instructions included with the filter. It generally involves filling the pump with water before turning on, whether that involves applying suction to the tubes or dumping water into the filter tank.
4. The Fish-Filter Ratio
Maintaining a clean healthy tank has much to do with not only the size of the tank, but also the filtration system. If the tank is overstocked then the filter system will be unable to keep the water fresh, clean, and healthy.
The general guide line is one fish per gallon of water for a basic tank. Overcrowding will not only cause your tank to be dirty, but often times will cause loss of fish.
5. Regular Filter Changes
A regular schedule of changing the replaceable filters in your filtration system is important. The replaceable filter should be changed at least once a month, depending on the type of filter, the number of fish, and the size of the tank.While larger tanks with fewer fish may not need changed as often, it is important to maintain the correct balance in the tank.
Testing the water using a test kit that checks the ammonia and nitrate in the water can be used to make sure the chemical levels are adequate. Both should be at or close to zero. If not, the filters should be replaced.
A healthy, well maintained tank can take six weeks or more to set up. However, once set up, the tank is easy to maintain with regular filter changes, tank cleaning, and proper feeding of the fish. Freshwater aquarium filters are easy to use and help you keep your tank healthy and clean for you to enjoy for years.