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The Nitty Gritty.......on Aquarium Filters!


Notorious
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Ok, im pretty blown away with the vast array of filters on the market!

To my knowledge we have:

  • Sponge filters

  • Undergravel filters

  • Internal/powerhead filters

  • External/canister filters

  • Side mounted hang on filters

Im sure there are others that i have missed, feel free to add

Now in my 3' community tank, I have an internal filter. I was planning on having that tank as a betta fry grow out tank or female betta tank, however I read that bettas dont like strong currents/water movement.

Now all u seasoned Fisho's out there, whats the best filter for what application/fish?

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Most people that breed (me not included) seem to find the Sponge filters the way to go. This seems to apply right across the breeding spectrum, from Betta's to Barra's. I guess it makes sense, though, given that they give off very little current, aerate the tank and provide quite adequate biological filtration... Also, there is little/no chance of the fry being sucked into a sponge filter. And they're cheap!

As for best for application/fish...that's almost a "piece of string" question. IMO, canisters are right up there, for basic capacity to harbour much larger colonies of bacteria than any of the others. These filters would suit almost any applcation. I've had success with the Hang-On's, they work fairly well and, like the canisters, are pretty easy to maintain. Internals...I dunno..they do the job, but I just have a personal issue with them, having had a few. I find them obtrusive inside a tank, and to clean them you need to disturb your tank to get them out, unlike the previous two. They also have less surface area for bacteria. In the correct application, and if one is on a budget, I am sure they are fine... My Brother-in-Law keeps Barra's, using a grunty internal. Seems to work quite well for him, and the fish really enjoy the current, with not too much dollars down. Undergravel...fish?? No experience there sorry, but the idea does little for me.

You missed two, btw. Wet/dry and Drip system sumps. Both behave like canisters, but can be bulky and expensive to set up, and probably more suited to larger tanks or marine applications. IMO, there is no comparison for these, though. Hands down, the best way to filter an aquarium.

Answer your questions?? :)

Edited by Ghengis
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I have used undergravel filters and had no problems as far as the fish were concerned although they do have their drawbacks. The main advantage of a UG filter is that it turns the substrate into an enormous bio filter, on the other hand unless you turn the gravel over regularly or pull the tank down completely and clean it every year you can wind up with toxic areas under the filter bed which can cause major problems. Also they are not supposed to be very good for planted aquariums for the same reason. Some people are advocating reverse flow UG's but I have never tried it and so can't comment.

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Sponge gets my vote for fry tanks while the fry are still small enough to get trapped in the filter. I like corner boxes because they're cheap and you can add any kind of media in there that you like. I swap the sponge for the corner box filter once the fry are big enough. But I can't say I have a particularly solid reason to do that. Could just be because I didn't have anything else better to do in the fishroom that day. :lol:

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I've had a couple of all-in-one systems with overhead wet/dry filters built into the hood (including a 4-footer still in use).

I can't say I'm a fan of all-in-ones, as the electrical connections for the lights rust out, but I do like the filters -- I've found them very efficient and able to cope with a pretty substantial bioload.

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UGF's are a bad option if you have digging cichlids.

canisters need to be rinsed (in tank water, to keep the colony alive) regularly or they end up being clogged up nitrAte factories. Also I always worried that my bodged up canisters were going to siphon manky water all over the floor when disassembled for maintenance, and I had problems priming mine - but that was aeons ago and I am sure they are all self-priming now.

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I agree with bettarazzi about the sponge and box filters. Box filters give you more options for chemical filtration but really small fry do get trapped in them. Once the fry are large enough not to get trapped they are great.

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Ok

I jus bought a 12 month old Eheim 2217 for $60!?!?!? bargain!!!!

Its set up n running well (after being faced with the unfamiliar priming issue for the first time)

its in my 3ft community.....with the spray nozzles under water not making any bubbles

Do i need to introduce another bubble/oxgyen source (air stone) or will the process of filtration in the cannister introduce the oxygen needed for the fish to live happily??

Edited by Notorious
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Its better to have air going into the tank, use the spray bar if u like, but we didnt have any air bubbles in the tank with the canister on it and the other day fish were gasping so put the spray bar on and it all going great now.

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Um... I hope not, cos I don't get it!

Stocking levels are important too. An overstocked tank will perish in a blackout due to suffocation (especially where the barometric pressure is high) where an understocked tank won't. I learned this the hard way when I lost 2 salmon cats, a saratoga, 2 scats and 2 archer fish in a 316L tank during a humid 35* day a number of years ago.

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If you point the spraybar towards the surface of the water so that you get soft ripples, that should do more for gas exchange than an airstone.

If you have bubbles, you want them to be meduim-sized and with maximum water rippling and minimal surface breakage.

Cooler water also holds more oxygen, so if you have tropicals and are overstocking, don't set the heater to the top of what they can handle. Try a lower temperature :)

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I have used undergravel filters and had no problems as far as the fish were concerned although they do have their drawbacks. The main advantage of a UG filter is that it turns the substrate into an enormous bio filter, on the other hand unless you turn the gravel over regularly or pull the tank down completely and clean it every year you can wind up with toxic areas under the filter bed which can cause major problems. Also they are not supposed to be very good for planted aquariums for the same reason. Some people are advocating reverse flow UG's but I have never tried it and so can't comment.

I have an ugf. I've had it for about a week now. If I were to change to a sponge filter and remove the ugf, would this stir up the toxic area under the filter bed and kill all the fish? It's just I want to plant my tank.

Edited by Naomi
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Another benefit of sponge filters for fry is they get to feed of all the goodies living on the filter. Canisters are the way to go for big fish and >150L tanks. I have used a lot of internals in the past on 18in and 2ft tanks and find they need to be cleaned so much more often than the other types.

Dean

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