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Aquarium Filters Bio Box Canister Types

Aquarium Filters

Aquariums have long been popular for those who want to bring marine life into their home or office.

Aquariums can be salt or freshwater and hold tropical fish, amphibians, seafood or a variety of species. An aquarium can make a great focal point as most people find them fascinating and relaxing to watch.

However, you want to be sure to protect your investment and provide a healthy and attractive environment for your finned friends.

One of the most important components to ensure safe, clean water is your filtration system. Having great water quality is critical but the amount and type of filtration required will depend on the size of your aquarium, number of fish and individual maintenance habits.

To successfully maintain your tropical fish, start with a 20 gallon or larger size aquarium.

Before you invest in an aquarium, you should think about the number, types and size of fish you want so you buy the correct size tank. The larger aquariums are easier to maintain since it is easier to achieve the proper balance in water pH, quality, temperature and a other parameters when there is more water to work with. You will want to purchase an aquarium light and place the aquarium away from direct sunlight, heating vents or windows.

That is because external light or heat sources makes it harder to maintain the proper water temperature and may encourage the growth of algae and other bacteria. Most tropical fish prefer water that is higher than room temperature - generally around 78 degrees. Keep a thermometer in the water to monitor water temperature since the fish rely on the water for heat as they do not produce their own.

Regular water filtration and maintenance are key to keeping the aquarium clean and the water safe. It is wise to invest in a good quality filter, to keep fish healthy and make water maintenance easier. Aquarium filters are needed to remove biological, solid and dissolved waste.

There are three essential water purification stages to ensure your water is clean and clear: biological filtration, chemical filtration and mechanical filtration for solids:

  • Biological waste is bacteria, algae, nitrates, ammonia and other contaminants that can harm your fish. A biological filter (or natural surfaces like gravel and plastic plants) help healthy bacteria to grow, which neutralize harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite. \
  • Solid waste can include uneaten fish food, fish waste, dirt and other particles that can get in the water. Generally, a polyfiber filter pad or micron cartridge will be used for mechanical filtration to remove large particles of debris.
  • Dissolved waste can be tap water, decaying tissue or other organic compounds that can cause a bad smell or discoloration in your tank water. Generally, an activated carbon filter, clinoptilolite or ion exchange resins are used as chemical filters to remove these water pollutants that cause discoloration, odors and unhealthy water.

The tank water will circulate through your filtration system and water borne contaminants will be trapped inside your filter.

Once the filter gets saturated, it will no longer efficiently remove these contaminants and may slow water circulation. To prevent issues, aquarium filter should be changed at least once a month. You may want to pick a day - like the first of the month -to remember as 'filter change day'. Stock up on extra filters at Filters Outpost to save money and ensure you are never out of aquarium filters when you need one.

Choose the filter that best suits your aquarium as recommended by your pet/fish store or aquarium manufacturer.  

You need to make sure that you clean out the aquarium with water - no chemicals - to prepare it for fish. You can add some Tetra Aqua Safe or Safe Start to help stabilize the water quality. Run your aquarium equipment (filter, air pump, heater) for one or two days before you add fish to ensure it is a safe environment in which to add living things.

Start off with one inexpensive fish to make sure your aquarium is in working order and you are able to regulate temperature and water circulation. In general, keep the fish to water ratio under 1 inch of fish per gallon of water.

You can add additional fish after a couple of days when you see that all is in working order and you have your care routine for feeding, heating, lighting (generally 8-12 hours per day), water and filter maintenance.

There are different types of aquarium filters including canisters, power filters, internal filters, in-line and wet/dry filters. Larger aquariums with many fish will require more powerful filters like the canisters.

Smaller aquariums often have internal filters. The most common filters for household aquariums are usually the power filters which hang on the back edge of the aquarium.

Other items you may want to purchase for the aquarium include gravel (for beneficial bacteria and a home for live plants), an air pump and air stone to add some oxygen to the water as well as some decorative caves, plants and tunnels for the fish to enjoy. You will also need a net to remove fish from the tank should you need to clean it because of water issues.

Better care is to change out one quarter to one third of the water every 2-4 weeks to help keep the water safe and clear rather than completely emptying and refilling the tank. When you do need to start a new tank or clean and refill one, be sure to follow the instructions to make sure the water is not harsh or full of chemicals which can harm your fish.

Also ensure that water levels stay constant as low water levels could prevent the filter from working properly.

Filters Outpost offers a huge range of aquarium filters with delivery right to your home address.

Can't find the filter you need? Send us an email to and we will find it for you.