Filtration media basics

Whether you own a saltwater or a freshwater tank – maintaining ideal conditions in your aquarium requites a little knowledge about all the different types of filtration media available to you. For most people, they know their desired end result, but struggle with where to start.


Today, we’re going to address that by keeping things fairly basic by discussing the three basic types of filtration media out there: biological, mechanical and chemical – and how they work and what they do for your tank.


Let’s jump right in!


Biological filtration media


When we hear the word ‘bacteria’ we usually think of it as being something bad – but in many cases – there are highly beneficial forms of bacteria out there. These are the bacteria that control the amount of ammonia in a tank by breaking it down naturally.


Live rocks and bioballs are a form of biological filtration media. They allow spaces for this bacteria to grow and do it’s job. Even better – they require next to zero setup or replacement – and often can last the entire lifespan of your tank. All they need – is the occasional cleaning.


Mechanical filtration media


Another component of a healthy, thriving fish tank is an effective mechanical filter. These filters work alongside the biological system to help keep water clean for your fish. Yes, this usually requires a mechanical pump, but it’s usually the accessories within the mechanical filter that do the dirty work.


Filter pads, Filter Floss and Foam Blocks are some of the accessories used alongside mechanical media – and they perform a variety of tasks from sorting out debris to keeping water looking clear and clean.


Chemical filtration media


The final major filtration method that hobbyists use to keep their tanks running in tip top shape is chemical filtration media. Some folks think this is optional – but the reality is – they can really boost the health of your tank and lead to a much smoother, easier experience.


Things like Carbon filters (which remove harmful bacteria in the tank) and resin filters (which focus on cleaning particulate molecules like ammonia, nitrate and organic matter) qualify as chemical filters.


Finding the right filtration media can make a big difference in the overall health and quality of your fish tank. If you’re struggling where to start or would like some advice on what kinds of media would work best for you, then give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then – good luck!

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