If your aquarium setup needs upgrading, you should reconsider your filtration system. Two of the best options out there are power filters and undergravel filters. Power filters are far more robust than other filtration systems on the market, while undergravel filters offer excellent filtration of biological material.
Power filter systems can also be customised to provide you with tailored filtration. Unlike other filter systems, they’re not lacking when it comes to chemical and mechanical filtration performance. Although a power filter is generally far superior to an undergravel filter, the latter system can be used to provide you with complementary filtration for a main unit.
Undergravel Filters Explained
An undergravel filter is unique in design, with such systems making use of the substrate layer of your aquarium as a form of filtration media. The majority of undergravel filters are made of up of several distinct components. These include lift tubes, replaceable filter cartridges and plastic screens.
They are fairly easy to assemble, while disposable elements can be quickly replaced with new pieces. However, installing an undergravel filter is more awkward than other systems. Your aquarium will need to be emptied of water and all other material before you can install one, so they are usually only utilised by those establishing a new aquarium.
Undergravel filter systems use the bacteria found in the substrate layer of your tank as a filtration media. These filters are powered by an air pump which provides suction, allowing water to be pulled through your substrate layer and to the bottom of your aquarium. The drawn water is then pushed through the lift tube and towards the filter media cartridge, Here, it combines with air before bubbling back into the main tank. Any large pieces of debris are effectively collected by the cartridge media, where is quickly devoured by good bacteria. Some finer debris particles will remain, but these are collected along the plastic screen element.
An undergavel filter is a secondary filtration solution, but should not be depended on as a main filtration unit. The chemical and mechanical filtration performance of an undergravel filter is simply too limited. You will also need to think carefully about the type of substrate material you are using as not all substrate is suitable for use alongside undergravel filters. Finally, undergravel filters are almost impossible to adjust. Once you’ve layered substrate over them, the filter will have to remain in place until you are ready to empty your tank and re-establish it from scratch.
Power Filters Explained
A power filter system is designed to be hung on the inside or outside of your tank. These systems use powerful electric motors to drive water through various filtration stages that are located within the sealed housing of the filter itself. They are effective at collecting large debris from drawn water, while water passing through the cartridge media is quickly purified before being redirected tot he main tank. In addition to offering excellent chemical and mechanical filtration, they also offer limited biological filtration performance. Power filters are particularly handy if you have a larger tank.
Power filters come in a variety of designs. If you only have a small tank, internal power filters are your best bet. These are designed to be hung on the inside or outside of your tank. For larger tanks, a hang-on-back (HOB) filter is the better choice.
Compared to other internal filters, a power filter is incredibly efficient. They pump water easily from the inside of a tank, while large pieces of debris are quickly caught by the first filtration stage. Other harmful toxins and particles are also easily trapped by the later filter stations. Power filters are also very easy to clean and maintain. If you’re tired of undertaking regular water changes, a power filter will make your life easier. They are also fairly flexible when it comes to installation, with multiple mounting and placement options.