AQUARIUM FILTER GUIDE – PLANTED TANK FILTRATION
Welcome to the beautiful world of aquascaping! In this tutorial today, we’re gonna speak about the most important aspect of the technology behind the aquariums. This is filtration. Just a quick word of warning: I’m gonna present you a lot of theory today, I’m gonna talk about some filters, that we’re using here at Green Aqua. That in no way means that what you’re using, would not be good. Another full disclosure here: This channel is sponsored by Oase. But we’re gonna present you a lot of other brands, that we’re using here at Green Aqua and we’re equally satisfied with. I can say that! Alright, so… [snap] Filtration is important, because you have a lot of decaying organic material in your tank. Decaying organic material will produce Ammonia. Bacteria actually, will produce Ammonia. If you have Ammonia in your tank, that is very toxic to fish and can cause algae. So the main role of a filter is to get rid of that Ammonia and to transform it into Nitrates. Plants are using Nitrates as a nutrient, and they can uptake the Nitrates during the process of their photosynthesis etc., etc. You really need to understand that, in order to be able to keep a healthy aquarium and to have your fish not dying, basically. What is getting rid of Ammonia in your filter? Bacteria. So the first type of filter bacteria will transform Ammonia into Nitrites (NO2). At the second step, the other type of filter bacteria will transform Nitrites (NO2) into Nitrates (NO3). So in contrary, to what many beginner aquarium hobbyists think, filtration is not about “cleaning the water”. It’s about getting rid of the Ammonia from your water. So, this is it! This is the nitrification process. How should a filter look like from the inside? The Green Aqua approach to filtration is: just have three types of filter material in your filter. When the water gets into your filter, It should be filtered through a coarse filter pad. To stop all the floating particles, from entering the filter itself. The sponge is useful for that, As the second step, for the most of the aquarium filter volume you will need a biological filter media. That is a filter media that has a lot of surface area. That’s where the bacteria are living, The bigger surface, the better. Those are gonna decompose Ammonia into Nitrates. As the third step, we have a fine filter mesh, to catch all the floating particles from the water, that was not caught by the coarse filter pad. What else are we using in our filters? We use one more very important thing and that is Seachem Purigen. The Purigen will clean your water removing all tint from it. By our humble and very subjective opinion, after looking at these microscopic images, the best filter media on the market would be the Seachem Matrix. You can see the picture, it’s a very rugged surface. Obviously, it will not change the pH of the water, which is very-very important. The second filter media that we really like is the ADA Bio Rio. This also a very high quality filter media. The problem with it is that the particles themselves are really small, so if you don’t have an ADA filter with a strong pump, your filter can get clogged quite easily. The third filter media that we also highly recommend is the Eheim Substrate Pro. The fourth media that we tested here is the Sera Siporax, which is a medium-kind-of-level filter media. The last picture will show you how the sponge looks under a microscope. you don’t even see two threads of sponge on the picture, it’s so… inefficient. Let’s move on! What kind of other filter things do we have here? We have the ADA NA Carbon here, which is like a Carbon thing. It will also remove Ammonia much quicker and some aquarium hobbyists are using that, at the beginning of the aquarium’s lifecycle. I forgot to tell you that professional filtration, filter media will not remove plant nutrients from your water. So don’t be afraid of that! There are two more products that I wanna show you! The first one is the bacteria colony, that lives in a dormant state in the Seachem Stability. You can use that when cycling a new tank and the Seachem Stability will add the bacteria to your substrate, to your aquarium water and to your filter. The second product that I want to introduce you is the Seachem Prime. That will remove Chlorine from your tap water. So for those of you who are not using an RO – a Reverse Osmosis unit to change the water. Prime is really good… Or similar products, that will remove Chlorine from the water. I think this was too much theory for one day! Let me recap this. I’m gonna put it really simple. You need to buy an external filter. You need to put in the coarse filter pad, which will probably come with your filter, you will not have to change that, at the bottom of the filter, as the first step of the filtration. You will need some biological filter media. If you can get Seachem Matrix, just get it. Fill your filter fully with Seachem Matrix, getting rid of everything that is coming with your filter. And that’s the last step: you should use the fine filter mesh. And you should use the Purigen. That’s it! Filtration – simple. Alright, so let’s talk about the different filter types! The first type of filter that you will see, when you start this hobby, will be the internal filter. I’m having the Oase internal filter here in my hands. It has sponge in it. So no surface at all! You’re supposed to change them to some biological filter media. So just buy 500ml, half-a-liter of Seachem Matrix, pour them in and you’re gonna be fine. I really think that internal filters are only good for aquariums of around 20 to 30 liters, maximum. External filter are much better, because the canister volume is much bigger. You can have a lot of filter media in it! My recommendation is to buy the best quality, that you can and the biggest filter, that you can, for your tank. If you open the top, the taps here, both in unlock position, you can take out the pre-filtration chamber. This is a very good idea from Oase. You have all the sponges in here. Which you can clean, without taking the filter out, to the bathroom, etc. Hose adapter, this is called the hose adapter. This is where the hoses are coming from the aquarium and going back to the aquarium. You’re supposed to keep these filters underneath the aquarium, so never put them right next to the aquarium, on the aquarium cabinet! Because they need some level difference between them, to work. You can remove the filter adapter, just by pressing this to unlock position and then you can just remove it. Take the filter out and clean it. When you have like a five-fold turnover and you have a canister big enough and everything is okay with the filtration, you will probably need to clean it every month. Every two months, or so. What I almost forgot: Never clean your filter media in tap water! So, when you’re taking out this one, just get a bucket of aquarium water, and rinse the filter media in that. Why? Because tap water has a lot of Chlorine. The last type of filtration that I wanna talk about, is the sump filters. Sump filters are good for aquariums above 1000 liters. We have one in the gallery, it’s this tank, on the right side of the picture. And we made a video abut that as well. You can check out the link above! There’s one more small thing, which is remotely connected to filtration and this is the surface skimmer, the Eheim Skim 350. This will clean your water surface. Cleaning the water surface is really good for optical purposes as well, but also for gas exchange purposes. All filters should be going 24 hours per day, they should never ever stop. Why? Because you have bacteria living in them. And bacteria needs Oxygen, to live. Okay, I’m gonna get a little bit technical now. I’m gonna open the Oase BioMaster filter. This is the filter head. The filter head has the heater in it and has the pre-filter chamber in it. Okay, this is where the pump is. This is the filter canister. The filter canister is filled with different types of filter media. I would replace this for example, with fine filter mesh. Usually, the external filters have the first layer of filtration at the bottom. What is this, Oase? You don’t need this! Out with that! You don’t need this either. Actually I forgot to tell you, that if you’re buying an Oase filter from Green Aqua, you will get the Seachem Matrix for free. That’s it! Filter selection! What do I recommend for aquariums, for nano aquariums. The smallest aquarium filter that I would recommend is the Classic-series Eheim. A better choice would be for you to buy the 2422 Experience filter, which is underneath. This filter is already much-much quieter. It already has filter media in it. Another problem with the classic filters is that you need to clean them and they don’t have any taps, usually coming with them. The only exception for that is the 2213050 filter. This is a mid-size Classic filter, that comes with double taps and also, filter media in it. Never ever use the factory recommendations for external filters. I know that they’re gonna always say that some filters are good aquariums. This small, 2211 filter is good for aquariums up to 150 liters. What? The next size would be the 60. This is the 60 liter. This is the 80 liter. The difference between is that this one is higher. For this, I would probably recommend the Oase BioMaster 350. Can we have a bigger one? Guess what? 600 – below this tank. So we actually have the biggest Oase BioMaster filter that there is – currently – below a 60 liter tank. You can never “over-filter” any aquarium. We are here, underneath Filipe’s tank and I’m not gonna show it to you, I’ll just cut it here. You can only see half of it. This is a 120l tank. We are using the biggest, Professional (3-series) Eheim underneath it, that comes with the heater. You can see that temperature is blinking on the top of it. And for anything above this size, I would recommend having multiple filters underneath. Flow. Why is flow important? Flow is important, because – 1) You need to bring the CO2 gas, if you have CO2 injection close to the plants, in every corner of the tank. Secondly, you need to keep all the debris that floats, so that the filter can suck it out. How should you decide which filter to choose? When you’re thinking of flow, you should use a number of 5, a multiplier in calculating the size. So for example if you have a 60 liter tank, the ideal flow rate would be 60, multiplied by 5. That is 300. [NOT 350 😀 ] So you should have a filter, an external filter, that has at least 300 liters per hour strength. For a nano tank you obviously need a higher flow rate. So, like 20, or even 20+ flow rate would be nice. For a big aquarium, you don’t need a five-fold ratio, you would probably need a three-fold ratio. The bigger the aquarium, the smaller the flow rate should be. Ideal is 5. That’s all you need to know about flow. Another question that we regularly get: Why do you need glass in- and outflows? No, you don’t need them. It’s just aesthetics. It’s for design reasons. We should place both filter in- and outflows on the same side of the tank. Plus, if you have two filters in the tank, you can put them both on the opposite side and then you can have a circulation like this. Alright, that’s it, I’m not gonna blah blah some more. Thanks for watching! 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