Filter Media: An Introduction

Filtration: an Introduction

Filtration is an essential element in any aquarium: it removes impurities from the water allowing the fish and plants to survive.

Filters work by providing an environment in which beneficial bacteria can flourish. Beneficial bacteria convert unwanted, harmful chemical substances in the water into harmless substances that can be used by the plants.

With the multitude of available options it can be hard to choose the most suitable filter media for your needs. This article will explain the differences in various types of filtration so that you can easily choose the best option for your aquarium.

A good quality filter is essential to ensure that the filter works effectively and pushes enough water through the filter media, but in terms of biological filtration the filter is essentially a mechanical house for the filter media.

Filter Media
Filter media is the most important element of the filter. This article will now briefly explain each of the filter medias available before going on to outline our recommendations, so if you just want to know the essential elements you will need, feel free to skip to the ‘Recommended Combinations’ paragraph of this article!

ADA Bio RioImage of aquarium filtration.
This is an excellent biological filter media. ADA Bio Rio is made of a naturally porous material and it has live bacteria added to it to ensure that biological filtration starts quickly. The porous texture of ADA Bio Rio means that it has a large surface area for the beneficial bacteria to inhabit which allows a larger number of beneficial bacteria to colonise the filter media.
ADA Bio Rio is available in either 2l or 1l sizes.

ADA NA Carbon
Carbon has an extremely large surface area which provides the beneficial bacteria with a larger space to colonise, thus leading to more beneficial bacteria in the filter, and therefore more effective filtration. In addition to this, ADA NA Carbon has outstanding absorption capacity: around 20 times higher than that of other conventional activated carbon products for aquarium use. This allows it to absorb impurities from the water. It is therefore particularly useful in the first 6-8 weeks of an aquascape’s lifespan, when the beneficial bacteria are still colonising the filter and the impurity levels tend to be quite high. ADA NA Carbon will reach its absorptive peak after about 8 weeks, when it is best to remove it and replace it with ADA Bio Rio or ADA Bamboo Charcoal. ADA NA Carbon helps to keep the water crystal clear and prevent or remove yellowing of the aquarium water.

ADA Bamboo CharcoalImage of aquarium filtration.
ADA Bamboo Charcoal has exceptionally high absorption abilities as it is more solid and porous than other charcoals. Even after Bamboo Charcoal has reached its absorptive peak, Bamboo Charcoal still works perfectly well as a biologicval filtration media for a long period of time, so unlike ADA NA Carbon it does not need to be removed after 8 weeks.

Siporax has a very large surface area which allows a greater number of beneficial bacteria to colonise it. It is a very effective filtration media.

Other Filtration Aides

ADA Clear Float
Clear Float captures oil films and organic particles floating on the water surface. ADA Clear Float is easy to use – simply place some Clear Float on to the surface water of your aquarium, leave it for a few minutes and remove it. Clear Float is particularly useful for rimless, bracelss aquariums which are open topped. Oily films appear on the surface of the water easily when sludge has accumulated on the filter media, so it is best to check the filter media as well.

ADA Tourmaline F
Tourmaline F has electronic properties that activate the water. It is placed in the filter to increase biological growth of bacteria and promote the filtration function of the micro-organisms. Tourmaline F also increases plant growth in the aquarium.

ADA Bacter BallImage of aquarium filtration.
Bacter Balls contain beneficial bacteria and can be either added to the substrate of the aquarium or added to the filtration media. Because Bacter Balls contain beneficial bacteria they speed up the colonisation of the filter, creating a more effective filtration system.

Recommended Combinations
If all of this has got you thoroughly confused then fear not! Choosing your filter media is actually a fairly simple task –

Essential Elements;
– For the main filtration media we recomend using either;
ADA Bio Rio, or
– In addition to this, in the first 6-8 weeks we recomend using either
ADA NA Carbon, which it is best to remove after about 8 weeks, or
ADA Bamboo Charcoal which does not need to be removed
– After the first 6-8 weeks the ADA NA Carbon or Bamboo C are no longer essential but they can be used to achieve greater water clarity.

Additional Elements
If your budget can stretch to it we would also recommend using;
ADA Bacter Balls to give your aquarium an initial boost of beneficial bacteria, and
ADA Tourmaline F to help the bacteria establish – as an added bonus this also increases plant growth.

ADA Clear Float can be used as required when the aquarium develops an unwanted, oily film on the surface.

If you would like further guidance on achieving optimum filtration please visit us in store, or contact us now.

Like this article? Other articles by The Green Machine that you might like are;
The Story of ADA Super Jet Filters: A Note From Takashi Amano
Why Choose ADA Aqua Soil Powder Type
Hardscape: A Buying Guide
Why We Don’t Stock LED Lighting (yet!)

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