Filtration (more coming soon)
While a very few breeders worldwide use filterless fish tanks, opting to use plants, do frequent water changes, and siphon out waste, most fanciers use some filtration system. The purpose of the filter is to trap most of the solid waste in the aquarium. If you have lots of tanks, this is better achieved using one large air pump connected to a pvc piping system and tap lines into your tanks (see fish room pictures). Using individual filters may be economic if you have less than 10 tanks.
While the types of filters vary, most breeders use some combination of box filters and sponge filters. A box filter has a substrate and a floss topping. The substrate can be stones but a better choice is ceramic since it has a much larger surface area to provide habitat for the friendly bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrate. Above the substrate is either polyester filter floss that gets replaced when dirty or synthetic pads that get rinsed when dirty.
Sponge filters are designed to have tremendous surface area and while they are not intended to remove large waster (e.g. fresh excrement) they do remove very fine dirt and most importantly house friendly bacteria. Sponge filters should be removed and squeezed in a bowl of tank water on a regular basis (maybe once a week or every other week) to clean them or you risk building up lots of wastes and pumping too much nitrate into your water.
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