Marine Aquarium Filters and Marine Aquarium Water Specs
Aquarium filters are critical components of both freshwater and marine environments. Aquarium filters remove physical and soluble chemical waste products from the aquarium, simplifying maintenance. Furthermore, aquarium filters are necessary to support life as aquariums are relatively small, closed aquatic systems compared to the natural environment of most fish in the oceans or rivers. Trace elements can become depleted by marine livestock and filtration, and can be replenished during a water change.
Optimal aquarium water parameters for marine, reef and saltwater aquariums are:
Salinity: 1.022 - 1.025 sg or approx. 30 parts per thousand
Temperature: 76 - 80 Fahrenheit
Ammonia (NH3): 0 ppm (parts per million)
Nitrite (NO2): 0 ppm
Nitrate (NO3): 0 - 10 ppm
Phosphate (PO43): 0 ppm
pH: 8.2 - 8.6
Calcium (Ca2+): 400 - 450 ppm
Alkalinity: 7 -12 dKH
Q. Why do I need aquarium filter media?
Clean, sparkling water is the mark of a healthy, thriving aquarium, and the key to maintaining optimum water quality in any aquarium is filtration.
Filtration media, in all its forms, is created for this purpose. Three types of filtration (each requiring different types of media) are necessary.
In mechanical filtration, a polyfiber filter pad, or sleeve or micron cartridge, screens out large particles of debris (like uneaten fish food) and solid waste.
In chemical filtration, a substance like activated carbon, clinoptilolite or ion exchange resins adsorbs (attracts and holds) pollutants which can cause discoloration, unpleasant odors and unhealthy conditions.
In biological filtration, a culture of beneficial bacteria eliminates toxic ammonia and nitrite by changing it to harmless nitrate. Beneficial bacteria will grow naturally on many surfaces inside the aquarium, e.g. aquarium gravel, decorative rock, plastic plants. Biological efficiency can be greatly increased by the use of a dedicated biological filter like BIO-Wheel.
Fish health and aquarium success depend on the efficiency of these three types of filtration media.
Q. What's the right filter for my tank?
The amount of aquarium filtration needed to maintain an aquarium depends on a number of variables: fish tank size, individual maintenance habits and marine or freshwater fish population.
Your aquarium filter of choice should provide all three types of filtration:
Mechanical filtration -- a polyfiber filter pad or sleeve to screen out debris and dirt.
Chemical filtration -- activated carbon to adsorb pollutants. Many power filters will provide both mechanical and chemical filtration in a filter cartridge. Canister filters provide a filter pad or sleeve and a media container of some kind to which activated carbon can be added.
Biological filtration -- a dedicated biological filter that will support the growth of beneficial ammonia-neutralizing bacteria. Beneficial bacteria grow naturally on many surfaces within the aquarium.
Your filter should generate a flow rate powerful enough to efficiently "move" the volume of water in your aquarium.
Q. If I use filtration media, do I still have to change my aquarium water?
Yes. We recommend a partial water change (at least 25%) each month.
Q. Why is water flow rate so important?
Filtration begins with water flow rate. Filtration capacity and effectiveness are directly determined by the rate that water is pushed through the system combined with the quantity and quality of the filter media. The more water filtered totally (mechanically, chemically and biologically) in the least amount of time translates to cleaner water and healthier fish.
Q. When should I use a micron filter cartridge?
If you use a canister filter, a micron cartridge is ideal for short-duration mechanical filtration -- the fine water cleaning referred to as "polishing." Polishing helps remove harmful bacteria or algae blooms and is also useful for removing the final traces of some medications.
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Submitted on: 2014-02-04 13:42:50