Adequate filtration is a vital element in a planted aquarium. There are many types of filters that exist in the marketplace that we can choose from, but there are a few guidelines that must be followed to create a successful aquascape.
An aquascape needs three types of filtration for the plants and faunas to thrive:
- Mechanical Filtration:
This first type of filtration removes debris, floating fish wastes, and other visible contaminant matter in the water column. This is usually the first stage of the filtration in the aquascape. Debris need to be removed to prevent floating matter from polluting the water column. Mechanical filtration is usually achieved with filter floss or filter wools. Mechanical filter media needs to be replaced or cleaned every few months to prevent clogging of dead matters that could lead to an ammonia spike.
- Chemical Filtration:
This second type of filtration removes removes harmful chemicals from the water column by using chemical reactions. While chemical filtration will not remove ammonia, their presence as a filter media could help with the quality of water in an aquascape. Chemical filtration media that are commonly used are activated carbons and resins.
- Biological Filtration:
This type of filtration is probably the most important type of filter in any types of aquaculture, including aquascapes. Biological filtration breaks down ammonia and nitrites in the water column into a less toxic form, nitrates. Without a biological filtration, an aquascape will not be able to thrive. Adequate biological filtration is achieved by adding zeolites, ceramic rings, bio-balls, or any other media that supports the buildup of advantageous bacteria. Normally, it takes time for an aquascape to have adequate biological filtration since the aquascape ecosystem needs to go through steps of the nitrogen cycle before reaching maximum biological filtration potential.