Now that you have decided the right aquarium size for you, lets help you select the right filter for your aquarium. I am going to follow the same tank size approach you to took when you selected the size of your aquarium
Selecting the filter size/model/output ?
As a thumb rule, turnover rate of your freshwater hardscape aquarium between 4 to 6 times whereas your planted aquarium between 6 to 10 times.
Example you have a 3 ft x 1.5 ft x 1.5 ft aquarium which is freshwater hardscape then the total tank volume would be around 170 litres, then you would need a external canister with L/H flow of about 1000 L/H (Litres per Hour).
- Nano Aquarium upto 1.5 ft/ 18’’/ 45 cm
- A nano aquarium can be easily filtered with a HOB (Hang on Back) filter or even a small/mini external canister filter. If you are on a tight budget you can go ahead with a HOB filter, but please be aware that the HOB filter should have some space for the biological media. A small/mini external canister is always a better option of you have a bit more to spend. The major advantage would be more biological media and less filter cleaning and overall lesser water changes and maintenance.
2. Medium size tanks upto 3 ft/36’/ 90 cm
External Canister would be the best choice for a medium size aquarium of upto 3 ft as they would be the cheaper than a sump and always easier to operate and maintain.
3. Large size tanks 4 ft / 48’’/ 120 cm and above
- An external canister or a sump both would be an ideal option for larger aquarium. For example in a 4 ft x 1.5 ft x 1.5 ft you can get away with 2 x External Canister filters however when you go beyond 4 ft aquarium for example like a 6 ft x 1.5 ft x 1.5 ft then a sump would be a cheaper and a much better approach as it would hold more filter media than an external canister filter (even if you install x4 combined) more control such as deciding L/H pump is possible in a sump but not in a canister. There are many more advantages over more filter media volume such as you can hide all equipments inside the sump, you can even a small section for your fishes if you have aggression issues in your fish. Another major advantage in the in/our plumbing can be hidden with a sump into your aquarium whereas you cannot with a eternal canister. I have seen all advanced hobbyist keeping specially monster fishes such as stingrays and arowana take huge sumps of even 80% size of their aquarium so that they have more filter media space and more stability and lesser maintenance.
Understand other types of filter:
Sponge and internal filters:
- Sponge and internal filters almost work with the same mechanism, they both are submerged in water and have a kind more of a mechanical filtration. They are only used by breeders or for your hospital tanks where in a hospital tank you change the water almost every other day or keep the fish just for a few days until they are well. Whereas a fish breeder use them as its more cost effective for them and they change water almost everyday upto 100%. I have seen discus breeders in mumbai using sponge filters and changing water 200% or even 300% per day because they feed 4/5 times a day (meat based diet) to grow fish faster. These filters are not meant to be used by a hobbyist to be completely relied on as a filtration, only if you can do water changes every 2/3 days and give that much time to your aquarium then only you can keep them as filters.
Conclusion Chart: Pros & Cons
I have made a visual comparison chart for you all to understand better.
- Kshitij Gupta