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Aquarium Filtration
This page explains the three stages of aquarium filtration with an emphasis on the third stage, bio-logical filtration, which is the most important type of aquarium filtration.
 
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Pet Fish Talk, an MP3 PodCast, is a weekly internet talk show about keeping pet fish, such as tropical fish and goldfish, in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds. The shows were hosted by the Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, Click on this image for more information.  
Click here to hear a Special Interview about the EcoBio-Block Family of Products, which help keep aquarium water clear.
 
     
1. The Three Types of Water Filtration

(1)  Mechanical filtration of water is done by passing the water through a screen, or a thin piece of sponge, or through a floss material, all of which remove pieces of debris from the water.

(2)  Chemical filtration of water is done by passing the water through small pieces of carbon or zeolite, which is a natural mineral. The carbon or zeolite remove molecules such as ammonia from the water.

(3)  Biological filtration of water is done by certain types of bacteria that live on gravel, on the surface of glass, on ceramic ornaments, on plastic plants, on bio-balls, on floss, or best of all on BIO-Wheels.

 
These bacteria are often called beneficial bacteria in contrast to the pathogenic or harmful bacteria that cause diseases. The beneficial bacteria in biological filters digest waste that is dissolved in the water by combining the waste with oxygen that is also dissolved in the water.
 
For example, certain kinds of beneficial bacteria combine ammonia and oxygen, that are both dissolved in the aquarium water, to produce nitrite, water, and some energy. Using the usual symbols for Ammonia NH3, Oxygen O2, Nitrite NO2?, and Water H2O, the chemical reaction is written as
 

NH3 + O2  -->   NO2? + H2O + energy

 
Where  -->  is an arrow indicating a chemical reaction proceeding from left to right as usual.
 
Or as a chemical equation like this
 

4 NH3 + 7 O2  =  4 NO2? + 6 H2O + energy

 
where the numbers 4, 7, 4, and 6 have been inserted into this equation so the atoms on both sides of the equation balance.
 
Other kinds of beneficial bacteria combine the nitrite and oxygen, that are both dissolved in the water, to produce nitrate and more energy. Using the usual symbol for nitrate NO3?, the chemical reaction is written as
 

NO2? + O2  -->  NO3? + energy

 
Or as an equation like this
 

2 NO2? + O2  =  2 NO3? + energy

 
The combined result of these two chemical reactions is to combine ammonia and oxygen from the water and to produce nitrate and energy.

So we see that to remove ammonia and nitrite from aquarium water in this way, the bacteria need plenty of oxygen in the water.

 
 
Pet Fish Talk, an MP3 PodCast, is a weekly internet talk show about keeping pet fish, such as tropical fish and goldfish, in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds. The shows were hosted by the Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, Click on this image for more information.  
Click here to hear a Special Interview with Dr. Tim Hovanec about One And Only - Nitrifying Bacteria, which can help keep aquarium water clear and odor free.
 
 
Ammonia is very toxic to fish, nitrite is also toxic but less toxic than ammonia, and nitrate is much less toxic. So the beneficial bacteria take oxygen and toxic ammonia from the water and produce rather harmless nitrate and more water.

Still other kinds of bacteria oxidize other kinds of fish waste to make those kinds of fish waste less toxic to fish.

These kinds of beneficial bacteria and lots of oxygen are the crucial factors in eliminating toxic waste and maintaining excellent quality water in an aquarium.

 
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Aquarium Guys offers a large variety of Aquarium Supplies including both Tropical Fish Supplies and Saltwater Aquarium Supplies for your fish tank. Click on this image to go to the page in Aquarium Guys' web site with more information about the products in this ad.
 
     
2. Biological Filters
are generally devices that provide living space for the beneficial bacteria, that were discussed in the paragraphs above.

Most biological filters are limited by the amount of oxygen available in the water, and oxygen is not very soluble in water. In fact, aquarium water rarely has more than 7 ppm (parts per million) of oxygen.

So biological filters, that rely completely on the water flowing through them to provide oxygen for their bacteria, are limited by the small amount of oxygen that is in the water.

 
Undergravel filters, canister filters, sponge filters, and especially fluidized bed filters are almost always starved for oxygen. They have lots of fish waste and lots of surface area with lots of bacteria, but the water in these filters lacks an abundant supply of oxygen for the bacteria.

All of these types of filters are greatly limited by the small amount of oxygen in the water that flows through them.

 
3. BIO-Wheels
spinning in the air and water, are not limited by the amount of oxygen in the water. Air is 20% oxygen, i.e. 200,000 ppm compared with the 7 ppm in water, and the abundant oxygen in the air rapidly replenishes the oxygen on the surface of the water, such as on the surfaces of a BIO-Wheel. So the water on the surfaces of the BIO-Wheel is always very rich in oxygen.

The beneficial bacteria living on the BIO-Wheel are able to use the abundant oxygen in the water on the BIO-Wheels to rapidly oxidize the fish waste that is dissolved in the water on the BIO-Wheels.

 
 
Click here to go to another page in this web site with more information about BIO-Wheels.
 
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Aquarium Supplies, Pond Supplies and Pet Supplies at Discount Prices.
 
 
 
Books about
Aquarium Filters and Filtration
The books shown below are listed on Amazon.com. You can click on the title or on the image of a book to go to the page at Amazon.com, where that book is listed and discussed. In some cases you can preview several of the pages in that book.
 
 
Click on this image to go to Amazon.com, where you can learn more about this book.   Aquarium Filtration
By Richard F. Stratton
Hardcover
64 pages
 
 
Click on this image to go to Amazon.com, where you can learn more about this book. Aquatic Systems Engineering
By Pedro Ramon Escobal, Martin A. Moe, Jr.
Paperback
272 pages
 
 
Click here to go to another page in this web site with more information about BIO-Wheels.
 
Important Aquarium Products

For excellent health, pet fish need very good food and very good water conditions. These five products are very important.

 
Premium Fish Food Flakes
Premium Fish Food Pellets
DrTim's Water Conditioner
DrTim's WasteAway
Denitrifying Lava Rocks
 
Click here now to learn more and add one or more of these products to your fish order.
 
   
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Click on this ad to go to Graystone Creations for Pond Pumps, Pond Kits, and Pond Supplies.
 
 
Click here to verify our "PayPal Reputation", which shows we have been selling on PayPal since 2002, and we've sold items to thousands of satisfied customers.
 
Gift Idea

 PayPal Gift Certificates
Click on the orange button, just below, to buy a PayPal Gift Certificate for someone, who loves pet fish.
 
 
 Best Selling Books 
     
  Click here now to order The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums, a bestselling reference, offering an easy-to-understand look at setting up and maintaining a successful first freshwater aquarium.
     
  Click here now to order The New Marine Aquarium: Step-By-Step setup and stocking Guide, the best selling book about starting a new marine aquarium.
     
  Click here now to order 500 Freshwater Aquarium Fish: A Visual Reference to the Most Popular Species, a beautiful book, lovingly written and illustrated, with information for the beginner or the longtime enthusiast.
     
  Click here now to order Fancy Goldfish: A Complete Guide ... by Eric L. Johnson, DMV, and Richard E. Hess. The most encompassing and thorough treatment of the fancy goldfish hobby to date. Hardcover with 176 pages.
 
Click here now for many more fishy books.
We hope these suggestions help!  ;^ }
 
Amazon Prime
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No minimum order size
Unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming
    of 5,000 movies and TV shows.
Join Amazon Prime for $99/year.
 
Click here now to learn more about Amazon Prime.
 
 
 About our Fish ...
Almost all the photographs and videos, shown on this web site, were taken by us of our fish in our aquariums.
 
Compare the healthy, beautiful, energetic fish in our beautiful aquariums to the fish in our competitors pictures. Their fish often look thin with clamped fins and poor color.
We buy the highest quality fish, produced by the best fish farms or caught by the best collectors of wild fish, then we take incredibly good care of our fish in our beautiful aquariums.
 
If you compare the pictures on this site to our competitors pictures, you can instantly see, our fish and aquariums are better!  ;^ }
Will the fish you get from us look like the fish in our pictures? No! This is similar to buying kittens and puppies that will change as they grow to become cats and dogs.
 
We stock and ship fish that are the ideal size to sell. Not so small that they will not do well when shipped. Yet not so big that they have become much more expensive.
 
The fish in almost all of our pictures were young fish like the ones we have for sale that we raised up, and you can too! 
 
 
 How to Customize this Page
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Repeat, until this page looks just right to you. In this way you can customize the appearance of this website in your computer. This tip will work simultaneously on all the pages in this website, and your computer should remember what you've done the next time you come back to this site, unless you're using an ancient version of a browser.  ;^ o
 
 
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This page was updated on October 30, 2014.