Choosing a filtration system for your aquarium can be a difficult undertaking. There are so many various types of filters to pick from (wet/dry, Berlin Method, Jaulbert Method, Canister, UGF, Fluid, Protein Skimmer, etc.). Fortunately, choosing the correct filtration system for your tank is very straightforward.
Before you can decide on which filter types to utilize, you must first grasp what each filter does. With the exception of the Biological Filter, there are no additional filters that are required. Let's take a closer look at the various filters.
Let's get started putting your filtration system together now that you know the principles of each filter type. The method that follows will remove possibilities that will not work for your scenario one by one until you're left with only a few options. To get started, click the link below.
Sump or No Sump?
Learn what a sump is, the benefits and drawbacks of utilizing one, and the many types of sumps. There's also information for those of you who like to build your own equipment wherever feasible.
Offers a platform for the widest range of equipment
Increases system water volume
Can double as a refugium for algae, live rock, or mangroves
Can keep all equipment out of sight
May be difficult to plumb
Can be noisy
Increased chance of external water leaks
Now we come to the first fork in the road in choosing a filter. You'll either choose a filter with a sump or one without a sump.
Saltwater aquariums with a sump may accommodate a wide range of equipment. There are models for everything from pumps to wet/dry filters, protein skimmers, heaters, algae, live rock, and denitrators that are particularly built for sumps.
Reading reviews might help you get a sense of how much each filter will cost and which models will work for you if you have a general concept of which sorts of filters you'll use in your sump. Compare pricing on in-sump protein skimmers, a build-your-own wet/dry filter, submersible heaters, and by reading reviews. Many aquarists supplement their sumps with live rock, beneficial macroalgae, or even mangrove trees.
isn't difficult—it just takes a little planning.
Some equipment (pumps, skimmers, canister filters, UV filters) can be placed outside of the tank, connected to the tank with various hoses, pipes or overflows.
More equipment options
No need to use Hang On or In Tank equipment
Cleaner looking tank
Can make the area near the tank cluttered
Increases possibility of external water leaks
The next fork in the road: Is externally located equipment a possibility or desirable for your situation?
Remote Mounted Equipment
If you don't want a sump and want to maintain your tank (both inside and out) as clean as possible, remote mounted equipment could be the way to go. There are several pieces of equipment that may be installed far away from your tank. Many of the products listed below were built expressly for remote mounting or may be modified to do so.
Adapting several is simple. The majority of canister filters are intended to be readily mounted remotely. Many of the wet/dry combination systems can also be modified.
Be careful when you are selecting and setting up the components. Some of them require that they be kept at the same level as the tank.
Hang-On or In-Tank?
Outside the back and sides of an aquarium, a broad range of equipment can be hung. Protein skimmers, water pumps, wet/dry filters, and overflow provided equipment come in a range of forms and are manufactured by a variety of companies.
Inside the tank, the sorts of equipment that may be placed or employed are fairly limited. There are, however, a few filtering systems that are designed to solely utilise In-Tank equipment and materials. Many SW aquarium purists use minimal equipment and have some of the most beautiful aquariums you'll ever see.
Here's the next fork in the road: Hang-On-Tank equipment vs In-Tank equipment.
The ease of Hang-On-Tank equipment is preferred by many aquarists. If you have enough space on the back or edges of your aquarium (typically less than 8"), this is an excellent location to put all of your new tank toys. Almost all saltwater aquarium equipment is available in the Hang-On-Tank form. The following links will give you an idea of what types of Hang-On-Tank equipment are available and how much they cost.
You can easily mix and match different pieces to complete your filtration system design.
Using just in-tank filtration equipment restricts your filtration equipment options. However, some of the best FO, FOWLR, and Reef systems rely only on the filtering capabilities of the tank.
Undergraduate G ravel Filters are a tried and true option. They take a little more upkeep than some of the other Biological Filters, but they are cheap (you can easily custom design your own UGF) and simple to install. The Undergravel Filter Debate will most likely go for years, but you may read the arguments and decide for yourself whether it will work for you.
The Live Rock / Berlin Systems and the Live Sand Filtration & Jaubert or Plenum System setups have been around for quite a while and are among the favorites used by reef system purists.
There are a number of which take up little room in your tank and work quite well.
The large range of on the market now provides you lots of options for water circulation in your tank.
Add a (optional) and an (if needed) and you are ready to go.