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Aquarium Filters
This page continues the discussion of Aquarium Equipment with information and advice about aquarium filters.
Eclipse Aquarum Hood System.   The top picture shows the Eclipse Aquarium Hood on my Aquarium with the cover of the hood open. The red arrow points to the BIO-Wheel filter in the hood.
BIO-Wheel from an Eclipse Aquarium Hood.   Here is a closer view of the BIO-Wheel filter with the folded pleats that increase the surface area to provide more living space for the bacteria. This BIO-Wheel is new and has not yet been populated by bacteria. 

1. Aquarium Filters
Excellent water quality is very important for keeping fish healthy. Aquarium filters can help maintain excellent water in aquariums, but it's still essential to clean your aquarium and to change some of the water twice each week.

Click here for more information about how to clean your aquarium, and click here for more about how to change water in your aquarium. No aquarium filter will eliminate these tasks. Click here to read the Aquarium Maintenance Schedule.

Pet Fish Talk a Podcast about keeping pet fish in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds.  
Click here to listen to a Special Pet Fish Interview hosted by The Bailey Brothers about the proper equipment for a Saltwater Aquarium, including an aquarium filter.

2. Aquarium Water Filtration
There are three steps to filtering water, and these three steps are usually called mechanical, chemical, and biological.

1. Primary treatment mechanically filters the water by removing chunks of waste and debris with screen, sponge, or floss types of material.

2. Secondary treatment chemically removes molecules such ammonia with materials such as activated carbon and zeolite.

3. Tertiary treatment biologically filters the water, and it is by far the most important type of filtration for maintaining excellent water quality in an aquarium. Tertiary water treatment is done by the "good" or beneficial bacteria that digest waste out of the water.

Click here for a more complete discussion of aquarium water filtration with more details about biological filtration.

3. The Various Kinds of Filters
Here are brief explanations of how various aquarium filters work.


  Box or Corner Filters
are small plastic containers that hold filter floss and carbon and are connected to an air pump.
    Undergravel Filters
(UGF) fit in the bottom of the aquarium under an inch or two of gravel and connect to an air pump or power head. Caution: never just turn off an UGF.
    Canister Filters
such as the "Magnum" hang on the aquarium and have their own internal pump with a sealed container to trap waste materials from the water.
    Fluidized Bed Filters
also hang on the aquarium and pump water up through a layer of fluidized material.

We've used and carefully tested all of these types of filters for many years, and we don't recommend any of them for your aquarium.

4. We Recommend BIO-Wheel Filters.
A power filter hangs on the back of the aquarium and sucks water up from the bottom of the aquarium through a siphon tube.

Then lets the water drain back into the aquarium through a filter pad that may contain floss, carbon, zeolite, sponge, or other filtering materials.

A BIO-Wheel is an important accessory that sits on top of the power filter. The BIO-Wheel is made of a special material that provides beneficial bacteria an ideal place to live.

These beneficial bacteria do not cause diseases in fish, instead the beneficial bacteria digest waste materials from the water and greatly reduce the amount of waste in the water.

Using bacteria to filter the water is called biological filtration, and is the most important factor in keeping fish healthy. A BIO-Wheel is the best place for beneficial bacteria to live.


We recommend the following power filters: the Penguin Filters, the Emperor Filters, the AquaTech 20-40, and the AquaTech 30-60.

The AquaTech filters are both sold without a BIO-Wheel, but an accessory BIO-Wheel can be bought separately from many pet stores and added to the AquaTech filters.

The AquaTech 30-60 filter holds two BIO-Wheels.

Click here for more information about BIO-Wheels.

The Eclipse 1, 2, and 3 are Aquarium Hoods that contain both lighting and a built in power filter with a BIO-Wheel.

The BIO-Wheel in the Eclipse Hoods is the best we've seen and receives our highest recommendation.

The Eclipse is also a very good hood with no holes, so fish can't jump out of an aquarium with a properly fitted Eclipse Hood.

The Galaxy Aquariums come with a hood that is very similar to the Eclipse's.

Power filters with BIO-Wheels require regular maintenance that is explained in the directions that come with the filters. You'll need to change the power filter's pad at least once a month.

You'll also need to clean the inside of the siphon tube with a test tube brush and the outside of the filter with a Scrubbing Pad.

Click on here for more about Cleaning Warm Water Aquariums, or click here for more about Cleaning Cool Water Aquariums.

5. Sponge Filters
are good for aquariums with baby fish. The sponge prevents the babies from being sucked into the filter, and baby fish can often be seen biting on the surface of the sponge, where tiny bits of food may grow.

Important Tip: Baby fish can get trapped under a Sponge Filters, so it's best to be sure the sponge does not sit on the bottom of the aquarium.

You can do this by using a cloths pin  attached to the edge of the aquarium to lift the sponge filter by its airline.

Links to more information about Aquarium Equipment on other pages in this web site.

Aquariums, Aquarium Stands, and Hoods
      Aquarium Heaters and Thermometers
      Aquarium Gravel and Cultured Gravel  
      Gravel Washers and Cleaning Gravel  
      Aquarium Decorations and Ornaments
      Aquarium Air Pumps and Accessories
      Aquarium Lights and Lighting Fixtures
      Where to Buy Aquarium supplies
Most of the Aquarium Supplies listed on the pages in this web site can be purchased from our advertisers.

Please click on their links and investigate the products that they offer for sale on their web sites.

Click here to see the list of the Bailey Brothers' favorite aquarium equipment.

Click here to go on to another page in this web site with Customer Comments and our Replies about Aquarium Filters.
Books about
Aquarium Filters and Filtration
The books shown below are listed on You can click on the title or on the image of a book to go to the page at, 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, where you can learn more about this book.   Aquarium Filtration
By Richard F. Stratton
64 pages
Click on this image to go to, where you can learn more about this book. Aquatic Systems Engineering
By Pedro Ramon Escobal, Martin A. Moe, Jr.
272 pages
Click here to go on to another page in this web site with Customer Comments and our Replies about Aquarium Filters.
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Pet Fish Talk is an Internet-Radio Talk Show about Keeping Pet Fish in Aquariums, Fish Bowls and Ponds, that is hosted by the Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, PT, each Wednesday. Click on this image for more information about Pet Fish Talk.
BIO-Wheel Aquarium Filters. Click on this image for more information.
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