Biological filtration of aquarium water is done by billions of bacteria, which use substances that the aquarist doesn’t want for their own life processes. Biological filtration is definitely a very important part of how an aquarium works.


How do germs end up in the aquarium?

The bacteria that live in the aquarium and filter come from the tap water, the air, and the living things we put in the tank. How to get the bacteria in the aquarium to settle down faster? One way of thinking is that you can put one or two fish in a new aquarium, and when they poop, they will give off ammonium compounds. So, they will start and speed up the process of growing up. Others say to leave the aquarium empty and wait quietly for the process of maturation to finish. In both cases, aquarium water treatment products (Tropical Bacto-Active and/or Tropical Nitri-Active) with certain strains of bacteria can be used to speed up the aquarium’s maturation.

Another way to do this is to take some of the sediment from a working aquarium and put it in the new one. But only if the fish in this tank are in good health. To do this, rinse the filter material in a container full of aquarium water, and then pour some of this water into the new tank or directly into the filter.

Filter out bacteria that live there

The filter needs some time to get better. In aquaristics, this phenomenon is usually boiled down to the nitrification process, which we can easily follow by using aquarium tests to measure NO2– (nitrite), NO3– (nitrate), and NH4+/NH3 (ammoniacal nitrogen) concentrations. Nitrifying bacteria, which are very important in aquaculture, are chemoautotrophs. This means that they use the energy they get from oxidizing inorganic substances to make organic substances from simple mineral compounds. In this case, energy is released when first ammonium ions (NH4+) and then nitrite ions are oxidized (NO2–). Heterotrophs are the second most important type of bacteria that live in the filter. They need to take in finished organic matter from the outside. They are in charge of how organic matter breaks down in air.


Suitable substrate for bacteria

The most important thing for biological clarification to work is for there to be a large enough number of microorganisms in the aquarium. Because of this, it is important to make a place where bacteria can live and grow. Filter cartridges with a large amount of surface area are used for this. Both mechanical and biological filters can use cartridges made of sponge, fleece, or Perlon wool because they are good places for bacteria to settle. But ceramic cartridges are used most of the time. When choosing ceramics, it’s important to pay attention to what the manufacturer says about the surface.

The more tiny tubules and pores there are in its structure, the bigger it is. And this is where bacteria that don’t need oxygen will grow over time. This turns the aquarium into a complex bioreactor where both aerobic and, to a small extent, anaerobic processes are carried out by a variety of bacteria and other microorganisms that work together to clean the water.

Things that happen in the filter

The rate of nitrification and aerobic breakdown of organic compounds is affected by things like the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, the amount of nutrients (like nitrogen and phosphorus) that are available, the level of total organic carbon (OWO), the presence of toxic substances, how the water reacts, and the temperature. When the bacteria in the filter do their jobs, their waste products get into the water. This is shown by an increase in the amount of total organic carbon in the water (TOC). Along with the water that has been cleaned, the filter is another source of bacteria that end up in the aquarium. Even though these things are bad, biological filtration is still important in an aquarium.

What is bad for the bacteria in the filter?

Using germicides to treat the fish in the aquarium can hurt the bacteria in the filter. Some of them will also go away when you flush the filter every so often. Even though it makes sense in theory, the advice in many aquarium books to rinse sponges in the drain water of the aquarium does not work at all. I don’t know of any experienced aquarist who cleans filter media in this inefficient way. The best way to clean a sponge that is clogged is to run warm water over it.


It’s important for an aquarium to be clean.

Also, people often forget that the bacteria that live in the filter and the organic matter that is stored there use up a lot of oxygen. When a tank isn’t taken care of, the bottom isn’t cleaned, or the filter is dirty, it’s always a sign of trouble to come. Even more so when the power goes out while we’re away or for some other reason and the water stops getting oxygen. So, make sure your aquarium is clean.


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