20-10-2023, 13:06
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There are three options for aquarium water filtration:

  • Mechanical
  • Chemical
  • Biological

In mechanical filtration, the water passes through a filtering material (foam rubber, synthepon, sand, etc.), during which process particles and other free-floating debris are separated from the water. Currently on the market are water filters that combine all three filtration methods, purifying and aerating the water, as well as supporting the development of beneficial bacteria involved in maintaining the nitrogen cycle in the aquarium.

Biological filtration involves creating an environment conducive to the development of colonies of beneficial bacteria that can convert ammonia to nitrite and eventually to nitrate through the nitrogen cycle

In chemical filtration, activated carbon or other chemical resins are used as a filter element to remove toxins from aquarium water.

Filters are essential for aquariums. The exception may be aquariums that are densely planted with plants and contain a small number of fish. In all other cases, the aquarium must be equipped with a water filter.

The amount of time that fish can survive in an aquarium without a filter depends on several factors:

  • Type of fish. Some hardy fish will live much longer without filtration than weaker species. Goldfish, for example, pollute the water very heavily with waste products, leading to dramatically higher levels of ammonia in the water than other fish of comparable size. Without filtration, the water in a goldfish aquarium will quickly become polluted, and in doing so, the inhabitants themselves will become ill. On the other hand, gourami, betta and other fish of the labyrinth family can breathe air swallowed from the surface of the water, which allows them to much better tolerate water containing elevated concentrations of ammonia.
  • Water Temperature. Because cool water holds more oxygen than warm water, cool water aquariums are less demanding to filter than tropical aquariums without a filter.
  • Water Circulation. Filters aerate aquariums because of the flow they create. Water circulation facilitates gas exchange between water and air, keeping oxygen levels high.
  • Does the aquarium have live plants. Live plants are natural natural water filters, feeding on nitrogenous compounds such as ammonia and nitrates and neutralizing them in the process. Living plants also oxygenate the water throughout the day through photosynthesis. An aquarium with dense vegetation will last longer without a filter than one without vegetation.
  • Aquarium size. Obviously, the larger the aquarium, the more water it contains, and the larger the volume of water, the more diluted the contaminants become, making them more tolerable to the fish. If you have a large aquarium with relatively few fish, the fish in it will live longer without filtration than in a small one with the same number of fish.

What to do in the absence of a water filter and aerator?

The main threat to fish in an aquarium without a water filter is suffocation.

Fish use their gills to absorb oxygen. When the filter does not allow water to pass through an environment with nitrifying bacteria, ammonia levels can exceed the acceptable level, damaging the gills of the fish.

In addition, if the filter is not circulating water, oxygen levels in the tank drop, increasing the likelihood that the fish may suffer oxygen deprivation. Of course, it is possible to keep fish without a filter and water aerator, but in this case the maintenance of the aquarium becomes much more labor intensive.

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