Quiet and Reliable
There is one thing, experts say, that is at the top of the list when it comes to aquarium filters.
“Quiet, reliable filtration that is easy to use,” Sean Raines, director of marketing-aquarium equipment, for United Pet Group, said. “Customers today are busy and have little time to fool around with equipment that is hard to use. The way the filter looks is important, too. Most aquariums become showpieces in the home, so a filter that functions well, keeps the water clean and is quiet, is paramount.”
Working off of these customer desires, Tetra offers the Whisper and Whisper EX power filters. These filters are designed with simplicity in mind and are ready to use right out of the box. They run efficiently and quietly, and are available in sizes suitable for aquariums from 5 to 60 gallons.
For aquarists with bigger tanks, or the need for more powerful or customizable filters, there is the C-Series of canister filters from Marineland. Available in three sizes, the C-Series has an innovative design that forces water through the media trays with virtually no bypass.
So Many Options
George Goulart, co-owner of Aqua-Life Aquarium in Providence, R.I., agrees that simplicity is the key.
“Cartridge filters are the most popular type of filter because customers can just pop the cartridge out and replace it,” he said. “It’s quick and simple.”
However, he thinks that canister filters are often better options for customers.
“The improvement of the canister filters has come a long way,” he said. “They have gotten much smarter; they let you know when they are ready to be cleaned because the flow rate slows down. When it slows, the media is clogged and needs cleaning. They’ve also gotten very simple to use and clean and also easy to start. Ease and simplicity are key.”
Raines has noticed a trend toward internal filters. With the popularity of nanotanks and other small aquariums growing, internal filters seem to appeal to more and more consumers, he said.
What goes into a filter is as important as the filter itself. The filter media is what really makes the filter run. There are numerous choices of cartridges, bags and customizable media.
“Our infused media pads are great for the consumer, not only because [they] reduce costs, because customers can get multiple uses from each pad depending on the size of their filter, but also because they keep water quality in the aquarium free of toxins and debris,” Aaron Kline, general manager at Acurel, said. “The pricing on these items are very affordable. Acurel’s Infused Media pads are almost twice as thick as any other pad on the market. The thickness helps our pad hold its shape better and last longer in a filter, giving the customer a longer lasting and more effective pad.”
Lifeguard Aquatics offers filters for use in salt or freshwater, as well as in large or small aquariums, including mechanical, chemical and biological filtration units and ultraviolet sterilizers.
Their Fluidized Bed Filter is an efficient, high-capacity biological filter that has an spring-loaded clamp to create a snug fit to any aquarium. The check valve keeps media in place and allows for easy startup. External location makes for easy cleaning, or replacement, and can be used in either the top or bottom inlet port.
Poly-Bio-Marine offers a unique chemical blend in their Poly-Filter filter media.
“The really unique properties are that we use ferric hydroxide, not granular ferric oxide particles,” Ken Howery, president of Poly-Bio-Marine, Inc., said. “The ferric hydroxide is actually absorbed into our Poly-Filter at a molecular level so the entire filter matrix becomes the sorbent medium. This allows 620 percent faster flow rates than any granular iron products.”
The Poly-Filter is designed to filter pollutants from the water without removing desirable trace elements. The Poly-Filter can benefit both freshwater and saltwater tanks.
Chemipure, from Boyd Enterprises, is a filter medium that removes the dissolved organic wastes and particulate matter quickly and safely. This stops bacteria buildup that can make tanks cloudy. Chemipure is a nylon filter bag filled with a high-grade blend of activated carbons and ion exchange resins. It is simple to use and suitable for all types of aquatic environments.
Also available is Chemipure Elite, which adds ferric oxide to the original Chemipure formula. This has the added benefit of removing phosphates and silicates from aquarium water.
Goulart also advises that “live plants are nature’s natural filters.”
“When people see how well the plants function as filters in my tanks, they want to duplicate that,” he said. “So, I recommend and sell a lot of live plants.”