Having adequate filtration is the key to maintaining a healthy freshwater aquarium. But what do you do when your filter isn't working properly? Read more to find out.
You don’t have to be a genius to cultivate a thriving freshwater aquarium – all you need is the right tools and equipment. Even if you do all the right research and install top quality equipment in your tank, however, you are likely to encounter problems at one point or another throughout your career as an aquarium hobbyist. This article will help you to navigate some of the most common problems with aquarium filters so you can quickly get your tank back on track. Problems and unexpected difficulties are a natural part of life – you can’t prevent them from happening but you do have control over how you react to them. By preparing yourself with basic knowledge and familiarity with common problems and solutions you will be equipped to handle any problem that comes your way.
Importance of Proper Filtration
Ensuring adequate filtration in your aquarium is the key to maintaining a healthy and thriving tank environment for your fish. If your tank filter is not working properly, toxins could build-up in your tank and it could eventually poison your fish. Not only could inadequate filtration result in the build-up of toxins, but it could also lead to a general decline in water quality -- without proper filtration, organic waste and debris will accumulate at the bottom of your tank and you could also experience an increase in algae growth. As the water quality in your tank declines, your fish are likely to become more stressed and they may also become more susceptible to disease as a result. For these reasons, it is incredibly important that you take immediate action to remedy any problems you experience with your tank filter.
Another important purpose that filters serve in the home aquarium is to provide aeration and oxygenation of tank water. Like all living things, aquarium fish require oxygen in order to breathe – unlike humans, however, they gather oxygen from the water rather than the air. If your tank water doesn’t have enough dissolved oxygen, then, your fish could end up essentially suffocating. Circulation is also important in the home aquarium because water movement is a natural part of the environment in which your fish would be found in the wild. Some fish come from habitats where the water moves quickly (such as rivers and streams) while others come from still waters like ponds – having the right type of circulation in your tank for your fish is very important.
Most aquarium filters operate by means of a motor-operated impeller that creates suction within the filter housing, drawing tank water up the intake tube and through the filter media. Unless your filter can create suction, it will not work. There may come a time when you hear your filter running but you notice that it is not drawing up any tank water. In cases like this, the problem can often be attributed to a clog in either the intake tube or the impeller. Unplug your filter and disassemble it to search for the clog – rinse out the intake tube and the impeller housing to check for solid debris then reassemble the filter and test it. If this does not solve the problem, there may be a problem with the motor or the impeller itself and you may need to order replacement parts or purchase a new filter. Check the warranty that came with your filter to see if repairs are covered by the manufacturer.
Stopped Working Completely
There may come a day when you go to turn on the lights in your tank one morning and you notice an eerie silence surrounding the tank – your filter isn’t running. If this happens, unplug the filter and check to see whether something has clogged the motor, preventing it from running. In some cases, a power surge or outage may knock out your tank equipment and it could simply need to rest for a bit before you plug it back in. Try giving the filter a few hours to rest then plug it back in and see if it works. If the filter still does not work, check your power source to be sure that is not the issue – if it isn’t, it is likely that there is an issue with your motor. You may be able to purchase a repair kit for your filter on line but it may be easier and less expensive to simply purchase a new filter.
Flow Rate Too High/Low
Just as all species of aquarium fish have certain preferences for the various aspects of water chemistry, many also have preferences for water flow. Fish that come from lakes or ponds tend to prefer slow-moving waters while species native to mountain streams, rivers and other quickly-flowing bodies of water tend to prefer a stronger current. Before setting up and stocking your tank you should do some basic research to determine the preferences of the species you intend to cultivate then you should be sure that the filter you purchase can accommodate those needs. Some filters have an adjustable flow rate – you may be able to simply slide a lever to adjust the filter intake (and thus its output as well). If you find that the flow rate in your tank is too low, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful filter or consider implementing a supplemental source of filtration. In cases where the flow rate is too high, there may be little you can do aside from switching to a different filter.
Having the right filter installed in your freshwater aquarium is extremely important. Not only will your aquarium filter help to remove solid wastes from your tank water but it will also help to control the level of dissolved toxins and heavy metals in your tank. Without proper filtration, there is no way to achieve and maintain the desired level of water quality in a freshwater tank so it is essential that you maintain your filter properly. There are many different types of aquarium filter to choose from, so take the time to do some research to determine which option is right for your tank. There isn’t just one filter that will work for any given tank, but you should choose one that is the right size and provide the right type of filtration for the particular tank you have.