Filter systems clean out any chemicals or pollutants that maybe in your aquarium. These filters are then cleaned or replaced physically.

There are, basically, three types of filtration mechanical, chemical and biological.

1. Mechanical Filtration

Mechanical filtration works to clean any polluting particles from the tank water. It does this by trapping these particles in the fibres or pores of the filtration medium you have chosen. Over time the filtration medium that collects the dirty particles becomes full, just like a receptacle on a household vacuum cleaner, and needs to be emptied or changed. One of the best tips to practice when learning about how to clean a fish tank is to set a regular schedule for the task of cleaning or changing the fish tank filter. Mechanical filtration systems often include material such as polyester fibers, which come in various shape and sizes these will typically include pads that may be woven or pressed fibers. Another medium that mechanical filtration uses is foam sponges but whatever the medium used the fact remains it needs to be cleaned or replaced every 3-4 weeks and this depends on how many fish and what kind you keep in the aquarium. Every 3-4 weeks is a good rule of thumb for a typical mechanical filtration set-up. However, any time your filter gets clogged you should also clean it.

2. Chemical Filtration

In addition to mechanical filtration you could choose chemical filtration to clean your aquarium. Chemical filtration works by using molecules as cleaning agents. One of the most commonly used chemical filtration systems works with activated charcoal. The activated charcoal can remove large volumes of pollutants from most fish tanks as it can trap the smallest particles of pollution. In addition to a charcoal medium, there is also the choice of a carbon based filtration system. Carbon filtration is one of the most popular filters used in aquariums as the filters can remove a large volume of pollutants as well as keeping the water crystal clear. Most people use a carbon filtration combined with one of the mechanical filtration set-ups. Again you must establish your own rules as to how to keep your fish tank clean apart from the filtration system.

3. Biological Filtration

Of the three filtration methods the best and most effective is biological filtration. Also called bio-filtration it will remove unwanted and unnatural pollution particles from the fish tank water that is left behind by chemical and mechanical filtration. Bio-filtration is a little more difficult to understand but is well worth the effort to know how to clean a fish tank with it. Bio-filtration systems will remove unwanted nitrates, ammonia, bad bacteria and nitrates, etc. from your tank water. Bad bacterium is removed and replaced with good bacterium.

Understanding the various filtration systems is essential in knowing how to clean a fish tank, since unclean water will fatally damage your fish. For example, if fish do not live in clean oxygenated water, it will affect their oxygen intake and they will die and your fish tank will stink. So, learn all you can about the different filtration systems and how to clean a fish tank properly.

Click here to learn more about how to clean a fish tank [] and get helpful tips and techniques. There are also many helpful fish care videos available.

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