The filtration components that make up your aquarium are important for maintaining water quality so that your specimens live in clean conditions as close to nature as possible. Without proper filtration, your tankmates cannot thrive. It's important to choose the appropriate filtration for what you keep in your tank, as over filtering or under filtering can hinder growth.

Ultimately, one could think of the goal of filtration equipment as a means to reduce the need for water changes. If all waste were removed, the water would be clean and any consumed nutrients or minerals could be added back through supplements. With a properly balanced tank, you could even do away completely with additional filtration equipment! However, since most aquarists want to keep lots of life in the display tank and feed heavily, it's most common that some filtration equipment is necessary.

Please use our buying guide below! If you need more advice, just ask! Your question may help many other people that are wondering the same thing!

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Buying Guide

Tunze developed the first protein skimmer with its own air production back in 1963. Since then, they have continuously improved upon the design. The principles of the original skimmer is still available in their classic DOC skimmer line which is suitable for keeping plankton safe, whereas their newer design would skim a lot more dissolved organic compounds (DOC), likely to include plankton.

Tunze's line of full size skimmers have a three stage anti-overfoaming system which prevents a skimmer from going bananas and overflowing. In addition, the neck of the skimmer is integrated with the skimmate cup which means that by cleaning one you clean both and would not really need to scrub the actual body of the skimmer other than for a more thorough cleaning for other buildup. For those that employ ozone into their systems, the full size Tunze DOC skimmers include an inlet to attach an ozone output to which improves the skimming process and yellowing matter.

Aquaful only uses Tunze Protein Skimmers on all our systems!

We believe that the closer that we can reproduce ecological systems, the better for our tanks.

One method of naturally filtering a tank is through the growth of turf algae. The coined term for this filtration method is algal turf scrubber or ATS. This idea is attributed to the work of Dr. Walter Adey who set up such systems at the Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institute of Washington D.C.

Commercial ATS systems for home aquariums are much newer to the market. We have tested Santa Monica's upflow algae scrubber system the HOG unit on our 1000 gallon system and true to its sales pitch, it has grown algae very effectively. We have not used their DROP or SURF units yet but suspect that they will perform nicely as well. Though you can DIY something together, these are a great all-in-one package that avoids some of the potential problems that a DIY unit can have.

We highly recommend reading Dr. Walter Adey's prominent book on aquarium systems. It highlights many techniques that have led to the long term growth of one of the world's most successful captive reef exhibits. You can purchase the book from Amazon using the following link: Dynamic Aquaria, Third Edition: Building Living Ecosystems