One of the most important pieces of equipment is the filter. What most people don’t commonly know is that there are more than one type of filter to choose from. The three common types are canister, hang on the back, and sponge filter. Each of these types do well, as long as the setup meets the same conditions of the aquarium.
The sponge filter is the cheapest option available on the market. These filters rely solely on biological filtration. Sponge filters have a lot of surface area, so there is a lot of places for beneficial bacteria to grow. These filters are great for smaller tanks. Their biggest downfall is that they don’t have any mechanical filtration. So whenever there is any large pieces of debris in the tank, there is no way for it to be removed from the filter. The only two options are to either remove them manually, or wait for it to decompose. If you choose to let it decompose, then there will be a large amount of ammonia being released into the water, possibly killing the fish. This filter is great for tanks that have small fish or shrimp in it. Since the only entry point is the filter, it doesn’t allow little fry or shrimp to be sucked up and killed. These filters require a bubbler to be inserted in the sponge. When the bubbles rise up the tube, it sucks water in through the sponge.
Hang on Back Filter (FOB)
FOB filters are the most common type of filtration because it is mostly sold in every aquarium kit. As the name states, these filters hang on the back of the tank, with a tube that is placed inside the tank. These are the most common types of filters for a few main reasons. They have a good combo of both biological and mechanical filtration. They also give off a stronger current than a sponge filter. These filters are good for most common community tanks. They do run the risk of sucking up smaller fish or creating a current that is too strong for the tank.
Canister filters are the most expensive type of filter. The filter is normally under the tank, with a hose run into and out of the tank. These filters have the strongest mechanical and biological filtration. They are great for either large tanks, or for fish that need very pristine conditions. They do give off a heavy current, so it is best for fish that like strong currents like tetras.