6.1. Mechanical Filtration

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Author : David Bogert

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Mechanical filtration in an aquarium is the removal of particles the hobbyist can see. These particles include fish feces and uneaten food. This is what most beginners think is the most important type of filtration. It is relatively unimportant.

Filtration should be looked at from a chart.

Water contaminantBiofiltrationMechanical filtrationMost chemical filtrationUltraviolet
Ammonia and nitriteRemoves
Bad bacteriaRemovesRemoves
Pathogens like ichRemovesRemoves
Dissolved organicsRemoves
Feces, uneaten foodRemovesRemoves
Floating algaeRemovesRemovesRemoves
Tannic acid, dyes, smellsRemoves

Obviously biofiltration is easily 80% of the game here and mechanical filtration is relatively unimportant.

There are two types of mechanical filtration systems:

  • “Cleaned Mechanical Filtration” – mechanical filtration cleaned frequently
  • “Uncleaned Mechanical Filtration” – mechanical filtration never or rarely cleaned (this might more accurately be termed “no mechanical filtration”)

Both these mechanical filtration systems are perfectly acceptable and can work well.

Copadichromis azureus
Copadichromis azureus

There are some aquarium hobbyists who are interested in delving deep into the science and the calculations behind all aspects of the hobby. For those who are so inclined the following is pertinent:

6.1.1. Cleaned Mechanical Filtration

6.1.2. Uncleaned Mechanical Filtration