This article covers the use of undergravel filters (UGFs) in the home aquarium.

Although UGFs were the popular choice years ago, they have fallen out of favor on account of their bulky design and low filtration capacity (relative to modern filter designs). I’ll discuss the drawbacks of UGFs and the benefits of readily available filter alternatives.

Continue Reading The Undergravel Filter in Freshwater Fish Tanks

Biological filtration – the filtration method that depends on the work done by beneficial bacteria – is the most efficient filtration form precisely because it works according to natural laws. Let’s take a look at an aviation metaphor to flush out the concept. Did you know that the Wright Brothers were one of many pioneers […]

Continue Reading Biological Filtration: making Tropical Fish happy since 500,000,000 B.C.


When you consider what type of aquarium filter to use for your fish tank, you’ll be confronted with many choices. Hang on power filters, under-gravel filters, sponge filters, and canister filters are the most popular.

I, however, will discuss the fundamental filtration process – biological filtration – and which filters best accommodate this natural backbone of any stable and healthy aquarium. I’ll explain how biological filtration works, why it’s important, and how you can take advantage of this naturally occurring process for the benefit of your fish.

Continue Reading Aquarium Care 101: Part 3


Like fish, aquarium plants do best in very clean water. Attaching an efficient canister filter, packed with biological filtration media, to a planted aquarium will allow for the swift conversion of toxic Ammonia to Nitrate, and then Nitrate, the last of which your plants will use as a food source.

But, algae also utilize the end product of biological filtration. For this reason, it is important to keep the other nutrients in water (such as phosphates) low. Finally, by strategically positioning the filter output (where the water from the canister filter exists back into the tank) will help prevent problem algae from growing on the plants themselves.

Continue Reading Filtration in the Planted Aquarium

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