How to Choose the Best Aquarium Filter for Your Tank

Whether you’re setting up a new aquarium or are simply upgrading your existing tank setup, choosing the right filtration system components is an important decision that will alter how your tank operates and dictate the cleanliness and overall health of your aquatic environment. After all, you’ll want to protect your fish and provide them with the best conditions as well as protect your investment for many years to come. So, how do you choose the best filter for your tank?

Which Types of Filters Are There?

There are four main types of filters that you can use to promote a healthy and clean environment for your fish.

  1. Mechanical
  2. Biological
  3. Chemical
  4. Ultraviolet

It’s important to note that you don’t just have to pick one — using a combination can decrease your maintenance responsibilities and provide the ongoing protection your tank needs.


Mechanical filtration removes dirt and debris via a physical foam filter that traps unwanted particles from recirculating throughout your tank. These filters must be replaced often as they get dirty, and as such, require more regular involvement. That said, visible debris and contaminants can only be removed by use of a mechanical filter, and it offers the simplest method for extraction.


Biological filtration doesn’t remove any physical, visible debris, but instead removes dangerous toxins and chemicals that could otherwise harm your tank inhabitants. This filter uses good bacteria to maintain a nitrogen cycle which converts harmful waste into less harmful waste that can be removed during regular water changes. Biological filters cultivate colonies of these good bacteria using a more natural process.


Chemical filtration uses activated carbon, by which the water passes through pores that then catch any unwanted waste products, minerals, odors, and ammonia, preventing them from recirculating. Without a carbon filter, water changes will be needed on a more frequent basis, so adding a chemical filter is highly recommended for easier and more efficient maintenance of your aquarium over time.


Ultraviolet filtration doesn’t remove debris or particles, but it does purify the water in your tank without the use of chemicals. Ultraviolet filters eliminate unwanted bacteria, viruses, diseases, microorganisms, pathogens, and more by sterilizing them instantly as water passes underneath the ultraviolet (UV) light. As a result, the use of an ultraviolet filter complements any of the above filtration systems and enables you to have better control over the health of your aquatic environment.

How Does an Ultraviolet Filter Benefit Your Tank?

Emitting a germicidal ray, a UV aquarium filter such as one of our Advantage Series models alters the DNA of microorganisms and sterilizes them, rendering them completely harmless. These filters help to control algae growth and prevent bad bacteria from causing danger to tank inhabitants. They’re also easy to install, and once hooked up as part of your filtration system alongside a physical filter, offer a maintenance-free method of keeping your tank clean and clear.

Why Choose Aqua Ultraviolet?

Aqua Ultraviolet is an industry leader in water purification and offers a full suite of products for various applications including aquariums, drinking water, swimming pools and spas, ponds, and more. Our goal is to protect your water from unwanted or harmful contaminants, and our UV products get the job done with ease. Choose an ultraviolet filter from our product page and order today to complete your tank filtration setup.

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For over three decades, Aqua Ultraviolet has been the premier manufacturer of ultraviolet sterilizers and bio-mechanical filtration.

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