Hello guys, been receiving lots of questions about which filter works best for your shrimp tank. Filters are one of the key hardware when it comes to having an aquarium. Filters help clean the water and also creates movement in your tank. The three main types of filtration boil down to mechanical filtration, biological filtration and chemical filtration.
Mechanical filters are filtrations that make use of other hardware like sponge to removes solid particles from water by circulating water and straining it. Mechanical filters are usually the first stage of the entire filtration cycle and requires you to change the filter time to time. Mechanical filters alone aren’t usually sufficient for your entire tank.
Biological filtration refers to the process of the nitrification cycle, making use of beneficial bacteria to break down ammonia into nitrite and then nitrate. This is widely emphasized in shrimp keeping which also causes a lot of stress to new hobbyist in trying to maintain an established colony of beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria can be cultivated naturally or can be introduced using commercially made live bacteria.
Chemical filtration is where chemical additives are added into the tank to remove biological waste in the water. One widely used chemical additives used is activated carbon.
Now that we get a little knowledge on these facts, let’s move on the types of filtration that are commonly used in shrimp keeping.
Under Gravel Filters (UGF)
UGF is one of the OG in shrimp keeping. Back in the days even till now, UGF is used quite often in shrimp breeding. They were initially in-built into tanks by raising a low partition in the middle of the tank where they put their UGF in it and fill it up with filter medias and then substrate. The trouble of removing the substrate and media when resetting tanks became a huge hassle and they eventually move into creating a box where the UGF can be placed in it. This helps make cleaning easy as they can remove the box out of the tank and clean it at the washing area. Below photo take from Geilee Hong Kong.
Hang on back Filters (HOF)
HOF is a filter that combines all three type of filtration together in one box. The filter comes with a pump that sucks out water through its pipe and passes through different stage of filter inside the box. HOF usually have a section where you can fill it up with mechanical filter medias and even chemical filtration pad. These filters come in different size that suits different tank size. Make sure you read the specifications of the HOF before purchasing them as one that is too small might not provide enough filtration for your livestocks.
Sponge filters are one of the most used filters in shrimp keeping. They are affordable and effective and gets the job done most of the time. Sponge filters are air driven by an air pump. As water is forced through the tubes of the sponge filters, your tank water will go through the sponge and rise up the tube and goes back down the water. This filtration system makes use of the mechanical and biological portion. The sponge itself is the mechanical portion that helps trap dirt and dust in the sponge. Beneficial bacteria also grow on the surface of the sponge and helps break down the organic waste that pass through the sponge. One downside is that it gets clogged up to easily, but that can be easily managed by removing the sponge and cleaning it.
Canisters are one of my favorites in shrimp keeping. Canisters are powerful mechanical filters that are driven by a pump much like a HOF. The major difference is that a canister can be loaded up with A LOT of mechanical filtration that in turn, create more space for beneficial bacteria to grow. The canister can also be hidden inside a cabinet away from the tank which provides a neater look. One downside about a canister is the difficulty of dismantling it during clean up. However, that is rarely required as a canister can run for about a year before it requires to be clean.
There are many more filters out there in the market, but these are the more commonly used ones in shrimp keeping. Personally, I find that having a canister filter really improves the shrimp keeping experience. Shrimps grow faster and also the population increases pretty well as compared to the other filters. If you like to find out more about the filters that we carry, you can check them out here. Overall, shrimp keeping is pretty easy, they require clean water and at most time, even the most economical sponge filter works extremely well.
Have fun shrimping!