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Filtration is the most indispensable part in an aquarium system. There are three types of filtration, which are mechanical, biological and chemical, all of which perform different tasks. Mechanical filtration is the simplest to understand since itís function is to simply block debris when it enters the filtration system thus preventing it from going back into the tank. The most common media for this kind of filtration are sponges (in the case of sponge filters), and filter floss (for canister and box filters). Sponge filters are cleaned by rinsing in aquarium water,but those filters should not be overcleaned because they also house beneficial bacteria. Usually a few squeezes underwater work perfectly. On the other hand if a box or canister filter is being used, then the dirty floss is totally replaced by new floss. This is because the bacteria are housed in another compartment of the same filter, which provides the biological filtration. This is the most important type of filtration since it provides the necessary habitat for the bacteria that are responsible for the nitrogen cycle. It is also very easy to set up, since the only requirement is a surface area. Porous ceramics and plastics are available at the pet stores for this purpose and even some decorating rocks such as lava provide an excellent habitat. The last type of filtration is the chemical filtration. This is considered the least important of the three, because we only need it when chemicals are present in the water. For this reason it is usually only applied after chemicals have been added as medication for example, and the effected fish have recovered. If chemical filtration is applied during medication, then all the chemicals are absorbed by the filter, voiding the treatment. Activated carbon and other media are available to perform this function.

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