Can You Have Too Much Filtration in an Aquarium?

Many people think that aquariums need to be heavily filtered and that there is no point in having an aquarium without the filtration. Well, the reality is quite different. Filters are good for aquariums but you need to make sure that you use the right type of filter for your tank.

Can You Have Too Much Filtration?

An aquarium can never have too much filtration. The question that you want to ask yourself is whether your filter is hurting the fish or not working as intended. If it’s clogging from time to time, then it might be doing more harm than good.

You will know when a filter needs an adjustment by keeping an eye on what happens with your water quality and nitrate levels if you leave the stock filter alone or if something new or significantly different is added. If you pay close attention to your aquarium’s water conditions, then it should not be difficult to figure out any potential problems with the filter in question.

How Much Filtration is Too Much?

It is hard to answer this question as every tank and fish needs different levels of filtration. That being said, filters are designed for freshwater only tanks so if you have salt water, it is advisable for you to work with a qualified marine retailer about how much filtration your system really needs. In addition, there are a lot of factors that can make it hard to answer this question such as water hardness, tank size, tank setup and the species of fish you have.

For example, some saltwater fish like clownfish require very high levels of filtration while others such as betta fish, guppies, and Zebra Danios need very little. Furthermore, if you have aggressive fish such as Oscar fish and African cichlids or an active tank, it is best for your filter to not go over 30% of your aquarium, but if you do want more than that, then simply buy an extra, bigger filter.

How Much Filtration Should I Have?

Many are worried that they need to have so much filtration but in reality, most fish tanks do not require any type of tank filter other than a simple aeration device or heavy duty sponge filters.

Most people actually don’t realize that there are certain types of aquariums where the water makes gravitational movements from top down instead of bottom up because their lenses and UV light units have some bubbling risk. Water moves easily through the lowest chambers which are the internal portion of a powerhead and when it gets to your fixture or unit, it takes time for the bacteria, enzymes and inactive cancer cells to react with each other which gives rise to bubbles.

Having too much filtration can make that situation worse by introducing waste into a chamber where there isn’t enough light or space for them. This scenario is quite common on large aquariums, especially setups in manufacturing facilities.

What Size Should My Filter Be?

The general rule of thumb for any type of filter is that the size should be as large or larger than your aquarium. This ensures that there will be enough pressure from the filtration unit to create the proper amount of bubbles inside the aquarium. Although filters will perform various effects on a smaller systems, it may not allow them to provide all they can do with a full-sized tank.

Aquatop and AquaClear’s powerhead filters are two of the most widely-used filters that still remain in production for small to medium-sized aquariums. In contrast, a filter with a powerhead will not provide enough current to create the proper amount of bubbles for many large aquariums. Large aquariums can sometimes require a mega-tank of aeration or circulation to provide beneficial outcomes.

Can You Use Two Filters in a Fish Tank?

You’re probably thinking maybe one of them will work and you’ll just keep using both, but the point is sometimes, having two filters can complicate or exhaust the issues of proper filtration. There are times where you will want to use two separate filters just because it is beneficial for your set-up and there are times when this would never be needed, so as a rule of thumb, when one filter is already working perfectly well, give yourself the best chance of success by keeping it streamlined. If all things should fail, then having multiple filters that do their jobs very efficiently is always an option since they run on different modes.

If you have a very large tank and want to make the most of it, the use of two filters at the same time is something that should be considered. It’s important to understand that filters can only be used in combination with one another when they are working in harmony. For instance, Fluval and Hayward are some examples of the best brands that you can use as secondary filters as they are made specifically for fish tanks.

Do Multiple Filters Compete on the Fish Tank?

There is a big possibility that multiple filters can compete on a fish tank. For instance, in theory, you could have both the external tank and your canister or biologic filter operating at their maximum capacity by utilizing the outside world as a resource to supply micro nutrients. However, in reality these two filters share an outlet on all return water lines so they would compete with one another for available space, allowing them to push each other out of balance.

How to Adjust Filter Strength?

Naturally, the bacteria will grow stronger over time and filter strength and capacity should follow suit. When aimed for a specific media bed or activated carbon filter, there are two methods to go about this adjustment.

First, bacterial cell count can be increased through addition of new stock from other tanks or cultures or second, it can also be decreased by feeding less with lower protein levels. This approach involves feeding the aquarium with a small amount of food into each tray’s slots forcing the bacteria colonies to compete for this resource better than when left just enough room between columns, thus keeping their growth levels from changing in one rate.

Final Thoughts

There is no such thing as too much filtration, it depends on the size of your aquarium and the species of fish you want to keep. The biggest mistake new aquarists make is over-filtering their tanks. It’s a myth that more water means better filtration. Over-filtration leads to dead spots in your tank, which can kill your fish if not treated quickly.

A good rule of thumb is to have enough filtration for the number of fish you are keeping plus two times the length of your tank in gallons per hour (gph). For example, if you have a 10-gallon aquarium with 5 goldfish, you would need about 20 gph worth of filtration. And always remember to choose your filtration system according to your aquarium’s needs!