Fish Tank & Aquarium Filters | PetSmart

Find replacement parts for aquarium pumps, filters and more to extend reliable use
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I will briefly mention Power Heads here as well as many internal filters are simply glorified Power Heads (I do not mean that in a bad way either).
Power Heads are an excellent addition as these can add valuable cross currents that are especially useful in Marine Aquariums. Many such as SunSun HJ 1542 (formerly the Via Aqua 1300) have small sponges too and this is a size that fits many saltwater tanks well.
Another popular well made brand is the Rio Plus along with the medium/heavy duty Rio HF Pumps with exceptional head pressure due to their sealed Vortex Rotor Blade design.
Aquarium Pumps And Filters
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Wet/Dry or Trickle Filters: Trickle filters are an evolution of standard filters, trying to be more efficient in less space. The basis on which they were developed is the recognition that aerobic bacteria are the primary focus of all filtration (biological filtration). To maximize populations of bacteria, then, a filter needs to maximize not only surface area, but oxygen as well. Oxygen is much more prevalent in air than it is in the water. Instead of submerging the biological media under water, it is held in a chamber, as water is dripped or sprayed over it. Due to the high contact of air to the wet media, the bacteria grow in a wet-dry, super saturated oxygenated state. This means there is more “free” oxygen left in the water itself for fish bio process since it is not being used to support bacteria life. Bottom line is that more fish biomass can now be kept in the aquarium. Most trickle filters employ a filter fiber as a pre-filter to do most of the mechanical filtration. Bio-balls, DLS material, bio-stars, and more are the media used for biological filtration. Despite the advantage of maximal filtration in minimal size, trickle filters do take up some space, requiring that they typically be located underneath the tank, in the stand, like a canister filter. However, because the system is not sealed and under pressure like a canister, a means of transporting the water to and from the filter is needed. Overflows are the choice of getting water to the filter. These consist of a standpipe in the aquarium or a box suspended inside the tank with a strainer and a box outside the tank connected via a hose to the filter. Water then arrives at the filter, called a sump, where it passes through the pre-filter and into the trickle chamber. After this, the water proceeds to a last chamber containing a water pump to push the water back up a hose out of the sump and into the tank. As previously mentioned, trickle systems can be very useful, especially on large tanks and can be used efficiently on fresh or salt water tanks. They house such incredible numbers of bacteria that once started, will ceaselessly convert all ammonia into nitrate. There are some drawbacks to these systems, however. Size considerations are one factor in deciding if this is the correct system for an aquarium. Many stands will not accommodate appropriately sized filters. The non-sealed aspect of trickle filters can make them prone to overflowing and flooding. It is very important to make sure all the pieces (pumps, overflows, sump size, etc.) work together as a unit. Be sure to perform a “fail – safe” test on the filter system in case of a power failure. When the power shuts off, the tank will drain down to the sump below to a certain level before it stops ---- be sure the sump is large enough to handle this volume of water during the test. Exotic Aquatics stocks a wide selection of Filters and Pumps for your reef aquarium
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Canister filters are also external power filters, but generally sit under the aquarium due to their size and weight. They push or pull water through a set of media outside the tank in the filter housing. Canisters are a little different, though, in that they filter the water in a completely sealed, pressurized container. Water is again pulled into the unit through an uptake tube and passes through various media before being expelled to the aquarium again. Canister filters employ powerful pumps to move the water, so the flow rates are often in excess of what might be found in an external hang on power filter.Air Pump Aquarium

Consider having a conversation about flow at Everything Aquatic forum:

For additional information about why to use sponge filtration please see our Sponge Filtration Article ("Sponge Filtration Information")

For pump Specifications to help match a pump to your needs:

For high quality sponge filters please see;

For a good power head please see

For air pumps please see


Additional video for Power Head Compressions. Flow Demo