Choosing the right type of filter for the aquarium is very important as a filter is an essential part of maintaining a stable water cycle and bringing about the breakdown of the nitrates and ammonia in the aquarium and convert it into something useful for your plants. Aquarium filters come in various size and types which are suitable for different aquarium types and aquarium purposes like breeding purpose, aesthetic purposes, and maintenance purposes.
Sponge filters have always been my favorite type of filters as they’re easy to maintain, super cheap (6-10 dollars) and do a great job cleaning the tank water and breaking down of the nitrates in the aquarium to something useful for the plants as a whole. These filters are excellent for fry tanks as it does not suck up any fish or shrimps, and it consumes very less amount of electricity as it operates on air pumps. Sponge Filters are best for breeding tanks, low-tech tanks, and beginner tanks.
These filters take up most of the space of the aquarium, they create heavy flow, move the debris from one corner of the aquarium to another, I would personally not recommend this filter as it is almost impossible to clean without taking apart the things in the aquarium, they take a lot of space and sometimes my fish get stuck in them. People usually choose these filters for particular fish breeding tanks like angel fish breeding and shrimp breeding tanks.
Hang-on back Filter
If you want to go for the aesthetics of a tank or build a compact Nano tank, hang-on filters are the best option in my opinion. These filters are super compact, good for beginners tanks or Nano tanks and it performs as good as the sponge filters when it comes to keeping the tank clean. They are super silent filters, easy to clean and come in various sizes and we can customize the bio-media as well. Only con is that they are comparatively more expensive than the sponge filters.
Personally I never use internal filters as they do the same job as that of sponge filters, and there is not any kind of benefits when we compare it to the sponge filters. In case the pump of the internal filter breaks-down, you can’t really do much but put away the entire filter itself. They just look really big are not worth purchasing it over sponge filters. But however, most of us use it for big tanks and not suitable for small Nano tanks.
If you have a bigger budget when setting up a tank, you should go for the canister filter. These filters have 2 pipes entering the aquarium, one pipe is for water inlet and one is for water outlet into the aquarium. The entire tub called the canister is kept below the aquarium where the aquarium water passes through various membranes and bio media before entering the aquarium as a whole. Canister filters have massive potential for large aquariums and bring about excellent filtration. I would suggest anyone who is looking forward to set-up a big tank (4-6 feet long tanks) to choose these filters.
A sump is similar to a canister filter but instead of a canister, there is an aquarium kept under the main aquarium as a whole. These filters have water entering from one side of the aquarium and exiting from the other side. Sump filters are excellent for the large aquariums but at the same time it is a tedious job cleaning the sump as you have to manually remove each media and sponge before cleaning them. In addition they are pretty expensive unless you know how to build one. Sump filter is the one to go to when you have to set up a large aquascaped aquariums that are 5-10 feet long.