Under gravel filters are aquarium filters that are designed with a slotted plate. It usually employs the use of air pumps and uses gravel as a medium for filtering the aquarium. The under gravel filter works as a medium for mechanical and biological filtration of the aquarium.
However, there are several under gravel filters on the market today, and it may be hard to choose the brand that works best for your aquarium. This is why we have decided to do a review of the best under gravel filter for different categories. Find out how each one fares against the other in this article
Aquarium Filtration and Aquarium Filter Types
There are three aquarium filtration types, mechanical, chemical, and biological. Each of these processes helps in maintaining the cleanliness of the aquarium water. The mechanical filtration is the first step of the filtration process, and this is the stage where the debris and particles on the aquarium water are trapped physically. The mechanical filtration process involves straining out the waste found in the water to ensure that the water remains pure.
On the other hand, chemical filtration is the stage where toxins and pollutants are removed. The most common media used for toxin removal are activated carbon and the ion exchange process. There are also other mediums that can be used depending on your preferences. The biological filtration process involves removing the ammonia found in water. Ammonia can be toxic to the fish living in the tank, which is why it is essential to start the nitrogen cycle.
Apart from the filtration type, there are also different aquarium filter types to choose from. Apart from the under gravel filter that we have discussed, you can also choose internal, power, and canister filters among others. Each type of filter works well to filter out waste and toxins, but you must choose one that suits your needs, aquarium setup, and preferences.
Best Small Aquarium Undergravel Filter
Designed for smaller aquariums, Lee’s 30 Premium Undergravel Filter, 12-Inch by 36-Inch is ideal for beginner aquarists. It is durable and sturdy since it comes with a multi-level plate design. Moreover, it uses high-quality plastic materials that reduce any chance of damage. This makes this under gravel supportive even if it carries a lot of weight.
Since it is designed for a small aquarium, there are only two tubes. It would have been better if there were four tubes, but it suits smaller aquariums better. Regardless, this under gravel filter allows you to keep your aquarium cleaner with little maintenance needed. The height adjustment is also uncomplicated since it is designed with a telescoping ring.
Other buyers have commented that some of the slots have been filled it, which makes it quite tricky to operate. However, you can pre-rinse the gravel to make prevent clogging. This shouldn’t be a source of worry since setting up this under gravel filter is easy provided that you have measured your aquarium accurately.
Best Undergravel Filter for Large Tanks
If your aquarium has a larger capacity, the Penn Plax Undergravel Filter for 50-gallon tanks may help you hold the gravel better. With four filter plates, you can be sure that your filtration system can hold the heavy medium well. The design of the filter plates allows for an adjustable 1-inch lift tube, and there is also a clip that keeps the plates securely fastened.
Setting up the system is relatively easy, and the maintenance is also minimal. Moreover, the great part about this is that the dirt collected will be hidden away from plain view. This helps maintain the cleanliness and improves the appearance of the aquarium. Similar to the previous model, there are two tubes that contain the carbon filter. This is where waste and toxins are trapped. Thus, it helps minimize the number of water changes significantly. However, the most important part is that it is useful in maintaining the quality of the water needed by the fishes to survive.
Best Undergravel Aquarium Filter
The Penn Plax FC2 Filt-A-Carb for Multi-Pore And Under Gravel E filter uses activated carbon as a medium. Activated carbon is an extremely popular medium for filtration as you can be sure that it works to remove the fishy odor and unwanted particles. The disposable cartridge of the under gravel filter is easy to remove. Moreover, the air that is pumped is quite strong, and it supports the proper health and growth of the fish. It is essential to note that this specific under gravel filter works best with smaller aquariums as the small size cannot support larger aquariums.
Best Fish Bowl Undergravel Filter
Despite being small in size, fish bowls require cleanup, too. Lee’s Pet Products ALE13200 Under gravel Fishbowl Filter works well for fish bowls with a capacity of 1 gallon below. Apart from the filtration system, this unit is also designed with a decorative plant. Since fish bowls are small, this product is meant to maximize the space. With a great air pump, this fishbowl filter may be able to reduce the times that you replace the water in the bowl. While the unit is cheap, you would need to purchase the air pump and tube separately to make the fishbowl filter work.