Aquarium Filters

When deciding upon a filter system for your shrimp tank, it is important to first consider your goals. Many factors can affect our desired equipment for filtration. Whether you intend to breed shrimp or simply have a planted tank with a small number of shrimp, can require different forms of filtration. First of all, lets go over the three basic mechanisms of filtration in our aquarium environment.


Mechanical Filtration is achieved by pulling water through a sponge or filter media that blocks larger particulate matter from staying in the water column. This is one of the most necessary forms of filtration for any aquarium.

Biological Filtration is the use of bacteria colonies on the surfaces in our tank to break down waste chemicals into more tolerable ones. There are many forms of these bacteria, however the more effective forms will colonize on surfaces that have greater water current. This is ideal within our filter media, so larger surface areas in our filter have a greater effect on our water chemistry. The biological filtration that occurs in our tank is necessary to sustain any aquarium inhabitants.

Chemical Filtration uses an absorption agent to pull anions and waste chemicals such as nitrates out of the water column. Over time these forms of filter media will reach their maximum absorption capacity, so it is important to replace them regularly. Many of the functions of chemical filtration can be achieved through regular water changes, so chemical filtration’s primary function is to reduce the number of water changes necessary in our tanks. It will not however completely eliminate the need for water changes.

Sponge Filters

For breeding shrimp, sponge filters are an excellent option. They utilize an air pump to pull water through a sponge to achieve both our mechanical and biological filtration. They need to be cleaned regularly or they can become less effective due to the sponges becoming blocked by matter from the tank. I have had great success with a variety of styles and sizes of sponge filters. I particularly like the D-732 Aquarium Water Double Sponge Filter, because it has the added benefit of adding more water current on the surface of the water.

Hang on Back Filter (HOB)

For a more powerful option than sponge filters, hang on back filters tend to have stronger pumps to move more water through the filter media. If you intend to have a large colony of shrimp for your tank, this may be a more desirable option. It is important to be certain to prepare your intake tube to make sure that it doesn’t pull young or baby shrimp into the filter. A prefilter is sufficient for this tank, an excellent option would be Fluval EDGE Pre-Filter Sponge. There are many varieties of HOB filters ranging from very powerful pumps designed for large tanks, and smaller versions for small tanks.

Canister Filter

Another step up from an HOB filter, would be a canister filter. These filters can have a wide variety of power and filtering capacity. I have found that these are generally more than is necessary for a normal shrimp tank.

Wet-Dry Filter

Generally speaking, these types of filters are stronger than what would be necessary for a normal shrimp tank. If you are intending to have a particularly large tank, such as 125g, with an large established population of shrimp you might want to consider this type of filter.

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