Marineland Bio-Wheel hang on the tank style filters are very popular with hobbyist. These filters are very easy to clean. Photo from Marineland.
Hang on the tank power filters come in many shapes and sizes. The primary purpose of hang on the tank power filters is to filter out fine particles of detritus. Most of the hang on the tank power filters provide an area to place carbon or other chemical filtration media, or have carbon enclosed in a filter cartridge. Many hang on the tank power filters have incorporated some type of biological filtration media in the design of the filter. Most of these filters are self priming provided that you first fill the filter up with water. Most hang on the tank filters are easy to clean, and some allow the use of different types of media.
The ease of cleaning makes hang on the tank power filters a very popular choice for aquariums of 100 gallons (380 l) or less.
Trickle, sump, and refugium are common types of filtration systems that use a container that is typically made of acrylic, or a glass tank. These types of filters are normally housed in a cabinet underneath the aquarium. They are common on large marine aquariums, but are also very good filters for freshwater tanks.
Sump style filters are powered by either an internal sump pump or external pump. Internal sump pumps tend to be quieter, but they can transfer heat to the aquarium water. External pumps are often more energy efficient, some are very quiet. With an external pump, a cabinet needs to be ventilated or heat can build up and transfer to the aquarium water.
Some things you should look for when selecting a sump style filter:
- Will a heater fit in the sump
- Can you add chemical filtering media to the sump
- How easy is it to clean
- Will it fit in the aquarium cabinet (you may have to build your own cabinet)