Should a Fish Tank Filter Be Under Water?

should fish tank filter be under water

Every person has a hobby they are dedicated to. Whether it is reading, writing, gaming, or cooking, the passion, and love for it would always push that person towards preserving and improvising that activity. 

However, when it comes to hobbies involving living things, you must follow every rule in the book, whether it involves plants in the garden or fish in the aquarium.

When it comes to aquariums, who doesn’t love colorful, unique fish in a giant water tank with underwater plants and props? It looks lovely, but you must put extra care and effort into making it look that way.

Why Do You Need a Fish Tank Filter?

Just like we humans require clean and hygienic air to breathe, fish also need fresh, clean water to breathe. One of the most essential parts of fish keeping is the maintenance of the fish tank. This mainly includes proper filtration and cleaning the tank.

So why do we need a fish tank filter? Here are a few facts, especially for beginning fish keepers.

  • The primary purpose of the filter in your aquarium is to remove free-floating particulates, fish waste, dangerous chemicals, excess food particles, and decaying organic matter
  • It is used to prevent ammonia poisoning, which is the poisoning of fish due to the excessive presence of fish waste in the water that they are continually excreting into
  • Filtrations such as biological filtration will remove the presence of harmful bacteria and microorganisms
  • Filtration also prevents cloudy aquarium water that is caused due to the presence of decaying food, floating particulates, and other organic matter

How to Set Up a Fish Tank Filter

Once you’ve settled for the type of filter you need for the aquarium, now comes the important part — how to install it. You must have dozens of questions. One frequently asked is, should the filter be installed underwater or remain above it? Fear not, you’ll have all your questions answered by following these simple steps for installing a fish tank filter.

1. Set up and assembly

Start off by assembling and setting up the filter but don’t plug it in. Follow the steps on your filter’s instruction manual, and it’ll be easy. Now set up the temperature control system of your tank, and you are good to go for the next step.

2. Gravel and aquascaping

It is recommended that if you aren’t using biological filtration, then two to three inches of gravel would be adequate as it would provide stability. The minimum estimation is about two pounds of gravel per gallon of water. Make sure to rinse and stir the gravel continuously in a bucket before pouring it into the aquarium.

3. Installing the filter

Now comes the main part; installing your fish tank filter. Once the assembly and graveling are done, place the filter into the tank under the gravel for under gravel filters. Make sure the lift tubes are correctly fitted before filling the tank with water. Don’t turn on the filter until you’ve attached the pump airlines and powerhead.

4. Turn on your filter

After a final check, turn on your filter when the tank is filled with adequate water.

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Should a Fish Tank Filter be Under Water?

This option totally depends on the type of filter you are using. You can also use external water filters that are mounted on the water tank in order to work. However, if you aren’t using that type of filter, then it’s recommended that you submerge it.

If you place it at the top, then, because of the water level drop due to evaporation, the filter will be exposed, and it may stop functioning correctly. This should be kept in mind, especially for internal filters.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Make sure there is always water in the pump chamber to avoid the filter pulling in the air instead
  • Keep an eye on your bubble walls and make sure they are not located directly under the intake tube. Your filter may stop working or even make noise if the bubbles go up the main tube
  • Always be aware of the water level as it should be on the level recommended for your fish tank filter. Remember, most filters require the water level to be around one inch from the lip of the filter
  • Do not use sand; always use gravel for your aquarium.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it comes down to the type of filter that you have. Remember to read the instructions that come with your fish tank filter to ensure that you install it correctly.

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