The UK Corner Aquarium Guide
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A Guide to Corner Aquarium Filters and Filtration
(article first published 2012 - update under preparation)

About Filtration
When it comes to keeping tropical fish, water quality is all important.  There are a number of factors which will affect the quality of the water in your corner aquarium but one of the most important is the quantity of ammonia present in the water.  Ammonia is a highly toxic waste product produced by the kidneys of fish and excreted into the water.  In the wild, fish generally live in relatively vast quantities of water and the ammonia is quickly diluted so that unless the water is otherwise polluted it never reaches dangerous concentrations.

In the corner aquarium however there is far less water to perform this function and if the tank is not properly maintained ammonia can become sufficiently concentrated to harm the fish.  This potential threat can be removed by the use of beneficial bacteria contained within a suitable tank filter which convert the ammonia into less toxic substances.

Filters can be contained within the aquarium (an "internal" filter) or outside (an "external" filter).  Although some aquarists (ourselves included) have a preference for one type over the other either will do the job well.  The most important feature is that the filter should contain a material with a very large surface area e.g. synthetic cotton wool or ceramic noodles which have space for the many millions of bacteria required to break down the ammonia and other waste products.

Such bacterial filtration is however only one element of aquarium filtration.  An aquarium filter also needs to provide mechanical and chemical filtration.

Mechanical filtration is relatively straightforward.  As part of the normal operation of the corner aquarium detritus will collect in the water; fish waste, fragments of plant, uneaten food and the like.  This needs to be removed both to maintain an attractive aquascape and to reduce the likelihood of decomposing matter polluting the water.  This is normally achieved by including in the filter a means of physically removing the offending items from the water.  In modern filters this is usually by means of a foam pad.

Chemical filtration is a little more complex.  In addtion to ammonia many other chemicals that can't be removed by mechanical or bacterial methods accumulate in aquarium water over time.  Some of these are indigenous to the aquarium; particles and nutrients from fish waste, proteins, hormones and such like.  Others invade the aquarium water from the surrounding atmosphere; pesticides, air fresheners, cooking odours, cleaners and the myriad of other chemicals and substances which circulate in varying quantities in the modern household.

To remove these a substance known as activated carbon is used.  In very  simple terms, this comprises carbon which has been heat treated to produce millions of tiny pores. These give each fragment an enormous surface area with which to absorb undesirable chemicals from water passed through it.  It is invaluable in the aquarium filter and if properly maintained can result in crystal clear "invisible" aquarium water - the goal of every aquarist.  Because it absorbs impurities so efficiently the activated carbon becomes clogged up and requires to be changed at regular intervals, usually three to four weeks, as part of normal aquarium maintenance.
Corner Aquarium Filters
With just a few exceptions, all the corner aquariums available online in the UK today are supplied with suitable filtration, either internal or external.  Each is adequate for the job although as you will know if you have read the feature on Corner Aquariums Compared we do have a slight preference for the external filter on the basis of its minimal intrusion into the aquarium and (we think) easier access for routine maintenance.

Having said this one of the most popular corner aquariums in the UK today, the Juwel Trigon 190 comes supplied with an internal filter and this doesn't appear to have put buyers off in any way.  The internal filter does have the advantage of producing a corner aquarium which is wholly self contained and this has its appeal.  In addition it removes the risk of leaks which is present, at least in theory, in the case of external filters.

Below are details of the filters supplied with the corner aquariums available today along with those we'd recommend purchasing where none is supplied.

The Filters

Juwel Bioflow 3.0 and 8.0 Corner Aquarium Filters

The Juwel Bioflow 3.0 is supplied with the Juwel Trigon 190 Corner Aquarium.  It's a compact internal filter providing efficient mechanical, chemical and biological filtering via the supplied filter media.  In addition it's compatible with the Juwel heater allowing the heater to be enclosed within the filter.  This ensures an even distribution of heating throughout the aquarium.

In all there are potentially six different types of filter media in use in this filter which, provided they are maintained at the appropriate intervals, should remove even the most troublesome pollutants from your tank.

The larger capacity Juwel Trigon 350 Corner Aquarium comes supplied with the similar but larger capacity Juwel Bioflow 8.0 corner aquarium filter.
juwel bioflow corner aquarium filter image

Fluval 205 and 405 Corner Aquarium Filters

These filters are supplied with Fluval Venezia corner aquariums, the 205 (pictured) with the Fluval Venezia 190 and the 405 with the Venezia 350.

Both are external filters housed in the cabinet below the tank. All necessary mechanical, chemical and biological filtration is provide by means of foam pads, activated carbon and BIOmax - a highly rated filter medium produced by Fluval.  The filters feature what Fluval describe as an "Aqua-stop" feature.  This allows you to disconnect the water flow from the tank to the filter for maintenance purposes while retaining the vacuum in the connecting house which in turn facilitates easy reconnection and resumption of operation.

The Fluval 05 series is being replaced by the 06 series and you may find that a Fluval 206 or 406 finds its way into your corner aquarium package.  The 06 series is essentially an enhanced version of the 05 featuring slightly improved capablilities.  Either will be perfectly suitable for your Venezia 190 or 350.
fluval 205 corner aquarium filter image

Ferplast Bluwave Corner Aquarium Filter

Supplied with the Ferplast Dubai 90 corner aquarium the Ferplast Bluwave is a three stage - chemical, biological and mechanical - internal corner aquarium filter.

The filter can be located where you choose within the tank and incorporates a compartment for the supplied Bluclima heater which minimises the amount of equipment on display.  The filter media are removable through the top of the filter compartment ensuring relatively straightforward maintenance.   All in all the Bluwave is a low visibility, quiet, easily maintainable internal filter.
ferplast bluwave corner aquarium filter image

Aquatlantis Biobox 2 Corner Aquarium Filter

The Biobox 2 is the filter supplied with the Aquatlantis Ambience 100 corner aquarium series and which we would also recommend for purchase along with the Aquatlantis Evasion.  It's a compact internal filter which, as you can see from the illustration, incorporates an integral compartment for the supplied heater.

Three stage filtration is provided by replaceable filter "recharges" - easy really.  The filter is reasonably compact at 28 x 9 x 36.4 cm and should sit neatly towards the back of your aquarium.  Unfortunately we don't have any online instructions for you but you can find more details of the Biobox system from page 20 on in the Aquatlantis Catalogue.
biobox 2 corner tank filter image

Eheim Range

If you buy an Eheim Scubacorner 200 corner aquarium you will be presented with a choice of external filters covering a fair old price range.  Which one you choose is up to you but if you can afford it we'd suggest one of the more advanced models.  If your budget can stretch to it, the 350T Thermo is certainly worth considering for its integral heater.  We've listed each available filter below with a summary of its principal features.

Eheim Classic 250

Although regarded as the basic model the Classic 250 will certainly meet
eheim classic 250 corner aquarium filter the filtration requirements of the Eheim Scubacorner 200.

Three stage filtration is achieved via a choice of media and the Classic 250 is certainly a tried and tested design.  We feel however that it is somewhat outdated and lacking in the convenience features evident in more modern filters.  Maintenance can be fiddly and messy and unless you are really operating at the budget end of the market we'd strongly suggest you take a look at one of the more advanced models available.
eheim classic 250 corenr aquarium filter image

Eheim Ecco Pro 200

The Ecco Pro 200 is a definite step up from the Classic 250.  Again it's an external filter which will sit quietly in the corner cabinet below your aquarium.  However this model has shut off valves on the hose inlet and outlets and a large volume self priming feature both of which will greatly ease the burden of maintenance.

Filter media are contained in filtration baskets which make for convenient renewal and the design incorporates a "prefilter", the intention of which is to extend the maintenance intervals for the remaining media.   All in all we'd recommend this model well above the Classic 250.
eheim ecco pro corner aquarium filter image

Eheim Professional 3 250
The Professional 3 250 corner filter is an advance on the Ecco Pro 200.  Its shape provides more stablilty and it is fitted with a safety hose adaptor to prevent accidental removal of the hoses while the shut off valves remain open.

In essence it is a more advanced model of the Ecco Pro.  Both will do the job but the Professional 3 250 is the more polished version.

You  can check the instruction manual for additional details and to obtain a good idea of what the Professional 3 series is all about.
eheim professional 3 250 corner aquarium filter image

Eheim Professional 3e 350

The Professional 3e 350 has a larger capacity and workload than the Professional 3 250 which you don't actually need for the Scubacorner 200.  What it also has however is the ability to control and monitor the performance of the filter electronically, either by means of controls located on the housing or on your pc via the optional Eheim USB Interface.

This is corner aquarium filtration at it's cutting edge and it doesn't come particularly cheap.  But if you're a technophile and your budget stretches to it the Eheim Professional 3e 350 will do the job and give you something to talk about.  Eheim bill the 3e series as "the first intelligent filter" and the details are probably beyond the scope of this resume.  You'll find all you need to know here.

Eheim Professional 3e 350T Thermal

With the Professional 3e 350T Thermal we reach the top of Eheim's external filter range.  Strictly the capacity is greater than you'll need for your Scubacorner 200 but it's always better to have over rather than under capacity.

The 350T has all the attributes of the 3e 350 but with the added feature of an included heating function.   Control is by means of a know located on the filter housing - and the filter is only suitable for fresh water.
eheim professional 3e 350t corner aquarium filter image

Aqua One Advance 750 Canister Filter

The Aqua One Advance 750 Canister Filter is supplied along with the Aqua One Eurostyle Corner Aquarium.  It offer the same features as the Advance 1050 described above but with a smaller capacity to take account of the Eurostyle's 150 litre capacity.

Sorry no pic

Fluval U4 Filter

We recommend this one as a budget filter for use in the Aquavital Vogue 60 corner aquarium.  It's a quiet running and relatively simple internal filter which will fit neatly at the back of your corner aquarium with minimum intrusion.

It provides efficient three stage filtration by means of replacable foam, carbon and polyester filter pads and can handle corner aquariums with volumes ranging between 130 and 240 litres.

The filter has a flip top cover for ease of maintenance - you can see more on its operation and servicing in the instruction manual.
fluval u4 corner aquarium filter image

Aqua One UFO 550 Filter Hood

This filter is supplied as part of the hood of the Aqua One UFO 550 corner aquarium.  Of unique design it affords easy access for maintenance and provides efficient filtering of the water through foam, polyester, carbon and ceramic filter media.
ufo 550 corner aquarium hood image

That more or less covers all the filters supplied or recommended for use with the corner aquariums available online in the UK today.  Although they have their differences, all are perfectly suitable for the job they are provided to do.  The only one we would suggest you think hard about is the Eheim Classic 250.  It's true it is a filter of classic design and proven efficiency - and the price is attractive - but it lacks the more up to date features which make life so much easier.  Here we're thinking of integrated inlet and outlet valves and a priming mechanism to restart the filter following routine maintenance.

Remember however that you are not commited to any filter for life.  If you find the filter supplied with your corner aquarium is not to your liking you can always experiment with an alternative filter in future.

Best Wishes

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