Tips For Adding A New Filter To An Established Tank

Aquarium filter is one of the essential components of both freshwater and marine aquaria. The aquarium filter performs a vital role by removing solid and dissolved waste from the tank. The overall essence of aquarium filters in the tank is to help the cleaning process of the tank and make it relatively more comfortable. It also helps to simplify maintenance and help keep the water like that of their natural environment.

Adding a new filter to an established tank might be a little bit different from adding it to a new tank mainly because of the bacteria population. To get the best out of the new filter, you can plug it along with the old one for about a month to get some bacteria on the new one. You can also place the filter media from the established filter into the new one. 

Adding A New Filter To An Established Tank

Filters can either be internal in the tank or external. Internal tanks should be fully submerged in water to give the perfect result while external filters are separate from the tank, but they still perform similar roles with the internal ones. Setting up an aquarium filter is not as complicated as most people take it to be. All you need to do is understand some insider tips that can help you successfully install the filter with no stress.

Common Types Of Aquarium Filters And Their Installation Tips

There are different types of aquarium filters, and their installation process varies. We have selected the five most common types of aquarium filters with tips that can help you successfully install them in your established tank.

Air Powered Aquarium Filters

Air-powered aquarium filters are one of the most popular aquarium filters, and it is relatively easy to install. It is particularly suitable for small tanks, and the installation should be below the water level. This location is because the water level needs to rise to draw water through filter media. One of the essential tips you should note is that you need to be careful about the positioning of the filter. The positioning can determine if the rising bubbles will get sucked into the power filter’s intake tube or not.

Under gravel Filters

The under gravel filters [UGF] is an aquarium filter that primarily functions as a mechanical filter that collects debris. Place a perforated plate in the aquarium and cover it with aquarium gravel. Once the aquarium has enough water, connect an air pump to the air diffusers to create a steady stream rising bubbles inside the tubes. You can also employ the use of siphon gravel to keep the gravel bed clean.

Hang-On-The Back Power Filters

This type of filter has a design that makes it easy to hang it on the back rim of the aquarium. One of the reasons why this filter type is common is because of its ability to use multiple types of filtration materials. It can handle both mechanical filtration and activated carbon to remove particles. However, you must ensure you have enough space behind your aquarium to accommodate them.

Internal Power Filters

Internal power filters should be deep in the aquarium. It is safe to immerse every part of the tank, including the motor, filter cartridge, and filter box. Water circulates through the cartridge and back to the tank. You can regulate the air bubble by making little adjustments to the valve because too much air can cause gurgle noise. The size of the internal filter varies, and it can fit into any tank ranging from nano-tanks to big tanks of about 30 gallons.

Canister Filters

The last on our list is Canister filters. This filter took water filtration a step higher by using multiple stages of chemical, biological, and chemical filtration. It uses the gravity technique to allow water flow from the tank into the canister filter and filter media. However, you should note that setting up a canister filter requires little planning. The suitable place to keep the filter is under the tank.

How To Successfully Assemble And Install Filters In Aquarium Tanks

Assembling the parts of a filter is the first step of installing a filter. Most aquarium filters come with disassembled parts from the manufacturer. However, these removed part boxes usually come with manuals that will guide you through assembling and installing the filter. The assembling of a filter is specific for each filter type, according to the manufacturer’s instruction.

Once you have put the filter parts together in the correct order, you can then move on to integrating it into your tank. For under gravel filters, you must ensure you correctly place the filter under the gravel in a suitable position. You should also enhance the working capability of the filter by lifting the tubes. After this, you can proceed to attach pump airlines and powerhead to the appropriate lift tubes before turning it on.

External filters, on the other hand, are easier to assemble and integrated into the fish tank. All you need to do after joining the parts is to look for a suitable position to place the filter. You can either put it behind or below the fish tank. It is not advisable to place it above the fish tank for precautionary reasons.

Make use of the external power cable provided by the manufacturer to connect the filter source to a power outlet. You should make sure the power cable is not in a position where it can come in contact with the aquarium water for obvious reasons. Likewise, you should also ensure that there is enough water in the aquarium before turning on.


Filtration is a standard method employed by many aquarists to maintain healthy aquaria. Aquarium filters are vital to get rid of solid, soluble, and chemical wastes in the tank. Nevertheless, as much as aquarists want to integrate filters into their aquarium tanks, they face little challenges.

Aside from deciding which the best filter for an aquarium tank is, another challenge they face is how to install the filter in an established aquarium. However, with the help of some useful tips, installing filters to any aquaria is quite easy. The installation can be specific for the type of filters you want to introduce to your tank.