Your Perfect Guide To Aquaponics Filtering Systems

Last Updated on December 6, 2021 by Marco C.

If you want to set up an aquaponics system, filtration is an important part to pay attention to.  This is why we have created the best guide to the different aquaponics filter systems.

A filter is a tool used in many different systems. Basically, a filter is something that traps and stores extra sediment that would normally enter your system.  You can find filters in your car engines, air conditioners, and of course your aquaponics fish tank.

There are many different types of aquaponics filtering systems.  The one that you choose depends on multiple factors. Hopefully, this article will help you make a good decision. 

You will leave this article with a deeper understanding of aquaponics filtering systems, their function, and their importance. First, let’s understand the main points of an aquaponics filtering system.  

Diving In Deep To Aquaponics Filtration

The function of a filter in any pond or tank system is to keep the water clean by trapping sediments that have built up inside of your tank water over time.   Your tank water is pumped out of the tank and then passes through your filter.  

The filter is a semi-impermeable medium which has a small grade.  This is how it traps all the small contents of your fish tank.  

After some time the filter will become saturated with debris, so you will need to clean it out.  Some filters need to be replaced every time it fills up and others are able to be cleaned and reused.  

If you want to save money and materials, go with the reusable option. If you can clean your filter, you won’t have to buy a new filter.  The speed at which the filter fills up depends on a few factors.

First, the filter is affected by the conditions of your tank.  If you do not keep a clean and balanced ecosystem, your filter will have a lot more debris to trap.  Second, the conditions of your grow beds can affect filtration.  

If the solid waste from your fish tank cannot break down effectively in your grow beds, it will pass through your filter.  This causes your filter to fill up faster.

One way to limit the amount of solid waste buildup in your grow beds is to have worms in your growing medium.  The worms will consume particles which would normally have to pass through your filter.  

Not only is using worms good for keeping your tank clean, it also provides a healthy environment for your plants.  Worms feces is one of the best fertilizers you can add to your system.  So, using worms kills two birds with one stone! 

In general, keeping the water clear of algae buildup and other particles is a key aspect to ensuring your fish have a healthy life. 

Types Of Aquaponic Filters

As mentioned earlier, there are many different kinds of filters you can choose to work with. Let’s take a closer look at some of these aquaponics filtering systems.

The first aquaponics filter we will cover is called a Raft Filter.  A raft filter gets its name because it floats above the tank.  A raft filter is a form of mechanical filtration. 

A mechanical filter physically removes particles by trapping them in the filter material.  With these systems, once the debris is trapped, there is nowhere for it to go.  So you will have to continue to remove the sludge build-up from the filter to ensure it continues to function.

You can add this buildup directly into the garden because it is a great fertilizer high in nitrogen. 

Mechanical filters can be designed in different ways.  They usually have multiple layers which will filter varying degrees of sediment.  A natural filter can be made with sand, gravel, and charcoal.  

You can also use a mesh-like material or a fiberglass filtration mat.  This is good for catching very fine particles.  

In a raft filter, they use multiple chambers of styrofoam to trap debris.  There can be 2- 3 chambers depending on the specific filter you choose.  Water is passed through all chambers and re-enters your tank very cleanly.  

Another type of filter is a swirl filter.  This uses the principles of gravity to move your solid waste to the bottom of the filter and out of your system.  It is barrel-shaped.  

You can easily build this one at home yourself.  This filter has a water input, a waste output, and a clean water output to go back into your tank.

swirl filter

Learn more about: Aquaponics Grow Bed Calculator

Natural Aquaponics Filtration

Another interesting aquaponics filtering system is using bacteria in nature to do the work.  We consider this the most sustainable choice because it is basically mimicking what happens in the natural environment.  Bacteria and microorganisms will break down and eat particles from the fish tank making it safe to re-enter your tank.  

This method is also the most effective in preventing the buildup of too much nitrate in your tank.  This is because the bacteria consume the nitrogen, making it impossible for it to go back into your system.  

The size of your filter needs to correlate directly with the amount of water in your tank.  The more gallons your tank can hold, the larger the filter needs to be.  If your aquaponics filtration system is too small, it will quickly get clogged and overflow.

In all filtration methods, a pump located at the bottom of your pond moves water to the filter which is located outside of your water system.  According to the University of Florida, a filter system has many different benefits.  Some of them include cleaning your tank, balancing your water/ grow bed’s PH, aeration of the water, and controlling ammonia/ nitrate buildup.

Hopefully, you can understand the importance of a filter. You absolutely cannot have aquaponics without a filtering system.  It is a crucial step for any aquaponics owner. 

Spend time to pick the right one that works for your system.  It’s not too difficult to build one on your own too! 

Feel free to comment and ask questions below!

Read more about: Commercial Aquaponics Startup Cost