Selecting a Wet/Dry Filter for Your Aquarium

Fish tank cabinet
Elad Gonen/ArcaidImages / Getty Images

Keep your aquarium as healthy as can be by installing a wet/dry filter. These filters are designed to keep the tank's water quality as high as possible via biological filtration, and they're considered to be more efficient—sometimes, significantly more efficient—than conventional filters. 

Wet/dry filters work so well because they expose the bacteria that live in the filter to both air and water, which provides that bacteria with more oxygen. When that occurs, the bacteria are better able to convert ammonia to nitrate, which leads to a healthier aquarium overall. Wet/dry filters are also known as trickle filters because the water trickles over the filter media and mixes with the air, allowing for that rapid oxidation of ammonia and nitrate.

When searching for a wet/dry filter, look for one that incorporates a mechanical filter media, which physically traps debris and particles to remove it from them from the water. Together with a wet-dry filter, the system may impress you with its superior performance. 

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    Eshopps Wet/Dry Filter

    Eshopps wet dry filter
    Amazon.com

    Compact wet/dry filters can fit in cabinets without sacrificing functional space. Wet/dry filters from Eshopps come in various models that are appropriate for 10- to 300-gallon tanks, whether they are saltwater or freshwater aquariums. The company notes the filters' large bio-ball capacity, which it claims increases aquarium biological filtration.

    Although the filter requires an appropriately sized return pump, it includes a number of vital accessories, including an overflow box, bio balls, drip tray, and cover, egg crate, filter pad, return nozzle with vinyl tubing, 1-inch bulkhead and 3 foot by 1 1/4-inch flex hose. 

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    CPR Aquatics CR Wet/Dry Filters

    CR wet/dry filters from CPR Aquatics come in a number of models to fit all tank sizes, from the CR500 for a tank up to 60 gallons to the CR3000, which is suitable for tanks up to 400 gallons. 

    Constructed of heavy-duty acrylic with flame polished edges and non-warping lid, the filter comes equipped with a built-in venturi protein skimmer and powerhead, which features a bypass for constant water and air mixing for maximum skimming action. 

    CPR filters are compact, allowing it to fit under the aquarium stand, and have vented lids that allow for appropriate gas exchange. 

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    Proclear Aquatic Systems Wet/Dry Filters

    ProClear Aquatics Systems Wet/Dry Filter

    PriceGrabber

    The overflow, sump-style Wet/Dry series filter by PAS is available in a compact Slim Line 60g model designed to fit tight cabinet spaces​ but also has larger 75-, 125-, 175-, 200-, 300-, and 400-gallon capacity units. Each includes a pre-filter, bio-ball filled media chamber, and all tubing.

    The Pro Wet/Dry series 75, 150, 200 and 300 units have the same above features that include a skimmer placed before the biological media chamber, which can easily be removed during filter operation for cleaning, a pump for skimmer operation, a choice of with or without a pre-filter models, and many other features. A return water pump is required.

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    Eheim Wet/Dry Filter Systems

    Ehiem offers a number of wet/dry, canister-style filter systems. Each unit comes complete with a 25-watt, 145-gph pump, and either two or three filter media compartments. These compact, free-standing units are efficient and will fit almost anywhere.

    This particular wet/dry filter isn't considered a traditional trickle filter, as it allows the water movement to flow in a bi-directional path. According to the company, this allows the bacteria to be in longer contact with toxins, which means undesirable particulates will decompose faster.