Best aquarium filtration for a Bowfront 46 gallon fish tank


What is the best aquarium filtrationto use on my 46 Gallon Bowfront aquarium?

I'm looking for the best filtration possible, not whether its cheap or super expensive.

  • Aquarium Size?: 30 to 50 gallons
  • Aquarium Age?: less than a week
  • Type of community?: Aggressive community aquarium
  • Number of fish in the aquarium?: 16-20
  • Country: Canada


The only way a proper filter can be selected is to take into account what fish are going to be kept in the tank, It makes a great difference if the fish are neons and small peaceful fish in huge schools, or a couple of larger, aggressive fish that will stir up the gravel but create less wastes overall.

Tanks that large are usually filled with medium to larger fish, and that is where I have to begin to suggest the best aquarium filtration for your specific case. I prefer the Fluval series of filters as the mainstay of your filtration. They are well worth the money and are the canister of choice for many aquarists looking for a great distribution with value, and, feature conscious aquarists looking for great versatility in media selection options.

For the best aquarium filtration, I always go a step or two above, especially with the Fluval systems. You could probably get away with the Fluval 305 or 306. I haven't had a chance to try our the 06 series, but doubt there are many differences other than cosmetic. I like the 05 series quite a bit and they are proven reliable and long lasting with the bugs long worked out in previous models.

But the main differences between the 306 and 406 filters are not so great that you will cause problems by picking the 405/6 instead of the 305/6 selection. This is best especially if you are going with something like African Cichlids or even South Americans. Barbs and gouramies also prefer larger volumes of currents and the larger filter won't hurt

I could suggest you go with the G series as well

, the one I have is a great piece of machinery, but the system slows a lot more than the other Fluvals ever have. That is simply because it does provide the very best aquarium filtration from a mechanical point of view. Particulate trapping is so much tighter, a much finer screen that lets little if anything through the initial mechanical cartridge. The particles fill up the cartridge faster and water flow slows down, requiring a lot more maintenance.

The water purity is better, but the overall cost for operation seems to be higher. You make the decision, do you want the finer sieve of the G3/G6 or do you want to let the system be a little more dirty and run longer between forced maintenance with the other Fluval system.

I am admittedly a bit more lazy and prefer the Fluval, but if you want to know a lot more about the water characteristics from the filter, the hi-tech readings such as temperature and conductivity can be useful. The problem with conductivity is that few people understand it.

It is a measure mostly of turbidity and that doesn't matter as much as pH and hardness - as far as a canister filter is concerned, you need to make that choice between the extra screening power of the G3 and the freer water flow (with dirt) in the standard Fluval Canisters.

The problem with any canister filter is the fact that it becomes clogged with dirt and debris that will inhibit its actual filtration strengths, the biological removal of ammonia and nitrite.

The canister was perfected in Europe to provide massive filter media volume and lower the flow characteristics in the aquarium. great for planted tanks and such where lower currents are desired.

In North America the chances of having a well planted tank are much lower, so increased flow rates and currents are often desired. If you are planing a tank of small passive fish, these next remarks are probably irrelevant, and you should stay with a single canister filter as the best aquarium filtration for a planted tank with small passive fish.

But when the decorations of the tank do not include a lot of plants then I would include a second filter to increase overall purification of waste debris. The outside power filter, like an AquaClear 70 will create a lot more water flow for larger fish and capture and remove a lot of the suspended debris before it can be input into the canister filter.

This increases the biological efficiency of the canister as it remains cleaner in the biological media while the power filter traps a lot of the suspended dirt. In my opinion, the best aquarium filtration is combining the advantages if a couple of filter types working together.

This is my preferred style of filtration, use two filters to eliminate the waste mechanically and supercharge the canister effectiveness. It is not a good idea for tiny fish that can't get away from the power filter's suction, The canister usually has much softer suction and can be used with greater reliability for tiny fish n large tanks.


If I get a Fluval 306 canister filter for my 46 gallon bowfront tank, will this be sufficient? I have 2 large Cichlids (4"), with 5 smaller cichlids (2"). A small catfish, and a pleco.


In most cases the Fluval 306 should do the job. It will create some currents and the tank should stay relatively clean. The Fluval 306 is listed to accommodate aquariums up to 70 gallons: (Hagen Website)

"Suitable for fresh or salt water aquariums up to 300 L (70 US Gal)."

The Bowfront design is not much of a factor as far as filtration is concerned, the curve may reduce the resistance of the sides and allow the water to flow in currents with less restrictions,but otherwise you can consider the tank much the same a a standard rectangular aquarium.

Starting with the 305 or 306 should be a great beginning, it allows you to decide exactly what the best aquarium filtration media you want to use in the aquarium. Most aquarists will stay with the carbon to remove small particles that make it through the foam and liquefied wastes and dyes that are part of the water solution itself. Then a layer of biological media of some sort.

If you plan to keep plants, which your mix does not really suggest, then carbon might be replaced with another media because it can remove many trace elements that plants require (but fish can do without).

In the earlier response where you asked what the best aquarium filtration could be, without regard to expense, I suggested the inclusion of an external power filter. Although right at the beginning you don't need it, you may in the future decide you need added filtration for the fish.

At that point, it would be a good way to easily add extra filtration, powerful currents and strong mechanical filtration of dirt. You don't need one right away, but keep it in mind if the Fluval begins to fall short for some reason.

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