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Old 12-30-2010, 07:51 PM   #1
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Question Best bio-filter media for FW?

I'm planning on DIY filter, but I still have a few questions, so I started looking around and after spending some days researching I don't really feel like my questions were answered.

When it comes to the bio-filter, what is the best media to house the bacteria? I would like something that could be easily shared, ie.: My neighbor starts a tank and I can give him a small chunk to seed with (making sure I don't start a mini-cycle by giving away too much).

1) Bio balls. Depending who you talk to, they are the worlds best bacteria habitat, or they kinda suck for most applications. (The latter people have well reasoned arguements that make sense)

2) Ceramic rings. These sound good? Is there a brand that tops the rest or are they all pretty much the same?

3) Sintered glass. I've heard this is the best but I've seen very little info.

4) Pot scrubber pads. I believe people are using the plain green flat scrubbing pads. They have lots of surface area and are really cheap, some people swear by them.

I went looking for comparisons and reviews, but most of the articles I found were by the manufacturers or amateurs saying that product B is the best, touting it's benefits, but not really explaining how it's better then the rest.

Can anyone with experience or knowledge on this subject enlighten me?
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:32 PM   #2
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Pot scrubbers are probably the cheapest... but they *can* cause nitrate problems if not rinsed on a regular basis. Ceramic is probably the best, and it doesn't usually raise as much concern in trapping crud causing nitrate problems. Never heard of sintered glass, cant comment on that. Bio-balls are right there with pot scrubbers, pretty much the same, just cost more.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deep Seven View Post
I'm planning on DIY filter, but I still have a few questions, so I started looking around and after spending some days researching I don't really feel like my questions were answered.

When it comes to the bio-filter, what is the best media to house the bacteria? I would like something that could be easily shared, ie.: My neighbor starts a tank and I can give him a small chunk to seed with (making sure I don't start a mini-cycle by giving away too much).

1) Bio balls. Depending who you talk to, they are the worlds best bacteria habitat, or they kinda suck for most applications. (The latter people have well reasoned arguements that make sense)
Bio balls are a waste of space IMO. I'm unaware of any reason to use them other than "they were just laying around".

2) Ceramic rings. These sound good? Is there a brand that tops the rest or are they all pretty much the same?
Ceramics are very efficient and less prone to failure than most media, but can be a bit pricey.

3) Sintered glass. I've heard this is the best but I've seen very little info.
No clue, but I will be googling.

4) Pot scrubber pads. I believe people are using the plain green flat scrubbing pads. They have lots of surface area and are really cheap, some people swear by them.
Pot scrubbers are bio media with built in mechanical. Unbeatable as a true DIY item if you maintain a cleaning routine with them. Otherwise, ceramics seem to be worth it IME.


I went looking for comparisons and reviews, but most of the articles I found were by the manufacturers or amateurs saying that product B is the best, touting it's benefits, but not really explaining how it's better then the rest.

Can anyone with experience or knowledge on this subject enlighten me?
My ramblings in blue.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:14 PM   #4
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Go to a large, established aquarium store and ask them about bio filter media. They can give you exact information and probably sell you the best media for your type of filter. Just ask what media they use in their filters, and then buy the same.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:19 PM   #5
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Go to a large, established aquarium store and ask them about bio filter media. They can give you exact information and probably sell you the best media for your type of filter. Just ask what media they use in their filters, and then buy the same.
Care to explain your reasoning behind this?
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:41 PM   #6
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+1 for HN1. I would think sintered glass would be very comparable to ceramic biomedia in terms of surface area per volume. Really, all you need to house bacteria is a wet surface with access to oxygen and ammonia. They're not picky.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:13 PM   #7
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My reasoning is simple: Established aquarium stores have a great deal of experience with their own tank filters, often decades, and they know which media works best in which type of filter. (When you need advice it is always best to consult experienced people.)
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:42 PM   #8
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I agree with the last line.

What you may not be aware of is the realities of an operating LFS. They are 99% of the time on centralized systems so the application is totally different from those filters we tend to use in the hobby. Their recommendations are usually made based on price point and dependent upon which products they carry. Plus, unless you are speaking with the owner or a longtime employee it's usually better to do your own research to avoid the perpetuated myths that abound as a result of LFS "training".
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:47 PM   #9
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I agree with the last line.

What you may not be aware of is the realities of an operating LFS. They are 99% of the time on centralized systems so the application is totally different from those filters we tend to use in the hobby. Their recommendations are usually made based on price point and dependent upon which products they carry. Plus, unless you are speaking with the owner or a longtime employee it's usually better to do your own research to avoid the perpetuated myths that abound as a result of LFS "training".
This is what I was getting at Laurence. Not trying to knock down your suggestion by any means, just wanted to make sure you understood exactly why this probably isn't the best suggestion.
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