I don't like the bio-stars. I use ceramic rings and bio balls, although I like the ceramic rings better because they sink. Theory is that ceramic rings break down over time, but after 6 months nearly with mine I've seen no degradation just yet. You don't need both necessarily, only 1 or the other. My vote is for the fluval ceramic rings. I run a lot of them, because that provides me with extra seed material readily available for friends or for a QT tank if I need a quick setup.
Mechanical, I run 20s then a 30 in the bottom basket, then a micro and filter floss in the very top. So far, I've only replaced the micro pad about every other month or 3, and the floss about monthly. A 7oz bag of floss has lasted me about 6 months, but I feed it to other tanks as well.
I also keep media for an AC50 HOB
in there since there's so much room, to keep that seeded as well.