Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: north Idaho panhandle
With my Aquaclear 110, the biobeads are solid like little ceramic cubes. They get some build-up on them inside of the bags, as well as the mesh getting gunk on it. Trying to rinse them inside their bags doesn't always get that gunk off. I think it would be much more successful with the loose beads, and discard the mesh. These beads last a long time, despite the marketeers who tell you to replace them every few months. You really don't have to, unless they have broken down seriously, or have such a thick slimy film on them that they can't be cleaned, anymore. Eventually, they do have to gradually be replaced, but not for a long, long time.
With a canister filter, it might be more difficult to keep individual beads from falling out of their compartments, but the way the Aquaclear HOBs are designed, that wouldn't happen unless there was a violent sweeping of them from the filter box. And then they would only go into the tank through the waterfall opening, and there's no way they can get into the filter's motor housing. The side vents are too small, and the housing is sealed off.
So, if actual filtration isn't going to be adversely affected, I'm emptying the beads from all of those mesh bags and letting them lay loose inside the filter basket. I think I can cram more biobeads into the basket that way, and have even better bio-filtration.
Beneficial bacteria grows on everything within the tank, not just inside of the filter. So if a bead or two fell into the tank, it wouldn't hurt anything. They're too large for any of my fish to swallow.
Thanks for the tips on fixing the colander to make it hands-free, if it doesn't fit over the top of the bucket. I've read a lot of good tips in this thread. It seems that more and more of you folks are preferring to go bag-free with the beads, so it must not be causing any harm to do so.
I love my Dojos; my Dojos love me,
As long as I feed them, happy they'll be!