Would you mind elaborating on the specifics of both of those? I currently have foam pads, the plastic balls that came with the filter, and ceramic rings in the canister filter. The tank has slate, wood, and both submersed and floating plants.
This may be a little long but this is what happened including my one year test. My canister 370 gph had the same media as you, course, medium, fine pads on the bottom, bio balls and ceramic rings. All worked ok as no ammonia but water was never crystal clear. So I got sucked into the hype of Matrix. Changed the bio balls and ceramic and now a 350 gph HOB with all Matrix, six liters worth! For the next year it was worse. Water changed once a month and cleaned the filter media and cloudy water for up to the next 8-10 days. Nitrates never went down, but did not have any ammonia issues either. Purigen and Chemipure Blue did nothing.
Then I found a web site that explained it all and much more. I decided to test what the author said to do. First 75 gallon tank with about 25 community fish, used to be cichlids, not planted, all fake.
At the same time, I changed my canister to 10/20 ppi foam on the bottom tray and all simple plastic pot scrubbies for the next two trays (about 16 in each). Fill the HOB with 10 and 20 ppi foam and turned it all on at once. Poret foam was used and after talking with Dr. Tanner, he suggested the 10/20 ppi foam.
As the web site author stated since my media was changed, I had no ammonia spike at all even after testing for 5 days straight. Have not had any cloudy water in over a year now, and just like the author said, crystal clear water now.
I have now followed the advice on this web site for over a year now, stop thoroughly cleaning your filters and stop using inefficient media. I just cleaned my canister for the second time in a year and this can now go 8-9 months. The HOB is easier to clean so I do a quick rinse of the foam under water around 6 months or so.
No filter floss and no chemicals ever now.
So, here is where I found the information that worked for me… and many others now too. Suggest you read all the links and just poke around the site using the search at the bottom. Your mileage may vary.