What filter media to use? - The Planted Tank Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Linconshire, UK
Posts: 5
What filter media to use?

After running reef tanks for the last few years I'm a little out of touch with the filter media required on a fresh water set up, especially a planted one.

What is the most effective/must use filter media?

In a reef tank you basically use the live rock as bio filtration and activated carbon and phosphate remover for chemical.
cav is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 06:15 PM
Wannabe Guru
Daximus's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,877
If you get one setup well with lots of plants and a good balanced cycle you really don't need one except for a little bit of mechanical filtration to pick up big particles of stuff. Activated carbon and all of that is pretty useless because the plants like all that stuff and use it to grow. I've seen people with nothing more than a sponge on a powerhead. All you really need to do is keep the water moving.

Again, this is in a heavily planted "mature" planted tank. I have a HOB in mine, I left the carbon in during the initial cycling, but I never plan to replace it, just rinsing as needed for mechanical filtration and monthly water changes. There are probably lot's of other ways, but in my opinion that's the beauty of a planted tank...very little human input.
Daximus is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 06:16 PM
Algae Grower
monkeyroll10's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Hoboken
Posts: 15
cay: here is some background information about how many people filter the water in their aquariums:

For mechanical filtration: removing particles that float in the water column use a course sponge, filter floss, or whatever. This is most often your first step of filtration. Many people also include water polishing which is essentially a very fine sponge at the last step of filtration because they tend to clog fairly quickly.

For Biological filtration, there are many different routes that can be taken. One can use ceramic beads, plastic bio balls, fine pore sponges, whatever has a large surface area (apartments for bacteria colonies)... There are endless possibilities for the media you can choose. However, there a requirements that must be met in order to have a proper biological filtration for your freshwater aquarium. Your biological filtration is going to be accomplished by 2 types of bacteria. The first type consumes ammonia, and its waste product is nitrite. The second type consumes nitrites, and its waste product is nitrate. For this to happen, the bacteria colonies need a steady flow of oxygenated water.

Carbon is used as another form of filtration. Activated carbon has an immense surface area that traps many tiny particles. Carbon also helps to remove odors from your aquarium.

Filtration designed specifically for planted tanks is especially dependent on the type of aquarium that you wish to have. If you plan on having fish or not, and the types of plants you wish to keep will influence the type of filtration system that may best suit you.

other things to think about: (gas exchange at the surface, addition of CO2, water movement etc. )

There are plenty of threads on this site that I have come across that can help you make your decision.

Good luck
monkeyroll10 is offline  
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 06:22 PM
Planted Tank Guru
discuspaul's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,408
Depends on what your objective is, or your needs are from time to time.

In a planted tank there is usually less need to maintain the largest amount of bio-filtration media (or 'housing' for the BB). e.g. bio-rings, balls, or cylinders, etc.

Most aquarists nonetheless regularly use sponges, foam pads, or similar material - to pick up detritus and any other unwanted material from the water column.

In my case, my main objective is to maintain crystal water clarity as much as is possible, so I regularly use filter floss, double-layered (and tossed out to be replaced with new, no
less than weekly, or every 10 days at most).
I use the floss in conjunction with the regular usage of Purigen, and that, along with fine mesh pre-filter sponges on the filter intake tubes, achieves my aim.
Hope this helps.
discuspaul is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 06:32 PM
Wannabe Guru
JasonG75's Avatar
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 1,498
I use filter floss, Ceramic rings (bio balls) and I use Seachem Purigen (optional in place of Carbon) and a Bio-Sponge

The Fraternity of Dirt #26
Just because its dirt doesn't make it low Tech
75 Dirted

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

JasonG75 is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 06:53 PM
Wannabe Guru
BBradbury's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Greeley, CO
Posts: 1,945
What Filter Media?

Hello cav...

If you're willing to change a minimum of half the tank water every week, then you can get by with a sponge and polyfiber in the filter.

I have large, planted tanks and change a minimum of half the tank water weekly. I get by with very little filtration, a small HOB, just enough for proper gas exchange to get oxygen into the water. I use a sponge to house the bacteria and polyfiber to filter out the small particles in the water, so the water stays crystal clear.

Since I flush large quantities of clean water through my tanks weekly, there's no time for toxins to build up between water changes.

Please keep in mind, this works for my tanks. Yours are different and may require a different procedure.


"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
BBradbury is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 08:51 PM
Planted Tank Guru
HD Blazingwolf's Avatar
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 4,907
plants, under healthy growing conditions will, like live rock, control much of the ammonia nitrite nitrate cycle. everything u put in a freshwater aquarium will eventually turn int o a biological filter. mechanical and chemical once full will house bacteria that will break down organics. its that simple. mechanical is only usefull to keep where you house ur bacteria colonies clean of debris. i use floss then ceramic media.. no carbon as i change 50% of my water weekly and the water doesn't discolor much between changes.

Sump Pimp #7

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
HD Blazingwolf is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Linconshire, UK
Posts: 5
Excellent input, thanks to all of the above.

The tank is only going to be a Dennerle Nano (30 litres), with an arrangemet of plants, rock and wood.

Fish wise I'm looking at stocking a small group of Neon Tetras.

With my reef tank I performed 20% weekly water changes on a 180 litre tank (using RO water/reef salt mix). With this fresh water I was thinking of doing around 40% per week.

I've not tested the nitrate levels of my mains water as yet but I will be using Seachem Prime to remove Chlorine etc.

I've used Purigen in the past (on both saltwater and freshwater tanks) I really liked it so may use this in place of activated carbon.

This will obviously be a low tech tank and I'm looking at dosing a liquid carbon source (Easy Life Carbo) in place of a CO2 system.

The tank I'm after comes with a nice little internal corner filter so will see what media that comes this but I have always gone with fine floss for water polishing.

There are a few pics of my old tanks in my first introduction thread here
cav is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 02:59 PM
Wannabe Guru
Patriot's Avatar
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Spokane, Washington
Posts: 1,348
Send a message via Skype™ to Patriot
I have a 4 stage filter with the water moving from bottom to top as such:

Bottom:sponge and polyfil
Middle:biomedia(ceramic rings and little clay balls)

Is this step up right? or should I mover things around. I'm thinking that I have too biomedia for a 20 gallon tank thats not heavly stocked and was thinking of adding more mechanical filtration

Proudly Served in the United States Armed Forces, 2009-2017
Nikon Club Member #35
Patriot is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 05:27 PM
Planted Tank Guru
discuspaul's Avatar
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 3,408
Patriot - I've had better clarification results placing the Purigen immediately above/over the bottom sponge, then filter floss/poly above that. Water inflow then gets early exposure to the Purigen, after the sponge has picked up the larger particles of detritus.
(Then ceramic rings on top.)
discuspaul is offline  


Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome