Favorite filter media? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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Favorite filter media?

I am about to cycle my first planted tank, and I'm a little flooded with filter media choices. Anyone have a favorite media they would recommend to a novice? thanks all.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 04:43 AM
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What filter is this for?

I'm a big fan of sponges- they're great mechanical and biofiltration both, plus always use Purigen for chemical filtration.





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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 04:46 AM
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I like those Marineland Rite Size blue bonded filter pads and purigen. I have my AC loaded with both. The filter pads are cheap too and catch just about everything.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 06:57 AM
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Also a huge fan of sponges...specifically like the Aquaclear sponges. Besides using them in the filter, I also slit one end of the AC70 size and use it over the ends of my Maxijet PHs to both filter and keep little'ns from getting blenderized. Pop one of those into a silty new setup and it can clear the water in a couple hours...then just bag the sponge, remove from the tank, clean it and replace it! They are incredibly versatile. I also use them to quiet the overflow to my sump (and hold my Pothos' roots in place), which besides acting as a silencer, also does double-duty as a bio filter, and, keeps extra sponges ready for use if I ever need to keep fish or plants in a bucket for a few hours...or days....even weeks. I hardly ever use other media, although I do keep some carbon and Purigin on hand.

Thought I'd add...for a planted tank, you really don't want filter media like carbon, ammonia remover, nitrate removers, ect, because those substances are plant nutrients. If your tank is planted sufficiently and the plants are actively growing, they will use those nutrients up as fast as they are produced. Adding too much outside bio filtration...such as sponges, bio/ceramic rings, lava rock, ect..is also not desirable for the same reasons. Although your plants can use the by-product of nitrification - nitrate - plants prefer to use the raw ammonia which is easier for them to take up. Therefore, excessive filtration, either chemical or biological is not needed in a healthy planted tank. Many aquarists, however, myself included, do like to keep a little bit of extra bio filtration on their planted tanks as a safety buffer, especially if the fish load is high. A single sponge in a HOB filter is usually sufficient. HTH!

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 09:00 AM
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Polyester staple fiber

it filters
it has large surface area
it is stable

didn't cost me anything
pulled out from the old sofa....


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 09:19 AM
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Sponge is great. Cheap, re-usable, easy to install and clean.
Wish I knew that before I spent a bunch of money on fancy ceramic stuff.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
What filter is this for?

I'm a big fan of sponges- they're great mechanical and biofiltration both, plus always use Purigen for chemical filtration.
I've got a HOB Marineland Penguin 350B. it came with those little cartridges but, they have carbon and this will be a planted tank so I probably will go with sponges.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 02:12 PM
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scrubbies
sponges
lava rock


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 07:37 PM
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Sponges, they last for ever, keep their shape, and are easy to rinse out. Make sure you get them from your LFS since kitchen sponges won't do.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettatail View Post
Polyester staple fiber

it filters
it has large surface area
it is stable....
By far the best filter media ever. Bought a bag of poly fill at Walmart for a pond filter I'm building and decided to add a small piece to a newly setup guppy tanks filter. Water was cloudy as [email protected]#$ due to a rescape but was crystal clear within the hour.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by It's Offishial View Post
I've got a HOB Marineland Penguin 350B. it came with those little cartridges but, they have carbon and this will be a planted tank so I probably will go with sponges.
I ripped the carbon out of the frame and shoved a bag of purigen in it (cut open the top of the cartridge, rinsed out the carbon, and put the purigen inside it). Then just stuffed the filter with my barley and extra filter pad (Marinelands). The filter cartridge if you rinse out the carbon, makes for a really good spot for Purigen, I've found.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by It's Offishial View Post
I've got a HOB Marineland Penguin 350B. it came with those little cartridges but, they have carbon and this will be a planted tank so I probably will go with sponges.
In your shoes I'd throw some ceramic biomedia in there somewhere too, just to help keep the filter's cycle stable when cleaning the sponges.





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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2014, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
In your shoes I'd throw some ceramic biomedia in there somewhere too, just to help keep the filter's cycle stable when cleaning the sponges.
That makes sense, looks like I'll be hitting up the LFS Monday. Thanks everyone, you guys rock.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 12:07 AM
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I've altered/refitted cartridges for various HOB filters a few times. Sometimes I'll just cut a sponge down to fit inside it, sometimes I can rig something up with an old cartridge skeleton, other times I've just dumped the carbon and replaced it with horticultural pumice.

Cheap, readily available options that a lot of people have used successfully are: polyester fibers (loose or bonded) - you can find them in craft/sewing stores, pumice/lava rock (the gravel sized is better, but if it's a big filter, the larger chunks can also work), dollar store plastic pot scrubbers, Poret-type filter sponges (it seems expensive, but if you have need many/big sponges, it's much less then an equivalent volume of aquaclear sponges), cut-up drink straws, etc.

Pretty much anything that's inert, and will give you a decent amount of surface area will work.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 03:20 AM
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My two favorite filter medias are:

Nylon pot scrubbers from the solar store

And

Quilting batting from Walmart or a big box store, a $13 package of quilting batting will last me a little over a year making my own filters.
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