Best bio media - Page 4 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #46 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
My hope, as well. I only wish there was some way to test/verify this.
This doesn’t bother me because there are too many variables involved, who doesn’t like it can ignore it.

For all I know, denitrifying heterotrophic bacteria live in anaerobic low oxygen space and convert NO3 to N2 when organic carbon is available. That means that the conversion stops when carbon is deficient but that can hardly happen when fish, plants and CO2 injection is present. This is why saltwater aquarists are dosing ethanol while monitoring NO3 drop. They need to boost organic carbon because their protein skimmers remove the organic compounds. We don’t use protein skimmers with planted aquariums so we should have more organic carbon available for the bacteria. Theoretically, the bacteria colony could be used more as organic compound remover than NO3 remover, which is my intention.

We remember the universal blaming reason for all problems, the “Not enough CO2”? It lasted years. Now we have “organics” to blame. So this is probably the reason why I want to experiment with additional removal of organic compounds. Well, who knows, maybe it will be the right path.
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Although I generally have no algae issues, it's always fun to see if we can find ways toward more robust approaches to achieve a final set-and-forget-it tank. Please: no laughing!
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post #47 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 09:21 PM
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Remember that the OP asked for opinions on what the "best biomedia" is. This is why the debate exists and, for some of us, it is interesting to challenge the pros and cons, as others see them, to help us learn. So, there is a lot of back and forth almost as a pastime. If the OP had asked, as some do, "what biomedia do you use" that type of question usually results in simpler answers.

In fact, as can be found in the thread, many believe that no biomedia is the "best biomedia" to use and you can't get simpler than that. I suspect that we could also just throw an old sock (even before we wash it) into the filter and all would agree that it works just fine.
That was just the title of the thread. Via the context of the actual OP, he's clearly just looking for good bio media and to avoid using something that's overhyped (and more importantly overpriced). The OP then goes on to ask in a cheap solution is viable, so I don't think a scientifically proven 'best' media is a must have for him or her.

But to your other point, I do understand where you're coming from and I think that's fair.. I just think sometimes the age old conversation can be quite a bit confusing to new hobbyists trying to decipher between what adds real world value and what's needed vs. not, that's why it tends to not be my favorite topic. (not necessarily speaking about this thread, as that's not what's happening)
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post #48 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 10:23 PM
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That was just the title of the thread. Via the context of the actual OP, he's clearly just looking for good bio media and to avoid using something that's overhyped (and more importantly overpriced). The OP then goes on to ask in a cheap solution is viable, so I don't think a scientifically proven 'best' media is a must have for him or her.

But to your other point, I do understand where you're coming from and I think that's fair.. I just think sometimes the age old conversation can be quite a bit confusing to new hobbyists trying to decipher between what adds real world value and what's needed vs. not, that's why it tends to not be my favorite topic. (not necessarily speaking about this thread, as that's not what's happening)
Yes, the issue of those wanting more in-depth discussion and those that will lose interest beyond a certain point has been raised many times. The problem/benefit with a public forum is that it does provide the acceptable option to either expand a discussion or simply back out. Recently, there have been concerns about the overall health of forums, like this, given the instant, but shallow, activity on other sites, such as FB pages regarding aquariums. Some want to learn as much as possible and some just want to know what to do. If the OP is of the latter aspect, then the answer was given. However, for those that want to exercise new thoughts about the topic, then they will read on and, hopefully, participate.
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post #49 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 12:12 AM
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That was just the title of the thread. Via the context of the actual OP, he's clearly just looking for good bio media and to avoid using something that's overhyped (and more importantly overpriced). The OP then goes on to ask in a cheap solution is viable, so I don't think a scientifically proven 'best' media is a must have for him or her.
Hi
I was going to … but this post explains it like no other:
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Some of y'all have never heard of the search function and it really shows.

Not meant to be rude but more common sense. Use the search function. Seriously. It is your friend. You'll find thousands of posts when there's something you don't quite understand. Thousands of tank journals. Thousands of in-depth discussions about issues like this.

If you're new to forums, search, search, search. New to shrimping? Same. Search.

Yes, you can and should start new discussions. But ignoring what already exists and is at your fingertips is borderline awful.
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post #50 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 01:16 AM
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To the OP and everyone else that has not read it , here is a great thread on bacteria...https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9...t-seachem.html
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post #51 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 01:34 AM
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To the OP and everyone else that has not read it , here is a great thread on bacteria...https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9...t-seachem.html
Thanks for that reference, but ...PHEW! ...41 pages! Any chance that either you or @Immortal1 could summarize the results for us?
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post #52 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 01:47 AM
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Yes it is long but a fun read if you have the time . If I remember right the experiment showed that most anything can be bio material and handle high levels of ammonia , even the sides of a bare glass tank . I mmortal1 can tell more than I . I need to reread it myself .

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post #53 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 02:28 AM
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Yes it is long but a fun read if you have the time . If I remember right the experiment showed that most anything can be bio material and handle high levels of ammonia , even the sides of a bare glass tank . I mmortal1 can tell more than I . I need to reread it myself .
OK. Coincidentally, there is a discussion about this going on at https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8...l#post11385895. I did see part of it where @Immortal1 seemed to have found that pumice was significantly better than Matrix, but that may have been an early result.

I just received an order of MarinePure media that was recommended by @Edward for de-ntrification. I opted for the 1.5” spheres. They are more like pumice than either the Matrix or Biohome Ultimate. I cut all three in half and the Matrix and Biohome appear to have very little, if any, visible porosity in their centers. However, the MarinePure has the same apparent porosity throughout, as is evident on their surface.

In my case, I am more interested in them for anaerobic BB activity, but their surfaces will certainly develop aerobic BB. I would expect that both the Matrix and Biohome would be better for aerobic activity pound-for-pound simply because they are smaller (which adds up to more surface area). However, as you may see if you look at the other site I just mentioned, I’m not sure that there is really that much necessary aerobic BB activity anyway. I’m going to string these spheres together, like popcorn on a string (a long needle will penetrate them), and hang them in the back corner of the tank, behind the plants, rather than putting them in the filter. I may even bury some of them 1/2-3/4 into the substrate.
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post #54 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 04:40 AM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9...ml#post9364066
This is a old post years ago it test a bunch of bio media started with matrix and just pumis and evolved into using no media and still having bio filtration in a empty tank and empty filter.

Might be worth looking into

Looks like someone linked this already

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post #55 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 12:10 PM
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Yes it is long but a fun read if you have the time . If I remember right the experiment showed that most anything can be bio material and handle high levels of ammonia , even the sides of a bare glass tank . I mmortal1 can tell more than I . I need to reread it myself .
Ah yes, that was a fun / interesting summer of learning. And you are correct, most any surface can host BB. Some surfaces hose more than others as expected. The original purpose of the test was to compare Matrix with industrially available pumice. The results pretty much showed the 2 materials were pretty similar in the amount of BB that could be supported. Good old plastic BioBalls did OK, but were not as good as the various Bio Medias. The big winner was the simple sponge filter. I was amazed at how much BB the little sponge could hold and, in turn, how much ammonia it could process in a 24 hour period.


What I didn't test, and kinda wish I would have, is how well a course sponge holds BB. I say this as typically with my various canister filters I rinse out the smooth ceramic rings and course sponge filters in un-treated tap water. The filter floss gets pitched and replaced. The one thing I don't do much with is the Eheim BioMech and the Eheim Substrat Pro. Both of these items are at the very end of the filtration process. So far, I have not been able to document much, if any increase in ammonia after a filter servicing.
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post #56 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 02:14 PM
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Ah yes, that was a fun / interesting summer of learning. And you are correct, most any surface can host BB. Some surfaces hose more than others as expected. The original purpose of the test was to compare Matrix with industrially available pumice. The results pretty much showed the 2 materials were pretty similar in the amount of BB that could be supported. Good old plastic BioBalls did OK, but were not as good as the various Bio Medias. The big winner was the simple sponge filter. I was amazed at how much BB the little sponge could hold and, in turn, how much ammonia it could process in a 24 hour period.
Looks, to me, like a well-designed experiment. For aerobic BB, the sponge probably wins simply as a function of having more surface area. Plastic bioballs have smooth surfaces (no pores to increase surface area), leaving the more intricate surfaces of other biomedia with more surface area.

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I say this as typically with my various canister filters I rinse out the smooth ceramic rings and course sponge filters in un-treated tap water. The filter floss gets pitched and replaced. So far, I have not been able to document much, if any increase in ammonia after a filter servicing.
- Why are you using ceramic rings when you have the sponge?
- I suspect that the lack of an ammonia increase following filter cleaning is because there just isn't as much BB activity in our filters as we typically think there is. Your test had only the tank walls for BB development, with no plants or substrate BB to remove the ammonia. I think that even Seachem recognized this when they dramatically reduced their recommended quantity to use for Matrix several years ago, which also made Matrix appear to be less expensive than before.
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post #57 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 09:10 PM
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The big winner was the simple sponge filter. I was amazed at how much BB the little sponge could hold and, in turn, how much ammonia it could process in a 24 hour period.
Nice experiment!
Are you going to do the other half of beneficial bacteria biological filtration? The denitrification part?


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post #58 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 11:40 PM
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Nice experiment!
Are you going to do the other half of beneficial bacteria biological filtration? The denitrification part?
Would have to say - no. Barely have time to take care of my 3 tanks let alone any more tanks.

LOL, sitting here looking at my tank I think the next experiment is to see just how fast I can grow Rotala Bronze. I swear it is growing more than 1" per day.

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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
Looks, to me, like a well-designed experiment. For aerobic BB, the sponge probably wins simply as a function of having more surface area. Plastic bioballs have smooth surfaces (no pores to increase surface area), leaving the more intricate surfaces of other biomedia with more surface area.



- Why are you using ceramic rings when you have the sponge
?
- I suspect that the lack of an ammonia increase following filter cleaning is because there just isn't as much BB activity in our filters as we typically think there is. Your test had only the tank walls for BB development, with no plants or substrate BB to remove the ammonia. I think that even Seachem recognized this when they dramatically reduced their recommended quantity to use for Matrix several years ago, which also made Matrix appear to be less expensive than before.

On my Eheim Pro 4 Model 350 I replaced the upper course sponge with smooth ceramic rings https://eheim.com/en_GB/aquatics/fil...mech/mech-840g to provide course filtering. Cleaner water then goes down to the bottom of the filter and up thru 2 different pore size sponge filters, the BioMech, Substrat Pro and filter floss. This arrangement seems to provide more consistent flow and crystal clear water. The original course sponge filter in the top tray seemed to get excessively dirty in a rather short time.


In the Fluval FX4, the very bottom has some smooth ceramic rings for the same reason - keep the chunks out of the course filters.
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post #59 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-23-2020, 01:47 PM
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I'm not sure if this anecdote will be useful to the conversation at this point, but the post about having a white haze after changes was mine. After reading the material @Somefishguy posted, I decided the surface area figures were convincing enough to replace the ceramic rings and plastic balls with 30ppi foam. I like the idea of the pot scrubbers being cheap and accessible, but I already had the foam on hand. It's only been a couple weeks, so I can't speak to how quickly they get clogged or long term performance, but I got the result I was going for: when I did a top off, I did not experience that bacterial bloom/white haze. My water stayed crystal clear upon addition of the treated tap water and has remained crystal clear.

The plastic balls came with this filter (Marineland® Magniflow C220 Canister Filter) and the ceramic rings were from an established filter that I used to "seed" this one during the ultimate catastrophe: a leaking tank full of fish. I was able to salvage most of the water, reuse the substrate when setting up the new tank, and managed to make it through without losing any fish, though several of my plants intensely resented the disruption and melted.

I also use foam pads in my little betta tank. I rarely service his tank, and that water is also always crystal clear.

Which is all to say, I can't claim that the foam pads are the penultimate in filtration media, but I'm happy with their performance in my tanks. I'm able to enjoy beautiful water and maintain stable parameters for my little fishies, so I'm content with this solution in my set up.
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