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Alternative filter media

4591 Views 15 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Steve002
About to set up a 125 as a species tank of Rummy Nose Tetra (first tank) and I have these two Eheim Pro 3E 700 canister filters to work with. Is there some kind of cheaper alternative filter media I can use? Eheim's media is gonna cost a small fortune. Thanks
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Yea lava rocks!
You can get a decent sized bag from homedepot for like 5 bucks lol
You can always get the cut to size media that most LFS's carry as well. Most people think they are for sumps, but you can get away with using it in about anything.
pot scrubbies, those ones women use for their ligquid body wash, lava rock, all work well
I've been using 100% polyseter batting (like what's inside pillows) in one of my filters
I would punch this up in Google, I bought 3 500 count bags, 1500 total for $13

Bio Ceramic Rings in FREE Media Bags for aquarium fish pond reef canister filter
Try finding the horticultural pumice. I think it's just used to layer on top of a potted plant, but it works ok as a filter medium. They are about gravel sized.
I used lava rock in my waterfall filter for years, it works awesome as a home for BB. I always just put a few layers of the blue bonded filter pads, and then I had 6 bags of lava rocks I purchased at Lowe's and placed them in mesh, and then they went right on top of the pads. Cheap and effective. Lowe's has a 7lb bag of lava rock for 5 bucks, and you can get filter pads fairly cheap at any store (Petco, Petsmart, etc.).
you can go with a cheaper brand.

eheims substrate pro is $26 for 2L
seachems matrix is $20 for 2L, $31 for 4L
what is it that lava rocks give?
surface area for bacteria to attach to
Mechanical filtration:
A couple of cell sizes of sponge, perhaps purchase a larger piece and cut to size. Pond products tend to be coarser, so one like this, then a somewhat finer one.
Quilt batting (pillow stuffing) is very good, polyester floss. It does tend to mat together after a while, but having a lifetime supply (enough to make a quilt!) is cheap.
In between these in density is a blue and white bonded material that is available on line at places like Big Als, or Drs Foster and Smith. You would buy a sheet and cut to fit. It also mats down over time, so would need replacing.

Chemical media:
You need to figure out what you need in this department, but rechargeable media (like Seachem Purigen) seems a better buy than disposable.
If you need to make the water harder you can buy dolomite sand in rock/masonry yards, or oystershell grit in feed stores (sold as grit for chickens)
If you want to add organic acids to the water to make a blackwater habitat, then peat moss, sold in the garden department is good.

Bacteria lodging sites: As noted above, lava is good. I got a 1 cubic foot bag of 3/8" lava from a rock (landscape) yard pretty cheap. It really needs a lot of rinsing, but is not sharp, it was no problem to stir it by hand.

Media bags: I find nylon stockings work well for fine media.

I start with whatever media comes with the filter. Often there are cut-to-fit sponges that fit the trays. Then I add some of the above materials.
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Look up "Bio Bale" on the Bay. Cheap if you shop instead of just grabbing the first one.
Made for canister filters. I use it along/w the Fluval ceramic rings(actually the stuff that is hexigon shaped which they call pre-filter) in my DIY built in bio-only filter.
I put a layer of the Fluval on the bottom and the Bio Bale on the top and it draws through it downward through the Bio Bale first.
I switched my Eheims to sponges only for ease of cleaning. They are cheap from China on Ebay.
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