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It holds a good amount of media for a HOB already. Is there a particular reason you want to do this?

I know people put sponges onto the intakes of HOB filters to protect shrimp and reduce cleaning of the filter, so you could do that. Getting stuff out of the intake can be harder than it seems. Especially in the U part. Also be careful about putting any media that can get sucked up into the impeller. Good way to kill your filter if that happens.
 

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I tried stuffing filter floss into mine before I had a prefilter. While it worked; it slowed down the flow significantly, and it would clog up INCREDIBLY quickly compared to a sponge prefilter. A sponge prefilter would last 2-3 weeks between cleanings, the filter floss was on the order of every other day. It was also a pain the neck to get the filter material out. My vote is definitely against it.
 

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You could probably put something coarse in there, maybe some bio noodles in a mesh bag or a coarse sponge, cut just right. I have not tried it specifically, though I had some plants roots spread into the area. Did not seem to cause problems.
 

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Yeah you can put some stuff in there. I do it all the time, though with just mechanical filtration media such as filter floss (makes taking out the pads much easier and quicker so you don't have to lift the whole basket out). You don't want to put some other types of media in there so they don't fall into the impeller chamber. Sometimes when priming the filter back up though, it's easier to get the filter going if you lift/remove whatever media is inside that intake area though (but yes, you can manually add water to the intake area to start things faster).
 

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not sure I understand "though with just mechanical filtration media such as filter floss" So do you put filter floss in the circled area and just use ceramic noodles on the right side of the basket and no floss there?

Also, it looks like he has floss in the actual intake tube. Is that possible?
 

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Also, it looks like he has floss in the actual intake tube. Is that possible?
I don't think so, probably just the way the light makes it look.
Anything that blocks the intake can cause problems. A coarse sponge is generally safe, as long as it is kept clean. Finer sponge would need more frequent cleaning, and floss would be pretty bad.

Think of it this way:
Follow the flow of water, and watch the debris.
The first debris you want to remove is the coarsest bits. Use a coarse sponge. This could be over the intake. I get pond sponge material and cut it to size. It is a bit coarser than the Aquaclear sponge.
The next debris you want to remove is the finer bits. Use a finer sponge. For example, the Aquaclear sponge on the inside of the chamber.
Then the floss to remove the finest debris.
This will keep the next media cleaner, and the water flowing through all of it for maximum effect. The next media could be chemical (if any is needed) or bio.
 

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not sure I understand "though with just mechanical filtration media such as filter floss" So do you put filter floss in the circled area and just use ceramic noodles on the right side of the basket and no floss there?

Also, it looks like he has floss in the actual intake tube. Is that possible?
Yep, floss in intake area (not in tube) and all biomedia in basket.
I just put filter floss batting (the roll/sheet, not loose puffs that you use to fill/stuff pillows and plush animals) in the section in the intake tube is in, where the red circle is.

The water still flows through the filter floss there, before flowing up through the basket. Instead of having the filter floss in the basket, it's just in the intake section, that way it's easier to remove (not that the other way is much harder).

Doing it the way I do it does run some chance of the filter floss clogging up and creating water bypass (rather than flow under and up through the media basket, if the floss is clogged, the water may flow over the media basket, so filter will become less effecient. But that only happens if it's clogged heavily. The same actually happens though if floss or the sponge was clogged in the basket. So it's not entirely different. With the floss where I put it, I can see it easier to know when it's time to change, and it's quicker, especially more convenient if you have loose media that isn't in a media bag).

Remember this is just the way I do it, it's completely optional.

I use the poyfil batting rather than the pillow fluff, because the batting doesn't have nearly as many loose threads that may get wrapped around the filter impeller (I've never had my impellers get wrapped up).
 

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I have been thinking of putting rough largish gravel in there to trap larger bits and increase surface area of bacteria.

A filter that catches everything on its skin, is a bad filter. Waste should be caught up evenly through the filter, I.e. catch big pieces on the skin, then smaller pieces and then polishing out the water by the time it approaches the exit.
 

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But then if it was as simple as adding a few items, are we smart enough to add just the right amount if the designer is not? At that point, I'm willing to say that Aquaclear has more experience and experts than I will ever have.
While I do mod a few little things, I don't expect to make a major improvement to the overall design. If/when I get so close to overstocked that the existing filter won't do the job, I plan for more or different filters. For moments when my mind wanders, it is fine to consider mods but to truly get improvement, I go for more.
 
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