Are there any substitutes for ceramic rings? Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by JustMe, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. JustMeNew MemberMember

    I'm wondering if there are any household materials I can use for my filter media rather than buying another load of ceramic rings. I know the more surface area means the more beneficial bacterial growth. Are there any simple, effective substitutes for filter media? Would PVC tubing be a good substitute for ceramic rings? Any substitutes for bio-balls? Just list whatever household items you think would work well as filter media. :)
  2. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello JustMe,

    You want filter media in your filter that is porous or either you can use filter floss, sponges. Make sure the sponges don't contain any soap! I've seen mention of sponges from the $ store being used. As for filter floss, you can use Quilting Batting Material found in the craft section at WalMart. 100% Poly with not additives. 100% Poly pillow stuffing can be used too. (no additives)

    Good bacteria is found on all surface areas of your tank with the highest concentration of it being in your filter and your substrate.

    JustMe, if you would, please complete your Aquarium Profile information. Click on My Settings in the blue bar close to the top of the screen. In the drop down box click on Edit Aquarium Information. It will be a great help to others.


  3. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    +1 on what Ken has advised.

    Just a point to note: what are the ceramic rings being used for? (i.e. Fluval canisters use the rings as their biological filtration, Eheim Classics use the rings as 1st stage mechanical filtration, and use their Substrat media as biological)

    If the rings are being used as your biological filtration, then you really never need to change them (even though most filters advise partial changes every 3-6mths), as changing these out will remove/reduce your b/b colony.

    Hope that helps.

  4. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Good advice above. Recently I have taken to using large grade quartz gravel as a biological media in a couple of my filters. It seems to work really well but you have to be sure that it can't escape the compartment that you put it in. If the gravel gets out of the area you put it you can end up with a trashed filter pretty quickly. I know it's not a household item but if your anything like me then you have bags upon bags of aquarium gravel lying around that don't get used.

    Nylon pot scrubbers are another popular option for cheap bio-media. Be sure to use the nylon ones though not the metal ones.

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  5. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    I've read before that broken up terra cotta could work, but since it really is a one-time expense, I would just buy the rings.
  6. TedsTankWell Known MemberMember

    Rinsed lava rock will also work great. Get some lava rock...beak it into approx 1" pieces or larger. Lasts forever but needs to be periodically rinsed in aquarium water like all filter media.
  7. JustMeNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all the replies so far :). I'll get some new sponges and rinse them out, and then chop them into small cubes. I'll also get a 1/2 inch diameter PVC pipe and cut that into 1 inch sections. Filter floss is covered- I still have some left. These three materials are readily available so I'll prep them first. Nice ideas so far, keep 'em coming. :)
  8. Danionins.comValued MemberMember

    That's what I use as well. With all the little holes, you get the full treatment of biological filtration, (ammonia, nitrIte, and nitrAte).

  9. JustMeNew MemberMember

    Where can I purchase lava rocks? I did a search and I can only find them online. Is there a chain store that sells 'em?
  10. Danionins.comValued MemberMember

    I get mine at Home Depot... out in the lawn & garden section.

  11. ArjitNew MemberMember

    whats the alternative to the ceremic rings

    and what is the use of activated carbon please help me out guys
  12. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to fishlore, Arjit. :) If you read this thread you posted in, there are suggestions for alternatives to ceramic rings.

    Activated carbon is optional in your filter. I don't use it, but other fish hobbyists do. What are your specific questions about it?

    Can I suggest you post your own thread in our welcome forum so that other members can give you a proper welcome?
  13. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Arjit, activated carbon removes imputities and odors from the water. It will also help stop the water from yellowing and helps keep it clear. It also removes any medications that you may put in your tank.

    You can run a tank without carbon if you choose. The only time it is a must have is after you are done medicating a tank and want to remove the meds.

    If you do use carbon, it needs to be replaced every 3 to 4 weeks, since in that time period it will become totally saturated and stop absorbing impurities. Some say that once it reaches the saturation point the carbon can start releasing impurities back into the water.

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