Bio balls or Ceramic Cylinders


I see all sort of advertising for these Bio Balls but my canister filter came with Ceramic Cylinders for a media.
I just bought a used tank and canister filter but there is no media for the filter. Have to buy some new media for it.
Does anyone know what's better? The Bio Balls or Ceramic Cylinders ?


I think it's just personal preference. I have both, and don't really know if there's much difference. I will tell you though that the ceramic media is much heavier, and if you are using it for a canister filter, if you like to keep your media basket in the tank while cleaning the filter, the ceramic noodles will make the basket sink instead of float. Not a big deal, but I have to stick my arm into the tank up to my shoulder to get it back out of the tank. I think the bio balls are also cheaper.


Bio-Balls are supposed to have more easily accessible surface area, so water flow goes across more bacteria. I'm not positive that this is true, but it's what the product claims to do. If they're cheaper, lighter, and easier to deal with, I'd get them over the ceramic deals.
  • Thread Starter


Something I found on the web : Makes sense to me

With all the talk of bioballs and ceramic rings, it reminded me of my
university days.  I studied Chemical Engineering.  I thought that I would
have nothing more to do with those balls and rings after I decided not to
work in the chemical industry.

In the chemical industries & water treatment processes, there are 1001
designs of balls and rings (they are called packings).  They are mainly
designed to make the largest possible contact area between 2 fluid mediums
or a fluid medium on a media adsorbed on the packing.  The packings are
very elaborately designed and tested first of all for liquid flow and also
for contact area.

In my opinion, bioballs are best used for wet/dry trickle type filters.
This type of design is the best in terms of aeration.  It is designed for
the water to be distributed when it's trickling down.  I thought that
bioballs will not be particularly effective when used fully submerged.
However, bioballs need very little cleaning and virtually have unlimited

The ceramic ring on the other hand is good in terms of surface area.  These
rings have varied porosity depending on the material.  I have came across
Sera Siropax which is extremely porous and has very high surface area per
unit volume.  These type of design is good for canister type filters where
the water fully fill the pores.  However, these rings have limited lifespan
as these pores will get clogged.  These rings needs to be cleaned
periodically and, in the long run, the effectiveness of these rings will
decline as some of the pores will become permanantly clogged.

Hmmm... afterall, those torturous hours in the lectures did not go to

BC (Singapore)


hehe, being a chemical engineer, it's nice to be able to apply some stuff I learned in those long lectures.

I was thinking that the ceramic cylinders would be better, but it also kind of depends on how you're using it. as long as you have enough flow, cleaning shouldn't be a big deal or something you'd have to do too frequently, I wouldn't think.


I think the canisters are recommended to be cleaned once a month. I have gone as long as 3 months before cleaning mine. It's more involved cleaning a canister filter, but you don't have to do it as often. I think priming them is the most frustrating part of cleaning them for me.


Maybe you should look at other brands of canister filter? Mine has taps on both hoses so you can close off the water flow and disconnect the whole device - disassemble, clean, repack, reassemble and fill with water through a plug in the top - then once the hoses are reconnected you just turn the taps and switch on the power - the syphon remains complete... I find it very convenient!

I hadn't realised that the ceramic cylinders would clog and restrict flow, mine came with both balls and cylinders and the balls float up into the tube inside the canister which is what I thought was restricting my flow, do you think it's more likely to be clogged ceramic rings?


did your flow decrease over time? if so, it's more likely to be clogged by buildup. if it started getting clogged quickly, i'd say something else is restricting the flow. only way I can think of to definitely know for sure is to open it up when you clean and look to see what's going on .


They make bags to place the media in to keep it where you want it. Also makes it easier to wash, as you can remove it all at one time and swish in tank water.

Xenomorph, what type of canaster filter do you use? Sounds well thought out. Even sponge filters get clogged, so it stands to reason ceramic could get clogged, the pores are so much smaller, it would not absorb anything, but water should still flow over and through and come in contact with bacteria on the ceramic cylinders.

Fish in the Frozen North 8)

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