Filter Media


Looking for info on what sort of filter media to add to my cascade 1000 canister filters. It has three trays. So far it just has the media that came with it. I'd like to improve on that.

One tray has carbon, one has a sponge, one has this white sponge like pad.

What should I get and where should I put it? Does the tray it is in matter?

Thanks in advance!


If you search under Fresh water tank equipment sub section filters and filtration here at fish lore you'll find every answer to your question and more.


the tray closest to the intake should be mechanical media, course, medium and fine sponge or polyfil material.

the next tray (and also the last tray) can be a porous bio media, budget media like Biomax ceramic beads. or more expensive Biohome, MarinePur, or Matrix, which have the potential to colonize anaerobic bacteria.

carbon is optional as its mainly to remove medication, tannis, or odors. and it needs to be changed out every 4-6 weeks.


I have the same filter. What I've found that works well and is cost effective is to use lava rock. I can get an enormous bag at Lowe's for like 5 or 10 bucks. I have the black sponge at the bottom of the bottom basket, with the finer white floss material directly on top of that. In the middle basket is all lava rock. The top basket has more lava rock, and then the carbon laying on top of that. The carbon is optional but like Skavatar said but it makes me feel better.

The order of things in the trays definitely matters! The filter works by pulling in water and pushing it to the bottom (not passing through any media). Then the water works its way UP through the filter media and back out into your tank. In general you want your water to be filtered in order mechanically (the sponges and filter floss), biologically (lava rock which will house beneficial bacteria), and then chemically (carbon).

I was just on a thread though that talked all about filter-less tanks and the pros and cons to that, just know that could be an option too.


You can also use lava rock since it's porous and cheap. You can smash it to the appropriate size.

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