Filter Media

stephpartin

Hello all and happy holidays

I am looking to switch up my filter media because I don't like the way it is set up now. It doesn't seem to keep my tank very clean. I have a fluval spec v 16 gallon. All water parameters are good. I modified my overflow and took out that big black foam sponge block it came with and added media baskets made by InTank. So right now I have 3 sponges, 2 bags of matrix, polyfill for particles, and peat for brown algae growth.

What I want to do is switch to:
LTWHOME Fish Pong Foam Filter Sponge Set
Supposedly has more surface area for the beneficial bacteria to grow. Three different size pore sponges. One coarse, medium and 1 fine.

I also want to slowly replace my matrix with Biohome plus.

Finally I want to add
Blue Life USA Fx PRO Aquarium Treatment

So if anyone has experience with any of these products please let me know how they worked out for you.


Thank you,

Stephanie
 

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MacZ

This is... Ok, sponges are possible to get cheaper but that looks decently ok.
The biomedia (while I am all for biomedia) are overpriced and much too much. I have maybe 250gr of biomedia in my filter in a 20 gallon. You won't need much more than that for the next 5 years. Biomedia gets switched so rarely, with a pound you have enough for the next 10 years.
The last one is a waterconditioner with pH regulator and it claims to regulate Nitrates... Don't buy that, when a waterconditioner claims so many things be wary, if it claims to control nitrates keep away from that stuff. If you already use a waterconditioner to dechlorinate your water for waterchanges you already have something that does all you need. All the rest is either blatant lies (controlling nitrates that way is not possible and not necessary). All the rest in one product is not just unusual, but almost for sure a scam at best and dangerous for your animals at worst.
 
Upvote 0

RayClem

The Fluval spec V16 is supposed to have a 132 gph pump which should provide a 8 timer per hour turnover for your tank. That should be adequate to keep your tank clean assuming it is not overstocked or overfed.

Why do you think you need to replace your biomedia? As long as your ammonia and nitrite tests show zero, you have sufficient colonies of beneficial bacteria, Adding more or different biomedia is not going to improve things. The original foam media in your tank is one of the best bio media you can have. However, foam does get clogged up over time. You have to rinse it out in used tank water periodically. The advantage of the three foam sizes is that the coarse foam catches the bigger stuff before it plugs the finer foam.

As MacZ indicated, the Blue Life USA Fx PRO Aquarium Treatment seems to be a mix of activated carbon and some resins. I have not used it, so I cannot comment on it directly. However, I agree with Mac that it is best to use specific solutions to specific problems rather than an all-in-one solution.

Do you need granular activated carbon? Many fishkeepers, especially those with planted tanks, no longer use it. If your tank has an odor or if the water is stained, add GAC for a few days and then remove it when it has done its job. GAC is ideal for removing medications from tanks after treatment is completed, but GAC is a just as adept at removing things your aquarium needs as things you want to eliminate.

What is the level of phosphates in your tank? If you have not tested for phosphates, you have no idea whether you even need a phosphate remover. If you do have excess phosphates, you are better off using granular ferric oxide or ceramic beads like Phosguard to remove it.

If you need to have an organic scavenger in your tank, Purigen has a long track record of removing organics effectively. Being a single resin, it can be regenerated in a bleach solution if you want to go to the trouble of doing that.

Another resin that has been used for many years by fishkeepers is PolyBio Marine Poly Filter. It is a filter matrix embedded with resins that absorb a variety of materials. Unlike carbon, Poly Filter will not rerelease the materials into the water if you leave it in too long. It is most effective if it is directly in the water flow, but I just cut up a 1" x 4" piece and add it to my filter. If you use it, make sure it is used after any mechanical and biological filtration to prolong the useful life.
 
Upvote 0

stephpartin

This is... Ok, sponges are possible to get cheaper but that looks decently ok.
The biomedia (while I am all for biomedia) are overpriced and much too much. I have maybe 250gr of biomedia in my filter in a 20 gallon. You won't need much more than that for the next 5 years. Biomedia gets switched so rarely, with a pound you have enough for the next 10 years.
The last one is a waterconditioner with pH regulator and it claims to regulate Nitrates... Don't buy that, when a waterconditioner claims so many things be wary, if it claims to control nitrates keep away from that stuff. If you already use a waterconditioner to dechlorinate your water for waterchanges you already have something that does all you need. All the rest is either blatant lies (controlling nitrates that way is not possible and not necessary). All the rest in one product is not just unusual, but almost for sure a scam at best and dangerous for your animals at worst.
Hey Mac thanks for the information) Good to know I do not have to buy bio media for a very long time....I use prime as my water conditioner and it does a good job so I will stick with that. So much out there to choose and from so glad I have this site for help. Thx again
The Fluval spec V16 is supposed to have a 132 gph pump which should provide a 8 timer per hour turnover for your tank. That should be adequate to keep your tank clean assuming it is not overstocked or overfed.

Why do you think you need to replace your biomedia? As long as your ammonia and nitrite tests show zero, you have sufficient colonies of beneficial bacteria, Adding more or different biomedia is not going to improve things. The original foam media in your tank is one of the best bio media you can have. However, foam does get clogged up over time. You have to rinse it out in used tank water periodically. The advantage of the three foam sizes is that the coarse foam catches the bigger stuff before it plugs the finer foam.

As MacZ indicated, the Blue Life USA Fx PRO Aquarium Treatment seems to be a mix of activated carbon and some resins. I have not used it, so I cannot comment on it directly. However, I agree with Mac that it is best to use specific solutions to specific problems rather than an all-in-one solution.

Do you need granular activated carbon? Many fishkeepers, especially those with planted tanks, no longer use it. If your tank has an odor or if the water is stained, add GAC for a few days and then remove it when it has done its job. GAC is ideal for removing medications from tanks after treatment is completed, but GAC is a just as adept at removing things your aquarium needs as things you want to eliminate.

What is the level of phosphates in your tank? If you have not tested for phosphates, you have no idea whether you even need a phosphate remover. If you do have excess phosphates, you are better off using granular ferric oxide or ceramic beads like Phosguard to remove it.

If you need to have an organic scavenger in your tank, Purigen has a long track record of removing organics effectively. Being a single resin, it can be regenerated in a bleach solution if you want to go to the trouble of doing that.

Another resin that has been used for many years by fishkeepers is PolyBio Marine Poly Filter. It is a filter matrix embedded with resins that absorb a variety of materials. Unlike carbon, Poly Filter will not rerelease the materials into the water if you leave it in too long. It is most effective if it is directly in the water flow, but I just cut up a 1" x 4" piece and add it to my filter. If you use it, make sure it is used after any mechanical and biological filtration to prolong the useful life.
Hello the spec is not overstocked and I try not to overfeed. The big black sponge set up it came with did not work for me so I have two columns in the back sump for media in media baskets made for the spec by InTank. I do not want to switch out all of my sponges. Just one that is basically too small . It does not fit the media basket so the water flows around it and not through it.

Right now I have 2 bags of matrix that I am going to slowly replace with biohome. It is supposed to have a much larger surface area.

I did not test for phosphates. I get brown algae in my tank and if I don't use peat then it gets bad. I also have two small Cichlidae in there that like soft water. I can give phosgard a try and see what happens.

There is no odor or stain. I use carbon only to remove meds.

I looked up the polybio and it looks pretty decent. thx....Does purigen remove trace elements?

Finally I will just keep using prime for my water changes and stay away from that other stuff that claims miracles!!

I do water changes and vacuum weekly.I don't know why my tank has so many particles and detritus!! I thought it was because my sump was dirty but I did a good job cleaning it and rinsing my filter media in tank water. IDK

Anyway thanks so much for all of your help)
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

Hey Mac thanks for the information) Good to know I do not have to buy bio media for a very long time....I use prime as my water conditioner and it does a good job so I will stick with that. So much out there to choose and from so glad I have this site for help. Thx again

You're welcome. Always keep in mind: Do you really need it?

Hello the spec is not overstocked and I try not to overfeed. The big black sponge set up it came with did not work for me so I have two columns in the back sump for media in media baskets made for the spec by InTank. I do not want to switch out all of my sponges. Just one that is basically too small . It does not fit the media basket so the water flows around it and not through it.

Right now I have 2 bags of matrix that I am going to slowly replace with biohome. It is supposed to have a much larger surface area.

I did not test for phosphates. I get brown algae in my tank and if I don't use peat then it gets bad. I also have two small Cichlidae in there that like soft water. I can give phosgard a try and see what happens.

There is no odor or stain. I use carbon only to remove meds.

I looked up the polybio and it looks pretty decent. thx....Does purigen remove trace elements?

Finally I will just keep using prime for my water changes and stay away from that other stuff that claims miracles!!

I do water changes and vacuum weekly.I don't know why my tank has so many particles and detritus!! I thought it was because my sump was dirty but I did a good job cleaning it and rinsing my filter media in tank water. IDK

Anyway thanks so much for all of your help)

Just some short thoughts:

The plural of cichlid is cichlids. Still the bolivians?

You use peat? There's your source of particles and detritus. Do you by any chance also use botanicals like leaves now? That only adds to it. Some is not bad. Sounds like with a fitting piece of finer foam for polishing and maybe some filterfloss you are already served well. Don't clean the main bulk of media too often. Normally you only replace filterfloss and squeeze out the sponges a bit (!) so they don't clogg. Too coarse and clean filtermedia may work for biological filtration but not for mechanical.
Too much vacuuming can also stirr up unnecessary much detritus. Eventually you don't have to do this weekly.

Ignore the phosphates. Ray basically only mentioned them as an example of an actual reason to use any filtermedia that remove certain compounds. I don't think in your case that's necessary.

Can you post a picture of the tank how it looks now?
And maybe all water parameter and quality readings? (pH, GH, KH, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates)

Maybe you don't need to buy any stuff besides a finer filtersponge and everything else can be solved or deemed unnecessary, saving you money, time and work.
 
Upvote 0

RayClem

Does your tap water contain silicates? Check with your water supplier.

I suspect your brown algae is diatoms. They thrive when there is plenty of phosphates and silicates. The typical phosphate removers: aluminum oxide beads and granular ferric oxide remove both phosphates and silicates. If your tap water contains silicates and/or phosphates, then the phosphate remover might help contain diatom algae by removing the silicates used to build their shells. Nearly all new tanks will develop a diatom bloom when first set up if using tap water as the source water. However, typically, that bloom will go away in a few weeks.

PolyFilter will remove some trace elements as well as organics. Thus, it will remove unwanted phosphates, silicates, and copper from the water. However, it will also remove iron that may be needed for certain plants. These are just some examples. Thus, if your brown algae is diatoms, using PolyFilter should solve the problem.

Purigen is a resin that is designed to remove organics. It is not supposed to remove any minerals.
 
Upvote 0

stephpartin

You're welcome. Always keep in mind: Do you really need it?



Just some short thoughts:

The plural of cichlid is cichlids. Still the bolivians?

You use peat? There's your source of particles and detritus. Do you by any chance also use botanicals like leaves now? That only adds to it. Some is not bad. Sounds like with a fitting piece of finer foam for polishing and maybe some filterfloss you are already served well. Don't clean the main bulk of media too often. Normally you only replace filterfloss and squeeze out the sponges a bit (!) so they don't clogg. Too coarse and clean filtermedia may work for biological filtration but not for mechanical.
Too much vacuuming can also stirr up unnecessary much detritus. Eventually you don't have to do this weekly.

Ignore the phosphates. Ray basically only mentioned them as an example of an actual reason to use any filtermedia that remove certain compounds. I don't think in your case that's necessary.

Can you post a picture of the tank how it looks now?
And maybe all water parameter and quality readings? (pH, GH, KH, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates)

Maybe you don't need to buy any stuff besides a finer filtersponge and everything else can be solved or deemed unnecessary, saving you money, time and work.
Good morning Yeah spell check is good for malapropism. So now that the grammar lesson is over we can move on to my real issue.

I use Fluval peat that is in a very fine media bag so I'm not sure that is the source of my problem. I do not use any kind of leaves and I only clean my filter when it needs it which is about 2 to 3 months. I can put some filter floss in there for the particles. I really don't want to use anything that removes trace elements.
Im out of town so I can tell you before I left my parameters were Ammonia 0, PH 7, Nitrite 0 and Nitrates 10. I have a GH and KH test but I only use them once in a while.. When I get back home I can post some photos.

Thanks for the guidance
Does your tap water contain silicates? Check with your water supplier.

I suspect your brown algae is diatoms. They thrive when there is plenty of phosphates and silicates. The typical phosphate removers: aluminum oxide beads and granular ferric oxide remove both phosphates and silicates. If your tap water contains silicates and/or phosphates, then the phosphate remover might help contain diatom algae by removing the silicates used to build their shells. Nearly all new tanks will develop a diatom bloom when first set up if using tap water as the source water. However, typically, that bloom will go away in a few weeks.

PolyFilter will remove some trace elements as well as organics. Thus, it will remove unwanted phosphates, silicates, and copper from the water. However, it will also remove iron that may be needed for certain plants. These are just some examples. Thus, if your brown algae is diatoms, using PolyFilter should solve the problem.

Purigen is a resin that is designed to remove organics. It is not supposed to remove any minerals.
Hi Ray thanks so very much for your great advice. No I haven't checked for silicates but will when I get back into town. I use the peat so that My tank doesn't have to go through the diatom phase or at least mask it. I am going to give phosgard a try.
I don't want to use anything that removes trace elements.
I am sticking to purigen for organics and prime for my water conditioner.
Thank you so very much!!!
 
Upvote 0

Islandvic

I would suggest uggest to consider skipping the biohome.

If your water parameters are good, then the layers of foams, bags of matrix and polyfil seem to be working.

First year of fishkeeping it was hard for me to leave things alone. I have found that keeping it simple and leaving what works alone seems to be to best.

My 2 cents...
 
Upvote 0

MacZ

I would suggest uggest to consider skipping the biohome.

If your water parameters are good, then the layers of foams, bags of matrix and polyfil seem to be working.

First year of fishkeeping it was hard for me to leave things alone. I have found that keeping it simple and leaving what works alone seems to be to best.

My 2 cents...

Pretty much what I'm saying in a nutshell.
 
Upvote 0

RayClem

Yep, you only need to use a new type of biomedia if your nitrogen cycle is not stable. However, I am sure Biohome will gladly tank your money, Just remember that your current media has colonies of beneficial bacteria which will be lost if you replace your Matrix with Biohome. Even if Biohome is better than Matrix, you won't notice an improvement in your tank unless your tank is seriously overstocked.
 
Upvote 0

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