Is Polishing Filter Media Worth It ?

napa15rt

Question I was going to add some 100 micron filter pad to my aquaclear hob filter. Does anybody use this stuff. Always seem to see some stuff floating in water. The sponge that comes with the filter seems to have big pores to it like it would let small stuff through.
 

AquaticJ

The sponges it comes with don’t really do much, I run polyester fiber in all my tanks, along with matrix/ceramic media. That's all you neat IMO.
 

NickAu

I run polyester fiber in all my tanks, along with matrix/ceramic media. That's all you neat IMO.

Same here but I put the polyester fibre in my filter not my tank, only difference is I use bio home media.
 

AquaticJ

Same here only difference is I use bio home media.
I keep seeing people talking about this recently, seemingly out of nowhere. What’s so great about it? I hear something to do with DEnitrifying bacteria?
 

napa15rt

Does the good bacteria grow on the polyester fill I assume? So the 100 micron pads I see don't really do anything ?
 

VeiltailKing

I use 100% polyester quilt batting in my aquarium filters. It works just as good as filter floss (same material) and it is cheaper for more of the batting.

EDIT: The quilt batting will hold good bacteria, but you will want to replace it every 2 or so weeks. They get dirty quick.
 

AquaticJ

Does the good bacteria grow on the polyester fill I assume? So the 100 micron pads I see don't really do anything ?
Any media will grow bacteria, but the more porous, the better it harbors bacteria.
 

napa15rt

I keep seeing people talking about this recently, seemingly out of nowhere. What’s so great about it? I hear something to do with DEnitrifying bacteria?
I was just googling about green algae and clear water and it came up.

I was thinking sponge then polishing pad they sell a huge roll for about 12$ - then the 2 bio ring bags I have in there.
 
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NickAu

At the risk of dragging this thread off topic, Sorry mods.

First up let me say I got about 10 kg of bio home for free.

I hear something to do with DEnitrifying bacteria?

Bio Home is sintered glass media and according to the makers of the product after about 6 months Anaerobic bacteria builds up in the middle of the media that deals with Nitrates as well.

Look up BIOHOME ULTIMATE - FILTER MEDIA DOES NOT GET ANY BETTER by pondguru.

My water parameters are always, Ammonia zero, Nitrite zero, Nitrate zero.

If you want to discuss Bio home media I suggest you strat a new post so we don't drag this conversation off topic.
 

goldface

Polishing pads, filter floss, and anything similar are meant to be replaced regularly. Their goal is strictly for mechanical filtration, not biological.
 

napa15rt

All good to know. I am looking for more mechanical filtration. I think my bio filtration is pretty strong. Just always see tiny things floating.
 

NickAu

I am looking for more mechanical filtration.

Use filter floss in the filter, or get a fine sponge and put it on the filter intake.

PS
Something like this
 

aae0130

All good to know. I am looking for more mechanical filtration. I think my bio filtration is pretty strong. Just always see tiny things floating.
That’s the purpose of the fine floss......to not allow all that little stuff to pass through. However, you need to replace it often as it will plug up the filter and then it will bypass anyway. .....and in the AquaClear that could mean spills.
 

napa15rt

Don't need spills live in a two story apt. I thought the hob has a bypass to prevent water going over the back. Can any one confirm this ?
 

AquaticJ

It does, but if it’s badly clogged it can only bypass so much.

I have 13 tanks and I’m in a 3 story condo, lol.
 

aae0130

Don't need spills live in a two story apt. I thought the hob has a bypass to prevent water going over the back. Can any one confirm this ?
It happened to my ac 110 and my ac75 more than once. When it becomes plugged up the cage that holds the media rises on one side. Sometimes it rises to much and water flows out onto the floor. I started putting tape on the cover to hold it all in. I was using Fluval fine polishing pads over the stock sponge.
 

napa15rt

All really good to know. You think they would design it so that can't happen. The polishing pad material I was looking at says it is only 1/8 inch thick. Would that still clog ?
 

NickAu

All filter floss will clog, How fast depends on how much muck it has to filter out versus the size and thickness of the floss.
 

aae0130

All really good to know. You think they would design it so that can't happen. The polishing pad material I was looking at says it is only 1/8 inch thick. Would that still clog ?
They do design it to work well with the included media. It’s when we pack it with finer material it plugs up easily.
 

NickAu

In most cases the media that comes with filters is rubbish especially those all in one cartridges that have carbon in them.
 

napa15rt

That makes me nervous. I don't need leaks my landlord is not the nicest guy. When it gets close to being that clogged does that water flow really slow down giving a warning ? Probably experiment maybe leave a small gap so if the material gets plugged it can go around? idk . The bio rings and the sponge seem decent. The charcoal didn't really like had to rinse for seemed like ever to get the black stuff out. That's the main reason I ditched it. Plus I read another bio ring bag would be more beneficial.
 

NickAu

Its simple buy a prefilter sponge and put it on the intake.
 

napa15rt

Its simple buy a prefilter sponge and put it on the intake.
I think I will look into that too. That seems like a good option. But the stuff wouldn't be removed from the tank it would just sit on the sponge ?
 

NickAu

Yes, and you take the sponge out and clean it every week when you change water and service the filter, A pre filter sponge on the intake guarantees the filter won't over flow.

Heres what I would do if I was you.

Fill the filter body with good media only I prefer sintered glass, then use a fine pre filter sponge on the intake, no need for sponges in the HOB.
 

napa15rt

Yes, and you take the sponge out and clean it every week when you change water and service the filter, A pre filter sponge on the intake guarantees the filter won't over flow.

Heres what I would do if I was you.

Fill the filter body with good media only I prefer sintered glass, then use a fine pre filter sponge on the intake, no need for sponges in the HOB.

Thanks for all the advice.
 

oldsalt777

Question I was going to add some 100 micron filter pad to my aquaclear hob filter. Does anybody use this stuff. Always seem to see some stuff floating in water. The sponge that comes with the filter seems to have big pores to it like it would let small stuff through.

Hello nap...

Just remove and replace at least half the tank water every week. This will keep the tank water clean and clear. The filter's main job is keeping oxygen mixed into the tank water. It's a necessary part of the tank, but does little to keep the water clear of floating particles or keep the water healthy for the fish and plants.

Old
 

Thunder_o_b

Polishing pads will clog quickly if you do not pre-filter. I have sponge pre-filters on our canisters and am working on doing the same for my HOBs.
 

Wraithen

Ok, on the filter floss application causing spills in a hob, especially the aqua clears, there is a super safe way to fix your issue. Put the filter floss on top. Tuck it under your biomedia in the back corners and one of the front. When it clogs, it will lift the filter floss and bypass it. Then you won't get spills.

Be warned about your ac filters, the turn dial foot can pop out, allowing the hob to lean back and cause a spill that way. I tossed mine and stuck a sponge between the hob and tank to keep the hob level.
 

stella1979

HI napa15rt You've gotten lots of great advice and explanations so far. I only want to add my own words because I am using an Aquaclear with a 50-micron polishing pad inside. It's just a little AC20 on a 7.5-gallon betta tank, with super slow flow for my big finned boy. If we add very, very fine filter padding (like I have and you've mentioned), we can expect the flow to be hampered a bit... but that works out fine on my tank. I've got the flow set to the minimum anyhow, and even rigged up a bit of sponge on the filter output to further disperse flow. Sam the betta likes it this way. Anyhow, here's how it's set up.

Pre-filter sponge on the intake within the tank. Rinsed in tank water at every weekly water change.
Within the media basket, from bottom to top goes like this.
  1. About 1/2" layer of 100% polyester quilt batting. Changed out for new every month.
  2. 50-micron pad, changed out every two weeks.
  3. A small bag of Matrix biomedia, which also has de-nitrification properties. More on that in a minute.
  4. A small bag of Purigen, by Seachem, which works almost like carbon in that it polishes water for crystal clarity. This stuff deserves its own research. I have to refresh it every few months.
And that's it, aside from the bit of sponge I hot-glued to the filter output... but this is just a filter hack for a big finned betta.

Matrix biomedia is made of pumice, and it too has deep enough negative space within to host anaerobic bacteria. Don't quote me on this, but if I understand correctly... Anaerobic bacteria is a very finicky thing. It takes a long time to become established in a filter and is easy to damage or kill the population. I don't think we ever want to really handle media that is hosting anaerobic bacteria and perhaps most importantly, don't expose it to air.

Well, with my filter setup, I have to remove the whole basket from the Aquaclear so I may replace the micron pad and the polyfill. Might I have anaerobic bacteria in the Matrix anyway? I honestly don't know. This is a pretty low bioload tank. It is planted, and I do use fertilizers, only a low dose once per week. Perhaps the Purigen is also stripping the water of nitrates to some degree. The fish eats a decent meal twice a day, gets weekly water changes of 30%, plus there's that fertilizer dose... yet nitrates in this tank are rarely over 10ppm, and never over 15ppm.

Anyhow, just thought I'd share my experience with an Aquaclear, micron padding, and de-nitrifying media. Hope it helps.
 

Islandvic

I think I have a very similar setup that stella1979 described. I have 2 AQ30's, one with and without Purigen.

Napa15rt, I have 4x AC models. They each use a layer of 100 micron pad.

Here are some pics of one the AC30's on my 20g.

245615-40758d2916304432c55516f864f5c861.jpg

245616-5112112a53eb655d2682cdf317e25374.jpg

I cut down the stock sponge to make room for more media.

It has a layer of loose polyfil, a layer of filter pad cut from bull roll, a layer of thin 100 micron pad and then a bag of Matrix bio-media.

It has a sponge prefilter zip tied to the end of the intake tube.

246402-892fc4f2fb99cd1caec0c2ceabde9ca0.jpg

Although this is a pic of another brand of one ofilter, you can get the idea of how it looks attached to the intake tube.

I didn't catch what size AC you have.

Here is some pics of the the media I put in my AC110 on my 75g.


Sponge pre-filter.....
245556-7b158f1b75766e441542f266f5fcd2e8.jpg

245557-4ff69cfc2d419cbffba801ff44c35406.jpg

Again, I cut down the height of the stock sponge, to allow more room of additional media. It is set up the same way as the AC30 in the other pics.

245551-054df1f2eb03be7e1abef6c4c41548e5.jpg

245555-650e358ebf80f09ff21dd663be3fcd77.jpg




You mentioned being worried about water overflowing the sides.

I have never had an issue of one of my AC's overflowing over the side due to media being clogged.


When the media does start to have a build up of muck, water starts bypass safely as the AC was designed to.
 

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NickAu

The filter's main job is keeping oxygen mixed into the tank water

I'm sorry but that is NOT the filters main job.
 

Thunder_o_b

Hello nap...

Just remove and replace at least half the tank water every week. This will keep the tank water clean and clear. The filter's main job is keeping oxygen mixed into the tank water. It's a necessary part of the tank, but does little to keep the water clear of floating particles or keep the water healthy for the fish and plants.

Old
The filters main job is to pull organics from the water so they can be exported from the water column. With proper maintenance this keeps them from fully entering the nitrogen cycle, thus greatly reducing the need for water changes. The filters also provide an environment that fosters a healthy environment for most of the BB.
 

napa15rt

Thanks guys awesome advice from all. I am going to go with a piece of the bigger pore original foam at the bottom then use the polishing pad underneath the two bio ring bags leaving a spot to by pass if it gets clogged. But I am going to just make sure I change like every 4 days or so, at first maybe checking everyday to see how it does. Thanks for the leveling tip also. Eventually I want to switch to the seachem bio media.

HI napa15rt You've gotten lots of great advice and explanations so far. I only want to add my own words because I am using an Aquaclear with a 50-micron polishing pad inside. It's just a little AC20 on a 7.5-gallon betta tank, with super slow flow for my big finned boy. If we add very, very fine filter padding (like I have and you've mentioned), we can expect the flow to be hampered a bit... but that works out fine on my tank. I've got the flow set to the minimum anyhow, and even rigged up a bit of sponge on the filter output to further disperse flow. Sam the betta likes it this way. Anyhow, here's how it's set up.

Pre-filter sponge on the intake within the tank. Rinsed in tank water at every weekly water change.
Within the media basket, from bottom to top goes like this.
  1. About 1/2" layer of 100% polyester quilt batting. Changed out for new every month.
  2. 50-micron pad, changed out every two weeks.
  3. A small bag of Matrix biomedia, which also has de-nitrification properties. More on that in a minute.
  4. A small bag of Purigen, by Seachem, which works almost like carbon in that it polishes water for crystal clarity. This stuff deserves its own research. I have to refresh it every few months.
And that's it, aside from the bit of sponge I hot-glued to the filter output... but this is just a filter hack for a big finned betta.

Matrix biomedia is made of pumice, and it too has deep enough negative space within to host anaerobic bacteria. Don't quote me on this, but if I understand correctly... Anaerobic bacteria is a very finicky thing. It takes a long time to become established in a filter and is easy to damage or kill the population. I don't think we ever want to really handle media that is hosting anaerobic bacteria and perhaps most importantly, don't expose it to air.

Well, with my filter setup, I have to remove the whole basket from the Aquaclear so I may replace the micron pad and the polyfill. Might I have anaerobic bacteria in the Matrix anyway? I honestly don't know. This is a pretty low bioload tank. It is planted, and I do use fertilizers, only a low dose once per week. Perhaps the Purigen is also stripping the water of nitrates to some degree. The fish eats a decent meal twice a day, gets weekly water changes of 30%, plus there's that fertilizer dose... yet nitrates in this tank are rarely over 10ppm, and never over 15ppm.

Anyhow, just thought I'd share my experience with an Aquaclear, micron padding, and de-nitrifying media. Hope it helps.
Thanks I appreciate that. I have to take basket out also. So I guess we just have to limit the exposure to air.

I think I have a very similar setup that stella1979 described. I have 2 AQ30's, one with and without Purigen.

Napa15rt, I have 4x AC models. They each use a layer of 100 micron pad.

Here are some pics of one the AC30's on my 20g.



I cut down the stock sponge to make room for more media.

It has a layer of loose polyfil, a layer of filter pad cut from bull roll, a layer of thin 100 micron pad and then a bag of Matrix bio-media.

It has a sponge prefilter zip tied to the end of the intake tube.


Although this is a pic of another brand of one ofilter, you can get the idea of how it looks attached to the intake tube.

I didn't catch what size AC you have.

Here is some pics of the the media I put in my AC110 on my 75g.


Sponge pre-filter.....


Again, I cut down the height of the stock sponge, to allow more room of additional media. It is set up the same way as the AC30 in the other pics.





You mentioned being worried about water overflowing the sides.

I have never had an issue of one of my AC's overflowing over the side due to media being clogged.


When the media does start to have a build up of muck, water starts bypass safely as the AC was designed to.
Thanks that looks like some good setups that you have going.Nicely done !
 
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Kjeldsen

HI Napa
I run a powerhead about once a week (for a few hours or overnight) in each tank, usually on the opposite side of the filter. It's definitely worth it to get rid of particulate matter and just gives an extra clarity boost. Plus you can use whatever kind of media you want. I started out using most of the bottle, then kept cutting it shorter and shorter.
powerhead600.jpg
 

napa15rt

HI Napa
I run a powerhead about once a week (for a few hours or overnight) in each tank, usually on the opposite side of the filter. It's definitely worth it to get rid of particulate matter and just gives an extra clarity boost. Plus you can use whatever kind of media you want. I started out using most of the bottle, then kept cutting it shorter and shorter.
View attachment 518818
that looks like a cool setup and idea. But my tank is only 10 gallons and I think my gourami doesn't seem to like a swift current.
 

oldsalt777

The filters main job is to pull organics from the water so they can be exported from the water column. With proper maintenance this keeps them from fully entering the nitrogen cycle, thus greatly reducing the need for water changes. The filters also provide an environment that fosters a healthy environment for most of the BB.

Hello Thun...

Unless you have a means of removing all three forms of nitrogen, you never want to reduce the times you remove and replace the tank water. The bacteria in the tank can't remove nitrate, so you have to change most of the water at least weekly to maintain a healthy water chemistry. Even the best mechanical filtration system can't replace the simple large, weekly water change. The filtering system is simply taking in old toxic water and returning the water a bit less toxic. The water change replenishes minerals, that are lost due to the constant filtration process and the affect oxygen in the surrounding air has on standing water.

Old
 

Wraithen

Hello Thun...

Unless you have a means of removing all three forms of nitrogen, you never want to reduce the times you remove and replace the tank water. The bacteria in the tank can't remove nitrate, so you have to change most of the water at least weekly to maintain a healthy water chemistry. Even the best mechanical filtration system can't replace the simple large, weekly water change. The filtering system is simply taking in old toxic water and returning the water a bit less toxic. The water change replenishes minerals, that are lost due to the constant filtration process and the affect oxygen in the surrounding air has on standing water.

Old
You're right about minerals, but he uses rodI water, so he can replace anything used up on the fly. It is easily possible to have a tank consume all three, actually 4, forms of nitrogen. From there, you only really have to deal with the water losing its capability to carry, which is something I admittedly don't actually understand.
 

Thunder_o_b

Hello Thun...

Unless you have a means of removing all three forms of nitrogen, you never want to reduce the times you remove and replace the tank water. The bacteria in the tank can't remove nitrate, so you have to change most of the water at least weekly to maintain a healthy water chemistry. Even the best mechanical filtration system can't replace the simple large, weekly water change. The filtering system is simply taking in old toxic water and returning the water a bit less toxic. The water change replenishes minerals, that are lost due to the constant filtration process and the affect oxygen in the surrounding air has on standing water.

Old
HI oldsalt

That is why you remove as much of the organics as you can as soon as you can. This limits the frequency of water changes do to the lower organics being converted in the cycle.

As for mineral I and many others here use DO/DI water that is remineralized.

The results can been seen in the photos I post of my aquariums. I do water changes only when the readings from the test call for it. It has been a month since the last one. I will be doing some today. around 20-25%

But there is nothing wrong with water changes. My position is this, with a rigorously maintained aquarium they are not needed very often as the tests bear out.

Actually the bacteria in the aquarium does remove nitrate if you are using a filter medium that supports anaerobic bacteria. Some people use lava rock. I prefer Seachem's Matrix.
 

leftswerve

...............

Actually the bacteria in the aquarium does remove nitrate if you are using a filter medium that supports anaerobic bacteria. Some people use lava rock. I prefer Seachem's Matrix.
I have yet to see imperical evidence of that happening.
 

86 ssinit

HI Napa
I run a powerhead about once a week (for a few hours or overnight) in each tank, usually on the opposite side of the filter. It's definitely worth it to get rid of particulate matter and just gives an extra clarity boost. Plus you can use whatever kind of media you want. I started out using most of the bottle, then kept cutting it shorter and shorter.
View attachment 518818

Great idea and the main purpose of a polishing pad.

They used to sell filters for just this purpose. The vortex and the magnum 350. I would call them tools of the hobby and not everyday filters(unless doing what stella is doing). A polishing pad on a power head will remove all particles in the tank. Ie cleanup a. Algae bloom or cloudy water in minutes also useful to clean up the eggs and parasites of an ick outbreak. I used these pads to remove flourite dust from my water when tank was new.
 

oldsalt777

HI oldsalt

That is why you remove as much of the organics as you can as soon as you can. This limits the frequency of water changes do to the lower organics being converted in the cycle.

As for mineral I and many others here use DO/DI water that is remineralized.

The results can been seen in the photos I post of my aquariums. I do water changes only when the readings from the test call for it. It has been a month since the last one. I will be doing some today. around 20-25%

But there is nothing wrong with water changes. My position is this, with a rigorously maintained aquarium they are not needed very often as the tests bear out.

Actually the bacteria in the aquarium does remove nitrate if you are using a filter medium that supports anaerobic bacteria. Some people use lava rock. I prefer Seachem's Matrix.

Thunder...

Water changes are the foundation of the water keeping hobby. Nothing beside a specific plant filter system can reduce the need for them. The large, weekly water change removes most of the toxins from the dissolving fish and plant waste materials and the toxins left are reduced to safe limits in all the new, treated tap water. If you understood the action of oxygen in the air on the elements in water, you'd know the water must be replaced weekly. Oxygen in the air changes the minerals in the water by the hour as does filtration. Distilled or RO water has nothing in it to maintain a steady water chemistry. Testing the water is a poor means of determining your water change routine. Your test kit can't test all the levels of the trace elements the fish and plants need for sustained good health.

There's no bacteria that will remove nitrate, this is the reason you must remove and replace the water frequently. Certain plant based filtration, like using the Chinese evergreen will reduce the need for water changes, but this requires a specific diet for the fish.

Good luck with your system. I'll keep up with the large, weekly water changes.

Old
 

86 ssinit

So what do you think of denitrifying bacteria? Real or fake? Made up to sell product? Just curious.
 

Wraithen

Thunder...

Water changes are the foundation of the water keeping hobby. Nothing beside a specific plant filter system can reduce the need for them. The large, weekly water change removes most of the toxins from the dissolving fish and plant waste materials and the toxins left are reduced to safe limits in all the new, treated tap water. If you understood the action of oxygen in the air on the elements in water, you'd know the water must be replaced weekly. Oxygen in the air changes the minerals in the water by the hour as does filtration. Distilled or RO water has nothing in it to maintain a steady water chemistry. Testing the water is a poor means of determining your water change routine. Your test kit can't test all the levels of the trace elements the fish and plants need for sustained good health.

There's no bacteria that will remove nitrate, this is the reason you must remove and replace the water frequently. Certain plant based filtration, like using the Chinese evergreen will reduce the need for water changes, but this requires a specific diet for the fish.

Good luck with your system. I'll keep up with the large, weekly water changes.

Old
I'm sorry but you are misinformed. There are several bacteria that can convert nitrate.

The toxins produced by fish and plants are actually very well removed by the plants in our tanks. Id bet a paycheck that my tank water, after a month, is lower in toxins and pollutants than from the tap. Not to mention, tap water is allowed to have things in it at levels that have been proven to harm fish.

There have been a ton of people experimenting with more balanced, less maintenance styles of fish keeping where fish and plants are thriving for several months between water changes.
 

Gourami36

I don’t stir my sand a lot so there’s anaerobic bacteria in it because it’s low oxygen. When I was cycling my nitrates went from 160+ to 10-20. I never changed the water during cycling and my plants are mostly slow growing. (Anubias, amazon sword, crypt. wendtii, ludwigia, foxtail). My filter media is plastic pot scrubbers and sponge
 

oldsalt777

I'm sorry but you are misinformed. There are several bacteria that can convert nitrate.

The toxins produced by fish and plants are actually very well removed by the plants in our tanks. Id bet a paycheck that my tank water, after a month, is lower in toxins and pollutants than from the tap. Not to mention, tap water is allowed to have things in it at levels that have been proven to harm fish.

There have been a ton of people experimenting with more balanced, less maintenance styles of fish keeping where fish and plants are thriving for several months between water changes.

Hello Wraith...

I'd sure like to know the name of that type of bacteria. If something like this really did exist and I'm skeptical, you'd never have to remove and replace the tank water. There are millions of tank keepers out there that have wasted countless hours and billions of gallons of water removing nitrate over the decades. There are definitely terrestrial plants that will remove all three forms of nitrogen, but there's no bacteria that has this capability. This why the water has to be removed and replaced regularly. What does this nitrate converting bacteria make from the nitrate? Can you possibly tell me? I've been in the water keeping hobby quite a number of years and had no idea a bacteria like this existed.

Old
 

aae0130

Newer products on the market are making this reasonably possible for the home aquarists to achieve but the science is not new.
 

Wraithen

Thiobacillus denitrificans, Micrococcus denitrificans, and some species of Serratia, Pseudomonas, and Achromobacter
 

86 ssinit

Thiobacillus denitrificans, Micrococcus denitrificans, and some species of Serratia, Pseudomonas, and Achromobacter
Are these the bacteria or the byproduct?
 

Wraithen

Bacteria. Some you really don't want getting a foothold in your aquarium though, like the first one.
 

86 ssinit

thank you both for this info. Any chance you could open another thread?
 

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