The Best Aquarium Filter Media for Safer and Healthier Aquarium

best aquarium filter media

Undeniably, cautiously taking into consideration the best aquarium filter media you get for your tank could significantly aid ensure that your fish tank remains in the safest and healthiest condition. Aside from this, you can guarantee that the nitrogen cycle is optimal.

For a fact, if you utilize appropriate filtering methods, your aquatic plants, various fish species, and other aquatic creatures dwelling in your tank will have better chances of being more vigorous and livelier.

To narrow down the potential aquarium filter media, it’s essential to know which factors will affect the quality of the product. Below are the three aspects you need to keep in mind while browsing for aquariHow long do aquarium filter media last?

um filter media.

  • Cost: Aquarium filterHow long do aquarium filter media last? media will be available at many prices. We will need to account for this variation during their search. If we don’t, it could lead to spending too much or settling for a subpar product.
  • Type of Filter Media: Each aquarium owner must decide what type most suits their setup—bio, chemical, or mechanical filter media. In doing so, they’ll find answers to questions like the top-rated filter media for planted tank aquariums or what type the top-tier at filtrating nitrates.
  • Number of Fish: A higher number of fish will mean more fish tank filter medium is required for a clean, comfortable aquarium. Oddly, it’s often an overlooked factor when making a final decision on aquarium filter media.

And, there are several forms of filter media that you can employ for your aquarium in order to come up with a friendly and beneficial habitat for the aquatic plants and, of course, for your most cherished finned buddies that inhabit your tank.

While it is a fact that selecting the suitable type of filter media for your tank could be slightly confounding because there are a limitless number of options available on the market these days, with reliable product reviews and buying guides for you to refer to, there is no reason for you to end up buying the unsuitable option for your present needs and style.

If you’re searching for the most outstanding and available filter media options, here are the 12 product reviews that you can delve into.

Best Overall

Marineland Black Diamond Media

Marineland Black Media

✅ Can guarantee fresh and sparkling clear tank water
✅ Particularly sized to guarantee efficiency
✅ Works fast and reliably


Premium Choice


 Fluval Biomax Filter Media

✅ Center hole aids reduce water limit
✅ Bacteria can instantly build a foothold
✅ Can guarantee superb biological filtration


Editor’s Choice


Aquaclear Biomax

✅ Helps boost good bacteria rapidly
✅ Excellent at minimizing nitrate
✅ Contains 15% of micro-cavities



List Of Top-Tier Aquarium Filter Media Reviews 2023

1. Marineland Black Diamond Media

Marineland Black Diamond Media

If you’d like to end up with the most suitable biological filter media for your tank, this brand can satisfy your requirements. It is exceptional at handling multiple tasks and if you frequently encounter various tank issues such as foul odor, various forms of impurities, chemical toxins and discoloration, then this will work most suitably for you.

In line with this, it is regarded as a very reasonably priced choice, and it could even function a lot more excellently as compared to similar products out there that are sold at costly price tags. This is economical to buy because it can work just like more costly brands. It comes in the form of tiny pebbles and functions efficiently in filtering out any contaminants found in the water and this is done in a surprisingly speedy approach.

However, you need to take note that this has the potential to transform the water slightly gloomy after a few months of use. Luckily, this is just minimal. It is also highly advised to utilize it in powder form in the event that you encounter some problems in using mechanical media.

  • Particularly sized to guarantee efficiency
  • Adept at reducing foul smell, various sorts of blemishes and discoloration
  • Works fast and reliably just like expensive brands
  • Can guarantee fresh and sparkling clear tank water
  • Compatible with nearly all types of aquarium filter
  • Tendency for the tank water to appear cloudy after several months of use
  • Requires being used in powder form if there’s issue in using mechanical media
Overall, Marineland Black Diamond Media is the top pick for those on a budget. It works just fine like costly brands. It is certainly long-lasting and can adapt to any kind of aquarium filter. It is nice to know that this product is specifically sized in order to ensure efficiency. And, it is highly recommended to create the kind of aquarium you have long dreamed of. It does a thumbs-up job at alleviating any unpleasant smell, impurities, chemical toxins and discoloration in the tank water. Also, it can be used for both saltwater and freshwater tanks, big or small.

2. Fluval Biomax Filter Media


It cannot be denied that it could be taxing to look for the best aquarium filter media for a canister filter. This is the reason why thorough research could help in lessening this burden. Fluval has always been regarded as a very trusted brand for most aquarists. And, this Biomax Filter Media is a very popular product that every aquarium owner invests in for their tank.

It comes with an absorptive surface that can provide more space for bacteria. And, you can see its center hole, which is especially intended for water control. This can do its job superbly because bacteria can rapidly create a foothold.

Moreover, this is a cost-effective option as it comes with a good quantity that is already sufficient enough in filling most filter compartments. Please be guided that every ring is created from a static ceramic that won’t in any way change the chemical composition of the water column. It is also available in different sizes at a prudent price range.

On the other hand, there are a couple of minor issues that you need to pay attention to regarding this product, and these are its need to be discreetly maintained and also the tendency for it to break down easier than other kinds of ceramic media.

  • Center hole aids reduce water limit
  • Can guarantee superb biological filtration
  • Bacteria can instantly build a foothold
  • Won’t in any manner significantly affect water quality
  • Proper seeding merely requires replenishing only half at a time
  • Might crumble sooner as compared to other forms of ceramic media
  • Must be gingerly maintained
As a whole, this is user-friendly, designed with a sterling surface area and can help ensure good water flow in the tank. Besides, it can last for a long time and does an extraordinary job at sustaining good levels of beneficial bacteria inside the aquarium. You’ll love its being porous. In fact, it is its countless of small crevices and rough texture that enable it to lure good bacteria and stimulate their speedy growth. Hence, if you want to maintain reliable and topnotch biological filtration, then this brand won’t leave you feeling disappointed.

3. Aquaclear Biomax


Aquaclear Biomax is made with very tiny cylindrical shaped pieces of ceramic that come with a huge surface area that makes it capable of stimulating the fast proliferation of good bacteria. Furthermore, it is easy to fit at the rear of the tank that is nearby the wall and this is probably because it is slim. And what makes it stand out among other similar products is its capability to be customized in filter media.

In the same way, this is very smooth and silent. There is no need to replace them frequently. As a matter of fact, you only have to rinse them in used tank water and you can safely utilize them repeatedly. Without a doubt, this is a first-rate biomaterial that you can consider for your filter system. This is ideal for growing medium to eliminate fish toxins from the aquarium.

Nevertheless, take note that this product may be prone to allowing algae to accumulate in the tank. Additionally, this is not the right option for tanks that contain beyond 20 gallons of water. As mentioned earlier, this does wonder in smaller tanks.

  • Highly recommended for small power filters
  • Helps boost good bacteria rapidly
  • Excellent at minimizing nitrate and ammonia levels
  • A piece of cake to utilize, clean and maintain
  • Contains 15% of micro-cavities and 85% of micro-tunnels
  • Not ideal for tanks containing more than 20 gallons of water
  • May encourage algae buildup

Right to it, this is a great purchase for your tank and you can finally end your search on the top-tier ceramic filter media. It is untroublesome to utilize and maintain, and you only need to rinse them out in between water replacements. And, since it is equipped with foam and carbon, it does better in terms of keeping the aquarium amazingly clean and healthy.

It is safe to say that this is a great deal that is worth considering mainly because it does a very satisfying performance and can flourishingly provide bacteria a hub to grow rapidly. However, be reminded that the foam requires to be changed after six months to ensure its effectiveness.

4. Marineland Diamond Blend Carbon


Are you planning to purchase a reliable and effective fish tank filter media? This product from Marineland can provide practical uses and benefits for anyone keeping a pond or a freshwater aquarium. This is unmatched when it comes to taking in all the hazardous chemical toxins and pollutants present in tank water.

In like manner, this is available in distinct sizes, which means you can get the one that can definitely suit your aquarium needs and your preference of course. Such a product like this from this brand is well-known for being a top-drawer water polisher that significantly assists in clearing away various forms of impurities, ammonia and other water contaminants that may endanger the lives of your aquatic pets and plants.

The carbon and ammonia-neutralizing crystals present in this product are what makes it capable of keeping your tank water fresh, clear and a safe environment for your finned buddies and aquatic plants to thrive. What sets it apart from other available options on the market are its being activated by heat and its bituminous coal-based action feature.

Notwithstanding, it is very critical to keep in mind that this product must be used with utmost caution. The reason behind this is because it can be hazardous if inhaled and it may also irritate the eyes. So, you better use face mask and something to protect your eyes from getting irritated. And, this necessitates frequent water replacements.

  • Ensures practical use for freshwater tanks and ponds
  • Good at absorbing contaminants and harmful toxins
  • Can be obtained in a number of several sizes to fit aquatic requirements
  • Highly perceived as reliable and effective tank water polisher
  • Uniquely designed as bituminous coal-based action and is activated by heat
  • May irritate the eyes and dangerous when inhaled
  • Calls for frequent water replacements
In conclusion, even if this product requires frequent water replacements and it may irritate the eyes and may cause danger when inhaled, if you use it with proper caution, there is no need to worry about these unfortunate incidents to take place. These do not change the fact that it is a good product that could provide a great help in terms of alleviating plenty of tank water impurities and solve high ammonia levels present in the tank.

5. Biohome Ultimate Filter Media


If you still can’t figure out which appropriate aquarium filtration media to use for your tank, then why not give Biohome Ultimate Filter Media to prove its effectiveness to you?

This filter media won’t harm your fish tank occupants since they are designed to be toxic-free. Likewise, it is interchangeable, which conveys that you can safely utilize it in marine of freshwater tanks. It is absorptive and it provides healthy bacteria the opportunity to have a solid foothold.

It also comes with nooks and crannies that serve very vital role when it comes to building habitat for bacteria and for these bacteria to swiftly stabilize their colony- the good thing about this is that this can’t be easily washed away.

Many aquarium keepers prefer this brand because it is a reliable and unparalleled mechanical filtering system that makes it already stunning in that aspect. You can also employ it in several ways such as in any kind of drip system, can be carried out inside filters as media; it can be utilized in tiny sponge filters and as an aquarium substrate as well.

Howbeit, this brand is a little pricey as compared to similar products but its effectiveness s dependable. And, it does not come with starter bacteria which simply implies that there is a need to purchase them separately.

  • Can help make tank water clearer and free of any foul odor
  • Encourage healthy bacteria boost
  • 2 by up to 4 lbs. can be practical for tanks containing 30 gallons or beyond
  • Works effectively for sump, HOB and canister filters
  • Capable of instantly controlling nitrite and ammonia levels from increasing
  • Slightly expensive
  • Does not contain starter bacteria
On the button, at first, you’ll think this is a slightly pricey investment for your tank. But, you will eventually realize that this is actually economical. Aside from the reality that it does wonders in stimulating the reproduction of beneficial bacteria, this helps in keeping the tank water free of any unpleasant odor and contaminants that could make your aquarium pets and plants get sick or die. You can use it a number of ways and this does a sterling job for HOB, sump and canister filters.

6. Seachem Matrix Bio Media


Shopping for top-quality and long-lasting aquarium filter material can be challenging. The delightful news is that with Seachem Matrix Bio Media, you can determinately say goodbye to the hassle of searching for the most trusted brand that can match your needs and style.

It is worth observing that the macropores contained in this bio media filter are fairly huge for nitrifying as well as denitrifying bacteria to come inside. As compared to other options, this feature enables the bacteria to get rid of nitrate, ammonia and nitrite altogether.

Be reminded that it is important to utilize one jar that contains 250 ml for tanks that contain 25 US gallons. This is to ensure ultimate performance. While this is specifically ideal for all types of aquariums, this is highly beneficial for eliminating high nitrate levels.

For all that, this bio media may call for the need to utilize a much bigger pond matrix when considering drip tray system. Apart from this, the packaging does not contain a tamper-proof seal located below the lid.

  • Does not need to be replaced at all
  • Keep an eye on denitrifying bacteria
  • Gets rid of ammonia, nitrate and nitrite
  • Designed with extreme surface area
  • Can be thoroughly washed off without endangering the good bacteria
  • Packaging does not come with tamper-proof seal underneath the lid
  • Requires the use of bigger pond matrix when it comes to drip tray system

In general, this bio media filter can be utilized in a filter bag or in a loose mode. It is quite pocket-friendly in that it does not to be replaced. This is a good catch for those who seriously aim to alleviate ammonia, nitrate and nitrites. It is created with an extreme surface area that makes it a lot easier for healthy bacteria to establish colonies and have a tough foothold.

What is more, this is smooth sailing to clean since you only need to rinse it carefully in order to prepare it for your next use. And the top-tier thing is that, in doing so, good bacteria won’t be endangered. This can ensure long-standing performance without forcing you to break the bank.

7. CNZ Aquarium Filter Media Kits


This bio media for aquarium filter utilizes all the 3 types of methods and provides aquarium keepers certified clear water inside the tank. To boot, it comes with activated carbon that is specially intended to aid in combat high ammonia levels, and various kinds of impurities and this does a great job at clarifying the water.

Additionally, there are bio balls that work adeptly in enabling good bacteria to proliferate and eliminate nitrates more effectively. This product is also equipped with ceramic rings that assist in mechanical filtration by means of sucking in the impurities in tank water. This is helpful in stimulating the growth of bacteria in order to purify the water.

Still and all, this filter media kit comes with very dusty carbon that tends to create black mess inside the tank. And, because of this, the tank water appears to be duskier, particularly when you first use it. This makes cleaning a bit laborious to deal with.

  • Superior quality absorptive ceramic media for excellent bio filtration
  • Proficient in eliminating organic contaminants, discolorations and foul smell
  • Can turn tank water naturally clearer and capable of cultivating good bacteria
  • Aids in getting rid of medications as well as hazardous compounds
  • Guarantees enhanced levels of dissolved oxygen
  • Comes with very dusty carbon that makes black mess
  • Tends to turn the water cloudier at first

Generally speaking, this kit is highly perceived as one of the top-rated all-in-one kits that has been utilized as filter media in different types of aquariums. And, even though the carbon can really be messy, this comes in a generous-sized bag making it more cost-effective. It is ideal for hanging filters and comes at an excellent price that won’t put a hole in your pocket. This is straightforward to use and it is no doubt a great method to consider if you wish to purify your tank water.

This is dependable in terms of ensuring increased levels of dissolved oxygen inside the tank and it is built with absorptive ceramic media that serves a vital role in efficient biofiltration. With this, you can end your foul odor, impurities and tank water pollutants issues forever. You can also successfully deal with meds and toxic compounds present in your aquarium.

8. Marineland Canister Filter Bio-Balls


This exquisite canister filter media is made with a 5-gallon curved glass tank. And, once purchased, a bio-foam, 3-stage concealed filtration that is equipped with the right size cartridge and easy-to-adjust flow filter pump are already contained in the kit.

By the same token, in order to have easy access to the aquarium, this is purposely designed with blue and white power-efficient LED lights. It is good to know that the white LEDs are capable of forming glistening light in the tank water that replicates the underwater sunlight effect. Meanwhile, the blue LEDs are designed to generate a soothing moonshine glow.

When you get this kit, you can also have a distinctive glass canopy and base that is specially built to slide to the rear section of the tank to allow water care dosing and easy feeding. It is no sweat to set up and you’ll love it for being impressively designed and uncomplicated to maintain.

Regardless of the sterling features of this canister filter bio-balls, it is not advised to rinse it with unconditioned tap water. And, you only need to carefully wash it off with water from an established tank in case of extreme accumulation. Do not use abrasives and soaps when cleaning it.

  • Can adapt to all c-series
  • Capable of providing bigger and all-around surface area that stimulates biofiltration
  • Guarantees concealed filtration mode
  • Designed with an easy-to-adjust flow filter pump
  • Provides practical use for planted and fish-only types of aquariums
  • May get easily damaged if cleaned with abrasives and soaps
  • Do not wash off using unconditioned tap water

To sum it up, if you opt for a hidden type of filtration, then this kit won’t make you upset. It can work well with all c-series and it is easy to use and maintain because it is furnished with an adjustable flow filter pump. Also, if you are currently keeping a fish-only aquarium or a planted tank, then this will certainly be a practical choice for you.

It is designed with an all-around surface that is relatively big enough to encourage good biological filtration. This is the type of kit that is painless to set up and it’s a great option to invest in.

9. Aquatic Experts Aquarium Filter Pad


This filter pad comes with dependable and consistent design that can guarantee exceptional filtration performance. It is ideal for eliminating fine residues. And, this won’t in any way bring about any harm to the environment. It is harmless for all fish species and other forms of aquatic creatures. It does not contain dye.

Likewise, the above portion of this filter pad is made up of durable polyester fibers; on the other hand, the lower portion is made up of flexible fibers. It is essential to note that the fibers located at the above section are not fixed but purposely made to be loose in order to come up with a thick pad. The lower fibers are created to intertwine the fibers into a solid layer.

Fundamentally, these come with a dual-density layers wherein the layers found on the above section are meant to strain bigger particulates. Meanwhile, the thick layer found on the lower portion is intended to catch fine particulates. Note that the benefit of this is that it could be cut into distinct size and can be utilized as a pre-filter and a lot more.

Nonetheless, this filter pad may necessitate putting new filters more often and it tends to slow down tank water flow a bit. Fortunately, these are not serious matters for you to be upset about.

  • Recognized for being the top choice of wise consumers and professionals
  • Built using sturdy polyester fibers that can guarantee superb strength
  • Can be instantly cut into any size required for a better fit
  • Great at enhancing the quality of tank water
  • Highly practical for use in both marine and freshwater tanks
  • Has the potentiality to slightly slow down water flow
  • May require putting new filters regularly

Laid on the line, this filter pad’s roll is quite a no-brainer to cut into the required size and it can surprisingly last a long period of time. As you can see, this is less expensive as compared to purchasing the pre-pack filter pad option. While it slightly slows down the tank water flow, this is normal because it catches more residues and impurities.

You can install it immediately and it can provide noticeable results the next morning. Unquestionably, this can be your one fascinating means to a successful tank cleaning project.

10. Aquaneat Bacteria Bio Filtration Media


The delighting news is that it is unnecessary to spend lavishly for an efficient and reliable bio filter media. This product is a foolproof choice in that it comes with lots of perks that every aquarium hobbyist can benefit from.

Whether you are currently keeping a freshwater or marine tank, this can be used for both. It is not intricate to set up and use; in point of fact, it is equipped with a reusable media bag that makes it a lot easier to handle. It allows healthy bacteria to multiply by means of its outstandingly made porous structure. Isn’t it a great purchase for a budget-friendly price tag?

You can also use it in sumps. This will work practically in a number of canister filters as well as various projects. Without question, this is the perfect option if you would like to ensure considerable bacteria growth.

Withal, there are a few downsides that you need to expect if you decide to buy this product. First, it necessitates a long and careful rinsing before use because it is very dusty. And, the other one is the reality that it tends to leave numerous crumbs at the base of the aquarium.

  • Can be utilized for both marine and freshwater tank filters
  • Allows easy handling because it comes with reusable media bag
  • Designed with superiorly absorptive structure that enables good bacteria to grow rapidly
  • Unbeatable price tag
  • Bacteria habitat is filled with tourmaline that enables more oxygen to dissolve in water
  • Leaves a plenty of crumbs at the bottom of the tank
  • Requires a long and thorough rinsing prior use
For the most part, this bio media filter is the most reasonable bang for the money. The bacteria shelter is packed with tourmaline, which is the one responsible for dissolving more oxygen in the tank water. This is ideal for those who own heavily stocked tank/s. It is literally a very economical alternative where you can get the real worth of your money. The balls are quite absorptive, which makes them very useful for sheltering good bacteria. As a result, you’ll be satisfied with the perks you can gain from it and the good news is that it does not come with a very costly price tag.

11. Fluval External Power Filter Pre-Filter Media


This bio media for canister filter is capable of keeping huge particulates from clogging up bio media and pads that extend the period between cleanings. It is superb when it comes to disintegrating fish wastes and helps in preventing the possibility of sponges to be clogged instantly. This box is sufficient enough to handle 2 canister filters.

In the same way, it can be cleaned effortlessly through agitation and thorough rinsing and the reason that makes it a very cost-effective option is its reusable feature. In fact, this can be used for many years with proper care and maintenance. You can place it in any media basket in any type of canister since it comes loose in a plastic bag. Assuredly, this is one great means to keep your water smelling clean and fresh.

Even so, as compared to other brands, this product doesn’t seem to be so porous and may actually appear as sleek as a tile. Besides, the package seems to be not properly sealed. These are just two of the minor defects that you need to inspect if you’re planning to buy this product.

  • Capable of building up healthy bacteria quite quickly
  • Functions efficiently when it comes to impeding filter clogging
  • Quite reliable at catching solid waste that needed to be eliminated rapidly
  • Excellent quality and affordable price tag
  • Aids in minimizing filter media replacement
  • Not quite porous
  • Package seems unsealed

In summary, this filter media is ideal for building up bacteria habitats. It is specifically useful for tanks that are larger in size such as those that contain 10 gallons and beyond. The thing that makes it a smart purchase to consider is that you can save more money if you purchase this product because it is less expensive and at the same time it is long-lasting and reusable. Thus, there is no need to buy more often. It is easy to clean and maintain.

Indeed, this only requires being rinsed thoroughly every four months. This is not prone to clogging and it can remarkably help in establishing good bacteria quite rapidly. It serves a valuable role in getting rid of solid waste that makes the tank water unclean and unsafe for your aquarium pets to thrive.

12. Aqua-Flo Pond & Aquarium Filter Media


This aquarium filter media is a lot easier to utilize for aquarium filters rather than pre-made carbon cartridges. There is no need to have second thoughts whether this is a good buy or not because it is 100% safe for all tanks, marine and freshwater fish tanks and ponds. You can rest assured that it does not have chemical components that could endanger the health of your aquatic pets.

In like manner, you can cut this into any size of your choice or as needed. Since this is proudly an American product, it does not come with many flaws that would disappoint you in the end. It does a wonderful job at keeping various sorts of impurities at bay. It is undemanding to use and maintenance is a breeze. And, you need not spend extravagantly to purchase this item as well.

Anyhow, this filter media for freshwater aquariums, ponds and marine tanks appear to be made with too thin and flimsy material. And, if you ever decide to return it to the manufacturer, the return policy process is quite stressful to manage.

  • Harmless to use for tanks, marine and freshwater fish tanks and ponds
  • Does not contain any chemical
  • Made up of durable and 100% polyester material
  • Can be easily cut into required sizes
  • Proudly manufactured in the USA
  • Not too thick
  • Return policy of the product is unreliable
On target, this is highly recommended for anyone in the fish hobby. It can guarantee gilt-edge mechanical filtration and it definitely fits the bill. The most suitable thing about it is that it is unnecessary to replace it till it is basically disintegrating. It only requires a little rinsing in used aquarium water when it is filthy and you can put it back to reuse it. It is an economical choice and can be used for a long period of time.

What To Look For When Buying An Aquarium Filter Media


There are numerous brands and kinds of filters that are sold on the market these days that somehow make it less painful to find the suitable one that satisfies your requirements and preference.

Besides the price tag, there are other factors that you need to think through before making the final decision.

Take into consideration that which brand to purchase will highly depend on your preference of water climate and fish to keep; for instance, you may mull over the kind of tank you own: marine or freshwater.

Aside from these, you also need to ponder on the size of the tank you are keeping, the number of fish dwelling in your aquarium, and many more.

Highly recommended filter media generally contain 2 of the basic forms of filtration. And chemical filtration is not often required.

Other Important Factors To Consider


What is an aquarium filter media? How does it work?

Filters are quite indispensable for aquarium health. These work by keeping the nitrogen cycle going and they execute very significant functions when it comes to keeping aquarium fish and plants livelier and in good condition.

A filter media is generally positioned in a tank’s filter that is meant to alter the quality of tank water that flows through it. And, since there are different types of filter media, there are certain kinds that you can get so you could possibly come up with the top-rated possible habitat for your aquarium dwellers.

In addition, there are 3 forms of filter media and these consist of chemical, biological and mechanical filtration.

What are the different types of filter media for aquarium?

There are three types of filter media and these comprise of:

Chemical Filter Media. This is not frequently utilized as compared to the other types of filter media. However, this could be efficient for different filtering purposes. It is available in a broad range of materials that could get rid of one or more impurities.

Essentially, this filtration approach eliminates dissolved particles from the tank through the aid of resins, activated carbons and other sorts of adsorbents. This method assists in sustaining water quality since undesired dissolved matter sticks to it.

The most renowned chemical media are resins and activated carbon. On the other hand, oxidation with ozone and protein foam skimming are just a few of the other types of chemical filtration.

Biological Filter Media. This is especially useful in that it enables good bacteria to thrive in the tank environment. It is significant to know that these bacteria are accountable for regulating the levels of ammonia present in the tank by disintegrating it in a natural approach.

Basically, it is crucial to let the bio media execute its job and changing it isn’t advised during the tank’s lifespan. To put it simply, all you need to do is to make it a habit of cleaning it in a regular basis.

It is fine to invest in commercially available bio filter media products like those made up of rocky substances or bio balls. These could be safely positioned in the aquarium’s filter’s sump and this could aid in keeping the water pristine clear and free of any hazardous ammonia levels.

Plus, there are some aquarists who prefer the use of absorptive live ocean rock that is meant to serve as the foundation for a new tank – note that these are usually used in marine tanks. In essence, rock serves as bio filter in keeping the nitrogen cycle in the most appropriate conditions.

Mechanical Filter Media. This kind of filter media contains inert components, which implies that they won’t do anything to hamper the tank water’s chemistry. In other words, it physically or mechanically filters solids from water that pass through it. Take in mind that this is very valuable for the effectiveness of your bio media.

This approach eliminates hideous particulates such as sludge, unconsumed food, fish feces or dirt. And, to ward off accumulation, the filter media must be periodically cleaned. Be reminded that replacement is merely necessary when the media can no longer discharge the filth that it holds.

This type of filter media is available in a number of distinct porosities that restrict the size of the particle they could siphon. The bigger the pores in the mechanical media, the bigger the particles must be so that the filter can siphon it.

It is interesting to note that coarse media is uncomplicated to clean and reuse as compared to finer media. While it is true that the finest media can clear the tank, this could congest quite rapidly and may not become reusable anymore.

Why do you need a fish tank filter media? (Benefits)

Needless to say, all aquariums need to be thoroughly cleaned and the tank water seriously needs to be strained regularly. However, the truth is there are specific aspects that you can’t eliminate in a conventional approach.

Due to this, it becomes a necessity to own a filter media if you are keeping an aquarium. This helps get rid of the hazardous particulates, chemicals and other substances that are present in the tank and could potentially bring about illnesses and may even cause the death of your fish tank occupants.

Various forms of filter media also help combat high levels of nitrate, ammonia and nitrite in the tank. They usually help create a foothold for good bacteria to thrive – as you know, these are beneficial in keeping a cleaner, safer and fresher hub for your aquarium pets and plants.

In reality, you can’t alleviate chemicals in tank water if you do it a manual mode, and it is impossible to build bacteria colonies inside the tank on your own. This is where the importance of owning filter media comes in. This is one sure way of removing bad chemicals from the tank.

These are very easy to utilize, they are not that expensive, and most of them are safe to use. Likewise, many options do not require frequent replacements as they are designed to be reused. And, since they are safe to use, this means that they are environment-friendly because they do not contain chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions


Biological vs. Regular Filter Media: Which one is better?

Biological filter media contains inert components that are the ones responsible for sheltering healthy bacteria that disintegrate dissolved solids in a less harmful approach. It must not be replaced except when it has become congested and ineffective in executing its job.

On the other hand, regular filter media only concentrates on something that is positioned in a tank’s filter that helps modify the quality of water that flows through it. Thus, when comparing the two, bio-filter media is a better option.

How much aquarium filter media do I need?

How big the filter you will require will more likely rely on the current size of the aquarium you are keeping. You will prefer a filter that has the capability to cycle all the water in your tank by 3 by up to 4 times in an hour.

Meanwhile, a tank that contains 50 gallons of water commonly necessitates a filter that can cycle at least 14 times 50 GPH.

How often should filter media be changed?

The carbon media filter must be replaced once every three weeks to ensure its effectiveness. Unfortunately, this can’t be cleaned.

However, a mechanical media filter can be utilized till it breaks down on its own. Since the job of this filter media is to strain bigger pieces of residues, it could still function even if it’s not in ideal shape. Regular inspection is necessary, though.

If you are utilizing ceramic rings or bio balls, it matters to change roughly 1/3 at a time and this should solely be done if they start to disintegrate.

How much bio-media per gallon?

Most experts use a general guideline of at least 0.7 ounces per gallon for bio-media. But it can change from product to product, so it’s imperative to read the directions. For example, the AquaClear filter media for goldfish only requires 0.23 ounces per gallon to work.

The recommended amount of biological filter for the fish tank can also vary based on the fish itself. Some species can be quite sensitive, which calls for a higher amount of bio-media to maintain homeostasis to keep the fish comfortable.

What filter media removes nitrates?

Among our options, the top-rated nitrate remover would be Aquaclear’s Biomax. This filter media fish tank product has an excellent reputation for minimizing nitrates. It’ll also do a solid job when it comes to dealing with ammonia issues.

But if anyone wants a specialized product for removing nitrates, check out “The Best Nitrate Removers for Freshwater of 2023”. It’ll walk readers through several products that work well as a fish tank water purifiers to eliminate nitrates.

How do you clean filter media without killing bacteria?

Good bacteria are crucial to an effective aquarium filter media setup. So it’s vital to avoid killing these helpful organisms when cleaning. A simple way of accomplishing this task is by taking out the filter media and rinsing them.

There’s no need to use clean water to rinse the filter media. If anything, the old aquarium water will be most suited to remove waste from the filter media’s surface. But this step is where it becomes a little tricky depending on your specific filter media type:

  • Chemical filter media: There’s no cleaning process for aquarium chemical filtration media. It’ll need replacing when it’s no longer functional.
  • Bio media: Being cautious is imperative when cleaning bio-filter aquarium media. After all, these filter media types are home to beneficial bacteria. Protect this bacteria by carefully dipping it in the water.
  • Mechanical filter media (sponge or filter pad for fish tank filters): It’s an entirely different approach than bio media. You don’t have to hold back, as mechanical filter media for aquarium tanks will need to be wrung out with some force. Do it multiple times because it collects dirt and other substances recklessly.

How long do aquarium filter media last?

The longevity of aquarium filter media will differ based on various factors. But I can provide a general outline for each specific type:

  • Chemical filter media: Owners can expect to change chemical filter media about every two months when used regularly. Many users on Reddit have praised how this simple practice can improve the conditions of their fish tanks.
  • Bio media: Bio media offers much more longevity since it never needs changing. You’ll only need to clean it carefully to ensure it’ll remain helpful.
  • Mechanical filter media: This last one is more reusable than chemical filter media. It’ll last up to 6 months with routine cleaning and usage

How to change filter media in aquarium?

Step 1: Leave the old filter in place and run another tiny filter alongside it for approximately 30 days. The reason behind this is that this could provide enough time for the current filter to be settled with good bacteria. But you need to keep an eye on the flow brought about by the filters.

If these form extreme flow that disrupts your fish, then turn down the filter’s settings or you can hinder the filters using filter pads.

Step 2: Place the media from your former filter into the current filter. This is where plenty of good bacteria dwell. This would only successfully operate if the filter media comes with the same shape and size for both filters. This is not advisable if the filter media is breaking down.

Step 3: Position the media from your former filter in the aquarium beside the current filter. This shall enable the current filter to be inhabited by good bacteria. Then, after 30 days or beyond, you can lift off the former filter media.

How to care & store?

Maintaining the filter media is the most substantial thing you can execute to keep the tank in good condition. Harmful levels of nitrate, ammonia and nitrites can instantly accumulate in the tank water if the filter media malfunctions. This could lead to making your aquarium pets and plants becoming ill or even perishing.

So, it is a must to clean the filter media by giving it a thorough rinse using old tank water. You can utilize a tiny sponge, brush, or filter floss to tidy the impeller’s inlets and outlets.

Moreover, it is also practical to examine your tank water on a weekly mode with the use of testing strips. In so doing, you can monitor the different water parameters. And, when you observe some changes in the test results, then that means it is high time to clean the filter.

If the rate of flow slows down, then this may imply that the filter media is being clogged, so it is really necessary to clean it at once.

If not in use, keep it in a box; store it in a cool, dry and safe place for future use.

Where to buy?

By happy chance, aquarium filter media products are not that strenuous to search for. As a matter of fact, these may be available in nearby local pet and fish stores in your town. Or, if you do not prefer to shop by visiting a local store personally, then you don’t even need to leave your home and just shop on the web.

If you like shopping online better, you can find innumerable filter media product options in highly recognized online shopping sites like Amazon, Lowes, eBay, Walmart, Petco, Petsmart and many other sites that are trusted by millions of aquarists all over the globe.


On the whole, if it is your goal to keep your aquarium water clean, safe and fresh, then you need to take in mind how crucial it is to invest in the best aquarium filter media. The truth is, be it a freshwater or a saltwater tank, sustaining the ideal tank water conditions seriously calls for some insight regarding the distinct forms of filter media utilized for aquariums. Luckily, all these were exhaustively discussed in this article.

And, since there’s a bevy of available choices on the market nowadays, the 12 product reviews discreetly evaluated a while ago will certainly guide you as you select the one that you think and feel will be the top-pick for your aquarium needs.

Be reminded that finding the appropriate filter media setup for your aquarium could remarkably aid your finned friends and other aquatic creatures occupying your tank to be at their best.