Biological filtration has been a big point of discussion for both marine and tropical aquarists for a long time. Biological filtration is a general term that relates to purification of water by bacteria that eliminate harmful ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite from aquarium water. This system depends on healthy and stable bacteria colonies that utilize these chemical compounds as fuels. Although bacteria natural inhabits our water systems, biological filter media is designed to offer the necessary housing for bacteria to settle on and grow effectively.
There are a wide variety of biofilter media available that are mostly made from natural minerals, plastic or man-made ceramics. Here is a list of the best biofilter media for you to select for your aquarium.
Aquatic Experts Bio Balls Filter Media
Aquatic Experts Bio Balls are suitable for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums and ponds and consists of a spherical shape that has dozens of small spines which increases the surface area of every filter by two square feet. The kit contains 300, 1.5inches high-density propylene balls packed in a mesh bag which makes it easy to store. These bio balls offer optimal square footage for colonization of beneficial bacteria that effectively remove ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite.
EHEIM Substrate Pro Biological Filter Media
EHEIM Substrate Pro Biological Filter Media are porous glass balls made from delicate particles that are compressed together. These filter media provides great surface area for the thriving of biological process. These glass balls work well with canister filters and can be easily rinsed if they need cleaning. This product is made from excellent material and can be used both for saltwater and freshwater aquariums. The only downfall of this item is that it is a bit on the expensive side.
Fluval BioMax Bio Rings
These Fluval BioMax Bio Rings are porous rings, made up of aluminium oxide and silica. Its internal pore system offers a surface for the colonization of nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria. A natural balance of nitrate, nitrite and ammonia removal takes place when these pores catch debris. These bio rings have more potential than smooth biological filter media. They have a hole in the middle that ensures maximum contact for effective biological filtration when water passes throughout the media. These can be used in canister filters as loose bio media. They are affordable and suitable for all aquariums.
Seachem Matrix is a solid pumice biofilter media that is processed to form pebbles of 10mm size. This Matrix media provide a rough surface for the attachment of bacteria. One liter of it provides 170 liters of plastic balls that are greater than 700 square meters surface area. It offers both internal and external macroporous surface area which is large enough for getting in nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria. Unlike non-porous bio media, this feature of Matrix allows bacteria to eliminate nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia simultaneously. It can be used for all aquariums especially to eradicate nitrite. A 250 ml jar is sufficient for 25 gallons of aquarium water. Matrix does not require to be replaced. It can be used loose or in a filter bag and can be rinsed when cleaning is required without harming the bacteria.
MarinePure High Performance Ceramic Biofilter Media
MarinePure High-Performance Ceramic Biofilter Media offers 2 quarters of 1.5 inches ceramic spheres. They are designed to be used in wet or dry filters, canister filters or sumps. Their natural material provides a very porous flowing through design that is necessary for the propagation of healthy bacteria. These biofilter media optimize ammonia, nitrate and nitrite removal in both tropical and marine aquariums. The only downfall of this product is that ceramic material breaks down naturally with time and can break during transfers.
API Bio-Chem stars are made from medical-grade plastics that do not break down. This plastic contains a porous surface with interconnecting channels in the whole structure of the star. Bio-Chem star has a 50-70 micron pore network designed specifically for water bacteria that carry out biofiltration promoting stable colonies that reduce ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite. This can be installed in a sump, canister filter or a power filter. The bio media stays near the water surface and other media like activated carbon and sponges. 2 stars are sufficient for 10 gallons of water. Its only disadvantage is that it can be a little expensive if you need to fill up a big canister filter.
Marineland Biofilter Balls
Marineland Biofilter balls are the traditional non-porous balls of plastic designed specifically for eliminating ammonia and nitrite only. There are no pores present to trap debris and provide support to denitrifying bacteria, so water flows easily through and over them. These biofilter balls are ideal for freshwater, planted fish tanks and fish-only saltwater aquariums having canister filters. It does not require any replacement and never gets dirty. It is an effective, inexpensive bio media with the only disadvantage of not have nitrate removing ability.
Aquapapa 6lb Premier Bio Ceramic Rings
The Aquapapa Bio Ceramic Rings are packaged in a mesh bag that is fish safe. They are designed to be used in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. They are non-floating rings that are almost 0.5 by 0.5 inches and are applicable in most of the filters, reducing ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels effectively. One of its main features is the increased flow rate and the following oxidation. They are easy to maintain as well. Their only downfall is that bacterial colonies take a small time to establish themselves.
Aquarium Equip’s Filter Bio-Sponge
Aquarium Equip’s Filter Bio-Sponge is basically a pad of foam that can be used in sumps, wet or dry filters, and canister filters for all aquariums. It is structured from a dye-free plastic substance. Its large porous surface is perfect for bacterial growth. It prevents clogs but needs cleaning in 10-20 days. However, it can be used many times. This bio-sponge can replace filter block and reduces nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia levels efficiently. You just might need to cut it according to the size of your filter.