Aquarium Filter Media: Biofilter Media Review

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Good biological filtration is essential in aquariums with either a high fish load or few to no plants. We’ve discussed to basics of bio filtration in other videos but haven’t yet talked about the various types of media used to facilitate it. It’s true that nitrifying bacteria live attached to surfaces throughout the aquarium but for non-planted tank owners this simply is not enough to detoxify all the ammonia produced by fish and microbial activity. Implementing an efficient bio filter can make all the difference. The question still arises: What type of bio media should I use???

This question can be difficult to answer because everyone’s tank has a different set of parameters and thus different filter requirements. Hopefully watching this video helps put things into perspective.

I would like to talk additionally about aerobic and anaerobic conditions and how they influence microbial activity. We know from previous videos that both genus of nitrifying bacteria require oxygen in order to oxidize ammonia and nitrite. We have to fully understand the micro environment of our media and how that is directly correlated to its efficiency. Anytime our media is submerged like in a DIY powerhead filter, we are relying on the dissolved oxygen present in the aquarium. Depending on your setup and the temperature, oxygen could be limited. This limitation is further enhanced due to heterotrophic bacteria living side by side with nitrifiers. Heterotrophs also require oxygen and it turns out they have a higher affinity for it. This means that competition for oxygen is high and unfortunately, our nitrifying bacteria will lose every time.

So how can we overcome an oxygen limited environment to ensure our nitrifiers can preform? One method is using a trickle filter containing any type of media that never becomes fully submerged. This open air (aerobic) environment will provide plenty of oxygen for all the microbes living in the filter. However, depending on the media you implement, this won’t be the case for the entire structure of the media. The inside of most media’s (especially ceramic rings) will over time clog up and create anaerobic sites (no oxygen). This environment will facilitate the growth of heterotrophs and other bacteria capable of preforming denitrification, a process where nitrate is used as an electron acceptor instead of oxygen. This activity will result in the reduction of nitrate to Nitrous oxide and nitrogen gas. This can be a great thing, reducing the overall nitrate pool generated from classical biological filtration.

The second way to resolve oxygen limitation is to use an air driven filter like the fluidized type seen in the video. This method of filtration has multiple benefits, one being that oxygen is supplied generously, resulting in extremely efficient ammonia detoxification.


Phensy Comedia says:

im using an lava rock media does it work from cleaning my algaes tank?

TheAngry Fishman says:

Awesome vid buddy subbed ya. If ya get a sec check out my channel and consider a sub

Vickor Gunandar says:

Can i use umice stone as a filter media too ??

TaskForce Faith says:

What do you think of Seachem Matrix? Great channel btw, I subbed 🙂

niel benedicto says:

how about lava rocks as media?

hulmil says:

Fluval Biomax, the best.

jordi lizaola says:

can i used crushed coral as a bio filter media paired with crushed lava rock

Eugenio Vazquez says:

What about marine pure?

christophet harding says:

can you use broken clay pots as filter media

yoobetta recognize says:

For pete’s-sake, Now THIS is how you do instructional videos. It is torture to watch, literally, 90% of Youtube videos where people cannot form full sentences when they speak, mumble, shake their cameras, talk slow, talk Way too much and so many more bizarre habits. Your video is quick, CONCISE (this means: gets the point across in as few words as possible but yet packed with information), knowledgeable with key terms, you’re very articulate and speak English Clearly(without mumbling, ums, etc) THANK you.

Motto says:

What about dead corals, they are very porous too, are they as good as the biohome?

Shane Roehrig says:

AWESOME video.

Izzudin naim Azis says:

i have use biological media..but i want to know why the mechanical media which is sponge has various of type (green, blue , black ) does each has difference function ? except for ‘catch’ waste product

Brian's Fish Tanks says:

Great information here! Keep up the great work! I’ve been wanting to try Richards media, but haven’t gotten around to ordering some. Hopefully this motivates me, lol

Pondguru says:

Damn, I thought I commented on this about a week ago – great video, man and I am looking forward to your video with the brand new moving bed media too.

chndra guppy says:

there is any media bio filter to keep it my pH range 6.8-7.8..
sometimes my pH raise up until 8.1
thank you

Zak Rafik says:

1st class information as always.

So what would be the best or ideal media for a planted tank with small fishes? E.g. Neons,shrimps….etc. I’m planing to get an Ehime external canister for a 50gal tank. I am planing on only having Biohome along with the usual sponges (for mechanical filter). What’s your opinion? Thanks.

Random Guy On the Internet says:

it only took my tank 3 and a half weeks to fully cycled with that ultimate bio media. My other tank with stock media took over 5 weeks. It’s a little expensive but really worth it.


What type of bio media are you using? Let me know why you chose it!

maketheworlddance says:

Could you DIY AQUAPROS or anyone here tell me about using dead coral as bio media to put in my filter?
Finding K1 or Ceramic rings or other kinds of media is hard at my place, the only option I’ve got is dead coral.
IMO dead coral is good for bio home because it has much surface area BUT I am concerning about pH and hardness of water if I use too much dead coral (around 1 kg of coral for 52 gal tank + fancy goldfish )

Mine Shaker says:

Hey DIY Aquapros Where do you get you ceramic rings? Also when i got my ceramic rings my tank water had tiny white particles from the media. Is this normal?

wcdeich4 says:

How often do you recommend  changing bio media?  I’ve heard 3 months – to never…

MrRangerZr1 says:

Where can we buy the bio home in the usa? Thanks

Jwhiser1302 says:

Ol Richard has the gears in order with all of his bio home medias! He also has a moving bed media as well. The ultimate is one of my favorites!

jeremiemcd says:

Great vid bro, great info, I use Pondguru media in all my tanks=)

Michel Carrasquel says:

Bless pondguru and diy aquapros.

Nicolas' Aquariums says:

A must watch video!

Kodiak Bear says:

for the sponge, i was planing on using two smaller ones and doing a 1 at a time cleaning

jeremiemcd says:

It seems to do the trick for me, thank you for the info on how to get cheaper too, I had to pay alot of money to get shipped from where Pondguru lives. So will you ever show us your tanks,if you have any? have a great week.=)


My plants remove so much bad chemicals its not funny the grow 4-5cm a week and the only other type of filtration is a little diy moving bed filter(20 gallon tank)

TheFishGuy23 says:

Throw a half a stick if Biohome in Betta bowls. It works for them too even without filtration

MrHoney2U says:

Great video. Really enjoyed it.

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