Best Filter Media for Planted Tanks

To have a professional tank, you have to take many things into consideration.

From the devices that you use to the food that you give to your fish, everything can influence the final result.

Though some choices are easier than others, like deciding what heater to use, there is one thing that you have to pay special attention to: the clarity of the water.

best filter medias

Importance of clear, clean water

If the water in your tank is not clear, this will not only damage the appearance of your aquarium, but it can also kill your plants and destroy all your hard work.

How can you make sure that you have clear, clean water?

You might want to read my guide on Aquarium Water.

The answer is to simply choose the best filter media.

Here are the best options for planted tanks:

Biological Media

best filter media online

As strange as it might sound for some, this media is actually alive.

No, you will not see small creatures living inside your filter, but the microorganisms living there will give you the clean and clear water that you want.

You have to pay attention where you put this media, as some types of chemical media can destroy the microorganisms living inside.

Another great reason why this media is recommended is it is completely natural.

Nothing chemical can hurt your fish and plants, nor change the parameters of the water.

You can keep your planted tank clean for months before having to change the filter media.

Chemical Media

best filter media for planted tank

This is a very popular type of media because it’s so simple to use.

When it’s not effective anymore, you just change it and you know it will not effect your tank in any way.

You grab it right from the store and it can change the appearance of your water in only a few hours.

If you added some new decorations in the tank and the water becomes a little bit blurry you will just have to use your chemical media and the water will become crystal clear soon enough.

It’s fast, effective, and cheap; however, take care when you use this in your tank, especially if you are also keeping some fish.

Downside of chemical media

Some substances might effect them or it can influence the chemical balance of the water.

If you are trying out a new chemical media, make sure to use measurement kits for the water the first few days, just to ensure everything goes as planned.

Mechanical Media

best filter media

This kind of media is perfect if you find it difficult to maintain the parameters of the water.

The water passing through this filtration media will not change its parameters or properties because the media usually consists of net or wool that will catch any waste, food, or pieces of plants.

Of course, this on its own will not be enough for most of the tanks, but it might work great for planted tanks since there isn’t much waste to filter anyway.

It will not have an immediate effect over the water as chemical filtration does, but it will give a natural look to your tank and keep your plants healthy and growing.

What else do you need?

A customizable filter is always good to have.

You need to have the choice to use whatever filter media you want and if your filter does not allow you to change the materials, most likely you will have problems in the future and you will have to replace the entire device.

Also, make sure that the compartments are well-built and easy to access; you don’t want to spill carbon everywhere when you want to introduce it in your filter.

best filter media sponge

Special cleaning equipment needed

At the same time, you will need a special tool for cleaning the tubes.

Your filter can get clogged once in a while and it’s almost impossible to clean the tubes without a proper brush.

The good news is that every pet store has this kind of tool and they are extremely accessible and easy to use.

A media bag is also necessary, no matter what kind of filter media you decide to use.

This will make your job much easier and you don’t have to worry about the media spilling into the tank.

Simply remove the bag from the filter, throw out the old media, replace it with the new one, and put it back where it belongs.

Don’t worry; the bag is also made from a special material that will not have any influence over the filtration process.

1 thought on “Best Filter Media for Planted Tanks”

  1. aquaclear 110 power filter cannot use in singapore and must convert the voltage using transformer which is quite expensive.


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