When maintaining an aquarium, you’re responsible for the well-being of your aquatic pals. In addition to chemically sustaining your tank, you must also take care of its mechanical aspects—including visible debris and suspended particles.
Welcome filter floss. Introduced typically in the initial stages, this type of filtration media is made from synthetic fibers: usually polyester. This padding style of media traps small and larger debris in its densely packed material to help remove visible particles from the water.
We’ve tried the 5 best aquarium filter floss and presented their flaws and features in this article.
Table of Contents
Why do I need Filter Floss?
The purpose of filter floss is to provide mechanical filtration. It acts as a barrier to capture solid particles suspended in the water. Through the entrapment of debris, your aquarium ends up being more immaculate to visualize. It also keeps other chemical media and your overall aquarium healthy.
Filter floss is used inside an external filter to facilitate the process. However, we’ve seen a few professionals with smaller fish use it in the input to repurpose it as suction padding.
Note: Filter floss isn’t a replacement for the poly filter, which is a carbon-activated media meant to filter certain chemical impurities from the water.
5 Best Aquarium Filter Floss
Available in different dimensions, FilterFirst filter floss is a popular choice among users. Thanks to its double-layer technology, it’s able to entrap most of the visible particles floating in the tank.
The product is also priced fairly, despite offering unmatched features in this category. However, inconsistent efficiency has always been an issue for this product.
- 2-Layer filter floss
Constructed with 2 layers sandwiched together, FilterFirst aquarium filter floss helps entrap both smaller and larger particles. While other products seek to find a sweet spot between those two, this product is one of the most efficient filter floss out there.
- Heavy-duty debris entrapment
Owing to the dense fiber network, this product is capable of filtering most of the suspended particles from the water. Your fish will be healthier and happier.
- Made for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums
You don’t need to purchase separate filter floss for your marine aquarium if you choose to go with this product. However, you may need to replace the filter pad more frequently for saltwater aquariums.
- Made without using dyes
No harmful dyes were used while manufacturing the product. You won’t have to worry about contamination with FilterFirst aquarium filter floss.
- Traps both larger and smaller particles effectively.
- Cost-effective than pre-cut filter floss.
- The filtration media is reusable to some extent.
- Different batches of the product yield varying results.
- A few users have reported polyester disintegration. However, we always recommend rinsing any filtration media before using them.
FilterFirst Aquarium Filter Media Roll is the best overall aquarium filter floss.
Available in 4 major variations, the Classic Blue filter floss is the most popular choice among professionals. The durability and convenience of the product are unparallel to most other filter flosses available in the market. However, the pricing may not be suitable for most enthusiasts.
- Cut to fit any filter pad
The 12-inch by 12-foot dimension of the filter media allows you to cut and shape it to fit any filtration device, sump, or biopellet reactor. The material, although quite durable, is easy to cut and mold.
- Made for freshwater and saltwater aquariums
The huge roll of Classic Blue is capable of handling both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. It would’ve been a bummer if you had to purchase another set of filter floss for different tanks.
- Polyester bonded with holdfast resin
In addition to using durable polyester for manufacturing the aquarium floss, it’s bonded with a special resin to enhance its durability and longevity.
- Easy to cut and shape the filter floss.
- Holds a lot of debris if used with a strong pump.
- It lasts quite a long time, thanks to the durable polyester and bonded resin.
- A few very huge particles aren’t effectively filtered. They pass through the mesh without sticking.
- Expensive than other filter flosses.
Aquatic Experts Classic Blue Bonded Aquarium Filter Pad is the most durable aquarium filter floss.
3. Aqua-Flo 12
Made with premium-grade synthetic fibers, Aqua-Flow aquarium filter floss is both durable and practical for ponds and aquariums. It can be used in different filters by cutting and shaping it according to the requirements. However, you need to replace them after 3-4 times of repeated usage and rinsing.
- Dual-density filter floss
Entrapping both small and large particles, the dual-density technology of Aqua-Flo is the key feature of the product. The finer side is for trapping smaller particles, and the coarse side is for the larger ones. As this feature makes it a dirt magnet, you need to keep replacing the media more frequently.
- 100% Polyester
No natural fibers or degradable synthetic fibers are used to manufacture the aquarium filter floss. You’ll not find any floating plastics or fibers in the water, even after prolonged usage.
- No chemicals are used during production
No additional chemicals like adhesive, dyes, or resin are added during the production. This reduces the risk of contamination and helps keep your tank healthy forever.
- Thanks to dual density with different fine and coarse sides, it removes almost all small and large particles.
- Easy to cut and shape according to your requirements.
- Much more cost-effective in this range.
- This filter floss clogs up pretty easily. Needs frequent replacement or cleaning.
- Tough to reuse with rinse clean.
- The material isn’t as thick as advertised.
Aqua-Flo 12″ Pond & Aquarium Filter Media is the most cost-effective filter floss.
Blue Ribbon filter floss is a practical product that just works fantastically and is priced flawlessly. But don’t confuse its cost-effective nature with a lower durability, as we can vouch for its longevity and premium quality. It also is easy to use and doesn’t require cutting or shaping to fit any column filtration system. However, it can be used as a filter pad without a pouch.
- Designed for both freshwater and saltwater
Made with polyester and created to be free-form, ABLPY7 aquarium filter floss is designed to be used in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums.
- Soft fibers: easy to push into any column
As a free-form filter floss, it can be pushed into any filter column with ease. However, you may find it challenging to use in any padding-based filtration systems.
- Excellent durability
According to our tests, Blue Ribbon has proved to be pretty durable and reusable. You can use it at least 3-4 times before replacing it with a new batch.
- No instances of contamination or flaking were reported.
- Easy to cut and shape according to your filter column.
- Cost-effective and durable.
- Reusable and cleans pretty easily.
- A bit more costly than other filter floss brands.
- Packaging issues are prevalent.
Blue Ribbon ABLPLY7 Polyester Floss Bag Filter Media is the most premium free-form aquarium filter floss.
Seapora filter floss is adaptable and can be easily cut and shaped to fit a wide range of filtration systems. It is a highly compact mechanical filter media specifically designed to effectively eliminate fine and coarse particulate matter from your aquarium system. Suitable for both freshwater and marine aquarium setups, it comes in a generous size of 12″ x 120″ per roll.
- Dense filter floss media
The higher density of aquarium filter floss media in Seopora 4040 allows the entrapment of most small and large particles. However, a higher density also enforces frequent rinsing or replacement.
- Doesn’t obstruct natural water flow
Owing to its dense media concentration, natural water flow is maintained without allowing particles to return to the tank. With a supply of adequate flow, your biological filters can also work efficiently.
- Can be fitted into any filtration system
You can use Seapora for any filtration media including columns and pads, thanks to its soft material choice. While it’s pretty convenient, it also explains the need for frequent replacement of the floss.
- Cost-effective, considering the features and packaging.
- The flow rate is adequate with Seapora filter floss.
- A lot of filter floss comes in the package. Should last you months.
- Collects almost any amount and size of debris and keeps the tank pristine.
- Can’t be reused after cleaning or rinsing due to the softness of the material. It may also disintegrate if not changed in a while.
- Very fine particles may bypass the floss.
Seapora 4040 Filter Floss Aquarium Filter Pad is the best aquarium filter floss for water flow.
Aquarium Filter Floss Buying Guide
Aquarium filter floss is a common filter addition that has a specific purpose. The products listed here are widely known and efficient. However, there are other underrated products that you may want to try for your tanks.
Relying on our experience and the parameters that we use to test different products, we’ve prepared a comprehensive buying guide for aquarium filter floss for you.
The filtration efficiency of a filter floss is determined by its ability to capture particulate matter from the aquarium water. Acting as a mechanical filter or even a mask, filter floss physically traps debris and retains them in the mesh.
The density of the material, fineness of the fibers, and overall build quality of the product determine the filtration efficiency. The finer the weaving, the better filtration it would provide. However, a tighter mesh may also let larger particles pass without sticking to the surface.
A good quality filter floss should entrap both small and large particles. But in practice, a single type of fiber is hugely incapable of removing every particle. That’s why you should seek to find products that have two different fibers bonded together for better results.
Some aquarium filter floss allows continuous water flow even after dirt accumulation, but some of them are notorious for blocking the flow within a few days of usage. This is, typically, a media concentration issue. A higher concentration of fibers, understandably, will prevent water flow after a few cycles of accumulation.
Depending on the design, size of the filter, and density of the media, water flow can be affected over time, especially if the floss isn’t cleaned or replaced frequently. For example, a mushy filter floss may not restrict water flow even after sizable debris collection, but a tighter fiber concentration may reduce water flow sooner.
Remember, a filter floss may also continue to offer a similar water flow after dirt accumulation. If you keep a redundant gap between the filter media and the column, it’ll allow water to pass through without filtration.
Several filtration systems are available in the market for different purposes. A few of them include:
- Canister Filters: These are filters with multiple compartments for different stages of filtration. Usually, a compartment is dedicated to house the media. Ensure that your filter floss can be cut and shaped to fit those compartments. A few manufacturers also offer pre-cut filter floss with their systems.
- HOB Filter: Hang-on-back filters often have a column to hold filter media. Free-form filter floss is perfect for these types of filters or reactors.
- Pond filters: These types of filters are designed to cater to larger aquariums or ponds. If you’re buying filter floss for your pond, make sure to hold a bias towards larger particle filtration.
Beyond these, you should also stay hostile towards the saltwater and freshwater compatibility of your preferred filter floss. While you can use any product for both aquariums, saltwater tanks may disintegrate freshwater-exclusive floss faster and cause harm to your fish.
The definition of the durability of any particular filter floss and the trade-offs associated with it are subjective to each hobbyist. The contributing factors towards durability are:
- Material quality: High-quality synthetic fibers like polyesters are used to manufacture the best aquarium filter floss. These materials are built to withstand the rigors of water flow and repeated use.
- Fiber thickness: A thicker fiber floss is generally more durable than a thinner one. They are less prone to tearing or fraying. However, finer fibers are more effective in trapping smaller particles.
- Construction density: A more tightly woven filter floss is less likely to become easily damaged or develop holes. These fiber floss products are typically more expensive than less dense ones.
- Maintenance: A durable filter floss can be used more than once. While replacing is the more efficacious solution, it often is superfluous. Consider buying filter floss that can be reused at least 2-3 times before it must be replaced.
Filter floss itself is generally considered safe for aquarium use, thanks to the use of synthetic fibers. However, copper, antibiotics, and chemical dyes can occasionally be found in the products.
While the first two can be discarded through initial rinsing of the floss, if a product uses toxic dyes, contamination is a possibility. Moreover, white filter floss may also contain dyes to make them more alluring.
Always consider using dyes and chemical-free options when shopping for filter floss. The products discussed above are all free of any harmful substances. Typically, online reviews and package information are adequate to comprehend the chemical compositions.
Ease of Use
You would rarely find it challenging to use aquarium filter floss. In most cases, the maximum you have to do is cut the pads and fit them into your filter. Pre-cut floss is also available in the market. But, the harder, dense ones are tougher to cut through. You may need a larger pair of scissors or knives to navigate them.
In our experience, for filters with a column, filter wool (fluffy floss) is the better option. On the other hand, filter floss rolls are better for canister filters or anything that has a separate horizontal compartment for media.
Price and Reviews
There is nothing like premium aquarium filter floss. The premium options in the market mostly focus on durability, chemical use, and filtration efficiency. Although manufacturers often bundle their filter floss with the filters to upsell, do try to avoid them. You don’t need pre-cut floss to fit your filter “perfectly.”
When buying filter floss, consider getting a product that is sufficient for your requirements and has good reviews. Only choose products that have great average ratings and don’t falsely claim chemical or biological filtration. You should have dedicated filtration systems for them.
Also check out our complete guide on ‘Aquarium Filter Guide‘.
Thicker or thinner filter floss isn’t indicative of its efficiency. A thicker floss may be more durable and has an increased capacity, while on the other hand, a thinner floss may be better at filtering finer particles and allowing better flow.
In our opinion, ¾” – 1” filter floss is optimum for both freshwater and saltwater operations.
Yes. The only reason to use filter floss is to make water clear by removing suspended debris from the tank. Do clean your aquarium glass from both sides and maintain the filter floss regularly for best results.
Filter floss also removes algae from your aquarium.
Depending on the product, you should clean your filter floss whenever you see dirt accumulating and water flow impeding. After reusing your filter floss a few times, do consider changing them with a new fresh batch.
In the initial stage, you might need to clean filter floss after a week, but the timespan will keep on increasing with the clarity of your tank.
The Bottom Line
Aquarium filter floss is a critical filtration step for your freshwater and saltwater tanks. Introduce it in your mechanical filtration system before chemical filtration for more water clarity and longevity of the bio media. The best filter floss, according to our tests, is the FilterFirst Aquarium Filter Media Roll. You can use it for any pad or column-based filtration system.