Best Biological Filter Media For Your Aquarium & Canister Filter!
Do you want the bacteria to help you purify the water from harmful ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite that accumulates in your fish-tank water? And if you are looking for the best biofilter media for canister filters or aquariums, this detailed writing is surely meant for you.
By bio-media, we understand the biological filtration media. Out of the three types of filter media [mechanical, biological, and chemical], this is the most natural filtration process to filter out the toxic substances from your aquarium.
If you own a good/ best biological filter media for aquarium or your canister filter, you can easily remove ammonia and nitrite from the water and reduce the biological nitrate simultaneously. In this view, we strongly urge you to use the best biological media for aquariums.
Why Do People Prefer Biological Media?
Biological media is basically a natural way to clean the water inside your aquarium. Bio-media is a hole for safe bacteria that keep the water clean from pollutants, debris, and harmful contents for your fish.
People prefer biological media because it’s the least harmful type of media. Fishes can get stuck inside the mechanical media and cause fatality. Chemical media is not harmful, but it contains chemicals. You never know when your fish can get allergic to the chemicals. These are the basic benefits that make people prefer biological media.
Best Bio Filter Media For Aquarium:
|Fluval Biomax Filter Media|
Best Usage: Canister Filter, HOB filter
|Type: Bio-Ring (Bio Media)|
Help for: Beneficial bacteria growth
Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.5 x 2.6 inches;
Weight: 1.26 Pounds
|Seachem Matrix Biological Media, 2L/ 67.6 oz|
Best Usage: Any filter and Particularly Effective In A Canister Filter
|Type: Matrix, 2 L / 67.6 oz.|
Help for: High Porosity, Inorganic Solid Bio-Media For The Removal Of Nitrogenous Waste
Dimensions: 4.94 x 4.94 x 4.62 inches
Weight: 3.27 Pounds
|Marineland Bio-Filter Balls|
Best Usage: Canister Filter, HOB filter
|Type: Bio Filter Media Ball |
Help for: Growth of beneficial Bio-Spira bacteria.
Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.77 x 6.5 inches
Weight: 6.4 Ounces
|Biohome Ultimate Filter Media|
Best Usage: Canister Filter, HOB filter
|Type: Ultimate Bio-Media|
Help for: Absorb water, Reduce ammonia, nitrite.
Dimensions: 8.78 x 8.31 x 3.7 inches
Weight: 1 to 5 pounds Pack
|OUFISH Aquarium Bio Ball|
Best Usage: Any Filter/ Direct into Aquarium
|Type: 6 kinds of filter media combinations|
Help for: Make the filter effect play better
Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 1.5 inches
Weight: 1.22 Pounds
EHEIM Substrat Pro Bio Media -Pearl-Shaped Glass 2L
Best Usage: Any EHEIM Filter
|Type: sintered glass material|
Help for: Provides longer intervals between required maintenance
Dimensions: 6.6 x 3 x 8.7 inches
Weight: 1 Pound
CerMedia MarinePure 1.5-Inch Sphere Bio-Filter Media
Best Usage: Any Filter, Specially Canister Filter Media
|Type: Ceramic Bio Ball|
Help for: Ammonia and Nitrite Removal
Dimensions: 8.25 x 8.25 x 4.25 inches
Weight: 1 Pound
|AQUANEAT Aquarium Sump Filter Media|
Best Usage: best bio media filter for a canister filter, HOB Filters
|Type: Bio Ceramic Rings|
Help for: Great for both fresh and saltwater aquariums
Dimensions: 5/8″ x 11/16″
Size of media bag: 8 ” x 5.5 “
Total: 6lbs of ceramic rings in 6 filter media bags
8 Effective & Best Biological filter Media Reviews
However, choosing a bio-media filter for your aquarium/canister filter is arduous. Hundreds of manufacturing companies might claim their filters to be the best. But we are very choosy here to pick the best ones.
To assist you in choosing the best bio media, here we will discuss the 8 best bio media for aquariums that are worth buying. You will also learn about how aquarium bio media filter works, what kind of biofilter media you need to choose, in what order you should place the biofilter media in your filter, etc.
Our recommended Best Biological Filter Media:
“By the way, if you do not have enough time to go through the whole review, we suggest you go for what is very affordable, durable, and comes with a lot of good reviews and feedback from the buyers.”
- Fluval Biomax Filter Media (Top Rated)
- Seachem Matrix Biological Media, 2L/ 67.6 oz (Editor’s Choice)
- Marineland Canister Filter Bio-Balls ( Best for Canister Filters)
Are you still here? Want to read the whole article to choose the best biofilter media for a freshwater aquarium? Okay, here is our list of biological media we consider the best biological filter media for canister filters and your aquarium out there:
1. Fluval Biomax Filter Media
Fluval Biomax Filter Media works great to maintain good hygiene. Its whole structure is designed to make the water feel as natural as possible. It makes the beings living in the tank feel at home.
This bio ring has a complex pore system. It allows a natural environment to sustain within the tank that helps beneficial bacteria to survive. Water moves fluently through this media and ensures efficient biological filtration. It captures debris to keep the elements of water balanced. It also contributes to keeping the water fresh and clean.
The Fluval Biological Filter Media is the perfect choice for improving your aquarium’s water quality. It has a complex porous design that ensures optimal contact time as water passes through, helping to reduce and control ammonia and nitrate. The media will also help to replenish only half the filter media at one time, which allows for proper seeding. Finally, the media will not affect water characteristics.
- Great capacity: This filter’s bio rings have greater capacity compared to most other filter media. It can hold at once a lot of water. This makes the filtering process more efficient.
- Complex pore system: The complex pore system of this filter allows beneficial bacteria to survive more efficiently.
- Controls the amount of nitrate and ammonia: This filter controls the water’s chemical balance by allowing good bacteria to thrive. It reduces the amount of nitrate and ammonia by capturing debris.
- Biological filter media: Biological filter media maintains the hygiene of the tank. It helps to keep the tank water fresh and clean.
- For freshwater and marine aquariums: This filter is effective for both freshwater and marine aquariums. It means that this filter is strong enough to refrain moss from growing within the tank
- Reasonable price
- Very porous surface media
- Easily removable
- It helps good bacteria to thrive
- It takes a lot of space
- Works with only larger reservoirs
2. Seachem Matrix Biological Media, 2L/ 67.6 oz
There is no way you haven’t heard about the Seachem Matrix Biological Media. This filter media has earned popularity for its effectiveness in trapping harmful bacteria and eliminating nitrates from tank water.
Yes, I know that’s what most filter media do. But what makes it worth being on the list? I suggest you have a look at the following features.
- Filtration Process: One of the main reasons users choose biological filter media is to keep the tank free of toxic nitrogenous waste. And the Seachem provides an efficient filtration process with its high porosity to remove any such gas from the tank.
- Filtration Capacity: How much water do you think it will filter? The media container comes with about 2 liters of treats. They are capable of filtering about 400 US Gallons of tank water.
- Material: Matrix biological filter media is made with inert material. Thus, they like small stones and feel like stones in your hand. They are incredibly lightweight but will not float away.
- Tank Type: This biological filter media is suitable for any aquarium. But I’ll suggest it to you on canister filters for the best results. And the media work perfectly on a dip tray system without any filter bag.
- Do not float away
- Provides both internal and external microporous surface area
- Eliminates nitrites and other toxic gas
- The highly efficient filtration process
- Suitable for any tank filter
- Some customers found plain rocks in their container
- A few customers found fewer volumes of media than stated
3. Marineland Canister Filter Bio-Balls
Marineland Bio-Filter Balls are a bit different from other filtration methods. Each pack of Marineland PA11486 contains 90 balls. These balls provide a large filtration area which helps the growth of BIO-Spira bacteria. These bacteria consume the filth roaming around in the tank water.
What Marineland PA11486 does best is make the water clear. Their filtration process makes the water healthy. And it has remained effective for quite a long time.
The amount necessary for filtration depends on certain facts, such as the population in the tank, tank size, habitat, etc. The concept of this filter media is quite simple yet very effective.
Large surface area: The bio-balls provide a large surface area. This intensifies the efficiency of filtration.
Biological filtration process: The whole system of Mainland PA11486 biological filter media provides an organic solution by helping the growth of friendly bacteria. Thus the tank remains uncontaminated throughout the process.
Plastic balls: Though this product supports organic bacteria to thrive, these basically are plastic balls. But plastic doesn’t harm the water in any way.
Quantity: You will get 90 of these bio-balls. You will have to read the instructions to know the amount you need to use in your tank. It depends on the overall specs of your tank.
- It suits all kinds of aquarium
- Cheap price
- Easy to clean
- Easy to use
- Huge surface area
- Small in size
- Easy to lose in the water
- Not fully compatible with many filters
4. Biohome Ultimate Filter Media
Biohome Ultimate Filter Media sustains the best environment for bacteria in the tank. These bacteria work as filters and process ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite in the tank water. They are very active. It takes only a little while for them to show efficiency.
The filtering method of Biohome Ultimate Filter Media is completely natural. It doesn’t use any harmful or inorganic chemicals. The bacterium it supports ensures natural processing. Thus the water remains healthy and clean at the same time.
- Grows beneficial bacteria: nurtures and grows aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria are extremely beneficial for the tank. They maintain the cleanliness of the water very effectively.
- Organic process: The aerobic and anaerobic bacteria consume nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon. In return, it produces carbon dioxide. This decomposition process is done very fast. The carbon dioxide it produces helps maintain a natural environment in the tank.
- Odorless: Biohome Ultimate Filter Media basically works by helping good bacteria survive. These friendly bacteria leave no odor or any such waste. It also reduces the elements from your tank that can cause the tank water to smell.
- Works with different filters: This filtration media is quite flexible. It works with different filters but is most effective with overhead, large HOB, trickle, and canister filters.
- Fast result
- Natural process
- Leaves no trait
- Compact structure
- Reduces ammonia and nitrite.
- Works only as biological filter media
- Does not operate in a shaded environment
5. OUTFISH Aquarium Bio Ball Filter Media with Mesh Bag
OUTFISH aquarium bio-balls are nitrate factories. These Bio-ceramic rings help the bacteria colony to convert the ammonia of wastes into nitrites. The nitrites, in return, are converted to nitrates.
These bio-balls are extremely strong and effective. A single pack contains 6 species of filter material. These co-operatively work to maintain stability within the tank. The bio balls prevent bad odor and devour organic wastes in the aquarium.
- Amount: A single pack of OUTFISH aquarium bio ball comes with 1 pack of filter material of 500g. There are 6 species of filter media in a single pack. Also, it includes 1 pc of the filter bag.
- Home for beneficial bacteria: Aquarium biofilter provides a home for friendly bacteria. These bacteria promote the exchange of gas. This maintains a natural environment within the tank.
- Nitrate factories: This filter media indirectly produces nitrate from organic wastes. First, they convert the pollutants into nitrites; then, the nitrites are converted to nitrates.
- Removes traits of toxicants: Toxic materials make the water unclear and smell really bad. OUTFISH aquarium bio balls devour the toxic material with their good bacteria. This reduces the bad odor and makes the water sparkle clear.
- It comes with a plastic zipper mesh bag
- Very easy to use
- Compatible with every tank
- Don’t need replacement unless badly damaged
- Combination of different filter media
- It needs to be rinsed with clean water before using
- Small mesh bag
6. EHEIM Substrat Pro Biological Filter Media, 2L
Eheim biological filter media are excellent options for better water purification. And the Eheim Substrat Pro is the one you need to enhance water penetration, which boosts bacteria colonization. And the most important thing is that this biofilter media is affordable.
- Surface Area: Eheim Substrat Pro has a smaller surface area than the Seachem Matrix Biological Media. But still, the surface structure is about 1800 ft per gallon. It is pretty impressive, in my opinion.
- Material: The material of this biological filter is from Germany. It is a BFM material, and the beads were made using the sintering process. In this process, fine glass particles are compressed to make them.
- Bacteria Control: One main perk of such a porous biological filter media is its ability to trap and control bacteria. At the same time, it helps beneficial bacteria to grow and boost the tank environment.
- Tank Type: Your tank type should be the last thing to worry about if you add this filter media. It is suitable for freshwater and marine tanks and works more efficiently if you have a canister filter.
- Price: Eheim Substrat Pro biological filter media is less expensive than many such filter media. The price is affordable, and the media’s effectiveness is worth every penny.
- Made with high-grade German material
- It helps beneficial bacteria grow
- Affordable price
- Suitable for all tank types
- Controls nitrites and ammonia
- Easy to clean
- Safe to use
- A few customers had issues with the packaging
7. CerMedia MarinePure Sphere Bio-Filter Media
The CerMedia MarinePure Sphere bio-filter media is an advanced filter media for reef tanks. You can use it for any aquarium to flourish in the tank environment. It is affordable, effective, and can be cut into pieces to get your desired shape.
- Surface Area: CerMedia MarinePure Sphere filter media has an extended surface area. The advantage of having such surface areas is that they can house more beneficial bacteria. Biological filter media is an excellent way to create such bacterial accumulation, and this filter media knows how to do this job.
- Material: The media’s inert part is made of ceramic. So you must be more careful when handling or cleaning the media. And if you want to add them in different shapes, you can use a kitchen knife to cut them.
- Filtration: The media eliminates nitrites from the fish tank by using the open-flow porous surface. It lets the water flow freely and prevents particles from slipping and damaging anything.
- Filter Type: This media goes with pretty much any filter. Whether it’s a dry, dump, or instant filter, it is suitable for all. Besides, it does not require much maintenance.
- Suitable for any filter and fish tank
- Boosts beneficial bacteria accumulation
- Eliminates ammonia, nitrites, and other toxic matter
- It prevents particles from slipping by
- Requires less maintenance
- Easy to clean
- Less durable
- It can be a bit expensive.
8. Aquaneat Bio Ceramic Rings Filter Media
[Best Bio Media For Canister Filter]
Aquaneat Bio Ceramic Rings are dedicated to keeping your aquarium water neat and clean by providing top-notch biological filtration for your tank. This media comes in 6 bags of small ceramic cylinders that can boost the growth of helpful bacteria within the aquarium that can keep your fish healthy.
The bacteria can soak up toxins and act as a natural purifier in your aquarium ecosystem. The ring design allows ample water to pass through, making it possible to continuously filter out the impurities and avert the occurrence of cloudy, unhygienic water. With 6 bags full of these magic cubes, you can easily swap them whenever necessary.
Aquaneat Bio Ceramic Rings come in a convenient compact size. This enables these rings (aquarium filter media) to fit into most aquarium filters. On top of that, these rings are fit for extensive use. Just rinse them in aquarium water; they would be okay for repetitive use.
- Eligible for saltwater and freshwater use: Can be used in saltwater and freshwater tanks.
- Accommodates good bacteria: Houses bacteria colonies that refine the water naturally and establish ecological balance in the aquarium.
- Mesh bag: Comes in reusable mesh carrier bags with zippers.
- You don’t need to change these rings much often.
- The ring provides sufficient space to nurture desirable bacteria colonies.
- The perforated ring structure enables sufficient water flow.
- The obligation of buying 6 bags together.
What Is Bio Media And How Biological Filter Media Works In Canister Filter?
By bio-media or biological filter media, we mean something inert that works to create, nurture and sustain housing for useful bacteria that help break down the solids and purify them from toxic elements.
This media can be used either mechanical or chemical to strengthen its action. You should not replace this media if it is not too clogged to do its work as it should be.
To get a clear understanding of this media, it is important to know the prerequisites that the bacteria need to use to create and preserve the favorable conditions to grow:
- The temperature of the environment should be above 55°F.
- As a food source, it requires either Ammonia or nitrite.
- It requires an ample supply of Oxygen.
Bacteria collect their food and oxygen from the water. But, if the bio media is blocked by particulate matter, the water flow decreases, and the bacteria die. So, it is important to make sure that you have installed mechanical media before placing bio media.
Conversely, the abundance of ammonia and nitrite reproduces the bacteria if the bioload increases. However, it is required to have harmony in the water so that the bacteria do not cause a “bacteria bloom” by over-production or do not get destroyed completely.
For established tanks, bacteria bloom is too common to happen and gets resolved quickly by itself in 24 hours. But when it comes to the new tanks, the conversion of ammonia by bacteria may take a longer period depending on the starting level of bacteria and the current fish load. Bio media works as the breeding ground for the bacteria to thrive and get involved in the nitrogen cycle.
Bacteria And Biological Filtration
Our aquarium is flooded with hundreds of microorganisms that we do not see. They exist to break down organic substances. They also help to recycle nutrients.
By the way, when it comes to bio or biological filtration, we want the removal of both ammonia and nitrite, which are toxic.
Three types of bacteria perform certain tasks to purify the water.
- The first type of bacteria transforms ammonia into nitrite.
- The second type of bacteria transforms the nitrite into nitrate (relatively less harmful). The bacteria that do this work are usually labeled as “nitrifying” bacteria.
- And there is the third type of bacteria that converts the nitrate into nitrogen gas by a process which is known as the denitrification process. This process helps to keep the corals alive.
The Truth About Bacteria And Biological Filtration
There are many myths concerning bacteria and biological filtration. However, the nitrification process and the concerned bacteria in the aquarium are well-revealed in the latest research. Here, we will look at some of the views and myths and check whether they are valid or not.
Nitrifying bacteria die in a lack of a high oxygen supply.
- Reality: This is False. Nitrifying bacteria can survive even with a low oxygen supply.
Biological filtration needs a high level of aeration and oxygen to enable the bacteria to work properly.
- Reality: Just normal water movement ensures proper oxygen and appropriate aeration. It is not required to go for more aeration.
Bacteria in saltwater are way different than in freshwater tanks.
- Reality: This statement is valid mainly. We see some species of nitrifying bacteria present either in freshwater or saltwater. However, the exception is also noted. Some bacteria are found in both types of water.
Why Do I Need Special Biological Filter Media?
Many issues can disturb the harmony of bacteria in the aquarium. Glass scraping, washing plastic plants, cleaning gravel, changing water, etc., can minimize the effect of bacteria in the biological filtration system. No matter what happens in the rest of the places of the aquarium, the bacteria need a stable and safe environment to grow. This is the main task of the best biological aquarium filter media to help the bacteria do their work. The colonies of bacteria supply constant nitrifying bacteria, which are very important to keep the process going. You need special and best biological filter media for turtle tanks due to several reasons such as:
- To maintain low ammonia and nitrite level in big tanks
- Some fish release more ammonia and extra-biological media help stabilize the biological filter.
- Reef aquariums need biological filtration for denitrification.
- Natural planted aquariums do not need many biological filter media.
What Biofilter Media Order Should I Maintain In My Filter?
In most biofilter processes, water passes through a bed or chamber of media. All the suspended organic materials, leftover fish food, or fish waste gets settled in the biofilter media.
When it comes to the heavier particles, these will settle either in or on top of the biofilter media. If you set your canister filter to let the water flow through the bio media first, you can find sludge and debris stuck in it, as it will start working as a mechanical filter automatically.
However, it must be noted that most accumulated organics can produce non-nitrifying bacteria. If it occurs, the nitrifying bacteria will soon be crowded out by the non-nitrifying ones.
That’s why it is important to set the best filter media or biofilter media in the cleanest part of the filter system. Using prefilter media to remove solids can come to your help.
What Should Be The Proper Amount Of Biofilter Media?
You may not find instructions from every manufacturer about how much to use per gallon. One reason is that one biofilter is usually designed and packaged for a specific filter.
And to be frank, no hard and fast scientific formula exists to calculate the biofiltration media.
Every aquarium has a difference, as there is a variety of fish, invertebrate sizes, numbers, and food amounts.
The nitrate reduction case is also the same. If your manufacturer suggests you to go for a certain use rate, you should follow that. You can add more media later on if you need it.
Benefits Of Biological Media
There are many benefits that biological media offers. I will tell you specifically about two popular benefits you can get from it.
The first advantage that you get if you use the biological filter media is cleaner and fresher water. It is due to the process by which this result is achieved. But how does it take place? Let’s dig into the deep.
Tanks can be cleaned and filtered in traditional ways. But ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate accumulate in the water and make it toxic. It is nothing other than biological media that works best to remove all the above-mentioned harmful materials from the water. Do you know how? It is through the bacteria colonies that the water gets an unending supply of bacteria to clean the water from toxic substances quite easily.
The second reason or advantage that biological filter media offers is simplicity. You will find it easy to use. You can place them inside the mechanical filter most of the time. So, there is no hassle in the installation. If you have a filter already bought for your aquarium, take your bio media filter and place that inside the existing filter, and you are done.
How To Setup Biological Filter Media In The Filter?
Well, let’s learn how to set up the aquarium bio media in the filter. It is easier to do it if you know the way. First, you must choose a good filter media (refer to the products we reviewed). After getting your media, open the filter and place the filter in the right place where it should be. This may vary from filter to filter. There are hang-on back filters (HOB), canister filters, underwater filters, and so on.
However, you should read the user manual if you do not find the right place to set up your media in the filter. And if you do not have a user manual right away or have lost that, take help from the internet. Just search your filter type (and manufacturer name), and you will get your desired information. [But, if you own a canister filter, you can read “How to set us a canister filter like a pro” I am sure it will help you more.
However, one thing you should never ignore is choosing the best biological filter media that works.
If we are to pick one or two Biofilter Medias of our choice, we will choose the Fluval Biomax Filter Media and Seachem Matrix Biological Media. If you are searching for the best bio-ball for a Canister filter, then Marineland Canister Filter Bio-Balls might be your best choice. On the other hand, when you look for the Ceramic-ball, our suggestion will go for CerMedia MarinePure Sphere Bio-Filter Media. Although thousands of bio media are in the market, it is hard to decide which are the best. So, our team had to give their best effort to pick the best to do this review. It’s a tough decision from the best picks, but these are our most voted and customer-reviewed Biological Filter’s Media.
Now that you know everything about the bio media filtration process, the best bio media for canister filters, and the buying guide, it will be easier for you to buy the right one. Just remember to choose the durable one that offers good quality and does its work properly.
We hope that the reviews of the products with their pros and cons and our buying guide with the necessary information would be of your help.
As you know, Canister filters contain three main categories: Media with separate chambers, i/e, 1. Biological Media 2. Chemical Media & 3. Mechanical Media. To know more about them, click on the link given. This guide will help you choose the right one.
12 thoughts on “8 Best Biological Filter Media For Canister Filter | How Biological Filter Media Can Help You Purify Your Water?”
I want distribution of Vietnam
Hi Reo, I don’t know about distribution to Vietnam! I am also not a distributor. I am sorry as I am unable to help you with this issue.
This is really an amazing value. Ceramic filter media like anything else in life vary in quality a great deal. Fluval Biomax is incredibly porous because it’s not tumbled and polished. It’s the rough texture and millions of tiny crevices that attract nitrifying bacteria like a magnet and encourage rapid growth.
hi Bella, yes your knowledge is pretty clear on it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.
Thanks. Keep sharing great posts!
You are most welcome. Stay safe!
Mud has always been, and will always be, the best bio-media on earth. Can you dig it?
First of all, I would like to thank you for reading this article!
Yes, I agreed with you. Mud/ soil is the best bio-media. But you can not use Mud directly to your aquarium you know. You are correct, Bioretention soil is added to remove dissolved pollutants. The Mud mix used for bioretention systems is central to determining flow control and water quality treatment.
For Mud media, you can use Mineral Mud Filter Media for Aquarium, and if you like, you can try EcoSystem Aquarium Miracle Mud.
Soil is one of the most important elements of an ecosystem, and it contains both biotic and abiotic factors. If you are interested, you can read about Soil Composition.
Off-Topic: I just published a new article on betta fish filter requirement. If you are interested to know on betta fish, you are invited to read my article..
Thanks again! stay safe and take care of your aquarium fish.
I have Biohome Ultimate in my filter and it never reduces nitrate down to 0ppm. The suggestion it does is bogus.
hi Mark, thanks for letting us know the fact! Honestly, there are NO media that will reduce/remove nitrates in an aquarium on this earth. The only way to reduce nitrates is with water changes and plants. But on the other hand, if we need to recommend, then I can guide you to follow below steps-
Step-1: Water change!
Step-2: Use Water conditioner, best is Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner – Chemical Remover and Detoxifier.
Step-3: Use Ceramic rings also help.
I just could not leave your web site before suggesting that I actually loved the standard information a person supply in your guests? Is gonna be back steadily to inspect new posts.
Noted with thanks!