10 Best Filter Media 2020 – Chemical, Biological, Mechanical

Best Filter Media

Whether it is the mechanical, chemical or biological, you can only keep the aquarium water in the best quality if you have installed the best filter media.

Technically, your filter needs all three medias to ensure optimal filtration. They all are meant to do their dedicated work differently.

If mechanical prevent large particles then chemical is responsible to remove ammonia and biological is for restoring the healthy bacteria that can keep the water a healthy environment for fish to thrive.  

Well, this review will give you options in all three medias. Without further ado, let’s get to business.

10 Best Filter Media – Reviews

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

CNZ CNZCBR

1. CNZ CNZCBR (Best Overall Filter Media Kit)

  • Contains chemical and biological media in decent capacity
  • Increases dissolved oxygen levels
  • Suitably priced
  • Ceramic media is extremely porous
Marineland PA0392

2. Marineland PA0392 (Value of Money Filter Media)

  • 50 oz chemical media at most affordable price
  • Dedicated for freshwater aquariums
  • Comes with neutralizing crystals
  • Made of bituminous coal-based carbon
Fluval A1456

3. Fluval A1456 (Highly Efficient Biological Filter Media)

  • Extremely efficient ceramic ring biological media
  • Affordably priced
  • Suitable for freshwater and marine environment
  • Exceedingly durable
Marinaland PA0373

4. Marinaland PA0373 (Most-Compatible Filter Media)

  • Compatible with all filters
  • Available in high capacity of 40 oz
  • Remove discoloration and odor
  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater
Aquaneat BH-A804

5. Aquaneat BH-A804 (Filter Media in High Capacity)

  • Available in high capacity of 500 pieces
  • Versatile product
  • Highly porous
  • Help in dissolving more oxygen
Biohome Ultimate Filter Media

6. Biohome Ultimate Filter Media (Best Saltwater Aquarium Filter Media)

  • Ideal for saltwater aquariums
  • Control ammonia and nitrate
  • Restrict discoloration
  • Make water odorless
Aqua-Flo 6X72EPG

7. Aqua-Flo 6X72EPG (Standard Filter Media)

  • Standard mechanical product with basic features
  • 100% polyester made
  • Safe for freshwater and saltwater tanks
  • Easy to cut
Aquatic Experts Filter Media

8. Aquatic Experts Filter Media (Dual Density Media Roll)

  • Comes with highly effective dual layers
  • Constructed with polyester fibres
  • Environment friendly
  • Cut to fit
AquaClear Biomax Filter Media

9. AquaClear Biomax Filter Media (Filter Media with High Water Treating Capacity)

  • 13.8 oz pack can treat 110 gal of water
  • Suitably priced
  • Reduce ammonia levels
  • Minimize nitrate content
Seachem 116011709

10. Seachem 116011709 (High Porous Filter Media)

  • Highly porous biological filter media
  • Suitable for reducing nitrate level
  • Naturally mined
  • Compatible with freshwater, marine and reef aquaria

PRODUCT

1. CNZ CNZCBR

(Best Overall Filter Media Kit)

CNZ CNZCBR
  • Contains chemical and biological media in decent capacity
  • Increases dissolved oxygen levels
  • Suitably priced
  • Ceramic media is extremely porous

2. Marineland PA0392

(Value of Money Filter Media)

Marineland PA0392
  • 50 oz chemical media at most affordable price
  • Dedicated for freshwater aquariums
  • Comes with neutralizing crystals
  • Made of bituminous coal-based carbon

3. Fluval A1456

(Highly Efficient Biological Filter Media)

Fluval A1456
  • Extremely efficient ceramic ring biological media
  • Affordably priced
  • Suitable for freshwater and marine environment
  • Exceedingly durable

4. Marinaland PA0373

(Most-Compatible Filter Media)

Marinaland PA0373
  • Compatible with all filters
  • Available in high capacity of 40 oz
  • Remove discoloration and odor
  • Suitable for freshwater and saltwater

5. Aquaneat BH-A804

(Filter Media in High Capacity)

Aquaneat BH-A804
  • Available in high capacity of 500 pieces
  • Versatile product
  • Highly porous
  • Help in dissolving more oxygen

6. Biohome Ultimate Filter Media

(Best Saltwater Aquarium Filter Media)

Biohome Ultimate Filter Media
  • Ideal for saltwater aquariums
  • Control ammonia and nitrate
  • Restrict discoloration
  • Make water odorless

7. Aqua-Flo 6X72EPG

(Standard Filter Media)

Aqua-Flo 6X72EPG
  • Standard mechanical product with basic features
  • 100% polyester made
  • Safe for freshwater and saltwater tanks
  • Easy to cut

8. Aquatic Experts Filter Media

(Dual Density Media Roll)

Aquatic Experts Filter Media
  • Comes with highly effective dual layers
  • Constructed with polyester fibres
  • Environment friendly
  • Cut to fit

9. AquaClear Biomax Filter Media

(Filter Media with High Water Treating Capacity)

AquaClear Biomax Filter Media
  • 13.8 oz pack can treat 110 gal of water
  • Suitably priced
  • Reduce ammonia levels
  • Minimize nitrate content

10. Seachem 116011709

(High Porous Filter Media)

Seachem 116011709
  • Highly porous biological filter media
  • Suitable for reducing nitrate level
  • Naturally mined
  • Compatible with freshwater, marine and reef aquaria

1. CNZ CNZCBR – Best Overall Filter Media Kit

CNZ CNZCBR
  • Type: Chemical, Biological
  • Package: 16 ounces, 17 ounces, 50 pieces

So, the CNZCBR is a media kit that consist of 16-ounces of activated carbon, 17-ounces of ceramic rings, and 50-pieces bio-balls. This is a perfect product available on a very decent price that helps with chemical and biological filtration process.

The components are great in removing odor, color, and organic pollutants. You can also expect efficient elimination of toxic compounds and medications from the water.

The ceramic rings are extremely porous and withdraws the substantial dirt from the water. The components also help in increasing dissolved oxygen levels.

Lastly, the bio-balls are very effective in storing the good bacterial inside the pool that helps in thriving of the fishes. It is one of the best aquarium filter media kit that you can consider for purchase.

The only bump in the road is that the activated carbon needs some washing before you can place it inside the filter.

Pros:

  • A full-fledge kit with decent quantity components
  • Suitably priced product
  • Helps in efficient cleansing of water
  • Eliminate odor and medication

Cons:

  • The activated carbon needs some washing

2. Marineland PA0392 – Value of Money Filter Media

Marineland PA0392
  • Type: Chemical
  • Package: 50 ounces

This product is certainly the best value of money as it is available in high capacity of 50-ounces and available at the most affordable price.

The chemical filter media is primarily formulated with Clinoptilolite Zeolite and black diamond premium activated carbon. The black diamond carbon is actually a heat-treated bituminous coal-based carbon.

It very efficiently eliminates ammonia in the water. It also removed organic waste and odor. There are neutralizing crystals which makes it a dedicated product for freshwater aquariums. This is one of the best freshwater aquarium filters media that you can find online.

It should not be inhaled at any cost so you might have to take measures for that.

Pros:

  • High quantity available on a very suitable price
  • Suitable for removing odor
  • Ideal for freshwater
  • Efficiently remove ammonia from water

Cons:

  • Harmful to inhale

3. Fluval A1456 – Highly Efficient Biological Filter Media

Fluval A1456
  • Type: Biological
  • Package: 17.63 ounces

This biological media is a highly efficient product and comes in the form of ceramic rings that have more capacity and allow optimal water movement throughout the media. It does not change the characteristics of the water but only store the healthy bacteria.

The product is available on a highly affordable price, making it one of the cheapest aquarium filter medias that will not rip you off your money.

The best thing about this product is that the media is very durable. It does not need frequent changing and you will only have to take it out after few months and wash it. This way, the media will last for a long time.

The product is suitable for freshwater and marine environments. Because it keeps the healthy bacteria, the quality of water remains decent. However, it does make the water a bit cloudy.

Pros:

  • Extremely efficient and does not change water characteristics
  • Very affordable product
  • Very durable and does not need frequent changing
  • Suitable for freshwater and marine environments

Cons:

  • Makes water a bit cloudy

4. Marinaland PA0373 – Most-Compatible Filter Media

Marinaland PA0373
  • Type: Chemical
  • Package: 40 ounces

The best thing about this product is that it is compatible with any filter model that you might have in your aquarium. It is easy to install.

It is available in high capacity of 40 ounces which means that it will stick around longer than other products.

Another good thing about this product is that it is compatible with freshwater as well as saltwater.

The media don’t just eliminate ammonia but it is also great in removing discoloration and odor from the water.

It is formulated with Black Diamond media premium activated carbon that is basically heat-treated carbon that helps in maintaining water crystal clean.

There is a drawback of this product that the carbon falls down on the bottom of the tank. You will have to clean the aquarium periodically.

Pros:

  • Very compatible with all kinds of filters
  • High in capacity
  • Suitable to be used with saltwater and freshwater
  • Heat-treated carbon treats the water good

Cons:

  • Will have to clean the aquarium because carbon falls down on the bottom

5. Aquaneat BH-A804 – Filter Media in High Capacity

Aquaneat BH-A804
  • Type: Biological
  • Package: 500 pieces

So, this biological filter media is available in high capacity of 500 pieces. You can expect to use it for long time.

Another good thing about this product is that it is highly versatile. It is suitable to be used for freshwater and saltwater. It is compatible with canister filter and HOB filter.

It is a highly porous product and will store the good bacteria in a highly efficient way. Also, this product is rich in tourmaline that emits FAR infrared rays to help in quick dissolving of oxygen in the water.

It comes in a reusable bag where you can store the bio balls for future usage. The downside is that this product is a bit on pricier side.

Pros:

  • Available in large capacity
  • Highly porous
  • Help in dissolving oxygen in the water
  • Comes in a reusable bag for storage

Cons:

  • A bit on pricier side

6. Biohome Ultimate Filter Media – Best Saltwater Aquarium Filter Media

Biohome Ultimate Filter Media
  • Type: Biological
  • Package: 16 ounces

From Biohome, this is the best saltwater aquarium filter media as it is a dedicated product. It is It nitrify aerobic and denitrify anaerobic bacteria to grow effectively.

Unlike many other biological medias that don’t change the characteristics of water, this one also helps in controlling ammonia and keep the nitrate levels of water on a decent count.

This product is helpful in preventing discoloration of water and make it completely odorless. Of course, it helps the growth of beneficial bacteria that in return keep the water environment healthy for the fishes.

If you are worried that whether or not the media will be compatible with your filter then don’t be because this particular media is suitable for canister, HOB, and sump filters. You may have any filter model installed in the aquarium; this product will be highly suitable.

Now, the problem falls on the high cost of the product as it is the most expensive product on the list.

Pros:

  • Most suitable product for saltwater aquariums
  • Helps in keeping nitrate level suitable
  • Keep water odorless
  • Compatible with all kinds of filters

Cons:

  • Very expensive

7. Aqua-Flo 6X72EPG – Standard Filter Media

Aqua-Flo 6X72EPG
  • Type: Mechanical

If your requirements from a filter media are meagre then you can consider this mechanical product to capture large components and small particles from the water.

This product is made of 100% polyester and has white side in coarse construction while the green side has finer making that restrict the small particles to the best of its capability.

While the media is firm, you can still cut it with scissors and fit according to the size of your filter. There are no chemicals used in the construction of this product so it is completely safe to use inside the water.

Also, this product is equally suitable for saltwater and freshwater aquariums. It is a decent product however the durability of this material is a bit questionable.

Pros:

  • Comes with dual layer to restrict contaminants
  • Can be cut to fit the size
  • No chemicals used in the making
  • Suitable for saltwater and freshwater aquariums

Cons:

  • The durability of this product is a bit questionable

8. Aquatic Experts Filter Media – Dual Density Media Roll

Aquatic Experts Filter Media
  • Type: Mechanical

This product from Aquatic Experts is a highly dependable mechanical media that comes with dual density. The dual action polyfilter pad has an open weave side which helps in trapping the uneaten food, detritus, decaying plants, and other large particles.

The fine side is great for capturing organic particles in the water. The filter floss pad is made of durable polyester fibres that are bonded with special resins to increase the overall strength of the product. The media can be used for superior filtration.

It is environment friendly and will not hamper the health of your fishes. Also, this product is suitable for saltwater and freshwater aquariums.

While the foam is pretty rigid, you can still cut to fit it to size. You might find it difficult to cut. Also, the product is more on expensive side than other mechanical products like the Aqua-Flo 6X72EPG filter media.

Pros:

  • Comes with dual density
  • Environment friendly product
  • Offer superior filtration
  • Effectively trap large to minute particles

Cons:

  • Bit expensive
  • Difficult to cut

9. AquaClear Biomax Filter Media – Filter Media with High Water Treating Capacity

AquaClear Biomax Filter Media
  • Type: Biological
  • Package: 13.8 ounces

Well, the 13.8-ounces package is able to treat 110-gallons of water which perfectly defines the high water treating capacity of this product. Not just the performance but price of this product is also decent.

The biological media is able to reduce the ammonia and nitrate levels of water. The product is installed inside the filter and rest of the work is handled by the media.

Although, it does cloud the water a little bit and the balls are not highly porous.

Pros:

  • Suitable for treating 110-gallons of water with a single pack
  • Lower the nitrate and ammonia level
  • Easy to install in the filter
  • Available in a decent price

Cons:

  • Does make the water a bit cloudy
  • Ball are not very highly porous

10. Seachem 116011709 – High Porous Filter Media

Seachem 116011709
  • Type: Biological
  • Package: 3.5 ounces

The quality of these biological balls is that they are highly porous which will increase the efficiency of the product. This media will help in reducing the nitrate and ammonia levels in the water.

Also, it is a suitable product for freshwater, marine and reef aquaria. Therefore, you can confidently install it to your filter.  

Now, another quality of this product is that it is naturally mined and does not have any harsh chemicals in it that can affect the growth or health of your fishes.

With everything else fine with this product, the small package of 3.5-ounces is definitely a kink in the road. Also, as compared to the quantity, this product is priced higher.

Pros:

  • Non-porous material
  • Suitable for freshwater, marine and reef aquaria
  • Complete safe for fishes
  • Helps in reducing ammonia levels

Cons:

  • The quantity is too small
  • Expensive

How to Buy the Best Filter Media

How to Buy the Best Filter Media

The aquarium’s filtration process largely depends on the quality of filter media being used. This section of filter media review will cover all the essential points of evaluation criteria.

1. Type of Filter Media

Other than just being the types, these varieties also make a hierarchy of medias used in the filter to provide maximum effectiveness.

As a user, you need to know that a filter requires all the three varieties of filter media. For replacement or installation purpose, these are the different types that you can purchase online.

Mechanical Filter Media

Our goal is not just to tell you about the different types but also the way these medias are installed in a filter.

From the side where water enters the filter, first it come in contact with the mechanical media. Most of these products comprise of two layers.

There is a coarse layer where all the substantial dirt like leaves of aquatic plants, food waste, and fish waste is collected. The openings of this layer are wider than the other layer and it sets a trap for the floating substantial dirt.

The second layer is finer and it captures the particles, the smaller ones that runs through the first mechanical layer.

The coarse side of mechanical media is towards the side from where water rushes inside the filter. The water goes through coarse layer first and then make contact with the finer media.

These medias are available in different porosities. Your task is to find a suitable media that does not let any substantial dirt and particles flow through it.

Also, this layer traps the particles and it need frequent cleaning and changing. These are usually made of polyester fibres.

Chemical Filter Media

The purpose of an aquarium isn’t just to capture the bigger particles but the water becomes contaminated as the ammonia level increases. You need to make sure that water is cleansed effectively and be a fitting environment for fish to live.

This is where chemical filter media comes in use. It is the second media installed between mechanical and biological media.

The task is to lower the ammonic level of water. Some of the most common examples of chemical filter media is activated carbon and other varieties of absorbents. 

One of the best chemical filter media you can find online is the Marinaland PA0373 filter media as it is made with heat-activated bituminous coal-based carbon.

Biological Filter Media

This is basically the inner-most media installed in a filter. This media deals with the cleanest water so it last for the longest time, without needing to be changed frequently.

The media is basically used to restore the good bacteria. Every time when the water rushes through the filter, all the healthy bacteria is saved in this layer.

It oxidizes the water and helps in neutralizing the ammonia levels. Also, it makes sure that the pH level of water remains unchanged.

Buying Advice

Since the purpose of these medias is different, you need to recognize your motive of the purchase of best aquarium filtration media to make resourceful purchase.

You need to catch substantial and large particles, go with mechanical media. You want to maintain the pH level of water and remove ammonia then select the chemical media. Finally, if you want to retain good bacteria in water for healthy growth of fishes then choose biological media.  

2. Aquarium Capacity

Well, one thing is for sure that quantity that works for a 15-gallons tank cannot serve a 50-gallons tank, is it?

You surely need to pay attention to the aquarium capacity while selecting media. With all the products, you get information on how much water a particular media will be able to clean.

For example, the AquaClear Biomax filter media is available in 13.8-ounce of package quantity and it is able to clear 110-gallons of aquarium water.

With respect to the capacity of your aquarium, you should pick a product so that the results are effective.

3. Easy to Use

Whether you have to install the media or take it out for cleaning, one thing that every user will appreciate is easy to use. Make sure that the usage of media is simple and you won’t have to check hundreds of videos, finding your way through it.

4. Maintenance

Without a doubt, the mechanical media is high in maintenance because it captures the bigger elements floating in the water. The mechanical media has to be cleaned frequently.

The other two medias, chemical and biological are least demanding. However, you might have to clean the best biological filter media once in a while with dechlorinated water.

5. Efficiency

The efficiency of a media filter is very important because otherwise, it will not be worth your money. For the mechanical media, you can ensure efficiency with the high-quality fine layer.

Identically, the biological media that is more porous is better in efficiency. Plus, as far as the chemical media is concerned, if it is heat-treated carbon then you can expect some good results from it.

Conclusion

There are a lot of specifics to find the best filter media and you should be watchful about all the details.

So, the one product that is fulfilling in all types is the CNZ CNZCBR filter media because it is not just a single product but a complete kit that consist of chemical and biological media. It is amazing in quality and available on very decent price, considering the quantity of each bag.

If you want a product that is compatible with any or every filter is the Marineland PA0373 filter media as it can fit any filter that you may have for fish aquarium.

That said, the product here specializes in something or the else. Make sure to read the specifics and shop smartly.

Happy Shopping!


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