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Filter Media Confusion

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Beany81487

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Hello all. I haven't been in the Aquatic hobby for long and as I'm doing my research I am getting hung up on filter media. Here's what I know so far... or what I think I know. Please feel free to constructively correct me.

The order should be the following based on water flow pattern of filter:
1. Mechanical (physical filtration)
2. Bio Media (for beneficial bacteria growth - I think)
3. Chemical (I don't completely understand this one)

I have 2 types of filters at home currently. I have my daughters 10G tank with a Small to Med tetra filter that came with the starter kit. And I am about to start to cycle our 75 inch planted tank so we can put fish in it within the next month or so. I got a Tidal 75 for that one. I know that Tidal HOB filters, filter water from bottom to top but what about the cheaper/smaller tetra filters? are those back to front instead? That would make sense but I wanted to verify because it came with the sponge in the front of the filter (being the side closest to the filter's water output) but that would be mechanical so it should go at the back, then Bio/chemical media in the front?
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If anyone could help clarify the holes in my data or has a good resource about filter media options, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you!
-Cristina
 
Hi Cristina and welcome to the forum. I'm from NC as well!

Could you share a photo of the tetra filter? I'm not a fan of them anyways as their cheaply made and just don't do well enough for me.
You could set it up turn it on and see which direction the water goes in and out of.

I personally use the aquaclear filters and have heard really good things about the tidal filters.

You are correct about how to place the media but in my honest opinion you don't need the chemical filtration. It's just something that you will be spending more and more money on switching out.
I have ONE pack of carbon sitting in the garage and have never used it. It came with the filter.
I have in my filter (from bottom to top) sponge, ceramic rings, and more ceramic rings.
This holds a TON of nitrifying bacteria and I rarely have to clean it.
I saw you don't really understand the chemical filtration. One form of chemical filtration mostly used is carbon. The uses range from taking tannins out (which are beneficial) or taking left over medication out of the water which I haven't used either as a lot of meds can do more harm than good if you don't know what your doing with them.

Hopefully this helps and I'm sure other more experienced member can chime in as well.
If you have any other questions feel free to tag me
 
Hi Cristina,welcome.

More seasoned members will advise/explain the chemical aspect as/if needed, but in short it refers to active compounds with beneficial properties, for example resins or activated charcoal. Now these have additional properties and use, but from my own experience and what I've seen on the forums, they're used for specific purposes/situations, and actually generally avoided on most setups, mine included.

The size of filter doesn't or shouldnt; dictate how you place the media, and I'd follow the manufacturer instructions on that because the construction of the filter might call for it.

The bio aspect of the filter is pretty much anything you want to "fill" the gaps with, for example rocks, rings, glass beads. Of course as long as they're aquarium-safe.

On the sponge side of things, that's usually where the manufacturers "cartridge" goes, and as you read on the forums you'll see most if not all members switch from those to sponges that can be rinsed and reused, because swapping them every few weeks or months literally throws away rhe established bacteria colonies on them whereas rinsing the sponge let's you keep them almost in their entirety and a piece of sponge on Amazon 8r even your local pet retailer will probably last you for years, as you don't replace the sponge unless it starts to rip or otherwise be in bad enough shape that it loses its ability to filter/retain the gunk.

Good luck!
 
Thank you all. I found this awesome article finally online that really helped clarify some operational things for me but unfortunately the tetra instructions do not show which direction the water flows so I will have to do some testing on that later. I appreciate all the help!
 
Thank you all. I found this awesome article finally online that really helped clarify some operational things for me but unfortunately the tetra instructions do not show which direction the water flows so I will have to do some testing on that later. I appreciate all the help!
That article seems to explain it very well.
It's really strange the instructions don't explain where the water flows. Usually they do.
Once you set it up just try to figure that out 😅
Should be fairly easy.
 
Chemical filtration doesn't really do anything that regular partial water changes don't achieve. And we should do the water changes anyways. So you can just add another layer of mechanical or biological filtration in place of the chemical filtration.
 

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