Which Is The Best Filter Media For Freshwater Aquarium?

Every fish tank needs a filter to carry out filtration and keep the water clean. Filtration is a process that aids in removing contaminants including excess food, floating dirt particles, various chemicals, bad odor, fish waste products from the water.

Filtration is necessary for every type of aquarium as it keeps the water clean which is important not just for the look, but also to keep the inhabitants healthy and safe. Filters do this by removing contaminants and increasing the amount of oxygen in water by maintaining a regular water movement.

Mainly, 3 kinds of filter media are used to carry out filtration. These include biological, mechanical and chemical. Each serving a different yet vital purpose. Let’s talk about each in detail:

  • Biological Filter Media

This type of filter media is necessary in all types of aquariums. This is because all fish produce waste which can turn into toxic ammonia. Other than that, decaying matter, dead fish and various other biological bodies can produce toxic waste that can be harmful for the habitants.

Biological filtration converts this toxic ammonia from waste into nitrite and then nitrite to nitrate. NItrate doesn’t harm the fish, however, it still needs to be extracted out from the water which is done by filtration.

Biological Filter Media Types: Ceramic rings, bio balls, pallete, foam etc.

  • Mechanical Filter Media

Mechanical filtration involves passing the aquarium water through a mechanical filter media that acts as a strainer and catches dirt particles that are in the water and lets the clean water pass through.

Mechanical filter medias are of various types and qualities. The finer the quality, the more particles it can trap.

Mechanical Filter Media Types: Sponge, filter pads, gravel, filter floss, air bubble dense mass etc.

  • Chemical Filter Media

This type of filtration is involved with extracting toxics and poisons from the water with the help of activated carbon filter and chemical resins. Around 2 gallons of water can be chemically filtered every month using a cubic inch of carbon filter.

Chemical Filter Types: Activated carbon, algone, ion exchange etc.

Without further ado, let’s have a look at the best filter media for freshwater aquarium:

SPOILER ALERT... Here are our FAVORITE PICKS:

BIOLOGICAL FILTER MEDIA

OUR FAVORITE PICK
Fluval Biomax Bio Rings - 500 grams/17.63 ounces
Marineland PA11486 Canister Filter Bio-Balls for C-Series Filters, 90-Count
280 Reviews
114 Reviews
OUR FAVORITE PICK
Fluval Biomax Bio Rings - 500 grams/17.63 ounces
280 Reviews
Marineland PA11486 Canister Filter Bio-Balls for C-Series Filters, 90-Count
114 Reviews

Last update on 2018-11-14 at 15:45 Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

MECHANICAL FILTER MEDIA

OUR FAVORITE PICK
Aquarium Filter Pad - Premium True Dual Density 12" by 72" by 3/4 to 1" Aquarium Filter Media Roll for Crystal Clear Water
Fluval Foam Filter Block (204/205/306 & 304/305/306)- 2-Pack
433 Reviews
179 Reviews
OUR FAVORITE PICK
Aquarium Filter Pad - Premium True Dual Density 12" by 72" by 3/4 to 1" Aquarium Filter Media Roll for Crystal Clear Water
433 Reviews
Fluval Foam Filter Block (204/205/306 & 304/305/306)- 2-Pack
179 Reviews

Last update on 2018-11-14 at 16:05 Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

CHEMICAL FILTER MEDIA

OUR FAVORITE PICK
MarineLand Black Diamond Media Premium Activated Carbon
Fluval Ammonia Remover, 180-gram Nylon Bags - 3-Pack
912 Reviews
125 Reviews
OUR FAVORITE PICK
MarineLand Black Diamond Media Premium Activated Carbon
912 Reviews
Fluval Ammonia Remover, 180-gram Nylon Bags - 3-Pack
125 Reviews

Last update on 2018-11-14 at 16:15 Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Biological Filter Media

1. Marineland PA 11486 Canister Filter Bio-Balls for C-Series Filters

Marineland PA11486 Canister Filter Bio-Balls for C-Series Filters, 90-Count

This biological filter media is for canister filter models and supports the 160, 220, 360 and 530 C series models. This serve as the best filter media for freshwater aquarium due to the area it covers as the bio balls float in water and filter it by trapping the fish waste and other debris.

These bio balls clean waste like a charm but sometimes but need to be maintained well due to the collection of buildup. However, on the downside these are only suitable with canister filters and need to be washed with care.

Pros

Cons

  • check
    Lightweight.
  • check
    Easy to maintain.
  • check
    Doesn’t occupy much space in the tank as they are very small.
  • Only works with canister filters.

2. Fluval Biomax Filter Media

Fluval Biomax Bio Rings - 500 grams/17.63 ounces

BioMax filter media are ceramic rings that help to purify bacteria in your fish tank. No matter what kind of biological waste there is, these efficient ceramic rings take care of if all.

Biomax filter media are composed of a pore system that ensure that the environment stays healthy and waste free at all times. These pores are beneficial to the growing bacteria in the tank. Also, they help regulate water movement and improve oxygen flow in water.

Apart from that, this filter is versatile and can support up to 13 different fish tank sizes. There’s a con to the product though, if not properly maintained, it can produce white specks in water and make the tank appear cloudy.

Pros

Cons

  • check
    Long lasting.
  • check
    Easy to wash (with tank water).
  • check
    Absorbs waste and other materials.
  • A bit expensive
  • Must be carefully maintained

Mechanical Filter Media

1. Fluval Foam Filter Block

Fluval Foam Filter Block (204/205/306 & 304/305/306)- 2-Pack

If you’re in search for the best filter media for freshwater aquarium then your search ends here. Fluval foam filter is the ultimate foam that is meant to last long and block impurities like a charm.

It filters out both large and small particles by carrying out mechanical filtration and makes sure that the premature clogging is prevented. Immersing these foam filters in your water tank will help you keep your water clean without any trouble.

They run for 6 months easily without giving any problems, however for many people this isn’t a very long shelf life.

Pros

Cons

  • check
    Cheaper.
  • check
    Washable.
  • Need to replace every 6 months.

2. Premium True Dual Density Filter Roll - 12" by 72" by .75" to 1" - Aquarium Bonded Pre Filter Media Pad Dye-Free - Custom Made In USA For Aquatic Experts

Aquarium Filter Pad - Premium True Dual Density 12' by 72' by 3/4 to 1' Aquarium Filter Media Roll for Crystal Clear Water

This mechanical filter media is a choice for many aquarium lovers due the dual density filter pads it comes with. They tra excess food particles, debris, dust and plant decays floating in the tank, thanks to the dye fibers in them.

They are especially designed to maintain the flow of water and prevent media pads from getting clogged quickly.

It is composed of 100% polyester which is why it is one of the most durable filter medias you’ll get. However, keep in mind that it slows down the water movement a bit. Other than that, it is one of the best filter media for freshwater aquarium.

Pros

Cons

  • check
    Safer for the fishes.
  • check
    Absorbs every kind of particles.
  • check
    Can be cut to any size and works well in most of the aquariums.
  • Slows the water movement.

Chemical Filter Media

1. Fluval Ammonia Remover, 180-gram Nylon Bags - 3-Pack

Fluval Ammonia Remover, 180-gram Nylon Bags - 3-Pack

Ammonia can accumulate in water if fish waste and excess food particles aren’t cleaned up quickly. This ammonia can contaminate the environment and harm the inhabitants. This ammonia needs to be removed, and Fluval ammonia remover is one of your best choices in this regard.

While it is a great product, remember that it is only suitable to be used in fresh water aquarium. This is because its ionic functionality may release the trapped ammonia in salt water and cause damage. Other than this, make sure to not use any ammonia remover for more than a month.

Pros

Cons

  • check
    Ion exchange functionality delivers top notch ammonia removing abilities.
  • check
    Keeps your water crystal clear and free from toxic and poisonous chemicals.
  • Needs to be changed every month.
  • May wear out soon if there’s too much ammonia production in the tank.

2. Marineland Black Diamond Premium Activated Carbon

MarineLand Black Diamond Media Premium Activated Carbon

The best filter media for freshwater aquarium is one that does multiple cleaning tasks. If you’re looking for a similar kind of filter media then go for Marineland Black Diamond Activated Carbon. They are specifically designed to eliminate odors, chemical toxics, discoloration and many types of chemical impurities that make home in fish water.

It is a very affordable option and works better than most similar products on the market. On the downside, it might produce some amount of dust in the water after a few months but that’s minimal.

Pros

Cons

  • check
    Works with almost every filter type.
  • check
    Cheap.
  • check
    Long lasting.
  • Might make the tank dustier after some months of use.

Conclusion

While all these filter media are some of the best filter media for freshwater aquariums serving different functions, it is essential that you use a mix of filters for the wellbeing of your fish tank.

Most experts recommend to use a mix of all three filters as they all serve unique purposes and are important to maintain your tank.

With a combination of all three, the fish waste and other debris would be taken care of and the chemicals excreted in the process will also be handled.

A perfect filtration system is one which works on all three types of filter techniques, biological, mechanical and chemical. So make sure you have all three types of filter media in your fish tank.

BONUS VIDEO!