How to setup filter media in canister filter baskets | Best aquarium filter:

Canister filter can efficiently clean fish tank water better than any other filter type. They are efficient in cleaning because they hold lots of filter media in baskets. Canister filters come with multiple baskets for storing mechanical, biological & chemical filtration media. Canister filters come with its own media but usually they are not enough to fit every basket. Also, you can achieve very good output if you add different types of bio media along with coarse, medium & fine foams. It is possible to add chemical filter media too.

Canister filters can offer 4 baskets for filtering fish poop, remaining food, dust & debris in the water. It can quickly & continuously filter water.


How to install filter media in canister filter baskets:


How to setup canister filter media | best aquarium filter

My Canister filter came with its own bio media but it was in less amount so I recommend adding more bio media in the filter baskets. Only fine foam was available in the filter. Also, the canister filter was preloaded with chemical filter media.

 

Step 1: Remove baskets:


Removing the baskets
Removing the baskets

Open canister filter & remove the baskets. My filter has 4 baskets. Add coarse, medium & fine foams for mechanical filtration. It is better to add cycled bio media from an established aquarium that already holds heaps of beneficial bacteria. Or use aquapro booster balls that will quickly add useful bacteria.

 

Step 2: Intake / Outtake bar setup:


Spray Bar
Spray Bar

Setup of filter inflow & outflow pipes is easy. Just see the above image if you want to setup pipes. Intake bar will draw dirty water from the fish tank. It has a strainer at the intake valve which avoids sucking fish. Clean water is gently pushed back to the fish tank using a hose connected to a spray bar.

 

Step 3: Canister filter components:

My canister filter was preloaded with:

  • 4 Baskets
  • Fine Foams (Mechanical Filter Media)
  • 2 Types of Biological Media
  • 1 Activated Carbon (Chemical Media)

I am using coarse, medium & fine foams for mechanical filtration. I am not using chemical filtration media. For biological filtration, I am using multiple types of bio media & I have added around 90 % of biological media from my cycled aquariums.

 

Step 4: Attach hose to intake / outtake connectors:


Attach hose to intake / outtake connectors
Attach a hose to intake / outtake connectors

Attach a hose to the canister filter intake connector. Attach another hose to the outtake connector for pumping water back to the fish tank. Intake hose will draw water from the aquarium. Water will be forced to reach the bottom of the canister filter using an internal tube. Then it will rise upward & flow through mechanical & bio media before clean water is pumped back to the aquarium.

 

Step 5: First Basket:


Setup first basket of canister filter
Setup first basket of canister filter

I have added coarse, medium & fine foams in the first basket of the canister filter.

My canister filter was preloaded with fine foams but I have added coarse, medium & fine foams in the first basket. They will trap fish waste, remaining food, & other debris present in the water. Water will flow through the mechanical filter media. Coarse foam should be added first, followed by medium & fine foams. Coarse foams will collect all large fish waste & other debris while medium & small particles may flow through it but they will be stopped by medium foam. Small particles will be trapped by fine foam.


Q) If fine foam can trap large, medium & small particles then why do we add coarse & medium foams?

A) Fine foam will get clogged quickly if large & medium particles are stuck in it as compared to coarse & medium foams. That’s why we add coarse, medium & fine foams.

 

Step 6: Second Basket:


Setup second basket of canister filter
Setup second basket of canister filter

I have added fine foam along with aqua one premium ceramic media in the second basket.

Aqua One Premium Ceramic media is highly porous & it is used in many filters. It provides the ideal environment for the growth of useful bacteria. Due to its porous nature, large amounts of useful bacteria grow on its surface.

 

Step 7: Third Basket:


Setup third basket of canister filter
Setup third basket of canister filter

I have added Bio Bakki balls & ceramic noodles in the third basket.

Good bacteria is used for breaking down ammonia into nitrites & further into nitrates. Nitrates are less toxic than nitrites, & nitrites are less dangerous than ammonia. Bio bakki balls wipe out ammonia & nitrates.

 

Ceramic Rings:

Ceramic rings are fired at high temperatures for some time which creates numerous minute pores for holding good bacteria. It is able to hold nitrifying & denitrifying bacteria. Denitrifying bacteria grows inside the tiny little pores because they need an oxygen free surface for growth. These tiny pores do not contain air & provide the ideal place for the growth of denitrifying bacteria. Denitrifying bacteria is used for removing nitrates from the water.

Outer part of ceramic noodles offers many tiny holes & a middle hole goes through the whole thing. Water will run over the outer surface of ceramic noodles & will also flow through the central hole.

Good bacteria needs a surface for growth. If you offer more surface then more useful bacteria will cling to it.

Ceramic noodles enhance the surface area through minute holes.

 

Top Up:

Bio Bakki balls & Ceramic noodles are topped up by Seachem Matrix.

Seachem Matrix is very porous & provides the ideal bio media required for removing harmful chemicals. Seachem Matrix offers both interior & exterior surface for wiping out nitrogenous waste. The internal surface of Seachem Matrix is called macropores for holding nitrifying & denitrifying bacteria which is used for removing nitrates too along with ammonia & nitrites.

 

Step 8: Fourth Basket:


Setup fourth basket of canister filter
Setup fourth basket of canister filter

In the fourth basket I am using fine foam & ceramic rings.

Fine foam will further clean water & remove any leftover debris while ceramic rings will remove ammonia, nitrites & nitrates from the water before water is pumped back to the aquarium.

 

Top Up:

Bio Bakki balls have been added at the top of fine foam & ceramic noodles. Bio bakki balls will remove ammonia & nitrates from the water.


Step 9: Close the lid:


Close the lid of canister filter
Close the lid of canister filter


Put the basket lid for covering the filter media. Close the lid of canister filter & lock it.

Step 10: Setting up intake & outtake:


Setting up intake & outtake
Setting up intake & outtake

Attach the intake hose to the intake bar. The end of the intake bar is connected to a strainer which only draws water from the aquarium & avoids sucking fish.

Attach the outtake hose to the spray bar for the return of water to the aquarium. Spray bar provides smoother flow of water & makes a waterfall-like effect in your fish tank.

 

Conclusion:

Canister filters can offer very effective filtration at low power if you add the right media in mass amounts. Canister filters are preloaded with mechanical, chemical & bio media but they are not enough. It is very important to add different types of bio media available in fish stores for better cleaning. Setting up the right filter media in a canister filter is very important for the health of fish.

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