Differences between Ceramic Rings VS Lava Rocks? Why are Lava Rocks better than Ceramic Rings?

Aquarium filtration media consists of material that remove unwanted chemical impurities including toxins released from fish poop, uneaten food & other detritus. These toxins are highly dangerous for the fish, & could be responsible for causing illnesses in your fish. It is very important to break down ammonia into less toxic forms via useful bacteria that develops on the bio media. Bio media only provides a surface for the growth of numerous useful bacteria. When ammonia reacts with the useful bacteria, then it breaks it down into nitrites & nitrates. Nitrates are not as dangerous as nitrites, & nitrites are less dangerous than ammonia. However, the presence of heaps of nitrates is still toxic for the fish.

Ceramic rings & lava rocks are highly effective bio media against ammonia by-products.

Ceramic Rings:

Ceramic rings are made up of fire ceramic at a very high temperature that creates very little holes in its surface. Ceramic rings have an outer surface containing holes, & a big hole passes through the center of the rings that allows water to flow over & through the media.

Heaps of useful bacteria grow on the surface of Ceramic rings that help in neutralizing the toxic chemicals.

Ceramic rings offer both nitrifying & denitrifying bacteria. Denitrifying bacteria lives inside the pores where air cannot enter.

Nitrifying bacteria breaks ammonia into nitrites & nitrates.

Denitrifying bacteria removes nitrates from the aquarium water.

The little holes in the ceramic noodles enhance the surface area so heaps of useful bacteria can cultivate.

It is easy to use Ceramic noodles. Aquarists keep ceramic noodles in the fish tank filter.


Pros of Ceramic Rings:

  • Ceramic noodles are cheap. They come in affordable bags. They have a long life, which means that you do not have to replace rings quickly.
  • It is simple to wash ceramic noodles when they are clogged. When you are doing a water change, only add the Ceramic noodles to a bucket containing aquarium water. Shake the media to wipe out excessive debris.
  • Ceramic noodles are durable. They do not degrade over time, & will clean your aquarium water for years.
  • Ceramic rings are light in weight, & you can easily handle them. It is simple to take them out of the filter if you keep them in a bag. Bagging does not improve the efficiency of cleaning but removing the bag is easier than collecting ceramic rings for maintenance.
  • Ceramic rings allow water to flow over the media & let toxins react with the useful bacteria growing on the surface of the media. In addition, water flows through the media via a large hole in the center that improves cleaning.

Cons of Ceramic Rings:

  • Ceramic noodles are only used as bio media.
  • The holes in ceramic noodles can simply clog up.


Lava Rocks:

The surface of Lava Rocks consist of little holes. More holes will make cleaning simpler. Lava rocks are created when molten lava from volcanic eruptions cool down & hardens. They are extremely porous in nature.

If you have heaps of Lava Rocks in your aquarium water, then you have heaps of surface area for the growth of useful bacteria.

Lava Rocks can hold both Nitrifying & Denitrifying bacteria.

Nitrifying bacteria grows on the surface of Lava Rocks.

Denitrifying bacteria lives deep inside the porous Lava Rocks where oxygen cannot enter. They wipe out nitrates from the water.

Lava rocks can be used for both mechanical & biological filtration like sponges.

They are very porous & coarse in nature that make them suitable for mechanical filtration of water. They can be used for both freshwater & saltwater aquariums.

It is simple to use lava rocks. Just wash, & put them in your aquarium filter.

It is easy to prepare lava rocks for aquarium use. Just put them in a bucket & clean them with hot water. They will release a reddish hue so it is required to keep replacing water until the water is clean.

Aquarists use lava rocks as plants’ substrate, as they are very beneficial for the plants.


Pros of Lava rocks:

  • Lava rocks are available at low price, & they are used for filtering fish tank water. They are more economical than other types of biological media. They can be used for years, which makes them economical.
  • Lava rocks are very porous & coarse that make them very efficient for mechanical & biological filtration.
  • They do not affect the water PH that makes them safe for every fish tank. Lava rocks are one of the best filter media for aquascaping.


Cons of Lava rocks:

  • The pores in lava rocks get blocked overtime due to gunk. It is hard to clean the holes in the media. Hence, the full surface area is reduced, affecting the effectiveness of the media overtime.
  • They are porous in nature but heavy when wet & clogged up.

Differences b/w Lava Rocks VS Ceramic Rings
Differences b/w Lava Rocks VS Ceramic Rings

Differences of Lava rocks VS Ceramic rings:

  • Ceramic rings are artificially manufactured by firing ceramic at high temperature. Lava rocks are produced naturally when the molten lava cools down.
  • It is simple to remove the debris from the ceramic noodles. They clogged up slowly as compared to lava rocks.
  • Alternatively, the very porous nature of the rocks means they clog up quickly. It is comparatively harder to wipe out the debris.
  • Lava rocks can be used for both mechanical & bio filtration while Ceramic rings only offer mechanical filtration. Both media are cheap, but Ceramic noodles are a little more expensive than lava rocks.
  • The surface area of lava rocks is higher than ceramic noodles so lava rocks are more effective in filtration than ceramic noodles.



Lava rocks are better than Ceramic Rings as they provide more surface area than Ceramic Rings for the growth of good bacteria. In addition, Lava rocks are comparatively less expensive than Ceramic Rings.

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