Seachem Matrix VS Plastic Bio Balls: Which Filter Bio Media is Better?

For a healthy aquarium, a filter is required for cleaning all the waste produced by fish & live plants. Filters can efficiently clean all the mechanical (solid) & biological (chemical) impurities. Fish mostly die due to the lack of biological filtration hence it is recommended to use effective bio media. Bio media only provides a surface for the growth of good bacteria. Useful bacteria grows naturally over the surface of bio media when you cycle your tank. In this article, I have compared two best bio media: Seachem Matrix VS Plastic Bio Balls.

Both Seachem Matrix, & Plastic Bio balls are highly capable of removing chemical impurities present in the aquarium water. Ammonia is released from fish poop, uneaten food, & other debris. When ammonia react with the good bacteria growing over the surface of bio media, they are broken down into nitrites that are comparatively less toxic than ammonia. When nitrites react with useful bacteria, they break down into nitrates. Nitrates are less toxic than nitrites, & they are not dangerous for fish if their quantity is low. However, nitrates are dangerous if they are in high amounts.

Plastic Bio Ball VS Seachem Matrix: What is Better?
Plastic Bio Ball VS Seachem Matrix: What is Better?

For the growth of good bacteria, aquarists have to complete the nitrogen cycle. Nitrogen cycle takes a few weeks & after it completes, good bacteria will colonize over the surface of bio media. Bio media should be added to the biological section of the aquarium filter. Filters draw water from the aquarium & water passes through the foams, where all the solid impurities are removed. Water containing ammonia flows through the bio media where it reacts with the good bacteria, & water containing nitrates is sent back to the aquarium. Some of the bio media is very porous, & they can even wipe out nitrates, so they completely remove all the toxins.

  1. Seachem Matrix is one of the bio media that holds both aerobic & anaerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria is produced in regions where oxygen is present. Aerobic bacteria grow over the surface of the Matrix, & they break down ammonia into nitrates. Anaerobic bacteria grows inside the pores where oxygen is unavailable. Anaerobic bacteria wipes out nitrates from the water. Bio balls are made up of many thin plastic rods that provide lots of surface area for colonies of useful bacteria to grow on their surface. Plastic Bio balls can only remove ammonia & nitrites from the water.
  2. Seachem Matrix offers lots of surface to clean dangerous water. They are highly porous & offer heaps of surface area for good bacteria growth. Seachem Matrix is highly porous & it has a diameter of around 10 mm. Bio balls just provide external surface area for heaps of useful bacteria growth but Seachem Matrix provides both external & internal microporous surface area where heaps of useful bacteria grows. When you open a bio ball, you will find a sponge. Sponge is known for housing colonies of good bacteria. The higher surface of the sponge will ensure that bacteria not only grows over the surface of the plastic bio ball but also over the sponge.
  3. Matrix is not exhausted over time so they do not require replacement. Over time, your Matrix may be clogged with detritus & slime, so it is recommended to clean your filter so the bio media works at top efficiency. Detritus will clog the plastic bio balls but you can simply wash them to remove the entire gunk it has collected. Bio balls are fabricated from very fine material, so they will work long lasting with best efficiency.

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