What are the different types of aquarium filter media?

Aquarium filters are used for removing impurities from water caused by fish waste, leftover food, chlorine and other detritus. Filters remove the solid impure particles as well as wipe out the chemicals released from them. Chemicals can easily escape the foams; therefore, they are broken down into safe compounds with chemical reactions.

What are different types of aquarium filter media?
What are different types of aquarium filter media?

3 types of filter media exist:

Based on the uses of filter media, they are broken down into 3 main types:

  • Mechanical Filter Media
  • Chemical Filter Media
  • Biological Filter Media

  • Mechanical filter media:

Water containing solid substances flow through the mechanical filtration media including filter floss, sponge or filter pads. The solid substances are trapped in the mechanical media. It is recommended to clean your mechanical filter media manually every week to remove these trapped substances.


  • Chemical filter media:

Chemical filtration media wipes out dangerous & undesirable chemicals from the aquarium by moving water through the chemical media.

Chemical filter media has more uses in freshwater compared to saltwater aquariums. They wipe out undesirable copper, chlorine as well as leftover medicines. Charcoal is mainly used as chemical filter media. However, nowadays people use new materials with better outcomes.


  • Biological filter media:

Bio media is developed from porous material that allows heaps of good bacteria to colonize over its surface. Bio media does not itself remove toxic chemicals however, it provides an excellent surface for useful bacteria to colonize in abundance. Useful bacteria is used for wiping out dangerous chemicals from the aquarium water.

Filter media is used for wiping out fish poop, uneaten food, & other dangerous chemicals. Ammonia released from waste particles is extremely dangerous for the life of aquarium inhabitants. Ammonia is broken down into nitrites, which are less dangerous than ammonia. Nitrites are further broken down into nitrates, which are even less toxic. This whole process is known as nitrogen cycle.

Latest bio media provides extremely porous surface area where numerous good bacteria can grow. These small sized bio media are best for small fish tank filters.

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