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Preferred filtration media for canister filters

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I picked up a Fluval FX4 today and am interested if everyone used the supplied media from the start or if they hotrod it somehow.

For example, how good are the white sponges and ceramic rings that come in the FX4 instead of other media in the same location?

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I just wanted to share this for the sake of it being any benefit.

I don't want to say that you need to use a certain type of media.  Rings, the stuff above, matrix, lava rock, or what was included in the box, I think they all can get the job done, but the main goal here is to just set it up and make sure it works.  The FX series isn't cheap and it's the type of thing where the goal is to have something that just works. 

If it was me personally, I would run it as is for at least 6 months and see how you like everything.  If the media breaks down a bit quicker than you'd like, there are options of course.

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You can spend a lot of time perusing this site.


The author of the page has strong opinions that the ceramic rings, pumice stone, ceramic media perform significantly worse than other options and has done testing that prove it.

The numbers in his charts and graphs look convincing…

I have no way of “knowing” how good the data is that he is providing. I havent seen other carefully conducted testing to verify his numbers.

Having said that, I dont use any ceramic type media myself.  I use the supplied foams as they are fitted and provide good mechanical filtration and have good surface are for biofiltration and I use nylon pot scrubbers for loose fill biofiltration surface area instead of ceramic type media or pumice stone.

my reasoning is based on my “belief”.  Ceramic media has claims of tremendous surface area with all the pores in them.  But, I “believe” that since the bacteria grows in a biofilm much of that pore area may not see much flow and may be occluded by the film.  I confess it is a belief, and not hard science knowledge.


In any event the pot scrubbers seem to work well, and a lot of crud comes out of them when I swish them in clean water after running a while leading me to believe they are seeing good flow through them..

Edited by Pepere
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