Hi everybody, Joey here again and welcome back.
So in today's video I'm going to show you my favorite do-it-yourself materials to use as filtration media for your aquarium.
All of which are commonly available, very low costing and of course have a long, proven track record of being an effective alternative to filtration media materials.
When it comes to filtration I categorize filters by the state the media is actually in, which are submerged, emerged and fluidized.
And I'm going to be focusing on their biological media for this video.
Personally, I've been in the hobby long enough to have large stockpiles of all kinds of media.
However, when I need an alternative these are what I use and what I recommend.
We'll start off with submerged; submerged filters have their media in a static submerged state, meaning that the media is actually completely underwater.
Filters like canisters, types of sumps, internal filters and hang on the back filters are some examples of submerged media filters.
For these my favorite do-it-yourself media is lava rock.
It is lightweight and highly porous which actually gives them a very large surface area, allowing them to house a massive amount of beneficial bacteria.
Being inert is obviously a necessity as well and lava rock is meaning that it's going to have zero impact on your water parameters like hardness as well as pH.
Lava rock also doesn't degrade or wear down over time either meaning it will literally last you a lifetime.
That fact that you can customize it is actually one of my favorite aspects though.
If it's too big when you buy it, take a hammer or an axe and smash it into the sizes you need.
A light hit with one of these will break the rock up into smaller pieces.
A quick rinse after that and they're good to go.
Just be careful with that axe or hammer, especially if you're not an adult.
To find it you'll want to go to a place that sells barbeques and simply buy a bag of lava rock which is commonly used in barbeques or go to a rock yard and see if you can buy it in bulk.
I found that this would run you less than a dollar per pound in both cases.
So the cost is obviously a huge benefit and I remember a time when I paid over $400 for media that I needed for a sump.
When I could've just paid $20 for the same amount in lava rock.
Remembering that sump is actually what inspired this video, sometimes even the best of us forget some of the simplest alternatives.
OK, so let's move on to emerged filtration.
For the most part, we're only referring to wet/dry filters or trickle tower filters when we talk about emerged.
Emerged meaning that the media is actually suspended above the water and tank water is rained over the media.
Lava rock wouldn't do nearly as well here as it would be too difficult for the water to easily pass through it.
Given that we're relying only on gravity for this type of filter to work, chances of the water channeling are high.
Meaning that water will simply find the path of least resistance and continue to follow that, whereas in a canister, for example, the water is forced through the media.
So when it comes to an emerged filter we need something that is a lot more porous that isn't going to allow channeling quite as easily.
Ideally we would use bio-balls for this method of filtration if you have them.
Being plastic they're inert and last a lifetime plus the fact that they're not extremely compressed means that water can evenly flow through them.
However, they're not really cheap and they take up a lot of room compared to their surface area.
A very popular alternative would be plastic pot scrubbies.
Not only do they offer approximately triple the surface area per square inch but are also plastic and can last a lifetime as well.
Not to mention they're much more pliable and you can really pack a lot more in.
They're also very common and you can grab six for $1 at your local dollar store and even Wal-Mart sells them and other places like that.
The price makes these one of the most cost effective yet efficient alternative media you can get.
The last method of filtration is fluidized.
Now, typically speaking, K1 Kaldness would be the best in my opinion however in the average home aquarium it's size and cost don't make it really practical.
For the average home aquarist pool filtration sand would be a much better solution.
Although the filter can be slightly more difficult to build, the fact that one pound of this sand can filter 100 gallons yet only take up one liter of space is incredible.
Not to mention the pound will only cost you pennies.
Due to its grain size and its ability to fluidize with very little effort this is an ideal media for a fluidized filter.
Any place that sells pools or or pool supplies will usually have it in 10 or 50 pound bags.
I buy 20 pound bags for $10 all the time and I don't just use them for filters.
I also use it for substrate as well as sand waterfalls.
I wanted to leave you guys with one more media.
This time it's going to be a mechanical media though.
Polyester Filling also known as Quilt Batting.
This has to be the most popular mechanical media alternative in the hobby.
You can get large rolls like this at Wal-Mart or generally any fabric store and you can expect to pay less than $10 for something that's going to last you several months as well.
You just want it to say 100% Polyester Filling.
You also want to avoid any packaging that states it's mildew resistant and of course you don't want any additives in it.
Polyester filling can be used in virtually any filter and it does an excellent job.
Not only is it polishing the water but it is also cheap and simple to replace.
It's actually the only media that I use in every single filter I have.
Anyway guys I hope that you enjoyed todays video.
I also want to thank you for watching and I'll see you guys next Sunday for a new, do-it-yourself project.