Betta Fish Care  
Go Back   Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care > Betta Fish Bowls, Habitats, and Accessories
Check out the eBook Betta Fish Care Made Easy
betta fish
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-08-2015, 05:12 AM   #1 
New Member
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tennessee
Question What filter media do you use?

I have a Top Fin 20 gallon power filter that suggests to use those crappy cartridges for the filter media along with a black sponge that it came with. Since I do not know much about filter media aside from the cartridges I am completely at a loss of what to do with my situation. The filter in the Top Fin 20 gallon is fine. I only have a betta in there right now. My problem is that the cartridges get covered in brown algae/slime and then the tank becomes cloudy and backed-up within 3 days of cartridge replacement. I don't want to replace the cartridges because I want the tank to cycle, but there isn't any other way around it. I need filter media that is going to be able to handle particles to keep the tank clean and water clear.

Tonight I cleaned the tank and did a 25% water change because the water was so murky. When I was dumping the water from the tank out, I noticed that the water looks green/brown in the bucket. I think the Flourish I've been using twice a week is partially to blame? Possibly? My plants are thriving, but the water is icky. The hood of the tank was even COATED in green/brown slime from where the bubble maker has flicked droplets onto it during the day and night.

Any advice or input on filter media would be amazing. I use carbon pieces in the cartridges, and I was using Ammo Carb in small amounts, too. I didn't put any Ammo Carb in the new cartridge tonight to see if it was the problem. I want some Cory Cats but I am afraid that they may make the water worse. I've had some before (with my betta) and they seemed to poop quite a bit. I tested the water with the API Liquid Test Kit and everything was zero.

Here is what the cartridges look like after just three days. P.S. That is clean, treated water in the bucket -- not the green/brown kind I mentioned. That was probably obvious, though. Haha. Sorry the picture is blurry.

Last edited by loveroflife; 11-08-2015 at 05:16 AM.
loveroflife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2015, 07:12 AM   #2 
Mousie's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Hanover Park, IL
A filter that allows you to customize your media is what you want. Stay far far away from anything that has a cartridge. They're designed to do nothing more than empty your wallet.

Bio-media: ceramic rings or lava rock - this stuff lasts forever. Literally. It is where the nitrifying bacteria reproduce and thrive. It should never ever be replaced.

Chemical media: activated carbon, purigen, chemi-pure - removes impurities from the water column. activated carbon needs to be replaced every 3 to 4 weeks. Purigen can be reused several times before needing to be thrown away, and I forget how long chemi-pure lasts.

Mechanical-media: sponges with semi big holes or polishing pads (most times both are used at the same time) - this removes floating debris from the water column. These can last from 6 to 8 months and sometimes longer.

Monthly filter maintenance is a must in order to keep it running smoothly, to prevent clogging and to prevent rotting organics from building up (which will cause bad water chemistry).

Once a month take your filter completely apart. In a bucket of clean dechlorinated water (not used tank water) swish your filter media around to help remove gunk and rotting organics. (This will not harm the nitrifying bacteria, unless you forget to add dechlorinator to the water.) Use pipe cleaners for any tubes, and rinse clean the filter housing being sure to also remove the impeller (if there is one) and clean it, too.
Mousie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2015, 09:59 AM   #3 
New Member
BilboBetta's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Iowa
When I had aquariums I used Aquaclear power filters. A sponge, filter floss on top of the sponge and biomax? in a little nylon pouch on top of it. The sponge caught the solids, the floss polished the water and the biomax created a good surface for bacteria to live. Worked well and the only thing to replace was the floss which is very cheap to purchase.
BilboBetta is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2015, 03:58 PM   #4 
Cinderwolf's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Richmond BC
All my filters have all just been sponge. Not 'sponge filters', i mean just cramming as much sponge as possible into my HOB. I like it because it is cheap, and i find it does a great job both holding a cycle ( lots of little nooks for the bacteria) and keeping the water clean because the sponge acts as mechanical filtration as well. Plus when it gets grimey in there, I just rinse in dechlorinated water and you're good to go.
Cinderwolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2015, 05:27 PM   #5 
BettaBeau's Avatar
Join Date: May 2014
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
I have heard of people cutting filter sponge a little bigger than the cartridge and using that instead of the cartridge.
BettaBeau is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2015, 05:37 PM   #6 
New Member
BilboBetta's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Iowa
Originally Posted by BettaBeau View Post
I have heard of people cutting filter sponge a little bigger than the cartridge and using that instead of the cartridge.
Im thinking of doing just that with the little Nat. Geo. HOB that came with my 1 gallon. As I posted above that is just the type set up I like and it would slow the turnover a bit thus cutting down on current. My only concern is, would it damage the pump if slowed to much? I will keep thinking.
BilboBetta is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2015, 06:55 PM   #7 
megaredize's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Ontario Canada
I never use the cartridges either, they are garbage. If im not already using an aqua clear filter which i love. I use my own filter pads and sometimes aqua clear sponges that i have cut to size. I always buy the aqua clear bio max media for biological filtration it can usually fit in most filters.
megaredize is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2015, 12:41 AM   #8 
NightStars's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
I don't use filter cartridges either. For the filters, I use biomax with sponge.
NightStars is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2015, 07:53 PM   #9 
TripleP's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: NC
I have a TopFin 10 filter in my 5 gallon and it has the same type of cartridge. I do use the cartridges but mainly because when I first got the filter I bought them in bulk not knowing much about filter media at the time so I am using them up. However that is not all I use. In addition to the carbon filter and black sponge (which from what I understand is for biological filtration) I also use ceramic rings for additional bio filtration and an additional sponge (I believe from Fluval) for more mechanical filtration. Ever since adding the additional media my tank has been doing great. I do rinse out the two sponges once a month and also replace the carbon filter as needed but thankfully when I do replace it the cycle doesn't crash because the additional media is still there. So if you don't want too look into getting a new filter right now and want to continue using the carbon filter cartridge you could try something like this and see if it helps.
TripleP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2015, 10:15 PM   #10 
New Member
leaena14's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: New Hampshire
I got an aqua tech 5-15 from walmart, and it works great! Their cartridges have a lot of carbon to water exposure, so the water stays crystal clear! Only $10! I do want an aqua clear, but that's closer to $30, and I can't justify spending that right now when the aqua tech is just fine. I did get some biomax for the 5-20 aqua clear for my filter (the bio media that came with the aqua tech was just a plastic piece with holes in it, and it doesn't hurt to have an extra place for bacteria (plastic piece is still in there as well)), so hopefully Santa will bring me an aqua clear and I can just use my current biomax :)

Last edited by leaena14; 11-13-2015 at 10:18 PM.
leaena14 is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Filter Media InTank W/O Filter ? misty1477 Betta Fish Care 5 12-31-2012 09:11 AM
Filter media and such brancasterr Betta Fish Care 8 05-01-2010 05:43 PM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:01 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.