Understanding Media I Mechanical, Biological & Chemical

In this article I am going to explain you different types of filter media. There are basically three types of filter media:

  1. Mechanical
  2. Biological
  3. Chemical


types of Mechanical Pads aquarium planted freshwater India

  1. Mechanical
  • The mechanical filter the name suggests, to catch the suspended particles in the water column of your aquarium, they consist of varies types of mechanical pads which are calculated in Micron or PPI (Pores per inch). They comes is various thickness and sizes. A larger mechanical pad (10 PPi) will only capture large particles such as uneaten fish food or small plant leaves such as Monte Carlo, HC Cuba leaves. Wheres finer mechanical filter pads will catch the fine suspended particles from the aquarium which are not easily visible to the eye, they do a good job keeping your water finely clean. However finer filter pads should always with used along with medium/Large(20-30 PPi) mechanical pads in order to prevent them from easily clogging. The large (10 PPi) filter pads can be reused after washing them and can last a few years whereas fine filter pads (>40 PPi) clog beyond regeneration and need to be replaced every time you clean the filter.

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official data of biological media aquarium surface area chart

2. Biological

  • The Biological filter media is the most important part of a filter media, biological filtration refers to as the process by which beneficial bacteria break down ammonia and nitrite and transform them into compound nitrate, which is much less toxic. Now for this to happen, you need bacteria and bacteria live on these biological filter media. The higher the surface area of a biological media the more efficient they are. For example a surface area of 50 litres of Bio-Ball or ceramic rings can be same as maybe 5 litres of a branded biological media.Therefore selection of media should be done very carefully after looking at the technical report. (Following example)

 biological media aquarium technical report india


Another important point to remember is that bacteria need constant oxygen/flow to thrive, if for example you turn of your canister for more than 40-45 mins then the millions/billions of bacteria colony will start to die inside, therefore its recommend to open the canister head if you are maintaining your aquarium for longer than 40-45 mins or if you have a power cut.

 article chemical media best india

3. Chemical

  • There are a vast variety of chemical filtration and each one of them is designed for a specific task, therefore its very important to know your chemical media before you use them. A wrong decision can remove the essential elements from your water column causing a disaster.

Carbon for example is very good in removing odours from aquarium or can be used to remove any medicine that you would have dosed when your fish were sick. They can also help to improve water clarity to a certain extend, however carbon generally last for a few days at some case even upto a month and then has to be discarded. Another very important point to remember is that carbon should not be used in planted aquariums, as it can remove fertilisers such as Iron (Fe).

Resin & Synthetic adsorbents is a very good for removing organic and polishing the water, they also remove nitrates from the water. I would highly recommend to use a branded reputed aquarium company when you are using Resin & Synthetic adsorbents products as there are many in the market but we only need them to polish our water to remove driftwood tannin’s or to make the water clearer. Resin & Synthetic adsorbents can usually be re-generated with bleach, however different products have their own re-generation methods. They are to be used and re-generated with caution. Little bleach leak can cause a havoc.


"Mechanical filtration makes your water clearer, biological filtration makes your water safer, and chemical filtration is for removing unwanted impurities."

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