13 Best Bio Filter Media

As a tank owner, keeping your tank clean is a top priority!

One of the methods is Bio Filter media. This media consists of ceramic rings, pellets and filter pads.

So how do these biofilter media work?

Biofilters allow organisms to breakdown the waste in your tank, just like in a natural setting!

So, if you’re looking for a biofilter media for your tank then look no further!

We tried out the 13 different biofilters on the market to see what the best fit for your tank is.

13 Best Bio Filter Media

ProductWeightMaterial Type 
CNZ Aquarium Filter Media Kits5 lbs.Ceramic rings and carbon packing
Aqua city Premier 5 Lbs./ 10 Lbs./ 20 Lbs.Ceramic Rings
Fluval Biomax500gCeramic Rings
Biohome Plus Filter media1 Lbs./ 2 Lbs.Filter Pellet
AquaNeat Bio Ceramic Rings6 Lbs.Ceramic Rings

Best Bio Filter media Product Detail

1. CNZ Aquarium Filter Kit



 Key Facts
  • CNZ
  • 1 Lbs
  • Main ingredients: Ceramic Rings, Carbon Packing

The CNZ aquarium filter comes in a single double and triple pack

It consists of ceramic rings and carbon pellets!

The ceramic rings are one inch in diameter each, so that means that they are not that bulky and space consuming.

They still have a lot of capacity for supporting bacteria and allowing free water movement.

It removes not just pollutants but odors and colors that might appear in your tank over time.

Sometimes your tank tends to produce organic pollutants! Which are also taken care of through the biofilter media.

The best part is:

The porous ceramic media allows the removal of toxic compounds and biological filtration of the tank seamlessly.

It works as a natural water clarifier and cultivates beneficial bacteria as well.

The balls are made up of a safe polypropylene material that does not harm the environment of your tank.

It also shows that after using biofilter media, your bank has increased levels of dissolved oxygen.


  • The CNZ aquarium filter allows beneficial bacteria growth that helps naturally clarify your water!
  • It also increases levels of dissolved oxygen that reduces stress in the tank.


  • Users have had a complaint that some of these carbon packings might need thorough rinsing before use as they release the carbon colour in the water.
  • For the quantity the CNZ filter is a tad bit on the price side.

2. Aquacity Premier Filter Media


 Key Facts
  • Aquacity
  • 5 Lbs
  • Main ingredients: Ceramic rings

The Aqua city premiere bulk bioceramic rings come in packages of 5, 10 and 20 Lbs.

It has quantities available for all kinds of tank sizes, small or large!

It consists of 0.5-inch ceramic rings that are made up of a porous material and larger surface area.

So how does that help?

Porous material allows water to pass through properly. That also allows the media to act as a substrate for your bacteria’s growth.

In short, Yes! This media is excellent for beneficial bacterial growth! The large surface area allows a lot of room for the bacteria to culture.

The bacteria help to the break down any visible waste particles and keeps the water clear.

The aquacity premiere media is great for your pond water too!

Not only that! You can also use it for your indoor fresh and saltwater tanks as well.


  • It’s really high quality for the price that will definitely be easy on the pocket.
  • If you are dealing with murky water, then this is great fix for your tank! It will help the needed bacteria form in a shorter period of time.


  • The pores are a little fine which may take time to cycle your tank as bacteria grows on it.
  • The Pores being fine can also mean that the media will get clogged from time to time and may require some gentle cleansing

3. Fluval BioMax Filter


 Key Facts
  • Fluval
  • 500g
  • Main ingredients: Ceramic rings

The Fluval Biomax filter is excellent for both freshwater and marine water tanks.

Each package contains 500g of media. That will last you sufficiently long. The media is made of complex pore system media.

Compared to the other biofilters on the market, the Fluval Biofilter media has more capacity and allows ideal water movement.

The capacity is due to the surface area that is within the ceramic rings. It gives the ideal conditions for bacteria to thrive in.

That isn’t all, of course!

The beneficial bacteria growth can help clarify your water over time.

Most marine tanks have plants in them which might give rise to nitrates in ammonia. This makes a toxic environment for your fish and can increase the stress levels too!

This Biofilter media also cleans out harmful contaminants like nitrate and ammonia.

Filtering out these contaminants can really help reduce stress and keep your fish happy!


  • This is towards the cheaper end in the market and will do the job for your fish tank!
  • It also has a higher capacity compared to the other media on the market due to the large porous surface area!


  • This might only work with a few selected mechanical filtration systems and not all! Be sure you check whether its compatible to yours.
  • Users have complained that these ceramic rings might require washing before proper uses.
  • The naturally mined mineral could otherwise release elements into your tank

4. BioHome Plus Filter Media


 Key Facts
  • BioHome
  • 1Lbs
  • Main ingredients: Filter Pellet

The BioHome Plus filter media comes in a 1 and 2 Lbs bags.

Which great since you do need a minimum 2 to 3 lbs of filter media for an average 30-gallon tank!

The bio home plus filter media supports beneficial bacteria growth due to the variety of trace minerals added to it.

Let me explain further!

The biofilter media creates the ideal environment that can harbor quick and easy bacterial growth.

The water easily travels between the porous pellets and helps colonize bacterium.

This filter media is great for a canister, sump, external, internal, or overhead aquarium filters! (wow that cover the whole lot!)

Even though they have trace minerals, they are completely safe for your fish and plants both.

The media does release any foreign particles into the tank or interfere with the water chemistry.


  • This media is easy on the pocket; it gives the large quantity for a lower price that lasts you long!
  • In addition to that, it is both compatible with marine and freshwater tanks both


  • It is a little on the pricier side given the quantity.
  • You might need to add multiple bags of media for a larger tank.

5. AquaNeat Bio Ceramic Rings


 Key Facts
  • AquaNeat
  • Weight; 6Lbs
  • Main ingredients: Ceraming rings

The Aquaneat Bio ceramic rings are available in 6 bags that have 1Lbs of biofilter media each.

It is made up of a complex pore system with a large surface area that is ideal for bacterial growth

The bacterial growth allows the breakdown of waste and different impurities in your fish tank. It is also compatible with your cannister filter!

another great part:

These bags are reusable! Yes. The zipper design allows you to use them multiple times.

If you think that there is a lot of buildup of material, you can always take the bag out and rinse it gently.

In addition to that, of course, this Biofilter media is great for both saltwater and freshwater tanks.

Overall the media will last you long and will help kickstart your tank’s nitrogen cycle. It can also filter out visible debris!


  • You get a lot of quantity for the price! That means that this media will last you long and you won’t have to worry about repurchasing


  • Users have had a complaint that storage and delivery can put pressure on the ceramic rings which can break them, so make sure you store them appropriately!

6. Aquatic Experts Classic


 Key Facts
  • Aquatic Experts
  • 5 ounces
  • Main ingredients: filter pad

The aquatic expert’s classic is very innovative and different than the generic biofilter media available on the market!

It comes in 3 sizes:

12 x12, 12 x 24 and 12 x 72 . The selection is great for any size of aquarium you might have.

It consists of a 3/4th-inch think sheet that you can put in your tank.

It has 2 types that come in the classic blue or the white bonded filter pad.

The board to go together and the health trap floating debris in your water to keep it crystal clear

the aquatic expert classic makes sure that this product is made up of a durable polyester fiber that is high-quality Inn long lasting

It captures any uneaten food waste decaying plants and can also remove solid organic compounds!

And of course, there’s more!

It’s good for both freshwater and saltwater tanks.

It will help remove the visible particles that might be making your tank water cloudy.

You can also change the filter media and rinse it from time to time if there is too much buildup of waste material.


  • This filtration system is extremely economical an easy on the pocket.
  • it does the job well by trapping large visible pieces of debris and helps your water last longer
  • You can also cut the sheet to fit your tank size. How convenient!


  • Some users have complained that the thickness might be a little less for heavier and larger tanks

7. Fluval BioFoam


 Key Facts
  • Fluval
  • 6 ounces
  • Main ingredients: Black BioFoam

 The Fluval Bio-foam is another unique foam design that helps maintain your water.

The wavy foam comes in in a 1 pack and a 2 pack! That contain 1 and 2 units of foam respectively.

All you have to do is fit one of these packs into your 306/406 filters, and you are good to go!

It is meant to enhance your biological filtration system. That takes the load off your mechanical filter as well.

The good part is:

It is compatible with freshwater and saltwater tanks! So, it will be safe for all kinds of aquatic creatures.

It is made up of lightweight material, yet it is high quality and durable.

It lasts the use long, and you can rinse and reuse it from time to time.

The foam is ideal to catch debris and filter out any waste that makes your tank water murky.

It’s easy to clean and will last you long without any hassle! It ideal if you use conditioned water to clean it.

The foam can absorb toxic compounds from detergents or tap water and can introduce them to your tank.

Try rinsing it gently with established tank water!


  • It is cheap, and the great quality helps it last longer!
  • Users have had it for years without any complaints
  • Another great feature is that it is reusable! Just rinse it lightly and replace it.


  • While this is an all-around great biofilter, it is only compatible with certain mechanical filters and not all. If you have a different one, then you will have to find one based on your requirements.

8. Seachem Matrix Bio Media



 Key Facts
  • Seachem
  • 250 Ml
  • Main ingredients: Biofilter substrate

 Made up of naturally mined materials the Seachem matrix consists of a high capacity biofiltration system.

It is made of natural pumice stone that is the perfect fit for the biological cycle of your tank.

It comes in a 250 and 300ML bottle. Although content can vary from bottle to bottle.

Natural pumice stones may vary in shape, size, and color.

But that is nothing to worry about since the product looks like what it would in its naturally occurring state.

It is chemically inert, which in simple terms means that it will not react adversely with your tank!

And in addition to that, it will support the growth of different denitrifying bacteria to thrive and grow in the tank.

Tank owners clearly don’t want a water clarifier that produces stress in the tank

The Seachem Matrix helps with just that!

It maintains the PH level of your tank and does not disrupt the environment or disturb your fish.

Hence this natural remedy is completely safe and a good option! (especially if you have Koi pond)

It supports denitrifying bacteria and removes ammonia, nitrate, and nitrites from your tank water

but wait till you hear this!

There is no need for a replacement, which makes it a very cost-efficient solution to your water maintenance needs.


  • One of the great factors is it how it does not release any minerals into the water that can create a stressful environment for your fish;
  • it also has a large surface area that supports nitrifying bacteria!


  • You might require an additional mesh bag, that might be needed for you to suspend the bio media in your tank.

9. Cermedia Marine Pure



 Key Facts
  • MarinePure
  • 2 Lbs
  • Main ingredients: Ceramic Balls

This MarinePure high performance bio filter media consist of 1.5-inch ceramic balls that are made with an open core system.

The open core system helps with better water flow an improve surface area.

that means it does allow bacteria to grow and nurture with the help of the ceramic balls

it also removes nitrate an ammonia from your tank water

you will not have to worry about the bio filter media reacting with your water since ceramic balls are made up of inert material

And yes, you guessed it right!

this ceramic ball is compatible with both salt and freshwater tanks.

In fact, you can use them in wet, dry, sump and cannister filters. They fit in perfectly.

Another mind-blowing factor is how:

One marine pure ceramic ball is equal to 1350 plastic bio balls! So, using these is a little bit healthier for the environment as well.


  • One of the most important things is how the marine pure ceramic balls have an innovative technology that allows a much larger surface area than the average bio ball, this helps more bacteria culture in your tank!


  • This is a little bit on the pricey side, but you can decide its worth according to how well it suits your tank.
  • Users have also complained about the ceramic balls being a little fragile, so make sure you store them in a proper place when not in use and avoid any breakage.

10. Marine Land Bio-filter Balls


 Key Facts
  • MarineLand
  • 90 BioBalls/ Box
  • Main ingredients: Bio-filter balls

The marine land canister filter of bio ball packaging comes with 90 reusable bio balls.

Yes, you heard that right! They are reusable

All you have to do is rinse them with the same existing tank water an add it back to your filter!

Try to use condition water and no harsh detergent or soap to clean them.

The marine land canister multifaceted bio balls have a really large surface area!

That allows bio spiral bacteria to grow and thrive in your tank. This bacterium is beneficial for your tank’s nitrogen cycle too!

In addition to this, the marine land viable are compatible with all their MarineLand series canister filters and other types of canister filters available on the market.

It helps you maintain a healthy tank environment for any size or type of water.

You can use this media for any kind of tank since its compatible for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums!


  • Marineland Cannister bio-filter media is pretty cheap and you don’t have to purchase it often!
  • They will last you a long you won’t have to replace or maintain them regularly either.


  • Users have complained that this media might be a little too small to allow easy bacterial growth.
  • In addition to this, it won’t be compatible with all of your filters. If you have a canister filter then you are good to go, but otherwise, you may need to find something else on the market!

11. API Bio-chem Filtration Media



 Key Facts
  • API
  • 20 pieces/pack
  • Main ingredients: Star shaped Pellets

API Bio-chem Filtration media is in the shape of this unique star like pieces.

These pieces create active bacterial colonies due to their large surface area, which due to is 50-70-micron internal pore network.

The amazing part is:

Each box comes with 20 Pieces that can treat up to 100 Gallons of water!

The unique star shape design helps beneficial bacteria thrive in your tank and acts as an ideal substrate for them.

It boosts the growth of nitrifying bacteria that maintain a healthy ecosystem balance.

You can use this media for both your fresh and saltwater tanks since it is fish friendly and compatible with both!

The nitrifying bacteria helps to remove ammonia and nitrates from the tank water.

You can use it for your saltwater, freshwater and reef tanks!


  • The shape ideally supports nitrifying bacteria that helps create a nitrogen cycle and prevents new tank syndrome
  • It is also one of the more affordable options since it will last you long!


  • It might be compatible with some filters only. Make sure you check what you require!

12. Eheim Substrate Pro


 Key Facts
  • Eheim
  • 5 Lbs
  • Main ingredients: Sintered Glass

The Eheim substrate pro consists of these special filtration media that are made with a highly porous material.

They have an unbeatable surface area which amounts to 1800 square feet per gallon.

It works amazingly and allows bacterial colonization in your filter as soon as you start using the media.

Each box contains up to 2 liters of material, that is made up of sintered pearl shaped glass.

But wait until you hear this!

Each box can last you a whopping 3 to 6 months! In fact, the media is made up over reusable, and you can clean it too.

All you have to do is lightly rinse it when there is too much material build up in the filter, and you are good to go!

You can rinse it once every month, which gives you long intervals between each maintenance.

The Eheim substrate pro is compatible with all kinds of Eheim filters on the market.


  • I would definitely label this brand as cost efficient for how long it lasts!
  • It can last up to 6 months, which is a fantastic performance from filter media.


  • Sintered glass does not always suit all tanks!

13. BCQLI Sphere Bio-filter Media


 Key Facts
  • 250g
  • Main ingredients: Yellow Sphere Media

Each bag of these yellow sphere balls contains 250 grams of material. Each ball is 22mm in diameter. It will fit your filter without any problems.

The bigger your tank is, the more dosage you will require as well.

These yellow balls will help prevent your tank water from getting cloudy and dirty. These yellow balls are made up of a porous material.

The material allows water to pass through adequately and gives a larger surface area for nitrifying bacteria.

This bacterium helps purify the water quality, balance the overall PH levels, and decontaminates the water of ammonia and other chemicals.

What more could you ask for!

In fact, these balls are made up of reusable material. They last you long and all you have to do it rinse them from time to time when there is a lot of material build up.


  • These biofilter media are very affordable and do the job very well!
  • They are also reusable, which means they last you long too!


  • One box might not be sufficient for larger tanks. You might need more if you have a big tank at home!

What is Biofilter Media and Do I Need it?

Biofilter media is a method to help clarify your tank water and keep the ecological cycle healthy and balanced.

The filter media comes in many forms. Whether its ceramic rings, carbon pellets, bio balls or foam.

Most of the media is designed to help cultivate bacterial colonize.

Believe it or not!

These healthy bacteria keep your tank clean.

In addition to that, it also filters our visible waste like excess food or fish waste.

Whether you own saltwater, fresh water, or reef tank, biofilter media is an essential component to your tank!

How Does Biofilter Media Work?

Biofilter media comes in a lot of types.

Each type works differently, you might have seen pallets ceramic rings, carbon fillings, and more all of these.

You can add to your media to a sump, canister, dry or wet filter when you add your buyer filter media to the mechanical filter it helps the water to pass through.

When the air flows through the media you have added in the mechanical filter, and it starts to work its magic!

As water passes through, it helps filter out debris and remove visible waste material.

That’s not all!

Other media help colonize beneficial bacteria, and that helps remove ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites from your water.

The mechanical filter also helps provide the oxygen that the bacteria needs to grow, and in return, the bacteria helps clean the tank!

It takes the load of your filter and is an excellent method to keep your water healthy and balanced.

How to Use Biofilter Media?

Biofilter Media is very easy to use and an excellent method to clarify your tank.

All you have to do is place it inside your mechanical filter. Different types of media require different quantities.

That’s pretty simple!

If you have a filter pad, then all you have to do cut it to your filter’s size, and it is ready to clean your water for you.

Most other media, like ceramic rings and pellets, have information on the box.

Try to read what dosage is ideal for your filter.

Most manufacturers mention the kind of dosage you should be adding to your tank and filter type.

You do not want to overload it so an extent that it does not function properly!

However, the ideal rule is that the larger the tank, the more media is required. When there is a lot of build up, you can also clean it from time to time.


There is no ideal amount to how much you should add precisely! It depends on how often your tank gets dirty, depth of the water and kind of fish too!

How to Clean Biofilter Media?

If you are looking to clean and replace your media, then here are some essential tips to keep in mind!

So how do you replace the media? Well, you must be thinking there no rocket science here, you dump out the old one and add the new.

That’s where you might be wrong!

Replacing your entire filter media altogether means that you will also be getting rid of the bacteria culture.

That means that your tank will no longer have nitrifying bacteria that helps lower toxic compounds.

With fresh new media, it might take a lot of time for the nitrogen cycle to kickstart again!

So always make sure you replace your media in halves.

Try replacing a little media off the top instead of complete dumping it and out and adding a new one.

This means there are enough bacteria left that can catch on to the new filter media.

Now, what about cleaning out the older media?

Well, some biofilter media are classified as reusable and just need some gentle cleansing.

If you have bio balls, filter pads or filter foams then rinsing will do the work for you!

Just make sure you don’t use contaminated or chlorinated water that could induce higher stress levels in your tank.

In addition to this, try not to use rough brushes, soaps, and detergents. Media like ceramic balls are made of a light material

They can easily break if you are not gentle with them.

Gently rinsing them under running water will do the job just fine!

Different Types of Media

There are different types of media on the market, and they all perform differently in your tank.

So how can you decide what kind of media category is the best for your tank?

First, let us get to know more about the different kinds of biofilter media.

Mechanical Media

Mechanical media usually consists of ceramic rings, pellets, filter foam, or padding. This media helps your tank water in many ways!

First of all, it allows your tank water to circulate through.

The water passes through them, and the media removes the visible debris that might be floating around.

It is great if you have a problem with uneaten food, fish waste, and other visible waste that you can’t seem to get rid of.

Another great feature;

Mechanical media is chemically inert! Now, what does that mean?

Chemically inert materials don’t react with your water. That means they have no underlying trace elements that will release into your water.

They are made of most natural and safe materials that do not induce any kind of stress in the tank.

Apart from that, it overall does not interfere with your water chemistry and keeps the PH balance intact.

Now mechanical media has certain types too! It can range from large pore material to fine pore material.

So, does pore size matter? Why yes, of course!

The larger the pore size, the heavier particles it will filter out. The finer the particles, the more micro level things it will be able to catch.

So, you can add your media according to the debris you want to manage the most!

You also might need to clean according to pore size. Smaller pores tend to get clogged more often as compared to larger ones.

So, you may have to rinse the media from time to time!

Chemical Media

Another type of media is chemical media! Chemical media consists of activator carbon, resins, or other types of absorbent materials.

The chemical media removes chemicals that cannot be seen in the tank and are dissolved within the water.

They absorb all the dissolved particles and purify the tank of toxic and excess nutrients.

Instead of removing visible particles and debris, it removes chemicals like copper, chlorine that can grow over time in the tank.

In addition to that, they also remove medications and extra proteins.

If you add a little too much of a certain chemical in the water, then add activated carbon and let it sit.

Make sure you keep your fish outside of the tank during this process.

The carbon does a great job at absorbing all the impurities and can help reduce stress levels in your tank.

In addition to that chemical, media can also act as water conditioners! They help dechlorinate tank water, and that is always a plus!

Activate Carbon

While activated carbon does come under chemical media, it is a world of its own!

It has many features that help your tank thrive.

Most activated carbon pellets have small open pores that help remove organic and inorganic material from the tank.

Once those pores get clogged, then you need to replace the carbon fillings.

It works amazing as a water clarifier! Most dechlorinates are made of activated carbon as the main ingredient.

The materials absorbent qualities instantly take away any chemicals and compounds that you wouldn’t otherwise want in the water.

It can also clear murky looking or cloudy water. It removes any kind of discolored and keeps the water crystal clear.

It is a multi-functional media that helps reduce stress in the water!

And we all know!

A stress-free aquarium tank is a healthy tank, especially if you are a fish breeder.

Biological Media

Biological media allows beneficial bacterial colonize to thrive in your tank.

So, what really is beneficial bacteria?

Beneficial bacteria or nitrifying bacteria help reduce toxic levels of ammonia and nitrate in your tank.

Whether it’s pellets or ceramic rings, biological media are usually made up of a porous material

that porous material enlarges the surface area which provides an ideal environment to be a substrate for bacterial growth

bacteria, in turn also removes and breaks down the particles and waste in your tank.

When nitrate and ammonia levels increase in your tank, the bacterial growth utilizes the excess nutrients in order to grow, which is mutually beneficial.

If you are looking to culture bacteria as quickly as possible, then try using gravel from an existing tank. Or add media from an established bio-filter.

But another important thing!

Make sure you don’t use chlorinated water or over scrub your media. Then your biofilter is likely to die out!

It is recommended that you don’t replace biological media as it takes time to culture the bacteria.

Only get rid of the media if it becomes too clouded to function properly.

How to Choose A Biofilter Media for Your Tank?


Now that you are aware of the types of biofilter media available. Take a look at your home filter! Check what kind of media it is compatible with.

Certain media fit well with certain mechanical filters. This is perhaps the only thing you must be sure of before selecting the suitable media.

Kind of Tank Issue

If you are dealing with not having a healthy nitrogen cycle, then go for the media that helps colonize nitrifying bacteria.

If you are dealing with fish waste or food leftovers, then it is recommended that you go for media with larger pores!

The pores will help strain out the waste material.

All this means that look for the media that targets the specific problem you are facing.

This will help you decide between the many options available in the market.

Make sure you always have a proper look at the media and what its meant for.

Related Questions

Why does my biofilter media break?

Make sure you deal with your media gently when cleaning and storing them. Porous materials can break on impact!

How often do I need to replace the filter media?

Only replace your media when it’s clogged and won’t function properly. Otherwise, filter media does not require frequent replacement.

Are all kinds of media compatible with my filter?

No! Make sure you read the media box to see what kinds of filters it is compatible with! Not all media work with all kinds of filters.

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