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What Is Filter Floss: Complete Aquarium Filter Floss Guide

Countess people have had aquariums for many years, but most have absolutely no idea what filter floss is. If you are one of them, what you need right now is an aquarium filter floss guide to tell you what it is, how to use it, its advantages and drawbacks, and everything else relevant.

Filter floss is essential but not as common as one would expect. Many professional aquarists around the world don’t know much about filter floss either. Since you won’t find many people talking about it, finding accurate and valuable information about it can sometimes be tricky. And that’s why you need an aquarium filter floss guide!

This guide will tell you:

  • What aquarium filter floss is
  • How you can use it in your tank
  • Why you should use it in the first place
  • Some disadvantages of the floss that you should look out for and
  • How often you should change the filter floss, hence, it has everything you need to know!
Aquarium filter floss guide

What Is Aquarium Filter Floss?

Filter floss is a padding material used inside aquariums and fish tanks. Its primary function is to filter and catch debris or waste material inside the aquarium and practically separate it from the water.

For example, when you add food to the tank, the fish create feces. That, along with dirt and particles from the tank walls and algae, mixes with the water. So even though you do a great job at cleaning the tank regularly, you will still notice that, over time, the water becomes cloudy or does not seem clean and crystal clear anymore.

That’s because some particles of these materials are still moving around the water. And that’s why you need filter floss inside your tank.

As the water moves around the floss, this mechanical filter takes hold of all the significant particles in the water so that when it crosses the other side of it it comes out clean. You will notice that the water becomes significantly clearer and cleaner because all the dirt and unwanted particles are now removed.

The design and structure of aquarium filter floss are minimalistic, straightforward, and simple, yet they are efficient and effective. One side of the floss is sturdy so that when the water flows through it. it does not bend. At the same time, the media is flexible enough to be cut and used in various types of filters.

The flexibility of the filter floss ensures that it is compatible with every fish tank and aquarium out there. So, if you want to use it in your aquarium, you don’t have to worry about whether it will fit because it will!

The Benefits Of Aquarium Filter Floss

A lot of aquarium owners are often confused about whether they should invest in filter floss. If you too are confused, knowing the benefits it offers will help you make the decision. So, here are the most significant advantages of the material and why you should put it in your tank in the first place:

It’s efficient and effective

The first and foremost benefit of using filter floss in your tank is that it is one of the best mechanical filters out there. The filter has two sides: one is ideal for getting smaller particles, while the other is more efficient at capturing the larger particles.

By working in unison, the two sides of the filter floss separate pretty much all the unwanted and unnecessary pollutants and particles in the water. As a result, the floss makes the tank water clearer in merely 2 to 4 days.

It’s cheap

Depending on how much filter floss you want to invest in, you can buy the material in smaller portions at more budget-friendly rates or invest in bulk so that you don’t have to spend money on it repeatedly.

Either way, aquarium filter floss is an economical way of keeping your aquarium clean and maintaining the quality and clearance of water. In addition, it is much less expensive and more accessible than other types of filters in the market.

It’s easy to install

Since it is flexible, installing filter floss in your aquarium is not that hard. (We will get to the process in just a few seconds.) Compared to other filters that require more maintenance and professional help to install in the tank, filter floss is a straightforward and user-friendly way of keeping the tank water clean.

It’s easy to dispose

Just as it is easy to install, it is also effortless to get rid of. All you have to do is put it inside the tank, wait for it to clean the water, and then dispose of it to be replaced by another piece of filter floss. The process is as simple as that! You don’t have to go through the annoyance and hassle of cleaning it, just take it out and dispose of it!

Reduces build-up

When fish tank owners don’t pause their filters while feeding the fish or turn them on soon after feeding time, the back chambers can quickly get very dirty and gather build-up. Using filter floss has shown a significant reduction in the accumulation and keeps back chambers clean for longer.

It gives rest to other filter media

Many people find it extraordinarily helpful that, since the filter does all the work, they don’t have to clean the other filters as regularly. Simply rinsing the filter media a few times every year is enough for them, which is significantly less stressful than it is without the floss.

Also, as a result of filter floss doing most of the hectic work these filters last significantly longer, and you can get your money’s worth! This way, you will also not have to worry about replacing the filter often since they will last quite a long time.

Disadvantages Of Aquarium Filter Floss
Disadvantages Of Aquarium Filter Floss

The Disadvantages Of Aquarium Filter Floss

Just like everything else on the planet, even filter floss has some downsides to it. Even though they are not many compared to the advantages, you still need to have the proper knowledge to make the right decision.

Nitrate levels increase

The biggest argument of people, who do not support filter floss in tanks and aquariums, is that it increases nitrate levels in the water. The logic behind this statement is that since the floss grabs a lot of debris and waste, it is highly likely to start generating nitrate and affect the marine life in your aquarium.

Even though the concern is valid, some arguments defy this disadvantage and consider it unimportant. According to other specialists, every aquarium will have increased amounts of nitrates over time, whether you add filter floss or not.

The difference that the floss makes is that it gathers all of the debris, and hence the nitrate, in one particular area, whereas if the floss was not present in the aquarium, it would be spread out across the whole tank.

In addition, by having the mechanical filter in the aquarium, you are getting rid of the nitrate when you replace the floss. Thus, you are maintaining the nitrate levels much better with the floss.

Some people find it expensive

While some people think that buying the floss in bulk will save them money over the long run. many people think otherwise. According to them, since you have to replace the floss regularly, it becomes more expensive over time. This disadvantage, however, varies among people and depends on where you get the floss from and how large of a piece you use regularly.

Adding Aquarium Filter Floss To Your Tank

If you have finally decided to use filter floss in your aquarium but are intimidated by using something new because it is one of the easiest things to install.

Start by measuring the dimensions of the filter that you already have. Pay particular attention to the width and length of the area where you want to add the floss.

Since the floss is pretty flexible, you can cut it up in different shapes and sizes as needed. You can use regular box cutters or scissors for it.

Ensure that the blades or scissors that you are using are clean. If you cut the floss with dirty or contaminated scissors and put it in the water, you will accidentally but surely introduce toxins, chemicals, or unwanted pollutants into the tank. Doing this will undoubtedly have its consequences, particularly reduction of the quality of the water and damage to your marine life.

Also, make sure you don’t leave out loose bits from the floss when you cut it. Otherwise, they would separate from the filter and float around in the water, and that’s not pretty!

Using Aquarium Filter Floss
Using Aquarium Filter Floss

Should You Use Filter Floss?

Despite all the advantages and benefits, the idea of using filter floss in water tanks and aquariums is not as popular as one would assume. Most people don’t talk about it and stick to the conventional types of filter media.

This lack of popularity is because the idea is somewhat controversial, even though many people, experts included, advocate for its use. Some people are not on board with the concept. However, as per the facts, scientific studies, and word of experts, the pros of using filter floss outweigh the cons.

As a consensus, it is evident that you should use filter floss in your tanks to keep the water clean and clear. But. depending on what you believe and which side you are on. you can decide whether you want to introduce filter floss to your aquarium.

How Often Should You Replace Filter Floss

As mentioned earlier, you must replace filter floss regularly. The two most significant reasons for this are:

  • Not replacing the floss will result in accumulation and build-up of nitrate, which will damage the water quality and your fish and marine life.
  • After a particular time, the floss will be full of debris and waste materials. As a result, its capacity to clean the water any further will decrease, and it will become useless. The water will start becoming cloudy and the debris stuck in the floss will rot.

Now that it’s clear how important it is to replace filter floss regularly, you should know how often to replace it. Most sources on the internet advise replacing the floss every couple of days. As hygienic as it may sound, it’s not practical, replacing the floss so often will eventually become expensive and also starve the tank.

If you have a larger tank with only a few fish in it, you probably don’t need to replace the floss so often because it won’t get dirty very quickly. At the same time, the opposite rule works for a smaller tank with several different species in it.

The water will get dirty quickly, the floss will accumulate more debris and need replacement much more often. Hence, you must replace the floss depending on your aquarium’s size, maturity, and population.

So, how would you know if it is time to replace the floss? When you introduce the floss to your tank for the first time, replace it every couple of days and make it a routine for about one to three weeks.

Notice how dirty the floss is every time you go to replace it. If it gets dirty enough to be replaced, keep the same routine going. However, if you notice that the floss does not get too dirty in this time frame, and you can use it for a few more days, elongate the replacement period to 3 to 5 days.

Also, when you increase the replacement time, check the nitrate and phosphate levels of the tank and monitor them to make sure everything is alright. If the nutrient levels rise throughout the testing period, the floss is dirty and should be replaced.

In such a case, you can now go back to replace it every two to three days. If the nutrient levels are steady but then drop, you can increase the replacement time to 5 days. Keep the monitoring going for at least four to six weeks. When you notice that the nutrients start to rise, that’s your signal to replace the floss.

Aquarium Filter Media

Filter media in an aquarium is used to change the water quality in the tank for the benefit of the plants and animals in the aquarium. Aquarium filter media can be classified into three types of filtration media, including biological filtration, chemical filtration, and mechanical filtration.

Regardless of the types of biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration being used, mechanical filtration is always first, followed by biological filtration and chemical filtration. Mechanical filtration can be further broken down into coarse and fine filtration, with coarse filtration occurring prior to fine filtration.

Biological filtration rids the filtrate of bacteria living in the unfiltered water, while chemical filtration removes chemical impurities from the water being filtered.

Carbon can also be utilized as a form of supplemental chemical filtration to remove odors and additional chemicals from the filtrate, although carbon filtration may subsequently remove beneficial substances, such as micronutrients, from the filtrate, which may not be desirable.

It is important to change the filter media in the aquarium regularly, typically every three weeks to one month, as the residue in the filter media will cause the filter media to not perform optimally, and thus threaten the well-being of the plants and animals contained in the aquarium.

The Different Types Of Media For Fish Tanks

Apart from filter floss, several other types of filter media are available for aquariums and fish tanks. You can choose one depending on your budget and personal preferences.

Media / Filter Bags

Some media are very fine and cannot be put into aquariums right away. Instead, they need to be enclosed in particular filter bags first and then put inside aquariums and tanks. Choose media bags that are durable and have thick drawstrings so that you can tie or untie them quickly without any difficulty.

Biological Medias

Sometimes also referred to as a Biomedia, biological media are specifically ideal for nitrifying bacteria. They provide an adequate physical surface to let the bacteria grow. Most submerged bio-media have a ceramic structure with plenty of pores and channels so that the surface area increases and makes perfect space for bacterial growth.

You will find plenty of types and versions of these bio media on the market, but only some of them do their job well. So, make sure you do your research before you purchase one.

Chemical Medias

As the name depicts, chemical media involves using chemicals to clean the aquarium. Carbon is the chemical media of choice almost every time since it removes unwanted chemicals, medications, discoloration, and odors from the tank water.

However, the disadvantage of this filter media is that it also removes positive things from the tank, like micronutrients and essential elements, which would have been beneficial. Carbon filter media for water tanks and aquariums are accessible and readily available everywhere, but getting the best ones is important. It is also essential to maintain these media and replace them every month.

Mechanical Medias

Last but not least is mechanical media. Filter floss is also a type of mechanical media, and there are several other variations out there as well. These are the simplest forms of filter media and one of the most effective ones. They collect all the particulate waste and debris from the water and hold them until you remove them from the tank.

However, replacing, cleaning, and maintaining mechanical media is extremely important because if you don’t take care of them, they sit in the water and rot. They eventually disturb the water’s quality and do more damage than good. Apart from filter floss, filter pads are also an effective type of mechanical aquarium filter.

In Conclusion

Aquarium filter floss is an excellent option to choose for your tanks, there is no doubt about that! But ironically, you won’t see many people discussing it, so the topic lacks awareness and popularity. This aquarium filter floss guide answers every possible question that you might have and ensures that you have proper knowledge before you go out to buy it.

If you have any questions that remain unanswered, don’t hesitate to put them in the comments.

About Rencel Leyran