8 Best Bio Media for Canister Filter in 2021 – Guide and Review

Finding the best bio media for canister filter can be a challenge. There are many models on the market to choose from which can be pretty confusing. As an aquarium owner, you know that biological filtration is important because it reduces the levels of nitrates and ammonia in the water. Additionally, having the right bio-media gives room for right bacteria to grow and they prevent waste chemicals from affecting your fish.

To help you get the right product, we have discussed biological media that are so critical if you need to have a proper canister filter. Most of them are made from natural material and artificial ingredients. The natural attribute makes it safe to use in the aquarium water. For more information, consider the eight reviewed products.

When it comes to Bio media for a canister filter, Matrix is the best choice that you can make. Unlike other biological media, the Matrix doesn’t need to be replaced, thus suitable for a canister filter. On top of that, they are so affordable, and less maintenance is required. Its highly porous nature gives the bio media an additional advantage from the rest of bio medial. The porous is essential for ensuring effective and efficient bio-filtration. The biofiltration is ideal for the removal of ammonia and nitrate.

What I like

The natural attribute of bio-media makes it’s the best choice for canister filter systems. It’s a chemically inserted bio-media that it’s crucial for encouraging the growth of filtration in the aquarium. The best thing about bio-media is that it has no side effect on the aquatic animal, unlike other traditional bio-media. The natural nature of the bio-media does not affect the ph of the system. Also, it’s able to retain the required water quality, which is not the case with other biological media.

What I don’t like

It’s so disappointing that the size, density, shape, and coloration of the Matrix slightly vary between the packages. The slight difference is brought up by the fact that it’s an organic bio-media. The variation of the bio-media is perfectly natural and has no side effect on the integrity of the product.

The best thing with this bio-media is that it’s very reliable and suits most of the aquarium’s canister filter system. One liter of the Matrix bio-media provides around 160000 cm2 of surface, which is worth over 40 liters (10 gallons). The Matrix is sold in volume, while the cited weight is usually the average.

  • It's a naturally mined bio-media for a canister filter
  • Matrix doesn’t alter the Ph level of the system
  • It's capable of retaining the water quality
  • The Matrix doesn't need replacement
  • Suitable for supporting denitrifying bacteria
  • It’s a bit expensive due to its natural attribute
  • The size, density, the shape will vary between packages

EHEIM substrate is the best choice you can make if you need a quality bio-media. Unlike the ordinary natural Media, EHEIM substrate features a highly porous artificial glass construction. It provides plenty of surface area of about 1800 sq per gallon, which is adequate for an aquarium tank. The biological media can last for an extended period without replacing. EHEIM substrate pro-bio-media can last for 3 to 6 months without been replaced.  Due to its artificial nature, it provides a long interval of maintenance, which is not the case with traditional biological media

What I like

The unbeatable surface area created by the EHEIM substract is additional proof of the bio media. Also, the ability of the artificial biological media to be rinsed with aquarium water it’s a great feature. The rinsing process can be done after a period of 1 to 3 months, and the bio-media works effectively. This biological media is useful for all EHEIM filters and other filters in the market. It’s excellent for Ecco, pr 3, pro 3e, and classic filters.

What I don’t like

Despite the fact the bio-media can be easily rinsed with aquarium water, it requires to be replaced after several months. For effective and efficient filtration, the EHEIM substrate needs to be replaced every 3 to 6 months. Also, the EHEIM bio-media lacks the natural attribute; thus, it may no correctly function well.

Its highly porous attribute of the bio media makes the filtration process more effective.  The open structure of the artificial bio-media is essential for enhancing water penetration, thus allowing excellent bacteria colonization. EHEIM substate is an idea for all canister filter systems and helps to create a highly conducive environment for the growth of the aerobic bacteria.

  • It's suitable for all EHEIM filters
  • EHEIM allows longer interval of maintenance
  • Its artificial nature makes the bio media easy to rinse with aquarium water
  • Provides adequate surface area structure
  • Features an artificial sintered glass nature
  • Requires regular replacement after 3 to 6 months
  • It’s expensive to replace the bio-media

The Fluval filter is made of high-quality material to ensure that it has no side effects on the aquarium water. In addition, it doesn’t alter the PH of the aquarium system, which is familiar with most of the bio media. 

The Fluval bio max media features a complex pore system to allow optimal conditions where the beneficial bacteria can survive.  The beneficial bacteria are so crucial when it comes to purification and filtration of the aquarium water.

What I like

Unlike other biological media, the Fluval BIoMax is suitable for both marine and freshwater. The Fluval biological media helps to remove all toxic ammonia and nitrate.  It’s capable of extracting most of the dyes and liquefied impurities available in the aquarium water. The fact that the bio media is phosphate-free, it doesn’t affect the PH of the aquarium water. 

Fluval BioMax can remove odor and other impurities, making it easy to maintain while creating crystal clear aquarium water. Last but not least, the thick micro-fine polyester pads are ideal for capturing micro materials and debris present in the water.

What I don’t like

Although the bio media doesn’t alter the water PH, its artificial attribute hurts the system. On top of that, the Fluval BioMax biological media only suits the Fluval HOB filters.

When it comes to its capacity and performance, we can’t afford to negotiate on that. Fluval BioMax biological media features more capacity as compared to the traditional bio media. The high position provides an intellect water flow throughout the media. The Fluval provides optimum contact time with the filter to enhance effective and efficient bio-filtration.

  • Provides optimal biological filtration
  • Capable of absorbing micro debris and particles
  • It has no change to the water PH
  • Essential for creating an optimal condition for the growth of beneficial bacteria
  • Features a filter foam block that is intellect for mechanical filtration
  • You require a lot of the Bio media to fill one filter system
  • It’s a bit artificial thus requires frequent maintenance

CNZ is one of the world-class companies and well known for making quality products. Therefore, this been one of its products; you are 100% guaranteed for its high-quality. The bio media comes with a free superior carrying bag for secure handling. on top of that, the bio media is lightweight, thus easy to carry and fill to the HOB filter system. 

Bio-sponge nature inside is essential for creating an extensive surface area.  The large surface area is ideal for the growth of beneficial bacteria. The beneficial Bio-Spira bacteria are intellect when it comes to aquarium water filtration. It’s excellent for the removal of toxic ammonia and nitrate from the aquarium water.

What I like

This is a high-quality and durable bio-media that can last for a long time. Bio media balls do not need to be replaced, which is not the case with the ordinary bio media. The only time you may need to replace the balls it’s when they are damaged or destroyed. Also, its high diameter of the ball of 1inch makes the bio media ideal for most canister filters. Lastly, the ability of the bio balls to trap all microparticle it’s a fantastic feature.

What I don’t like

The balls are so small despite that they suit most of the canister filters.  The bio media are so tinny that they may not suit a large aquarium of more than 50 gallons. So, if you need a bio media for large gallons, then it’s recommended you get a large bio ball. The ceramic rings are better to use in a large aquarium, but it’s cumbersome and expensive.

The diameter of the Biological media ball is approximately 26mm (1inch), which is the recommended size for a bio media ball. Besides its perfect size, a single package includes 2 *50pcs bio-ball. It’s useful as a biological media in the filter like the fish tank, aquarium, and pond filter fish. These bio media can improve air circulation while removing harmful gases from the aquarium water.

  • Includes a media bag that makes it easy to handle
  • The bio-balls are so of high quality and don't need replacement
  • The bio sponge located inside are essential for providing ample surface area
  • Beneficial bio-Spira bacteria is necessary for the removal of toxic chemicals
  • Suitable for most of canister filter systems
  • The bio-balls are so tinny thus not ideal for large gallons
  • They require a lot of water to rinse them before re-using them.

Here comes another significant and fantastic bio-media that is of high-quality. Unlike most of the biological Media, the Biohome ultimate filter media is ideal for HOB filters, sump filters, and canisters. This is among the few high quality and best filter Media in the current market.  Despite that the bio media it’s not pure natural, it has no side effect to the filter system. 

On top of that, the bio media is safe and can’t alter the PH of the water and also the water characteristics. When it comes to the level of filtrations, we can’t afford to negotiate on that. The Biohome ultimate filter media is capable of promoting flat and clear water, thus ensuring healthy and quality aquarium water.

What I like

The bio media filter encourages both the denitrifying (anaerobic) and nitrifying (aerobic) bacteria growth. Also, its unique structure allows plenty of air to circulate to the system. The bio media is suitable for both freshwater and marine water as it’s made from industrial grade material. Its high construction material gives the bio media a long life span as compared to similar models.

What I don’t like

Bihome ultra media features a liberal media which could not be ideal for small gallons. Also, the biological press it’s not intellect for HOB and canisters with high water flow.  The broad nature of the bio media it’s the main create minimum contact time that may result in improper filtration.

The ability of the bio media to ensure clean and clear water for aquatic animals has made the bio media to be ranked as the best biological media. The bio media is essential for the growth of beneficial bacteria.  Beneficial bacteria are necessary for the removal of toxic ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite. Apart from supporting beneficial bacteria, it’s also ideal for supporting anaerobic bacteria and aerobic.

  • Its allows the growth of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria
  • Bihome is of high quality and long-lasting bio media
  • It's ideal for the marine and freshwater
  • The bio media is suitable for canisters, HOB, aquarium sumps
  • It's also high in supporting beneficial bacterial growth
  • Provides an excellent control of nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia
  • The bio-balls are too large thus not perfect for a small gallon
  • It requires a slow flow rate

When it comes to purchasing, biological media for canister, MarineLnad black diamond, it’s the best choice. This been a product of Marineland; you should purchase with a lot of confidence in its quality. On top of that, the Marineland black diamond has no side effect on the water characteristics. It can’t alter the water PH as it has no harmful ingredients. On top of that, it promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria. The beneficial bacteria are ideal when it comes to the filtration process.

What I like

Unlike most of the biological media, MarineLand is dust-free bio media. This fantastic attribute helps to improve the filtration and purification process of the system. Nevertheless, the bio media is intellect in ensuring all the debris and floating particles are fully captured.

What I don’t like

Despite that the bio media is of high quality and no harmful product, it’s so expensive. The biological media is more costly as compared to its competitors in the market. Due to its organic nature, the MarineLand it’s not ideal for large aquarium sites or HOB filters.

The anaerobic and beneficial bacterium works together to remove all toxic substances. Also, it can minimize the presence of odor and other pollutant substances. The best thing with biological media is that it’s suitable for canisters, HOB, and other filter systems. Activated premium carbon present is ideal for the reduction of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

  • Suitable for both fresh and saltwater
  • Ideal for promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria
  • Cant alter the aquarium water characteristics
  • It has no side effect to the water PH
  • Its intellect for all canister and other filters
  • It more expensive
  • MarineLand it's not a long-lasting bio media

Here comes another excellent and high-quality biological media for the canister filter. One of the uncommon features of the bio media it’s the shape. The spherical design of the bio media gives the product an additional advantage. To the fish lovers, this is the best bio media that you can find in the market. 

First of all, the bio media is 99% dust-free, thus suits most of the filter systems. On top of been dust-free, it’s a ton flaking media, which is not a common feature among the regular biological Media.  With this kind of bio media, you are assured of getting healthy and crystal clear aquarium water.

What I like

They contain negative ions, which are essential in the production of biochemical reactions. A biochemical reaction is necessary to alleviate inactivity and boasting energy, which results in brighter, more significant, and improved breeding.

What I don’t like

The fact that the bio media it’s a meticulously crafted and machined they are a slight variation from the product cycle to another. Some of the minor changes are in terms of shape, size, and color. The differences result from the natural habit of the material used.

This is a new revolutionary exceptional ceramic aquarium Biological media product. On top of being safe, the bio media features aquatic’s hobbyists and enthusiasts.  The bio media offers superior durability as compared to the regular models in the current market. The circular design allows plenty of water and air to penetrate easily.  Bright-water bio-media is suitable to use in marine and freshwater.

  • Designed from a natural material
  • Promotes removal of toxic ammonia and nitrate
  • Suitable for both marine and freshwater
  • They are now flaking and dust-free
  • They are essential in improving and increasing appetite activities
  • They are a slight variation in term of color, size and shape from one product to another
  • One package contains a few amounts of bio media

This is a fantastic and high-quality bio media for canister filter in the market. The product is so cheap as compared to the total services it provides.  On top of being reasonable, it’s capable of removing the tinny debris and other floating material in the aquarium water. It offers a highly efficient methodology of reducing fish waste and oil. The bio media is suitable for aquatic of 30*36icnhes.

What I like

The ability of the bio media to offer a highly efficient methodology of removing impurities gives the product an additional benefit. Unlike other Media, the pure Flo filter is essential for capturing small debris and other pollutants floating on the water.

What I don’t like

Although the pure Flo Filter pad is economical, it’s not ideal for large filters. Also, the bio media is intellect for aquatic of 30*36inch, thus not suitable for most of the aquarium sites.

Pure Flo filter pad is ideal for a canister filter and another small filter. Besides that, the product offers a large surface area for the growth of beneficial bacteria that is necessary for the filtration process. Beneficial bacteria help in the reduction of harmful chemicals. Activated carbon present in the biological media assists in the removal of toxic ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. 

  • Pure Flo Filter is cheap
  • Offers a highly efficient method in the reduction of impurities
  • Suitable for most of the canister filters
  • They are dust-free and no flaking
  • It requires replacement after a certain period
  • It’s not intellect for large gallons

Things to Consider

What makes up a good bio media for canister filter? What are some of the things that you should consider when buying the right bio media? Check out these tips to guide you as you purchase.

Type of material 

We have different kinds of materials that are commonly used in biological filtration. The common ones are gravel, bio stars, bio balls, pads, rings, and sponge. Although most of them are used in mechanical media, there are also useful in the bio media. All of them have different features and levels of functionality.

The ceramic, pad, and the bio balls are the best. In addition to that, they are easy to replace in case you are damaged or broken. Therefore, while purchasing the bio media, ensure you put into consideration the type of material used. They also vary in terms of cost and maintenance.


No need to purchase an expensive bio product that is not worth its money. We have some cheap but quality biological media in the market that you can get for your canister filter. However, expensive products are usually considered as quality ones. Nevertheless, you need to be keen while choosing the type of bio media to use. 

Nature of the bio media

Different biological media comes in several designs are appearance. The color, shape, and size of the bio media matter a lot. Most of the small size bio-balls are not suitable for the large gallons and vice versa. Also, the shape of the bio media it’s very important. The circular, spherical, or oval bio media are said to be the best shapes for bio media for canister filters. 

The maintenance cost

Even though most of the big media don’t necessarily need to be replaced, we have several of them that need to be replaced. Therefore consider getting a biological media that will offer a low maintenance cost. An excellent and high-quality bio media should last for more than two years without replacement.

Surface area 

The surface area offered by the bio media determines the growth rate of the bacteria. Different bio-media offers a different type of bacteria. The common ones are beneficial, anaerobic, and aerobic bacterial. These are crucial bacteria as they help in the removal of toxic chemicals and harmful substances. The shape and nature of the bio media will determine the surface area the bio-media can offer.

How often should I replace bio-media?

There is no stipulated duration that a bio media requires to be replaced. The reason remains that different brands are available in the market. Most of the natural biological media don’t need replacement unnecessary; they get damaged or destroyed. Nevertheless, we have some bio-media that requires replacement after a certain period. The best thing is that the replacement it’s done irregularly.

If the bio-media provides the recommended surface area for the growth of beneficial bacteria, then no need for replacement. However, most of the ceramic media requires a replacement of three to four years. But when it comes to bio media, they rarely need replacement. 

While purchasing any bio media for canister, ensure that you get the best high-quality to avoid the cost of replacement. The reason is that we have some fake and shoddy quality bio-media that are entirely artificial and require regular replacement. 

How to Setup Bio Media in the Filter?

Bio media (biological media) is placed after the mechanical press but should be placed before placing the chemical media. The automatic media is the one that is placed in the first position. This helps the filter to receive the raw water first before penetrating the rest of the filtration media. The mechanical media is useful in the removal of large particles from the aquarium water. Mechanical media helps to reduce clogging in the other filtration stages. 

The bio media it’s supposed to be free from clogging as it performs the right substrate for colonization of the beneficial bacteria. Once the bio media is clogged, it means not proper oxygen penetration. Lack of oxygen may cause death to the bacteria. Beneficial bacteria are so necessary when it comes to the filtration process. They are essential in the removal of harmful substances and toxic ammonia and nitrate.

Biological filtration media are used like condominiums for bacteria growth and functionality. The conventional media are sponges, pads, bio stars, sand, rings, bio ball, and gravel.  But most of the materials used are commonly used in mechanical media.

If it’s your first tank, then you are lucky than the others. Cycling takes at a minimum of 30 days and can last for up to three months for the nitrogen cycle to entirely balance out the filter. 

Fortunately, we have several ways to speed the process. The common one is through seeding the bio-filter media with a live bacterium. We usually have two ways to go on.

  • First, you can throw a medium scoop of sand or gravel or any other material.
  • Add the pad or gravel to the biological media you had decided to use in the filtration.
  • The other way is through adding some existing live media from another live fish tank
  • Once you add the material, it speeds up the process quite a bit, shortening the duration of time your water column is chemically stable
  • This doesn’t mean you fill the tank immediately; you will need to monitor nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels
  • Increase the number of fish gradually


In case you lack an existing biological media filter, you can freely search for products that will seed the bacteria up and speed the cycle. We have several products that do well, like Seachem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which is the best bio media canister? 

A: We have several types of bio media that work well with the canister. However, we have the best ranked biological media in the market. Matrix is among the best kind of bio media that you can aim to get. We have other great brands that are so great in terms of providing large surface areas for beneficial bacteria growth. 

Q: How long can a bio media last before been replaced? 

A: They are no stipulated time how long a bio media can last before been replaced. However, most of the natural and several artificial bio-media don’t require replacement. However, quality biological media can last up to three years without replacement.

Q: Which are the standard filter media?

A: First of all, anything that you place in the canister to alter the quality of the water is known as filter media. The standard filter media are mechanical media, which is responsible for the removal of large as well as small debris and another pollutant.

The second one is the biological filter, and the last one is the chemical media.

Q: Is a media filter necessary in the filter system?

A: Yes, it’s essential to have all the filter media in your canister for proper filtration. Media filter is so important in the removal of toxic substances like chemical, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

Final Verdict

Getting the right product in the current market, it’s a bit tricky. However, the review has provided all that is necessary to ensure that you get the right bio media for a canister filter. The bio media are of high quality and feature natural or artificial material. The nature of the bio media makes them aquarium water friendly. They have no side effects on the water PH and characteristic. They are also essential in the removal of harmful and toxic substances. For superior canister filter, get any of the above products.

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