MEDIA REACTORS - AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO AQUARIUM FILTRATION

Media Reactors - An Innovative Approach to Aquarium Filtration
Updated
When it comes to aquarium filtration there are many options to choose from. One of the newest -- and most efficient -- methods of filtration is the media reactor.
 Filtration is one of the most important elements of keeping an aquarium healthy. If you do not provide adequate filtration, the water quality in your tank could drop severely and it could have devastating effects for your fish. You are probably already aware that low water quality can shorten the lifespan of your fish and make them more prone to contracting disease – so you should be willing to do whatever you can to keep the water quality in your tank high.

The problem with many aquarium filters is that they require a lot of maintenance. For some filters, you have to rinse them out every few weeks and entirely replace the filter media once a month. Not only can this be time-consuming and expensive, but it can also have a negative effect on the cycling of your tank. Beneficial bacteria play an essential role in maintaining the nitrogen cycle of your tank – helping to break down waste products, converting harmful substances like ammonia and nitrites into less harmful substances called nitrates. These bacteria live primarily in the substrate of your tank but filter media is the next place where they are most heavily concentrated. By rinsing out your filter and replacing the filter media, you could be decimating your tank’s population of beneficial bacteria. Luckily, a new type of filter is available which reduces this problem – the media reactor.

What is a Media Reactor?

Also called a phosphate reactor, a media reactor is an advanced method of chemical filtration used in saltwater and freshwater aquariums. These devices look very different from traditional aquarium filters – they have a tube-like design with an input and output valve located at the top of the device. The tube itself can be filled with the filter media of your choice and then submerged inside the aquarium. These devices typically utilize the up-flow principle in order to fluidize chemical filtration media thereby increasing its efficacy. The water is evenly distributed throughout the reactor, thus increasing surface area contact with the filter media. These units are available in multiple sizes ranging from a mini size for nano tanks to larger devices.

Types of Filter Media

There are several choices of filter media depending on the type of reactor you choose. One of the most popular types of reactor is the PhosBan reactor – this device helps to absorb and remove phosphates and other pollutants from the aquarium. High phosphate levels in the aquarium have been linked to a number of problems including nuisance algae growth – installing one of these devices in your tank has been identified as one of the most effective prevention methods for problem algae. This type of reactor gets its name from the PhosBan filter media which is designed to bind to large amounts of phosphate, removing it from tank water – this filter media is effective for both saltwater and freshwater tanks and it can last for several months.

Some of the other types of popular filter media for aquarium reactors include bio pellets, GFO and carbon. Bio pellets are exactly what they sound like – tiny pellets that can be used as filter media in a media reactor. These pellets are designed to improve water quality by enhancing the nitrification process, removing nitrate and phosphates from tank water. Bio pellets are typically recommended for use in saltwater and reef tanks to combat problem algae.

The acronym GFO stands for granular ferric oxide filter media and it is used to remove phosphates and silicates from all types of aquarium. This type of filter media has the largest absorption rates for phosphates ad it doesn’t tend to leech back into the water like some filter media. In the freshwater tank, GFO media has been shown to greatly reduce problems with nuisance algae. In saltwater tanks, it performs this function while also reducing the growth of hard corals. Some other notable benefits of GFO media is that it won’t alter the pH in your tank, it has a high binding capacity and it doesn’t take up much room in the media reactor.

The third type of popular filter media for media reactor is carbon or, more specifically, activated carbon. Activated carbon is one of the most highly used types of filter media in a variety of aquarium filters. It is designed specifically for the purification of aquarium water, filtering out toxins and other dissolved wastes in the tank water. Carbon comes in a variety of sizes and porosity levels and it generally has a high absorption capacity. You generally only need about ¼ to ½ cup of activated carbon granules per 40 gallons of tank water.

If you are tired to replacing your filter media every few weeks – or if you are simply looking for a more efficient option in aquarium filtration, consider a media reactor. 
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