Aquarium Filter Pad DIY
What all of us aquarium Hobbyists have in common is we want crystal clear water. When you walk up to a fish tank a lot of times the water appears to be very clear, then you go down and look at the end of a fish tank long ways and you see particles and it may not look as clear; it’s just a bit cloudy. What removes this is called mechanical filtration. It could be a filter pad, filter floss, a sponge or filter socks.
When I had a large aquarium store as well as an aquarium service division we serviced fresh water, salt water, and reef aquariums. Our customers expected those tanks to be crystal clear. Over the 25 years I had my aquarium store we went through all kinds of filter pads, we tested everything we could get our hands on to see which ones would work the best to give us the best results, and we found some that were too flimsy, some that the dye came off into the water, nothing that was the perfect filter pad.
After I left my aquarium store I started designing one. I went back and forth testing, went to some factories, and finally developed the ultimate pad called our premium dual density filter pad. What makes this one so special is it has dual layers to it. It has a top layer which is an open weave to trap large and medium sized particles and then we created a dense network of fibers down at the bottom and this traps fine particles. So as water flows through the top layer of the filter pad, plant leaves and uneaten fish food gets trapped in this side. The smaller particles are trapped in the dense bottom layer of the filter pad to ensure pure water.
If we turned the pad upside down and run the water through the bottom layer first what would happen is because the filter pad is so fine, it will trap large medium and fine particles the filter pad would clog up very rapidly.
So, when we developed this system it worked very well. This filter pad is very durable you can rinse it several times and reuse it or you can replace it. It is available in a six-foot, twelve foot, twenty-four foot size or even eighteen inches long for the wider filtration systems. The premium dual density filter pad will work in wet dry filters, sumps to, bio ball filters, canister filters and hang on the back filtration.
We have designed these filter pads where they are easy to cut; you can take a pair of scissors and cut it to fit a canister filter. First you cut the template out of cardboard then cut the material to the right size You can save your template in your re-closable plastic Ziploc bag and make as many as you would like.
As we talked about, water will flow through the open side of the filter pad to trap larger debris and then through the tighter network. If we are having a party or we really want to get those particles out, we can get a polishing pad. The polishing pad comes in different sizes or different micron ratings. We have a 50 micron and a 100-micron rating. The 50 micron is a much tighter pore size meaning it will clog up faster. Now how this works is the water will flow through the filter pad, the open side first and then into our tight network and then it is going to go into our polishing pad. So, the water will flow right through the open side of the filter pad then through the dense layer and then through the polishing pad.
Again, if the water flows through our polishing pad first it’s going to clog up very quickly. The polishing pad has a soft side and a rough side sometimes the polishing pads will have a soft side and a soft side. The reason for the rough side is for fiber migration it will keep the pad from pilling up or getting rough. Generally, the smooth side will be on the top. So again, you can cut it to the size you need for your filter. The water will flow through the very big side first the very fluffy wide space side and then it will go through the fine network.
Now I love my dual density filter pad, but this doesn’t work for everybody it probably works for 90 to 95 percent of aquariums out there. The reason why is because some people keep large fish or lots of fish and they feed their fish very heavily.
This filter pad can clog up fairly rapidly in about a week or so. One of the keys is you do want to change this filter or at least rinse it pretty often if you to keep your water quality up, but people don’t have time to rinse as much as they could or they have a lot of large fish that eat a live of food so they do not really want this really tight weave they want more of an open weave.
This is our classic line. It does have a blue dye and a white background; however, this is not a dual density even though it has two different colors.
You see filters that are colored pink, orange, red, or green, it doesn’t mean they are dual density it means they have been dyed to make it look pretty. In this case it does not matter if the water flows through the top or the bottom, the filter pad will still trap larger debris, but it will not trap the fine debris like the premium dual density filter pad. When I had my aquarium store we would see colored dye come off in the water. This means it was using our carbon up, the carbon was being used to suck the dye out of the water and we did not want the carbon to do that. So, we did the research on it and found out that the glue they were using was a poly vinyl acetate which is water resistant but not water proof. It’s like using wood glue. What we did is we figured out how to use an actual water proof glue to mix our blue dye with so when you are using it its not going to turn back to white again, you’re not going to be feeding your carbon or if you are not using carbon your water is not going to turn a different color.
For people who want to have parties or want to have people over you can also layer this with the polishing pad. You can run the water through both filter pads, so you can have that crystal-clear water at certain times. Then at other times when you are busy and don’t have time to rinse the filter pads out you can simply remove the polishing pad and leave the classic filter pad in the filter.
The great thing about all these filter pads is that you can wash them by rinsing them out in a sink and can reuse them. If you are using a biological filtration system then you would want to rinse the filter pad in dechlorinated water, but if not, it can be rinsed in regular water. The polishing pad you can wash in the washing machine; you can go to our website to find more details on how to clean a polishing pad if you’d like to get it super clean to reuse it. All these products come in large packages, so you can dispose of your filter pad cut out and still have more left over.
Now as I mentioned, I do like the classic and the polishing pad, but my favorite filter media by far is the premium dual density. For most of you, you should be using the premium dual density, you’ll love it. Our reviews come back phenomenal from our customers and our service companies love it. This is the one you should go with.