10-05-2011, 07:07 PM
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There is a demo video here:
There is a lot of different media shown. I would only use the foam blocks, pre-filter (these are ceramic disks that should be in the first basket the water runs through) and Biomax. The various chemical media like carbon, zeocarb, ammonia remover, etc. are not advisable in a planted tank. Using the carbon for the first week to "polish' the water is fine, but after that I wouldn't.
I use Fluval media in my Rena and Eheim canisters because Fluval is considerably cheaper but just as good. In planted tanks, the plants do the main filtration work so the filter is secondary. The Pre-filter (ceramic disks) never wear out and only need rinsing. The BioMax can be replaced periodically, perhaps every 6 months, but I don't do this either. I stopped replacing this media years ago. I don't know how the foam blocks hold up, but they only need rinsing to keep them clean so long as they are filling the space and the water is forced to go through them.
How often the filter needs rinsing depends upon the bioload. You want the water to flow through the media uninterrupted; if you never rinse it, the flow will slow to the point of almost stopping. And as the media becomes clogged, water may find an alternate route around it. I find that my Eheim canisters need rising about every 4-6 months, my Rena every 2 months.