I've looked at that stuff. Seeing as there is already a coarse sponge in front of it, it is redundant and I doubt very effective anyway. Even if is were effective, the sponge is adequate. My filter has a grated bottom that catches all the big stuff.The first basket (on the bottom) has Eheim Mech Pro media (little black plastic tubes) it is supposed to be for mechanical filtration but I just don't see how they could catch dirt particles since the plastic is smooth. If its the ridges allong the tubes that catch dirt it would get clogged pretty quickly. How does it work, is this better than sponge-like (or other) media? Or should I replace it with something else? I tried to google Mech Pro but all the promotional literature says is what it does, not how it does it.
That product is better than the really fine pored ceramics but it should be the last stage.The next basket is filled with Eheim Bio-Mech Pro for mechanical and biological filtration, this kind of combination media might be a good idea in smaller filters with limited space but isn't the mechanical filtration simply going to clog the bacterial pores with dirt limiting the water flow over the beneficial bacteria? I know BB grow on sponges & filter pads as well but these pores are much smaller.
That product is just a coarser version of the Bio-Mech Pro and would be best to precede the Bio-Mech.Then the 3rd basket has small balls of Eheim Substrat Pro for biological filtration covered by a fine filter mat to remove fine particles and 'polish' the water. I always thought that fine particle filtration should be before biological filtration. Shouldn't it go coarse, medium, then fine followed by biological media? This is driving me crazy, is my understanding of filtration all wrong? I simply have to know!!
Filtering should be coarse to fine in a gradual or staged progression. I bought a Marineland C-220 and it came with bio-balls (hollow plastic spheres that look sort of like little cages), ceramic bio-filtration (short tubes of fine pore ceramic material) coarse sponge, fine sponge and a polishing layer.... layered from coarse to ceramics in the correct order at least.
The bio balls are a waste of time as they have less surface area than a coarse sponge and all they did was to rattle around anyway. Tossed them.
The ceramics are about the same. Fine pored ceramic material requires pressure (60PSI or more) to have any flow rate at all through it. Standing water in a gravity ceramic filter flows at less than 1 gallon per hour. Seeing as my filter runs at 220 GPH and the water is not captured and forced through the material, it just goes around. I took it out and broke them apart to see if there was any sign of water flow through the ceramic in four months... pure white as the day they were created, no water flow, no use. Tossed them.
Anyway. I have set up my filter with a coarse sponge 1st stage, two stages of filter floss and a polishing filter last. I am going to add a finer filter material after the floss next time I take it apart as there is lots of room.
Giving a material a fancy sounding name and adding the "pro" suffix doesn't make it work, it just makes it saleable as a "different" product. I'm sure that many would argue that this stuff is a benefit but I doubt that any can prove it... it's easier to prove that it makes no difference in the system as taking it out and using something as simple as a sponge has no effect on the stability of the tank.
On a similar note, I am finding that the purpose of the filter as a total biological unit is better served by this gradual staged setup as waste that gets caught in the first stage breaks down and traverses to the second stage where it breaks down further.... eventually it ends up back in the tank and gets changed out with water changes or used by plants or micro organisms in the tank. I have left my filter for two weeks between cleanings then left it two months and found no difference in flow rate and no real difference in how "dirty" it looks inside. I suspect that a filter of adequate size in a dark environment may not need to be cleaned other than to ensure that the media itself has not broken down beyond being functional.