Poly Filters: Padtastic!

The Poly Filter has been on the market for a long time. Developed in 1976 for aquarium use, it also is  used to purify water for laboratory and hospital uses. Its use in the aquarium hobby has been touted by a leading European hobbyist magazine as one of the ten best aquarium care products of all times! Basically the Poly Filter will remove 90%+ of most heavy metals, medications and organics from the water. For really detailed information, check their website, www.poly-bio-marine.com , they do not pull any punches in their assessment of other products! The Poly Filter comes as a coarse pad, either 4 x 8″ or in an industrial strength 12 x 12″ size, both are approximately 1/2″ thick. Ideally you want to have some type of mechanical filtration before the aquarium water passes through the Poly Filter to prevent it (or any chemical media) from becoming clogged with physical debris. As the water passes through the Poly Filter the contaminants or wastes are permanently absorbed into the fibers , preventing any back-wash into the aquarium. The Poly Filter will change color as it absorbs different heavy metals; blue for copper or green for ionic copper, red for iron and brown/black for organic wastes. The Poly Filter is stiff enough to support itself in position for nearly any type of filter. I have used the pads in the “media basket” of the Emperor 400 power filter and cut into two pads and placed above the sponge of my  AquaClear 110 filter. I have used it to remove copper from quarantine systems, cut up to fit in an old style corner air driven filter box. The Poly Filter can also work as an excellent chemical media placed below the filter pad of a drip tray of a wetdry sump system. The manufacturer has preloaded the Poly Filter with trace elements so once it is used in the aquarium it will not absorb necessary minerals for freshwater plants or saltwater fish.

My Grade:  A

simple to use, adaptable and effective


CupriSorb by Seachem is a man made resin to remove specific compounds from the aquarium. In this case, it removes all forms of copper (ionic or chelated) and also other heavy metals. The resin beads are really small and need to be kept in a very fine mesh bag (The Bag has a rating of 180 microns and will work best for recharging). Placed in the water flow, the CupriSorb will absorb these metals and will not leach them back into the aquarium water. The copper is chelated to the CupriSorb, it is not an ion exchange resin. It makes an excellent product to use once done treating for parasites with copper based treatments. I also like to use a small pouch of CupriSorb in all my marine tanks to absorb any trace amounts of copper that might leach out of the rock or be in my source water. Exhaustion of the beads will be indicated by the beads turning a dark blue/black color. They can be regenerated with a muriatic acid treatment (best done in a well ventilated area!) and reused many times before needing replacement.

My Grade:  A-

works as advertised, does require a fine mesh media bag, muriatic acid will definitely “tickle” your nose if you are not careful!

Phosphate Filter:

This is one of those aquarium supplies that could benefit from a better description and packaging.  Distributed by Tropical Science, the Phosphate Filter is a set of two sponge pads (4 1/2″ x 7 1/2″) that are soaked in formula that will quickly remove phosphate from the water. Simply place one of the pads in the water flow of a filter system and then remove after 24 hours. At that time, place the second filter in the water for 48 hours and then remove. This does make it difficult to use a canister filter with this product since you have to remove the pads after such a short time. Each pad is capable of removing up to 400mg of phosphate (2 PPM/200 gal) making this aquarium product one of the fastest phosphate removing options. It is not a long term product. Often is it used when the PO4 levels have gotten out of control and you need to immediately remove them. Once removed, you can then treat with one of the long term PO4 removers like PhosBan or PhosGuard to eliminate future phosphate from fish wastes and organic decay. They do offer a version  for the saltwater aquarium that includes a powdered Red & Hair Algae remover that can be added after removing the phosphates. Hobbyists have reported some success with this powder, but it is not 100% effective.

My Grade:  A-

fast, efficient phosphate remove, a bit awkward to use.

About The Author Don Roberts

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