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Hi all. I am new to the site. Not new to cichlid keeping. I started off with South Americans many years ago and have been doing African for the past several years. My aquarium has the cichlid sand and rock set up. 75 gallon. My cichlid s live with six loaches and 3 dwarf Plecos. After many trials and errors over the years I've got a comfortable set-up going. I've always had a hob filter and did weekly water changes with carbon filter replacement. Prior to Christmas I bought a fluval 406 canister filter. I did one water change and filter maintenance (without changing carbon) since. My tank is looking ready for another change and I was wondering what the preferred media to use would be other than carbon or if I should stick with carbon. As you can see I'm trying to get some plant s going. May be a failure with the cichlid s but giving it a shot. My plants keep getting a brownish algae on them. What do you all use as media for your dirty cichlid s:) but good for plant health. Thanks much!!!! Pic of my tank is attached
 

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Hi and Welcome to C-F!!

What filter media do you currently have in the Fluval 406 canister and what order is the media from bottom to top?

In my opinion you don't need to use carbon unless you are removing medications or possibly attempting extremely clear water clarity, though the latter can usually be achieved by sufficient water changes and filter maintenance.
 

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Purigen is good product for clarirty also and i use Seachem matrix carbon(500ML good for 200G) amazon constantly has it for around 5.50 as an add on item so i usually get it when i order something. great for the price.
 

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I had 4 liters of Matrix (two trays) and recently added two trays of Biohome ultimate and removed one tray of the Matrix.
I wasn't that impressed with the Matrix, a lot of it was just regular old rocks, it worked OK for removing ammonia and nitrite but the anaerobic claims are not that good, I didn't see any reduction in Nitrates even after a year.
The biohome is a much better product and the porosity and quality is consistent with every piece, though it's also much more expensive.
As far as chemical goes I do use purigen and Rox Carbon when I don't have meds in the tank.

I have one tray on the bottom with two coarse foams and one fine and then the 3 trays of bio media.
I do most of the mechanical and all of the chemical in a CFS-500 that sits on the other side of the sunsun.
 

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I have an FX6 and I am running the following:

On the outside I run all the stock sponges that came with it.
Top tray is also the two round black sponges that came with it.
Middle tray I run all biological media, three different types: A Marinepure ceramic media plate cut to fit, one box of Fluval ceramic rings and 500ml of Seachem Matrix.
Bottom tray is carbon, purigen, filter floss and 100 micron polishing pads.
 
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