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Ignoring the DIY aspect of pot scrubbies and little green army men...

Why do bioballs seem to be the media of choice for a wet/dry filter? What makes them better than something like Matrix or Efhisubstrat that claims to have about a zillion times more surface area than a bioball?

-Rick (the armchair aquarist, who is pondering going against his DIY tendancies and adding a gallon of bioballs to his big al's order)
 

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Bio balls won't clogg as easy. I find bio balls are almost the first step in filtration for wetdry setups depending on what your setup is. Using matrix would have the possibility of clogging up easy and you would have to rince it out all the time.

Another theory is that air can circulate around the bioballs better than media that is compacted together.

I Would personally use Bio Bale. Lots more surface area :)
 

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What makes them better than something like Matrix or Efhisubstrat that claims to have about a zillion times more surface area than a bioball?
Filling a wet/dry chamber with this stuff would be incredibly expensive. Yes, you'd end up with more surface area, but once you had enough, more is just more. Doesn't do anything more for you except cost you money and, as said, can tend to clog much more easily

The only reason I'd tend toward using this type of media is when you have a limited space as in a canister filter.

Having said that, if you designed the filter properly with a proper pre-filter, it could work just fine and allow for the same surface area as bioballs in a much smaller space. If I had to design a wet/dry with a limited biomedia chamber size, then something like that might fit the bill nicely.

There are also 'nano balls' which are a smaller version of the bioball that may be a good choice in some applications as well.
 
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