Poly-Filter | Not Your Ordinary Filter Pad

Poly-Filter by Poly-Bio-Marine Inc. is a polymer filter pad that adsorbs a variety of pollutants and nitrogenous compounds from both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.


Poly-Filter in 12″ x 12″ size

This patented product adsorbs proteins, amino acids, phosphates, phenols, tannins, benzene, dissolved organics and metabolic waste as well as insecticides and pesticides.

Poly-Filter binds these compounds tightly and will not release them back into the water.

Poly-Filter And Unwanted Algae

Poly-Filter removes nitrates, phosphates and silicates — the fuel for unwanted algae growth.

My preference is to use Poly-Filter in conjunction with a good phosphate adsorbing media in a phosphate reactor.

Poly-Filter And Medications

Poly-Filter excels at rapidly removing medications such as antibiotics and copper medication from the aquarium water.  Poly-Filter turns blue after it has adsorbed copper, which lets you know its working.

And for this reason, Poly-Filter is very useful in quarantine tanks where coppers and other medications are used.  Once a sick fish has completely recovery, Poly-Filter can be used to remove residual medication from the hospital tank, allowing the fish a few more days of rest in unmedicated water.

Where copper medications may have been used on a fish-only tank, Poly-Filter has been proven to remove copper down to trace element levels, making the tank suitable for corals and invertebrates.

Poly-Filter And Heavy Metals

Poly-Filter adsorbs heavy metals like iron and lead.  Lead is a common by-product of kalkwasser use in saltwater aquariums and builds up over time.

PolyFilter also adsorbs zinc, iron and mercury.

Poly-Filter And Trace Elements

Poly-Filter has minimal impact on trace elements. And if you’re performing regular fortnightly or monthly 10% water changes you really don’t have to worry about trace elements or adding them in the form of supplements. Just be aware that activated carbon will strip your water of trace elements far more quickly and efficiently.

Poly-Filter Maintenance

As a part of monthly maintenance, it is recommended that Poly-Filter that is used in a saltwater aquarium be rinsed in fresh water.  But make sure that the fresh water used is deionized water, reverse osmosis or better yet, distilled water.  This is because the chlorine that is present in plain tapwater can cause adsorbed organics in the Poly-Filter to be converted to toxic organic chemicals which can potentially be released back into your tank.

Other than rinsing with distilled water to remove detritus, Poly-Filter cannot be regenerated.

Poly-Filter Placement

If placed in the sump, the Poly-Filter pad should be placed in an area of medium to high-flow.  Water should not be forced through the pad but made to flow through and around it.

In the sump, the Poly-Filter pad should be placed after the protein skimmer.  This is to allow the skimmer to process the raw, organic-laden water coming in from the display tank first.  If you have a refugium, PolyFilter should be placed before the refugium compartment.  If not, then any compartment in the sump after the protein skimmer should be fine.

On smaller tanks where a sump is not available, Poly-Filter can be placed into a media compartment of a hang-on-back power filter.  It can also be placed into a canister filter although I personally do not recommend this as canister filters are a hassle to open up and clean, which must be done at least on a weekly basis to avoid trapped detritus from causing a rise in nitrates.

I usually place a layer of ordinary filter wool before the Poly-Filter pad as it prevent detritus from clogging up the Poly-Filter, giving it a longer life.  Better still, we could also wrap the Poly-Filter up completely in a thin layer of filter wool.  The surrounding filter wool could then be changed once a week.

It is not necessary to rinse new Poly-Filter before it is placed into the aquarium or sump.

Poly-Filter And Protein Skimmers

When putting a new Poly-Filter pad into the aqaurium, there will be a tendency for the protein skimmer to foam excessively and even overflow, pulling in a lot of clear aquarium water.  This is normal and is to be expected and should stop after a few hours. If you notice an over-foaming of the skimmer it would be a good idea to keep an eye on it to avoid skimmate from getting all over the or worse, back into to your tank.

I do a routine thorough cleaning of my protein skimmer cup whenever I replace Poly-Filter pads. That way, if the skimmer cup overflows, it is not returning a bunch of brown skimmate into the sump as well.

Skimmer operation should return to normal after several hours.

Poly-Filter And Chlorinated Water

Some have tried to make a simple water purifier by passing the water from a tap through a tube containing PolyFilter.  While certain substances like phosphates and silicates might be removed to a certain extent, chlorine will remain.  PolyFilter cannot dechlorinate tap water!  Use a good water dechlorinator like Seachem’s Prime for this purpose.

When To Replace PolyFilter

PolyFilter turns dark brown when it is saturated with dissolved organics, indicating that it should be be replaced. For my aquarium bioload, I find that replacing the PolyFilter pad every 2 to 3 months to be adequate.

Why Is Poly-Filter So Expensive?

I’m sure this question has been asked by every aquarium keeper who has used, or continues to use Poly-Filter on a regular basis.  Apparently, Poly-Filter technology is similar to the surgical grade adsorbent filters used in dialysis machines, which could explain its price.

At any rate, I do wish that they would make them much more affordable so that even aquarists who run saltwater aquariums on a tight budget will be able to use Poly-Filter regularly — it really is that good!

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