All animals produce waste and therefore it is very important that we take care of it when we decide to keep one. Although many people think about it less when it comes to keeping fishes as it doesn’t directly affect the owner's life but it is actually very important to manage the fishes waste material. Needless to say fish live in water and when feces goes into water it goes everywhere. It can’t be healthy to ingest feces.
Fortunately we don’t need to pick the feces up and dispose of it manually in an aquarium. This is because organic decay will turn into ammonia and it is this ammonia that we need to dispose of as it is highly toxic. Ammonia will also turn your aquarium cloudy white color. To effectively filter out ammonia from an aquarium we need help from a certain bacteria in the group called nitrification bacteria. This group of bacteria will work together to convert ammonia to nitrite and from nitrite to nitrate. Nitrate is much less toxic compared to ammonia, in comparison an ammonia concentration of 0.05mg/L can cause harm to your fish while many fishes will still do fine with nitrate above 50mg/L. But it is still important to keep nitrate as low as possible because less toxic ≠ non toxic.
How do we get these bacterias to work for us? In our previous article we already introduced our Seachem Stability. A bacteria starter to introduce nitrification bacteria into our aquarium. But where does this bacteria live? We have to make sure we can house them in a place where they can grow abundantly and effectively do their jobs as well which is in the filter.
Mechanical filters such as cotton are not suitable to house this bacteria as the cotton will eventually need cleaning or changing and this will eliminate the bacteria that lives in it. And this is where Seachem Matrix is for. Seachem Matrix is a bacteria housing filter where the bacteria can live comfortably and effectively filter aquarium water.
So what’s the difference between Seachem Matrix and other brands? Well, the Seachem Matrix is highly porous. A liter of it will have a surface area of more than 700m². This means it can house a great amount of bacterias in a small area. Because the Matrix is so porous it will actually float when you first introduce them to water. And because of it’s porousness, it is able to house anaerobic bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrogen as well. This means that the nitrate that is produced by Matrix is lower than other media. Although zero nitrate production is impossible due to the nitrification process being faster than the denitrification process, the nitrate that’s produced is less than normal.
Seachem Matrix also meant to be used forever. As long as you do regular maintenance by rinsing it with aquarium water every 1 to 2 months, it will keep the bacteria in the Matrix healthy all the time.
There are several types of Matrix sizes which are named differently. Front he smallest De*nitrate to the largest Matrix Pond. The largest size Matrix Pond is made for pond or large aquarium size with fast water flow rates. The larger size allows the faster flow rates to pass through and prevent clogging while smaller size allows more media to be placed in an area as there’s less gap in between them but isn’t suitable for high flow rates. As a general guild, de*nitrate is most suitable for nano tanks that are smaller than 40L while the Matrix is best for aquariums from 60L to 600L or more. There is an extra features for de*nitrate as it can be used as a full denitrification filter if it’s used in an area with flowrate slower than 200L/H.