The use of fluidized sand filters for aerobic bio-filtration is no longer a “new” concept, however these filters are still not well known to many aquarium keepers, especially when it pertains to advanced planted aquarium keepers as these filters do not wear off your CO2.
We have used these filters for many of our professional freshwater, marine, & turtle aquarium set-ups (by our affiliated aquarium maintenance company). The advantage is the self cleaning of the surface area of the sand grains by the constant churning and mixing of sand suspended within the filtration chamber.
This type of filter provides high amounts of surface area for unsurpassed nitrifying bio-filtration capacity by any comparable size bio media filter.
In fact, as an example the model #1500 has a higher bio capacity than ANY current aquarium filter, including the large Fluval FX5 or FX6!
While de-nitrification is not the main strength of a FSB V2 filter, newer evidence shows that the final layers of sand in a tall FSB Filter such as the TMC model #1500 actually provides a good environment for nitrate reducing bacteria.
With the use of nitrate reducing polymer products such NPX Bioplastics Nitrate Reducing Polymer, the TMC FSB filter can be an excellent full nitrogen cycle filter, especially for top tier reef aquariums!!
When Bio-plastics are used in the FSB filter, replace an equal volume of sand with the Bioplastics.
As well, a deep sand bed, live rock, live rock crumbles, volcanic rock, refugiums, chemical nitrate absorbents (such as Purigen and/or Matrix placed in a Canister or other Filter), Protein Skimmers, etc will can be employed as a compliment where nitrates need to be lowered.
*Note with the exception of the NPX Bioplastics that require a reaction chamber, NO other products should be place in your FSB filter other than the sand (place these products such as Purigen, Marix, Phosphate Removers in a separate filter).
Model 1500 Now Available (Great for ponds when properly installed with a Pre-Filter)
The most efficient fluidized sand bed filter. which utilizes the most efficient method of aerobic biological filtration available.
The TMC Fluidized Bed Filter is of the newest technology and far superior quality than any other fluidized bed filter available.
Please Click on the Pictures to the right to enlarge.The TMC V² Bio Fluidized Sand Bed Filter have a versatile compact design, which can be installed internally in a sump or aquarium, or externally as a stand alone/'hang-on' filter (powered by a power head such as the Rio 1000 or a canister filter such as the Rena Filstar or SunSun Canister Filters).
The first picture shows connections to powerhead or internal filter while the second picture shows a canister filter installation (SunSun HW 302)
Our experience has shown the use of canister filters for powering your TMC Fluidized Filter to be the most simple (due to combined filtration and pre-filtering). For this simply placing the Fluidized Bed Filter in-line on the exhaust side of the canister filter the easiest installation.
However placing in-line from a submersible power head water pump works well too and when compared apples to apples is a better bio filter than an average canister filter by itself. When combined with a separate canister filter, it will provide maximum efficiency and filter redundancy.
This is our aquarium maintenance companies preferred method of FSB filter connection.
The use of a V2 #600 with a Rio 1000 along with a Filter Max #3 for pre-filtration will provide superior bio filtration to most standard canister filters!
Can be easily incorporated with ANY aquarium set-up.
Just connect to a canister filter, water pump, or power filter (NOT SUPPLIED) to create an advanced professional filtration system.
Tubing supplied or tubing with a canister filter will easily mate these fluidized filters to a canister filter with no extra parts required.
While not pictured, the FSB filter can even be placed directly inside the aquarium if this is more convenient.
Superior design over 1st and 2nd generation Fluidized filter eliminates issues of clogging or poor fluidization found on these earlier models (that are still sold elsewhere)
Easy to remove top for adding sand media and servicing. A vast improvement over the difficult smaller opening of other model FSB Filters.
Superior bio filtration over most common canister or even sponge filters when compared head to head. Each half kilogram of sand media when properly suspended can manage 10 lbs of bio load.
If space is an issue and only bio filtration is desired, this filter powered by a power head pump IS THE BETTER choice over most any canister filter!
Better yet, canister filters make the best method for pre-filtration AND powering of a FSB filter, so when combined with a more modest priced/basic canister filter, this combination will have a higher bio load capacity than ANY large high priced canister filter including the expensive Fluval or Eheim "Pro" models!!
Since Fluid Sand Filters do not wear off your CO2, this is THE SUPERIOR FILTER by a wide margin for planted aquariums.
This is not to say a wet/dry or other filters cannot work, but the FACTS are that filters such as a wet/dry usually will required added CO2, often with high tech versions at that, while a FSB Filter will often need basic supplemental CO2 AT MOST assuming your aquarium is not over agitated via aeration or circulation.
Unsurpassed as an Aquatic Turtle bio filter as well as for dirty fish such as goldfish with up to 30 lbs of aquatic bio load capacity (fish, turtle, etc. weight).
Supplied COMPLETE with useful fittings 14mm tubing (5/8 ID), and accessories for quick and simple installation.
Supplied complete with silica sand.
A unique feature of the TMC V², is the ability to use with Marine Oolitic Sand (available separately), this filter also acts similar to a calcium reactor and helps with trace elements, calcium, magnesium, and minor buffering. All essential for a healthy Marine/Reef or African Cichlid tank (Livebearers too)!
Can also be used to fluidize other media and is ideal for use with nitrate & phosphate removing media that also work well in a reaction chamber (such as NPX Bioplastics Nitrate & Phosphate Reducing Polymer).
When used as a reaction chamber, as already noted Oolitic sand can be used to maintain minerals, alkalinity and more. As well this filter can be used a carbon reaction chamber (generally for short term clean up use) and then moved from aquarium to aquarium.
The video below demonstrates this well and is a "must view":
FSB Carbon Reactor Cleaning Filter Video
From the author of this video: "Just drop the FSB into the tank and CaBoom... water will be crystal clean in the morning. I pull the FSB out and drain the water then dry out the carbon for the next time I need it."
Suitable for both freshwater and marine applications.
For a pdf Download of the TMC V2 Fluidized Filter, please Click Below:
TMC Fluidized Sand Filter Instructions (pdf)
FSB Filter Instructional Set Up Video
Our recommended flow rates and pump/filter sizes are based on the head pressure required once the sand media has grown healthy established nitrifying bacteria. These bacteria add to the weight and from our experience will add as much as 40% to eventual head pressure.
When first set up, you likely will need to close off the valve slightly to a considerable amount so as to NOT blow sand out of the chamber, and then open is slowly over time as the sand bed and bacteria ages and adds weight to this media.
The recommended flow rates can vary since one pump with the same rated 0 head pressure flow rate may have a lower flow rate once head pressure is applied. We recommend taking the suggested flow rates as minimums since one can always back off the flow if needed with the supplied valve.
For more about how a FSB Filter or other device such as a UV Sterilizer affect flow rate due to head pressure, please read this excellent article from "Aquarium & Pond Answers:
Head Pressure in Aquarium and Pond Water Pumps
Tubing supplied is 14mm
, this approximates between 1/2" ID & 5/8" ID
Standard tubing with 5/8" ID being recommended along with additional clamps for a snug fit if additional tubing is needed.
For attaching to true 16mm/ 5/8" tubing, a Part #6- 1/2 to 5/8" hose barb coupling
can make fitting easier.
As well, if connecting to higher flow/head pressure water pumps such as the Rio 1100 that require 3/4" ID tubing, the use of a Part #3- 1/2 or 5/8" to 3/4" hose barb coupling
will make connections easier.
Following our Tubing Installation Guide can help with connections too.
While the TMC Fluid filter is marked with a minimum and maximum fluidation line, if your pump or filter that's used to power the fluid filter cannot quite fluidize to the minimum line, this does not mean your filter is not operating correctly. This line is only the optimum line, not the minimum required for operation.
Also many canister filters with sometimes poor head pressure (such as the Fluval) cannot fully fluidize this or other Fluidized Filters. So, to get the best possible performance, we suggest elevating both the canister filter and Fluidized sand filter to a level closer to the base of your aquarium.
If used with a water pump/power head, which does not include a sponge or similar built in pre-filter (such as the SunSun HJ-1542), the addition of a Pre-Filter Sponge such as the Filter Max #3
or for larger pumps such as the SunSun HQB-2500/3500 the addition of a Hydro Pond #3 or #4
or other Sponge Filter
will prevent larger debris from entering your Fluidized Filter and causing loss of efficiency. As well this will add another layer of filtration to your Fluidized filter.
The first picture shows how we would recommend plumbing a Rio 1000 Pump with Filter Max 2 or 3 for use with a Fluidized Filter
The second picture shows how we would recommend plumbing a Rio 1100 or 1700 Pump with Filter Max 3 for use with a Fluidized Filter
As an example, a Model #1500 Fluidized Filter combined with a SunSun HQB 3500 along with the high flow Hydro Pond #3 or #4 will far surpass even the most expensive of Canister Filters including all Eheims and Fluvals!
With a water pump or power head configuration, we suggest hanging the FSB filter on the back for best results, not under the aquarium, with the valve over the water as this valve will eject water when closed with back pressure applied
If the FSB Filter is hung on the back of the tank/aquarium. The screw clamps should not be tightened too tightly or can often not even be necessary.
When changing water, generally if run via a power head/water pump. The pump does not need to be turned off.
If water from water pump or filter is turned off, CLOSING the inlet valve on the FB Filter is is strongly suggested suggested to prevent back up in the FSB Filter.
Some canister filters can create a suction when disconnected (which is why the valve should be turned off when servicing), however for SOME canister filter applications the addition of a check valve
between the filter (or pump) will solve any issues with water backing up in the sand filter.
With the use of a power head/water pump to power your FSB filter, the use of a 1/2-5/8" Ball Valve on the exit side of the FSB filter (or even used to replace the stock valve on the inlet side) can help prevent unwanted back flow when servicing the filter.
If air is trapped in a water pump powering the FB Filter, tipping the pump or disconnecting the pump temporarily from the FB Filter generally allows it to quickly function again.
(7) Use of ceramic media instead of the pebbles, which are supplied with the FSB Filter can help better Fluidize the sand media as well as better breakdown organic mulm/debris when first entering the FSB reaction chamber.
While impossible to see in the .gif picture to the right (click to enlarge), this filter is running with these ceramic pre-filter media and the fluidation is improved over the standard pebble media.
Generally about 4 oz is all that is needed for the model #600 and 4-8 oz. can be used for the larger models to provide even better breakdown of debris and fluidation.
We sell 4 oz increments of this ceramic media in the shopping cart at the bottom of this page.
We have more tips and troubleshooting in the FSB Filter section of our Aquarium Filtration article:
Aquarium Filtration: FSB Filters Section
*Model #600 Filter- $87.99 Jump to Shopping Cart
Rated for aquariums up to 160 Gallons or 10 lbs. of Bio-Load (fish, etc.)
Recommended min. rated* Flow Rate- 210 gph
Height- 12.5" (please add another 3" for tubing connections)
Supplied with .4 - .5 kg (approx. 1 cup dry) Silica Sand (amount required for operation)
Suggested Filters/Pumps: Filstar XPM or XPL Canister , SunSun 302/402 or 303/403 Canister (or similar after head pressure rated canister filter such as an Eheim or Fluval), Rio 1000 Pump (our choice especially when used with a Filter Max #2 or #3), SunSun JP-065 Pump, or SunSun HJ-1542 (this pump INCLUDES a sponge pre-filter & is a good choice in applications where a bit more head pressure maybe needed due to a deeper aquarium or lower placement of the FB Filter relative to the aquarium).
We recommend this model or the larger #1500 over the #600, not that the #600 does not work, but just that the compact #600 does not maintain as vertical a fluidation pattern, while these larger models are second to none as per FSB filter design and flow pattern within the reaction chamber!
Rated for Aquariums up to 265 Gallons or 20 lbs. of Bio-Load (fish, etc.)
Recommended min. Rated* Flow Rate- 320 gph
Height- 18.5" (please add another 3" for tubing connections)
Supplied with .8 - 1 kg (approx. 2 cups dry) Silica Sand (amount required for operation)
Suggested Filters/Pumps: Filstar XPL or XPXL Canister , SunSun 403/303 or 404/304 Canister (or similar after head pressure rated canister filter such as an Eheim or Fluval), SunSun HJ-1542 (this pump INCLUDES a sponge pre-filter), Rio 1100 Pump (our choice when used with a Filter Max #3), or SunSun JP-066 Pump for more maximum power (please note the JP-066 does not not adapt as easily to the Filter Max, although the use of Teflon Tape on the outer impeller well wall of the JP-066 allows for more snug fit to the Filter Max when directly attached).
*Model #1000 Filter- $114.99 Jump to Shopping Cart
Rated for Aquariums up to 395 Gallons, Ponds up to 500 Gallons, or 30 lbs. of Bio-Load (fish, etc.)
Recommended min. Rated* Flow Rate- 525 gph
Height- 25.5" (please add another 3" for tubing connections)
Supplied with 1.2- 1.5 kg (approx. 3 cups dry) Silica Sand (amount required for operation)
Suggested Filters/Pumps: Filstar XPXL (formally XP-4) Canister , SunSun 404 Canister (or similar after head pressure rated canister filter such as an Eheim or Fluval), Rio 1700 Pump (maximum power), can be connected to a Filter Max #3 (or for a larger pre-filter, the Hydro Pond #3 or #4), or SunSun JP-066 Pump (please note the JP-066 does not not adapt as easily to the Filter Max, although the use of Teflon Tape on the outer impeller well wall of the JP-066 allows for more snug fit to the Filter Max when directly attached).
*Model #1500 Filter- $134.99 Jump to Shopping Cart
For higher head pressure applications (such as a lift of 4-5 feet or more to the aquarium), the SunSun HQB-3500 might be suggested, which already has a built in sponge pre-filter (it will not readily adapt to a Filter Max or Hydro Pond Pre-Filter anyway)
Please note that all TMC FSB filters use 14mm ID tubing while many pumps require 3/4" ID tubing or larger (such as Rio 1100, Rio 1700, or SunSun 3500), so use of a Part #3- 1/2 or 5/8" to 3/4" hose barb coupling hose barb connector might make connections much easier
For further tubing connection information, see our Aquarium/Pond Tubing Connection Tutorial
By Rated, we mean the general flow rate under normal head pressure, generally no more then 25% of the peak head for the pump. Example a pump (the Rio 1100) of 382 gph with a Maximum Head Pressure of 6 ft. would be "rated" at 382 gph under 1.5 feet of lift from pump to FSB Filter base.
With Canister Filters (not just what we sell or recommend), the rated flow often differs from the actual flow once media is added and the filter is placed below an aquarium stand. However, with a higher placement closer to the aquarium the actual flow can be closer to the rated flow thus utilizing our suggestions such as the SunSun 404B with the TMC #1500 FSB Filter.
Another example using the popular Fluval Filters; The Fluval 406 is rated at 383 gph which means the model #1000 filter would be a good fit. This does NOT mean your flow once normal head pressure is added will be 383 gph, more likely just over 200 gph
With either a pump or canister filter to power your FSB Filter, it is OK to also utilize a filter with a higher than needed rated flow, as one can always (& should) use a ball valve after the FSB Filter to turn down flow. However with an underrated pump/filter, you will never get the flow rate for optimum functioning of these otherwise second to non bio filters!!
The bottom line is we recommend the FSB Filter pump/filter combinations based on RATED flow for simplicity, these are combinations we know will work.
*Replacement Silica Sand Media 1 kg. (slightly over 2 cups dry) -$15.99
Jump to Shopping Cart
This media is inert
(Original replacement media supplied with filter)
*Oolitic Sand Media 1 kg. (slightly over 2 cups dry) - $15.99
Jump to Shopping Cart
The Oolitic Sand is an excellent choice for Marine, African Cichlid, Livebearer, and even goldfish aquariums as well as Koi Ponds.
TMC Oolitic Sand will aid in buffering as well as adding calcium, magnesium, & trace minerals back into the water (this can be especially help for ponds with high amounts of organics that are often introduced to the water and subsequent decomposition).
Strongly suggested for Marine/Reef aquariums!
Ceramic Pre-Filter Media 4 oz. - $3.99Jump to Shopping Cart
As per our "TIP" section, this media can help better fluidize and break up organic debris than the standard pebbles provided as a pre-filter by TMC. 4 oz is suggested for the #600 and 4 to 8 oz. is suggested for models #1000 & #1500
Fluid Bed Control Valve/ Union- $9.99Fit ANY 14mm to 5/8" vinyl tubing
Installation Suggestion; slip compression ring over tubing first, then screw back over threads on control valve/union.
Replacement O-Ring for TMC FSB Filters- $5.99Jump to Shopping Cart
Fits all models (600, 1000, 1500)
Jump to Shopping Cart
Why Purchase from American Aquarium Products
TMC V² Skim Premium Venturi & Rio Nano Marine Protein Skimmers
Professional quality TMC V2 Skim Saltwater Protein Skimmer as well as the more basic Rio Nano Skimmer for beginner marine aquariums.
Both are Ozone Compatible
NPX Bioplastics Nitrate & Phosphate Reducing Polymer
Excellent media for use in your Fluidized Filter.
A PROVEN method to reduce nitrates and phosphates in your Reef Aquarium
Rena XP Canister Filters
The BEST Canister Filter at ANY price; Rena XPS, XPM, XPL, XPXL
RIO PLUS PUMPS
Models 90, 200, 600, 1000, 1100, & 1700; Proven and Versatile Rio Aquarium, Fountain Water Pumps, Powerheads
An excellent choice to run the TMC V2 #1000 and #600 FB Filters (for deeper tank applications with the #600)
This pump INCLUDES a pre-filter sponge!
Filter Max Aquarium Pre-Filters
For improved pre-filtration when connected to a power pump such as the Rio Plus, allowing for much more efficient use of a Fluidized Filter
Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilizers
TMC, Terminator, & Custom UV Sterilizers/Clarifiers. As well as Replacement UV Bulbs
, Quartz Sleeves, Ballasts.
Frog Moss; Natural Acid Buffer
A decoration that also acts as strong natural acid buffer lowering KH and pH for softer water preferring aquarium fish
SunSun & Via Aqua Canister Filter
The SunSun's external 3 stage canister has 3 flexible media trays that allowing you to add the filtration media of your choice. Included in the SunSun Canister Filters is filter fiber, activated carbon, and bio-balls.
Wonder Shells: Unique Version ONLY from AAP
The premier aquarium mineral block from the only supplier with decades of knowledge about the use of this product.
Algone Nitrate Controller
Algone; Controls Nitrates, Fresh or saltwater
Aquarium Silicone Sealant; Professional Grade
Professional Grade Aquarium Silicone
Helpful Installation Tips
Aquarium/Pond Tubing Connection Tutorial
For help with tubing connections with your UV Sterilizer, Pump, Fluidized Filter, etc.
For help with figuring aquarium or pond water pump head pressure, please read this article from "Aquarium & Pond Answers:
Head Pressure in Aquarium and Pond Water Pumps
Excellent information for helping to determine the best pump for your Fluidized Sand Bed Filter
Sold on Separate Web Page:
Optional Plumbing Parts
*Optional Water Return and Intake Adapters
For use as an alternative method for adding water back into the aquarium with more directional control that the parts included with the filter.
The Intake Prevents tubing "kinks" when powering a Filter placed below an aquarium with an internal filter or pump.
The TMC Fluidized Filter already includes similar parts, so these are rarely a necessary part