The Seachem Tidal 55 comes with a blue foam for mechanical filtration and Seachem Matrix for biological filtration. If you would want to further customize the hang-on-back filter in order to cater to your tank needs, then you can take a look at this guide from Aquarium Blueprints.
What Seachem Tidal 55 filter media should you use mechanical filtration?
When it comes to making your tank water look clean, the default Seachem Tidal 55 Foam Filter should do a great job at trapping medium and big particles.
If you have a lot of smaller free-floating particles, then the Seachem Tidal 55 Polishing Pad is the better option.
We recommend that you rinse off these mechanical filter media every time you need to do a water change. By doing so, you will prevent them from getting clogged up.
Even with frequent maintenance, you the mechanical filter medias will get so clogged up to the point where you are better off getting a replacement.
If you are interested, you can purchase the foam and polishing pad below:
What Seachem Tidal 55 filter media should you use biological filtration?
When it comes to biological filtration, the Seachem Matrix (which is already included with your filter) is one of the best available. Not only will it provide surface area for the ammonia-consuming and nitrite consuming bacteria colonies, these pebbles also provide the proper environment for growing the nitrate-consuming bacteria colonies.
To keep the tank water as safe as possible, we recommend filling the filter media basket of the Seachem Tidal 55 as much as possible with Seachem Matrix to provide an abundance of beneficial bacteria that will boost your biological filtration.
With proper maintenance, the Seachem Matrix do not need to be replaced. To see how you can properly clean these pebbles, you can take a look at this guide.
If you are interested, you can purchase more Matrix on Amazon with this link.
What Seachem Tidal 55 filter media should you use chemical filtration?
In most cases, you do not need to use chemical filtration. As we stated before, we would rather use the space in the filter media basket for more biological media.
With that said, you may want to add activated carbon instead if you notice that your tank water is not crystal clear. Carbon will also help remove any odors and medications from your aquarium.
Another helpful product is zeolite, which will help bind ammonia and heavy metals to stop them from harming your fish and other aquatic pets. If your tank water shows spikes in ammonia and/or have a lot of heavy metals, then this filter media can be very helpful.
You can purchase either of these products, if you are interested, on Amazon with the following links:
Both carbon and zeolite will eventually run out of effectiveness over time. Therefore, you need to occasionally replace these filter medias so that you won’t lose out on the chemical filtration.