Poly-Bio-Marine Polyfilter


By Don Dewey


January, 1978, was the cover date of the first issue of Freshwater And Marine Aquarium magazine. That premier issue also contained our first product evaluation of a consumer product – the Poly- Filter® by Poly-Bio-Marine, Inc. At that time the concept of product tests were viewed as innovative by some and as a threat by others. To us, however, it was certainly not a new idea since we had been conducting product tests for hobbyists since 1963 in FAMA’s parent publication, R/C Modeler Magazine.

In that original product test, I expressed concern over the Poly-Filter’s physical appearance: “Our first reaction to the physical appearance of the Poly-Filter was not one of total enthusiasm. It is a filter pad measuring 8″ long by 3 ½” wide and is approximately ½” thick. It is slightly off-whte in color and, with its rather coarse surface texture, looks like something designed for scrubbing algae from the glass sides of an aquarium! This appearance is as deceptive as a decrepit looking 1932 Ford roadster with a souped-up 350 cubic inch engine under the hood.”

That product review of a decade ago concluded as follows: “Our test results over a six month period have proved the Poly-Filer, patented and trademarked by Poly-Bio-Marine, Inc., to be an invaluable asset to both fresh-water and marine closed systems. It is manufactured under strict quality control procedures, and all our test results bear out the manufacturers claims for this product. It has also proved virtually unsurpassed in medication removal when used in quarantine tanks.”

For this, our tenth anniversary issue, we thought we would take a “second look” at the Poly-Filter since we have used this product continuously for those ten years.

Since our initial evaluation, the Poly-Filter has evolved as one of the most popular filtration media used in the pet products’ industry and is now distributed world-wide. In fact, the Poly-Filter has become the chemical filtration media of choice for closed marine systems, specialized closed freshwater systems, breeders, fish and invertebrate transportation, shark collection and transport, research vessel collection systems, specialized public aquarium displays, make-up water filtration, natural seawater intake systems, lobster and seafood wholesalers, as well as retailers and research laboratories.

Various Poly-Filter configurations, derivatives, and modifications are presently in use in the following industries: Pollution control, process industries, potable water, medical, chemical, metal reclamation, electronics, beverages, marine, and nuclear. A further evolution in hydrophilic polymer and fiber technology (invented by Poly-Bio-Marine, Inc.) resulted in the development and granting of U.S. Patents on an innovative submicron filter media and system. This novel and inexpensive submicronic filter system is manufactured exclusively by Poly-Bio-Marine, Inc. and marketed by them and their licensees under a Registered Trademark, Fin-L-Filter® (pronounced “Final Filter”).

The Corporation now also offers specialized Poly-Filter modifications to the aquarium industry for wet/dry systems, DLS systems, canister systems, and other specialized filtration applications.

Due to continuous product research and development, the Poly-Filter has undergone various improvements during the ten years since our initial review. The matrix material has undergone improvement for hydrophilic polymer retention, polymer loading densities, color characteristics, physical appearance, and quality consistency of the finished product. Through state-of-the art technical advancements in the patented hydrophilic materials and processes used to manufacture the Poly-Filter, unique performance characteristics have been proven in the application of the media to aquarium filtration. These include the following:

  1. No particulate release.
  2. No leachable or extractable monomers, ions (anions, cations), binders, or cross-linking agents.
  3. No desorption upon saturation.
  4. Linear absorption/adsorption chemical filtration properties.
  5. True color changes indicating filter function and replacement timing, i.e., blue – copper; red = iron; green = free copper ions; brown = normal organic loading; and black = heavy organic loading.
  6. Effective removal (absorption/adsorption) of low molecular, weight organics, volatile organics, high molecular weight, organics, and ultra-high molecular weight organics.
  7. Effective performance under adverse conditions such as water conditioners and slime coat restorers.
  8. Removal of chelated and non-chelated metal complexes.
  9. Guaranteed quality control by the actual media manufacturer (Poly-Bio-Marine)

The Poly-Filter was developed to fill a specific need in the area of chemical filtration of aquarium water. From the initial development of the external, air-driven aquarium filter by Fosetta in 1918 to modern times, many different materials have been pressed into service for aquarium filter by Fosetta in 1918 to modern times, many different materials have been pressed into service for aquarium filtration. From that original sand and gravel filled, air-driven filter to today’s modern hi-tech devices with their rapid turnover rates, most aquarists have had to rely on chemical filtration media that were originally designed for use in applications alien to the chemical reactions occurring in the fresh and salt-water aquarium system. An example of this would be ion-exchange resins which were developed to function in potable water or specialized metal recovery applications.

Another would be organic resins, or gels, which were developed to function in nonaqueous solvents or specialized solutions for adsorption in a narrow range of molecular weights as well as the liquid.

In the 90 gallon tank, chemical tests indicated a high organic and inorganic waste build-up. At this point, all filtering materials were removed from the Power Plus Pro 600 filter and Poly-Filters, filter pads, and two bags of gravel installed in the filter. The filter was then set to run continuously 24 hours a day. Within one week, the Poly-Filters had turned dark brown and were discarded and replaced with new Poly-Filters.

Again, tests were taken and it was evident that the toxic levels had been drastically reduced. This time the Poly-Filters did not have to be replaced for two weeks. Once again, all test results evidenced that the aquarium water was approaching acceptable environmental conditions. Finally, a third set of Poly-Filters were installed and the power filter run continuously without interruption. This time the Poly-Filters did not need replacing for 60 days and the water obtained a crystal clear condition with all test readings well within the acceptable range for a stable environment. During the test period, no partial water changes were made on the fresh water tanks at all and a Diatom filter, normally used once weekly, was not employed.

At the end of a six month period, the fresh water tanks, still without any undergravel filtration, were in near optimum condition with a water clarity that was almost unbelievable. The marine and fresh water tanks that had been initially established with Poly-Filters did not need the filters replaced at all during the six month period, although the Poly-Filters were turning greenish and were rinsed out and reinstalled in the filters. The marine tank remained stabilized with extremely clear water, and only a 10% monthly water change, instead of the normal 20-25%, was required.

While the Poly-Filter is not inexpensive at $4.95 each, or three for $13.50, its cost is more than offset by the elimination of a high grade activated carbon which we normally replaced every two weeks as well as the savings in the cost of synthetic marine salts due to the drastically reduced requirements in partial water change. In addition, no ion exchange resins, protein skimmer, or ozone was employed or found necessary.

In addition to its excellence in removing Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphates, and dissolved organics, the Poly-Filter is also recommended for use in medication removal. Medication such as Copper Sulphate, Copper Sulphate and Formalin, Quinne Sulphate, and Malachite Green often cause serious toxicity problems for fish after their administration. These and other medications can remain in the water for long periods causing toxic overdosage. The Poly-Filter removes parasite medication rapidly without removing or affecting beneficial trace elements from the water. For parasite treatment using chellated forms of medication remove the Poly-Filter in a power filter and the remaining toxic medication will be removed from the water. After three days, remove the Poly-Filter and replace with a new unit. Save the original Poly-Filter used for medication removal as it can be re-used for subsequent removal of parasite medication. When using non-chellated forms of medication, allow twelve hours for water circulation and then install the Poly-Filter. Continue to add half the recommended dosage every twelve hours thereafter until the fish are cured. This process will prevent the copper from precipitating out of solution which causes dangerous toxic waste build-up and a sharp pH drop in the aquarium water.

To prevent overdosing, copper levels must be checked each time with a reliable test kit prior to adding additional copper medication.

There are numerous antibiotics which are also used by aquarists in the treatment of fish disease. However, it is important to know which antibiotics should be used on gram positive or gram negative bacteria for the proper treatment of these diseases. Many antibiotics will foul the water and/or destroy the biological filtration if used indiscriminately in the aquarium. While activated carbon and ion exchange resins have been used to remove antibiotics, if improperly used they can shock the fish or, in some cases, not remove the antibiotic at all. The Poly-Filter, however, removes antibiotic prescribed for aquarium disease without shocking even the most delicate fish by slowly removing organics and not loading up on trace elements found in fresh and salt water. Be sure to remove your Poly-Filter from the water for optimum results when adding medication for disease control. Upon completing treatment, install a new Poly-Filter for removal of the antibiotics. Then, remove the Poly-Filter and replace it with a new one. Once again, you can retain the filter used for the removal of antibiotics as it can be used for subsequent disease treatment. However, you are cautioned not to use the antibiotic contaminated Poly-Filter used for medication removal, label the type of medication it has removed from the quarantine tank and be sure to use it again only for removal of the same medication.

In conclusion, our test results over a six month period have proved the Poly-Filter, patented and trademarked by Poly-Bio-Marine, Inc. to be an invaluable asset to both fresh water and marine closed systems. It is manufactured under strict quality control procedures and all of our test results bear out the manufacturer’s claims for this product. It has also proved virtually unsurpassed in medication removal when used in quarantined tanks.


Emmens, C.W. and H.R. Exelrod 1973 Exotic Marine Fishes,
T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Neptune City, New Jersey

Spotte, S.H. 1970 Fish and Invertebrate Culture, Wiley-Interscience,
New York, New York

DeGraaf, F. 1973 Marine Aquarium Guide, Pet Library Ltd.,
Harrison, New Jersey

King, J.M. and W. E. Kelley 1974 Marine Aquariums: Principle
and Practice, Aquarium Systems, Inc., East Lake, Ohio

Spotte, S. 1973 Marine Aquarium Keeping, John Wiley and
Sons, Inc., New York, New York

Howery, K. 1976 “The Poly-Filter”, Poly-Bio-Marine,
Inc., South Orange, New Jersey


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