Not all Medias are Created Equal: Study Confirms the Best Phosphate Removal Media

Phosphate management is a fact of life when maintaining an aquarium. This vital nutrient occurs naturally from sources like food, fish waste and decaying plants, but too much of it can be problematic for tanks. Without carefully managing the levels, excess phosphate can lead to tank-chocking algae and duller, less colorful coral.

There are a number of products that help manage phosphate levels and keep your tank looking its best– but which media offers the best phosphate removal in an aquarium? To answer this question, we compared three of the most common phosphate removal medias:

Each media was put to the test against six water samples, and the results were as clear as the tanks.

What was the best media for phosphate removal?
Bayoxide® E-33 GFO was the hands-down winner against activated alumina and the phosphate removal resin. The results of the study proved Bayoxide® E-33 GFO is:

  • The most effective phosphate removal media – Gram for gram, the GFO removed 18X more phosphate than activated alumina and 8X as much phosphate as removal resin (Fig. 1)
  • The fastest phosphate removal media – GFO dramatically lowered phosphate levels within 1-2 days, working fastest among the medias tested
  • The most cost-effective phosphate removal media – Performance is one thing, but cost is a very real consideration for aquarium owners. Fortunately, GFO also provides the most bang for the buck. Based on common online pricing, one dollar of GFO removed 26X more phosphate than one dollar of removal resin and 9X more phosphate than one dollar of activated alumina. (Fig. 2)


To properly maintain an aquarium, phosphate levels should be monitored and controlled to keep aquatic life healthy and the water clear. There are many different phosphate removal medias available, and their performance depends on the material composition, the manufacturing processes used to produce the media and water conditions.

Based on these tests, Bayoxide® E-33 GFO is the superior phosphate removal media with the fastest removal times, highest phosphate removal capacity and the greatest removal capacity cost on a per-gram and per-dollar basis. Compared to activated alumina and the phosphate removal ion exchange resin, Bayoxide® E-33 GFO is the best product for phosphate management.

For more detailed information on the study and methods used, download the full report here.