Reuse Your Filter Media Over and Over (and Over) Again: We Talk To Eric Cohen About Blue Life USA's New Regenerable Resin Line, Blue Fx
Water quality is one of the most important factors in aquarium keeping. It affects the most basic goldfish bowl all the way up to a high-tech reef tank.
Maintaining a stable aquatic environment is not hard but requires diligence. The goal is to consistently provide the right water quality parameters. We try to keep organics, nitrates and phosphates at a minimum, especially in reef aquariums. One of the easiest ways of reducing these substances is by using specialty filtration materials.
We're excited to announce that Blue Life USA is introducing a new line of water filtration media for saltwater, reef, and freshwater aquariums. Today we'll be taking a closer look at Blue Fx Regenerable Resins and break down what each media does and who should use it.
But first... let's talk to Blue Life USA!
5 Questions for Eric Cohen, President of Blue Life USA About Regenerable Resins
MD: Tell us about the cost-saving benefits of regenerating your media. What kind of cost-savings might the average hobbyist see by switching to regenerable media?
ERIC: I love the saying that one of our retailers mentioned when he started selling the regenerable Fx resins. He said to his customer, "Cry once." It's really true. You can regenerate multiple times—some claim hundreds of times—but I have always been more cautious and leave the expiration date of the resin up to each individual user.
Over a period of a year, let's say you regenerate 6 times. That splits up your costs significantly already, but it doesn’t stop there. You can keep on regenerating and reusing until you see a heavy decline in performance. I think the media bag will wear out before the resins do.
MD: If a hobbyist is having difficulty controlling nutrient levels, can they stack Organic Fx, Nitrate Fx, and Phos Fx?
Organic Fx is a great product, especially for heavily stocked fish aquariums. When I owned Sea Dwelling Creatures, Inc, we ran this resin 24/7 and it really cut down on fish disease challenges and algae production. The results will be happier fish, having more readily available oxygen for them, and nitrifying bacterias. Less work cleaning algae off the inside aquarium walls which makes a happy hobbyist too!
MD: How are consumers supposed to interpret the word "organic" in Organic Fx? Our first thought was it's probably just a cool way of saying it removes organics. But having "100% organic" printed on the label makes us think there may be more to it. Explain.
ERIC: We added the "100%" to the name because it's just one type of resin and 100% designed to remove organics. Unlike other products that have mixtures of resins with carbon, etc. This is 100% "the good stuff."
MD: How long does each media last (before requiring regeneration)?
ERIC: I love how we can know the absorption capacities of most of the resins. For instance, Phos Fx will remove 10ppm of phosphate in a 125 gallon when using 250ml size of resins. If you have a smaller aquarium, it will remove more ppm—so if you have a 60 gallon aquarium, 250ml of Phos Fx will remove 20ppm of phosphates. Once you get to know your aquarium, you will know how long it will take to produce and remove that much phosphate on a routine basis.
Nitrate Fx is the same thing. We know we can remove 10ppm of Nitrates in 125 gallons of water.
Organics are harder to test so we don't make a statement like the other two. But we advise you to regenerate when algae begins to grow more regularly on the aquarium walls.
It will be different for all the resins on when it's time to regenerate them. I believe hobbyists will recognize trends and probably regenerate once per month regardless to keep their resins fresh and at optimal working capacities.
MD: How effective is each media after regeneration? Does its window of effectiveness decrease each time you regenerate it?
ERIC: Regeneration is very effective and easy to do. One factor are solids that get trapped inside the resin bags which vary depending on the mechanical filtration of each aquarium.
These resins are intended to be rinsed and then regenerated. But I am hoping that most hobbyists will rinse their resin bags well before soaking them in the Regen Fx solution and also make sure to keep good mechanical filtration habits to keep solids from getting into the resin bags. In a perfect world, the effectiveness should not decrease, but the reality is that some solids will most likely get into the bag, and unless rinsed thoroughly each time, it’s possible to see a decrease of performance over time.
Introducing The Blue Fx Regenerable Resin Line
Blue Fx regenerable resins are an easy-to-use and cost-effective approach to aquarium filtration!
All resins are regenerable 6 or more times with the Regen Fx Kit. Nitrate Fx, Phos Fx, and Organic Fx Resins are for fresh and saltwater tanks; Softener Fx is the only media in the series that is fresh only.
Let's take a closer look at what each media does to find out which may be right for your aquarium.
What it does: Phos Fx consists of porous polymer resin beads infused with iron oxide. The iron oxide binds with phosphate and silicate as water passes over the beads. Phosphate and silicate control is important in freshwater, marine and reef aquariums for algae control. Limiting phosphate and silicate helps to starve algae and reduce maintenance. Phosphate also binds with calcium and can inhibit calcification in corals. The porous beads eliminate the break-down and dust problems often found with GFO. The spherical beads are especially effective when used in a contact chamber. The uniform beads help to ensure maximum contact time and nutrient removal. Phos Fx can be regenerated several times with Regen Fx.
Who should use it: Phos Fx is recommended for freshwater, marine and reef tanks to reduce algae growth and control phosphate levels. Drop a bag or two into your filter and see the difference it makes!
How much it costs: From $44.99
What it does: Organic Fx consists of synthetic, macroporous resin beads designed to capture dissolved organic substances like tannins, organic acids and other medium to high molecular weight organics that accumulate in aquarium water. These organics discolor the water, reduce light transmission and degrade water quality. Nitrogen-rich organics eventually contribute to the nitrate level. Capturing and removing organics ultimately reduces the nitrate loading in the aquarium. You’ll be able to see the resin beads turn brown as organics are adsorbed into the porous spheres. Organic Fx can be regenerated several times with Regen Fx.
Who should use it: Organic Fx is highly effective in freshwater and saltwater aquariums. The bag of media will drop right into an AIO aquarium system, sump or canister filter.
How much it costs: From $27.99
What it does: Nitrate Fx is a nitrate-selective anion-exchange resin. The resin trades harmless anions in exchange for nitrate ions. Nitrate Fx uses a special resin that, unlike other resins, has a high attraction for nitrate. Reducing nitrate limits the nitrogen available for algae growth. Elevated nitrate has also been linked to poor coral health by many reef aquarists. Nitrate Fx can be regenerated several times with Regen Fx.
Who should use it: Limiting nitrate is a good idea for any aquarium. Reef and planted aquariums will especially benefit from nitrate reduction with Nitrate Fx.
How much it costs: From $27.99
What it does: Softener Fx is a synthetic water-softening resin for freshwater aquariums. The ion-exchange resins trade sodium ions for calcium and magnesium ions, softening the water. Soft water is favored by South American and Southeast Asian freshwater fish and plants. Overly hard water also contributes to white mineral crusting around the top of the aquarium. Hard water interferes with many phosphate-based pH buffering products, making it hard to lower the pH. Softening the water eliminates this problem and makes pH buffers more effective. Softener Fx can be regenerated several times with Regen Fx.
Who should use it: Freshwater aquarists keeping soft-water fish and plants will benefit from Softener Fx. The bagged resin makes regeneration easy!
How much it costs: From $16.99
What it does: Regen Fx is a natural resin cleaner/regenerator. It is dissolved in RO/DI water and used as a soak, stripping away organic and other debris that clog the active sites on Blue Life Fx resin products. Regeneration with Regen FX extends the life of the filtration media, saving you money. Regen Fx cannot be used with Clear Fx Pro.
Who should use it: Anyone using Phosphate Fx, Organic Fx, Nitrate Fx or Softener Fx will use Regen Fx.
How much it costs: $11.99 (regenerates up to 4 bags of any Blue Fx resin)
The Bottom Line
We encourage you to try these Blue Life USA filtration products in your own tank. We're sure you’ll experience sparkling clear water, better light penetration and enhanced growth of corals, fish, and aquatic plants. Blue Life USA makes it easy to use these advanced filter medias in any aquarium!