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Re: polyester filter fiber

Roger Oconik wrote:

> I keep polyester filter fiber in a small filter in my
> aquarium.  While in Hobby Lobby I noticed they sell
> large bags of 100% pure polyester fiber to fill
> pillows and such with.  Is this the same stuff they
> sell for aquarium use. I can't tell any visible 
> difference between the two except the price.  The
> stuff at the hobby store was cheaper for 5 times as
> much product.

5 times as much?  Actually, it  is somes more like 10 times as much. 
Remember if it (whatever it is) is intended for sale to a fish
hobbyist, its retail value automatically increases geometrically.  Look
at how much we fish people will pay for sponges when they are "filter"

Not all polyesther fiberfill is the same.  For example, eheim's floss
is much finer thread than most of the other poly floss that's

However, that doesn't mean that what you generally get at the LFS is
any different than what you can get at, for example, JoAnne's Fabrics,
hobby centers, etc.  If the product package is marked hypo-allergenic,
this is bit of added assurance that no impurieties are present that
might harm the fish or plants.  Note that there is no regulatory
standard for what "Hypoallergenic" means but putting the claim on the
bag does increase the potential liabilities for the manufacturer and,
therefore, is some indication that the material is clean.

Bonded polyesther has a phenolic resin added to hold the polyester
fibers in place.  This is the version comes in sheets and can be cut
into pads.  Some fish fiber folks advertise that no phenols are present
in their floss, which is fine, but they have phenolic resin in their
pads just like everyone else that make polyester pads.  I have used
floss from fabric stores for over thirty years and cannot attirbute one
problem to its use.  Phenolic resin is one of the earliest manufactured
plastics and is used in lost of things that we come into contact with
every day.

Some polyesther is loaded with relatively more fiber-dust.  If you buy
a bag of that, remember to keep away from that brand or manufacturer in
the future.  While the dust will filter out of your aquarium, who needs
to deal with it in the first place?  After all, floss probably isn't
one of the more expensive items you will be spending money on.  I have
found the presence of fiber-dust to be no less common among lfs floss
than the fabric store floss.  Sometimes the fabric stores have bags on
sale and you can get enough to last a decade for just a few bucks.  Of
course, the storage costs eat up the savings and if you store it in the
basement, it can become musty (mold) ;-)

Scott H.

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