In general, multichamber filter systems are more stable than a “one tank does it all” approach.. You can clean one of the chambers at a time and thereby not disturb the entire system. When you clean individual chambers you are less likely to flush loose waste and bad bacteria back onto the fish. Chambers toward the end of the system can literally stay clean.
The bacteria in these systems can grow in peace and truly stabilize. Water quality produced by multi-chambered filters is the best. The best water quality is achieved when your filter is gravity fed and the pump is at the end of the system. We have said it a thousand times, “keep the solids out of your pump”. You instantly pollute your water when the fish waste goes through the pump. This creates an endless list of potential problems including hole disease and algae problems. In our experience, the advantages of a large, gravity fed, multi-chambered non-pressurized filter put them at the top of the list of choices available today.
A well designed multichambered filter can be highly successful with many different types of media including stone. Various filter media are available which are very easy to clean of dirt without dislodging much bacteria. Japanese mat in a honey comb configuration does not trap the dirt within the media. Suspended solids will have to be removed either through settling or other prefilter tank. This keeps the dirt out of the japanese mat and it remains aerobic. The new Matala filter mats are unique in that they can trap dirt but easily let go of the dirt without losing bacteria. The 4 various densities of Matala can be arranged sequentially so as to trap dirt in the prefilter section and function as a highly aerobic media in the biofilter section.