This article has been rewritten about a dozen times. The availability and price of all the aquarium media have been on a rollercoaster. Up-down, up-down. Trying to pin the numbers down has been difficult.
And there is a big problem with something called “buying in bulk”. If one has a large aquarium with a large sump one can buy two cubic feet of K1 media for a cost of about $1 a liter. If you have a small bottle filter and you want to buy a liter of K1 you will pay $15 a liter. By the same token, you cannot buy plastic pot scrubbers in true “bulk” So you will pay about $0.50 to $1.00 per pot scrubber regardless of the amount you need.
And this varies a huge amount depending on where you live. Plastic pot scrubbers are dirt cheap in some countries and very expensive in others.
So here is the “latest and greatest” data with the caveat that this might have all changed. What will not change is the huge difference between the top media and the lowest media. Not only is the lower media very expensive, but it also doesn’t work very well. This double whammy effect is just huge.
This reflects the cost of canister filtering an aquarium with a one pound Oscar in it. An Oscar needs 100 square feet of surface area per pound to avoid hole-in-the-head syndrome. With a media like carefully cut Poret Foam inserts one can use a small cheap canister. With something like ceramic rings one will need two or even three large canisters filled with the rings. Poret foam turns out to be TWENTY FIVE TIMES more cost effective than ceramic rings. Interesting!