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Should You Use Pillow Stuffing For Your Aquarium Filter?

With there being a large number of people who are new to the fish keeping hobby out there right now looking to keep their costs as low as possible, we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking about using pillow stuffing for their aquarium filter medium.

Due to not being a straight yes or no answer for this one, we wanted to actually publish a dedicated article going over the topic to try and help our readers understand when you can and when you can’t use pillow stuffing as filter media.

The general rule of using pillow stuffing as an aquarium filter medium is to avoid anything that has been treat to be fireproof or fire retarded as the chemicals used in the process will cause problems with your water parameters.

Although many people who keep fish do successfully go by this rule without having issues with their fish but there are other things in pillow stuffing that may cause issues with your tank.

Due to this, we usually just recommend that you avoid even trying to use pillow stuffing in your aquarium filter. You can usually find pond filter foam for around the same price as pillow stuffing and it tends to last much longer while also having been designed for use with fish.

If you are on a budget and have to keep your costs as low as possible then checking out the various pond filter foams available and going with the one that best suits your needs is probably the best option.

Can I Use Pillow Stuffing In My Aquarium Filter?

Many people within the fish keeping hobby do use pillow stuffing in their aquarium filter but it can present potential risks due to the fire retarding chemicals that are commonly used on modern pillow stuffing.

These chemicals will cause problems with your aquarium water and can often result in issues with your fish but you can still get some pillow stuffing that has not been treat with fire retarding chemicals.

This will depending on your location though as non-fire proof stuffing is banned in the European Union and it is extremely difficult to find.

In North America and a couple of other parts of the world you can still find pillow stuffing without the fire retarding chemicals though and it can work out to be a very cheap option for aquarium filter medium if you have the time available to hunt it down.

If you have seen some of the discussions about using pillow stuffing in your aquarium filter on social media you may have seen that they can become heated as the use of pillow stuffing is controversial.

The majority of the people posting saying that they have problems with their tanks after using pillow stuffing will have used a product with these chemicals or fiber glass particles in it that can be avoided if you hunt out the correct stuffing.

Is All Pillow Stuffing Dangerous In An Aquarium?

Not all pillow stuffing is dangerous in an aquarium, especially when used as an aquarium filter medium but the problem is that it can be difficult to work out what pillow stuffing is safe and what can pose a risk to your fish.

This is why the more experienced fish keepers often advised against using pillow stuffing as a medium in your tanks filter even if you are on a tight budget as there are almost always better options available.

In addition to the fire retarding chemicals that we covered earlier in the article, some of the more modern pillows also have additional technologies that have been designed to add comfort to the pillow stuffing,

Some of the materials used for this process can release the fibers, especially when they have water flow pushed against them constantly like they would have when being used for filter medium.

This is why we tend to recommend against using pillow stuffing for your aquarium filter even though it can work in some situations.

There are simply too many factors that you have to look into with the correct pillow stuffing products often being difficult to find when you do find out the correct one that you need for your tank.

What Should You Use Instead Of Pillow Stuffing For Your Aquarium Filter?

If you are on a budget and need a cheap aquarium filter medium then we would recommend that you look at using pond filter foam instead of pillow stuffing.

It is one of the cheapest options on the market that is considered aquarium safe and you can often find it for the same price as pillow stuffing anyway.

You can find that the pond filter foam will actually last you longer in your aquarium filter between changes too helping you to keep your budget down overall.

A single role of pond filter foam can last you for a very long time even when using it in multiple aquariums with heavy filtering needs.

That said though, pond filter foam can also have some issues when used in an aquarium so you will have to research the available products and be sure that the one that you stick with is able to meet your needs.

Pond filter foam can also be designed to catch larger debris than is needed in aquarium filter medium so some of the products will let some of the debris in your tank through.


That brings our article going over if you should use pillow stuffing for your aquarium filter medium or not. We know that it is commonly touted as a great, cheap alternative for filter medium on social media but those posts you see rarely touch on the downsides and potential risks of using pillow stuffing in your aquarium. We would guess that this is due to the poster being unaware of the risks rather than them intentionally trying to be malicious but after reading out article, you should be more aware of the potential problems.