Originally Posted by Michael
This is a very constructive way to increase your post count!
In the photo of your matten filter, are the epiphytes growing directly on the reticulated foam? If so, does this affect the operation of the filter? I've been interested in these filters for some time, but hate their appearance in the tank. I've thought about planting the foam as the Dutch do on their tank backgrounds, but wondered if it would make the filter less effective, harder to keep clean, or cause any other problems.
Are you using Poret foam?
The large leafed one is plain old java fern. I eventually removed it because it was taking up way too much space though. Also in that picture is christmas moss (also in picture 17, right side). Over time I've done UG, anubias nana, and nana petite as well. Currently I have a kleiner bar sword growing half way up the filter in a 20 long because I never trimmed the runner and that is where it rooted. I also have a terrestrial moss that has recently started growing on the top of one of my more neglected filters (see photo below).
In my experience there is so much surface area that a couple roots here and there don't stop the filter, it isn't like an undergravel which will actually stop. The filters in my 20's were set up some time late in 2011, and I decided to finally remove one for cleaning this week. The main reason for cleaning I suspect was the soil that has gotten lodged in them over the years more than the buildup of gunk from the fish, although I may clean a couple others now that I've gotten started. I did need to clean the one every year or two, so the roots may have contributed some. The way I had it folded likely also contributed quite a bit.
The one in the photo above was a medium blue, I've since started getting them in black (photos 13, 17, and 21)to decrease their appearance. Given that I tend to put black backgrounds on my tanks this doesn't make much difference.
Edit: Yes, I am using Poret foam. For full disclosure the US seller is an in-law of mine and got me started. On the other hand, I happily paid retail for my last filter (for the 300) and will happily do so again whenever I need more.
Here is a picture of the moss: