Diatomaceous Earth [DE] Filters need less time than comparably sized filters to do the same amount of work. DE is capable of capturing smaller dirt particles than sand or cartridge filters. This is because the porous DE powder from fossil skeletons of marine life called diatoms. DE appears to be a fine white powder that provides excellent water clarity. The filter usually consists of a tank that holds several polypropylene grids. The reason for the grid/finger/element is just to act as a support for the DE. Care must be taken not to run the filter without DE. Without DE, the polypropylene cloth will become clogged, reducing the efficiency. The majority of DE filters use one pound of DE for every five square feet of filtering area, The DE scoop is one pound of DE.