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Bio balls in BioCube
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sceyaw
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Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Location: Portland OR U.S.A

PostPosted: 2008.03.22(Sat)23:49    Post subject: Bio balls in BioCube Reply with quote

I have read that the Bioballs aren't a good idea for salt water because of them being nitrate factories. What I want to know is what should I replace them with? I was thinking of live rock. will it work or will the trickle effect of the wet dry filter effect the LR?
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2008.03.23(Sun)7:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will work fine, a good idea really.
I can only think of a few negatives...

The only thing you need to keep in mind is live rock will eventually get covered with bacterial slime like any other "media" and it will be subject to channeling and trapping to a greater degree than the bio balls which are specifically designed to avoid this.

In addition, if your calcium and chemistry is optimal for coralline growth, I can see corallines eventually "cementing" your live rock media together and possibly creating more problems with water flow, although this would take a while and could be controlled by shifting the rocks around now and then.

If your goal is a reef system, you could avoid a trickle filter completely and just go with a good skimmer and maybe a refugium, a macro algae filter or mud filter. I think it's safe to say most serious reef systems avoid trickle towers completely.
Reefers are not interested in CONVERTING waste, they are focused on REMOVING it before conversion to nitrate. Good skimmers REMOVE nutrients and DOC's.

Again, these comments above are for reef systems.

The live rock can be used in a trickle tower for fish systems, and I have heard of hobbyists claiming lower nitrates by using it, so I think it's certainly worth a try.

Bio balls are a great media for robust fish systems, they resist trapping and allow for excellent gas exchange, especially if you drop an air stone directly under them in the sump, so they do have benefits.

You are correct about nitrates, but nitrates are not as much a concern in fish systems with hardy species, and can be maintained with a skimmer and water changes (again---REMOVAL).

In either case, the big nitrate "factory" is really the animals who are producing the waste and in a sense
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sceyaw
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Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Location: Portland OR U.S.A

PostPosted: 2008.03.23(Sun)11:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you for the info.
when I start the tank its going to be a FOWLR but in the future, when I know for sure my water is nice and stable I plan on adding coral. so could I remove the Bio balls, flood the chamber and add a skimmer? I don't think I could afford anything els. plus there will be more room to put things in that chamber like the heater. could I do this or will it not be a filter any more if I flood it?
my stocking is going to be pretty low so my bio laod won't be that high.
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Michael L.
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Joined: 20 Nov 2005
Location: Nanaimo, B.C, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.03.23(Sun)12:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing to add to the bioball/live rock debate is that many people claim that bioballs do not have the extremely small and narrow holes in them that live rock has, making bioballs unable to host anaerobic bacteria. If you plan to use live rock or bioballs for nutrient conversion, live rock is probably a better candidate according to this theory.
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sceyaw
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Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Location: Portland OR U.S.A

PostPosted: 2008.03.23(Sun)13:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am most likely going to go for the LR then. it makes more sense to me. thank you for that.
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bobfish
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PostPosted: 2008.03.23(Sun)21:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I'm sure you guys thought of it but just thought id make sure.
LIVE RUBBLE would be much better. That's what I used for my sump refugium. Aside from a minor poump issue its has made a huge difference.

Good luck and keep us posted
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sceyaw
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Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Location: Portland OR U.S.A

PostPosted: 2008.03.23(Sun)22:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I wasn't thinking rubble but really small pieces. either way its the same smell Wink I will keep things posted and I plan on making a journal. at the moment I'm soaking the substrate (crushed coral and shells) in a bucket.
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