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Old 11-17-2011, 12:47 PM   #1
SaltyJoe
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How come no bio balls


I have a 14 gallon bio cube and have been told by a quite a few people that I should remove the bio balls and replace it with filter floss instead.

I've also read on this site and some other forums that most people "DO" remove the bio balls from there wet/dry systems. Why is that? It seems to me that the more places you have for beneficial bacteria to colonize the better off we are. Am I missing something here?
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:15 PM   #2
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I don't agree that you should replace it with filter floss. I personally think a couple of larger pieces of live rock is the best thing to put in there.

BioBalls work great but cannot convert nitrates to their gaseous form, live rock can do that for you so it's a much better biological filter media.

Floss, for me, is just a pain in the butt because it has to be replaced so often. I stopped using it a couple of years ago and haven't missed it.
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcamos View Post
I don't agree that you should replace it with filter floss. I personally think a couple of larger pieces of live rock is the best thing to put in there.

BioBalls work great but cannot convert nitrates to their gaseous form, live rock can do that for you so it's a much better biological filter media.

Ok, now that makes sense. I can see how LR would be better in place of bio balls. Doesn't LR have to stay submerged though? If I pulled the balls and put LR back there, then the water is trickled over the rocks (wet/dry system)
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:40 PM   #4
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If you pull out the BioBalls you no longer have a wet/dry. Once they are out you can ignore the max fill level and just fill your BioCube up above the rock level.
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:43 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=tcamos;1973179
BioBalls work great but cannot convert nitrates to their gaseous form, live rock can do that for you so it's a much better biological filter media. [/QUOTE]


I still don't understand why you can't have both? Live rock in tank and bio balls in the sump?
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcamos View Post
If you pull out the BioBalls you no longer have a wet/dry. Once they are out you can ignore the max fill level and just fill your BioCube up above the rock level.
Yea, I guess I could. Now I really feel stupid.
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:53 PM   #7
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Don't feel stupid. They put a mark on the side that says MAX and so it's reasonable to think that's just what it means. But it's just max if you have BioBalls.

@treetopflyn - you can have both, but it's just not as efficient. You will see lower nitrates without the BioBalls.
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:58 PM   #8
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Got ya. I have read that just wasn't sure why? I am slowly removing mine since that what it appears everyone advises. I just haven't read anything to say exactly why. I have plenty of LR I can't see how a couple more pieces in the sump could be that much more beneficial and how the bioballs could hurt?????
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Old 11-17-2011, 02:07 PM   #9
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A good quality piece of live rock has a lot more surface area because it's porous. So even a couple pieces will affect the tank beneficially. Since BioBalls can't process the nitrates to their final stage as a gas then you end up with nitrates in the tank. If you have proper surface agitation the gas will simply leave the tank.
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by treetopflyn View Post
I still don't understand why you can't have both? Live rock in tank and bio balls in the sump?
Same discussion here:

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=174785

Depending on what your objective is with the tank, having both can be effective, IMO.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:38 PM   #11
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I have a small section in my sump that had bio balls and I just converted to rock, this week. I used some dry rock pieces mixed with a pound of LR rubble. I like the more natural approach. LR is said to be more porous, thus can harbour more beneficial bacteria. LR can also help maintain PH levels. Also, I wasn't keen on bio balls adding to nitrate problems.
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Old 11-18-2011, 11:34 AM   #12
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Ok. did a little tank maintenance last night and I am now officialy ball less.
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:12 PM   #13
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I think you'll find it's easier to maintain the tank without them. One less thing to clean out.
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:09 PM   #14
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wouldn't submerging the bioballs do about the same thing? surface area for the bacteria? i have wondered this for awhile........
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
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wouldn't submerging the bioballs do about the same thing? surface area for the bacteria? i have wondered this for awhile........
No. Bioballs aren't porous. You typically need layers of bacteria to create an anaerobic environment for denitrification. On LR, the microbes on the surface deplete O2 levels as the water passes deeper into the rock. This creates a low oxygen environment within the rock. With bioballs, the microbes can only live on the surface. Typically, the water passes through bioballs far to fast for the microbes to deplete the oxygen level. Even when they are submerged. So, denitrification can not take place. In order to use bioballs for denitrification, you would need a container with very very very slow moving water, or a very very very long container. This is the only way microbes on bioballs could deplete the oxygen content of the water and create an environment where denitrification can take place.
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