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I am totally new to this hobby and am in the process of researching a reef tank. Likely size will be in the 120-150g range. I've done a lot of reading (including this forum - great stuff!) and talking to various retailers. I'm getting comfortable with the concepts and terminology. Now it's time to start making decision and spending money...

The main question I have at this point is around filtration. If I understand it correctly, one option would be the use of bio balls, another would be the use of a refugium. What is the difference in terms of effectiveness, ease of maintenance, etc? People I've talked to seem to come down on both sides of the fence...

My apologies in advance if this is a no-brain question...chaulk it up to rookie naivity...

Mark
 

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mcdavies said:
The main question I have at this point is around filtration. If I understand it correctly, one option would be the use of bio balls, another would be the use of a refugium. What is the difference in terms of effectiveness, ease of maintenance, etc? People I've talked to seem to come down on both sides of the fence...

My apologies in advance if this is a no-brain question...chaulk it up to rookie naivity...

Mark
Hi Mark:

WELCOME TO TRT and keep asking the questions.

The big difference between bio balls and a refugium is the former is a huge nitrate trap and really, really, really bad for your tank. The latter, if done right, is a nitrate sink and will take out a lot of the bad stuff from your tank - helping to keep the amount of algae and unwelcome stuff in your tank down. Do a search for "refugium" on this site and you can check out the macroalgae that are good (Halimeda) and the ones that aren't (Caulpera). I got something called a "shaving brush plant" in my refugia and it seems to be doing well.

One other thing, neither a refugia or bio balls (and I'd strongly recommend not getting bio balls) should be your primary filter. You probably want to get a sump and a protein skimmer. What kind of protein skimmer is another question - do a search and you'll see all the different opinions :funny:

Welcome again, good luck with the tank, and keep the questions coming.

K.M.
 

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Welcome to the TRT!!:wavey:

i agree with not going with bio-balls at all. they will be more of a problem in the long run. refugiums are great as another place for critters to live that would normally get ate in the display. it helps keep the bio-diversity up.

the greatest filtration system for a reef is the LR itself. the LR is the perfect place for all of the beneficial bacteria to live and thrive. a good amount of LR and a lot of circulation is the key to keeping a reef happy.

G~
 

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I think a combo of lots of good quality live rock (about 1 pound per gallon of tank), a good skimmer, and a refugium should keep your tank looking nice. http://www.inlandaquatics.com has a nice flora and fauna kit you can buy to seed the refugium with critters and a variety of macroalgae that do not have the tendency to go "sexual". There's lots of debate right now about deep sand beds and if they are helpful for biological filtration or not. Check out The Think Tank forum for those discussions.

Welcome to TRT
Brooke
 
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welcome....
first things first casey what is that immage your posting all i see is a purple dot in a black like lol
and i agree with everyone above posts
stay away from the bio balls... add 1.5 lbs per gal of lr, a fuge and a good skimmer and good waterflow and youll have a great reef to enjoy for a long time
 

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mnreefman said:
and i agree with everyone above posts
stay away from the bio balls... add 1.5 lbs per gal of lr, a fuge and a good skimmer and good waterflow and youll have a great reef to enjoy for a long time
Just to be contrary - the amount of rock depends more on the surface area of the rock (and the bioload you expect to have). I have Marshall Island rock and it is extremely light compared to Florida aqua-cultured rock and I find that I can get away with .8 - .9 lb/gallon. But other than that I agree with everything everyone has said (including myself :)).

K.M.
 

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Ditto on the Bio -balls for a reef tank,,,LR ,a sump/refug etc will work for you(a good skimmer AND UV will be a good thing to have)
a DSB,,,sorry Brooke, i got 600LBS waiting in the garage for the 200(i know, i know)will like to try it in time:rolleyes:
good LR and the other things mentioned will help you along ,,,IMO

BTW: WELCOME TO TRT!
Enjoy your stay here, ask away on questions, don't forget to use the "archives" to answer any thing you have to ask first,,,
We are a friendly bunch, and always welcome new reefers and their questions
Welcome aboard!:) :)
 

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haste makes waste

okay, okay, so I didn't study enough before the lfs sucked me into buying this thing. Hey, I've been all over the South since I bought it and they have these in literally every lfs I've been in?!?
I won't argue about what's wrong with them, the science seems solid, but what would be the best way to convert them into something useful? Simply take the bioballs out? Where can I get some of those cool little 50 or 100 micron socks I've seen on others filters to remove macro-stuff? Should I modify or remove the drip plate and pre-filter, take out the sponge?
Advice is appreciated.
 

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Yardboy I would slowy take out the balls you can add live rock there if wanted make sure you have plenty live rock in the tank.sponge is ok if it is rinsed out very frequently thats what I would do right off the bat. How much rock do you have?:)
 

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I would think then that you could slowly start removing the bioballs like 25% each week then add some live rock to that chamber if you wanted. :) What is your bioload?
 

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Ho Boy!
Can you direct me to a procedure for calculating that?
I've got a 1.5" tomato, 2.5"yellow tang, 1.5"yellow-tail damsel, 2" blue chromis, 2.5" coral beauty, 1.5" mandarin, 1"sailfin blenny.
Corals - well, biggest is a sarcophyton - 4" across, or maybe it's the frogspawn, 3 polyps, 4-5" across, green tree (sme sort of soft coral) and quite a few other bits and pieces,
Thanks for the help Casey. My wife is calling now, we're going snorkeling at the jetties.
 

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there and back again

Oh well, visibility sucked. Shoulda went earlier this morning, before the tide changed. We did see lots of angels and blennies though. Not sure what kind, haven't taken the time yet to look them up.
I appreciate the information on the filtration changes. I'll have to rethink my arrangements before I put any more rock in there. I do recall your's went practically to the front glass!
On removing the bioballs, I'll start that process this evening. Boy, I sure wish I'd just bought a 20L or something similar and modified it to make my sump. Would have been a lot cheaper and more volume also. Oh well, live and learn. I just wish that was the most expensive mistake I'd ever made!
By the way what happened to you this weekend?
 

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I wouldn't frown if I was you, that's a long ride to PC.
Do you use filter bags or do you do anything about macro-particulate in the water. I ask because it seems that most of the lfs systems use them, and your system is the only one I've ever seen besides mine and lfs systems (I gotta get out more!)
 

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i do not think you want to add LR where you removed the bio-balls. it looks like this area remains dry (as well it should for bio-balls), but for LR it will lose most of its effectiveness. the LR needs to remain submerged to be beneficial. if the LR is dry it will act no differently than the bio-balls and become a nitrate factory.

G~
 
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