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Old 01-25-2003, 12:32 AM   #1
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Balls or No Balls...that is the question

What is the general consensus on using bioballs in the sump?

If no balls are used then it is just LR and DSB? What would go in the media section? (fluvals seemed much easier btw)
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Old 01-25-2003, 06:01 AM   #2
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I say no bio balls. I have heard from about 90% percent of reefers that they are nitrate factories. I would assume that lr and a dsb or bare bottom in a sump would be just fine, or possibly miracle mud as a substrate. If you can place lighting on the sump I would definatly include claurpa (sp wrong) in the sump, as it is great at exsorbing nitrates and other bad nutrients.
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Old 01-25-2003, 08:00 AM   #3
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Another vote for no bioballs. Fluvals may be easier, but they have the same problems as the bioballs, they are nitrate factories. As for what to put in the biochamber...probably baffles would be the best thing, to prevent micr5o bubbles from entering the tank, or a refugium...
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Old 01-25-2003, 08:09 AM   #4
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What about LR in the section where the Bio Balls go?
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Old 01-25-2003, 11:26 AM   #5
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Hm, speaking of fluvals. U know how you have that cyano problem. What is your nitrate readings? Just curious as you got those two canister filters runnning and unless they are cleaned on a very regular basis they will collect detruis and produce nitrate.

I vote NO bioballs and if you have some base rock put a few in your sump so that they are submerged. This will just add the amount of live rock to your tank and increase your bio filtration capacity.

Timbo, The bioballs in a wet/dry tank are usually placed above the general water surface of the sump and water trickled down over them. This causes extrevmly good gas/water exchange and thus makes these balls every effectent at ammonia and nitrite removal. Puting LR there would cause issues unless you increased the water level in the sump to coimpletely submerge the rocks.
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Old 01-25-2003, 01:17 PM   #6
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Timbo, The bioballs in a wet/dry tank are usually placed above the general water surface of the sump and water trickled down over them. This causes extrevmly good gas/water exchange and thus makes these balls every effectent at ammonia and nitrite removal. Puting LR there would cause issues unless you increased the water level in the sump to coimpletely submerge the rocks.
I see your point. The LR would not be serving the purpose of LR if it wasn't submerged. It would essentially be bio balls. I know companies sell breakoff peices for sumps and what not. Question. I am using Bio balls, but then, I am not doing a reef. Would small peices of rock be better than the plastic bio balls for that type of filtration? It seems that it would be more prone to grab the particles, instead of slipping right by the plastic?
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Old 01-25-2003, 01:39 PM   #7
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What about LR in the section where the Bio Balls go?
Waste of LR IMO. If you plan on putting a light over your sump to make it sort of a refugium, then go ahead. Otherwise the LR will serve the same purpose as biomedia in the sump. I'd put all the LR in the main tank.
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Old 01-25-2003, 05:40 PM   #8
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Hiya Hara!

There is definitly a time and a place for bio-balls. After all they are very vAry fast to begin processing ammonia, and they are designed to have MASSIVE surface area so they can handle a HUGE load. However they often trap detris and they are constantly binding and releasing nitrates.

This little "nitrate factory" provides just enough excess nutients to keep your tank covered in micro or macro algaes.

Live rock and live sand also have lots of surface area but they take a lot longer to become established. Also it takes many pounds of rock and sand to do the same job as bio-balls. But in the low light, low oxygen, low flow areas of the dense pourous rock and the deep layers of sand denitrification also occurs. Your rock and sand will actually remove nitrates from your system.

Don't count out skimming as well! Skimmers bind up proteins (organic wastes and uneaten foods) using oxygen. When the skimmer cup fills you just dump the green muck out the door! Thats a lot of work your rock and sand did not have to do! Some people will argue that skimmers also remove good bits (like rotifers) with the bad. This is true, but I couldn't live without my EuroReef. It is my favorite peice of equipment and I run it 24/7.

Growing macros, like caulerpa, in a refugium or in your sump is also a great way to export nitrates. The caulerpa eats up the nitrates as it grows new leaves. Every few weeks you can just reach in and grab up a handful and throw it out the door- nitrates exported! And the best part is you can grow a ton of macros with a inexpensive 60 watt grow light (Home Depot).

But this isn't something you can just set and forget. If caulerpa overgrows it's space and dies back (turns white and goes sexual) it will release those nitrates back into the water. So it will have to be pruned about every other week. Pulling out whole strands is best. Avoid cutting it.

Oh! I almost forgot Xenia! It eats up nitrates and some nasty heavy metals, and can be kept in your main tank. It will eventually grow huge, but its easy to cut back and the new bits can be rubberbanded to a rock and traded to your local fish store. Smells HoRrIbLe out of the water though. LOL!

And last but not least, carbon! It keeps you water nice and polished and helps control the chemical warfare soft corals are always engaged in. It is true carbon will also remove some benificial trace elements... so carbon users should routeinly do water changes with a high quality salt like IO.

It is amazing what people are trying in their sumps now-a-days! Mangrove trees, mud filters, clam filters.... Who knows what the future standards will be! Heck, I bet many of you remember when bio-balls were "revolutionary"! Now, the only thing in my bio-ball rack is a couple of heaters. And the drip plate makes a nice little shelf.
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Old 01-25-2003, 09:14 PM   #9
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And last but not least, carbon! It keeps you water nice and polished and helps control the chemical warfare soft corals are always engaged in. It is true carbon will also remove some benificial trace elements... so carbon users should routeinly do water changes with a high quality salt like IO.

Speaking of carbon, I learned something new that I would like to share. You guys probably knew this already, but I did not. As you know, I was having huge phosphate readings....I was using the standard fluval carbon in the fluvals. Since removing them, the phosphate readings are dropping and the corraline is starting to grow again. I was not aware that there was a "salt water carbon" and a "fresh water carbon". The fresh water carbon tosses tons of phospates. The cyano problem is also dimminishing.
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Old 01-25-2003, 09:15 PM   #10
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Hm, speaking of fluvals. U know how you have that cyano problem. What is your nitrate readings? Just curious as you got those two canister filters runnning and unless they are cleaned on a very regular basis they will collect detruis and produce nitrate.
I clean them out about twice a month. Nitrates are around 5 as a general rule.
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