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Old 04-19-2007, 02:57 PM   #1
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ditch the bio wheel?

I have an Eclipse system 12 that i really like. It's been running for about 7 months and all the water params are fine except the nitrate stays between 15 and 20 ppm using API test kit. I have about 10+ pounds of live rock, 3 small fish, (yeah I know, don't worry, i have a 30 gallon waiting in the wings once they get a little bigger!!) and i change 2 gallons weekly(good water) and change the filter every 10 or 14 days. Would i see a big drop if i get rid of the wheel? how long would it take to notice as i don't have anywhere to keep the wheel other than a bucket with old water. I noticed under the filter in this tank there is enough space below i could put a corse sponge that would increase the anerobic filtration and also i use a hydor flow deflector and they sell a sponge that fits on it, or i could also float some bio balls. bottom line, is it the aerobic filtration from the wheel thats causing the high nitrates and would getting rid of it be the thing to do?
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:04 PM   #2
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You could clean it on a regular basis or relpace it with LR rubble.
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:07 PM   #3
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I thought about some rubble but there wouldn't be much if any light there. would the rubble accept that?
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:10 PM   #4
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If there are ANY sponges in your system they are part of the problem...I would get rid of all the man made filtration and replace the media with LR rubble. Nature knows best! I'm not a fan of the bio-balls or bio-wheel for a SW tank as they hold detritus and create as you are finding high NitrAte levels. I would also encourage you to add some more LR to your tank. 3 fish in a 12g tank even if they are small is a pretty large bio load for 10lbs of rock. I think you would do better with closer to 20lbs of rock and the LR rubble as your filtration.

Or just get the 30g up and running and add 35-40lbs of LR to what you have and you will be in better shape!
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:12 PM   #5
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The rubble will host the nitrifying bacteria....that stuff doesn't care if there is little to no light. I also agree with Ziggy. I had a canister filter and was having nitrAte problems, so I removed the sponges.
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:25 PM   #6
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no i don't have any sponges other that the natural ones that are growing. I just had 2 white sponges about the size of a dime appear out of nowhere. how cool is that! i also have a small grey one thats been around for awhile. I have aquestion about aerobic vs. anerobic. if i don't have these terms backwards, the aerobic is the bio wheel or anything that contacts air? and the anerobic would be anything submerged that can grow nitrifying bacteria? so if i put in a corse sponge that remained underwater would that help with added filtration but not cause the nitrates to increase?
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:54 PM   #7
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Anaerobic=without air. I imagine a sponge would trap a lot of stuff and would need to be cleaned as often as the biowheel, maybe even a little bit more.
I have a few encrusting sponges in my tank that seemed to come out of nowhere, they seem to like it under rock and out of the light.
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:47 PM   #8
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Without knowing exactly what the three "small" fish are, I'd say having three fish in a 12g tank is the biggest contributor to your nitrates and not whether or not you have a biowheel.

I think people's comments about "sponges" is in response to your comment about adding a coarse sponge in your hood. If you remove the biowheel, and add a sponge, you're kind of defeating your own purpose. Whether it aerobic or anaerobic, it's going to trap food/debris and add to your nitrates... more than your biowheel.

Personally, I don't have an issue with the biowheels, but that's just my opinion and experience. Your mileage may vary!
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Old 04-19-2007, 05:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unda_da_sea
the aerobic is the bio wheel or anything that contacts air? and the anerobic would be anything submerged that can grow nitrifying bacteria?
Kind of. Aerobic bacteria utilize O2. They can be found on surfaces under water as well as the bio-wheel. They bio-wheel provides them more O2 to feed from, aiding nitrification, by allowing direct contact w/ air. Anaerobic bacteria grow in O2 deprived areas, like deep in LR or LS. These are the bacteria that can turn NO3 into a gas, allowing it to leave the aquarium. Many times PWC's are needed, as well, for sufficient NO3 reduction.

As kurt said, it would really help to know what kind and how big the fish are.?
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Old 04-19-2007, 05:21 PM   #10
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I`m also one of those that think that your fish bioload might be the problem. I have an emporer bio wheel that I dont use the wheel. I keep it in my reef tank sump in case I should need it. But as Kurt said the sponge is defeating the purpose. IMO remove the wheel, run GAC in the filter every other week and examine your bioload and increase PWC`s as necessary.
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