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Old 10-04-2004, 03:48 PM   #1
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A few sump questions

I went today and found a 30 long to use as a sump for my new 150gal FOWL tank I'm trying to get started.
A few questions about sumps.
I see some people put bio balls in their sump and others use live rocks and live sand. Is either method better than the other? or could you use both? advantages?? disadvantages??
My tank has two over flows which means 4 holes in it. Do I plumb the 4 holes into 2? Or have 2 pipes into the sump and 2 coming out? Do I need to small pumps or 1 larger one?

Thanks
Jason
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Old 10-04-2004, 04:07 PM   #2
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the only realy difference is that LR and LS will do a better job of removing nitrates form the water. If you're running a FOWLR then you probably already have LS and LR in the main tank? If so, you probably don't HAVE to do more in the sump, unless you want to. No draw backs to doing so. Bio-Balls would mean you wouldn't have to have light on your sump, but can lead to higher nitrates (which isn't a big concern with FO systems as fish are much more tolerable of nitrates than inverts)

For plumbing questions: refer to this thread Basically, you'll have two drain lines and two return lines.
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Old 10-04-2004, 04:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I have read that post a few times. It never addressed my question about which setup may be better and how to plumb the two overflows.

Any idea on how many bio balls I will need?
The guy at the LFS said to just put the bioballs in a plastic milk create, does this sound like an ok idea?


Jason
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Old 10-04-2004, 10:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BillyZ
<snip> Bio-Balls would mean you wouldn't have to have light on your sump, but can lead to higher nitrates (which isn't a big concern with FO systems as fish are much more tolerable of nitrates than inverts)<snip>
why would bio-balls lead to higher nitrates?
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Old 10-05-2004, 08:58 AM   #5
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Over time, bio balls, filter pads, etc. will build up waste and cause a high nitrate situation over time. Reef tanks need a low nitrate situation so most get rid of the bioballs and use LR instead.
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Old 10-05-2004, 09:55 AM   #6
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I am no sump expert, as you can tell by my threads, but I would not use bio-balls. Most people that use them have high Nitrate problems.
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Old 10-05-2004, 10:48 AM   #7
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Over time, bio balls, filter pads, etc. will build up waste and cause a high nitrate situation over time. Reef tanks need a low nitrate situation so most get rid of the bioballs and use LR instead.
why doesn't waste build up w/ LR? does it somehow get cleaned out?
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Old 10-05-2004, 12:24 PM   #8
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Regarding having to light your sump, you should check out the answers I got: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=33377

If you have two returns, I would have two smaller pumps. Reason is that with one pump branching off to two returns, the water will take the path of least resistance and you *could* end up with more flow in one than the other.
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Old 10-05-2004, 04:32 PM   #9
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why doesn't waste build up w/ LR? does it somehow get cleaned out?
snails, hermits, pods, other clean up crew critters etc. Bioballs are not accesible to those critters.
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Old 10-05-2004, 05:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellisz
Quote:
why doesn't waste build up w/ LR? does it somehow get cleaned out?
snails, hermits, pods, other clean up crew critters etc. Bioballs are not accesible to those critters.
Not quite.

The nitrogen cycle in a tank starts with ammonia, which is then broken down to nitrites by bacteria. Nitrites are toxic to fish and in a cycled aquarium those are broken down by other forms of bacteria into Nitrates. Now there are still more forms of bacteria that can break down the nitrates, but they require an anoxic area (area of little to no oxygen). In a bio-ball system, this area does not exist as the bacteria can only inhabit the surface of the plastic balls. In LR and LS, the rock and sand is porus and so the water very slowly actually passes through the rock and this bacteria exists inside the rock and deep in your sand. This bacteria then breaks down the nitrates.

Its a common misconception that the nitrates "build up" on the bio-balls and filter sponges. This isn't really true. It is simply that these filter media don't remove the nitrates so the system will have high levels of nitrates that are only really lessened by water changes.

In a FO system, higher nitrates are OK (within reason), and is why you still see a lot of folks using bio-balls and such.
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