I maintain a 125 reef tank w/200+ lbs LR
and after battling the nitrates down from over 200 to under 20, they went down all the way on their own and are staying there, and he feeds frozen brine shrimp daily, so I think it all has to do with the brand maybe and how you rinse before feeding, and the amount of LR
in the system.
I wouldn't add LR
rubble in place of bio-balls, it's essentially the same thing from what I've read. I would just add more large pieces to the display tank, or even get some base rock (dried out LR
) if you can't afford to go buy that much LR
at once. If you go buy LR
make sure to only add 10% of your system water every other week and test for ammonia/nitrite spikes. Get enough so you have at a minimum 1 lb per gallon, preferably 2lb/gal
and over time, it should denitrify naturally.
I like the Reef Octopus needlewheel skimmer. I have only used that one and an AquaC though. Plenty of good ones out there at reasonable prices, but get a good one for sure, don't go cheap.