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Old 12-17-2007, 12:38 PM   #1
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HOB Filters (? for lando)

Lando, I read in one of the other threads that you recommend taking out the Biowheels on an HOB filter. I have the exact same filter that you linked too but I still have the biowheels in it. Is it common practice to remove them? Could you expand a little bit on why you recommend removing them?
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:43 PM   #2
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HOB Filters (? for lando)

If they are not cleaned on a regular basis, like bio balls and other filter media, they become nitrAte factories. As long as you clean them (in your old SW, so as to not kill the bacteria) you should be ok. Personally, I use LR rubble and took out my sponges from my filters.

+++EDIT+++
I also wanted to point out they are great for setting up an emergency hospital tank/QT, since they will already have the nitrifying bacteria in them....
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:05 PM   #3
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Scott,
What is there to clean on the bio-wheels? They come after a filter pad in the filter, so the only thing on them should be bacteria.

Granted they do not contain denitrifying bacteria, hence the NO3 increase:

Nitrification (Bio-wheel stops here)
Bacteria of the genus Nitrosomonas oxidize NH3 to nitrites (NO2-).
Bacteria of the genus Nitrobacter oxidize the nitrites to nitrates (NO3-).

Denitrification
Denitrification reduces nitrates to nitrogen gas, thus replenishing the atmosphere
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:17 PM   #4
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Re: HOB Filters (? for lando)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DodgeRT
Lando, I read in one of the other threads that you recommend taking out the Biowheels on an HOB filter. I have the exact same filter that you linked too but I still have the biowheels in it. Is it common practice to remove them? Could you expand a little bit on why you recommend removing them?
I`m not Lando but alot of folks say that bio wheels are nitrate factories. I took it out of my 29 gallon FOWLR tank but only because I have alot of LR and dont need the added nitrates. If you dont have the needed biological filtration (LR) then I would leave the bio wheel in as it will house the nitryifying bacteria needed for biological filtration. As I said earlier enough LR and you dont need it.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:25 PM   #5
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I see this "biowheel = excessive nitrates" thing often, and thought I'd chime in with an alternate view.

First off, cmor is correct - the biowheel is AFTER the filter pad, so there's nothing to clean with the biowheel itself. I think where some confusion might come in is when people remove the filter pad and just use the biowheel. In that case, you're going to get junk stuck in your biowheel and it probably could use cleaning. In my opinion, if you use the biowheel, you need the filter pad in place.

In my setup, I run a Biowheel (100 Model) on the back of my 46g. I use it so that I can switch it over to my 10g QT and have a cycled tank within minutes. I've done it once so far, and except for a couple days while the bacteria played catchup and I had to do 20% water changes, everything worked as it should.

The Biowheel in my main gets the filter pad rinsed in the old saltwater at every water change (weekly) and changed out completely every 4-6 weeks. I also run a bag of Purigen stuffed between the filter and the biowheel itself. I've run this setup for over a year and have never had my nitrates go above 1.0 ppm. So from my experience, biowheels are NOT nitrate factories - when maintained and used with a "normal" amount of live rock.

If you're using the biowheel as your only means of biological filtration, then yes... you will probably see higher nitrate levels than if you were to use live rock and sand. As cmor pointed out, the biowheel (or any wet/dry filter) won't provide denitrification like rock/sand will. But even so, that's what water changes are for.

Just my nickel's worth...
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:50 PM   #6
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Cmor1701d, I think Kurt hit it. I had an eclipse2 hood (I think) and had problems with the biowheel getting gunked up and sticking. I found that regular cleaning helped this issue (in old SW). I believe this is where the "nitrAte factory" might be the culprit.
I do agree, proper and regular cleaning, along with LR and substrate plus bioload, can all effect how effective the biowheel does it's job.
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Old 12-17-2007, 07:47 PM   #7
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I have live rock and live sand and monitor the nitrates regularly. I guess as long as I don't see an issue, I will leave the biowheels in, but if they do start to rise and I have done nothing else different, it gives me a starting point to troubleshoot.

Thanks all for the input. That's why I love the forum.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:05 AM   #8
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Sorry I am a bit late to the party...it has been a busy day. The biowheels in the Emperor are a great "wet/dry" filter. They provide a great place to process NO2 into NO3. In a way, that is problem with them in SW tanks. The bacteria needed to convert NO2 to NO3 resides in an aerobic (with oxygen) environment. The bacteria that consumes NO3 resides mostly in an Anaerobic (without oxygen) environment. This is why submerged LR and your substrate do such a good job at controlling NO3...provided you have enough to process the waste produced by the tank. That said, if you have plenty of other biological filtration in the tank you will likely not notice the NO3 that can be produced by the biowheels. On the other hand...why bother with them is they serve no benefit? For a SW reef application I say just remove them. Of course, there are many other factors that weigh into the NO issue...such as feeding, stocking, over-stocking and water change schedule.
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:28 PM   #9
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Kurt,

I keep a biowheel in my sump so I can get my QT running quickly should the need arise. I always start with a new filter pad.

I can see how the Eclispe hood would gunk up a biowheel. Running water over the pad is not as efficient as forcing water to go through it.
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmor1701d
I can see how the Eclispe hood would gunk up a biowheel. Running water over the pad is not as efficient as forcing water to go through it.
Yeah, I wasn't too happy with the performance.
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