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Old 06-22-2013, 10:02 AM   #41
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Your gonna want those bio balls pristine any of that brown crud will pump nitrates into the system.
Soak them in a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water,Toss a power head in the pail it will help remove the crud
You can use tap water to clean Then use RO/DI when you set every thing up.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:58 AM   #42
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Pristine is what I was afraid you were gonna say! I guess the same would go for the egg crate and all of the other parts of the sump? Those little nooks and crannies are hard to get to.

Once the tank is all set up, how clean do I need to keep the sump and its various parts?
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:52 AM   #43
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It is my understanding that if you have adequate amount of live rock(1.5-2lbs for total system water volume sump included), or base rock that has gone through the curing process bio balls are no longer needed. Also bio balls have the potential to build into nitrate factories if not maintained. Definitely add a filter sock to the intake piping. I would say ditch the bio balls and add a refugium in your sump with a little extra live rock and cheato.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:15 PM   #44
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After scrubbing about 50 of them with no end in sight, I'm ready to ditch the bio balls or else buy new ones. My fingers are raw!!!

Someone please tell me a little more about what my setup would look like without them.

My sump looks like the one in the pic that Tango posted a few comments back. Can I use that or do I need a different container?
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:27 PM   #45
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On the bio ball topic...if you had a filter sock to catch solid wastes and it was before the bio balks, wouldn't that get rid of the nitrate factory problem? Taking out bio balls and replacing that with live rock seems like you would still end up with a surface that could catch waste.
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:31 PM   #46
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The live rock has areas that get little to no O2 the bacti that lives there converts nitrates to nitrogen gas you lose that benefit with bio balls

Callen You can use the sump with out the bio balls by putting rock rubble under the plate that holds the balls, remove that plate as well as the upper plate that has all those holes in it.
put a filter sock on the drain pipe it will help keep the sump clean.
You can put some macro algae in there as well it will help remove nitrates you will need a small light on it so it can grow. I use a small clamp on work lamp with a curly floro bulb
As far as clean goes it's gonna be better for your tank if you can get it as clean as you can
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:47 PM   #47
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I'm liking your idea Grizz. Making another trek to the semi-LFS today just to get out of the house.

Double check me on wht I need to do:

1. remove bio balls, egg crate and the white plate with the little holes in it.
2. buy a filter sock and put it on the end of the drain pipe.
3. put live rock/rock fragments below the sock/at the bottom of the sump. Can this be the dry (dead) live rock that is in my garage, or does it need to be seeded? I have lots of it around here.
4. Add algae and a lightg source to the sump...just put it on the rock?
5. do I still need the sponge-filter on the bottom before the protein skimmer?

Thanks to you all!!!! Keep those ideas coming!
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:54 PM   #48
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Theres an article on here about curing your rock to make it luve again. I woukd do this before setting anything up can take a couple of weeks with multiple water changes. Should help you get in the swing of regular maintenance
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Old 06-22-2013, 04:21 PM   #49
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1 yes remove all that stuff
2 Get 2-3 filter socks they dirty fast like in 2-3 days so you'll want a few this allows you to have clean one on hand.
3 I'd use the dry dead rock as it will cure while the tank cycles.
4 yes you can let the cheato sit right on the rocks
5 I keep the sponge in my sump it acts as a back up to the socks and it can be used to seed a QT tank I rinse mine in my old salt water when i do a PWC.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:33 AM   #50
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Well, I made the trek to the semi-LFS today with a plan in place. When I told them what I was doing, they basically said none of it was necessary: No, you don't need to make a refuguim, and no, you don't need to clean the bio balls. Doesn't matter if the brown crud is on there, its all gonna end up that way anyway. No, you don't need RODI water to set it all up. Go ahead and use tap water, just put a conditioner in it. No don't put dead shrimp in the water to start the cycle, just buy some damsels so you can see fish swimming right away. Be prepared for them to die, then just leave them in the tank to get the cycle going. The damsels are really the only thing they tried to sell me! When I said I was prepared to wait several weeks before adding fish, she basically said to get some and sacrifice the little guys!

Nevertheless, I came home with salt, a few replacement parts, and some unique pieces of rock that I liked. No fish! I also got a RO unit that I'm gonna take back..had a broken part. (BTW, she said I didn't need one of those either. When I told her I was getting one, I was told that in Houston and where I live in College Station we don't need DI units (just RO) Guess I'll search online and look for a true RODI unit. Any recommendations?

Tomorrow we are mixing the water, and adding sand and rock in the tank. Boys are excited and so am I!!!!
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