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Old 05-19-2014, 07:27 PM   #1
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The bio ball controversy

So I got a sw established tank with fish about 5 or six weeks ago. it has what I think is called an all in one built in and overflow on the back instead of a sump on the bottom. The back holds the skimmer in one compartment, heater in one and bio balls in the other 2. I've been told by lfs to slowly start removing bio balls and I've read many different things about this and actually started removing some each week during water changes but I thought I'd get some of your opinions on the subject. Do I leave the bio balls in or take them out?
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:35 PM   #2
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Is it fish only or will you have corals as well.

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Old 05-19-2014, 11:37 PM   #3
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Both fish and some coral
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Old 05-19-2014, 11:46 PM   #4
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Yeah my lfs told me bio balls are for fish only tanks. I think it because they have a tendency to cause higher nitrates if they are not cleaned often. I think most fish only tanks use bioballs and phosban together to keep the levels down. But some one who can give you more detail will answer you. I'm kinda new myself. I don't use bioballs and my tank is a success so far. The balls are supposed to grow beneficial bacteria that eats nitrates but if they aren't cleaned they will turn into a nitrate farm. Also I believe nitrates are more important to keep as low as possible in a reef tank with live rock, fish and coral than a fish only tank. But this is just my best guess.

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Old 05-20-2014, 12:02 AM   #5
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Bioballs do the same thing as live rock. If you have 1-1.5 lbs of rock per gallon in your tank, you basically have the job done. You tie that in with bioballs being able to become nitrate issues from poor maintenance habits, they can easily be avoided.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:11 AM   #6
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I'm not exactly sure how many lbs of live rock is in the aquarium. Any guesses? Here's a photo.

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Wondering how often bio balls need to be cleaned for good maintenence while I'm slowly getting rid of 10-20 a week
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:17 AM   #7
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Rule of thumb is 1 lb of lr (live rock) per gallon of water in your system. 100gal 100lbs of of live rock or LR.

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Old 05-20-2014, 12:49 AM   #8
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How big is the tank?

If you are going to have corals, I'd get rid of the bio balls. I had a FOWLR for years with bio balls and no skimmer and it was fine. Looking back, I have no idea how, but somehow it worked out. Would never go that route again though.
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:14 AM   #9
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100 gallons but probably at least 20 is separated in back of tank by divider/ overflow area where the bio balls, skimmer and heater are.


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Old 05-20-2014, 06:33 PM   #10
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Replace the bio balls with macro algae and a light to grow it.

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