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Old 06-30-2004, 10:11 AM   #1
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To Play with the Ball or Not Play with the Ball

In a FO saltwater aquarium for startup, does it make sense to start with the bioballs in the tank or is it better to start without them? Won't the nitrogen cycle complete faster if the bioballs are not in the tank? Won't 0 ppm Nitrates be achieved faster?

What really is the purpose of the bioballs if they do nothing else but trap nitrates and keep your nitrate levels high?
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Old 06-30-2004, 01:12 PM   #2
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Maybe you don't understand what bioballs are.
They are just plastic, inert spheres with a TON of surface area...area that the good bacteria can grow on.
Therefore, during cycling, you WANT your bio-media in the filter, so they get colonized with bacteria.
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Old 06-30-2004, 03:45 PM   #3
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Well....

I do understand why bioballs are beneficial, but have seen through various threads that for saltwater setups they seem to keep nitrates from returning to zero.

I've seen that people recommend removing them from saltwater setups completely if u are using live rock for your filtration. However, in a FO setup, am I setting myself up for high nitrates levels on my first cycle and for problems later down the road.

I guess what I'm asking is there a negative to removing bioballs in a FO setup? Will I still be able to cycle without them?
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Old 06-30-2004, 04:30 PM   #4
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yes you can cycle just as fast without bioballs as ya can with !! i have a fo tank i still use bio-balls on one tank but have to due to the waste
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Old 06-30-2004, 06:25 PM   #5
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You need to make sure you have enough surface area for proper nitrification before you do away with the bioballs, that usually means 1.5 + lbs per gallon of rock.
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