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Old 11-30-2010, 05:33 PM   #1
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What is the benefits of bioballs or LR rubble?

ok i have a drip sump about 15g and have bioballs in it atm but have read about people using rubble instead.
I can and will change if you can tell me the benefits of doin this, i dont want to go through the work for no benefit or minimal benefit.
And i can do this at one time if proven/better way to go
Basic tank spec's
90g reef w/ fish (fairly heavy bioload)
120lb LR
CC base (plan on changeing to sandover time-1 bag /1/5 of tank)
15g drip sump
protien skimmer

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Old 11-30-2010, 05:39 PM   #2
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IMO there's no difference, LR rubble traps waste just as easily if not easier and it's harder to clean. I would stick with the bio-balls, many have negative opinions about them, but if you take them out every once in a while and put them in a bucket of tank water from your PWC, grab a handful at a time and shake them in the water, you'll loosen any debris.

If you want expanded bio-filtration in the sump, just put some bigger pieces of LR in there. The larger the piece, the more low-oxygen area, the better chance for denitrification. At least, that's the way I see it.

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Old 11-30-2010, 06:21 PM   #3
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This is the reason I think LR is better. This is from Reefkeeping `s filtration basics

Live rock consists of calcium based coral skeletons that are populated with microscopic bacteria and marine organisms.Because live rock has a porous texture, there is a large, aerobic surface area for the microscopic nitrifying bacteria to colonize.Another property of live rock is its ability to provide areas where denitrification may occur.Below the aerobic surfaces of live rock are areas of very low oxygen that are suitable for beneficial denitrifying bacteria to colonize."

Not only will it help with the ammonia and nitrites but with nitrates also. The LR has to be submerged.
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:27 PM   #4
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When the trend shifted from bioballs to no bioballs many of the people who had bioballs for a long time and then removed them simply saw a reduction in nitrate. More rock is better, even emersed it has more surface area than bioballs and is a much more natural option.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:58 AM   #5
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Its a personal choice, If you don't think you will be diligent about rinsing the bio-balls, go with the rock.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:00 AM   #6
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Bioballs used in a wet/dry system will be colonized by bacteria that convert ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. Because they lack the deep cavities found in LR rubble there are no anoxic areas for the bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrogen to live.

That's where the reputation of bioballs as nitrate factories comes from. By using LR rubble that is fully submerged you add some denitrification to the tank which helps to keep the nitrates down too.

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